Fighting Fate - Book cover

Fighting Fate

Mackenzie Madden

Age Rating


Nineteen-year-old Anna has been an outcast her entire life, and neither her parents nor her pack want anything to do with her. When she is transferred to the Silver River Pack, she’s finally welcomed with open arms. But why can’t she shift into her wolf form? And why is the enigmatic Alpha Zach so interested in her?

Age Rating: 18+

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Chapter 1


The ridge overlooked a forest so dense that no earth could be seen.

It seemed to go on for as far as the eye could see, a vast ocean filled with diverse shades of green.

There were trees of all kinds, their tips seeming to reach for the sun sitting high in the sky above them.

Anna Davis could name a few of them: pine, redwood, spruce, and cedar. She knew that protected under all their thick branches, nestled in their trunks and the underbrush, wildlife would be thriving.

Anna hadn’t explored much since she had arrived in the valley, so she wasn’t exactly sure about the kinds of animals that resided here, but she bet it was full of creatures that had yet to taste the fear of humans.

This land was protected, untouched, but Anna didn’t kid herself.

It would only be a matter of time before the humans cast their eyes on it, seeing prime land to destroy and develop.

Anna looked over her shoulder and saw the Calmariel ranges behind her with the largest mountain standing proudly close by.

It towered above the land and completely blocked any view of the city that sat behind it around thirty miles away.

The human lust for more was ever-growing, like a virus that stretched its tendrils out and destroyed anything it touched…

Only this virus also raised concrete buildings and factories where breathtaking nature had once stood.

Anna turned her back to the view out over the ridge, smiling.

When humans turned their greedy gaze this way, they were going to be met with just a few obstacles.

The land was full of rolling hills, deep ravines as well as predatory wolves, who were very protective and territorial about their land and home.

Anna kicked her bare feet against the rock face, looking down at her dangling legs and the sheer drop beneath her.

She guessed it might be around an eighty-foot drop, but that didn’t bother her. Heights never did.

Before coming here, Anna had lived in an apartment complex in the city with her pack.

Anytime she managed to get away from her family, she would be on the rooftop with her eyes fixed on the horizon.

Her mother had once found her there and scathingly told Anna that she should have been born a bird because she sure as hell didn’t make a good wolf.

Anna sighed, thoughts of her family making her feel pensive.

She had transferred to the Silver River Pack a couple of days ago, and almost immediately, she began to experience an overwhelming sense of relief.

It was hard to believe that she had finally escaped the clutches of her old pack, Gray Wing, but at the same time, Anna was frustrated that she would never know the answers to her past or why she had suffered at the hands of both her family and the rest of the pack.

She truly didn’t expect to ever see anyone from the Gray Wing Pack again, even her parents, but they were the only family she had ever known.

Silver River was vastly different, and Anna constantly found herself feeling unsure and out of place.

She wouldn’t become an official member of the Silver River Pack until the bonding ceremony, and she had no clue what her role would be once that happened.

Anna never had a true role within the Gray Wing, although she had clearly known her place there.

Life had been fairly predictable, but that had made it comfortable, even if it hadn’t been filled with happiness or been entirely pleasant.

Anna shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts, and straightened her spine.

This incredible view in front of her was one of the major reasons she had accepted her transfer here—this view and the freedom that accompanied it.

Anna had felt claustrophobic in the city, surrounded by a concrete jungle of high-rise buildings and streets full of loud, fast vehicles.

Wolves weren’t made to run through cities, and she still couldn’t understand why Gray Wing had made their home there.

Right now, Anna felt more connected to her wolf than she had ever been before.

She knew with certainty that no matter what happened after the bonding ceremony, she would never regret coming here.

The past two days had already proven to her that life had significantly changed from what she had been experiencing at Gray Wing.

Anna was jerked out of her thoughts by the sound of someone clearing their throat. Her head snapped around, and she caught sight of a man standing at the tree line.

Her sudden movement caused her to wobble on the edge of the ledge. The man stepped forward, his arm raised as if he were about to dart forward and yank her back from the drop.

Anna quickly steadied herself, eyeing the stranger warily.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice soft like he was speaking to a spooked animal. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

Anna quickly took him in, assessing whether he was a threat or not. He was wearing faded blue wash jeans. That was about it.

His feet were bare, as was his chest, which, Anna noted, was dusted with short, curly brown hairs.

He had muscular shoulders that tensed up as he moved, crossing his arms over his chest.

Anna guessed that he had recently shifted and had found the jeans in one of the many caches of clothing that were strategically placed around the Silver River territory.

He had dark-brown hair that was curling around his ears and angular cheekbones that led down to a firm jaw shadowed with a few days’ worth of stubble.

Anna finally met his warm, brown eyes, which were watching her with a concerned expression, and she realized that he was waiting for her to respond.

His words finally registered in her mind, and she felt her cheeks become warm.

It was extremely hard to sneak up on a wolf shifter because of their acute hearing, and Anna knew that any other wolf would have heard him coming.

She flapped an embarrassed hand at the stranger. “It’s okay. I mean, I really should have heard you coming, but I was lost in my thoughts,” she lied, but he just gave a small smile and tucked his hands into the pockets of his jeans.

