On the way to Nathaniel’s pack, Selena was eerily quiet. Though she had a lot of things in her mind, she didn’t want to share any of them. There were far too many thoughts just swirling around her brain that it almost felt that she was about to erupt.
Her clouded mind still stayed at home with her brother, Talon.
Right after Nathaniel claimed her as his, he didn’t give her any time to gather her belongings. She carried nothing but the frown on her face and the heavy burden of never coming home in her heart.
While Nathaniel and his men walked ahead of her, Selena threaded gingerly against the cold wind. The coat that Nathaniel gave to her just didn’t the job right and the warmth it gave her was minimal.
Her teeth chattered loud enough for Nathaniel to stop on his heels and walked over to her.
“Was that you?” He glowered at her.
Selena stared at his sheathed cleaver slang over his chest. The sight of it drained every ounce of courage in her.
She gulps. “No.”
“It must have been my imagination when I heard you about to freeze to death.”
He raised one brow higher than the other and cocked his head to the side. The act alone made Selena bombard him mentally with a slew of curse words, noting how much of an asshole he was.
A gorgeous asshole with snowflakes sprinkled on his blonde hair.
“I’m fine.” She hissed, feeling the cold about to consume her.
Nathaniel was already losing patience which was something of a rarity considering that patience was not a word in his vocabulary. But this dainty-looking wolf in front of him was testing his reserve. If they would rest now, his men would disapprove and they would arrive a day late home.
What he needed to do was a compromise. Another thing that he didn’t like doing.
His tongue grazed his lower up while he huffed and turned to his men, greeting their quizzical and stoic look.
They wouldn’t like it but for the sake of his mate’s well-being, he was forced to be flexible.
“Alright!” He bellowed, immediately catching his subordinates off guard. “We set camp here now.”
He could hear a consecutive string of moans and groans. Most of the people here were eager to meet their families. After all, they were husbands and wives eager to see their partners and children.
Lilian, his right-hand approached him. He could already hear the scream that was about to come out of her mouth.
“Alpha, don’t you think we should keep going? It’s only six hours of trekking until we arrive home.” She spoke calmly.
He was surprised at the tone of her voice. It was uncharacteristically relaxed. That just meant that he was in bigger trouble than what she wanted him to believe.
Nathaniel turns to his mate who in his eyes was shivering like a turkey in late winter morning. He needed to choose between his mate dying of hypothermia or hearing his men’s bothersome complaints. Their words won’t sway him either way but it all boiled down to how much annoyance he could take.
“In these circumstances, normally we continue our travel but since we have a guest who seems to be eager on slowing us down, I ask for two volunteers to set up camp with us while the rest continue on their way home.”
He spots the bitter dread that encapsulated her. It seemed like she was indeed planning to give him a hard time. He returns his attention to his equally vexed men, not one of them volunteering.
“No?” He pushed further, still not seeing one raised hand. “Very well then. Lively and Blake will stay.”
“What!” Blake quickly protested.
“Oh, great. It’s not like it’s every day you miss your daughter’s first birthday.” Lively glowered.
“Settle down. Blake, your combat expertise will be a great help in case a rogue comes our way and Lively is a doctor. Don’t worry. Once these non-volunteers arrive home, they will send a car. You’ll have the rest of the day and the week off to spend with your child and husband. Does that sound fair enough to you?”
Lively smiled lopsidedly. “Thank you, Alpha.”
“But what about me? I have places to go-” Blake was cut off by an eager Lillian.
“You mean your penis has places to go. Your wife can wait for a couple more hours before you can bury your dick inside of her. Until then, serve your Alpha.” She spat.
Blake stood his ground and remained still, wearing an emotionless mask before nodding ruefully.
His soldiers leave one by one after excusing and apologizing to their Alpha for not staying behind. Their party of twenty turned into four, leaving Selena, Nathaniel, Lively, and Blake to set up camp. It was quick and easy. Blake and Lively pitched their tents separately and Nathaniel obliged to give her his tent while he stays up all night to keep watch.
Not only that he was surprisingly reasonable, but he was also perhaps a gentleman too.
‘Probably just an act to seduce me.’ She grimaced, burying her face between her knees to try and forget her life wasn’t slowly becoming a hellhole.
Selena was slightly perturbed with how efficiently he disarmed the situation. He was reasonably calm and concise. Her previous misconception of him greatly disappointed her.
