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Thea doesn’t believe in Phantom Wolves. She thinks they’re nothing but a myth—a fairytale she was told as a child. Until she comes face-to-face with one. The handsome stranger Casper is unlike anyone she’s ever met. She feels more drawn to him than she has to any man before. When Thea uncovers his biggest secret, she will be thrown into a world of ghosts and alphas. Will she discover this phantom is hiding more secrets from her? And will finding out cost her everything?

Age Rating: 18+

Disclaimer: Please note that this story is not directly connected to Stolen by the Alpha, which is an immersive and reimagined adaptation of Alpha Kaden. This story is part of the author’s original version of the Alpha Series, and you can enjoy it as a standalone story!

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

 

Alpha Jasper by Midika Crane is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

The app has received recognition from BBC, Forbes and The Guardian for being the hottest app for explosive new Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy novels.
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Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

1

Summary

Thea doesn’t believe in Phantom Wolves. She thinks they’re nothing but a myth—a fairytale she was told as a child. Until she comes face-to-face with one. The handsome stranger Casper is unlike anyone she’s ever met. She feels more drawn to him than she has to any man before. When Thea uncovers his biggest secret, she will be thrown into a world of ghosts and alphas. Will she discover this phantom is hiding more secrets from her? And will finding out cost her everything?

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Midika Crane

Disclaimer: Please note that this story is not directly connected to Stolen by the Alpha, which is an immersive and reimagined adaptation of Alpha Kaden. This story is part of the author’s original version of the Alpha Series, and you can enjoy it as a standalone story!

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

Thea

I face my best friend, my back to the edge of the forest.

“It's not funny anymore,” she insists, glancing over my shoulder, desperately trying to insinuate that my need to come inside is greater than any sense of humor I could muster.

“I'm enjoying myself.” I grin, glancing around, as if I have a magical ability to see in the darkness. Quite frankly, the light from inside the house doesn't do much.

June, my best friend, hops from foot to foot, anxious to rescue me from… whatever danger she thinks is out here, but she can't bear to risk crossing the threshold of the doorway.

“Thea, please… I'm being serious when I tell you to get inside,” she says, her voice shaking, and not from the cool breeze.

I dance around on the spot, autumn leaves crunching under my feet.

“Phantom Wolves don't exist,” I chant, my voice carrying itself along the breeze.

June shakes her head, rubbing her arms up and down nervously.

“I swear to the Goddess that I am not coming after you when one of them snatches you and drags you away into their rape cave,” she tells me. She's not joking.

I pause, my dancing ceasing. Slowly, I turn around, the forest looming over me. It's endless, cold, dark, and I'm not even sure anything lives in there. But I can’t help myself.

“June, we need to get inside.”

“Why?” She asks nervously, watching me back my way up the porch steps cautiously.

I scream, so loud I'm sure the neighboring Pack can hear. June joins my shrills as I fall past her, straight into the house, and into the clutches of the fur rug on the floor.

She slams the door behind us, pressing her back against it.

I turn from where I’m lying face down on the ground. June looks petrified, her eyes glinting with memories of all the books on Phantom Wolves she's read. I start to laugh.

“Oh, I gotcha so good!”

Her terrified expression dissolves into one of pure anger, as she realizes I just pulled off nothing but a prank.

“I didn't see a Phantom, but I did see your face as pale as anything.” I fail to keep the humor from my voice. I stand, leveling myself with a livid June.

“You idiot! How many times have I told you? Phantom Wolves aren't something you mess with,” she growls, slapping her hand over her forehead as she attempts to gather her wits.

I smile. “Come on June, lighten up.”

She sighs deeply, trying to collect herself. Since we were children, June has always believed in the myths the older kids at school would tell us to scare us.

And most of these included Phantom Wolves.

“Lighten up? Do you want to be like Alpha Jasper?” She dares me.

I roll my eyes. Here we go.

Alpha Jasper disappeared one night and never came back. It was said he was stolen by Phantom Wolves and murdered, just like his father. And this happened years ago. No, centuries ago.

Other like-minded people believe he committed suicide, and no one was up to taking over his position as Alpha.

“Jasper wasn't murdered by Phantom Wolves, silly…” I tell her.

June narrows her eyes at me. “You're right, because he's one of them.”

***

I swing the dog's leash back and forth as I walk, watching the fake leather gleam in the dull light. Above my head, vicious clouds swoop in, looming over me with threatening shadows in their wake.

It makes me sigh, irritably.

