I held my breath and clenched my fists, staring at the commanding general, Alpha Ekon, as he remained pointed in my direction.
This can’t possibly be right, can it?
Is he really my mate?
As his lips parted, my heart started beating out of my chest.
“Mate,” he mouthed from across the courtyard.
So, he felt it too…
Alpha Ekon, the most terrifying man in the Royal Pack, was my mate.
King Dmitri turned to Ekon with a look of surprise.
“Did you just say something about a mate, Ekon?”
“Yes, she’s over there,” he said gruffly.
Several girls near me looked at each other, frightened.
My brother swung around, looking to see who Ekon was talking about.
“Where is she, Alpha Ekon? Can you feel her presence?”
“Yes, she’s right next to you,” he said, swiftly approaching us.
I turned to my brother with a feeling of dread, and as the realization dawned on him, he returned my look with one of horror.
“No…this can’t be right.”
“Max, I don’t want to do this,” I said, trying to hold back my tears.
Max pulled me behind him and threw his hands out.
“This is my sister. She’s not leaving the pack. She’s not ready yet,” he said firmly, though he couldn’t hide the fear in his voice.
“Stand aside,” Ekon growled. “I don’t care if she’s your sister. She’s my mate, and that trumps any familial bond.”
Max tried to hold his ground, even though it was futile.
“I will not give her over to you,” he said through gritted teeth.
Ekon put his hand on the hilt of his sword and pulled it slightly out of its sheath, the setting sun reflecting off the polished blade.
I had thought the king had a lot of war commendations, but Ekon’s exquisite jacket had twice as many, and his battle scars were the real proof of his mettle.
“Maximus, stop this madness at once!” King Dmitri demanded. “Submit your sister to Alpha Ekon immediately!”
Everyone at the party had gathered around us by this point, closing us into a tight circle.
“The madness is that my sister has no say in this,” Max countered, walking a dangerous line.
It was King Dmitri who enforced the archaic laws, including the one in which a female mate was not given any choice in her own mating agreement.
As I saw King Dmitri’s eyes narrow and Alpha Ekon’s sword slide further out of its sheath, I knew my brother’s stubbornness and his love for me would be the end of him.
And I couldn’t let that happen.
“Stop!” I yelled, getting in between them. “There’s no need for violence.”
Ekon looked startled by the first sound of my voice. He reached out and touched my face as my brother winced.
“Let us reconvene in the dining hall for the feast,” I said carefully. “Steadier heads will prevail on a full stomach.”
“Wise words.” King Dmitri laughed. “You should be celebrating, not fighting. We have a newly mated couple in the Royal Pack.”
“Your name,” Ekon commanded like a drill sergeant.
“Bambi,” I replied meekly.
As Ekon felt all the features on my face with his calloused fingers, a warm feeling welled up in the pit of my stomach, but it was fighting with the cold chill running down my spine.
As I sat next to my brother and across from my new mate, I could’ve cut the tension with my knife, which smoothly slid through my bleeding steak.
Just as this animal had been bred in captivity for this sole purpose, I, too, felt as though I’d been bred for one purpose since birth…
To be Ekon’s mate.
Whether I liked it or not, this was the position I was in. I needed to stay strong…for Max.
“More wine,” Ekon shouted, slamming his glass onto the table, startling me.
As a waiter refilled his wine, I realized this must’ve been his fourth or fifth glass already.
So I was mated to a ruthless war hero and a drunk.
Looking at the battle scars running up and down the parts of his skin that were visible, I’d venture that those two things were not unconnected.
“Ekon, you must share some old war stories,” King Dmitri implored, drunk on quite a few glasses of wine himself.
Ekon’s cloudy eyes grew dark like a storm.
“Those days are in the past, my king. That’s where I’d like them to stay.”
“Nonsense,” the king said, waving his fork. “What good are all these commendations on our coats if we can’t tell the stories behind them?”
“Some stories are best left untold,” Ekon said darkly.
“The Great War was an age of heroes,” King Dmitri pushed back. “And your exploits were most impressive, if you ask me.”
Ekon slammed his fist on the table, making even the king jump.
“The Great War was a calamity for all werewolf kind. I relive the nightmares in my sleep every night. I won’t relive them here, over fucking wine and dinner.”
Ekon stood up suddenly. “Pack your things, Bambi. We have a long trip ahead of us.”
“We’re…we’re leaving?” I stammered. “I thought we’d be staying here awhile…”
It hadn’t even occurred to me that we’d be leaving for Ekon’s pack so soon. I didn’t even know where it was.
“Pack warm clothing…Alaska is cold this time of year.”
I felt a sudden sense of dread in the pit of my stomach.
He wasn’t just taking me away…
He was taking me thousands of miles away.
I packed my many beautiful dresses neatly into my suitcase, thinking solemnly that my mate wouldn’t even be able to appreciate them on me.
That may have been a childish thought, but my life was being ripped out from under me in an instant. Childish thoughts would be a luxury that I could no longer have after I moved in with my mate.
