I knew it was a mistake to get involved with someone who might not be my mate…but when the truth comes out and my boyfriend discovers his true mate isn’t me, what’s a girl to do but go out and find a rebound? One night of passion is supposed to be the end of it, so why can’t I stop thinking about that sexy, brooding warrior wolf who rocked my world? Could there be more to this than a one night stand?
Tears poured down my cheeks as I failed to hold back the sobs. My heart was breaking. I’d always known this would happen, but I’d never thought it would be like this.
Priya stirred in my head. My wolf and I were always connected, so her silence left me even more upset. She’d told me not to get so involved with him, but I hadn’t listened.
I’d fallen in love with someone I shouldn’t have, and he was going to be mated with someone else.
Liam and I had been together for two years. At first it was just sex, but I realized I was catching more feelings for him over time. Stupidly, I’d thought he felt the same, and I’d thought that meant something special.
The dreaded word had always loomed over us. Mate. We’d even talked about it. What it would be like to live together. Raise pups together.
How it would feel to be happy.
Liam had told me he wanted us to be mates. Maybe he’d even meant it. But today was his twenty-first birthday, and everything had changed.
The day started out with Liam coming to collect me from my home. We’d planned to have breakfast in the pack house to celebrate his milestone birthday.
I’d taken the time to wear the dress I knew he liked best. To do my hair and makeup. I wanted everything to be perfect.
I should’ve sensed the change in him the moment he picked me up. Our conversation on the way to the pack house was stilted. Nothing like the hours we’d spent talking in bed.
As soon as we got there, Liam suddenly became agitated and kept looking around. Excitement and anxiety warred in my stomach with anticipation. I knew today would be hard, but that had never stopped me from thinking it would be me.
I’d been so, so unbelievably wrong.
“Mate.” He said the word out of nowhere, making me shudder as I followed his gaze.
His eyes were on something ahead of us. There was a beautiful woman with brown hair mouthing the same word.
Everything crumbled inside me as Liam walked over to her and kissed her.
I felt every part of my heart shatter as I watched it unfold. It was like watching it in slow motion. I knew many people were looking on, and many eyes were on me. All I could do was keep my head up and my shoulders straight.
Everyone knew of our status and knew what we’d been doing. In addition to my heartbreak, I had to face the humiliation of knowing everyone was witnessing him choosing someone else over me.
Some condemned me for being intimate with someone who hadn’t committed to me as his mate. Some others sent waves of commiseration toward me. Some were happy for Liam and his new mate, and some didn’t care at all.
Me? I didn’t hang around to wait for a confrontation. I didn’t care to hear any explanations from him. I’d spent two years giving Liam my body and my heart, and he’d thrown me away like I’d meant nothing.
I would never get over this.
I spirited off and headed toward my favorite spot in the forest. I thought I’d throw myself down and sob, maybe pound the dirt with my fists, but all I could do was stare ahead.
At last, Priya stirred in my head. She wanted to talk, but I ignored her.
I could feel my parents and brother trying to mind-link me, but I ignored them too. They loved me, but I wasn’t ready to share my embarrassment with them. All I could do was try to get my feelings under control.
A shiver rippled over me as a slight breeze sent goosebumps over my arms. A scent wafted toward me, and I knew who it was. I didn’t move when she sat beside me.
Ruby, my best friend, sat down and waited for a minute or two before speaking.
“I’m sorry, Sam,” she murmured, making me look back at her.
Her sympathetic green eyes met mine. A good best friend is one who can tell you when you’ve been an idiot…but loves and supports you anyway.
“It’s okay,” I said. “Priya warned me, but I didn’t listen. I should have stopped when I realized I had feelings for him.”
“I hate being right,” she muttered, shaking her head.
“Our mate will be here soon, but we must have some fun,” Priya whispered in my head .
“I don’t know if I can do that,” I replied, looking back at the water.
“I feel so stupid,” I whispered out loud. “I knew it was wrong, but it also felt right.”
“I know,” Ruby said, placing her hand in mine and squeezing.
I leaned my head on her shoulder as I watched the water rushing along. I wished I could rush along with it, far away from here.
“What do I do now?” I asked as a lone tear came.
Ruby said nothing for a moment.
“I know you don’t want to be around here tonight,” she said. “We all know when people find their mates, the pack holds a gathering for them to celebrate.”
I forgot about that.
“I can’t…” I said, moving my head from her shoulder.
