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The Beta's Regret

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Rayne and her mother fled their burning home to escape her abusive stepfather, a werewolf who tragically took Rayne’s sister in the blaze. With nothing but the clothes on their backs, they sought refuge in a new town. However, Oleander, the town’s notorious bad boy, became fixated on her. Used to always getting his way, Oleander’s advances were rebuffed, igniting a relentless campaign of harassment. He subjected Rayne to daily humiliation, leading her to join a hunter band. Five years later, Rayne and Oleander’s paths crossed again, leading to a revelation that shook both their worlds: Fate had played a cruel joke on them, binding them in a connection they both could not deny—the Mate Bond. Will Rayne, a huntress who lives to eradicate werewolves accept this union or will she be Oleander’s undoing? .......... “Rage enveloped me like boiling lava, and everything faded as I wreaked havoc on everything in my path. When I came to, I was lying on the ground and realized I had blacked out. Scrambling to my knees, I held her battered body in my arms, begging her to wake up. “Oleander!” my father called out to me, but I didn’t even wait for him to speak. “She’s my mate, father,” I choked, tears flowing from my eyes. “Reyna is my fated mate.”

Chapter 1: Payback

“Where the hell have you been? Come, Orm needs our help!” Aaron, my cousin and third in command, said, running past me as I made my way down to the dungeons.

“What about the beast in the cells? Who’s watching it?!”

“Leave the dog; it’s not going anywhere!” He spat, and I made it as though I was right behind him, but I turned around and ran back to the cell the moment he was out of sight. Grabbing the keys, I quickly unlocked the gate, my heart banging against my chest as though it would leap out and fall at my feet. I took a searchlight and walked inside to find Sage lying in a pool of his blood, battered and broken.

“Sage! Get up! You need to wake up!” I called out to him, tapping his cheeks while scrambling for the collar, trying to insert the key and unlock it. “Get up!” I repeated this as his eyes drooped close again, tears welling up in my eyes at his condition.

I unlocked the collar, but gasped, falling on my bum when his eyes snapped open again, this time crimson. A low growl vibrated from his chest, causing me to slide back, and my hands trembled in fear. He got to his knees, and I watched in horror as his bones broke before a black wolf towered over me.

He took menacing steps toward me, and I trembled even more, cowering in fear. I fell on my back, shielding my face with my arms as he suddenly lunged, thinking he was lunging for me. But when nothing came, I opened my eyes and slowly lowered my arms to find him gone. I quickly got up, the gravity of what I had done sinking in, and I ran out of the cell terrified of the consequences should I be discovered. But I didn’t regret what I had done. I couldn’t just stand by and let him die like this. Sage saved my life. I owed it to him to at least try to save him.

My mother and I moved to this town five years ago. We were running from my abusive stepfather after he tried to kill us. He set our house on fire with me, my mother, and my sister inside. My sister died, and my mother and I survived and fled. We had nothing—no money, no clothes—so we came here to my mother’s half-sister. She sheltered us, and I started going to school here the following year.

Things got better. But Oleander, the school’s bad boy, noticed me. He started pursuing me, but I was not ready for a relationship. Plus, I was not in his league. I was nothing compared to the girls he dated, and he looked as if he came from a wealthy family too. He didn’t take kindly to the rejection; he was used to getting his way. Oleander started taunting me, even telling his nasty girlfriend Lacy that I tried to seduce him.

She and I were in the same class, and she made my life a living hell. It became worse when they discovered the burn scars on my arms. They nicknamed me Crinkly.

They humiliated me every day, seeking me out when I tried to avoid them, and no one intervened but Lorna, Sage’s sister. She found me crying in the stalls, and I expected her to drag me out and laugh at me like everyone else, but she didn’t. I was tired that day, and I decided to end it all. She hugged me and comforted me when she didn’t even know me, and by the time she was done, I didn’t have the strength to go through with what I had planned. She saved my life that day, but it didn’t stop there.

One rainy Saturday evening, I went to get some candles for our house from the store after the rain tripped our power, and Oleander and his groupies cornered me. They chased me down a dark street, and I screamed like a madwoman, terrified. I don’t know what they would have done to me if it weren’t for Sage, who heard my screams and came to my rescue.

