Sun. Feb 11th, 2024

6 #MY_BLACK_KNIGHT 6

Happen 5 (L)

 

 

 

 

 

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

Theme: Mate Of The Cruel Alpha

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“Skylar.”

Hearing that deep, husky voice speak my name sent shivers down my spine and

made me tremble in away I never would have anticipated before. My Wolf purred deep within me and I had to bite my lip to keep myself from making a similar

sound. The moonlight made Gabriel look ethereal, bringing definition to the strong bone structure on his face and his sculpted muscles. Once again, I simply couldn’t believe that fate had given me such a physically perfect other half.

Although I felt lust stir within me my rapid heartbeat could be partially attributed to nervousness. I could not forget my dislike for him and I was unsure how to act or respond.

Gabriel had made no move to further approach me and was simply standing several

yards away, studying me. His deep black eyes and facial expression were

unfathomable as he examined me. I feltheat rise on my skin as our eyes met again. Was I passing his inspection? Was I good enough? The petty part of me wondered if he was disappointed that I wasn’t a stunning beauty. Perhaps someone like Anne would be better for him in that regard. My Wolf snarled at the notion and I winced inwardly.

Unsure what else to say, I merely echoed his statement.

“Gabriel.” The name felt delightful on my tongue and I noticed Gabriel tense, a

flicker of surprise crossing his features. My Wolf’s purring grew louder; she much enjoyed saying her Mate’s name aloud. I had no doubt that he wasn’t used to people calling him by his name. To everyone else, he was just Alpha. To me, even with

the mere handful of words that had passed between us, I felt the inevitable sense of familiarity that came with discovering one’s Mate.

A few more seconds passed with Gabriel remaining unusually still. The normal

sounds of the forest seemed to have dimmed in comparison to my racing heartbeat. Gabriel slowly took a step forward, then another, before stopping again. He stared at me, his dark eyes reflecting the unusual emotion I had seen in them earlier. It

was disbelief and relief, almost awe, as if he had found something that had once been lost. I couldn’t help but feel perplexed athis reaction.

My nervousness increased again and I shifted position. The silence was becoming oppressive and my lust was unfurling once more as my body recognized our closer

 

 

 

 

 

distance. I knew I had to say something to break the heavy quiet between us. Without thinking, I blurted out the first thing I thought of.

“I’m sorry I ran.”

It was a simple apology but I meant every word. Despite my dislike and distrust for the power-hungry leader in front of me, the logical side of me knew it would have pained me to see him runaway ifour roles were reversed. Mates were not

supposed to run in opposite directions upon meeting. I was surprised at the lack of anger on his face; I had abandoned him in front of both packs, after all.

Gabriel’s stare intensified as he took a couple steps closer. We now stood less than ten feet apart. I could see every detail from his high cheekbones to the contours of muscle beneath his clothing. I swallowed, hard. My Wolf was pushing to get out as I felt the crackling tension between us.

 

*

Hall Of Supernatural Stories

*

“Why did you?” He finally said, voice low. There was no anger or hurt in his voice, and despite the question, he did not look confused. A small part of me suspected that he knew my motivation for running.

I broke eye contact then, staring at the ground. I wanted to makeup a feeble excuse but doubted I could lie to such a powerful Alpha, even if he wasn’t my Mate.

“I didn’t knowhow to react. I had to clear my head.” My cheeks reddened as I thought of how he must have reacted after I took off. He likely thought I was a coward. “I wasn’t expecting to…to discover something like that tonight.”

“I don’t think that fully explains your reaction to finding your own Mate.” Gabriel’s voice had hardened considerably.

I still could not lookup at him. The word ‘Mate’ in association with him pleased my Wolf and made a warm feeling unfurl deep within me despite my misgivings. Histone, however, had me on edge.

“I was conflicted. My Wolf and I were in disagreement and I didn’t trust myself around you.” I replied back, trying hard to keep my voice even.

“Why?” He asked, although, once again, I had a suspicion he already knew and wanted me to say it aloud.

