One Shot Werewolf Story
So... first of all, Next part of PFTS should be coming out soon. It's going to take some work to make sure that I pull all the threads that's I've placed in all the worlds together without plot holes, so apologize for how long it's taking. Will probably finish this last world in 2-3 parts, with possibly 1 or two extra parts from Liam and the Traveler's perspective.
Now, back to the story at hand. About a week ago, I wandered into the werewolf side of Wattpad. It was very... interesting. Never written about werewolves before. Thought it might be fun to try my own using my own style. (Women who constantly think they aren't pretty or good enough for the man, men who force physical intimacy and growl "mine" aren't really going to work for me.)
Anyways, It's about a 13k oneshot. It's a bit out of my norm, so I hope you guys enjoy! (Also I would love to hear ideas on what to title this.)
Here it is:
“I can’t believe you read this garbage!” Alyssa’s coworker held up the book in her hand, staring at it with disgust. “What do you see in books like this, anyways?”
Alyssa sighed, looking up at the book in question. The cover showed a shirtless muscular man holding a busty woman while scowling at the camera, with the title written across the top in bright orange words: “The Alpha’s Timid Mate.”
“I don’t read it for fun.” She muttered, reaching up and snatching the book back. Opening the large roller suitcase behind her, she found its place among the hundreds of other werewolf books and put it away carefully.
“Then what is it?” Her coworker asked with a tone of disbelief.
“Really? Research? For what? When your werewolf boyfriend shows up out of nowhere? “ She let out a derisive snort. “Sure.”
“…You don’t understand.”
She doesn’t understand us. The wolf in Alyssa’s head spoke up silently.
“That’s what I said.”
Can we eat her? Her wolf seemed excited by the idea.
“No. You know we can’t. You don’t even really want to. You’re just acting out because you’re upset I won’t let you watch horror movies any more.”
I am not acting out! But since you mentioned it… bring back the horror movies!
“What are you talking about?” Her coworker frowned; confused by the conversation she could only hear half of.
Turning to her briefly, Alyssa shrugged. “Sorry, I’m just having a small discussion. I’ll be free to talk shortly.”
“Don’t bother.” The girl walked away, whispering under her breath. “Freak.”
Should have just eaten her.
“Wolves don’t even eat people. Stop pretending.”
How do you know? Maybe WEREwolves DO eat people! You have no clue! You haven’t found a pack yet. Even though you PROMISED!
“I know, I know.” Alyssa rubbed her forehead tiredly. “It’s harder than I thought it would be.”
I’m lonely and bored! I want to go run! I want a pack!
“Anything else, Your Highness? A bone on a silver platter?”
The wolf paused at that, pouting quietly … I’m hungry. Feed us something tasty.
“That I can do. We’ll eat on our lunch break.”
As her wolf silently cheered, the door to the bookstore she was tending opened. A strange smell reached her nose. Mint and pine along with another scent she couldn’t quite place.
Alyssa looked up and was startled. The man who walked in looked like he had stepped off the cover of one of her werewolf books. Muscular, handsome… his brown hair just long enough to frame his green eyes. And tall… Alyssa had always known she was short, but never felt quite so at a disadvantage height wise as she did at the man’s approach.
He looks like the lead from book #298. Her wolf suggested in an interested tone.
“I was thinking book #645, but I see your point.”
Why do you think he’s here?
“I don’t know.”
As he moved closer, his gaze meeting her own, Alyssa stepped back, the sound of her wolf’s growl filling her mind.
HE’S A WEREWOLF! … even better, he smells strong… an ALPHA? QUICK, MATE HIM!
An alpha? Crap. Alyssa had done enough research to know that was bad news. “Look here, missy, I am not assaulting some stranger just because…”
Then let’s switch over to wolf so I can do it!
“Excuse me…” The man spoke up, his voice hesitant and trailing off.
Alyssa turned and hurried out the back. Passing through the bookshelves, she heard someone following close behind, and picked up the pace. The door squeaked loudly as she forced it open, slamming against the wall as she broke out into a run towards the back alley.
“Wait!” The man’s voice called out.
Seeing that they were now alone, she stopped in her tracks, and turned, more irritated than nervous. “What?”
“…” He seemed thrown off by her sudden change, but shook his head, studying her closely. The man seemed to recognize something, and moved quickly to stand next to her. “You’re…” His eyes widened, and he reached out to grab her. “A werewolf? My mate?!”
YES! I knew it! Her wolf’s scream of excitement echoed in her mind.
Alyssa sighed tiredly, reaching into her bag. “Well, crap.”
It had been a terrible day.
Lewis listened to his family arguing, wishing for the thousandth time that he wasn’t in charge.
“Nightfang’s pack could wipe us out!” Gary, his Beta, slammed his fist on the table, the force of it scattering plates and cups.
Lewis’s mother stood up, and despite her height only coming only to the enormous man’s chin he shrunk down in fear. “…Did you just mess up my kitchen?”
“Then you’re gonna be a good boy and clean that up right now, yes?” She raised an eyebrow. “Or you won’t have to worry about that Nightfang pack. There won’t be enough of you left for them to fight over once I’m through.”
“…I’ll clean it up right away, Ma’am.”
“That’s what I thought.” She turned to Lewis, patting his shoulder comfortingly. “What’s you plan to deal with this, dear?”
“My plan?” His voice came out slightly more stressed than he meant it to.
“Well, you’re the alpha. Your father left it to you to protect us. “
“Yes. Of course… a plan… which I definitely have.”
Gary and his mate Berta glanced at each other from the other side of the table.
“He doesn’t have a plan.”
“Did you really expect him to?”
“Hey!” At Lewis’s hurt exclamation, Gary shrugged.
“No offense, Alpha, but since your broth… since Nightfang left and took half the pack with him, things have been a little disorganized. You have to admit that’s true.”
Lewis walked over to the window of the cabin, leaning on the sill and staring up at the cloudy sky. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to help each other. Help the pack. But now it’s all just one huge mess and I’m the only one left to take care of it.
Hey, you’re not alone! His wolf’s irritated voice burst out. I’m always here. We’re stuck together for life!
I’m aware. He chuckled quietly. Glad to have you, Buddy.
So… Can we go find our mate now?
You know we can’t. There could be an attack any day now. Besides, I’ve already visited all the packs within driving distance. She’s not there.
Maybe she’s human, like our mom. We should go to town and find her.
Yeah, just go to town and pick up a mate like going to the grocery store to pick up milk. No problem with that.
She’s probably waiting for us! She’s wondering what’s taking us so long to find her. What if she thinks we can’t provide for her? Hurry, you have to find her…. Bring steak… no… four steaks… fatty ones! It will show that we can feed her… make her fat! She’ll definitely want to mate with us then!
Nothing turns women on more than shoving red meat in their face and telling them that you’ll help them gain weight.
Like you would know? Who have you dated? Regale me with tales of your vast experience.
Hey! You haven’t dated either.
I have instincts, at least.
“Lewis?” Gary’s voice broke him from his silent talk with his wolf.
He turned back “We’ll tighten up the patrol schedule.” He rubbed his forehead.
“It will mean giving up territory.”
“I’m aware.” The words came out as a growl. Territory was everything. In the old days it was a pack’s survival. The instinct to protect it at all costs remained, but Lewis had no choice. “Their safety matters more.”
The pack has to be protected first.
Agree. His wolf sounded unhappy, but stood by him, as always.
“Alright then. Continue with training, and preparing for if Nightfang brings his pack for war.” Lewis sighed. “Hopefully they’ll wait until the colder weather passes.”
Although it might be just delaying the inevitable.
“You are all dismissed.” As he stood up, however, his mother stopped him with a smile.
“Can you pick up some milk, dear? I’m out.”
“… Sure, Mom.” He held back a laugh thinking about his conversation with his wolf, knowing that no one else would get the joke. Maybe I’ll pick up my mate while I’m there.
He headed into town.
As he parked his car and walked towards the supermarket, however, his wolf suddenly started shouting in his head.
Lewis frowned. Who? Nightfang or one of his followers?
No, you idiot! Our mate!
Where? He skidded to a halt, staring around frantically. His heart started to race, as he prepared to meet his soulmate… the one he had been waiting for his entire life.
In the bookstore! His wolf wasn’t much better, barely able to communicate in its excitement.
He opened the door, ignoring the soft chime that sounded out to alert a new customer’s arrival. His eyes scanned the room, trying to spot… something. A familiar face, a special feeling. How do you know if someone is your mate…?
His silent voice trailed off in shock as he stared at… her.
She was beautiful.
