Lake Mavris has endured a rough few years. Rejected, cursed, and betrayed; she has been forced out of her home. Having the blood of both vampire and werewolf never struck up a point of concern until now... Her mate goes missing and Lake finds herself on the toughest road yet. This journey is one not to be taken lightly. And little does she know, the answer lies within her blood.
It happens when I’m leaving my school cafeteria one Friday.
I’m sick. Sick of my classmates glaring at me like I’m a monster. Sick of the whispers and dirty looks. Sick of feeling like I’ll be alone forever, like there’s something wrong with me.
I’m so ready to get out of school for the weekend and just go hunting with my brother Landon. We’ll turn into our wolves and gallop over our pack’s lands, finding something delicious to bring home to our family.
I’m lost in daydreams of it when I feel a tingling and stop dead in my tracks.
“Lake, what a beautiful name.”
I feel the tall figure behind me. His deep voice sends my mind into a frenzy.
My wolf wants to turn around and look at him but something is making me freeze.
My brother immediately bristles and turns to confront the newcomer. But I’m still rooted to the spot, my heart thundering in my chest.
“Hey, you’re that new exchange student, right?” some random girls ask him, giggling. He doesn’t respond.
My whole body is tingling now. My wolf Lynne claws at my insides. Something about the mysterious man is pulling her towards him. If there weren’t humans at my school, I’d probably just give in and become my wolf right here.
I force myself to calm down as my heart goes a mile a minute. Landon and the mystery man are still arguing, but I’m too lost in the sound of the man’s voice to hear what they’re saying.
I force myself to move. I put my hand on Landon’s back, silently telling him it’s okay. I turn around to look at the source of my butterflies.
And my heart skips a beat.
1: When is Enough, Enough?
One Week Ago
I stare at the girl in the mirror and can’t recognize who I see staring back at me.
The girl’s once bright emerald eyes are dull and devoid of any life. Saliva is dry across her left cheek, and her nose is red from crying so much.
The nightgown is ripped to shreds, while bruises form along her stomach and rib cage. Her hair is matted and oily due to lack of self-care.
A hot pain washes over me, and I scream in agony. My bones and muscles ache as my body slams on the floor. Tears flood my eyes as a pair of arms wraps gently around me.
My toes bend so tightly I can feel them pop. I curl up in a fetal position in the arms of my twin, Landon, and wail. My body contracts from the pain.
“He’s going to kill her!” I hear my mother’s muffled cries. “My baby…”
Landon tightens his grip around me, and I bury my face into his neck. My claws and canines extend.
“Don’t let her go, Landon,” my father commands. “Lynne is fighting her.”
My wolf, Lynne is wanting so desperately to emerge and rip apart that whore who took my mate from us.
My chest cracks as another wave of pain washes over me. I cling to Landon’s light T-shirt and bite my lower lip until it bleeds.
My eyes are closed tightly, and my face is strained. I can feel everything they’re doing.
And as on so many nights before this one, the pain fades as quickly as it appeared.
Lynne slowly brings herself back to reality and escapes to the back of my mind. She refuses to let me bear her pain too.
“It’s okay…” Landon smooths my hair out of my face. I just sit in his arms with nothing but a lump in the bottom of my throat.
“Why would he do this to me?” I ask, and my voice cracks. My face is devoid of emotion, and I just stare at the bathroom tile that’s slightly stained from the blood of my wounds.
“You have to stop this…,” my mother pleads to my father. “This isn’t how it was supposed to be.”
I let go of Landon and fall limply in his arms. He gladly supports my weight and rubs my shoulder.
“I don’t care how this is supposed to be,” my twin growls. “Lake needs us right now. That’s all that matters.”
After a while of convincing, I finally let Landon get me to my feet and help me back to my room. My parents stay behind to clean the mess up.
“Lake…,” Landon sighs as he sees my stomach. The bruises are more prominent tonight. Many are blue and dark purple, while others from earlier today are a yellow tint.
My twin removes my nightgown and replaces it with his own shirt. It’s loose enough to not irritate the additional cuts caused by my nails.
“Please…don’t leave me alone…,” I whisper as Landon pulls the blanket over me. He doesn’t say anything and sits down on the floor next to me.
I turn over and fall asleep to Landon humming lowly.
My eyelids flutter open and I check my phone. It’s 3 a.m. My eyes are too dried out to release anymore tears.
Every time I start to drift off to sleep, I see the look of disgust on my mate’s face and hear the distaste in his voice that night.
My brain keeps imagining what could have been and what should have happened when we met.
I would have been mated and marked by now. The current alpha and luna would have welcomed my family and me into the pack house.
There, my mate and I would have started our lives together, graduated, and been named the new alpha and luna.
But most importantly, I would have been happy and safe in bed with him.
I groan at the throbbing of my rib cage. A new symptom of my rejection has been constant anxiety and anxiety attacks.
The hyperventilating has caused my ribs to almost crack from the pressure of Lynne.
When we have symptoms, it’s not just the human body having them, it’s the wolf’s body as well.
Lynne has been trying to phase so that it’s easier for both of us at this point, but I keep refusing. Hence having almost three cracked ribs.
I still faintly smell his scent in the air, even if he’s nowhere near me. It smells of the forest and fresh rainfall.
The Moon Goddess and her Fates have told my mother to wait just a little longer. But I wonder how much longer I can hold this pain in.