The Devotion Pack is situated centrally within the Pack Quarter. It can get warm here, but the weather remains typically gloomy and dull.

It doesn’t put you in the best mood when you look up and see a darkening cloud overhead that never results in anything.

I’ve decided to return June’s stupid dog today. She’s my best friend who I visited last night. She wouldn’t let me walk home along the path that skims the edge of the infamous Phantom Forest.

Her insistence that those mythical creatures called Phantom Wolves may kidnap me and drag me back to their dens to kill me, wore me down.

She left me no choice but to take her useless Jack Russell with me.

Might as well do it today and walk home in the daylight. After last night, I decide to take the long walk through the town, rather than delve into that forest.

I nearly lost Squiggles (or whatever she calls it).

The village is pretty small. There are other townships within the Pack, but they are all miles away and desolate like our own. It’s so tight knit, no one leaves, and no one comes in.

At least, not since people started believing in Phantoms again.

Too scared to step foot out of the village, most people have accepted a simple life away from any other civilization.

Many people, including myself, have also accepted the idea of never finding our mates. It sucks. But in some people's eyes, it is safer to stay away from where Phantom Wolves are said to lurk.

I smile to myself, as I recall the myths in my head.

Jasper. He was the Alpha’s son. Centuries ago, he disappeared, and his father died soon after. Everyone thought it was Phantom Wolves, so they left the Pack.

They just got up and moved completely, whittling the population down by plenty.

Now ridiculous ideas suggest he is still alive, commanding a Pack of the night-prowling beasts as he kills the innocent in the night.

I chuckle.

When the older kids at school told June and me these stories to scare us, I always believed he had either simply left—since his body was never found—or committed suicide elsewhere.

My simple answers helped me sleep at night.

I just won’t leave because my dad won’t. And as a nineteen-year-old living with her father, who works part-time at the local diner, I don’t see myself doing anything else anyway …

The little Jack Russell June calls her guard dog skips ahead on its little legs. I’m not sure if dogs are allowed on streets this close to stores, but no one is really around to question it.

It’s a Monday, so the small number of children in the area are at school, and everyone else is working.

“Maybe it will actually rain one day,” I say aloud, but I’m not sure if the dog really listened to my mindless words. It cocked an ear, but that was it.

I just listen to its claws click against the concrete, wishing my life was as simple as his.

Maybe it is as simple. I don’t go anywhere. My boyfriend will probably have to mark me on the grounds that neither of us are likely to find our own mates. My dad works most days.

My friend is a crazy lunatic sometimes. And I don’t have enough money to move out…

Okay, maybe it isn’t that simple.

I stare into the store windows as I pass by, wishing I could afford some of the nice clothing and what not. Instead, I am left looking at my own hazel eyes, and frumpy clothes. I need a miracle …

Suddenly, my eyes catch on something taped to the store window of a second-hand clothing shop.

It has my sneakered feet finding a stop, my eyebrows raising past the line of mussed brown hair that swoops over my forehead.

A piece of paper, newly printed with bold text, with a photo that's surprisingly eye catching. But not as eye catching as the wording.

Missing Person

My heart rises in my throat, as I recognise the name under the familiar photo. Jessica Holmes.

I went to school with her. She was the epitome of an introvert—kept to herself, always drawing in her notepad or reading some high fantasy novel.

I think she was better friends with the town librarian than anyone in our year.

I stare at the long mass of curly auburn hair that tumbles down her shoulders. She is quite pretty, if you look past her thick-rimmed glasses, and her eyes as cold as chunks of ice.

The traits she has, she shares with most of us in this Pack. Dark hair, hazel eyes. Average.

But she had gone missing. Missing? No one ever leaves this town.

I am a very curious person. I can't ignore it. I used to read thriller novels before I got a job, and ever since, the slightest sign of a mystery has my heart racing.

And since nothing ever happens here, I am instantly intrigued.

With a jingle of the bell atop the door, I stroll into the store, poster in hand, having left the dog tied to a pole outside.

The clerk at the desk glances up as I walk in, probably not expecting someone to visit at this time of the day.

Since everyone knows everyone here, I don’t have any trouble identifying her as Ms Morris. Elderly, cheerful, but the worst gossip in town.

And her partner in crime shifts clothes around on a nearby rack. That is Ms Slater. Both mateless. Both probably the biggest entertainment in this town.

“Thea dear! What a lovely surprise!” Ms Morris chirps, clapping her hands together at the sight of me. I force a toothy smile onto my face, wishing I was as optimistic about life as these two.