Dark curls, the tips just barely brushing her shoulders. She was short… very short. He felt awkwardly tall, wondering if she would dislike his height. She seemed to be packing a book into a suitcase, but then turned to face him.
Her grey eyes widened at the sight of him.
Does she feel it too?
QUICK, FEED HER!
With what?!!! I don’t have any food!
Why didn’t you bring the steaks?!!! Now she’s going to think we’re weak and she’ll starve as our mate! What if she leaves us?!!
Human women don’t need steaks for courtship… watch.
Lewis cleared his throat. “Excuse me…”
She turned and rushed out of the store.
…You were saying?
…Maybe you were right about the steaks.
He followed her out to the back of the shop, cringing at the suspicious looks that the customers in the shop gave him.
I’m chasing after a girl into a back alley. I’ll be lucky if no one calls the cops.
She’s our mate! We could never hurt her!
They don’t know that. She might not even know that!
To his shock she stopped and turned around once they were out of the store. Placing her hands on her hips, she glared at him. “What?”
“…” She was even more mesmerizing up close. Lewis nervously cleared his throat, stepping closer.
Her scent filled his senses. Lilac and spring and… wolf?
She’s a werewolf! That’s awesome! Let’s shift and show her how strong our wolf form is. It’s much better looking than the human look.
“You’re…” Feeling stunned, he reached out, wanting to touch her, to hold her hand. “A werewolf? My mate?”
This is amazing! His mate, his soulmate was standing right in front of him. Would she be happy too? Was she excited to meet us?
She didn’t seem shocked. Didn’t seem happy either… or angry, or afraid. Her face just showed mild… annoyance?
Does she not feel the bond?
As she spoke out with a matter of fact tone, Lewis’s hand neared her shoulder, only to spasm and drop as he fell to the ground shaking. His mate stood over him, staring down at him blankly, the Taser in her hand still sparking.
Well, crap. He silently echoed his mate’s words as darkness overcame him.
Alyssa sat on her favorite chair, holding her favorite mug, drinking her favorite tea, wrapped in her favorite blanket, hoping it would improve her mood.
It wasn’t working.
Mostly due to the large man on her living room floor, just now waking up from the effects of her Taser… and the large animal sedative she stuck him with after he went down. He blinked his eyes, seeming confused and disoriented.
He’s adorable. I bet his wolf is good looking! Can you ask him to shift? Her wolf hadn’t shut up since they met the other werewolf.
“Shush. He’s waking up now. It would be rude to ask him before we’ve talked. “
Spoilsport. At least show him all the hamburger meat we have frozen.
“Why would he want to see our hamburger meat?”
THAT will show him how effective we are at gathering food! We can be an asset to his pack! If he doesn’t have a pack he should follow us around, and we can fatten him up! … he’s too skinny.
“He’s not skinny… he’s very muscular.”
What if there’s not enough prey in the winter? His muscles will go away. He should have a nice little layer of fat.
“Do not fatten him up! I like him like this.”
“Excuse me?” The man on her living room floor struggled to sit up. Leaning back against her TV stand, he blinked a few more times, obviously still fighting off the tranquilizer. Looking around, he just seemed more confused. “Where am I?”
“My home.” Alyssa told him, taking another sip of her tea.
“Ah.” He paused, awkwardly shifting his weight and raising his hands which were tied together with silver chains, like his ankles. “Why am I tied up?”
“…” She stared at him silently a few moments. “You’re a werewolf.”
“…Yes. So are you?”
“You said I was your mate.”
He blushed at that, avoiding eye contact. “Sorry. I know that was awkward. I was surprised. I’ve been looking for years since I reached adulthood.”
“You’re an alpha?”
“Yes.” Straightening his spine, he forced a cocky looking grin. “A strong alpha of a great pack.”
“So now you know why you’re tied up.”
Alyssa rolled her eyes. “I’ve done enough research to know when an alpha finds his mate, it tends to get physical… and non-consensual… real quick.”
He still seemed confused. “Research?”
She set down her tea and blanket and dragged over the enormous roller suitcase. Opening it, she displayed hundreds of paperback romance books. She pulled one out, showing off the cover, which showed a half-naked muscular man holding a woman tightly as she half-heartedly pushed him away.
The bound man looked at the picture. “The Reluctant Mate of an Alpha? What is this?”
“There are 983 books on werewolves in my possession.” She pulled out her notebook, quickly flipping to the “alpha” section. “88% of them feature an alpha werewolf as the male lead… and 92% of those characters force their mate to engage in physical intimacy… mostly hugging and kissing… within the first few minutes of meeting them.”
“You… you’re getting your information from romance books?” He looked horrified. “Where’s your pack?”
“No pack. Abandoned as a baby. I grew up in the foster system.”
A low angry growl sounded from his chest. “What pack abandons a child?!”
“The kind of pack that I’m probably better off being abandoned than raised by.” She tapped the book again. “Back to the fact that I’m apparently the mate to an alpha wolf.”
“Not apparently!” He looked distressed still. “You ARE! Can’t you sense it?”
She ignored him, putting the book back carefully. “You know that alpha wolves aren’t even a natural thing… only happens with wolves in captivity. Wolves in the wild tend to form family units. “
“…But we aren’t normal wolves? We wouldn’t have the exact same pack structure.”
“Exactly. Thus I can’t use my wolf encyclopedia to gain information.” She frowned. “That would have been preferable, honestly. I don’t really like the alphas in these stories.”
If you’re not going to mate with him… can we eat him?
“Stop asking to eat people. You know the answer.”
Lewis’s eyes grew wide. “Did you say ‘eat PEOPLE?”
“Don’t worry. There’s a strict ‘no eating people’ rule. It’s just a phase she’s gone through since I let her watch 80s horror werewolf flicks. She thinks its funny, but its not. “ She threw her hands up helplessly. “This is WHY we are on a horror movie ban!”
This is unfair!
“It’s perfectly fair! Even if you ignore the moral implications, you wouldn’t even like the taste of human flesh!”
What about hot sauce? Didn’t you say hot sauce makes every thing taste better?
“Yes… hot sauce does make everything taste better.”
“Wait… are you going to EAT me?” Lewis questioned with a panicked tone, scooting backwards closer to the door.
“No. I told you, there’s a firm ‘no eating people’ rule in place. We’re done discussing that.”
“We’re discussing whether or not hot sauce would make your flesh taste better if we ate you… hypothetically.”
“Oh.” He thought it over. “I do like hot sauce. But I don’t think wolves do.”
“No. It would give them diarrhea, probably.” Alyssa nodded. “See. Even hot sauce wouldn’t help.”
Then if we aren’t going to eat him, can we please just MATE with him?
“No eating. No mating.”
“Wait, can we not put a strict no mating rule in place just yet? At least not a permanent one?” He paused. “Also, if I promise not to engage in any alpha behaviors like you see in your ‘research’, can I please be untied?”
“…” She studied him warily. “I suppose.”
“Great!” He held out his wrists, smiling with relief as she started to untie him.
“I have plenty of tranquilizer anyways.” She muttered.
The bonds slipped free. The man rubbed his wrists, careful to not make any sudden movements. Relieved by his apparent honesty in not trying anything, Alyssa headed back to her chair and wrapped herself back in her blanket.
Grabbing her tea, she took a sip of the lukewarm liquid and smiled. “So what brought the great alpha into my place of work today? Were you looking for me?”
Lewis was unsure how to answer his mate. Panicking, he said the first thing he thought of.
“Actually I was going to go buy milk.”
She raised an eyebrow. “In the bookstore?”
“Yes! I mean, no!” He covered in his face. “I was on my way to the supermarket, when my wolf… sensed you.”
She tilted her head, seeming more interested. “Your wolf? What’s he like?”
TELL HER I AM VERY STRONG!
“Umm… he’s strong…”
TELL HER I CAN MAKE HER FAT!!
How else will she know I can provide food for her and our children?!
No. I’m not saying we’ll make her fat!
ITS IMPORTANT! TELL HER HOW FAT WE CAN MAKE HER!
“Are you okay?”
“WE’LL MAKE YOU REALLY FAT!” Lewis blurted out… and then stared at the ground in embarrassed horror.
“…” There was a long silence.
“My wolf says that’s very attractive.” She shook her head. “She wants you to know that we have several pounds of hamburger in our freezer and that we are happy to contribute food to you and your family.”
She’s smart and stores plenty of meat in her freezer! Please convince her to stay as our mate!
