When Bambi finds herself mated to a fearsome, blind alpha with a war-torn past, she must find a way to make him see beauty in the world again, before anger and pain consume him whole.
Age Rating: 18+
The Werewolf Chronicles by Veronica is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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I envy you, little bluebird.
Free to go outside and sing your songs.
To spread your wings and fly.
To go wherever your heart compels you.
As I watched the little bluebird flitting around on the branch outside my window, I yearned to switch places with it—to fly away someplace new and exciting.
It landed on my windowsill and looked up at me, chirping its cheery tune.
I cautiously extended my finger, careful not to scare it away, and it hopped onto its new perch with curiosity.
“Hello there,” I whispered. “You’re so beautiful, little one. Where are you off to next?”
As I stroked its soft wings, the bluebird grew restless and flew out the window.
I watched it soar into the air, until—
A massive eagle dove through the sky, snatching the tiny bird in its sharp talons.
Only blood and feathers remained.
Tears flooded my eyes.
Is this the price of freedom?
“Don’t cry, sister…it’s just the law of nature,” my brother suddenly said from behind me, placing his hand on my shoulder.
I swung around and buried my head in his chest.
“Why is nature so cruel?” I sobbed.
“Not cruel, Bambi. She’s harsh, yes, and unforgiving even more so, but above all, she’s fair. She favors the strong, not the weak. So, we must learn to be strong.”
My brother…Alpha Supreme Maximus, an Alpha on the Divine Werewolf Council, was known to be quite unforgiving himself.
He had to be after our parents died when I was only five. Max had raised me for the past fifteen years, and though his exterior had hardened with others, with me he was always genuinely caring and affectionate, albeit a bit overprotective.
“But you needn’t worry yourself about such things,” he said, clasping my hand. “You have me to protect you, for now and always.”
I swallowed hard. I had something to tell Max, but I knew he wouldn’t like it.
“I…I got some good news yesterday.” I hesitated to continue.
“And what news would that be?” he asked, raising his eyebrows doubtfully.
“I was offered that internship…the interior design one…in New York City.”
His eyes narrowed. “Bambi, New York is not for us werewolves. We need room to run, to hunt, to howl. The city is stifling and swarming with humans.”
It was true that most werewolves preferred the country. But I wasn’t most werewolves.
It was this sprawling palatial estate with its maids and housekeepers, waiting on me hand and foot, that actually felt stifling.
I needed space to figure out who I really was, to carve out my identity.
Even if that space was a tiny, two-hundred-fifty-square-foot apartment in Manhattan.
“Max, I know you don’t think that I can do this on my own, but I need to try. This is my passion, my dream, and—”
“Bambi, you think you’re ready to strike out on your own, to leave the pack? You cry at the death of a single bluebird. You have no idea the true pain and suffering that awaits you out there.”
“And whose fault is that, Max? You’ve shielded me from everything. Everything,” I argued.
“That’s only because I want what’s best for you,” he growled. “You should have the best life our Pack can provide…everything that our parents would’ve given you.”
“But what if this is what’s best for me?” I pleaded. “I’ll never know unless I make my own path.”
“I forbid it,” he said severely.
“And what will you do when I find my mate? When he comes to take me away? Will you forbid that too?” I demanded to know, beginning to feel heated. He always treated me like such a child.
At the mention of a mate, Max went rigid. It was a sore subject for him, and I knew it.
He was thirty-three and unmated, despite being the Alpha of our pack.
When I left, he’d be alone. I had provided a sense of purpose for him over the past fifteen years. He’d have to forge a new path as well.
“I’m…I’m sorry, Max. I didn’t mean to bring that up,” I said, hugging him tightly.
“I know, little doe. I know. I just don’t want to see you go,” he said quietly.
I’d have to table this conversation for another time. There was a big royal gala at our estate tonight, and Max was no doubt tense about the king and his son coming, along with the entire council.
“Oh, I almost forgot—the gift is ready,” I said looking up at him. “I finished it last night. Do you want to see it?”
“Of course.” He smiled.
I ran to the corner of my room and pulled a heavy tarp to the floor, unveiling a sizeable painting of our pack crest.