I can’t imagine how they’ve lived so long all on their own… No mate, nothing.

“I saw this in the window,” I tell her, getting straight to the point so I don’t have to be stuck with them, talking about how boring my life is.

I slide the piece of paper across the counter top, giving Ms Morris a perfect view of the missing person poster.

The moment her gaze touches the paper, her face pales, and her mouth forms a tight line. I have never seen her without a smile.

“Ah yes. Poor Jessica,” she says solemnly. I feel Ms Slater stroll up behind me, thick heels clicking against the linoleum floor.

She leans over the counter as well, drinking in the sight of the young girl.

“The poor family,” Ms Slater muses, smacking her pink-tinted lips together. “I can’t believe she would do that to herself.”

My heart stops. “Do what?”

The two ladies exchange glances. They look so similar, I realize, as they contemplate whether or not to tell me about Jessica. Both have the same fluffy white hair and sun-damaged eyes.

They dress the same, and even put on the same make-up every day. I don’t judge though, because it’s familiar. I grew up thinking they were sisters.

“She killed herself. She walked straight into the Phantom Forest and those wolves killed her,” Ms Morris exclaimed. My jaw clenched.

Just like the rest of this town, these women are one drumstick short of a picnic basket. No one has ever seen a Phantom Wolf, and here they are convincing themselves that they do actually exist.

“Did they find the body?” I ask, wondering why there would be a poster up otherwise. The women shrug at the same time.

“No… but she was a little bit strange. So we don’t doubt it was a suicide…”

I want to roll my eyes.

“And we think the wolves are getting closer to town. Maybe she got scared and gave up. It would make sense, since her mother said Jessica was a little worried about Phantoms,” Ms Slater assumes.

This isn’t the first time I have heard their ridiculous assumptions.

“Do the police know about this?” I ask, my index finger tapping impatiently against the counter top.

Glances are passed again. I mean, our police force consists of two men. A father and a son. The son, my boyfriend. Their job is hardly necessary in this town… Well, until now I suppose.

“No… But we can't think of any other way,” Ms Morris says. It takes my entire being not to sigh at the batty old women.

I could have gone anywhere in town and found reliable evidence, but instead I made the mistake of coming in here.

“She might have just left home. She was old enough,” I suggest.

“Can't be. The librarian saw her leave, and her parents never saw her come back. She was either taken, or she killed herself,” Ms Slater stated, trying to confirm the lack of information.

I take a few steps backward, leaving the poster. This is stupid …

People don't leave. Ever. And if people don't leave, then people don't mysteriously go missing. My assumption is that she left home, simple as that.

Leaving the shop, I grab the dog and start on my way again. My detective work for the day is over. I decide as I walk, I'll keep it to myself.

Because I know exactly what June will think …

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

Thea

“We are going to die…”

I nestle my head between the cushions of June’s beaten up old couch, wishing it would completely drown out the sound of her insistent voice.

I showed up here fully believing she wouldn’t find out about Jessica going missing.

She never leaves the damn house—I even have to buy her groceries for her—and I assumed her parents wouldn’t tell her either.

Missing? No one ever goes missing here,” she says, sounding so distressed I almost feel sorry for her. Too bad she thinks it’s a fictional character that’s the cause of the disappearance…

“She hated everyone here,” I try to convince her. “It wouldn’t surprise me if she just upped and left.”

June doesn’t look convinced. Her fingers fiddle with the bottom of her shirt, as they do when she’s nervous. Her eyes are like mine, hazel, although a little darker.

Sometimes we get called sisters, which I take as a compliment more than she does. June is very beautiful. Slim facial features, round doe eyes and the sweetest smile.

Her hair is thicker, more voluptuous than mine, and always styled neatly.

Her face is shadowed, as her back faces the window. It is quite a scene, with the thunderstorm currently raging outside.

It doesn’t rain very often. And storms occur so rarely it’s considered an event.

So with rain beating on June’s roof and windows, and thunder rumbling in the background, I’m surprised she isn't frightened.

“What if she was kidnapped? What if we are next?” she demands, raking her hands through her mass of curls.

In that moment, she looks a lot like Jessica. “June, calm…”

“I live alone… Oh, Goddess!” She starts pacing in front of me. “I’m next, aren’t I?”

I jump up, grabbing June’s shoulders. I glare at her, holding her tight as she shakes beneath my hands. She is genuinely scared, and I can’t really blame her.