“So would you like to come visit our pack? He asked, wincing as she pulled what appeared to be a miniature Taser out of thin air. “Just visiting! No mating!” He relaxed as she hid the Taser away again “…Where were you even keeping that?”
“Secret pocket in the sleeve…. It’s not my only one, so don’t think I’ve given you any advantage.”
Lewis tried to think of something that would appeal to her. “I know you don’t have a pack… it would be a chance to get to know others like you… “
“… I would be able to refine my research…” She muttered, staring down at her notebook. “Plus my wolf really wants to…”
SHE’S GOING TO SAY YES!
“Sure. Why not?” She shrugged, holding out her hand. “I guess we should officially meet if we’re going back to your pack together. I’m Alyssa.”
Alyssa! Her name is pretty!
“Nice to meet you Alyssa.” Lewis smiled brightly. “I’m Lewis.” He shook her hand, trying to stay calm at the shocking feeling of touching her. It was almost painful, as if every cell in his body were screaming at him that he’s met his soulmate. Overwhelmed, confused, he glanced over at his mate, only to see her calm expression.
Does she not feel this? Are we just delusional?
She’s our mate! Of course she feels it!
She’s not acting like it. Maybe we’re wrong? Lewis felt a stabbing pain in his chest at the thought. She was his mate. He had waited his whole life to meet her. He belonged to her.
What if she doesn’t want us?
… His wolf didn’t have an answer to that.
Maybe she can sense our weakness… our failure.
No… we’re not weak! We’re alpha of a strong pack!
That’s fallen apart because most of them felt I wasn’t the best one for the job.
We have to be strong. We can’t fail our pack or our mate. Don’t show weakness!
Lewis forced a calm smile as he looked at Alyssa. “Should we head over and meet the pack?”
“Hmm… Aren’t you forgetting something?” She angled her head, studying him.
“Didn’t you say you were on your way to pick up milk when you met me?”
“OH SHOOT!” He jumped to his feet. “I’m glad you said something! You saved my life!”
“By remembering milk?”
“You don’t realize how horrible my death would be at my mom’s hands if I had forgotten it.”
“…” She raised an eyebrow, a slight smile at the corner of her mouth. “You’re welcome, then.”
I like her smile! Let’s help make her smile more!
Lewis ran to pick up some milk while she packed a bag for the trip. When he returned, he was shocked by the number of suitcases she had brought with her.
“Are all these clothes?”
“Don’t be silly.” She looked at him like he was an idiot. “It’s my research.”
He was almost afraid to ask, but felt he had to. “… They’re all filled with werewolf romance books… aren’t they?
“Not just books… “ Alyssa seemed a little defensive. “There’s some weapons. And a few changes of clothes.”
“If you’re staying a few days at least, do you need to take off work?”
She shook her head. “No need.”
“…Okay.” He didn’t want to pry. At least not yet. Maybe one day she’ll trust us enough to tell us more.
He packed her bags into the car, glad for his superhuman strength as he lifted the suitcases filled to the brim with books. Alyssa sat in the passenger seat, clutching a notebook and a small messenger bag, which also appeared to be filled with books. As they headed outside of town, an awkward silence fell between them.
Say something witty! His wolf finally lost patience with Something that will make her think we’re smart!
Open to any suggestions, Buddy. I’m having trouble thinking straight with our mate so close, much less think of something smart to say!
Aren’t you supposed to be the more intelligent half? I’m supposed to be the stronger one.
You’re the one always saying that wolves are super intelligent creatures and I should listen to you more!
Now we’re being silent for too long! What if she thinks we’re an idiot?!
You’re not helping…
“So how do werewolves mate?” Alyssa asked calmly, the question almost causing Lewis to swerve off the road in shock.
“Sorry, I don’t think I heard you. Could you repeat the question?”
“How do werewolves mate?”
… I think I preferred the awkward silence.
No! This is good! She’s showing an interest in mating!
“Umm… Not differently than humans… you learned about that in health class, right?” He desperately hoped he would not have to have a “birds and bees” talk with his mate right after meeting her.
“Oh.” She sounded slightly disappointed. “So we don’t mate in wolf form?”
“Typically no… I mean I guess it’s possible…” He felt himself turn bright red, feeling super uncomfortable. “But usually its in human form… at least from my understanding of what mated couples say.”
“Hmm..” She seemed to be listening to something. “No, I don’t think his wolf is impotent. I think it’s a cultural thing.”
HER WOLF THINKS I’M IMPOTENT, WE’RE SHIFTING NOW!
We are currently driving down a highway! We are not shifting any time soon! Besides, what on earth do you think you’re going to do in wolf form that’s going to convince her otherwise?
I’ll show her my genitals, to reassure her.
THAT DOES NOT REASSURE WOMEN! ARE YOU TRYING TO GET US TASED?!
“So I bet that means that werewolf pregnancy follows human rules then. “ She sighed, frowning while pulling out her notebook and writing a few things down. “There was only 3% of books that presented mating and pregnancy while in wolf form, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.”
“… I see.”
“How long does pregnancy last? 19% of the books depict a shorter pregnancy cycle, but I wasn’t sure if it was just to get the plot to move faster.”
“Normal 9 months.”
“Number of children per pregnancy?”
“One… unless you have twins.”
She groaned, leaning back in her chair. “So no advantages at all? So disappointing.”
SHE’S DISAPOINTED! TELL HER TWINS RUN IN OUR FAMILY! WE’LL GIVE HER SO MANY CHILDREN!
“Twins run in our family!” Lewis nearly shouted.
“Really?” Alyssa studied him, looking slightly interested. “Do you have a twin?”
Great. I really had to bring HIM up.
“I do… but he left the pack.”
“Does that happen often?”
“I see…” She made a few more notes. “Obviously the villain.”
“…” I mean, she’s not wrong. “Any other questions?” Please be something easy.
“Will mating with another werewolf change my menstrual cycle?”
Do you know?
Nope. Nothing in the instincts about this. Do you?
He cleared his throat. “Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that question. One of the pack might be able to answer it. Maybe Bridget? She seems pretty knowledgeable.”
“Bridget? Your sister?”
“No… she’s just one of the warriors in the pack..”
“Hmm…” Alyssa thought that over. “Is she pretty?”
Lewis shrugged. “Seems pretty normal.”
“Do you two get along?”
“She follows orders, so I guess?”
“I see.” He could hear her pen scratching against paper again. “The female side character who will try to chase we away, maybe? How exciting.”
“…” Lewis decided he didn’t want to ask anything about it. For the sake of his sanity if nothing else.
They spent the rest of the car ride in silence.
Alyssa felt increasingly nervous the closer they got to pack territory.
I think we’re almost there. This area smells different.
It smells like our mate! I like it!
“Hmm… Do you think he pees on trees to mark his territory?”
Isn’t that normal?
“It’s normal for wolves… do you think he does it in human form too?”
“I DON’T MARK TERRITORY AS A HUMAN!” Lewis spoke out frantically. “Can you stop talking about me like I’m not here?!”
She turned to him, curious by his reaction. “Don’t you talk to your wolf?”
“All the time, but I do it SILENTLY!” He paused. “Do you not know how to?”
“Oh I know how to, I just think it’s really rude to leave her out of the general conversation. She’s here too you know.”
“That makes sense… I guess…” He sighed, rubbing a hand through his hair. “Well, I assume you know since you were commenting on the scent markings, but yes, we’re in pack territory. “
Alyssa nodded, her heart rate increasing slightly. She didn’t like this. Going to unfamiliar places. Meeting new people. Especially people who may have a culture or rules that she didn’t understand. They might not like her.
How could they not love us? We’re a strong, beautiful female… at least when we’re in wolf form.
We’ll be just fine.
“I hope so.” She took a deep breath, trying to steady her nerves.
A warm hand hesitantly grasped her own. She felt an electric shock traveling up her fingers from the touch, but kept her face expressionless. “Are you okay?” Lewis’s voice was quiet, a comforting sound.
I like his voice. His touch his very warm!
“If you’re worried… I know that you might not believe me, but the pack is very friendly. You’ll feel very welcome.”
“In 42% of the books the pack is welcoming to a stranger… usually because she’s the alpha’s mate. In the rest they are either wary of the unknown person, or distrustful or unfriendly. “ She thought it over. “I guess it’s not bad odds.”
The car came to a stop. Lewis squeezed her hand one last time, and then stepped out, getting her suitcases from the trunk and back seat. Alyssa stared down at her now empty hand, feeling frustrated.
I trust him.
“You trust everyone. It’s my job to keep us safe.” She got out of the car, staring around at the area. There were several nice houses, all scattered far from each other. The place was quiet, peaceful, surrounded by woods. She liked it.