I was wet and shivering cold, and Sage took off his hoodie and placed it on top of my wet clothes. He took me home, and I later heard he warned Oleander and his groupies to stay away from me. They finally left me alone. Sage and his sister showed up at my darkest moments and saved me.

I hated wolves. My stepfather was one. Mom dated him before he dated my father, but he was abusive toward her to the point where she left him and met my father. My father was a good man and loved her, but they couldn’t be happy. My stepfather kept coming after them, trying to get my mother back.

When my mother was pregnant with my sister and me, he broke into our home and murdered my father. That was the first time my mother got to know what he was. She was terrified, and when he threatened to kill her, out of fear, she stayed with him. He was a monster, and she knew nothing could save her from him.

We didn’t know he wasn’t our father since my mother never told us. She tried to shield us from the abuse. As long as he didn’t touch us, she stayed and took it all. He also never hit her in front of us. We sometimes noticed bruises on her, but she would always have an explanation.

But one night, a loud commotion awakened my sister and me. They were arguing, and we heard our mother apologize before we heard her scream. We ran to the room and found him hitting her. She told us to return to our room, but we didn’t. We couldn’t leave her like that.

We ran to her and tried to yank her away from his grip, but he grabbed us and threw us off of her. She got up and fought, and that’s when he hit all of us. He half-shifted, and we huddled in a corner, screaming in fear. It was the first time we had seen something like that—a beast—and we couldn’t even move. Fear paralyzed us.

He locked us inside and set the house alight. By the time the neighbors came to our rescue, we had caught flames. When my mother and I awoke in the hospital, they informed us that my sister's burns were too severe, resulting in her death. That’s when we fled. A social worker was kind enough to help us get to my aunt, and that’s when my mother told me everything, including that he was never our birth father and that our father met his end by his hands.

I sank into a dark place. I couldn’t even start school that year. I was afraid to even step outside. Every face I saw turned into his face, and my sister’s screams as we burned alive while my mother desperately pleaded, trying to open the door, haunted my ears. I became suicidal, and the thought of leaving my mother alone was the only thing that held me back every time I was about to take my life.

After months of depression, I eventually got better. But when the bullying started in school, it set me back. All the pain and anger multiplied, and I was drowning again. Aaron was constantly training, and after nothing helped with my depression, he invited me to train with him, and that’s when everything changed for me. That’s when I found my purpose.

I told myself I would train harder, and one day I would seek my stepfather and avenge my sister and father. Aaron and I became very close when we started training together, and one day I told him a story about a werewolf. My mother had cautioned me against revealing my stepfather's identity to anyone, fearing it could lead to the death of my family. But I had to say it to someone. I needed to, so I told Aaron. When I did, I didn’t clarify if it was just a story, a movie I watched, or if it was real. I told myself that he would never believe me, anyway; no one would, or so I thought, but it turned out I was wrong.

The following night, Aaron asked me to accompany him to work. He worked in security and was always on the night shift. His request confused me, but I went with him anyway since I had nothing better to do, and that’s when he introduced me to Orm, a leader of a band of hunters who hated werewolves with the same passion I did.

Aaron knew the story I told him was mine and allowed me to avenge my sister. They presented me with an opportunity to join the hunter band, and I didn’t just join; I shared my story with our leader. After joining the band six months later, I received the most delightful surprise of my life.

They led me down to the cells, where I discovered a beast awaiting my arrival. He was going to be my first kill, my passage to the band. They handed me the blade, and I accepted it without hesitation. I was prepared, yet the sight of the beast's face upon the removal of the bag covering its head caught me off guard. I couldn’t believe it. It was my stepfather. Orm had hunted him down for me.

His eyes widened upon seeing me, and he immediately began cursing me, mistakenly believing I was the same girl he had trapped inside a burning house. Everything he did, all the pain came crashing back, and I didn’t even wait to be told what to do. My blade sank into his heart, and I felt all the power he had taken from me return tenfold as the light fled from his eyes.

The pain-ridden Rayne died with him that night, and I was reborn. No one was ever going to hurt my family or me again for as long as I still had breath in me. I had my revenge but kept it from my mother.

