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Maeve hasn’t been home since her father died and she was sent to boarding school, but now she’s returned to sell the house and finally move on. She’s not back long when she meets some old friends who convince her to go to the Mates Ball—an odd name, but it sounds fun enough. However, when a strange yet intoxicating man approaches her at the ball and declares that she’s “MINE” a change begins to happen in her…one that reveals a dark secret about the town and her family.

Age Rating: 18+


Moon River by September Moon 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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Maeve hasn’t been home since her father died and she was sent to boarding school, but now she’s returned to sell the house and finally move on. She’s not back long when she meets some old friends who convince her to go to the Mates Ball—an odd name, but it sounds fun enough. However, when a strange yet intoxicating man approaches her at the ball and declares that she’s “MINE” a change begins to happen in her…one that reveals a dark secret about the town and her family.

Age Rating: 18+ (Content Warning: Extreme Violence, Kidnapping, Sexual Violence, Rape, Miscarriage)

Original Author: September Moon

⚠️ This story contains themes of Kidnapping, Sexual Violence, Rape, and Miscarriage. ⚠️

The air was cool against my face.

I promised myself I wouldn’t look back, but my wolf never made that promise. Her head turned, and we gazed at the castle.

I watched as lights began to turn on, illuminating the path he was taking as he searched for me. I heard a howl pierce the air, and alarm bells started to toll.

Una instinctively took a step back, and her paw felt the edge of a cliff. She turned her head to look at her foot, pulling my eyes with hers.

I’m not strong enough to leave, Una said to me. I am still drawn to him. She turned to peer over the edge.

I’d rather die than stay there, I said as I spoke to her within our shared mind. JUMP!

The last thing I remember is the feeling of the air enveloping every part of us. I finally felt the thing I had been searching for… freedom.

The cool water below opened its arms in an embrace, and we fell into the darkness.


Somehow, everything was still the same.

I tipped my driver and stepped out of the cab, pulling my backpack over my shoulder. I walked up to the house and tried to remember where the extra key was.

I looked under the doormat, in the mailbox, and around the windowsills. If anyone was walking by or looking outside their window, it would probably look like I was trying to break into my own home.

I decided I would just go ’round back, hop the fence, and jimmy one of the windows. I threw myself over and landed quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

The backyard was definitely in quite a state of disarray.

If Grace were here to see her garden like this, she would most likely faint. I walked up to the sliding door and decided to give it a try—well, wouldn’t you know, it was unlocked.

The house felt emptier than usual. I traced my finger across the kitchen table, parting layers of dust.

I had used every excuse in the book and delayed coming back here as long as I could.

After my father passed away, Grace showed her true colors. She sent me away to boarding school days after his death.

Over the breaks, I was forced to stay at school while everyone else could go home. So, I spent that time planning. I promised myself a life where I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone.

I didn’t need to go home like everyone else. I was choosing to stay so I could study and create the future that I wanted to live. I didn’t need anyone as long as I had my books.

Yet here I am again. I never thought I would come back to this place, but I had to put a few affairs in order. I never liked this house, and selling it would help me pay for grad school.

That, and my father had left weird stipulations in his will when he passed.

I just turned twenty-one, and in a few weeks I will finally get my inheritance. After that, I will be able to sell this house and move on from here.

Until then, I’ll just pick up a few odd jobs, clean this place up, and start planning for the rest of my life.

“Hello?” The voice came from the front door. “I want you to know that I have alerted the authorities, Rogue!”

I ran over to the door, sniffed the air, and distinctly smelled pancakes and honey. “Mary?” I asked as I opened the door.

“MAEVE?” She embraced me roughly and quickly pushed me away from her, “Let me get a good look at you. Oh my goodness! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you. How are you?”

“I’m okay.”

“I thought we’d see you at the funeral,” she said as she brushed away her tears, “but after how she treated you… I understand why you didn’t go.”

“It was hard for me because I had finals, but I made sure to make arrangements as best as I could, and according to her wishes,” I replied.

“Would you like to come in? I know the house is in a bit of disarray, but maybe I could get you some water?