He won’t hurt us. He can’t. It would be like hurting himself.
“You’d be surprised how low people can sink if they want.”
No I wouldn’t. I lived through all the same experiences with you. But wolves do better with a family. We’ll do better with a pack.
“I haven’t agreed to that yet.”
Lewis carried her many bags without seeming stressed by the weight. “I’ll bring these into the main house. Do you want to come along? Or you can wait here, I can show you around.”
She glanced around at the forest around her. “I’ll wait here.”
“Ok. I’ll be right back.” He looked slightly worried about separating from her, but after a brief hesitation, he walked away.
Alyssa strolled around the clearing by the car, feeling calmer as she took in the fresh air.
I like it here. We should live here.
Also mate Lewis before another female gets him.
“I don’t think that’s how it works. In 82% of the books, being mates meant soul mates. Only small exceptions made for if mates rejected each other and such… for the drama, I suppose. “
Don’t take chances. Even with an impotent wolf we should claim him sooner rather than later. He has fatty steaks in his house. I can smell them.
“That’s what’s important to you? And I told you, I don’t think his wolf is impotent…”
“WHO ARE YOU?” A strident voice called out.
Alyssa turned to see a beautiful young woman walking towards her with a suspicious expression. She had shorter, curly blond hair and bright green eyes, towering over her in height. Alyssa sighed slightly as she realized she would probably be the shortest werewolf here by a good amount.
We’re short but feisty! Don’t underestimate us!
“I’m Alyssa.” She waved cheerfully. “Who are you?”
“…” The young woman seemed confused. “Bridget.”
The bitch side character! Maybe she’ll shout at us to “stay away from her man!”
“You don’t know that. Maybe she’s nice. She’s pretty.”
She is pretty… but it would be more fun if she were hysterical and tried to scare us off.
“…Who are you talking to?”
“My wolf.” Alyssa grinned at her. “She’s wondering if you are going to scream at us and tell us to stay away from Lewis.”
The woman seemed stunned. “Why would I do that?”
“All the books have it.” She pulled out her notebook and spread out the books from her messenger bag. Holding up one where a woman in a ripped dress stood next to a large wolf titled “The Alpha’s Runaway Love”, she pointed to a smaller, angry looking woman in the background of the cover. “See… in 79% of these stories there’s a strong female side character who is desperately in love with the alpha despite him being mated to the main character and tries to drive her away.”
“… Are those… romance novels….?”
“But I really hope you aren’t that character type. I think you seem like an awesome older sister type.” She stepped closer, which highlighted the height difference between them. “We’ve always wanted a cool, pretty older sister like you. “
“…” Bridget seemed genuinely overwhelmed. “Umm… first of all… I don’t want to scare you away from Lewis… I grew up with the guy. He wet the bed once when I slept over when we were five… ruined my favorite princess sheets…”
Alyssa started taking notes.
“I was just curious about who you were…” She rested a hand on Alyssa’s head, almost seemingly despite herself. “Are you Lewis’ mate?”
“Yep! He found me in a bookstore.” She paused. “Do you know if mating with a werewolf changes your menstrual cycle? I asked Lewis, but he seemed like he was having a seizure and said he didn’t know.”
“…” Bridgett’s face spasmed at that, she seemed to be holding back a laugh.
“Also… I brought hamburger meat… do you want some? “
“So…” Bridget’s voice trailed off.
“So?” Alyssa tilted her head, confused.
“SO CUTE!!!” Alyssa was pulled into an enormous bear hug, squeezed almost uncomfortably tight as Bridget continued to yell. “YOU’RE ADOPTED!”
“What are you doing with my mate?” Lewis’s strained voice made Alyssa want to look over, but she was still trapped in the hug.
“She’s my little sister now, Alpha.” Bridget’s voice was calm, but stern. “If anything happens to her, I will destroy you.”
Alyssa smiled at her as the tall woman set her down. “Really?”
“Really.” Bridget grinned back. “I’ve always wanted a sister too.”
As the two girls began chatting excitedly, Lewis cleared his throat. “Guys? I hate to break up the love here, but the pack is gathering to meet Alyssa.”
He walked over towards Alyssa, stopping in his tracks as Bridget grabbed her first and tugged her in the correct direction. “Come on, let’s hurry up! I can’t wait to introduce you to them!”
“She’s MY mate! I want to introduce her!”
“Too bad, so sad, bedwetter! If you weren’t so slow maybe you could have grabbed her first.” She laughed.
“Hey, you promised never to mention that again! What if you scare my mate away?!”
“Even better, she’ll just live with me and my family.”
As they moved, Alyssa tapped her arm, leaning close. “Is this really okay?”
“Is what okay?”
“I mean… he’s your alpha… is it okay to be like this with him?”
Bridget smiled. “Don’t worry. He’s a good alpha… a strong fighter, a capable leader… but he’s very kind. He prefers his pack feel comfortable enough to joke around with him. Says if they can trust him enough to make fun of him that it means they’ll trust him enough to have the uncomfortable conversations as well.”
He’s a good leader.
Let’s mate him!
Alyssa groaned at the expected response from her wolf, shaking her head slowly.
They arrived in a clearing in the woods, where twenty or thirty people had gathered. Everyone looked very different, with skin tones, eye and hair color varying widely from person to person. People of all ages chatted excitedly, watching their approach. They did have one thing in common though:
They were all tall.
We’re… tall… too.
“We’re short.” Feeling uncomfortable, she hid behind Bridget, who growled at the crowd.
“Don’t you guys make my sister uncomfortable! Sit down, you’re scaring her.”
The crowd looked very confused at that, but sat down on the grass anyways. Besides the three of them, only one man remained standing. He was enormous, a head taller than even Lewis, who Alyssa already considered very tall. He was broad as well as tall, his muscles nearly bursting out of the flannel shirt he was wearing. His face was covered in a bushy beard, his dark hair cropped close.
Overall Alyssa thought he looked very intimidating. She watched as he approached, a hand grasping her hidden Taser in her sleeve.
“This is my Beta Gary.” Lewis’s calm voice was reassuring, but she refused to relax her vigilance as the large man bent down to look her in the eye. “Gary, this is my mate, Alyssa.”
“Hey there, Alyssa.” The hair-covered face broke into a friendly smile. “We’ve been hoping Lewis would find a nice mate for a while now. Glad you’re here. If anyone gives you trouble you let me know, I’ll knock a few heads in.”
Alyssa grinned back at him. “Nice to meet you, Gary. You’re really large.”
Ask him if we can sit on his shoulder! I want to be tall!
“It would be rude to ask to sit on his shoulder right after meeting him. We’ll ask him later.”
Before her wolf could complain too much, Gary reached out and picked her up easily, placing her on one broad shoulder and steadying her with a single hand. “How’s this?”
Alyssa looked around. “This is GREAT!” She laughed.
Bow before us mortals! WE ARE TALL!
“My wolf is very happy right now. She was sad that we were so much shorter than everyone.”
HEY! You were sad too!
“Well you can ride on my shoulder anytime you want.” Gary laughed. “My mate Berta and I always wanted kids, but…” his voice trailed off slightly. “Well, anyways, feel free to come to us if you ever need help.”
“OR ME!” Bridget burst out. “I’ve already claimed her as my little sister!”
Lewis stared at the three of them, looking slightly tired. “Do I get any time with her as her mate?”
Gary and Bridget glanced at each other. “… We’ll see.”
Putting Alyssa down in front of the pack, Gary winked at her as if to reassure her before taking his place standing behind the Alpha. Lewis stepped forward, his manner becoming stronger, more confident as he addressed the crowd.
“Everyone, this is my mate Alyssa. She’s one of us, but she doesn’t have a pack. So I expect you all to make her feel safe and welcome.” He looked around, smiling as everyone nodded obediently.
“We’re glad you’re here!”
“Maybe Lewis will stop moping so much now!”
The cheerful voices of the pack made Alyssa feel calmer. She waved at them, speaking up. “Hey everyone! Like Lewis said, I’m Alyssa. I don’t know much about werewolves… I’ve only grown up around humans, but I’m excited to learn more.”
They seem nice.
Her wolf was happy about the packs’ reactions. No one seemed thrown off by her introduction. No one was glaring at her or even seeming suspicious of her.
It’s a good thing, right?
Before she could respond, Lewis spoke up, distracting her. “Let’s take you back to meet my mom.”
Lewis was relieved that the pack introduction went so well. Not that he was overly surprised; most of the more disagreeable pack members had left in the split with his brother. Who was left were either the ones too reasonable to be sucked into his rhetoric, or the very loyal ones to himself or his father.