“How could you not be, with this view?” he murmured, looking past Anna to the forest behind her before looking back.

“My name is Mitch. I’m one of Silver River’s soldiers. I haven’t seen you around here before.” It was a statement, but his voice rose slightly, indicating a question.

Anna felt a little relieved at the mention that he was a Silver River Pack member.

“I’ve only been here a couple of days; I’m a transfer from Gray Wing.” She got up and padded over to him, holding out her hand for him to shake. “My name is Anna.”

He took her hand in a tight grip, offering a small smile, which she returned.

“Nice to meet you, Anna. Do you need a tour buddy? I’d be happy to show you around. I’m Silver River born and bred.”

Once he had released her hand, Anna subtly stepped back to put space between them again as she considered his offer.

Finally, she said, “That would be great, actually! Can we start now?”

Mitch nodded, laughing at her enthusiasm. “Sure, I have nothing else going on right now. Training doesn’t start for another three hours.”

Anna smiled, feeling more at ease by the minute.

She retreated to the ridge’s edge to pick up her discarded socks and shoes. She stuffed her feet into them as Mitch waited patiently.

Once she was finished, they began walking together toward the mountain ranges and the pack den.

The trees grew dense fairly quickly, their steps rustling the foliage as they walked.

Anna made sure she kept at least a foot’s distance so that Mitch’s body wouldn’t accidentally touch her own.

She waited for Mitch to ask her why she hadn’t shifted, her mind racing with different explanations that she could come up with, but after a while, she accepted that the question was not coming.

Instead, he told her all about the dynamics of Silver River. Anna listened, fascinated.

When she had arrived, they had only told her that the alpha was away on business, so her official pack welcoming wouldn’t take place until he got back.

Hence, for the last two days, Anna had basically been in limbo.

She wasn’t used to being so idle, but until she was assigned a role, she didn’t have much of a choice.

“Silver River has been on this land for almost twenty years now. The previous alpha, Phillip Stone, found it and thought it was something special.”

Mitch stepped over a large fallen tree, turning back to help Anna over it. “The pack spent years creating the den, modernizing it, and making it what it is today.”

“I’ve spent some time walking around, but there are so many hallways, and it all looks the same, so I’ve actually gotten lost a couple of times,” Anna said as she brushed her hand against the rough bark of a tree.

Mitch chuckled. “That doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been telling everyone for years that they should start making maps!”

“How did Phillip get the idea of building it under a mountain?” Anna queried, looking up at the mountain in question.

“He wanted his den to be difficult to find and fairly impenetrable. It’s always been Silver River’s priority to protect the young and vulnerable,” Mitch explained. “What about Gray Wing? I’ve heard their main pack house is actually in the city.”

Anna smiled at the disgust in his voice at the idea of living in the city.

“I’m not sure how long they’ve been there… Since I was born, at least, and I’m nineteen.”

“Did you enjoy living there?” he asked.

“No, not really,” she trailed off, recalling her thoughts from earlier. “It felt so hard to breathe, like the air was denser. Here, however…” Anna paused, inhaling deeply and grinning at Mitch. “Here, I can really breathe.”

Mitch looked around as if seeing everything for the first time.

“Sometimes I forget to stop and look at this place. I forget how lucky we are.” He smiled nostalgically before shifting the conversation back to Anna.

“So, back to Gray Wing, what did you do in the pack?”

“A bit of everything, I guess. I was never assigned a role so I just…floated around. I mostly stayed in our family’s quarters and helped my parents.”

Anna shrugged one shoulder, looking away from Mitch’s curious expression.

From observing Silver River the past two days, she knew that what had happened to her at Gray Wing was abnormal.

Anna guessed that was also a big part of the reason she was feeling so out of place here and unsure of how to change it. She didn’t feel comfortable jumping into any job because she was scared of doing it wrong or stepping on someone’s toes.

“But you said you’re nineteen?”

Anna nodded. Mitch looked at her strangely before saying, “Fair enough. I guess every pack is different.”

The pair broke through the trees and into a large grassy clearing.

The trees had been cut down so that the tree line was in the shape of a semicircle.

In the middle of the clearing stood a large boulder, big and round with a lot of footholds.

Anna knew it was a climbing tool, having seen a bunch of pups playing on it earlier.

The entire area was surprisingly flat and green though it was right in front of a mountain, which stretched steeply upward.

The rock face was light gray and seemed almost smooth to the touch in places. Anna knew from touching it earlier how cold it would feel against her skin.

She looked upward, trying to see the peak of the mountain, but the sun was peeking out from behind it, making the sky too bright for Anna’s eyes.

Mitch strode toward the base of the mountain, seeming smaller the closer he got to the wall of gray.

Anna followed more slowly, her eyes taking in every detail around her as if it were her first time.

She imagined Alpha Phillip coming here and seeing the potential to create a home, and she was once again amazed at what he had created for his pack.

Eventually, she caught up to Mitch, who was standing in front of the cave entrances.