Something like this has never happened in our peaceful little town.

All of a sudden the wind howls loudly from outside, and the lights flicker off.

We aren’t in complete darkness, but it is enough to make June cry out and dive at the couch, throwing a blanket over herself.

The trees outside wave their branches around, the little light from the dark clouds casts strange shadows across the floorboards.

“It’s fine… just wind,” I croak. Storms scare me. Always have. The thought of Mother Nature’s potential casting a terrible disaster across the Pack is terrifying.

The sound of June’s whimpering brings my attention back to her. “We just have to wait for it to pass.”

Again, the wind picks up, thrashing the trees around so violently a branch snaps off a nearby one, skidding across the deck.

And then, the door blows open.

The force is so strong, it swings back and hits the window, smashing it completely. The crash of the glass and June’s scream are similar. Glass scatters across the ground, landing at my feet.

“We are going to die!” I hear June faintly through the sound of the wind in my ears. It is deafening, as I fight my way to the door. The force of the wind is unnaturally strong.

Something is wrong, things like this never happen!

I grab the edge of the door, glass crunching under my shoes.

Using the strength I developed from carrying plates to customers at work all day, I force the door closed, only satisfied when I hear it click.

Relieved, I collapse to the ground, surrounded by glass.

“Thea? Are you alive?” I hear June ask tentatively, peeking out from under the blanket. We lock gazes.

“No thanks to you,” I mutter jokingly, patting my hair down.

I don’t want to bring up how the wind was the strangest thing I have ever had to deal with. How I found the courage to shut that door, I am not sure. It was as if I was being willed to stop it.

“Where is Squiggles?” June asks, finally emerging from the blanket. Wind still billows through the hole in the window, sometimes sending a leaf in. That isn’t going to be easy to fix.

“He was in his…” I break off, as my gaze finds the spot where the dog was moments before. June’s face instantly pales. Her dog is her life. Everyone in the entire town knows it.

So the second he’s out of her sight without knowing exactly where he is …

We spend the next five minutes searching June’s small cabin for the dog. Under the couch, behind the fridge, around the chairs. Nothing.

“He’s out there,” June says, her face falling in defeat. She glances at the door, and I know what she is thinking.

Instead of being trapped in the small room, full of wind and screaming, the dog had escaped. Into the forest, most likely.

“When the wind passes, I am sure he will come back,” I tell her, but the words completely pass her by. She is already at the door, opening it.

Instantly, the room is consumed in deafening wind, blowing shards of glass toward me.

I push forward, grabbing her by the forearm to stop her from making her thoughts a reality. Visions of her getting lost in that storm haunt me. No way am I letting her walk out there on her own …

“You stay here. I’ll go out and find him,” I promise, warily casting a glance outside. The rain is relentless, and doesn’t seem to be easing anytime soon.

Hopefully the thickness of the forest will be enough shelter.

Despite not wanting to send me out in the storm, June nods, fueled by the thought of her missing dog.

So, mustering as much courage as possible, I run outside, slamming the door closed behind me. Outside, the rain hits me like bullets. This is the first time I’ve felt rain on my skin in a long time.

The feeling is uncomfortable, as the cold liquid winds its way through my hair, and dribbles across my skin.

I head down the same path I had taken last night, the canopy giving decent shelter from the onslaught of rain, but not so much from the wind.

I fight against it, my hair whipping around my face as I run.

“Squiggles!” I call loudly.

My eyes scan everywhere as I go, looking behind tree trunks, and under bushes. He’s gone. The feeling of defeat sets in only a few minutes of being in the forest.

The further I go, the darker everything seems to get. Am I imagining things, or are shadows seeming to crawl out from behind those trees?

I keep walking, shivering at the feeling of my wet clothes against my skin. Now I am starting to regret walking around for her stupid dog.

And it’s beginning to seem like everything is against me at this point. The wind may have died down, from my position in the forest, but rain stills coats my entire body.

“Squiggles, please…” I croak, stumbling over my feet as I walk. The dirt path has mixed into mud, sticking to my feet—I didn’t take time to put on shoes.

Kicking a stick in front of me, I groan in frustration.

Not only is June going to kill me for losing her precious dog, I'm probably lost, and the idea of getting hypothermia is becoming more realistic by the second.

Then I hear the sound of a man clearing his throat, from behind me.

I jump, twisting around while praying to the Moon Goddess that it isn't a murderer lurking within the woods.

