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Blurb: "You probably didn’t hear me properly earlier; well, let me oblige you." He continued, "You can never, I mean never, be my mate!" He declared. "Jacob!" I cried as his words tore me apart. It was too painful. A chill ran down my spine as I looked into his crimson, glowing eyes.' Tasha McCann's best day turns into her worst nightmare when she is rejected by Jacob Sullivan, the one destined to be her mate, who instead picks her best friend to be his mate in front of the entire pack. Distraught and heartbroken, Tasha stows away at her uncle’s house to lick her open wounds. But fate has other plans for her when she is called to fight a growing evil. Luckily for her, a total stranger, Mascot Lupus, appears before her home, claiming to be her mate. Refusing to believe that Mascot could be Tasha’s second-chance mate (since there is no such thing as that), her uncle Paul McCann stops Tasha from going with him. But against her uncle’s better judgment, Tasha escapes with Mascot. Together, they embark on a journey that will change her life forever, allowing her to discover the secrets behind her past and her special gift. In the process, she will form powerful bonds with a group of unwilling heroes who were thrust into the heart of a deadly plot that could spell doom to the town and the world as they know it. In this enticing tale of self-discovery, second chances, love, and revenge, will Tasha end up with her new mate, whom she elopes with, or will she get back with her old love? How does a platonic journey to get away from the shame caused by her rejection and to have fun turn into a race against time to stop the evil that threatens to consume all? Find out only in this action-packed novel that promises to hold you spellbound till the very last page.

Chapter 1- Tasha's POV

As I trudged through the dense woods, my heart heavy with a mix of sadness and anger over Jacob and Charlotte's betrayal, the shadows of the trees mirrored my dark emotions.

My vision wavered for a moment from weakness, and I fell face down. Turning to face the sky, a new flood of tears pooled in my eyes as memories of events that happened mere hours ago overwhelmed me. The anticipation coursing through my bloodstream had left me giddy and restless.

Tonight, the night I had been waiting for for over a decade, arrived.

The moonlit clearing deep within the forest hosted a gathering—some as supporters and spectators, others as potential mates.

As a werewolf turns eighteen, they are all gathered on the ancestral ground for the moon goddess to help them choose their mate. But in cases where two werewolves have a strong relationship, the moon goddess usually blesses their union. And tonight marked my official meeting with my friend Jacob.

Standing on my tiptoes, I scan the mass of nervous youths for a particular face.

Finally spotting her, I quickly pushed through the crowd to meet my best friend.

"Oh my God, Charlie! I have been looking for you the whole time. Where have you been?" I called out, making her jump.

"Are you alright?" I asked, concerned by her reaction. "I'm fine," Charlie replied, shoving her hands into the pocket of her jacket while averting her gaze away from me.

"Are you sure? Because you don’t look fine to me. You literally jumped out of your skin when I called you," I pointed out, trying to make her smile.

"And I said, I am fine," she retorted, still maintaining her stony look. "You know it's ok to be nervous. I mean, practically everyone here is." "Will you just drop it already?" she snapped. "You think everybody is like you. Well, guess what? I am not," she finished, while glaring at me.

The smile on my face froze at her outburst. "Where is all this coming from?" All of a sudden, the chill in the air became more obvious, making me fold my arms around myself in a hug. "This is not about me, and you know it."

"And how do you know that? Huh," she snapped .

"Have you been avoiding me?"

She chuckled "Can you look at that? She thinks I'm avoiding her," she said sarcastically.

"I decide to get some alone time, and it turns out that I am avoiding you."

"Aren’t you?" I insisted

"You know what? Just leave me alone," she said, turning away.

"Now, that is not fair. You can’t throw that in my face and then push me away without explaining what is going on." I said, quickly moving to her side.

"Leave! Me! Alone!" she yelled in my face. Her face contorting in suppressed anger. "There is nothing to discuss. Just go; I need some space." And with that, she stalked off, leaving me more confused than I have ever been in my life.

My head buzzed with all sorts of thoughts on what could have elicited such behavior from Charlie on a night like this. My aunt Rachel walked past, looking rather pleased as she gave me one of those dirty looks.