They were tucked right into the base of the mountain, veering steeply downward so that they were smaller in appearance and camouflaged against a rock.

If you didn’t know they were there, they would be almost impossible to see from a distance.

There were two entrances right next to each other and divided by a rock wall.

Anna knew that one led to where her quarters and all the domestic areas of the pack were, while the other led directly to the soldier training rooms and garages.

Everything was joined together farther back in the den, but she hadn’t managed to figure it all out yet.

She knew how to get to her room, the dining hall, and the exit. That was about it.

Mitch led Anna into the left entrance, both of them stepping carefully down the steep path until it began to level out.

The hallway had a cement floor and the walls were left natural, although the rock had been completely smoothed.

Round bulkhead lights lined the ceiling with small vents scattered between them—an air ventilation system that could disperse clean air and heat throughout the den.

Mitch led Anna eastward, toward the dining hall, and he pointed out important rooms and different hallways along the way.

Anna tried to keep up with what he was saying but knew that she was just as likely to get lost as before. They finally reached the dining hall, which was quickly filling up with people as dinner time drew close.

The room held around thirty tables, and along one side stood a large buffet-style serving table. Right next to it was a serving window that opened into the kitchen.

People wearing aprons were going back and forth through a door a few feet from the window, carrying large trays of food and setting them up on the buffet table.

Mitch led Anna to a table that already had six people sitting at it. He slapped his hand down firmly on the table surface to get their attention.

“Hey, guys,” he announced, pausing as he waited for everyone to turn and look at him. They glanced curiously at Anna as they did so.

“This is Anna, the transfer from Gray Wing. I told her I’d be her tour guide. Anna, this is Tori, Josh, Adrian, Lucy, and Piper.”

Mitch named each person at the table from left to right, pointing at them as he did. Anna gave a small wave, smiling at the table as a whole.

“I’m not going to remember any of that, but hi! Nice to meet you all.”

They all laughed before one person, who Anna guessed was Josh, invited Mitch and Anna to join them at the table.

Anna felt a spark of hope. This could be the beginning of making Silver River her home.

She had never felt this at Gray Wing, even though she had been born into the pack and had lived with them her entire life.

Silver River was her chance at a fresh start and, maybe, finally becoming a part of a real family.

She was distracted from her thoughts as she sat down and the woman on her right turned to her. “So, you’re from Gray Wing, huh?”

Anna looked at her, remembering that this woman had been introduced as Piper.

Piper had bright red hair pulled into a ponytail and expressive gray eyes. Her nose and cheeks were dusted with freckles. She was wearing the standard Silver River soldier uniform, a black polo shirt and black cargo pants.

“That’s right. It’s so different here compared to Gray Wing.”

“I know how that feels; I’m actually a transfer myself. I came here around a year ago. Dark Cloud was much smaller than Silver River, with only around fifty members in total.”

“Why did they let you transfer?” Anna asked in surprise.

“I didn’t give them a choice. My parents were killed in a territory battle with another pack, and I couldn’t stand being there with all the memories.”

Piper looked away, and Anna immediately regretted asking the question.

After a brief but tense pause, Piper looked back, clearly struggling to put the smile back on her face.

“So you’ve been here two days? Do you like it, even though it’s different?”

“It’s hard to say because I still don’t know where I fit into everything.” Anna shrugged. “I don’t have anything to do, and it feels strange just jumping in to help when nobody knows me.”

Piper’s brow furrowed. “Wait, you got here two days ago? And Zach… Tori, when did the alpha leave for his trip?”

Piper turned to a black-haired woman sitting at the other end of the table.

“Four days ago, I think. He should be back any day.” At the answer, Piper turned back to Anna, looking her over with concern.

“So, clearly, you haven’t been welcomed into the pack bond yet. So you’ve been without a pack for three days? Are you feeling all right?”

Anna blinked at Piper in confusion. “I’m not sure what you mean,” she said.

“Our head healer believes that when the mind severs the emotional ties with a pack by deciding to leave and then puts distance between themselves and the pack, the bond link is completely broken.

“I don’t know about other shifters, but wolf shifters need that bond because, without it, we can either go feral or get sick. I’m really shocked that they left you this long.”

“I am feeling a lack of energy,” Anna responded thoughtfully. “But Gray Wing had closed me off from the pack bond for so long that I haven’t really noticed any difference.”

Piper gaped, her mouth opening and closing several times before she exclaimed, “They blocked you?!”

Her loud voice drew curious glances from the rest of the table.

Anna made eye contact with Mitch, who raised an eyebrow in question, but Anna just smiled before turning back to Piper.

“It’s okay, Piper,” she said quietly, hoping that Piper would follow suit and lower her voice. “Don’t feel sorry for me. It was just a part of my life; I don’t even know what I was missing.”

Piper looked like she wanted to argue but then decided against it. She sat back in her chair, her eyes still firmly on Anna.

“Just know this, when you are welcomed into the pack and the pack bond, you’re in for a real shock. I got one just from coming from a pack a quarter of the size of Silver River.”

As she finished speaking, the person sitting on her other side said something and she turned away.

Anna was left sitting in silence, nervously wondering what Piper meant.

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