I almost fall asleep on the way to school. My mate having his fun again last night felt like razor blades across my skin. My neck felt like it was going to close in on itself. A lot worse than usual.
I also had to cake the makeup on this morning again. These dark circles are making me look like a raccoon with rabies.
“You know,”—Landon parks the car in his usual spot—“I could still kick his ass.”
I give him a slight laugh and smile. My pain is apparent in the tone.
“Landon,” I breathe out, “I just want to get through the process. He can do what he wants, and I will do the same once I can finally get my beauty sleep two nights in a row.”
My brother rolls his eyes but chuckles at my attempt at a joke. It releases the tense knot in my chest that’s been brewing for the last couple of hours.
“Lake!” Riley runs up to me and engulfs me into a hug. I can’t help but smile and then laugh at my brother’s shocked face.
Riley takes notice. “What? She’s my best friend.”
“I never get that kind of reaction!” Landon’s face turns sour as he begins to pout. I roll my eyes at the lovebirds as Riley plants a big kiss on Landon’s cheek and snuggles her face into his neck.
Landon’s smile is priceless, but I can’t help but feel the dread and anxiousness that I know will come today.
Lynne is getting restless as Landon and I make our way to chemistry. I try to calm her as we round the corner, but as soon as we do, I regret it.
My eyes widen as I see my mate with his new one. His lips are curled into a smile, and she has her arms wrapped around his waist. They’re looking into each other’s eyes adoringly.
I can feel the crushing weight of Lynne’s anger and my sadness. My body begins to ache as they seem to kiss deeply in slow motion. My body goes cold and stiff, and Landon realizes it.
“Lake…” Landon tries to grab my hand, but I rip it away, my eyes still glued to the couple in front of me.
“You need to let me help you. There are too many people here. Let me drive you home, and you can go for a run.”
Suddenly, the rage my wolf is feeding me overshadows my sadness. My mate’s smile disappears when we make eye contact.
My hands begin to rip the straps of my backpack, and the girl in his arms looks my way as well.
“Oh, hey, Little Miss Rejected.” The girl smirks.
My brother growls, “Delilah, watch it.”
Lynne is starting to push through my barriers. She wants nothing more than to rip Delilah apart and ruin any memories our mate has of her.
“What?” Delilah snickers and kisses my mate’s cheek. He and I make stone-cold eye contact. Something swirls within those green eyes of his that makes my stomach churn.
“Everyone’s wondering the same thing. Why hasn’t she gone rogue and turned on everyone here?”
“Because she’s—” Before my brother can finish his sentence, I drop my backpack and bolt in the opposite direction of this situation. People move out of the way or I make them.
I can tell I’m on the verge of losing every sense of humanity if I stay here any longer.
I bust out the front entrance to the school and rush toward the forest.
My canines enlarge, and my claws come out. I’m not in my true wolf form, but enough to get a good run and tear down a tree or two.
It’s a full moon tonight. My body is shaking from the fight for control I had with Lynne.
It took almost all my strength for me to be able to return to the territory. Another two hours to muster up the courage to face my family. I know they must be so worried about me.
I’m six miles away from home. I need the space and fresh air.
Everywhere in the territory smells of my mate. Since his wolf will be the next alpha, he does a routine check of the borders surrounding the territory of my pack, Dark Moon.
Even six miles away, I can smell the delicious scent of him. Images of Delilah having her slimy hands around his waist this morning flash by my mind.
A pain makes itself known in my chest once again.
I grip my shirt tightly and look up at the moon, the beautiful moon I’ve loved for eighteen years of my life.
I would always come outside during the night and just watch the moon. My mother would always scold me for falling asleep outside and ground me for a day or two.
When I had my first shift, that’s all I would do. Sleep outside in grass or underneath the tree canopy in a nest Lynne made to insulate warmth for the winter.
My mother stopped fighting me about it after Lynne showed up in my life. Mostly because I would do it either way, so she just gave up.
I sigh and look at the ground. Pain is all I can think of. The pain of losing the one I’m destined for and who I was destined to become.
Tears finally fall. I can’t hold it in anymore. Everything from the past couple of weeks has built up so that I’ve almost demolished an entire valley of trees.
“I know you said this would pass…,” I whisper and look at the moon again. The home of our goddess and her Fates.
“But… How long are you going to let this happen?!” My words are laced with my pain and anger.
I hold the left side of my neck. It’s been burning since the sun set.
The burning of my neck only increases, and I begin to scream and fall to my knees. My skin is searing hot. It feels like I’m being branded with a white-hot iron.
Lynne’s pain floods my senses all at once. My rage, pain, sadness, and just pure helplessness rush into my head simultaneously. My body aches and my joints stiffen.
The mate’s bond is punishing me. The Moon Goddess’s gift is punishing me. The Fates’ destiny is punishing me. My own wolf is punishing me.
Suddenly I can’t take anymore and my body collapses. I begin to hyperventilate, but my eyes want to shut.
Just when I can’t keep them open any longer, the trees rustle nearby. I try to shake myself into a defensive posture, but it’s hopeless. I need to sleep.
As I sink to my knees, eyes blurry, a figure steps calmly out of the trees and watches me.
I catch a glimpse of rippling muscles. Messy hair. Glittering gray eyes.
And then my vision goes dark.