Either way, I guess it’s a good thing.
He led his mate towards his house, breathing a small sigh of relief when Bridget and Gary didn’t insist on following. He liked them both a lot, but they could be a lot. Especially since they seemed to have instantly bonded with Alyssa.
Just admit it. We’re jealous. We want to bond with Alyssa too.
We don’t know what all she’s been through. She was abandoned by her pack as an infant. Her only knowledge of us doesn’t paint Alpha’s in a good light… or at least they don’t seem to. Lewis resolved to get his hands on some of those books and read through this. It might help us understand how she views us… and how to reassure her.
I like her. His wolf’s voice was filled with a patient care. Even if she doesn’t like us just yet, I hope she’s happy and feels safe here.
I do too. Lewis desperately wanted to reassure his mate. He could feel her anxiety through the bond. Even when she was smiling she didn’t feel safe. But he didn’t know how to help just yet.
They reached the house, and as they were about to enter, the door swung open and Lewis’s mother rushed out. Making a beeline for Alyssa, she hugged her tightly, grinning.
“I’M SO HAPPY YOU’RE HERE!”
Alyssa seemed shocked at the sudden appearance of his mother. Lewis tried to step in. “Mom, don’t scare her…”
“Finally someone normal sized!” Alyssa burst out, hugging his mother back.
“I know, right? They’re all way too tall!” Lewis’s mother stepped back, patting her head fondly. “I forgive them since they’re all such good people, but still, I’m happy to have someone I don’t have to strain my neck to look at.”
“Mom, this is Alyssa, my mate.”
“I figured as much dear. You’ve never paid so much attention and care to a single person before. “ She grabbed Alyssa’s hand. “Come in, I made food.”
Our mother understands! She’ll show our mate how much food we can provide!
Alyssa glanced at him. “My wolf wants to make sure that the hamburger meat we brought got put in the fridge.”
“I took care of it.” Lewis puffed out his chest, feeling accomplished.
His mother just shook her head. “Boys. Why don’t you take her bags up to the room next to mine while I get her something to pad her stomach?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” He grabbed the suitcases full of books, weapons and clothes and rushed up the stairs. Her room was on the opposite end of the house from him, right next to his mother’s rooms.
Why is she staying so far away from us? His wolf whined in his head. What if something happens? How will we protect her?
She already doesn’t trust us. Hopefully the living arrangements will make her less nervous. If she doesn’t like it, she might go stay with Bridget instead. Do you want that?
No. Stupid Bridgett. She brought up the bedwetting incident. Our childhood shame bared in front of our mate! What if she doesn’t like us now?
We were young. I can’t imagine she would hold it against us… although yes, it is very embarrassing.
As he neared the kitchen once more, he overheard Alyssa and his mother talking. About to announce his arrival, his mouth slammed shut as he heard his mate’s question.
“So Lewis’ brother is a villain, right?”
“…” His mother sighed. “How much has he told you?”
“Just that he has a twin, and he’s not with the pack.”
“Well, I guess you haven’t known each other long… you’ll hear it anyways, might as well be from me, since he’s my son.” She sat down at the counter, rubbing her forehead tiredly.
“I had three children, actually. Twins boys and a younger girl. My husband was the Alpha of the Western pack, and although it’s not set in stone, usually one of the children of the Alpha will inherit the position.”
Lewis could hear Alyssa’s pen moving as she frantically took notes. He silently laughed, even as his chest hurt at the sound of his mother’s disappointed tone, leaning against the wall to hear how she would describe their situation.
“Now, I’m not a werewolf, you know. I’m a human who happened to be mates with a werewolf. So maybe I didn’t instill the idea of pack values as strongly as I could have.” She sighed. “Lewis seemed to get it naturally. He got hurt when he was ten… the first time he transformed, just to protect an elderly pack member who was being attacked. He’s got a large scar on his left elbow from a hunter’s arrow. Werewolves heal well… but the scars remain.”
My other son… Benjamin… he wasn’t nearly as concerned about the pack’s well being. Just obsessed with being strong. Being in charge. My daughter Emily seemed to feel very similar.”
“Seems pretty Alpha-like… at least how the books describe them.”
“But that’s the thing. Alphas SHOULD be strong. My mate was very strong, in fact. But their strength exists to protect and feed the pack. Strength and power for its own sake has no purpose… and often leads down a dangerous pack.”
“My mate died.” His mother whispered, the pain in her voice breaking Lewis’s heart. “Lung cancer. Even werewolves can die from disease. They heal… but not fast enough for more aggressive wounds or diseases. They’re not immortal.”
“I’m sorry.” Alyssa seemed genuinely concerned. “How did you survive losing your mate?”
“It helps that I’m human.” Her voice was still quiet. “The pain is still there…it’s like a piece of your soul missing. But I had family, pack … people who needed me to keep waking up each morning. And I’m glad I have.”
“So what happened next?”
“My mate’s will left the pack to Lewis.” His mother shrugged, turning back to stir the contents of a pot on the stove. “It was an obvious choice to us. He is strong, careful… puts the pack first.”
“But Benjamin didn’t agree?”
“He rebelled. Said Lewis was weak. Tried to fight him, but was pushed back by the loyal members of the pack. In the end he took almost half the pack with him to start a new one… including my daughter who also thought Lewis was too weak to lead.”
“…” Alyssa was silent. Lewis leaned against the wall, desperately trying to sense his mate’s emotions. Was she disappointed in him? Did she think he was a failure.
“He goes by Nightfang now… his group is our pack’s greatest threat.”
“…” Suddenly in the silent kitchen, Alyssa chuckled. “Seriously? Nightfang? Did he think that was a cool name?”
Lewis’s mother laughed too. “I know, right. I mean, it’s a serious situation and all, but seriously… he sounds like a villain in a Saturday morning cartoon.” She looked over, and chuckled again. “Alright, Lewis. Stop hiding around the corner and come join the conversation.”
Shamefully, Lewis ducked his head and entered the kitchen. He noticed Alyssa didn’t seem surprised by his presence.
She probably can sense when we’re nearby. It means our bond is slightly stronger!
It also means she knows we were eavesdropping like a creep!
Well we were… not like it’s much better if she doesn’t know.
“So…” He spoke up, trying to appear less awkward. “Can I help with dinner at all, Mom?”
She smiled, reaching up high to pat his head as well. “I’m pretty much done. How about after we eat you show her around the territory?”
Alyssa seemed a little more relaxed, to Lewis’s relief. “I’d like that.”
WE GET TO SPEND TIME WITH HER! THIS IS GREAT!
Play it cool! She already knows that half the pack left because we’re too weak to convince them we’re a good Alpha. If we look like an idiot too…
OH SHUT UP! His wolf snapped at it. Don’t pretend you’re not super excited. We’re the same person!
... Lewis was excited. So excited he could hardly breathe. His mate was right here, in front of him. She was smart, beautiful, friendly… at least to everyone else… more than he could have ever dared to dream of.
I just want her to like us… any ideas?
I still vote for bringing her food or showing her our genitals. .
… Never mind… I’ll think of something.
A few weeks passed.
Alyssa sat on the cool grass, watching Lewis in wolf form teaching some of the younger pack members how to fight.
“Watch out for each other.” His voice resounded her mind. “You can’t be so focused on the enemy that you lose track of what’s behind you.”
Having never spent any time prior to this visit around other werewolves, she was interested to find that although she did understand some of wolf language – a combination of scents, sounds and body language – the majority of the time werewolves simply spoke through mental communication.
Lewis batted one of the young wolves aside, snapping at another’s flank and using his weight to push a third to the ground, baring his teeth. The fallen wolf whimpered slightly, more with frustration than pain.
“Alpha, I thought we had to focus all of our attention on the attack, and not stop until the enemy was dead?” The youngest of the three, a male wolf named Teddy, finally spoke up, his tail between his legs. “How are we supposed to do that AND watch our backs?”
“Who told you that?” Lewis seemed shocked. “You are nothing without your pack! Only by working together and looking out for each other will you be at your strongest.”
“It was Uncle Ben…mmph” Teddy’s voice was muffled as the other two wolves tackled him.
“Sorry Alpha, he’s a little dumb.” Teddy’s sister Lara apologized, grinding her brother’s muzzle into the dirt with a paw. “Of course we aren’t going to follow what the traitor Nightfang taught us.”
“SHUT UP and let me get us out of this, idiot!”
