“Ava, your ass better be up!” my father, Alpha James, yells from outside my door.
Before I can move, my door handle is shaken off as he yanks my cracked wooden door off the hinges, breaking part of the wall in the process.
He stands there staring at me, his dark emerald eyes filled with anger. All I can do is bow my head in submission to save myself from being hit. But I know it doesn’t work—it never has.
My father yells inches away from my face.
“Why haven’t you started cooking? The pack is hungry, and the warriors just got back from battle. Don’t you think they deserve a meal in thanks? Or are you stupid enough to think that the omegas will do it?”
My father is a large man, standing six foot seven, very muscular, and his voice demands attention. He is not a man you’d want to piss off.
But somehow, even my existence pisses him off. I never understood why, though.
“I’m sorry, Alpha,” I whisper, barely able to speak. “I didn’t know they had returned yet. I’ll go down now and prepare a feast in their honor.”
My eyes stay fixed on my bare feet, avoiding his deadly gaze. I know not to look at him when speaking. That’s just asking to be hurt.
“I expect nothing less. I want it done before seven tonight. I do not want anyone seeing you, and I don’t want to hear a word from anyone in this pack that you spoke to them. Do you understand?”
My father stares at me, waiting for me to show that I understand him. I nod my head as I dust off my long-sleeve top—it’s covered in dirt and dried blood.
I get up when I hear my father walk away and begin to walk through my room. If you can even call it that.
It only has a pillow thrown on the floor with one blanket laid under it and a small box of clothes given to me by the omegas. Three shirts and two pairs of pants.
I have no shoes. They would never grant me such luxury.
As I exit my room, I hear the wolves from my pack playing games and joking around. I hear a few insults about me, which is nothing new. I’ve been treated like this since I was eight.
My brother notices me coming down the stairs but looks at me with disgust and turns his head to start making out with a random she-wolf. I make my way past the group and enter our kitchen.
No one is allowed to help me anymore. The omegas were strictly told that if they help me they will be punished or killed.
When my sister saw how much I got along with them and how they cared for me, I was beaten to the point I couldn’t even walk. The omegas looked terrified, as if I were going to be killed in front of them.
I lay on the floor bleeding for hours before I had enough strength to lift my head. I made my way up the stairs by crawling on my stomach, but if I’d stayed there, I would have died.
It took all my strength, but I managed to get into my room and curl up into a ball on the floor by the only window I have. It has a big crack in it and you can barely see through it.
That night I lay there—body trembling, no blanket, freezing and losing blood at an alarming rate—wondering why my family hated me so much for being born.
It took hours for my body to stop the bleeding since I was severely underweight.
I stand in the massive kitchen and look around.
It’s full of everything one could need: four fridges and three chest freezers, cabinets filled with every seasoning and spice you could think of, a storage closet full of equipment to aid me in prep.
I look into the first fridge and grab an armful of vegetables and fruits, then place them on a counter by the sink. As I wash them off, I turn to look at a bunch of wolves outside the kitchen window.
The children, running and playing a game of tag, make me smile. They’re as free as they can be.
Once I finish washing and prepping the veggies, I place some into the oven to bake and others into boiling water to cook.
I start to slice and season different cuts of pig—each one with different combinations of seasonings to ensure no one complains about them tasting the same.
Lost in my thoughts, I cut my hand on my knife. I rush to the sink and run my hand under the water as I look around for something to stop the blood flow.
I scan the drawer under the sink, grab a towel, and wrap it tightly around my hand. I wash all the blood off the counter and floor before continuing the meal.
After three hours of cooking, I’m finally finished. Walking over to the dining hall carrying the trays of food takes several trips.
I go back to the kitchen and start grabbing different types of drinks, from water to homemade herbal teas to moonshine.
Once it’s all loaded, I open the hall for everyone to file in. I stand at the end of the serving table in case anyone needs me—usually the children, who need help getting drinks or making a plate.
This is the only time of day I feel any sort of relief. When everyone is eating, no one is bothering me about doing stuff for them. They’re all in their own world, only needing me to refill drink containers.
I’m not allowed to eat with the pack, and I can only eat the scraps given to me once I’m done with everything. It usually isn’t much, but I’ve learned to be thankful that it’s anything at all.
Because some nights I won’t get to eat.
“I need everyone’s attention!” my father says, standing at the head of his table. My mom is seated on one side of him and my brother is on the other. Everyone becomes silent and fixes their eyes on him.
“I would like to raise a toast in honor of our warriors! They have not only come home safe but have given us new land!” He raises a full cup, a large smile on his face.
Everyone joins in raising their cups while the pups bounce and clap.
“We also have other reasons to celebrate. My daughter, Crystal, has found her mate, Beta Louis from the Treetop Pack!” He looks around as everyone cheers and claps.
My mother, Luna Amber, stands. “They’ll be returning here tomorrow to consummate their union and fully form their bond. During this time we’ll be holding our spring festival. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the festivities.”
She has tears of pride in her eyes.