I was about to be taken away to Alaska, cut off from all my friends and family…
I glanced at a brochure for a New York design school sitting on my dresser.
Cut off from everything…
There was so much that I wanted to do, and now I wasn’t sure that I’d ever get the chance.
Max knocked lightly on the door and came in, looking as though he was attending my funeral.
“How are you doing?” he asked hesitantly.
“I’m scared,” I answered honestly. “I know almost nothing about him. And what I do know terrifies me. I don’t want to leave my home.”
“I’m sorry, Bambi. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe nature is cruel after all.”
I thought of the little bluebird from this afternoon. Perhaps it had left the nest before it was ready to…
Max pulled me in for a hug.
“Listen to me, little doe. Be strong. Don’t show any weakness. He’ll demand your respect, but you should demand it right back. A man like Ekon respects strength and confidence. Always stand your ground and, most importantly, listen to your heart.”
“I don’t know what I’ll do without you,” I said, starting to cry.
“You can reach me anytime you want. I’m just a text or a phone call away,” he assured me.
I looked him directly in the eyes. “Max, tell me the truth…do you really think I can do this?”
He placed his hands on my shoulders and smiled gently.
“I think you can do anything you set your mind to, Bambi.”
As we sat in the back of Ekon’s chauffeured car, I watched my childhood home fade into the distance.
Tears rolled down my cheeks, but I quickly wiped them away, thankful that Ekon couldn’t see them.
We sat in silence as a heavy rain began to beat against the windows.
I felt more vulnerable than I’d ever been, trapped in this car with a complete stranger.
“You’re scared?” Ekon asked as if he could read my mind.
“I…no, of course not,” I replied, caught off guard.
“Don’t lie to me,” he said sternly. “There will be consequences for lying. Hiding things from me is pointless. My senses are heightened beyond those of an average werewolf.”
“How can I not be scared when you say things like that?” I replied, remembering my brother’s words.
Show your strength.
“I demand respect. At all times. Sometimes the best way to gain respect is through fear,” he said in a rough tone.
“And sometimes the best way to gain respect is to earn it,” I countered with confidence.
He smirked slightly as he stroked his chin.
“Make no mistake—my pack is not your brother’s pack. We do things differently in Alaska. You may have had free rein here, but in my pack, you will abide by my rules and mine alone. Is that clear?”
I hesitated to respond, but now wasn’t the time to push him.
“Yes, it’s very clear.”
As Ekon grabbed my face, I felt his claws extending across my cheek. His cloudy eyes turned pitch-black, and I gasped, pulling away from him.
What the hell is he doing? Is he starting to shift?
As his dark eyes took in my body, I felt a sudden surge of excitement. For some reason, I liked the way he was looking at me, even though I knew he couldn’t actually see me.
His eyes returned to normal, and his claws retracted as he sat back.
“What just happened?” I asked nervously.
“My wolf wants to surface. He wanted to see you,” Ekon replied.
“Yes, I may be blind, but my wolf…”
Ekon leaned forward and whispered, raising goosebumps to the surface of my skin.
“My wolf has perfect vision.”
Stories you can read, hear and feel! Enjoy visual, sound, and vibration effects to thrust you in the heat of the action.
Galatea is home to hundreds of original serial and standalone stories with an exclusive catalogue of bestselling authors, with new chapters dropping daily!
Because no one person is the same; no one reading experience is either. Enjoy Galatea how you choose including Offline Reading and Dark Mode!
Discover various genres.
Enjoy contemporary romance, bad boy billionaire, motorcycle romance, adventure, thriller and so much more!
Love this app.
The books are amazing and so worth the time to read. Living through these novels is not hard. Each story better that the next
Moleshia, Galatea reader
As an avid reader...
I am so excited to discover this app! I am so giddy as I read each chapter! Love it!
Brooke, Galatea reader
I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read in Galatea!
l’m highly recommend Galatea it has quite an assortment of books things you like to read or try something different!
Bermychic, Galatea reader
Best app ever!
Definitely givin it 5 stars! If you’re looking for the best Books to ever read then definitely download the app, I promise you won’t be disappointed ❤️
Elizabeth, Galatea reader
Relax and dive into a great story! Galatea offers bestselling fiction series at your fingertips. Millions of readers can’t get enough of our library of unputdownable novels. Enjoy our extensive collection of audiobooks, ebooks, novels, and immersive fiction stories. We have a story for every desire, with new chapters and books added daily. From shifter romance, to vampires falling in love, paranormal romance, thrillers, contemporary romance, motorcycle club romance, bad boy billionaires, forbidden loves, arranged marriages, fantasy series, sci-fi books, and more! There are over 400 stories to choose from, featuring chat fiction and other immersive reading elements. Read exclusive online novels from new and best selling authors including: The Millennium Wolves,the #1 bestselling werewolf romance series; The Arrangement, our most popular billionaire romance story; and the breakout fantasy series, Fairy Godmother Inc.