Lewis stared at them for a few minutes, and then laughed silently in our heads. “It’s okay. I know he was in charge of teaching fighting for years. It’s a different strategy, but give my idea a shot before you dismiss it, okay?”
“YES ALPHA!” The three younger wolves shouted in unison.
“…” Alyssa studied Lewis with a thoughtful expression. He was kind enough to the pups, even when they challenged him and brought up his brother’s name. He didn’t lash out, just calmly guiding them forward. If she didn’t know better, she would think the mention of his brother didn’t bother him at all.
But she could feel it.
Behind his kind words, there was a deep agony. Fear, hurt, betrayal. He resented that his brother left the pack, that he split the pack with his leaving. He regretted that he had let his brother teach the pups… that he taught the pups to be killers rather than to defend and protect the pack. Feared being compared to his brother at every turn.
But mostly… he blamed himself. Hated that he wasn’t a strong enough Alpha to force the pack to stay together. He wished desperately that he could be a better leader… more like his father.
Alyssa rubbed her chest idly, feeling a pain in her heart that wasn’t physical but still wishing to ease it. She could sense his self-doubt, his feelings of helplessness, but was unsure what to do with the knowledge.
Over the last few weeks, they had spent a lot of time together. She had come to recognize that he was as kind as he first seemed, very different than what her book research had led her to expect. He was strong… she could see that in every move her made, especially in his wolf form… but he didn’t seem to place his importance on that strength.
His mother had described him well. He was strong, careful… and he put his pack first.
The closer they got, the more she learned about him, the more she could feel through their bond. His emotions, his mental state. She couldn’t hear his thoughts, not unless he was mentally communicating in wolf form. The information she was getting, however, was almost more than she could bear.
It made her terrified to guess what he could sense about her.
That’s how bonding goes. He is our soul mate. We can’t hide from him.
“…” Alyssa ignored her wolf, mad that she was telling the truth.
“Are you okay?” Alyssa looked up at Lewis’s mental question, startled to see his wolf’s face right in front of her own. “Did something upset you?”
“… What would you do if something did?”
“Help you. No matter what.” His mental voice was firm… reassuring.
“What if it was you that upset me?” Alyssa was curious how he would answer that.
“… If I did something, please let me know… I don’t want to hurt you, even by accident.” He paused. “If you don’t feel comfortable telling me… then my mom or Bridget would be happy to listen. And of course beat me up for whatever I did…”
SORRY WE UPSET YOU MATE! WOULD YOU LIKE MEAT?! Startled, Alyssa realized she could hear Lewis’s wolf directly. He sounded a lot like Lewis, but slightly more… straightforward.
TELL HIM WE LIKE MEAT! Alyssa’s wolf shouted with frustration. OR SHIFT SO I CAN TELL HIM MYSELF!
“How can I hear your wolf? I thought that could only happen after mating?”
Lewis shook his head, the motion strange appearing when performed by a wolf. “I’m not sure… I’ve never been mated before… but I think as our bond deepens we’ll hear more. I can’t hear your wolf now… if she’s speaking…”
I AM SPEAKING! TELL HIM I WANT THE STEAK HE HAS IN THE FREEZER!
“…But if you were in wolf form I might. Their control is a little stronger in that form. One day we might be able to hear each other’s wolves even when in human form.”
We like you, Mate! We think you are smart and pretty and smell nice! We spend a lot of time arguing over what would make you like us! Lewis’s wolf chimed in.
“Shush…” Lewis tried to interrupt, but the wolf kept talking.
I wanted to bring you meat and expose our genitals to reassure you of our virility, but he insisted that would make you mad.
His wolf is smart. Alyssa’s wolf approved. That would have made me happy.
“…Your wolf and my wolf are on the same page. I have no desire to see genitals, though.”
“No worries, there’s a firm ‘no flashing’ rule in place. “
Her stomach rumbled. “Wouldn’t say no to a steak though!”
Hooray! We’ll bring you the tastiest of the steaks!
See, he loves us enough to bring us the best steak! We should mate him now!
Lewis ran behind a tree and shifted, quickly changing into loose fitting shorts and t-shirt. Alyssa had learned the hard way that the pack had very little sense of modesty.
After numbing her brain to the sight of naked people who had transformed back from wolf form multiple times, she had come to somewhat accept it as normal.
She was still glad that Lewis tried to not be naked in front of her. Although she was now realizing that this might have more to do with avoiding his wolf’s desire to show off genitals then anything else.
“Let’s go.” He smiled, the expression causing her heart to skip a quick beat, and held out his hand. After a short hesitation, she took it, feeling as always the thrill that came from touching him.
They walked together in silence.
As they neared the house, Lewis spoke up. “You know everyone likes you here.”
Alyssa tensed up. “But…?”
“No buts. They just like you.” He let out a quiet sigh. “You don’t have to try this hard.”
“You look relaxed when you’re talking with the pack. You’re smiling and joking around… you’ve even got half of them addicted to those werewolf romance novels… I mean your research…” He chuckled, squeezing her hand with his own. “But I can feel it, Lyss. I can feel how stressed out you are… how hard you’re trying to make them like you.”
“I…” Alyssa started to talk but then fell silent.
I told you he knows us.
“I’m not judging.” He smiled bitterly. “I wish I had met you much earlier. I don’t know what your life has been like leading up to now. I just want you to know that people like you for the weird, lovely person you are. You can try to relax a little.”
Alyssa thought his words over. “Growing up… being liked… it was safer. Especially if you were the weird kid who had a wolf voice in her head. I learned early how to read people, and act the way they wanted. I’ve grown out of it some… it does get very tiring. But I don’t know if I could completely stop, even if I wanted to.”
“That’s okay.” He grinned. “Just know that I care about you... honestly maybe more than that, although it’s just been a few weeks. You never have to try to get on my good side.”
“I don’t think we ever tried to do that.”
We tried to scare him off. And instead he treated us better than anyone else.
He grinned. “Good. Then I guess I got to see a closer side to you than most… even if it was not meant as a compliment.”
Alyssa felt scared by this. His care. His acceptance of her. Even worse by the fact she could feel through the bond that it was completely genuine.
“Don’t let it worry you too much. Let’s just take it a day at a time for now.”
She sighed with relief at his words. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” He thought it over for a moment. “Wait? What about your job at the bookstore? You’ve been here two weeks without notice? Do you still have a job?”
“You don’t need to worry about it.”
You’ll have to tell him eventually.
“If you say so.” His expression and mental state were a little sad, but she ignored it.
She would take it one step at a time, just like Lewis suggested.
Lewis was going a little crazy.
It had been a month. He spent every day at his mate’s side. Every day talking with Alyssa, laughing with her, getting to know her more and more. As they grew closer, he couldn’t help but wish for more.
They had just returned from a run through the forest in their wolf forms. He loved spending time with her wolf as well. She was much smaller than him, with silver fur and grey eyes that saw right through him. Her wolf self was much more open and playful, often pulling him to play or run through the forest. His wolf was enamored with her, yelling out offers to feed her or provide her with pups… or both. Her wolf was in hearty agreement, only to be silenced by Alyssa, who still seemed somewhat uncomfortable about the whole situation.
Lewis was happy. He hoped she would continue to stay with the pack… stay with him. He just wasn’t sure how long that would last. Fortunately she seemed completely unconcerned about how much time she took off the bookstore.
He shifted back behind a tree, changing into his clothes stuffed nearby and staring down at the ground until he heard she was done doing the same. Stepping out of his hiding spot he grinned and offered his hand.
“Should we get something to eat?”
Alyssa took his hand without hesitation. “Sure. What should we make?” Lewis felt his heartbeat speed up at her casual use of “we”.
Their wolves chimed in, making them both shake their heads.
“How about pasta?” He asked. Feeling the wolves’ disappointment he added “We can have meat in the sauce.
Our mate is the best!
Lewis couldn’t help but chuckle at that. Her wolf likes me at least.
“ALPHA!” Gary’s panicked voice caused him to turn, seeing the large man running towards them fully naked.
Seeing Alyssa look towards the ground, Lewis couldn’t help but growl with annoyance. “Can’t you put pants on?”
“No time.” He skidded to a halt, trying to catch his breath. “It’s your brother…”
His heart stopped.
Benjamin. Nightfang. His brother. His enemy.
“What has he done?”
Gary’s face was grim. “He’s invaded. The South Segment.”
Lewis pulled off his clothes, shifting to his wolf form.
“Are there any of our pack patrolling in the area?”
“I let Teddy and Lara take that segment… it was supposed to be our safest area…” Gary rubbed his face looking horrified. “I thought it would be okay.”
