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Chapter 3


It was late afternoon by the time we finally completed our border run. Delta Kane waited in the exact same spot we had left him in and didn’t show an ounce of remorse for letting us miss lunch.

As we finished, wolf after wolf collapsed on the grass, creating a symphony of heaving and accelerated heartbeats all around me. We were exhausted.

My lungs burned and my stomach cramped, but through it all, a strange blissful calm fell over me. Pressing a palm flat to my chest, I lay back and watched the wispy clouds dance overhead. I pushed myself today and I made it. We all did.

Pride filled my chest as I gazed at my fellow pack mates. Sala sat next to me with her head between her knees. Her face was bright red as she struggled to catch her breath and stared at nothing. She had kept up with me the entire way and for a moment, I couldn’t help but wonder who she might be paired with one day.

Being werewolves by birth, each of us received a wolf side as well as a human side. Two beings trapped in one, coexisting in perfect harmony, sharing the same soul. Another special gift granted to us by Celene, the Moon Goddess.

Our wolf side granted us many abilities, such as super hearing, a heightened sense of smell, fast healing, mind-linking and of course, being able to transform into a wolf. Celene was also the one who paired us with our destined soulmates. A person made especially for you. A werewolf would be able to recognize your mate as soon as you turned eighteen. After becoming sexually matured at eighteen, the bond will snap into place, drawing you towards your mate.

The mate bond was a magical union; the strongest connection known to us. It could be a blessing, or, if not respected, turn into a terrible curse. Once you found your mate, you would be bound to them for life. Losing a mate was the worst thing that could happen to a wolf. Severing the connection between two souls would damage both of them. It would leave a part of you wide open and your emotions unchecked.

Some werewolves recover after many years of suffering. Others, however, gradually go insane or end up taking their own lives.

“We should probably get back.” Sala said, ripping me from my morbid thoughts. “Don’t want to miss out on dolling up for the boys.”

I groaned, sitting up to look at her. The sparkle in her eyes had returned. We stared at each other for a second before our grins spread across our faces. She giggled with excitement and bumped her fist against my shoulder. An evening of fun lay ahead of us. The thought shoved away the last slithers of tiredness.

“What are you wearing? I’m going with the off-shoulder dress I wore for Chase’s birthday.”

Sala squealed, “oh my word, smoking hot! You’re gonna knock him on his ass!”

“Well, you know, I try,” I joked, puffing my chest out.

Sala’s laughter was contagious, her smile bright and genuine.

“How about you?”

“Black mini with a red strappy top. Maybe a few bangles to go with it.”

“Oh, you know what you should do?” I asked, pulling a strand of her dark brown hair through my fingers, “that blow-wave thing where you curl your ends outward. You’d look amazing!”

She wrinkled her nose, “you think? Won’t I be overdoing it?”

“Hell no! Not if you pair it with plastic bangles instead of chrome.”

“You guys should get back before mom bursts an artery,” Axel said as he literally stepped over me.

“Bastard!” I called after him and Sala rolled her eyes. He had a point though. Mom was already furious with me. Being late for tonight’s dinner would be a death sentence.

Standing up and stretching out a hand for Sala to grab, I announced, “let the games begin.”

Heading straight for my room, I sighed at the sight of my pretty black dress laid out on the bed. Hopping in the shower, I quickly washed my hair, shaved and scrubbed at the itchiness from lying on the grass. When I was finally done, I took an extra second to inhale the steam and let my mind wander to Raiden.

He was Alpha Anderson’s only son and future Alpha of Shadow Creek, our closest neighbouring pack. Alpha Anderson was also my father’s best friend and because of this, the two packs mixed and socialised often.

Many of us had friends in Shadow Creek and we sometimes snuck out of pack grounds to visit them. This usually happens late at night when everyone is asleep. We would travel in small groups to meet up with our friends from Shadow Creek in a stretch of unclaimed forest between our two packs. It was at one of these gatherings almost three years ago that I met Raiden. We had an instant connection and have been sneaking out to meet in the forest, along with the rest of the youngsters, ever since.

We’re hoping to be destined mates, although neither one of us would know for sure until one of us turned eighteen. Ray was a year older than me, which meant that he would be the first to know. It also meant that we would have our answer soon, in less than a year. Eight months to be exact.

I confided in my mother about him possibly being mine, but she’d advised me to keep things casual, just in case he wasn’t. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, and I never brought the subject up again. A relationship with someone who’s not your destined mate would almost always end in heartbreak. One of the pair would eventually meet their true mate, leaving the other like a sack of potatoes. No matter how much you loved someone, the bond always won.

Despite my mother’s warnings, I couldn’t get myself to stay away from him. I told Ray about what she’d said, but no matter what we did, we kept ending up together. We were drawn to one another like magnets. Eventually, it came to a point where we were addicted to each other’s presence and the sneaking around reached a whole new level. At one stage, we snuck out twice a week.

Today, I can’t imagine my life without him. When I dream about my future, his face is the one I picture in it. I can see him waking up next to me in the morning, running around with our kids in the front yard and laughing at family gatherings. He was mine and I was his, mate bond or not.

“Lily, are you dressed respectably for tonight’s dinner?” My mom’s voice cut through the mind link.

Respectably dressed? I looked down at my black dress and high heels. “I guess that depends on what you would classify as respectable, Mom.”

The link was quiet for a while before my mother spoke again, “Fine. Stay there, I’m heading your way.”

Even through the mind-link, I could sense her irritation. Great.

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