Rejecting the Mating Bond (Curse of Selene Book 1)
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Flora Argentine is ReedStone pack’s little loner and glad to be so. Everyone ignores her existence but not because she’s some glasses bearing, baggy clothes wearing nerd, but because her elder brother is the beta of the pack and no one wants to be involved with her. But Flora is perfectly fine with everyone avoiding her as she makes her way towards her last year at the university and leads a simple life without any complications or hardships...or does she? Clay Scotsman is the most popular guy in town and the ladies love him, which isn’t a problem since he loves them right back. The future Alpha of the pack, he has the looks of a Greek God and is a smooth talking charmer who always gets what he wants...except for Flora Argentine. He’s been obsessed with Flora for a very long time, but he dismisses it as simple physical attraction until one day he decides to hell with it and comes after Flora with all the charm he can master. But once he’s had a taste of her, he finds it nearly impossible to let her go. But Clay and Flora both know that they’re not mates and are dreading the day of Clay’s 28th birthday when he ultimately finds his mate. Is he going to leave her forever for a bond decided upon by the Gods? Or is he going to reject his mate to be with the girl he loves more than life itself? And what will happen when Clay’s mate claims him as hers?
I could feel his eyes on me, those gorgeous emerald green eyes that shore like diamonds when the light hit them just right. I could almost imagine him watching me through hooded lashes as dark copper coloured hair fell onto his forehead like a silken blanket. Sometimes, when I was alone at night, I wondered what it would feel like to run my fingers through those silken strands, to brush my fingers over those lips that could tempt the heavens itself to sin. But I kept those fantasies to myself. Because Clay Scotsman had a habit of tempting the female species into all kinds of sins before chewing them up and spitting them out the next morning.
But then again, those females he took to bed, humans and wolves alike; never once complained or got clingy. He had that effect on women, no matter the age. He always, always ended a relationship on the right footing. No hard feelings; no strings attached.
The tiny hair at my nape stood in attention as I felt his gaze on me once again. My hand tightened on my pen, but I knew better than to let myself get distracted. Clay was nothing if not the most dangerous of predators. He had the scent of the Alpha, would become our Alpha as soon as Alpha Nicolas retired. And we could all feel it, the time would come soon enough; but for now, he was acting as the Assistant Professor of Biology in my college, which was basically a side job aside from training to be an Alpha and training in battle tactics.
About five minutes later, I felt his gaze draw away from me and I chanced a look from underneath my lashes, only to be met by piercing emerald eyes that made me draw in a breath. Damn, but the guy was beautiful. No, not in a feminine way; those cheekbones, those lips, that nose...it would never be feminine, but there was no other word that I could find than beautiful for a man who was masculine beauty in its purest form.
Those lushly sensual lips curved up with a hint of a smile, as if reading my thoughts, and I instantly looked away and focused on the paper in front of me. Damn it! If this keeps up, I’m surely failing this test.
I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t missed him when he was away for the past ten years to train in Lindersay, the capital city for all wolves. All warrior wolves and future Alpha’s go there to train for their future responsibilities. It provides as a training facility and a school for powerful wolves. My older brother, Riley, had gone there along with Clay since they were the same age and my brother was the future beta of the pack. Clay had been handsome even then; at least that’s what everyone had thought about a lean muscled boy of eighteen on his way to adulthood. But now that boy had returned a man, and he was even more handsome than anyone could’ve predicted, devastatingly so.
I must’ve been too engrossed in my fascination with Clay Scotsman because the sudden sound of the bell ringing had me jumping a foot up in the air before I could stop myself. Controlling my breathing by placing my hand over my racing heart, I looked around me to ensure that no one had noticed my brief distraction, but everyone else seemed busy groaning over their test papers. Clay might distract everyone in the class with his beauty, but he was also a hardass Professor who conducted his class with utmost strictness and discipline. And he held extremely tough tests every week so that our minds remained sharp.
“Flora.” A single word cut through the indistinct murmurs in the class as my heart slammed against my ribcage.
“Yes?” I stood up on shaky legs, the nib of the pen digging into my palm as I stared into gemstone eyes. It was a miracle I hadn’t yet squeaked and made a fool of myself.
I couldn’t see the smirk on his face, but I was sure there was laughter hidden in his eyes as he took in my rigid shoulders, my extremely carefully crafted poker face. “Collect all papers and bring them to my office.” Clay spoke in a calm voice and then he picked up the rest of his stuff and walked out of the class.
As soon as the doors shut behind him, I was scrambling to get my belongings into my bag before rushing from student to student to collect their papers. Several of my classmates gave me exasperated sighs and dramatic looks while some women gave me envious glares as I took their papers, but no one spoke to me directly. They were too scared of my brother to bully me, which is one thing I had always been thankful for. Even when he was away at Lindersay, I was sure he had his spies in place just so they could watch over me. I’d never say it out loud, but I was really thankful for the small curtsey.