I paused, taking a deep breath. “Because you’re the Alpha of the pack that is taking our land.” I wanted to add that I had disliked him for years but was afraid of his

reaction. Slowly, I raised my gaze to look into Gabriel’s mesmerizing but haunting

 

 

 

 

 

eyes. His expression had hardened yet again and I saw steely anger hovering on his face.

“So you’re predisposed to despise me, as my pack is the enemy.” He replied coolly, attempting to mask his irritation. I gritted my teeth and looked away, staring into

the trees. I was unable to deny his claim. The silence stretched between us for a moment.

“So I take it you’re rejecting me then.” His voice was icy now, and my eyes snapped back to him in surprise as I felt my Wolf’s horror within me.

“W-what?” I stuttered in shock, my heart racing. His furious gaze was fixated on me but I thought I could detect another emotion shimmering underneath. Was

it…hurt? Pain? Or a mixture of both?

Don’t you dare reject him! My Wolf hissed, her anger permeating my entire being. I knew that if I told Gabriel I didn’t want him she would never forgive me. Could I do that to her? Part of me was screaming at me not to, and despite my distrust and

dislike, I wasn’t sure I could do that to myself. I knew the pain would be unbearable.

Plus, I tried to reason, what would happen if I rejected Gabriel? He would be furious and hurt; rejection was a rare thing but rejected wolves almost never

recovered. There was a chance he would take it out on my family and pack. Even if I didn’t want him at all, (which I knew wasn’t true), I knew I couldn’t risk that

chance. Eventhough my human side disliked and distrusted him, my Wolf was still half of me, and she desperately wanted her Mate. I should’ve known from the

beginning that rejecting him wasn’t an option for her.

Realizing he was still staring at me with his body tense and fists clenched, I

quickly shook my head. “No….no I am not rejecting you. If anything, I thought you wouldn’t want me because of my pack affiliation.” I blinked rapidly as that last

sentence slipped out. I hadn’t really thought about it until I said it and I now felt

oddly vulnerable expressing such sentiment with this powerful wolf in front of me. His expression changed then as shock and disbelief marred his features. “You

thought I would reject you?” The thought seemed repulsive to him. Once again I was struck with surprise athis reaction.

“You’re one of the most powerful Alphas in the country. I’m a completely ordinary she-wolf, from an enemy pack. It doesn’t make sense that Fate put us together.” I couldn’t help the bitterness from leaking into my tone. It was surprisingly easy to express the truth in front of Gabriel eventhough I found him intimidating and

barely knew him. Perhaps part of my subconscious realized the mating bond even more than I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

*

In the blink of an eye Gabriel was standing in front of me. My heart jolted in my

chest; even for a werewolf he had moved unusually fast. I felt goosebumps rise on my arms due to his proximity. We were only a foot apart and I had to crane my

neck to peer into his eyes. This close, I could see the swirling depths of his dark

gaze and every long, dark eyelash. I wanted to reach up and stroke his face. My

Wolf wanted to do a lot more than that, and she was making it quite apparent.

Worried I would begin to furiously blush, I quickly looked away as I attempted to slow my racing heart. I furiously reprimanded myself, reminding my subconscious that I was supposed to dislike him. Unfortunately it was near impossible with him standing so close. I could feel electricity between us and I clasped my hands

behind my back so I wouldn’t do anything rash.

“You aren’t completely ordinary. You can’t be.” He said softly, confusion evident in his voice. I felthis gaze burning into the side of my face as I avoided looking at him.

“I am.” I replied coolly, inwardly fearing his disappointment and ultimate rejection when he realized I was nothing special. Then I reminded myself that I didn’t care; everything would be much easier for my pack and I if he just left mealone. My

Wolf whimpered at the thought of her Mate not wanting her.

“You’re not supposed to exist, because it’s supposed to be impossible forme to have a Mate.” Gabriel continued. My gaze snapped to his face as my brows

furrowed in confusion. Every wolf was supposed to have a Mate, what was he talking about?