While she sat next to the warm campfire, her eyes bounced off from Nathaniel and to his subordinates. Female warriors were rare and seeing one made Selena a bit too shy, especially when this warrior was only three meters away.
“Here.” Nathaniel suddenly threw a piece of meat over to her. She barely caught it, causing Blake to chuckle.
“I’m not hungry.” She frowned.
“I suppose the dying mule inside your stomach was my imagination too.” Nathaniel stood. “Eat the damn chicken.”
“Poisoned chicken you mean?”
She didn’t want to rely on him. Escaping might be useless but that didn’t mean she shouldn’t try at once. While she was staring him down, she was thinking of a way to escape.
Her plan on whittling down their numbers worked too perfectly. All that was left is to wait until Blake and Lively fall asleep and then she would have to deal with Nathaniel the giant. Luckily, Selena knew a bit of combat. She was quick and agile with a knife but her weakness was her durability and tire too easily.
“You know? People are starving somewhere else and here you are complaining because the food we serve is not chicken paella. That’s why that other pack tried to overthrow you, right? They wanted to steal all your wealth.”
Unfortunately, he was right. Pack Highcliff had members who were rich in income but knew little about combat. That made them a very easy pack to target.
“I just don’t know what’s in it. Cyanide, shrooms, or Wolfsbane. Your intentions for me are still very unclear. What if you plan on making me your slave? I’d rather die than be yours.”
His infamy as the great wolf that managed to wipe out two dozen wolves in one mission still shocks Selena when she remembers seeing the photos of the mutilated bodies circled the world of wolves.
What if she ended up like one of those bodies? Missing a leg, an arm, or her head.
Nathaniel grins. “If you’re so eager to not trust me and would rather die, eat the damn chicken.”
“No.” She protested, throwing the food into the fire.
She hadn’t noticed, but she was already standing in front of him. Chin raised high to show her place in the argument.
“Okay, fine. Starve then. But just so you know, you not eating is not you being cautious. It’s you being a jerk to our cook, Lively.”
Her chest began to tighten, realizing what she had done wasting the meat. She looked at Lively. Her soft green eyes showing no expression. Perhaps she had jumped the gun too quickly. Now she felt like a total jerk. She was the unreasonable one here, not Nathaniel.
She became silent after seeing her flaw.
Nathaniel was perhaps not the nicest fruit in the bunch but he was fair. Something about it made her angry.
“After you’ve realized how much of a fool you sound like, sleep and rest.” He grunts. “You two should rest too.”
“Yes, Alpha.” Blake and Lively said in unison.
Much to her chagrin, she was forced to give up. Her heart shuddered when Nathaniel’s distaste grew as a cold and deathly stare. The two wolves walked into their tents. While she burned with the anticipation of running away, she was boiling in the heat of anger too.
Angry with Nathaniel but most importantly, angry with herself. She couldn’t understand the feeling she had. It was so raw and painful so much so that it pummeled her heart.
“Are waiting for me to tuck you in or are you about to have a stroke?”
Maybe she was having a heart attack? That would explain the loud banging of her heart while she gazed up the jarring darkness that was his mysterious eyes.
“Actually, I think I am.” She quipped and only looked at him with a straight face before storming off to her tent.
A wolf like her was driven by a sense of purpose and longing to find their partner. And whatever the stirring in her heart was, she was almost certain that it was that. Nothing more, nothing less. But before that feeling grows, she needed to find a way and escape home.
She can’t afford to dip her feet into an ocean of lust, not for Nathaniel who murdered and plundered for money.
Hours later when it seemed like everyone had fallen asleep, Selena got up from the layers of sheets that Nathaniel had set up as a bed. Which to her surprise was very comfortable.
She moved gingerly, very careful to not make a single sound while she steps out of the tent. Much to her dismay, the giant was sitting next to on the campfire, completely awake. Embers floated in the air, masking his annoyed face but it also made him look threatening. The way the fire lit his hair made it look like amber in the night, shining under starlight.
His unusually gray orbs glowed with a steady sheen of wetness to them as if he was crying.
“Why are you up? I told you to sleep, didn’t I?” Nathaniel tended to the fire, causing more embers to fly into the air.
Her amazement quickly disappeared when she realized who she was talking to.
“I did sleep but I woke up.” She held her breath, thinking of the best solution to dealing with him. “I gotta pee.”