Stacking the papers together, I walked out of the classroom with my backpack slung over one shoulder and the papers in both hands, muttering a thank you to one boy who held the door open for me so I could walk out. The boy smiled back and waved goodbye before heading in the opposite direction.
A bit startled at the unexpected help, I continued walking down the familiar hallway to the staff room so I could deposit the papers and make a run for it. No matter how big of a crush I might have on Clay, I found him ten times more intimidating. His charm did nothing to hide the raw power pulsing through his veins.
Since my brother is the beta, I’m kinda used to having that brush of power against my senses, but as the pack’s future healer, I’ll need to be in his contact more often once I turn twenty-one and officially start practicing my healing.
All the way to the staff room, I kept on mentally preparing myself for what I’d do once I saw Clay, but turns out, all that preparation was for nothing because the staff room was completely empty when I reached it. Placing the stack of papers on the desk with Clay’s name on it, I rushed out the door and breathed a sigh of relief… only to fall flat on the ground with my best friend on top of me.
“Ow! Dorothy!” I groaned when she finally got off my back.
“And here I keep thinking that you’d be able to detect me someday.” Dorothy Summers, or Ruth, as I like to call her for short, smirked as she got back up on her feet and held her hand out for me.
“I do sense you, but that doesn’t mean that you always have to sneak up on me in weird places!” I told her exasperated before taking her hand and getting to my feet.
Ruth and I looked exactly the opposite of each other. While she had jet black hair and dark brown eyes and tanned skin courtesy of her Asian mother, I had honey blonde hair; icy blue eyes and porcelain white skin that sometimes made me look like a ghost, if I wore all white. Dorothy was also about five feet and eight inches with voluptuous curves that made her the centre of attention as soon as she walked into a room, while I was only five feet five with a skinnier built than most wolves and no curves.
But the difference in our ethnicity didn’t matter because we have been best friends for the past two years when she moved to ReedStone pack with her parents from a smaller neighbouring pack which was planning a major shift in location because some of their wolves had gone rouge. We had clicked instantly, even though Dorothy was part of the popular crowd, but she was an amiable person inside and out.
“Come on, let’s eat lunch. I’m famished!” She whined as she pulled me in the direction of the college courtyard. That courtyard was linked to the neighbouring open forest where we could go for a quick run if our wolf was feeling agitated or itchy.
Hand in hand, Ruth and I walked into the forest with our backpacks slung over our shoulders. We always ate lunch together inside the forest where there was this huge forest giant that had an unusual outgrowth where one of the low branches touches the ground, creating a pleasant seating area for us. It was a bit further inside the forest which was fine by us because we were wolves who could detect unfamiliar stench from miles away and the soldiers of the pack were always on patrol duty, making sure we were safe from intruders or rogues.
We also went further inside the forest area to avoid running into couples hidden behind trees doing what any hormonal juvenile would be doing, but since we were wolves, it turned those hormones up 10X.
Today, however, as we neared our favourite tree, we got a scent in the air that was awash with power and more than a bit familiar. And along with that scent was another delicate undertone of another wolf, which too was highly familiar.
I don’t know why, but my heart thundered as the two scents mingled with each other.
“Oh, my!” Ruth whispered, first raising her hands to her lips and ducking down low on the ground with me following close behind before she pointed to a tree just a few metres away from our favourite tree.
And there was Clay Scotsman, future Alpha and serial heartbreaker, standing fully clothed with his arms around a delicate woman who was very much naked as they kissed under the canopy of the evergreen trees. But the other woman being naked wasn’t what surprised me; we were wolves who could transform into our animal counterparts with ease, and nakedness wasn’t a new concept to wolves. What surprised me, however, was the fact that he was kissing Ms. McKellar, our very strict and very disciplined Principal who was well into her forties.
“Oh My God!” Ruth whispered before shaking her head and pointing behind us towards the exit to the woods with her fingers. “Let’s get out of here.”
I nodded silently and both of us made our way towards the back on our hands and knees when suddenly, we were met with a pair of sneakers in our line of sight. Heart leaping to my throat, I followed the leg that bore the sneakers and looked up into the angelic face of Clay Scotsman.
“Up.” He said hoarsely and immediately, Ruth and I scrambled to our feet. “Good. Now, you ladies mind telling me why you two were pretending to not have seen anything when you clearly have?”
“We, didn’t see anything, I swear.” I said immediately and when I saw Clay giving me an exasperated look, I added, “I swear on the honour code.”
I thought Clay might be angry that I knew about the honour code but instead, he barked out a laugh and patted my head lightly, ruffling up my hair.
“Good girl.” He
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