I was up early, before the sun had risen.
I had already showered, rubbed an assortment of oils into my skin for magical purposes, cleaned my room (minus the ash stain), and packed my bags.
Some of the oils on my skin were for protection, others to ward off acne and dry skin.
When people think “witch,” they tend to think of women with dreadlocks covered in tattoos, or even a green face with warts and wickedly long nails.
Though of course occasionally you have people thinking of a drifting homeless woman or a vagrant.
There were so many variations, but besides the smell of oils on my skin I liked to think I looked like everyone else.
I certainly looked normal compared to some of those I had seen in the Portland airport.
I was what one might call plain and mousy since my eyes were large and my face was small.
I had brown frizzy hair and honey-gold eyes. I was five foot seven with a size fourteen waist that was actually closer to a twelve or sixteen depending on how something was made.
Sticking out wasn’t something I really did—the only uniqueness to me was the tattoo on my neck with the triple Goddess symbol with a pentagram in the middle of the mother’s womb.
And it was covered almost all the time by my hair since I preferred it down.
I also wore a small weave of blue thread around a lock of hair with a pentagram charm at the end of it that framed my face.
Other than that, I had no designer nails, no busty chest or round, luscious ass. I didn’t even wax my eyebrows.
I was pretty plain, and I wasn’t one to try to enhance my looks with magic or makeup. It wasn’t a requirement for our covens in the west like it was in the east.
I waited outside the hotel for their beta, sipping on tea and grimacing at the weak flavor as I sat watching the sun rise.
The thick mist and fog moved over the river like a second layer of water. The sun peeked over the horizon with a sky full of pink clouds and warm orange tones.
It was breathtaking.
My suitcase was by my feet along with another small bag.
I waited for their beta wolf, breathing in the crisp, moist air sitting on a public bench near the hotel on a bike path.
My key was already turned in. Everything about the morning already brought the promise of a good day.
Presumably I was waiting for a male beta, so I was keeping my eye out for a muscular man who looked like he had been outside a lot.
Women didn’t lead packs of wolves, though they certainly had their place within the community and lunas could be equal to the alpha.
But more often than not the females were slightly weaker.
They never could lead a pack due to the fact that if they fell pregnant it was too dangerous for them to leave the pack house on alpha business.
The beta was always a wolf that just wasn’t quite as strong as their alpha but could lead the pack if ever the alpha should fall.
The fact that this pack had two alphas was questionable; normally the other alpha would need to leave for the pack to function properly.
Or even split off part of the pack or lead a weaker pack instead.
Better yet, the weaker one should bow to the stronger alpha and become the beta to avoid the heavy responsibility—which had happened more than once if my sources were correct.
The New Moon pack was one of the few packs in the Rockies to work with witches.
Most packs were wary of us but in recent years we’d been key to finding mates for some of the strongest packs.
That being said, most of our higher members didn’t typically meet with them one-on-one unless they were negotiating.
Besides the little I was briefed on and some previous knowledge on how packs worked, I knew nothing of these wolves.
Wolves that find their mates end up birthing stronger offspring, so it made sense that they’d seek outside help.
Especially since meeting with other packs was always a tense affair between alphas, since some of their mates were human.
Weak offspring either didn’t survive the shift or ended up at the bottom of the totem pole as everyone else’s bitch. And when there was a war, only the strong packs survived.
It wasn’t entirely different from being a witch where mates were concerned.
But unlike packs, we didn’t typically need the protection of our covens anymore—ever since the High Councils have been put in place all over the globe.
Most of them in the guise of a school, or some other kind of human relations.
We had our set territories—the last big war with our kind had been during the Civil War in the United States—so fighting for power and territory wasn’t something anyone really did anymore except in third-world countries.
You of course always had those power-hungry witches that liked to try to claim land.
But no one but the fabled Witch Queen of the past could truly lay claim to the entirety of the earth. If she chose to.
There were pockets of the world where darkness still existed, others hunting us along with many supernaturals, but for the most part we were safe.
I was pretty sure that was because it was too dangerous for people to be hunting us.
Any witch worth her salt could kill you with a flick of her wrist…if you were human.
We were discreet where we could be though and never did this in public. It was important to keep the masses of normal people in the dark.
If they ever caught wind that any of their “silly superstitions” were real? Oh boy.
My eyes flicked up to see a tall, blonde female in tight jeans and a black tee that read “Delicious” across the front of her breasts in red glitter.
My nostrils flared, taking in her scent: pine, wood, wolf.
“You’re not the beta,” I replied, unmoving from my spot. My eyes moved from her to watch the water again.
Her brown hair was more lustrous than mine, with red highlights, and her eyes were too far apart, and dark like coal.
“Uh, yeah. Arthur kind of got…busy. So our alpha Cole sent me instead. He thought you might be more comfortable with a female escorting you since you’re um…”
She rubbed her neck, as if unsure of what else to say.
Her body was thin and strong; she probably stood about an inch higher than me, but she wore black boots with a heel giving her another inch.
I sighed, standing up and grabbing my suitcase and small bag.
“It’s a common misconception that all witches are females, but very well, lead the way. I’d like to discuss the contract of my visit with both Alpha Cole and Alpha Seth as soon as possible.”
“Our alphas are quite busy preparing for their future lunas so they’ll be unable to—”
I met her startled eyes as she instinctively took a step back.
I was not a human.
I didn’t flinch or cower from her stare, and the storm behind my eyes was enough to make even this stronger female wolf bow her head quickly instead of trying to meet my gaze.
“I will speak with them immediately or there will be no luna for either of them,” I said.
That had been the agreement. I was not going to waste my breath if they wanted this spell done right. My words came out like a whip from my anger.
“Y-yes, ma’am,” she mumbled. “The car is this way,” she said, pointing over to a blue SUV.
With a curt nod I headed to it with my bags in tow.