Slowly, Gabriel lowered his head to the side until his face was a few inches from

my neck. My awareness of his proximity spiked and I feltheat rush through my

body. My Wolf wanted me to grab him and force him against the nearest tree. Such thoughts were causing warmth to blossom in the lowest regions of my body and I gritted my teeth to resist my more basic instincts.

Gabriel inhaled, slowly, taking in my scent. I heard a soft, low sound of approval deep in his chest as he did so. The husky noise only made my bodily sensations worse and I quickly took a couple of steps back. He raised his head to meet my gaze then, his eyes darker than usual.

 

 

 

 

 

He opened his mouth to speak but then froze, listening. I perked my ears as well. Was someone nearby? After hearing nothing, I determined that someone in

Gabriel’s pack must have been trying to get his attention. Judging by his facial expression, which shifted from mild irritation to furious anger, it was something important.

I waited, shifting from foot to foot and trying to get ahold of myself as Gabriel

continued his telepathic conversation. I should be grateful for the distraction, I

thought. Gabriel’s proximity had been driving me crazy, causing me to temporarily forget my strong feelings of dislike. What the hell was wrong with me?

You are designed, we are designed to want him. Don’t fight it, my Wolf cautioned. And I have been led to despise him because of what he is doing to our pack.

How can you despise what Fate has demanded you to love? She replied softly.

I was saved from responding by Gabriel, who swiveled his head back to face me. “There is apack emergency. I’m going back.”

I blinked in surprise and felt a mild surge of frustration. I still had no idea what I

was supposed to do next. In a traditional relationship the female would join the

male’s pack and live with him after they Mated, but I was nowhere close to ready

for such a thing. In fact, the thought of living in the Black Mountains Pack territory was horrifying. I needed some more time to figure things out. To make matters

worse, our conversation had only served to muddle my emotions even more.

Truthfully, a large part of me didn’t want him to go. There was still so much left to discuss, and on top of that my Wolf would pine after him the second he left, I

knew. But if Gabriel thought the emergency was important enough to return to his pack I was going to make no attempt to dissuade him.

 

“I can’t waithere. Alpha Brett and my father expect me home.” I replied, infusing my tone with finality. He wouldn’t order me to return with him, would he? I would have no idea how to handle such a situation.

I saw a glimmer of irritation in Gabriel’s eyes but then it was gone. He slowly took a step forward. With his hulking height and muscled physique, the action almost

looked menacing, especially with the light of the moon throwing his face into a sharp contrast of light and shadow.

For a moment I thoughthe was going to force me to come with him. From what I

had been told he was merciless and demanding; it wouldn’t be out of character. The moment stretched on until the tension was nearly unbearable as he stared me down, deliberating.

 

 

 

 

 

“Very well, I won’t make you return with me.” He finally said, histone devoid of emotion. I blinked in surprise. Part of me hadn’t expected such consideration.

“I just….need to think,” I muttered as he stared at me. The excuse sounded feeble even tome but I had no clue what else to say.

“Then think. But in the meantime, Skylar, don’t forget that Fate has determined you to be my Mate. I expect your pack to respect that.” The last part came out nearly in a growl, his eyes flashing. Some part of me idly wondered if he meant that

generally, or if he was referring to anything in particular…for instance, if he’d

noticed Will comforting mein the clearing. The whole Meeting was a blur now – I couldn’t remember if Will had maintained the contact in Gabriel’s presence.

My Wolf yipped in excitement and I felt a strange mix of fear and pleasure as he

verbally determined me as his. Although my logical side recoiled from such a cruel

wolf claiming me,the rest of my being could not help but feel elated at the proclamation. It was a confusing mix of feelings.

Before I could retort, Gabriel had moved to the edge of the clearing in the blink of an eye. He made to enter the woods but then turned back over his shoulder. His

gaze fixated on me and held me in place as I was mesmerized once more by the blackpools of his eyes. We stood there, motionless, for a few seconds. I couldn’t help but feel as if the world had stopped around us and was holding its breath,

watching.