My sister is someone the pack treats with the utmost respect. She’s very spoiled and never gets in trouble. When she bullies the other females in the pack, they all turn a blind eye because she’s the alpha’s daughter.
Crystal hasn’t been trained for luna duties or to defend herself—it’s expected that others will do these things for her. She’s never had to cook or clean anything.
She doesn’t even get herself dressed. She has servants for that. They pick out her outfits, run her bath, put on her clothes, and do her hair and makeup.
My heart pounds as I stand by the serving table. Something’s wrong. My head begins to spin and my legs want to give out.
But I can’t allow them to or else the pack will take it as disrespect and lash me for it. I hold my breath, tears filling my eyes.
Everyone sits back down to finish their meal. I take a deep breath, put on a fake smile, and try not to draw attention to myself.
After what feels like hours, the dining hall clears.
My body is burning and my throat feels like someone has grabbed and crushed it. Nothing but pain fills me.
I rush through the dishes so I can get to my room and lie down, but my mother stops me on my way out of the kitchen.
“I expect you to have the house spotless tomorrow,” she states, looking at me with dead eyes. “Your sister and her mate should arrive sometime in the afternoon. The Treetop’s alpha will be here as well.
“Stay on your best behavior. Go to the gardens before sunrise to pick fresh flowers for the house.”
I just simply nod and bow my way out the room.
I walk as fast as I can without getting in trouble. Everyone should be asleep by now. I make it to my doorway and am reminded what my father did to it. I walk to the window, stripping my clothes off, and take a deep breath.
My naked body is illuminated by the moon in the sky, but my long, thick red hair covers my breasts, stopping just under them.
I look out at the gardens and see someone looking up at me. I watch them as they watch me, both of us puzzled by the sight in front of us, when I hear steps behind me.
“To what do I owe this view?” a deep voice says.
I turn to see a man in sweatpants looking at me hungrily. I try not to panic and watch him warily. I’ve never seen him before, but I can tell he’s one of the warriors by his tattoos.
“Oh, you’re the quiet type. My favorite—until I have you screaming my name.” His eyes are black with lust.
He walks closer to me, like a wolf stalking its prey. I know what’s coming and I can’t stop him. He lays me down on the ground, forcing his lips onto mine, his weight fully on top of my chest as he runs his hand down my stomach.
I hold back the tears welling up in my eyes.
“Goddess, you’re so beautiful,” he says as his lips trail my neck. I’ll give you the best night of your life. You’ll be begging me for more next time.”
I want to vomit as his hands wander over my body. He gets off me to stand and strip his pants and boxers off, exposing his large, throbbing cock.
He grabs me by my hair and forces me to my knees. He looks down at me, grabbing my chin and staring into my violet eyes as my tears flow down my face.
“Open your mouth,” he barks at me.
I can’t do it. I may be used to beatings and abuse, but the men usually stay away from me like the plague. It has happened before though. Twice growing up I was assaulted.
Both times I couldn’t say a word of what happened—I would’ve been beaten for lying. And even if my father believed me, he wouldn’t care. He’d think I deserved it.
I look up at him with pleading eyes, but he forces his hand into my mouth then shoves his cock in. His head drops back as he puts his hand on the back of my head and thrusts himself in and out my mouth.
He growls from his chest, enjoying this. Looking back down at me, he speeds up, growling at each stroke. Ignoring my crying, he holds my face against him, making me gasp for air once he releases me.
He pushes me back to the ground and assaults me.
After hours of abuse, he looks at me and smirks, then rubs my stomach like he’s proud of himself. “Next time will be easier. Don’t allow anyone else to touch you until then. You’re mine.”
He gets up and put his pants back on, leaving me his shirt to cover myself, then walks out my room whistling.
Not able to cry anymore, I throw the shirt into the corner and curl up into a ball against the wall.
I stay like this the rest of the night, my knees tucked into my chest, my chin resting on top of them.
As the sun rises, I get up slowly and walk to the bathroom. I look in the mirror and see all the bruises from last night.
My arms have fingermarks from him holding me. My breasts have bite marks on them just starting to scab over. My legs are red and have scratches all down them.
My face is red, my lips swollen and bruised from him sucking and biting them. My eyes are sunken from lack of sleep and crying.
I turn on the shower. Water barely comes out, and it’s ice cold. I get in, shocking my body, and grab the small soap bar. I scrub myself, trying to get all thought and evidence of that man off me.
I rush out the shower and put on a loose pair of pants and a massive shirt that swallows me up. I tie my hair back and twist it into a bun, then do my best to ice my eyes and lighten my dark circles.
I don’t have much time though.
Once dressed and ready, I run to the fields and pick herbs and mushrooms and bring them in to be cleaned and stored. Then I go back out to the fields and pick up all the rubbish lying around.
Once the training fields are cleaned, I make my way to the garden and pick daisies, baby’s breath, and hydrangeas, then bring them to the pack house kitchen and begin the flower arrangements.
When I finish, I place the vases around the entranceway, living room, hallways, and Crystal’s room. In the guest rooms, I place small planters with chrysanthemums and larkspur.