I see nothing. No one. Nada. Instead of seeing another person, I'm stuck staring at tree trunks and a thick mass of leaves. Like an idiot. Someone, or something lives here.

And I don't think I'm very welcome.

Calling out ‘hello’ is probably a stupid thing to do. At least that is what every horror movie I have watched suggests.

If whatever is in here doesn't know I have accidentally accompanied it, then maybe I may just get out of here alive. But it sounded like a very normal person making a very normal noise.

So I stand still, unsure of what to do. But then I see something. A figure. The outline is shadowy—almost fuzzy in a way. I have to strain my eyes to make sure I'm seeing right.

Because if I am, there’s a man standing farther down the path, his back facing me.

I may have just found someone to take me back the way I came. Because I believe I strayed from the path.

“Hey! Ah… Hello?” I decide to try my luck. Better than dying out here alone. My words carry through the wind, and for a moment, I assume he didn't hear me.

But then his head turns.

I can't see much of him. It's almost as if he's completely consumed by his own shadow. Only the outline can be seen, which shows me he is very tall, and of a much larger frame than I am.

Definitely a man. A man who could either help me, or kill me on the spot.

And then, he walks away! Down the path he goes, strolling away without even acknowledging me.

“Wait! I'm lost,” I call after him. He disappears around a corner. Well, either I stay out here and possibly die from the cold, or I follow him… The latter presents the only option.

Forcing my freezing limbs into action, I jog after him, pushing violent branches out of my way as I fight through the bush.

When I sight the man again, tendrils of darkness seem to chase after him. I decide I might be going crazy. But I still follow. I still follow the path he strolls on.

Despite the pace at which I chase after him, he only seems to get farther away. The distance between us is agonizing, but every slight turn of the man’s head keeps me going.

Perhaps he wants me to follow him after all. But right now, I don't have time to ask him.

And then, suddenly, he vanishes around yet another corner. And when I make it around, I'm back at June's house.

I let out a deep breath in surprise. The quaint, old cabin with the broken window stands in front of me, and I can't help but think I'm hallucinating. The man is gone.

Like he had been carried away with the wind. And instead, I'm looking at a police car parked in front of June's porch, the rain leaving a slick sheen over the bumper.

Luca. My heart races.

I run up the porch steps, wet feet slapping against the wood. I call through the window, waiting for June to get me out of this vortex of wind and rain.

The moment the door opens I stumble inside, yelling at her to close the door behind me.

Twisting around, a frazzled June presses herself against the door, the wind from the broken window blowing her hair around wildly.

But I don’t really notice her, despite failing the mission to find her dog. I do notice the man standing in the corner.

I stride over to him, throwing myself into his arms. “I’m sorry.”

I was apologizing because I know he is going to be mad. Being uptight about safety is his job, and the fact he is my boyfriend, and soon to be forced mate, makes it so much worse.

He just happens to be in his police uniform as well.

“I can’t believe you would do something stupid like that… Putting yourself in danger,” Luca mutters into my hair. I want to roll my eyes.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard those exact words from him.

I pull away from him, glancing over at June. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t find Squiggles.”

She shrugs. She’s visibly calmer now, having had time to cease worrying while I was nearly lost out in the storm.

“I called Luca, because I thought you weren’t going to come back…”

“How long was I gone?” I ask. June and Luca exchange glances.

It gives me a decent amount of time to assess the two. They look similar. Not just because they are born into the same Pack, but because they are first cousins.

They share the same hazel-colored eyes we all do, but his hair’s slightly lighter from working in the sun a lot. But their facial structure is very similar, which at first I found weird.

But now I’m kind of used to it.

“Like, four hours,” June said. My eyes widen. Four hours? I swear I was only gone for about half an hour. I clutch my head in confusion. And then I remember the strange man.

“Someone else was out there,” I tell them. “A man.”

Luca looks out the window, probably assessing the weather. No way is it possible for him to go out there and look for him now. And who knows if that man was even real?

It could have been my imagination, from the cold.

Speaking of the cold, I suddenly become aware of the icy feeling crawling under my clothes and across my skin. June notices, and rushes across to the chest where she keeps all her blankets.

“Dad and I will head out tomorrow to check the area for June’s dog, and the man,” Luca tells me. He’s in business mode. I can spot it a mile away. His shoulders are pushed back, arms tense.

His expression is even grim. I hate when he gets like this.

June comes up behind me, wrapping the blanket over my shoulders. I just want this day to end.

And to find out who that man was.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

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