“Stay here. Protect the pack. I’ll get the young wolves.”
His silent voice projected across the entire territory.
“Everyone. We are under attack. Go to your designated areas. The Nightfang pack has definitely invaded the South Segment, but it could be a distraction. DO NOT LET DOWN YOUR GUARD! Watch each others’ backs. I’m going after Teddy and Lara who were last seen in the attacked area. Listen to the Beta while I’m gone."
He hesitated mentally, continuing to run as fast as possible to the south segment, and then reached out privately to Alyssa.
“Please keep yourself safe. If you want to fight I won’t stop you, stay near Gary. If you want to stay out of the fight, go hide in the house with my mom. The pack is instructed to guard it. “
“I… “ He trailed off, unsure of how to finish the sentence.
TELL OUR MATE YOU LOVE HER!
He wanted to. He wanted to express the thoughts, the emotions that had slowly sprouted within him in the time they had spent together. To say everything he had wanted to say when he was by her side.
But he couldn’t.
We’re not strong. We can barely protect our pack. She won’t want us. She doesn’t trust us yet.
He reached out for what he hoped wouldn’t be the last time to his beloved mate.
With that, he continued towards the south sector.
Calling out for Teddy and Lara as he neared the attacked area, Lewis wasn’t getting any answers. He tried not to think too hard about what that could mean.
They might just be unconscious… they might not be… His wolf trailed off, hesitating.
I don’t know what Ben… what Nightfang is capable of. He might kill them. But if there is a chance they are still alive… we have to try.
He slowed down, his paws silently stepping on the soft earth. He stayed on high alert, listening for any possible signs of the intruders.
Don’t let your guard down. Someone is close. His wolf could feel the intrusion on the Packs’ territory, it bothered him.
There, in the clearing! Lewis spotted two small wolf forms laying still on the ground. Praying they were just knocked out, he crouched down and inched closer.
They were breathing.
He let out a silent sigh of relief. Scouting around, there were at least two from the NightFang pack in the clearing with the pups.
Where’s the rest of that bastard’s pack?! Where’s Ben? His wolf snarled within him.
It’s a distraction.He had known there was a possibility. But he couldn’t leave the two young wolves for dead. He couldn’t.
And Nightfang knew that.
Let’s save them quickly and head straight back. Hopefully Gary will keep things together until we return.
I miss our mate. I hope she’s okay.
… Me too.
Lewis attacked from the shadows. Normally he would owe them a noise, some sort of warning of his approach. He should give them the chance to surrender. To run away.
He didn’t warn them. They had invaded his pack’s territory. Kidnapped and attacked their young wolves. They knew the consequences.
One wolf screamed in pain and fear as his hamstring was shredded between Lewis’ teeth. He shifted in his confusion and shock, the bloody mess even worse in human form. Lewis had already turned to the next one.
He snapped at the enemy’s flank, and as the wolf dodged to avoid his teeth, used his much heavier muscle mass to push him to the ground. He grabbed his throat, resting his canines against the carotid pulse. The wolf grew still, not wanting to push him into ending his life.
“SPEAK! What is that traitor’s plan?”
The wolf whined at his mental command, but stayed silent. Lewis began closing his jaw. We don’t have time for this. The pack is in danger. Our mate is in danger.
“He’s attacking from the West!” Sensing death close by, the wolf began to mindspeak. “He wants to wipe out your pack while you’re distracted.”
Lewis opened his jaw slightly, considering his options. If I let him go he could warn the others.
The pack must be protected.
Let me knock him out.
“Weakling.” A snarl came behind him, and he realized it was the man whose hamstring he had torn out. Swinging a metal bar at his head. At the same time, the wolf he had pinned bucked with teeth bared, trying to throw him off and attack.
Lewis dodged, clamping down his teeth as he moved, tearing the carotid and jugular with the sharp points of his teeth. He let go, tasting blood, knowing that the wolf beneath him was dead.
Before the attacker could say anything, Lewis jumped, fangs bared, and tore his throat out as well.
We did it.
He nudged Lara, the older of the two wolves, relieved when she woke up right away.
“Grab your brother and go to the main house.” His tone didn’t allow room for argument. She nodded silently, shaking awake her brother, and the two ran into the forest.
Lewis couldn’t help but chastise himself as he watched them move away. I hesitated.
You’re our kind half. I am the viciousness we hold, the killer instinct.
We have to have both, or we’ll either be a tyrant killer or a ineffective Alpha. Now stop having a personal crisis and go SAVE OUR MATE.
Lewis nodded grimly, padding off into the forest towards where he could sense the pack.
It’s time to end this.
He ran into more enemy wolves as he neared the center of his territory. This time he sighed, giving up control to his wolf. His wolf seemed relieved at taking over, fighting both enemies to severe injury or death before moving forward.
Mate. He picked up the pace.
Alyssa had never been in a fight before. At least not with other wolves.
Don’t worry, I got this. Her wolf took over and leapt at the nearest attacker. Gary and Bridget were to either side of her, their much larger wolves defending her flank.
“There’s a lot of them, but I think we’ve got control.” Gary communicated calmly, his frantic attacks never slowing.
“They seem disorganized. “ Bridgett’s silent voice conveyed her disapproval. “Did they come here just to die?”
As her wolf continued to fight, leaping nimbly in between the snarling wolves, Alyssa studied her surroundings.
This is too easy. They’re injured… starving… what have they been doing in their territory?
Her wolf had no sympathy. Bad alphas make bad packs.
She looked around in the chaos. Everywhere she looked wolves were snapping at each other. Blood stained the cold ground, trampled into the dirt churning it into mud. Howls and whines of pain filled the air.
“I don’t see him.” She communicated to the other pack members.
“Who”? Gary trampled his enemy into the mud, his jaw locking on the throat of the other wolf. “Lewis?”
“No. Benjamin. I don’t sense an alpha in this group. Shouldn’t he be larger or stronger than the rest? Where is he?”
“Maybe the Southern Sector? An alpha fight?”
“No.” Alyssa’s mind was racing. “He doesn’t seem like the type to respect Lewis enough to fight him head on. 64% of the stories show the villain attempting some sort of sneak attack. The South Sector was a distraction… and so is this. They sent their weaker, injured members to fight us.”
She took off for the main house.
Alyssa! Bridgett called out. Where are you going?
To where the real fight is.
She crashed into the house, skidding to a halt at the sight of Lewis and his mother.
No… it’s not Lewis.Their faces were very similar, but everything else was wrong: his scent, his expression, his posture.
He smells dangerous… aggressive… Her wolf complained. He’s everything our mate isn’t.
I don’t like him.
Me either… he’s scary.
We should be careful.
She kept a defensive posture, her hackles raised, her teeth bared.
Benjamin looked down at her with a mocking smile. “Ah. The princess is here.”
His mother glared at him, holding a gun in her hand. To Alyssa’s shock there were already two large wolf bodies on the floor, cooling blood spilling from multiple bullet wounds. “Don’t you look at her, Ben! You came here for me.”
“It’s Nightfang now, Mother.” Ben laughed. “And you can’t tell me what to do. Not anymore. You lost that right when you betrayed me to side with my weak brother.”
Alyssa advanced closer.
“Oh don’t give her that crap, Benjamin. You might pretend to be mysterious and evil but you’re just pathetic. You aren’t Nightfang, or Eveningclaw or even Morning-freaking-wood. You are Ben. A bitter little boy who is mad at his mommy and daddy for giving the pack to your brother.” She kept her gaze on his, and his green eyes had trouble continuing to look into her own. “Never understanding why they made the choice, even though it’s obvious to anyone else.”
“I’ve only known you for a single minute and I wouldn’t trust you to be in charge of a self-cleaning litter box, much less actual people’s lives. “
“Well, well, Princess. That’s just needlessly cruel. Trying to rile me up? Distract me?” He shook his head sadly. “That only works in stories. It’s true that I’m very disappointed in my parents’ choice. They thought I was too violent to lead. That I didn’t care enough about the pack. But I did. I’m the only one who does.”
“Sure.” She circled around, spotting one of her bags close to the wall.
“Be careful, Alyssa.” Lewis’s Mom called out, still pointing her gun at her own son. “He’s dangerous.”
“You used up all your shots in the initial attack, Mom. Don’t embarrass yourself by pretending it’s still a threat.” Benjamin reached out and took the gun from her. “I forgive you for killing my men. But you should some respect when addressing her.”
“What are you…?” She looked over at Alyssa, who stayed silent.
“You didn’t tell them? ...Interesting.” He rubbed his face, a mocking grin starting to form. “Maybe you don’t even know?”