He had a strange look on his face as he stared at me, his eyes roving over my figure then rising again to my face. If I didn’t know any better I would have thoughthis

expression was one of barely concealed longing. The logical side of my brain tried to convince me that was impossible.

“I know you dislike me, but I will not apologize for my pack’s actions against yours.” Histone was clipped, without remorse. I opened my mouth without

thinking, feeling a surge of anger athis brusque and unfeeling comments but he cut me off. “I will be seeing you very soon, Skylar.” And with my name hanging from his lips, he vanished into the trees.

—-

I stood there for several minutes, staring after him. My mind was a complete mess, muddled with so many thoughts and emotions that I did not even know where to

begin. Gabriel was as infuriating, cold, and demanding as I had thought, but I had seen real emotion in a few brief instances, like when he asked if I was going to

reject him, when he took in my scent, and even that look on his face before he left. I couldn’t help but feel that there was a lot more depth to him than anyone in my

pack had ever realized.

 

 

 

 

 

But I shouldn’t bethinking such things, should I? He had caused death and

destruction in our pack. He was my Mate, and that sure ashell confused things, but it didn’t erase the past. I was supposed to feel only hatred for him, and here I was

transfixed by his power and beauty.

I’m pathetic, I thought miserably. My Wolf attempted to sootheme, liking these

newfound ideas about her Mate, but it did little to help because I already knew her thoughts on the matter.

 

I had to get back home. Perhaps getting away from here would help my mind be free of the thoughts of Gabriel. My parents and Alpha Brett could help talk some sense into me, or atleast distract me.

I needed to contact them and inform them that I was coming home. I opened my mind once more, expecting Alpha Brett’s and my father’s presences to once more enter in a rush. To my surprise, they were there, but my father seemed much more restrained and in control of his emotions than last time.

Dad, Alpha Brett, I’m coming home, I’ll leave now. I just talked to him and he said- Skylar, I think home would be a better place to talk about this. My father replied

calmly. I could sense Alpha Brett’s agreement. There is a lot to discuss. Your

mother still has to hear about this and it would be better to go over it in person.

I did not want my mother to know about this but there was obviously noway

around it. I sighed in resignation. I’ll be there as soon as I can. I glanced up; it was a while until sunrise and our pack village was hours away at a wolf’s speed. It’ll

likely be morning or afternoon.

Hunt along the way, my father replied. Focusing on him more, I could tell that his mental state of calm was more forced than I previously thought. It wouldn’t be

good to push him now.

Keep your eyes and ears open, Skylar. Let us know if you run into anything. That was Alpha Brett, and with one last mental goodbye, they were gone.

After shifting into wolf form, heading west for a bit and catching a quick meal of rabbit, I decided I was in roughly the right position to head directly north, which would take me to our home on the far side of the valley. I was still relatively close to the meeting place and it was best to just put all of that behind me, for now. No sense in wasting anymore time.

I began to run in full wolf speed, forcing all of my doubts and confused emotions

into fuel to increase my pace even further. The undergrowth rushed by in a blur

beside my powerful figure as I leapt over rocks and logs in a single bound, thrilling

 

 

 

 

 

in the joy of running completely free. It was true that running really was the best therapy, and with the haunting promise of Gabriel seeing me again soon, my Wolf at least was letting me be.

I ran like that for a long while before deciding to take a break. For all I knew the Meeting wasn’t even over yet; they could often last hours because of negotiations. It seemed more likely that the ‘pack emergency’ Gabriel had was enough to cause an end to the Meeting but I couldn’t be sure, and I definitely did not want to beat my father home and encounter my mother alone.

I had just lowered my head to a nearby creek in order to quench my thirst when I felt it.

Somebody or something was watching me.

The fur on the backup my neck stood up with awareness and I quickly swiveled

my head from side to side, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever was nearby. I saw nothing except the trees swaying with the breeze, leaves rustling. Pricking my ears, I listened intently.

