The Millennium Wolves
The next best series in romance for 2023
I knew it was a risk to draw the Alpha. But how could I resist?
I’d never seen him there before. Not at the riverbank where I go to draw and clear my mind. You don’t find a lot of our kind hanging out around here. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the calm, when we’re always expected to be wild. Maybe it’s the water when everyone of us burns with a fire within. Or maybe it’s just a spot I’ve only ever thought of as my own.
A secret place where I’m not one of the pack. Where I’m just me, Sienna Mercer, a nineteen-year-old red-headed self-taught artist. A seemingly normal girl.
Except, of course, I wasn’t. Not normal, no. And definitely not just human.
The Alpha, crouched by the water, alone, turned his head for a second and sniffed. I froze, stylus and tablet in hand, mid-stroke. If he were to see me now. If he were to see what I was drawing…
But then, to my relief, he looked back out at the water, getting lost again in some dark reverie. His name, I knew, was Aiden Norwood. Everyone knew him. I mean, he was only the Alpha of the third largest pack in the United States. Towering at six-foot-five, with disheveled jet black hair and eyes, a golden-green color that seemed to change every time he turned his head, Aiden was the definition of mouth-watering.
I’d always watched him from afar. I’d never been this close. But now I could see how his biceps bulged from his torn shirt, how his spine curved to accommodate his transformation. How quickly he could shift, I imagined. Bent over, eyes searching like a feral animal’s, he seemed, in this instance, already halfway there.
A man, yes. But even more so, a werewolf.
The Haze was fast approaching and everyone could sense it. The time of year when every werewolf from the age of sixteen and older goes mad with need, the season where everyone—and I mean everyone—is driven by their most primal desires. Once or twice a year, this unpredictable hunger would infect all of us in the pack. Those who didn’t find mates found a temporary partner to quell the burning need. So there was no one older than sixteen who remained innocent. Although...every rule has an exception.
Looking at Aiden now, I wondered if the rumors swirling around him were true. If that’s one of the reasons he was here, alone, brooding by the riverbank. Some said it’d been months since Aiden had taken anyone, that he was distancing himself from everyone. Why? A secret mate? No, we would’ve sniffed her out by now.
Then what was it? What was to come of our beloved Alpha if he had no partner when the Haze struck?
It’s none of your business, I chided myself. What did it matter to me who Aiden spends his time with? He was ten years older and, like most werewolves, only interested in someone his own age. To Aiden Norwood, I didn’t exist. And, y’know what? Putting aside my school-girl crush, I knew I was better off that way. When you’re with the Alpha, you are owned. You are there fill one role, please the Alpha, to give birth and be considered a mother and nothing more. Screw. That. I wasn’t about to be tamed by anyone.
Michelle, my best friend, was dead-set on finding me a partner for this season. She’d already paired up in advance, as was common among the younger weres before the Haze. Trying to set me up with three of her brother’s friends, all who seemed perfectly decent and who were blunt that they thought me fit for a good time. Michelle couldn’t understand why I’d turned each of them down.
“Ugh,” I could almost hear Michelle’s voice reverberating in my head. “Why are you always so damn picky, girl?”
Why, Michelle? Because your friend Sienna Mercer has a secret, that’s why. The truth is: at the age of nineteen, I was the only she-wolf in our whole pack who had decided to wait. I’d been through six mating seasons, and no matter how crazed I became, I never found a partner who was worth it. I know. Very un-wolfy of me to care about “feelings” and “first times”, but I cherished mine. And, unlike most girls, I’d decided would wait for him, save my for him.
Whoever he might be.
I continued to sketch my digital version of the Alpha, reflected in the water, when notifications popped up on my screen, interrupting my flow. My Mom was looking for me. My sister was coming over for dinner tonight, and I was running late.
I smiled at the thought of seeing Selene again. Now that she was a fancy fashion designer and all, she barely had time for her boring old family. She was like the prettier, smarter, more successful version of me on every level. Whenever I said this out loud, which I did—often—she’d shove me gently and just say, “You’re still young, Si. Give it time.”
But when it came to my dreams, to my future career as the world’s greatest artist, I’d never been patient. One day I was going to open my own gallery. One day soon, I promised myself. I didn’t care what my parents said. I love them, but also—screw them. Selene had proven that law school wasn’t everything. I was going to make it as an artist, just you wait and see. If that meant I had to be penniless, so be it!
I was about to continue my soon-to-be-award-winning drawing of the mysterious Alpha at the edge of the river, when I looked up and saw, to my surprise and sudden dread—he wasn’t there.
“Not bad,” I heard a low voice beside me, almost a snarl. “But the eyes could use a little work.”
I turned to see, standing right next to me, looking down at my sketch:
Before I could catch my breath, he looked up and our eyes met. I tensed, realizing I was making direct eye contact, and immediately looked away. No one in their right mind dared to look the Alpha in the eyes. It could only mean one of two things:
- You were challenging the Alpha’s dominance. AKA a death wish.
- You were signaling the Alpha you were open to his advances.
Since I didn't intend to do either, my only option was to look away before it was too late and pray he didn’t interpret the meaning of the gaze for me.
“Forgive me,” I said quietly, just to be on the safe side. “You took me by surprise.”
“I apologize,” he said. “I didn't mean to startle you.”
That voice. Even saying the most polite words imaginable, they sounded loaded with menace. Like at any second, he might rip your throat out with his bare human-form teeth.
“It’s okay,” he said. “Really. I don’t bite...most of the time.”
I was so close I could reach out and touch his rippling muscles and golden skin. I lifted my eyes and chanced a look. A brutal, jagged face that shouldn’t be handsome—but was. Thick eyebrows that looked coarse to the touch, like a residual of his werewolf form. And a nose, even though slightly crooked—no doubt broken in some past scuffle—that couldn’t interfere with his so-attractive-it-hurts looks.
The Alpha took a step closer as if to test me. I could feel every hair on my body rise in trepidation. Or...was it temptation?
“Next time you draw me,” Aiden said. “Come closer.”
“Oh...okay,” I sputtered like an idiot.
And then, just as quickly as he’d appeared, Aiden Norwood turned and took off, leaving me by the river, alone. I sighed, feeling every muscle in my body ease.
It wasn't an everyday-event to see the Alpha out of the Pack House, his headquarters. Mostly we would see the Alpha on occasions like gatherings or balls. Always something formal. What had happened here today was rare. And I knew it.
But I wasn’t about to go tell Michelle or Selene or any were for that matter. Don’t get me wrong, I desperately wanted to. What had just happened? It was crazy. I was dying to spill my guts. But I also understood that if word got out about this, Aiden's fan club would go ballistic. Even a whiff of interaction with a female, especially a young commoner like myself, would be enough to send the them into a frenzy, tearing down the Pack House’s walls just for a taste of him.
A Pack House that was meant for peace-seekers. Not thirsty she-wolves. An event of that magnitude was sure to stress the Alpha out. And a stressed Alpha meant a dysfunctional alpha meant a dysfunctional pack meant—you get the picture.
No one wanted that.
I decided, with the little light that was left of the day, I would finish drawing to clear my mind. Just me and the river in peace. But all I could see were Aiden Norwood’s eyes. And how very wrong I had drawn them. The Alpha was right. I could do better. If I could just get...closer.
I didn’t know then what I know now. That within a few hours the haze was about to begin. That I was about to become a crazed beast. And that Aiden Norwood, the Alpha of the East Coast Pack, was going to play a very prominent role in my awakening...
It’s enough to make a girl howl.