Serena never wanted to leave her home, but with her father aging and her brother years away from taking over as Beta, she is sent to her mother’s pack to finish her bachelor’s degree. There, she becomes embroiled in a conflict with rogue wolves—and even more dangerously, begins to fall for the pack’s unmated Alpha. Should Serena keep working to support the only home she’s ever known, or should she defend the one she’s found? Is there a way to help one without losing the other?
Age Rating: 18+ (Assault, Cheating, Extreme Violence/Gore, Tortue, Violent Death)
Book 1: The Beta’s Daughter
Serena stands in her father’s office, arms crossed over her chest. She wants nothing to do with what he is proposing.
“Please, Serena, hear me out,” Beta Gene says, leaning back in his chair with an exasperated look on his face. “This is a great opportunity for you. You were always a great student, so I don’t understand what you’re so hesitant about.”
This is the third time they are having this conversation, and her father’s mind is made up. The pack will pay for Serena to go to college in Montana, and then she will help run some of their businesses. No questions, no choices.
Still, she can’t help but protest. “Dad, I don’t want to go to college right now. I’m going to be twenty-one in less than a year; surely, I will find my mate here in our pack. I just know it.” She huffs and shifts her feet. “I don’t understand why I can’t be a warrior—that is a noble path, and I am a great fighter.”
Serena was born into the Half-Moon Pack to Gene and his mate, Trina. By the time she was ten, her parents had all but given up on having any more pups, and then they were surprised with Elijah. Happy that they had a male heir to take over as beta, Serena spent her adolescence set on becoming a warrior, intending to only help her father with his duties until Elijah was old enough to take over.
For the past two years, she has done college online, thinking that the alpha would find her associates in business and finance sufficient. Apparently, she was wrong. Alpha John is adamant about sending her away to get her bachelor’s because she was at the top of her high school class. His late father did a lot of damage to the pack’s businesses, so even though the pack isn’t currently struggling with money, he needs someone with brains to clean up the mess.
But Serena never wanted to leave the pack, never wanted to venture anywhere else. This is home.
“Serena, the arrangements have already been made. You will go to Montana. Your mother’s old pack has agreed to let you stay with your cousin Amanda; you’re the same age, and she is also going to school in Billings. It’s a good opportunity for you to get to know some of your mother’s relatives too—your grandparents are so excited to have you around for a couple years.”
“A couple of years?” Serena chokes out. She does not want to go away for that long; she’s excited to turn twenty-one and find her mate.
Serena has her eyes set on Alpha John’s son, Damien. They had always been great friends, growing up and training together until he was sent away for alpha training. He’ll be returning next year when he is twenty-two, and then he will also be looking for a mate.
Serena feels in her heart they are destined to be together, but her father and Alpha John don’t see it that way. They both think Serena isn’t being honest with herself, that she is setting herself up for heartbreak.
“Yes, Serena,” Gene says. “It will take two years for you to finish your degree. Just be glad you already did two years online—you won’t have to be away for so long… Anyway, this is for the best. Now, I suggest you run along to training; you’re already late.” Her father leans back in his chair, hands behind his head, and gives his daughter the look that says this conversation is over.
Serena knows that he feels bad about sending her away, but he always reminds her that everyone has to make sacrifices for the pack, his daughter included. After all, she is the beta’s firstborn, and since she made it clear she didn’t want his title passed down to her, she has to offer something more to the pack. And Alpha John is certain that with her intelligence, she can get the pack’s businesses back to their former glory.
Serena lets out an audible sigh. “Fine. I will get myself mentally prepared to go, since I have no choice.” She turns on her heel and walks out, just catching her father shaking his head as she slams the door behind her.
As she storms down the hallway, her mother catches her arm. “Serena, where are you off to so angry?”
Serena pauses, pushing the long, blonde locks she got from her mother back behind her ears. “Training—I’m late for training.” Before Trina can reply, she adds, “I’m not in the mood, Mom. Beta Gene is sending me away for school.”
Serena has a habit of referring to her father by his title when she is angry with him. Her fiery temperament is another thing she got from her mother.
Trina sighs and says, “Oh, honey, it’s going to be fine. Your father really wants what is best for you and the pack. This is not only a great opportunity for you, but you will also be able to give so much more to the pack. It’s important to remain useful, my dear.”
Serena stands tall and puffs up her chest. Despite looking a lot like her mother, at 5’9”, she is a good bit taller, and she takes full advantage of it. “I am already an asset to this pack; I am a great fighter.”