“Shut up. “ Alyssa leapt forward, reaching for his throat. Throwing himself backwards, Benjamin shifted as he moved. At the change she miscalculated, slamming into the much larger wolf, her teeth closing on only the fur around his neck.
“You want to fight? I’ll fight.” His wolf charged, snapping at her flank while she twisted desperately to avoid him. He was larger, stronger… but she was definitely more agile.
This isn’t a winning strategy. We can’t face him head on. Her wolf was directing the movements, keeping them alive from moment to moment as Benjamin pressed the attack.
I know that… Circle around towards the back of the room. I have an idea.
They growled, running in and taking a small chunk out of his foreleg before darting in the direction Alyssa had spotted earlier. Benjamin howled in pain, slamming her with his weight, throwing her smaller form enough to slam her against the wall. At the impact she shifted, turning into her more vulnerable form.
I don’t like this. We’re easier to kill this way.
“Not excited about being naked either, but it’s necessary.” She muttered, her hands working quickly.
“He should have protected you better than this.” Benjamin laughed silently in her head. “He didn’t even realize what a treasure he had.”
A grey form jumped through the air, landing on Benjamin and knocking him to the ground. As they straightened up Alyssa recognized her mate with a sense of terror and relief. Relief that he was here. Terror that he was now in danger.
The two alpha wolves circled each other.
“You should have just found your own territory.” Lewis silent voice was grim, full of his authority as Alpha. “Even with your treachery, I was willing to let you go.”
“That’s because you’re weak. This is MY territory. MY pack. You are the one who has to die. And as for your lovely mate who you know so little about… how about I take her too?”
He sighed at his brother’s words. “You’re forcing me to kill you.”
“Lewis, push him my way!” Alyssa called out silently through their connection.
“That’ll put you in danger!”
Lewis ducked his head, the almost submissive posture throwing his brother into confusion. As Benjamin hesitated, Lewis charged forward, aiming not for his throat or other vulnerable points, but at his feet. Throwing all his weight behind it, Lewis tripped him up, pushing him back- straight towards Alyssa.
“Here you go! Be careful!”
“You just put your mate in harm’s way! She’s defenseless!” He snarled, turning his attention to Alyssa’s vulnerable state. “Fool!”
His form seized for a brief moment and collapsed to the ground,
“Nope!” Alyssa grinned and held up her Taser. “He just trusts his mate!”
There was a brief stunned silence.
“I’m so glad you’re okay!” Lewis’ mother leaned against the counter, looking relieved.
“Just one more thing.” Alyssa held up a finger. Reaching down, she grabbed her overly loaded suitcase filled with her research books.
BAM! And raised it over her head, slamming it down on top of Benjamin.
“Oof.” Both Lewis and his mother winced, but made no move to stop her.
“That’s for attacking me. Not to mention what you’ve done to Lewis!” She then reached down and pulled an ampule out of one of the pockets, stabbing Benjamin in the arm with it.
“What is that?”
“Tranquilizer.” She answered, making sure the drug injected okay.
“It’s very effective.” Lewis laughed silently in their heads, and then slowly shifting back to his human form. His green eyes met her own, and neither looked away for a long a moment.
“Are you okay?”
“Are you alright?”
They asked at the same time. Alyssa smelled his blood and panicking, ran over to look at him closely. “Where are you hurt?”
She grabbed his arm, finding a small cut there, and continued to look at his limbs.
Lewis froze. “Umm… Could we do this with clothing on?”
“…” Alyssa stepped back, rubbing her forehead as she realized that they were both naked and she had been feeling him over. “…Sure.”
“…Well” Lewis’s mother broke the silence with an awkward cough. “I’m going to go see to the pack. You two… talk.” She gave them a thumbs up and slipped out.
THIS IS A PERFECT CHANCE TO DISPLAY YOUR GENITALS! WHY DID YOU RUIN IT!Lewis’ wolf spoke up, frustrated.
“That’s not even a wolf mating ritual.” Lewis hissed. “Will you leave it alone?!”
Don’t worry! Her wolf chimed in. We don’t think you’re impotent anymore!
So we should just get straight to the mating!
Lewis and Alyssa sighed slightly at their wolves’ excitement, and looked down at Benjamin, still unconscious on the floor.
“What do we do to him?” She asked, feeling tired.
“Do you still have some of those chains?” Taking the object she handed to him, Lewis bound the now human form of his brother, sneaking in a single kick in the process. “We’ll send him to the Council. He’s broken every law that I know of.”
“… You know in all the stories where he’s not killed the villain escapes and causes trouble again.”
Lewis sighed at that. “I know it would be safer to kill him. But… I…” He trailed off, looking conflicted.
“It’s okay.” She patted his arm, avoiding the injury she found before. “If you were able to kill him so easily you wouldn’t be you.”
“I worry sometimes that I’m too weak to be an Alpha.”
“I know. And I’m sure there’s probably some perfect balance of strength and mercy… but you don’t have to have everything figured out right away.”
She shrugged. “Besides, isn’t your sister still out there? Maybe the council can use Benjamin to figure out where she is.”
After handing Benjamin off to Gary and Bridgett to guard (And having them both fuss over Alyssa to make sure she was okay) the two went back to their rooms to change. Alyssa stared at the wall of her temporary bedroom, feeling conflicted.
He’s our mate. He’ll understand.
“I know. And that’s what scares me.”
Finishing her brief hesitation, she walked over to Lewis’ room, knocking on the door.
“We need to talk.”
Lewis was extremely nervous as he waved his mate to sit down on the bed. He took the chair on the other side of the room.
What if she doesn’t want to stay?
She’s our mate! His wolf answered his nervous thoughts. She won’t abandon us!
“I don’t know what you told him, but your wolf is right.” Alyssa spoke up. “We won’t abandon you. Not over something silly like your evil twin brother trying to invade and kill us all.”
Lewis let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. “That’s a relief.” He leaned back in his chair. “So what do you want to talk to me about?”
She stared at the ground a few moments before painfully continuing. “So I told you I grew up in the foster system, right?”
“So the part I didn’t tell you… is that a few years back, around the time I turned 18… a weird guy came and found me.”
Lewis growled. “Did he try to hurt you?”
“No. Quite the opposite. He said he was a friend of my family. He wasn’t one of us… definitely human.” She ran her fingers through her hair, obviously unhappy. “He wouldn’t tell me who they were, or why they abandoned me. He just said they had no choice.”
“That’s crap. I don’t know their situation but their only option was to abandon a baby?” HE shook his head. “Something’s off.”
“I thought so too. I told him to get lost.” She hesitated. “And he gave me a million dollars.”
“He said it was a small gift from my parents. I don’t know who my family is, or what they were involved in, but it’s probably big… and definitely not good.”
Lewis processed this for a few moments. “So your job at the bookstore?”
“I actually own it. But I have a manager run it. I stop by occasionally and shelve books while I look for new research.”
“So…” He grinned. “Does this mean you can stay longer and not worry about losing your job?”
“… Is that what you’re thinking about?” Alyssa demanded, her hands twisting in the fabric of her t-shirt. “You’re not worried about unknown schemes, powerful families… who knows what nonsense could happen! I swear, haven’t you ever read one of these novels?!”
Lewis picked up the book on the table nearby. “I started reading through a few at your suggestion.
“The Seductive Alpha’s bride?” She raised an eyebrow. “Really?”
“It’s research! I’m trying to learn how to be a better mate!”
He’s hoping to learn how to make himself more attractive! His wolf added.
We already think you’re both attractive!
Great! Let’s mate then!
“Not yet!” Alyssa stepped in as their wolves got carried away once more. “Although she’s right… we do think you’re attractive…”
“But how about we go slow… like a date, first?”
“A date!” Lewis jumped up, his mind racing. “Yes! Let me grab my car…”
“We were just attacked… remember?”
He stopped at her gentle reminder. “Oh. Right. How about after we get things sorted out?”
She smiled, the expression causing his heart to race.
“I’d like that.”
They fell into a comfortable silence.
“So how accurate has your research been so far?” He asked after a while, curious.
“The books?” She thought it over. “You know, considering the Alphas and the relationships I’ve read about?” She looked him over again. “I’d say I was a little surprised.”
“In a good way?” His tone was hopeful, he couldn’t help it.
“Yes. As for the future though?” She leaned in and kissed his cheek. “The majority of these stories have a happy ending. But we’ll just have to see.”
Lewis touched the spot that had been kissed, smiling. “A happy ending, huh? I’d like that.”
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