I continue to go around the pack house cleaning while the omegas cook breakfast for the pack. I start by dusting the entrance, then mop the marble floors.
When I get to the living room, the pack has started to gather for breakfast.
I fluff the couches and clean under the cushions. I make my way to the fireplace, placing new firewood in it and arranging photos on the mantel.
I’m wiping down the tables when I feel a pair of hands wrap around my waist. Then I smell him.
The man from last night. He has his arms wrapped around me in front of the whole pack. I hear people whisper and others look on in horror as he pulls me close and kisses me.
“I missed you, baby girl,” he says, smiling at me. I can’t make a bigger scene by rejecting him, so I have to endure it for now.
“I hope you slept well. I really enjoyed it,” he says huskily in my ear.
My cheeks are red as I take a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get your name,” I say as his lips graze mine.
“That’s my fault. I’m the head Hunter, David.” His eyes stare deeply into mine, like he’s trying to read me. “I want you to join me for breakfast.”
“I’m not allowed to do that—I must prepare for my sister Crystal’s return. I don’t wish to disappoint you,” I say, trying to be as polite as possible.
I can feel everyone’s eyes on us. The head Hunter wants to spend his time with the alpha’s slave child. Most are whispering terrible things about me, but I don’t react at all to them, only to the man standing before me.
I wish to be as far from him as possible, but I cannot do so. He’s highly ranked, and my father will literally kill me for causing a scene the day my sister’s coming home.
“Fine,” he says matter-of-factly. “I’ll find you later. After training. I want you ready to help me get cleaned up.” He turns and walks out the room, and just like that, everyone follows him to the dining hall.
I turn back to cleaning, trying to catch my breath. When I finish the living room, I make my way to the bedrooms and begin cleaning them and making beds.
As I’m finishing up, I hear everyone excitedly make their way back into the pack house. This means my sister has arrived.
I dust myself off and wipe my face before making my way down the stairs to stand beside the omegas.
My sister walks in, her long brown hair pulled back into a braid that’s draped over her shoulder.
She stands tall, her small breasts pushed all the way up, cleavage fully exposed. Her waist is tiny and she has really wide hips.
She looks around for my father, then runs to him once their eyes meet. I see David watching me, looking confused.
The beta walks in next. He’s handsome, but nothing jaw-dropping. He’s fit and tall, with light caramel-colored skin and black hair and brown eyes. He looks at my sister, his mate, with awe.
That’s when I smell it, something so strong and intoxicating… It smells of cedar wood and pine. My mate.
After a few seconds, a drop-dead gorgeous man enters. He’s even taller than my father, probably six foot ten. He has deep-blue eyes, and his face is completely chiseled. Sensing me in return, he looks around, eyes puzzled.
That’s when I feel an arm snake around me. I don’t have to look to know it’s David. He must’ve noticed my staring at the alpha and wanted to show that I’m his.
The alpha’s jaw clenches and his eyes darken.
I take a deep breath and look at him, confused. He steps toward me just as my father speaks.
“Alpha Black, I hope it wasn’t a bother for you to join us. We hope the house is up to your standard. We didn’t have long to prepare, but our omegas have been working tirelessly to make things comfortable for you.”
My father held his hand out to Alpha Black, but his eyes were on me.
“It was no problem. It’s not often my beta finds his mate. The land is fine and your home seems to be very luxurious. Though it does smell of sweaty wolves,” the alpha said, smirking at David.
I take a deep breath to mentally prepare for what’s coming my way. A complaint from an alpha means a beating for me.
“I’m sorry about that. Our men were training when they heard of your arrival. I’ll put Ava on it immediately. Come here, Ava,” my father says, his words laced with anger.
I make my way to my father, eyes locked on the ground. “Yes, Father, I’m sorry I disappointed you,” I say, tears filling my eyes.
Without another word, my father grabs my face and makes me look at him. David watches with a worried expression and Alpha Black seems lost for words.
“David, you’ve taken a liking to her, have you not?” my father says, his voice bouncing off the walls, scaring everyone in the room. Even my sister flinches. Alpha Black looks on angrily.
My wolf chimes in. “We need to run. Now! He’s going to kill you. Mate is not protecting us. We need to run!” I can feel Lyra anxiously pacing around.
My wolf rarely speaks to me, so I know I’m in danger, that I’m probably going to die.
“I can’t just run. They’ll catch us, Lyra!”
“If he takes us as his mate, we’ll have to stay here and continue to be the pack’s punching bag,” she whines.
“What do you expect from me? If I run, they’ll catch us and kill us. If I stay, they’ll force mate us. This is a lose–lose situation.”
My stomach turns at the sight before me. My brother smirks at me, knowing I’m too weak to fight this.
My sister laughs into her mate’s neck while he stares at me with pleading eyes. I can tell he wishes to say something but doesn’t dare step in case it makes things worse.
I stay silent, trying to figure out what to do. My mate must be allowing this as a punishment for David touching me. But I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t cause this. He doesn’t know me at all.
I hang my head in shame that this is my life.
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