Nothing.

That was unusual in itself. Usually, if I listened hard enough, I could hear the faint cries of small animals, the chirping of birds, or even the noises of various insects. However, the forest around me was oddly still. It wasn’t the same feeling I’d had in

the clearing with Gabriel. This time it was as if the forest was hiding from something.

A deep growl emanated from my chest as I raised my head, sniffing the air. If

anyone was close by, I would be able to smell them with my overly keen senses. For half of a second, I caught a whiff of something unfamiliar. It didn’t smell like anything I recognized, animal or human, and it definitely didn’t smell like a

werewolf. Even with such a brief whiff I could tell it was dangerous, and I growled louder.

Lowering myself into a crouch, I sniffed once more, fur standing on end. Again, I detected nothing. A growl continued to emanate from my throat as my claws dug into the ground.

I remained in that position for a few more moments but I could not catch the scent again. Whatever had been nearby was gone.

My fur slowly lay flat again as my sense of awareness disappeared. Whatever the

hell it was had left me alone but I was paranoid now. I needed to get home before it came back. I had no idea what had been watching me but I knew instinctively that it was highly dangerous.

I took off running for home again, my Wolf and I both on high alert.

 

 

 

 

 

I tried to put the thoughts of the unknown creature and Gabriel’s dark eyes out of my mind as hours passed and the sun finally rose. Tendrils of color stretched

across the sky, turning it brilliant hues of orange, yellow, and pink. The forest

around me was thrown into sharp relief, every leaf and twig defined by the bright light of the sun. I was trekking downhill now into the gigantic valley we called

home. I could see the entire lay of the land thanks to the beautiful sunrise. I was struck by a pang of possessiveness as I gazed at our territory…the territory my Mate was trying to take away.

What would Gabriel do now? I still felt my dislike and distrust for him, but I was unsure if my original idea of his character was accurate. After all, if he was as

cruel as they said, he would have Claimed me without my permission or forced me

to come along with him. Yethe didn’t. That meanthe had a selfless bone somewhere in his body, right?

After stopping once more to rest for a while and dine on another rabbit I found

nestled in a burrow, I started on the final leg of my trip. I kept a slower pace now

to assure that I wouldn’t beat everyone home. The slow trot had my Wolf pacing in anticipation; she didn’t like moving at what felt like a snail’s speed. However, it did allow me to appreciate the full beauty of the morning as I watched the sunrise in

the sky and morning turn to early afternoon.

Fortunately, a couple hours later I caught my father’s scent on the wind and knew

they had beaten me home. I picked up my speed again then stopped at the fringe of the trees before shifting back into human form. I had tied my clothes tightly around my ankle before shifting and I retrieved them now, swiftly donning them and

exiting the shelter of the forest.

I smelled them before I saw them. As I turned the corner, I came face-to-face with Alpha Brett. He and all of the others from the group that attended the Meeting

were standing around nervously, talking amongst themselves and waiting for my arrival. As soon as I entered their peripheral all heads turned to face me. I detected a wide range of expressions from nervousness to outright disapproval.

“Skylar, we’ve got to talk about this.” That was my father, stepping forward and spea6 #MY_BLACK_KNIGHT 6

Happen 5 (L)

 

 

 

 

 

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

Theme: Mate Of The Cruel Alpha

.

.

“Skylar.”

Hearing that deep, husky voice speak my name sent shivers down my spine and

made me tremble in away I never would have anticipated before. My Wolf purred deep within me and I had to bite my lip to keep myself from making a similar

sound. The moonlight made Gabriel look ethereal, bringing definition to the strong bone structure on his face and his sculpted muscles. Once again, I simply couldn’t believe that fate had given me such a physically perfect other half.

Although I felt lust stir within me my rapid heartbeat could be partially attributed to nervousness. I could not forget my dislike for him and I was unsure how to act or respond.