“Well, go on now. Pee wherever you’d like. As long as you’re far away enough, every tree is a bathroom, that is if you’re okay with that, princess?”
That was it? Selena felt that it was too easy. Knowing what Nathaniel can do, she surmised that she was going off the hook that easily. It would take a miracle to escape.
Besides his snide remark, she didn’t see signs that he was plotting something. But she could never be too sure.
Even if Nathaniel was supposed to be her mate, that didn’t mean she would like him immediately and unconditionally and it seemed like he felt the same way. For all she knew, Nathaniel could have a mistress waiting for him to come home.
‘He probably has orgies almost every day.’ She thought.
Not wasting any chances, she took the opportunity and turned away. She walked towards the darkness, between the trees, through the snow with only the light from the between guiding her.
Five minutes to her trek, Selena was already feeling hungry. Her decision to waste that perfectly good-looking chicken drumstick was a stupid one. She was fortunate enough to find a road with passing cars nearby.
With a stroke of luck, maybe someone would notice her. But who in their right mind would stop for someone with blood on their clothing and disheveled stature? Despite being unsure, she raised her hands in the air as she stood in the middle of the road.
A white pickup truck stopped right in front of her, its headlight blasting her. She rushed to the driver’s side.
“Miss, are you okay?” A bearded man stepped out of the vehicle. His boggled blue eyes look at her with genuine care. “What are you doing here in the middle of the night? And the clothes you’re wearing, they’re all bloody. What happened?”
At first glance, the man was a simple human. He certainly didn’t like a wolf nor like he was disguising his scent.
“Some men are after me. I need to get out of here, please. Take me anywhere, just not here.”
The man noticed her urgency.
“What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything. We were just camping and they showed up out of nowhere.”
“Have you tried calling the police?”
If she were to call the police then it would be bigger trouble. No human should know what happens with wolves.
“Yes.” She bit her lip, trying to hide her nervousness. “But that was a while ago and they haven’t come.”
Selena started to worry when she saw the man contemplate his decision. Any second now, Nathaniel might catch up and find her.
“Please, they already gotten to my friends.” She begged.
“Alright, okay.” The man sighed. “I’ll take you home and have you rested in our cabin but I have to ask my wife. I take it she won’t be thrilled that I’m taking home a woman. A beautiful one at that.”
The man took his phone out, taking a few steps away from her while he went ahead and typed on its screen. He looked at me and smiled.
“Well, you’re lucky. My wife says yes. Come inside, you’re more than welcome to stay as long as you’d like.”
Selena felt relief flood into her system. She would be safe for now, away from Nathaniel’s clutches. She only hopes that she could think things through in time.
Nathaniel steadily walked towards the tent he had set up for his mate. The woman was nowhere to be seen just as he predicted. Last night when he had allowed her to relieve herself, he knew that she was planning on escaping.
That troublesome mate of his truly was trying to stir up trouble. The worst part is, Selena was a virgin priss that had power on her tongue. She may act tough and feisty, but Pack Highcliff’s members were not trained to fight well enough as they took the route of resolving their conflicts with words rather the true way of the wolf.
Which was by blood and claws.
Sadly, what his mate didn’t know is that he knew this would happen. So he went ahead and phoned Lively’s husband to patrol the road near their camp. And minutes later, he received a text from Winston saying he had Selena.
“Alpha,” Blake furrowed his brows. “Where’s the wolf?”
“I told Winston to house her in my cabin.”
“Wait, she’s already at the pack? Then what are we still doing here?” The man scowled.
“Don’t worry, a car is coming to retrieve us. You’ll be home to your wife.”
Blake nodded. It was clear to Nathaniel that his subordinate had something more to say. Though Blake was one of his followers that liked to talk back, the man was obscenely indecisive and couldn’t be bothered to say what he really needed to say. Which for him was much more irritating than someone who voiced their opinion.
“Did you wanna ask me something?” He raises a brow.
“Oh, uh. I just wondered. If she’s in your home, what are you going to say to Katie?”
That’s when he realized he hadn’t thought of things through. In actuality, he hadn’t thought through with Selena. Meeting her on the battlefield was a surprise. Because of that blunder, his mate and his loose string on the side were about to discover each other.
‘Fuck’. He mentally cursed, knowing full well that he was in simple words, completely and thoroughly fucked.
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