Addison Jennings is happy with her life, teaching and living with her pack. She isn't searching for a mate, but fate brings her one. Alpha Slade Black has a history that broke him. He isn't ready for a mate, but he has one now. At her new pack house, Addison tries to make the best out of her new position as luna as Slade tries to fight his growing feelings for Addison.
Age Rating: 18+
“Do I seriously have to go to this?” I asked my mom as I looked myself up and down in the mirror in front of me.
My mom was bustling around the room in her cream beaded gown, cleaning what was already mostly clean.
“Don’t fight it, babe. You’re going,” my mom replied as she finally stopped to sit on the bed.
I had been fighting this party all week. There was nothing I wanted to do less than go to some stuffy party while my dad tried to sweet-talk some visiting alpha.
Our pack was small. Our numbers had died down a lot, and I could tell that Dad was worried, but I didn’t know how much.
Last year, there was a big border dispute with another pack, and it had really taken its toll. We had lost most of our protectors, and the pack was struggling to stay afloat.
It still didn’t mean I wanted to be sucked into this party. It wasn’t the fun kind where the pack loosened up and had some fun.
It was the kind of party with passed hors d’oeuvres and music that would put you to sleep. And yet there I was, standing in front of a mirror, looking all formal and slightly irritated.
Mom had gone shopping and grabbed me a new dress, and as I stood in front of the mirror, I couldn’t stay mad at her. Mom had impeccable taste, even on a budget. I had become a thrifting queen as well.
But I knew this dress wasn’t from a thrift store. It was a long, flowy, navy-blue chiffon dress. It gathered over one shoulder and twisted under my bust, emphasizing all the right places.
I never thought I was particularly beautiful. I wasn’t bad on the eyes, but I wasn’t exactly the kind to receive a lot of attention.
But I had to admit, I was feeling good about myself. Navy was my favorite color, partly because I liked the way I looked in it.
And it was then when my wolf commented. “OF COURSE you’re feeling good, girl, we look amazing.”
I gave a good chuckle.
My mom had taken my dark-brown hair and put it in a gorgeous waterfall braid and curled it, letting it flow around my shoulders.
My makeup was simple but elegant: some light foundation, a light smoky eye in a shade that made my turquoise eyes pop, and a nude lipstick.
My mom, Leah, ever the bustling luna, had been scuttling around all day with preparations for the event.
But she always made time for me—to have some girl time to get ready together. I appreciated that time with her.
All of my teenage years, I had dreamed about leaving home and adventuring on my own. I graduated high school early, and when I was accepted into a good school in Washington, I took my chance.
I had loved college, but when I graduated with my teaching degree, all I wanted to do was go home to the pack in Montana. And so I came home, where I enjoyed being a substitute teacher at the local school.
Third grade was chaos, but I loved every single minute of it. Plus, my income helped a bit around the pack.
I didn’t technically need to work. As the alpha’s daughter, I could just live at home in the pack house until I found a mate.
But the little feminist inside me wasn’t about to spend my days sitting around waiting for some guy who may or may not show up to sweep me off my feet.
There was a knock at the door, and I turned to hear a loud whistle. It wasn’t aimed at me, though.
“What are you trying to do to me, woman?” my dad, Alpha Max, exclaimed as he walked up to his mate, planting a kiss on her lips as my mom laughed at him.
They were cute in a gross, PDA sort of way. But I loved how much they loved each other, even after being together for almost thirty years.
“Oh, Addie, sorry, I didn’t see you there.” My dad smirked. “But you look gorgeous too, sweetheart.” He turned back to my mom. “You both do!”
She blushed and smacked his arm.
It was then that my older brother Jack walked in.
“Damn, girl! We’re going to have to fight them off you!”
I laughed. “Oh shut up, Jack.”
My brother Jack was three years older than me, and we were best friends. But we didn’t spend as much time together as we used to. He had met his mate Michelle three years ago, and so he had moved out of the pack house.
“Where’s Michelle?” my mom asked.
“Downstairs.” Jack’s eyes widened. “She was not about to make it up here.”
We all gave a light giggle. Michelle was due any day now. The poor girl was tired, swollen, and miserable.
“We should head down. Everyone will start arriving soon. And I need to check in on the food and everything,” my mom said, and we all started walking down the hall.
The pack house wasn’t the fanciest. But it was nice, and it was home. It was a three-story mountain home with wood paneling on the outside and a big wraparound porch that looked over the lake in the back.
Inside, it was bright. The walls were all a warm cream color that stood out against the brown hardwood floors.
At the entrance, there was a large staircase that went up to the second and third floors. On the other side was a set of French doors that led to a decent-sized ballroom used for events and pack meetings in the winter.
