Nichole Smith has been waiting for years in search of her mate. Until one fateful night at a party, for better or for worse, she finds him—Hunter Remington. This Alpha of the Midnight Moon pack with his beautiful blue eyes and alluring smell draws her close. Both of them are overpowered by the strong bond they share, but Hunter refuses to submit to it. He rejects her. A pained Nichole returns to a life from which she would never be able to dislodge Hunter’s shadow. A life where another set of bright blue eyes await her. Delve into the world of werewolves with this story about love and loss.
Age Rating: 18+
“Please come to the party? Pretty please with a cherry on top?” my best friend, Becky, says. She kneels in front of me on the floor, giving me her famous puppy dog eyes.
“I don’t even like cherries,” I reply, laughing at her small form. Becky’s light brown hair falls in curls around her shoulders, and her blue eyes shine with excitement.
“I know, but I’ll do anything to get you to go!” she says, throwing her hands in the air.
I chuckle, rolling my eyes and heading for the bathroom.
As much as I don’t want to go, a little socializing has always been a helpful stress reliever throughout medical school.
I’m in my last year of a grueling program at my exclusive, werewolves-only college. You think regular medical school is hard—try studying lycanthropic medicine. It’s the equivalent of getting a medical and a veterinary degree in one. Double the body types, double the classes.
Since I’ve been in college so long, I never got around to moving out of the Shadow Creek house, where my entire pack lives. This last semester, I cleared out my dorm room and moved home to save some money.
After showering, I throw on a pair of ripped skinny jeans, a red tank top, a leather jacket, and black knee-high leather boots.
When I head downstairs, I find Becky lounging on the couch, talking with my parents.
Any hope I have of making a quick exit with Becky dies when my mother startles at the sight of me.
“Nichole Ann Smith! Why do you have no makeup on?” my mother says, standing up and ushering me back upstairs and into my room.
“Mom, you know I don’t wear makeup that much. I always mess it up anyways.”
Ignoring me, she sits me down and launches into a whirlwind of beautification. After what feels like hours later, she finally allows me to look in the mirror.
I have to admit that even a small amount of makeup goes a long way.
The girl in front of me doesn’t seem like her usual shy, nerdy self but someone who’s outgoing and fierce.
“Thanks, Mom,” I say, wrapping my arms around her.
When we return downstairs, my father glances up from his newspaper with a wink. My father is the second in command, Shadow Creek’s beta wolf.
I look over to find that Becky has found my mom’s famous brownies.
A clear of the throat has Becky jumping up from the recliner as crumbs fall down her body.
She drags me out the door, but not before saying, “Bye Mr. and Mrs. Smith! We will be good, also Nikki is sleeping at mine tonight!
“And sorry about the mess!”
The drive to Andrew’s house is short thanks to Becky’s reckless driving. Andrew doesn’t live at the Shadow Creek house, but he’s still a vital member of my pack.
“I’m so glad you’re coming,” Becky gushes. “It wouldn’t be a proper celebration for Andrew without you!”
I smile, though I’m still white-knuckling my seat as Becky swerves a hard right turn. I swear this girl thinks she’s in Grand Theft Auto or something.
“It’s just so unreal that Andrew has found his mate already!” she continues.
“Yeah, he seems so happy with Caitlyn,” I reply, but my stomach feels like lead.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for my childhood friend and his mate—it’s just the thought of finding your other half, and sticking with them for life.
I’m not ready for that.
I’m only twenty-four, the same age as Becky and Andrew. We have all known each other since middle school.
I secretly thought Becky and Andrew would end up being mates when they turned eighteen, but turns out we’re all better as friends anyway.
Before the age of eighteen, werewolves don’t feel the pull toward their mate, or anything really, since we don’t shift into our full wolf form until then.
Only those with alpha blood shift at a young age in order to prepare for leading a pack.
The pack bond is a strong one, keeping werewolves like me in a tight community: kind of like an extended family.
As Becky and I enter the party at Andrew’s, lots of yelling and banging can be heard coming from further into the house.
We share a worried look before charging inside and crashing through the kitchen two-way door.
The scene in the kitchen is bedlam: Andrew runs around cursing, trying to cook and prepare all the food for the party.
A ridiculous hot pink apron hanging around his neck that says, ‘kiss the cook’.” Caitlyn sits off to the side smirking and taking pictures on her iPhone.
Laughing, we join her at the table, watching Andrew suffer.
“He must have done something really dumb, huh?” I ask, nodding to my friend as he panics over a half-garnished tray of margaritas.
“He was making some macho comments about how he can cook better than me even if he’s in his wolf form, so I refused to cook the food for the party,” she says, smiling proudly.
Bursting out in laughter once again, we share high-fives with her as Andrew shoots glares toward us.
“I said I feel so lucky to get to be the one to cook for you for the rest of our lives—I didn’t mean it as an insult!” he says pouting.
Caitlyn gets up and kisses his cheek before taking the tray and pushing him aside.
“I’ll stay in here and help Caitlyn, why don’t you two finish everything else?” Becky says standing to go cut up the vegetables.
Nodding, I follow Andrew to the wine cellar.
I watch him take down several dusty bottles of scotch and whiskey, remembering how young we were when we first became friends.
“How did you know Caitlyn was your mate?” I ask, trying not to sound as shy about it as I feel.
Andrew glances up with a keen look.
“It’s just…a feeling. I don’t know.” A flush climbs his neck and he gets a little smile. “My wolf took over my brain the minute I locked eyes with her and I just knew.”
“It sounds so easy,” I murmur, running my fingertips over the fancy wine bottles.
“Nikki,” Andrew says in a strange voice.
I look up at him, every hair on my body standing at attention.
“Nothing about having a mate is easy,” he says.
I feel his words in the pit of my stomach, but I can’t think of a reply.
Finally, after we’ve finished the preparations and are all relaxing on the couch, the doorbell rings.
“Party time, bitches!” Andrew yells. Caitlyn smacks him on the arm, and he laughs, hitting the button on the stereo remote.
Music blasts all throughout the house, and I laugh at the song choice: Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”
Why do I get the feeling Andrew has resigned himself to a life of sheepish apologies? Is that what love is?
Andrew opens the door and people start piling in: werewolves from various packs, and even a few humans who’ve overheard about the party.
Becky and I grab our previously picked out alcoholic drinks for the night, which consists of two bottles of vodka. One for each of us.
We open our bottles and clink them together.
“To a good night. Cheers.”