Gabriel had made no move to further approach me and was simply standing several

yards away, studying me. His deep black eyes and facial expression were

unfathomable as he examined me. I feltheat rise on my skin as our eyes met again. Was I passing his inspection? Was I good enough? The petty part of me wondered if he was disappointed that I wasn’t a stunning beauty. Perhaps someone like Anne would be better for him in that regard. My Wolf snarled at the notion and I winced inwardly.

Unsure what else to say, I merely echoed his statement.

“Gabriel.” The name felt delightful on my tongue and I noticed Gabriel tense, a

flicker of surprise crossing his features. My Wolf’s purring grew louder; she much enjoyed saying her Mate’s name aloud. I had no doubt that he wasn’t used to people calling him by his name. To everyone else, he was just Alpha. To me, even with

the mere handful of words that had passed between us, I felt the inevitable sense of familiarity that came with discovering one’s Mate.

A few more seconds passed with Gabriel remaining unusually still. The normal

sounds of the forest seemed to have dimmed in comparison to my racing heartbeat. Gabriel slowly took a step forward, then another, before stopping again. He stared at me, his dark eyes reflecting the unusual emotion I had seen in them earlier. It

was disbelief and relief, almost awe, as if he had found something that had once been lost. I couldn’t help but feel perplexed athis reaction.

My nervousness increased again and I shifted position. The silence was becoming oppressive and my lust was unfurling once more as my body recognized our closer

 

 

 

 

 

distance. I knew I had to say something to break the heavy quiet between us. Without thinking, I blurted out the first thing I thought of.

“I’m sorry I ran.”

It was a simple apology but I meant every word. Despite my dislike and distrust for the power-hungry leader in front of me, the logical side of me knew it would have pained me to see him runaway ifour roles were reversed. Mates were not

supposed to run in opposite directions upon meeting. I was surprised at the lack of anger on his face; I had abandoned him in front of both packs, after all.

Gabriel’s stare intensified as he took a couple steps closer. We now stood less than ten feet apart. I could see every detail from his high cheekbones to the contours of muscle beneath his clothing. I swallowed, hard. My Wolf was pushing to get out as I felt the crackling tension between us.

 

*

Hall Of Supernatural Stories

*

“Why did you?” He finally said, voice low. There was no anger or hurt in his voice, and despite the question, he did not look confused. A small part of me suspected that he knew my motivation for running.

I broke eye contact then, staring at the ground. I wanted to makeup a feeble excuse but doubted I could lie to such a powerful Alpha, even if he wasn’t my Mate.

“I didn’t knowhow to react. I had to clear my head.” My cheeks reddened as I thought of how he must have reacted after I took off. He likely thought I was a coward. “I wasn’t expecting to…to discover something like that tonight.”

“I don’t think that fully explains your reaction to finding your own Mate.” Gabriel’s voice had hardened considerably.

I still could not lookup at him. The word ‘Mate’ in association with him pleased my Wolf and made a warm feeling unfurl deep within me despite my misgivings. Histone, however, had me on edge.

“I was conflicted. My Wolf and I were in disagreement and I didn’t trust myself around you.” I replied back, trying hard to keep my voice even.

“Why?” He asked, although, once again, I had a suspicion he already knew and wanted me to say it aloud.

I paused, taking a deep breath. “Because you’re the Alpha of the pack that is taking our land.” I wanted to add that I had disliked him for years but was afraid of his

reaction. Slowly, I raised my gaze to look into Gabriel’s mesmerizing but haunting

 

 

 

 

 

eyes. His expression had hardened yet again and I saw steely anger hovering on his face.

“So you’re predisposed to despise me, as my pack is the enemy.” He replied coolly, attempting to mask his irritation. I gritted my teeth and looked away, staring into

the trees. I was unable to deny his claim. The silence stretched between us for a moment.

“So I take it you’re rejecting me then.” His voice was icy now, and my eyes snapped back to him in surprise as I felt my Wolf’s horror within me.

