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Alpha Zac

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Isla- a young, and underestimated warrior. After surviving years of traumatic abuse, she is left orphaned, and alone. She strives to prove to herself, and others, that she is not weak. Though she is beautiful and strong years of psychological abuse, she doesn’t believe she is worthy of love, or that the Moon Goddess will grant her a fated mate. Alpha Zac is the fair and strong leader of Clear Creek. Secretly a hopeless romantic, Zac wants his fated mate more than anything. But after waiting years to find her, he has accepted a playboy lifestyle. When a unique she-wolf warrior joins his pack, she does more than fulfill his fantasies, and she tests how far he will go to protect her from her past. “WEAK” he yells as he swiftly brings the whip at me. I quickly try to cover my face but am not fast enough. I hiss in pain as the unforgiving leather slices my hand and eyebrow. I try to swallow the sob that wants to escape me, but instead, I throw up. Maybe he would have stopped there if I would have missed his boots.** (ISLA) I feel a pang of jealousy; she has what I've always wanted. A loving family, support, friends, and stability. Audrie doesn't have to question if she belongs here or try to prove her worth. (ZAC)My whole chest tightens, and my wolf presses forward. “MATE”. The urgency to hold her, to take away the pain, intensifies. I reach out and lift her head, and that's when I see the gash trickling blood onto the already blood-covered rock. I scoop her up and head straight to the infirmary. I just found my mate, I can't lose her on the same night.

Chapter 1

ISLA

“Settle down and line up!” the guard yells, snapping me back to reality. I glance around the lobby of my soon-to-be third and former home when I see a gray bus pulling up. The other “graduates,” as they like to call us, and I are heading to the Clear Creek pack to begin our new lives.

Tri-River Transition Center, or TRTC, is where pups with no living or willing relatives are sent until they found a career in one of the Tri-River packs. Pack life is common among us werewolves.

Werewolves, or shifters as we call ourselves, aren’t just things of stories and make-believe; we are real. Living normally, well for the most part, in the safety of our pack towns spaced away from human civilizations. TRTC, our version of a group home, is on a patch of neutral territory at the center of three packs within the Tri-River alliance, Clear Creek, Cedar Falls, and Red Rapids.

A puff of warm stale breath wisps past my ear before the voice that makes my skin crawl speaks. “Gonna miss you around here, Isla. You could always come stay with me,” Kyson says in a breathy whisper.

Yuck.

“Yeah, that will be a hard pass.” I spit out, not bothering to hide my disgust.

Kyson was 27, unmated, and a predator to the girls here. I don’t know who let this fool be a guard.

Mates are who the Moon Goddess bonds us to. They are your other half, your soulmate. The wolf side is drawn to them, and the human side feels the instant attraction when the bond snaps into place. Mate bonds become noticeable once you turn 19. You can either accept your mate or reject them.

I don’t know why anyone would reject a built-in best friend that will love you deeply and stand by your side. I used to dream of meeting my mate…but that was before my mom died. The Moon Goddess hasn’t exactly been fair to me these last few years, so I don’t see any use in holding on to that dream. Fate isn’t on my side, so chances are, I won’t be lucky enough to find my mate.

You can choose to mark anyone and forgo the fated mate bond, but those bonds are never as strong. Your shifter healing slows, and the bond can be undone by another mark or rejected after the fact.

I turn 19 next week, and Kyson has spent the entire last month trying to convince me to let him mark me.

Anger flashes in his eyes as they change from light blue to the black of his wolf back to crystal blue. His hand darts out, reaching for my wrist, right as another guard releases the door lock and calls out, “Grab your bags and get to your bus. We don’t want to keep the Alpha waiting!”

I duck away from Kyson’s attempt and head toward the door as an idea pops into my head. I slip past the others as they file out the door before Kyson can lay a sleazy finger on me and pull the shoulder straps of my satchel tight and run.

I run straight past the bus and into the forest. The tree line in the distance was my freedom. I am going to cross the border on the other side, and well, I haven’t thought that far ahead, but I’ll figure it out.

I can’t risk shifting to my wolf and losing my belongings; this run was all me. I want to get away from here. It was never really my home.

Home…I try to remember what it is like to feel at home, to belong somewhere, somewhere that was yours, somewhere you are wanted.

My lungs burn, and the crisp breeze slaps against my skin as I push my legs harder. My wolf lends me her strength as we close in on the tree line. “Just a bit further, and the trees can hide me,” I tell myself.

“WATCH THE BORDERS. WE’VE GOT A RUNNER,” a male’s voice rumbles through my mind link.

Sh*t, now all patrols will be heading this way. I was so distracted by the mind link, that I don’t notice the low growl coming from the brush ahead or when a large dark-colored wolf suddenly breaks into my path.

“F*CK OFF, KYSON,” I rasp over my shoulder, quickly changing my direction. My eyes are still trained over my shoulder as his wolf bounds towards me. I can see the excitement in his eyes when a sudden pain erupts in my shin. I let out a startled yelp as I tumble and skid through the dirt.

Black spots dance across my eyes as I look around to see who has taken me down. Oh, you’ve got to be f*ck*ng kidding me! A stump?! Literal animals surround me, and a stupid old half-rotten stump is the one to take me down??

Kyson waltzes up, having witnessed the entirety of the comedy hour I just provided. He snickers, his bones cracking and rearranging as he shifts back.

I pull out shards of bark from my bloody shin. There is no way I will get free now. Kyson is within arm’s reach, patrols have been notified, and the adrenaline is waning away, allowing the pain to come fully forward.

“Tsk tsk, you naughty, naughty little wolf,” Kyson says, shaking his head as he pulls on a pair of basketball shorts he grabbed from the patrol basket.

Nudity is normal with shifters, but Kyson’s body is not one I wanted to see more of.

Kyson grabs me by the wrist and pulls me up to my feet just as Mr. Andrews approached. Oh, goddess, my leg hurts when I try to put weight on it; how did a tree inflict so much pain?

“Isla, I thought we were past this. You’re lucky to find a spot in a pack with such a kind Alpha,” he says, shaking his head.

“I don’t feel lucky,” I mumble.

Mr. Andrews sighs, rubbing his temples slowly as he tries to figure out his next move. He looks at me, his eyes swimming with sadness and irritation. He sucks in a breath, “I get it, you haven’t had it easy, but you are so strong. Clear Creek is going to be your home. You can make a new life there, a good life.”

I roll my eyes and sigh in response. I slowly start limping along back toward the bus.

A new life, I guess, making a salary, and being left alone isn’t the worst deal in the world.

Chapter 2

ZAC

The packhouse is buzzing with activity today. TRTC is bringing us four new pack members. We even have a warrior recruit this round. I have my reservations about her, she is on the smaller side, but all her training test outs show high marks. I’ll have to see for myself how she ranks up, because as I look over the single page in the file the center sent over, it doesn’t offer much insight…

ISLA GRACE MILLER

DATE OF BIRTH: JUNE 18TH

AGED: 18

HAIR: AUBURN

EYES: GREEN

HEIGHT: FIVE FOOT FIVE INCHES

GUARDIAN - JUNE DANIELS, RELATION: MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER, DECEASED- CEDAR FALLS.

SCORED HIGH MARKS: TRACKING; HAND/HAND COMBAT; TEAMWORK; FIELD FIRST AID

NOTES: RUN RISK LEVEL 2; ONE ATTEM

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