We took an oath of secrecy. We could never reveal who we were. All our family knew was that Aaron got me a job. Orm owned a chain of security companies that provided the perfect cover for what we did. It also enabled us to get a salary at the end of the month to provide for our families. Therefore, we were working in some way.

The revelation that Sage and his family were beasts shocked me, and for a moment after the shock wore off, I felt disgusted. It didn’t matter what he did for me; my hatred for wolves was too strong, but when I saw them dragging his sister naked and bleeding after the attack on their home, something inside of me stirred, and my conscience got the better of me. I felt horrible for standing by and letting them kill his family like that.

Yes, they were monsters, but did that undo all the good they did for me? I had to do something, so I went to the van after they threw his sister inside and helped her escape, but it was too late. I hesitated for too long, and she didn’t make it.

Luke and Vin saw her try to run, and as hard as it was to stand by and do nothing, I did. I had no choice. I couldn’t help her without exposing myself, so I did the only thing I could. I prayed to God to give her strength and help her get away. But a few minutes later, they returned and told Orm they killed her. My prayer fell on deaf ears. It was a good thing I had the cloak on because I couldn’t hold back my tears.

I was too late. Sage was the only one still alive. Until Orm revealed his plan to use Sage as an initiation sacrifice for his daughter, who would assume the role of second in command, I believed there was no chance of saving him. The news nearly made me jump with joy. I had time to at least save him, but I waited and waited for the perfect opportunity, and it never presented itself until I had already given up.

“I hope you get as far away from this place as you can, Sage. I hope you make it, so I can know I at least paid one of you back for what you did for me,” I whispered before taking off in the direction Aaron went in and just then, I heard a howl cutting through the forest, and I ran faster in its direction. It wasn't long before I saw it–a white beast trapped in a silver net while being shot at with arrows.

I quickly grabbed my crossbow and aimed for its head, but I heard Aaron screaming no, making me confused. "We have to take it alive!" he said, and I put my crossbow away and helped with the net.

Just then, the beast collapsed to the ground, but I gasped in horror when it took back its human form. It was Inga, Orm’s daughter, who was about to become our second leader. “How?” I whispered, looking at Aaron, but he shrugged his shoulders, his eyes moistening, before telling me to grab his spear gun.

“Give me a collar,” Orm, our leader said, and Aaron handed one over to him. He immediately clamped it around Inga’s neck while I stood there watching in shock as she shivered on the ground. We headed back, and I kept my eyes forward, unable to look back as the guys dragged her unconscious body by the net.

“She’s a wolf, Rayne. She’s a beast.” I heard Aaron’s voice before he dropped another bomb on me. She was Sage’s mate. I stood there dazed for a moment, watching as they took her away. Inga and I were not just friends; she was a fellow soldier and a sister. How has she been a wolf all this time? She hated wolves, maybe even more than I did.

Aaron's voice calling for me to come snapped me out of my reverie, and my legs were numb as I followed behind them before my heartbeat sped up as we inched closer to the dungeons, knowing what I had done.

“What the f*ck?! Where is it? Where is the beast?” Vin exclaimed, looking at the open cell door. I froze as they all rushed past me, heading inside the cell, until suddenly, I felt eyes on me. I raised my head to find Aaron staring at me with a look that saw right through me and I swallowed hard, my throat suddenly dry.

“What the hell did you do, Rayne?”

Chapter 2: Corrupted

RAYNE

“What the hell did you do?” Aaron asked, roughly grabbing my arm, causing me to gasp as the action took me by surprise. My back hit the wall, and I trembled as he pinned me against it. Orm was fuming and roaring orders, and we were all heading toward Sage’s house or where it used to be since it was burned down in the attack. Everyone thought that’s where he would have gone.

“Wha-what are you talking about?”

“Don’t lie to me! Have you any idea what you’ve done?!” He hissed, letting go of me, and tears welled up in my eyes as I realized he knew.

“Where is he, Rayne?!”

“I don’t know.”

“I told you not to lie to me! Do not fucking test me!”

“I’m not lying. I swear, I don’t know. I just let him out,” I replied with a tremulous voice, and he stepped back, closing his eyes, before suddenly grabbing me by the shoulders and slamming me again against the wall.

“Why?! Why did you do this?!”

“He saved me! He saved my life. I couldn’t le

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