“It’s perfect,” he said. “King Dmitri will love it. You really do have a true talent, Bambi.”
Max kissed me on the head and left me to get ready for the party.
As a chilly breeze swept through my open window, I crossed my room and closed it.
A single blue feather fluttered off the sill and floated to my feet.
I smoothed my tangerine satin dress as I descended the stairs toward the courtyard. My voluminous red hair bounced with each step that my gold heels took.
It felt as though all eyes were on me, and it made me blush. I wasn’t used to this much attention.
Black cars were arriving with all the Alphas of the council and the Royal Pack.
I took my place next to my brother and his Beta, Ryan.
“Are you nervous?” Ryan asked me. “This is your first time meeting most of the council and the king.”
“A little bit,” I admitted. “There’s so much powerful, dominant energy at one party. It’s a bit much.”
My brother laughed. It was good to see him smile, especially surrounded by his peers. But it saddened me that he was the only one of them without a mate, and I knew he was thinking about it too.
“These are some of the most feared men in the country,” Max said seriously. “Many of them are war heroes—the few that survived it.”
The same war that claimed our parents.
Max never told me what had happened to our parents in the war. He’d shielded me from that, just like he shielded me from everything else.
I wished that I had the time with them that he did. All I had were hazy memories, and they grew dimmer by the day.
I snapped out of my thoughts as Ryan did an exaggerated motion with his hands.
“One of them, Alpha Supreme Ekon, is so terrifying that even the king fears him,” Ryan goaded. “I heard a rumor that he lost his eyesight in an ambush, his corneas permanently scarred by a rogue, but now he’s even more fearsome. They say that even though he’s blind, he can sense everything. He smells your fear, and he feeds off it.”
“Stop, you’re just trying to scare me.” I laughed. “This sounds made up.”
The look on my brother’s face told me otherwise.
As a black SUV with tinted windows and flags on either side pulled up, Ryan stepped forward and opened the door.
“Announcing his Royal Highness King Dmitri Alfred William Constantine. You are welcomed to the Supreme Divine pack on behalf of Alpha Supreme Maximus Bryan Woodard.”
What a mouthful.
I tried to stifle a laugh as Max shot me a look. Royal posturing was always so amusing to me.
The king exited his vehicle, puffing out his chest, which was covered in war commendations.
He approached my brother, who bowed then shook his hand firmly.
“Welcome, my king.”
The king’s eyes wandered to me, and I stiffened. He was an intimidating man, but there was still a smile behind his eyes.
He took my hand tenderly and looked at my brother.
“And who is this lovely young woman?”
“My sister, Bambi Rosebud Woodard,” he replied.
“Announcing his Royal Highness Prince Apollo Haydon Noah Constantine,” Ryan shouted again.
My heart fluttered as a mesmerizing boy with cropped blond hair and an impressive suit, which accentuated his lean yet muscular body, exited the next vehicle. His eyes stopped on me, and I saw them widen, his mouth slightly ajar.
Could he be my…
My brother froze, and the king’s eyes grew wide.
But as the prince looked into my eyes, there was no recognition, from either of us.
He politely kissed my hand and stood next to his father, who looked disappointed, though my brother let out a sigh of relief.
I had to admit I was relieved too. I may have been ready to spread my wings, but I wasn’t ready to be whisked away by some strange man.
I was still trying to figure out who I was. How could I do that if I was tied to someone else?
As the last car pulled up, I was glad that all this royal pretension would be over soon.
“Announcing Alpha Supreme Ekon Helmer Jedrek,” Ryan yelled, beginning to lose his voice after announcing an entire royal council.
I was suddenly overcome by the scent of wet concrete and burnt wood, an odd combination but nevertheless somehow appealing to me.
My eyes drank in the tall and rugged figure, dressed in a fine black tuxedo, that stepped out of the vehicle.
He was by no means lean. It felt like each and every part of his body had well-earned muscles, with accompanying scars on his hands and cheeks.
His face was dark and handsome, but when I stared into his eyes, they were completely clouded over.