I knew all too well what Ruby’s look meant. It was the one she would give to people who needed it. It was never full of pity, but it was more along the lines that she had you and would be there for you, no matter what.
“I know,” she said. “I was wondering if you wanted to go out tonight.”
I thought about it. There was no way I could face a celebration for Liam and his mate, the one who wasn’t me. But what else would I be up for?
“Where to?” I asked.
The corners of Ruby’s mouth hitched up slightly into a smile.
“We could go into the human town,” she said. “There will be no shifters or anything. We could have a dance and burn off some steam. Get your mind off him.”
I liked that idea.
“Even try to find someone for you to get under,” she said with a wicked little grin that reminded me of why we’d been besties for so long.
Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said. “That’s what got me into this position in the first place. I can’t be with anyone new.”
Ruby groaned. “Not what I meant. A one-night stand, that’s what I suggest. To get Liam out of your head.”
My eyes went wide.
“A one-night stand,” I murmured. “I don’t know.”
Priya moved in my head, and I focused my mind on her. Her look of approval came as a surprise. She’d warned me off getting in so deep with Liam, but now she was going to encourage me to sleep with someone randomly?
“Ruby is right. And I would like to fuck someone better in bed.”
I had no response to that.
“Our mate will be better. Trust me. You only went out with Liam to get laid at the start, which turned into something else. I can guarantee there will be someone better than him, probably until our mate comes along.”
“Priya!” I was stunned.
She was being so crude!
It wasn’t fair, but she-wolves who had one-night stands got labled as sluts. Males, of course, got praised for having as many notches in their bedposts as they could get.
Nobody seemed to take into consideration that they couldn’t get those notches without willing participants!
Ruby gave me a curious look. “Did Priya agree with me?”
I said nothing but nodded.
Priya yipped and pranced.
“Great,” Ruby said. “Let’s go back to your house to grab some clothes, and we can get ready at my house.”
I didn’t want to return to my house, as everyone would be smothering me with concern, and that’s not what I wanted. I didn’t think I could bear their sympathy or silent judgment.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “I don’t want to go home.”
Ruby’s expression softened. “Okay. Mind-link your mum to tell her what we’re doing, and we can go straight to mine.”
Her lips hitched up again. “I have the perfect dress for you!”
I bit my lower lip. I loved Ruby. She was my bestie, close as a sister. I knew she had my best interests in mind. But Ruby loved wearing revealing clothes, and it worried me when she said things like that.
I opened a mind-link to my mum.
“Sam, my love. I’m so sorry.”
My heart clenched again, but I forced myself to sound calm.
“I’m okay,” I lied.
“You will be. I know you felt something for him, but you can get over him.”
Mum always had my back.
“Thanks, Mum. I’d like to go out with Ruby tonight. Away from the pack house. I can’t see them together.”
“Of course. Don’t worry about it. I will deal with your father and brother. You need a girl’s night.”
I felt slightly better knowing my mum was okay with it.
“You’ll find someone who will make you forget that Liam. It wouldn’t be long, honey. Your mate will find you, and you will be happy again .”
Oh my Goddess!
I didn’t need to listen to my mum telling me what Priya and Ruby had already suggested. I cleared my throat.
“I’ll get ready at Ruby’s house. I don’t want people judging me.”
Mum’s voice growled through the mind-link. “Don’t worry about them. Most of the pack do much worse things than this, and I would happily put them in their place if they opened their mouth.”
“Thanks, Mum. Ruby will lend me something to wear.”
My mum giggled. “Oh, please send me a picture. I want to see what she puts on you.”
My cheeks heated.
I said goodbye to my mum and saw Ruby, who was grinning.
“Mum okay with you being at mine? Mine is there, and she knows what you are going through. She already got food and drinks ready for us.”
I nodded, feeling slightly happier than I’d been.
Priya moved back. She was settling down and preparing for the night’s events.
“Yeah, my mum is okay with me going,” I said. “She wants a picture of what outfit you get me in.”
“Oh, she knows me so well,” she said, standing up and offering me her hand.
I smiled and took it as I got up.
“Let’s go,” she said. She pointed away from the path that we’d usually go to her house. “We can head that way, away from all pack members.”
I nodded. I didn’t want to see anyone, especially not Liam. Ruby grabbed my arm and guided me through the forest to her house.
I needed to get away from here.
Maybe a night of dancing and drinking would help.
It certainly couldn’t end up any worse than the entire day had already been.