What is she doing here?

She was one of the last people I expected to see here. Her being here meant my uncle was too. I narrowed my eyes at her and instantly swirled around to follow Charlotte, but a sudden clap stopped me.

The sound that drew my attention alongside that of others came from an elderly woman who stood in the middle of the clearing.

"Gather around, my dear Fateds." Said Martha, the clan’s oracle. "I am sure we all know why you are gathered here today. I don’t need to explain anything further." She said, her voice clear and serene, commanding attention. "It’s okay to be nervous. I was once like you, and I perfectly understand how most of you are feeling right now." She continued, her voice resonating as she walked around.

As I watched her speak, my excitement returned, making me temporarily forget my confusion. I quickly edged my way forward to get a better view of her. "I must add, it’s not everybody here that will get paired with their mates today. As you can see, some of you were part of last year’s mating ceremony, and yet here they are again." Noticing how some of the fated looked away, she added, "There is no need to be ashamed. I waited almost three turns before I was finally chosen. Man, you should have seen how excited I was," she said with a smile.

Then she paused, allowing the small chuckle that erupted from the crowd to subside. "As I was saying, some of you will have to wait a bit longer, unfortunately. Now with that in mind, let the ceremony begin." She finished.

Looking around like I was on top of the world, my eyes landed on Jacob, my mate. I knew within me that I was not one of those people who would have to wait another turn.

My eyes still on Jacob, I watched as he and the other male werewolves lined themselves up in preparation to step into the circle drawn by Martha, each with a moonstone like the ones we, their female counterparts, held. As they took turns to enter the circle, the moonstone they held was supposed to glow once inside, alongside one of the others held by any of the females, allowing them to identify their mates.

But my resolve began to shake as I watched Jacob take some actions I did not understand.

He seemed to intentionally put himself at the back, allowing others to go before him. Questions filled my mind. Shaking my head a little, I scattered the thoughts of doubt that assaulted me as a possible reason for his action came to mind.

I watched as he murmured to those around him, probably giving them some encouragement as the tension on most of their faces eased a little. He probably wanted to use this moment to fraternize a little and build his influence as the future alpha of the pack.

Why would I have to leave here without him as my official mate after all we've been through together? A number of answers came to mind, but I quickly smothered them out.

This is not the time to entertain such thoughts.

After a few hours that seemed to be an eternity passed, with some werewolves getting mates while others left with none, it finally reached Jacob’s turn. Immediately he stepped into the circle, the moonstone in his hand and the circle around him glowed pure white.

The moonstone in my hand also glowed, resonating with his. Relief washed over me, and my stiff muscles quickly became relaxed. The glowing of the moonstones solidified everything. I released the breath I didn’t know I held as it got to his turn. I was worried for nothing.

Fueled with passion and love, I bolted out of the crowd towards him.

"Stop!" a voice I did not recognize commanded, surprising me. After a short pause, Jacob, who had his back to me, turned to face me. His whole body was stiff, and his dark head was bowed. For the second time that night, I was utterly baffled.

Raising his head, Jacob’s pupils glowed red, making him look otherworldly and dangerous. "I reject you as my mate," he declared with the same voice that sent shivers down my spine.

Chapter 2- Tasha's POV

The shock momentarily rendered me speechless as I stared into his face, devoid of emotion.

The commotion caused by his rejection barely registered, as my heart, which had practically stopped earlier, was now thundering like never before.

It can't be.

“I reject you as my mate," echoed Jacob's words in my mind, refusing to be accepted. It took a full minute to regain control, clinging to the hope of a logical explanation. Forcing my face into a smile, I tried to lighten the mood.

"You must be joking, right? I mean, I understand you might be nervous or scared, which is uncommon among our kind, but you know I am with you on this, right?"

He laughed at my words: "What the hell are you talking about? Well, if that is the way you feel, then suit yourself, but never say before my pack that I am scared or nervous again!" he stated. "You probably didn’t hear me properly earlier; well, let me oblige you." He continued, "You can never, I mean never, be my mate!" He


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