The rest of the first level was the common area. It had an entertainment area with a large TV, video games, board games, pool, and foosball.
The back wall was lined with books of every kind. I used to sit all day on the comfy, oversized sectional there and read.
Across from the entertainment room was the kitchen. Gray cabinets and white quartz countertops lined the back wall, with a large island in front of it with stools lining one side.
The large fridge and pantry held enough food to feed an army, and the industrial-sized stove was big enough to cook for one hundred. Next to the kitchen was a dining table built to seat twenty-five.
Out back on the porch were lounge chairs and tables for hanging out. Upstairs on the second level were the pack offices used by my dad and the other leaders of the pack.
And the third floor was the living quarters for the alpha and his family. With three bedrooms, three baths, a comfortable living area, and a small kitchen, it was a nice place to live.
As I walked with my family down the stairs to the common area, I could hear the bustling of staff as they put the finishing touches on tonight’s party.
Mom hurried off to the kitchen where she spoke with the servers and then disappeared to do whatever else.
My father, Jack, and I walked into the ballroom, taking a deep breath and preparing ourselves for the coming evening.
I was in the back seat of the dark SUV, looking out the window at the dark trees lining the sides of the road.
Where the hell am I? I thought to myself.
The pack I was going to visit was out in the middle of nowhere in the mountains of Montana. My pack was from the east of the state where it was more open and not so claustrophobic.
My beta, Sam, had come along and was talking some nonsense I wasn’t even listening to. The only reason I was driving out here was because Alpha Max had been good friends with my father before he died.
I pulled on my tie. There was nothing I wanted to do less than go to an event. My wolf was feeling the same as he muttered about doing literally anything else.
And so I continued to stare out the window for what seemed like an eternity.
“We are here, Alpha.”
I snapped my head up to where Sam was looking. As we drove up the road, I could see the lights of cabins in the distance.
And overlooking the lake, I saw the pack house, which seemed to be teeming with lights and people.
The SUV pulled up, and Alpha Max and Luna Leah were standing by the front door, welcoming members of the pack.
I stepped out, and there was a bit of a hush. It was time to put on my smile and play my part. Max smiled as he reached out to me for a firm but warm handshake.
“Alpha Slade, it is so good to see you! How have you been, my boy?”
Although I didn’t want to be there, I couldn’t deny I liked Max Jennings. He was always kind and even came out to the funeral when my dad had passed.
“Alpha Max, great to see you too.” I smiled, but that was all I offered.
Alpha Slade Black was known to be a bit of a cold, distant wolf, something I used to my advantage. It made wolves intimidated by my presence and less likely to bother me with stupid things.
But Max brought out a bit of kindness in me, and I had to watch myself.
I was trying not to judge, this was a bit more wilderness than I was used to. It was a comfortable home, but not the elegance I was used to.
And I could tell the formal event was a bit out of the rest of the pack’s comfort zone. As I was ushered into the ballroom, I looked around. It wasn’t the classiest event I had been to.
White tablecloths, twinkly lights, quiet music, and some form of bite-sized food being passed around on trays. I made my way to the bar, and after grabbing a drink, I turned to watch the party.
I could tell Max and Leah were enjoying themselves, but I was here for a reason, and I knew the sooner we got down to business, the sooner I could leave.
I walked up to Max. “Alpha, do you mind if we pull away and talk some business?”
Max looked up. “Of course. Leah, would you like to join us?”
I internally rolled my eyes. These alphas were always including their mates, usually to bring the emotion in to help convince the other to help.
“No, you two talk it out. I’ll see you later,” his luna said sweetly as she gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
Max smiled at her and turned to me. “Okay, let’s talk.”
As we walked into Max’s office, he motioned to the chair. “Please, sit,” he said before taking the one next to it. I sat down, unsure of what the alpha wanted, but the air had gotten thick.
“As you know, our pack has had some difficulties in the past with border disputes. It has left us a bit low on support in terms of protection,” Alpha Max began.
After a long talk about the boundary conflicts and such, we had agreed on how to make an effective alliance with each other, and we decided to head back down.
As we walked back into the ballroom, I could see the luna not far off, and we both walked over.
“Hey!” she said as Max put his hand on the small of her back. It was sweet, but I shook the thought out of my head.
I wasn’t all that interested in having a mate. I had been hurt and had no desire to ever be in that situation again.
But as I had that thought, I was surrounded by the most amazing aroma of lavender. I was a bit distracted for a minute until I heard Luna Leah speak my name.
“Alpha Slade, have you met our daughter, Addison, yet?” And as I turned to her, I saw the woman standing next to the luna.
Our eyes met, and we both knew.