Trina strokes her daughter’s forearm. When she speaks, her soft voice is full of pride. “Oh, I know, Serena, but you are so much more than that. You can still be a warrior, but don’t forget that you have a brilliant mind too.” Seeing Serena pout, Trina continues, “I spoke to your grandfather. He will have your Uncle Milo continue your training while you are in Montana; he’s one of the best, you know. Now run along to training—take out that frustration there.”
Without another word, Serena’s mother walks toward Beta Gene’s office.
“Can you believe my father won’t even hear me out?” Serena complains to her best friend, Amara, as they walk from the training grounds to the locker room. Her eyes fill up with unshed tears. “They don’t care that I don’t want to leave the pack, that I don’t want to go away for school.”
Amara shakes her head and laughs. “Serena, it can’t be that bad. I hear Montana is beautiful. Besides, your mom is from there—don’t you want to see where she grew up, spend some time with your grandparents?”
Serena still isn’t sure. She’s never left their small town in the mountains of Colorado. She hasn’t even ventured into the human city, Denver. She’s been content staying away from all of that noise, but now she is about to go off to Billings—surrounded by humans half the time and thrown into her mother’s family for the rest. It sounds both scary and exciting.
Serena sighs and turns to look at her best friend, who is smiling. “Maybe you have some points. Maybe. But what about when Damien comes home next year? I won’t be here. We won’t know if we are mates. How can I wait another year when he’s already been gone for three? That’s five years I won’t get to see him.”
Amara just shakes her head. “Come on, Serena—you really believe he is your mate, right? If he is, he will wait for you. But what if he isn’t? I say, take this chance and run with it. Go out to Montana, train with your uncle, get to know your grandparents better, and learn whatever you can. When you come home, you will be that much stronger, and we will all be here. Besides, you can visit next summer, so it’s not technically two full years that you’ll be away.”
“I guess.” Now inside the locker room, Serena heads toward the shower stalls. “Let’s get cleaned up and then do some shopping. If I have to go live far away from friends and family, at least I should look good doing it.”
That makes Amara laugh. “Okay, that’s my girl. A little retail therapy.”
An hour later, they are walking down Main Street when Amara says, “Let’s go in here.” She tugs on Serena’s arm and pulls her into Le Boutique, a store that carries all the cutest pieces so that residents don’t have to go into the city to find what they want.
As they enter, the chimes on the door ring, and Carolyn comes out from the back. “Hey girls, what can I help you find today?”
“Serena here is heading up to the Ridge Mountain Pack for a bit, attending college in Billings. She needs some new clothes to make her feel better about being away from us.” Amara smiles and winks at the store owner.
Carolyn appears a little surprised at first; then a huge smile spreads across her face. “Ridge Mountain, huh? You’re one lucky lady. I hear the alpha up there is absolutely gorgeous, and at twenty-five, still hasn’t found his mate.”
Serena shuffles uncomfortably, “Um…yeah…I don’t care about that, to be honest. When I come home next summer, I will let you know if he’s all that, but I’m not going to ogle any alpha.”
Carolyn shrugs. “Suit yourself.”
The girls spend about an hour in the boutique, laughing and trying on clothes; Carolyn has just gotten a new shipment in, so there is plenty to choose from. In the end, Serena walks out with two pairs of jeans, a teal sweater that brings out the crystal blue of her eyes, and a few dressier outfits for school functions. She and Amara then make their way to a diner, where they plop down in a booth with their bags and order lunch.
“So, you don’t care about the hot alpha up at Blue Ridge, huh?” Amara asks while sipping her caramel latte.
Serena laughs. “Why would I? I told you, I’m hoping Damien is my mate. Besides, I’m there for school and training. I need to keep my focus so I can get home as soon as possible. Maybe, if I double up on classes, I can knock this degree out early and not be gone so long.” She taps her temple to show she is thinking.
Amara shrugs. “Okay. Well, I guess we will see.”
Just then, their waitress comes back to their table. “Hello, ladies, here are your burgers.” As she sets them down, the woman says, “I see you have done some shopping today. Looks like a lot—special occasion?”
Amara replies, “Yeah, Serena is going away to college up in Billings. You know, Mountain Ridge Pack.”
The waitress looks thoughtful for a second. “Oh yeah, I went up there two years ago. The alpha had some sort of gathering for all unmated wolves over the age of twenty-one. I guess he was trying to find his mate and luna, but he didn’t. He is one fine specimen, though; I would have loved to be his mate. Of course, that was before I found mine.”
As the waitress smiles and walks away, Serena glances at her best friend. Amara has a look on her face like she wants to say something, but before she can, Serena shakes her head. “Oh no, you don’t. Don’t even say a word.”
Amara just smiles, nods, and digs into her burger.