“I’m sure the officials will be here soon, and they’ll want to know what’s going on—why don’t you make yourself comfortable while we wait?”

Mary followed me into the kitchen. I opened the cabinets looking for cups. Thankfully she came over and grabbed a glass herself.

Grace had moved things around since I had last been here. I didn’t know where anything was, and it just reinforced the feeling of being out of place.

I heard a knock on the door again, and I excused myself to open it.


“Tylor!” I smiled.

“It’s been years!” He hugged me so tightly I could smell the sunlight on his skin.

“Uh… Tylor…” I choked, “I can’t breathe.”

“Oh, sorry,” he said as he released me. “Is my Mom here? She sent an alert out for a Rogue. Thankfully I got the message.”

“I’m in the kitchen, Tylor,” Mary called.

“Okay, Ma!” he said as he invited himself in.

“Yes, by all means, come in,” I said.

Tylor shot me a sly glance and winked.

“So, how long are you here for?” he asked as we met his mom in the kitchen.

“Not long, just enough to grab my stuff and head out. I just graduated and was accepted into a master’s program for creative writing. So I thought I’d just come back and put all of these affairs in order.”

“So you’re going to just leave again?” Tylor said, dismayed. I felt a hitch in my breath, seeing how forlorn he looked.

He looked so different from when I last saw him. It was the day I left. We were only eight years old. Yes, he’s taller, but he’s also just… it’s the smile… his smile was so disarming.

“I mean… I don’t have any place to go for the time being. So I’m going to stay a few months, until the fall,” I said and watched his smile reappear.

“Great!” Mary said, “you’re just in time for The Ball. It’s this weekend.”

“What Ball?”

“It’s a mating thing,” Tylor said while rolling his eyes.

“Wait, what? What do you mean?” I asked. Tylor and Mary looked taken aback.

“You know…” Tylor started.

“No, I don’t know,” I replied.

Tylor exchanged a glance with his mother. I could tell that I said something wrong. He started to say something when his mother interjected cautiously.

“Tylor, why don’t we give Maeve some space so she can get situated. Maeve, why don’t you come over for dinner after you get comfortable?

“I saw the state of the fridge, and I’m sure you have unpacking to do. Come by in a bit, okay?”

I nodded and walked them out. I watched as Tylor and his mother crossed the street and looked back at my backpack, which I had placed by the sliding door. I was grateful they didn’t seem to notice it. I didn’t carry much.

All I really needed was my laptop and a few changes of clothes. After moving around as much as I have, I realized that everything was a potential anchor: every book, every piece of clothing, every piece of paper.

Every person.

I was wary of everyone and everything.


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Dinner was more than eventful. I forgot how large Tylor’s family was.

His twin sisters, Caroline and Christine, were a handful. Then add his younger brother Nathan to the mix, and it was a wonder Mary and Nick were able to handle everything.

I was glad that everyone was there because I could barely get a word in edgewise with all the commotion at the table. The kids were loud, but it was nice how easy they were making this dinner for me.

“What are you going to be doing while you’re here, Maeve? Are you going to get a job for the summer?” Mary asked.

“Yeah. I thought I’d start looking tomorrow. I’m just looking for something pretty easy.”

“I’m sure Tylor could help you find something,” Nick said.

Tylor clearly rarely spoke, because there was a momentary pause in the conversation and a few looks were thrown in Tylor’s direction.

“Well, working so closely in the castle, I’m sure you’d be able to find something for her. I know they’re always looking for servers for the big events.”

“Dad! I’m sure she’d rather go to the party, right, Maeve?” Caroline offered.

“You know what, I think you’re right,” I said to Nick. “I’ll look into whether or not they’d be willing to hire me.”

“They would for sure hire you,” Nick replied, “especially with a good word from Tylor.”

“Are you sure you’d rather work instead of going to the ball?” Tylor asked.

“It’s not like I have anything to wear, and I don’t think I’d really enjoy something like this.” I heard a snicker from Nathan and gasps from Caroline and Christine.

“Are you serious?” Caroline and Christine said in unison. Then Caroline took over. “If it’s just about a dress, I’m sure we could lend you a dress.”