Our gaze connected, regardless of his lack of eyesight, and I felt a surge of heat flowing through my entire body.
Oh my God.
You’re my mate.
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I held my breath and clenched my fists, staring at the commanding general, Alpha Ekon, as he remained pointed in my direction.
This can’t possibly be right, can it?
Is he really my mate?
As his lips parted, my heart started beating out of my chest.
“Mate,” he mouthed from across the courtyard.
So, he felt it too…
Alpha Ekon, the most terrifying man in the Royal Pack, was my mate.
King Dmitri turned to Ekon with a look of surprise.
“Did you just say something about a mate, Ekon?”
“Yes, she’s over there,” he said gruffly.
Several girls near me looked at each other, frightened.
My brother swung around, looking to see who Ekon was talking about.
“Where is she, Alpha Ekon? Can you feel her presence?”
“Yes, she’s right next to you,” he said, swiftly approaching us.
I turned to my brother with a feeling of dread, and as the realization dawned on him, he returned my look with one of horror.
“No…this can’t be right.”
“Max, I don’t want to do this,” I said, trying to hold back my tears.
Max pulled me behind him and threw his hands out.
“This is my sister. She’s not leaving the pack. She’s not ready yet,” he said firmly, though he couldn’t hide the fear in his voice.
“Stand aside,” Ekon growled. “I don’t care if she’s your sister. She’s my mate, and that trumps any familial bond.”
Max tried to hold his ground, even though it was futile.
“I will not give her over to you,” he said through gritted teeth.
Ekon put his hand on the hilt of his sword and pulled it slightly out of its sheath, the setting sun reflecting off the polished blade.
I had thought the king had a lot of war commendations, but Ekon’s exquisite jacket had twice as many, and his battle scars were the real proof of his mettle.
“Maximus, stop this madness at once!” King Dmitri demanded. “Submit your sister to Alpha Ekon immediately!”
Everyone at the party had gathered around us by this point, closing us into a tight circle.
“The madness is that my sister has no say in this,” Max countered, walking a dangerous line.
It was King Dmitri who enforced the archaic laws, including the one in which a female mate was not given any choice in her own mating agreement.
As I saw King Dmitri’s eyes narrow and Alpha Ekon’s sword slide further out of its sheath, I knew my brother’s stubbornness and his love for me would be the end of him.
And I couldn’t let that happen.
“Stop!” I yelled, getting in between them. “There’s no need for violence.”
Ekon looked startled by the first sound of my voice. He reached out and touched my face as my brother winced.
“Let us reconvene in the dining hall for the feast,” I said carefully. “Steadier heads will prevail on a full stomach.”
“Wise words.” King Dmitri laughed. “You should be celebrating, not fighting. We have a newly mated couple in the Royal Pack.”
“Your name,” Ekon commanded like a drill sergeant.
“Bambi,” I replied meekly.
As Ekon felt all the features on my face with his calloused fingers, a warm feeling welled up in the pit of my stomach, but it was fighting with the cold chill running down my spine.
As I sat next to my brother and across from my new mate, I could’ve cut the tension with my knife, which smoothly slid through my bleeding steak.
Just as this animal had been bred in captivity for this sole purpose, I, too, felt as though I’d been bred for one purpose since birth…
To be Ekon’s mate.
Whether I liked it or not, this was the position I was in. I needed to stay strong…for Max.
“More wine,” Ekon shouted, slamming his glass onto the table, startling me.
As a waiter refilled his wine, I realized this must’ve been his fourth or fifth glass already.
So I was mated to a ruthless war hero and a drunk.
Looking at the battle scars running up and down the parts of his skin that were visible, I’d venture that those two things were not unconnected.
“Ekon, you must share some old war stories,” King Dmitri implored, drunk on quite a few glasses of wine himself.
Ekon’s cloudy eyes grew dark like a storm.
“Those days are in the past, my king. That’s where I’d like them to stay.”
“Nonsense,” the king said, waving his fork. “What good are all these commendations on our coats if we can’t tell the stories behind them?”
“Some stories are best left untold,” Ekon said darkly.
“The Great War was an age of heroes,” King Dmitri pushed back. “And your exploits were most impressive, if you ask me.”
Ekon slammed his fist on the table, making even the king jump.
“The Great War was a calamity for all werewolf kind. I relive the nightmares in my sleep every night. I won’t relive them here, over fucking wine and dinner.”
Ekon stood up suddenly. “Pack your things, Bambi. We have a long trip ahead of us.”
“We’re…we’re leaving?” I stammered. “I thought we’d be staying here awhile…”
It hadn’t even occurred to me that we’d be leaving for Ekon’s pack so soon. I didn’t even know where it was.
“Pack warm clothing…Alaska is cold this time of year.”
I felt a sudden sense of dread in the pit of my stomach.
He wasn’t just taking me away…
He was taking me thousands of miles away.
I packed my many beautiful dresses neatly into my suitcase, thinking solemnly that my mate wouldn’t even be able to appreciate them on me.
That may have been a childish thought, but my life was being ripped out from under me in an instant. Childish thoughts would be a luxury that I could no longer have after I moved in with my mate.
I was about to be taken away to Alaska, cut off from all my friends and family…
I glanced at a brochure for a New York design school sitting on my dresser.
Cut off from everything…
There was so much that I wanted to do, and now I wasn’t sure that I’d ever get the chance.
Max knocked lightly on the door and came in, looking as though he was attending my funeral.
“How are you doing?” he asked hesitantly.
“I’m scared,” I answered honestly. “I know almost nothing about him. And what I do know terrifies me. I don’t want to leave my home.”
“I’m sorry, Bambi. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe nature is cruel after all.”
I thought of the little bluebird from this afternoon. Perhaps it had left the nest before it was ready to…
Max pulled me in for a hug.
“Listen to me, little doe. Be strong. Don’t show any weakness. He’ll demand your respect, but you should demand it right back. A man like Ekon respects strength and confidence. Always stand your ground and, most importantly, listen to your heart.”
“I don’t know what I’ll do without you,” I said, starting to cry.
“You can reach me anytime you want. I’m just a text or a phone call away,” he assured me.
I looked him directly in the eyes. “Max, tell me the truth…do you really think I can do this?”
He placed his hands on my shoulders and smiled gently.
“I think you can do anything you set your mind to, Bambi.”
As we sat in the back of Ekon’s chauffeured car, I watched my childhood home fade into the distance.
Tears rolled down my cheeks, but I quickly wiped them away, thankful that Ekon couldn’t see them.
We sat in silence as a heavy rain began to beat against the windows.
I felt more vulnerable than I’d ever been, trapped in this car with a complete stranger.
“You’re scared?” Ekon asked as if he could read my mind.
“I…no, of course not,” I replied, caught off guard.
“Don’t lie to me,” he said sternly. “There will be consequences for lying. Hiding things from me is pointless. My senses are heightened beyond those of an average werewolf.”
“How can I not be scared when you say things like that?” I replied, remembering my brother’s words.
Show your strength.
“I demand respect. At all times. Sometimes the best way to gain respect is through fear,” he said in a rough tone.
“And sometimes the best way to gain respect is to earn it,” I countered with confidence.
He smirked slightly as he stroked his chin.
“Make no mistake—my pack is not your brother’s pack. We do things differently in Alaska. You may have had free rein here, but in my pack, you will abide by my rules and mine alone. Is that clear?”
I hesitated to respond, but now wasn’t the time to push him.
“Yes, it’s very clear.”
As Ekon grabbed my face, I felt his claws extending across my cheek. His cloudy eyes turned pitch-black, and I gasped, pulling away from him.
What the hell is he doing? Is he starting to shift?
As his dark eyes took in my body, I felt a sudden surge of excitement. For some reason, I liked the way he was looking at me, even though I knew he couldn’t actually see me.
His eyes returned to normal, and his claws retracted as he sat back.
“What just happened?” I asked nervously.
“My wolf wants to surface. He wanted to see you,” Ekon replied.
“Yes, I may be blind, but my wolf…”
Ekon leaned forward and whispered, raising goosebumps to the surface of my skin.
“My wolf has perfect vision.”
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