“I’ll put in a word for you,” Tylor said before I could respond. I’m sure the wash of relief that sweptover me was visible because Taylor offered me a sweet smile in response.

The girls tried to say something, but I could’ve sworn I heard Tylor growl. Their reply was cut off before either could utter a single sound.

It didn’t take long for the girls to get back to gossiping about everything happening at their school and who they thought was going to the ball this weekend.

They talked about shifts and many other things that I didn’t quite understand … but then again, I was never popular or understood what was cool.

I thanked Mary for a beautiful dinner and said goodbye to everyone. I started to close the door but found it caught behind me.

I looked over my shoulder and saw piercing blue eyes looking back at me. My breath caught in my throat, and I looked away.

“I’ll walk you back,” Tylor said.

“You realize I just live across the street, right?” I retorted.

“Well, there was a recent Rogue alert,” he replied, “so I just don’t know how safe it is out here.”

I looked up at him and huffed under my breath. I had been trying desperately not to notice how handsome he was. There was just something about him that made you want to hold his hand.

I grabbed my own in response. Everything about Tylor was comforting, and he just made me feel safe. Tylor walked me to my porch, plopped down on the steps, and motioned to me.

“Look, I meant what I said in there. If you want a job, I can help you get something this weekend, but I think you should consider going to the Ball,” he said flatly.

“I’ve never been one for dances and I don’t know anyone there… plus, dressing like a pirate doesn’t sound appealing to me—I’ve just never been a theme dance party person,” I said as I waved my hands in the air.

“What do you mean, pirates?”

“That theme? Right? Pirates? Like yo-ho matey… ARRRRG!” I swung my arm, and he caught my elbow.

“Wait, what!?” He stood up suddenly and brought me up with him. “What do you mean? Have you never been to a Mate Ball?”

“No. I just said I’m not really into themes.”

“May. This isn’t funny,” he snarled. “Do you understand what mates are?”

“Good friends?” I suggested.

“May,” he breathed heavily, “have you ever shifted?”

“I mean … I have moved from place to place, but I’m still the same person. I don’t think I’ve shifted personalities. I’m just good ol’ Maeve.”

“WHAT?” He looked utterly flabbergasted. “Have you ever noticed anything odd about yourself?”

“Ummm… what do you mean?” I looked at him quizzically because he was still holding my arm and, for some odd reason, just wouldn’t let go. “I think you need to be a little more specific.”

“Have you ever gotten sick? Have you ever cut yourself and realized that you heal really quickly? Have you ever broken out in fur?” His voice was shaking with anger.

“I-I d-don’t know w-what you’re talking about,” I said, trying to wrench my arm away. I dared myself to look up at him, and his eyes looked consumed by darkness.

“Please, Tylor… if I said something to upset you, I’m sorry. I don’t understand.” Jeez, I thought to myself, parties are apparently really important here.

“No, I’m sorry,” he said as he let go of my arm. He was still oddly close to me, and I could’ve sworn he smelled me. I looked up at him again, and he blinked at me. His eyes somehow were back to blue.

I rubbed my eyes and looked around.

“Look, it’s getting dark,” I said, “and I had a long trip. So I think it’s time for me to go to sleep.”

“Hey, May,” he said as he grabbed my arm again. I looked back at him, and he stepped close to me again, “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

I felt dizzy for some odd reason every time he got close to me.

He smelled like chocolate and… I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve never been a fan of chocolate, but there was another smell underneath that I couldn’t quite place.

“Has anyone ever told you that you smell like ch—”

“Chocolate and oak?” he whispered. He got really close again, “How? How have you…”

He trailed off. I pulled my arm back, walked in, and closed the door behind me. Something within me made me lock the deadbolt.

I could’ve sworn he heard me while he was walking away. He didn’t look back, but he had paused. It was almost like he could feel me watching him go.

The next few days seemed to flash before my eyes. I was able to clean everything but still needed to get necessities. I was living out of pizza boxes.

After this Ball thing, I can go get groceries and start living like a somewhat normal person.


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