“W-what?” I stuttered in shock, my heart racing. His furious gaze was fixated on me but I thought I could detect another emotion shimmering underneath. Was

it…hurt? Pain? Or a mixture of both?

Don’t you dare reject him! My Wolf hissed, her anger permeating my entire being. I knew that if I told Gabriel I didn’t want him she would never forgive me. Could I do that to her? Part of me was screaming at me not to, and despite my distrust and

dislike, I wasn’t sure I could do that to myself. I knew the pain would be unbearable.

Plus, I tried to reason, what would happen if I rejected Gabriel? He would be furious and hurt; rejection was a rare thing but rejected wolves almost never

recovered. There was a chance he would take it out on my family and pack. Even if I didn’t want him at all, (which I knew wasn’t true), I knew I couldn’t risk that

chance. Eventhough my human side disliked and distrusted him, my Wolf was still half of me, and she desperately wanted her Mate. I should’ve known from the

beginning that rejecting him wasn’t an option for her.

Realizing he was still staring at me with his body tense and fists clenched, I

quickly shook my head. “No….no I am not rejecting you. If anything, I thought you wouldn’t want me because of my pack affiliation.” I blinked rapidly as that last

sentence slipped out. I hadn’t really thought about it until I said it and I now felt

oddly vulnerable expressing such sentiment with this powerful wolf in front of me. His expression changed then as shock and disbelief marred his features. “You

thought I would reject you?” The thought seemed repulsive to him. Once again I was struck with surprise athis reaction.

“You’re one of the most powerful Alphas in the country. I’m a completely ordinary she-wolf, from an enemy pack. It doesn’t make sense that Fate put us together.” I couldn’t help the bitterness from leaking into my tone. It was surprisingly easy to express the truth in front of Gabriel eventhough I found him intimidating and

barely knew him. Perhaps part of my subconscious realized the mating bond even more than I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

As Produced By SheriffSquinty

*

In the blink of an eye Gabriel was standing in front of me. My heart jolted in my

chest; even for a werewolf he had moved unusually fast. I felt goosebumps rise on my arms due to his proximity. We were only a foot apart and I had to crane my

neck to peer into his eyes. This close, I could see the swirling depths of his dark

gaze and every long, dark eyelash. I wanted to reach up and stroke his face. My

Wolf wanted to do a lot more than that, and she was making it quite apparent.

Worried I would begin to furiously blush, I quickly looked away as I attempted to slow my racing heart. I furiously reprimanded myself, reminding my subconscious that I was supposed to dislike him. Unfortunately it was near impossible with him standing so close. I could feel electricity between us and I clasped my hands

behind my back so I wouldn’t do anything rash.

“You aren’t completely ordinary. You can’t be.” He said softly, confusion evident in his voice. I felthis gaze burning into the side of my face as I avoided looking at him.

“I am.” I replied coolly, inwardly fearing his disappointment and ultimate rejection when he realized I was nothing special. Then I reminded myself that I didn’t care; everything would be much easier for my pack and I if he just left mealone. My

Wolf whimpered at the thought of her Mate not wanting her.

“You’re not supposed to exist, because it’s supposed to be impossible forme to have a Mate.” Gabriel continued. My gaze snapped to his face as my brows

furrowed in confusion. Every wolf was supposed to have a Mate, what was he talking about?

Slowly, Gabriel lowered his head to the side until his face was a few inches from

my neck. My awareness of his proximity spiked and I feltheat rush through my

body. My Wolf wanted me to grab him and force him against the nearest tree. Such thoughts were causing warmth to blossom in the lowest regions of my body and I gritted my teeth to resist my more basic instincts.

Gabriel inhaled, slowly, taking in my scent. I heard a soft, low sound of approval deep in his chest as he did so. The husky noise only made my bodily sensations worse and I quickly took a couple of steps back. He raised his head to meet my gaze then, his eyes darker than usual.

 

 

 

 

 

He opened his mouth to speak but then froze, listening. I perked my ears as well. Was someone nearby? After hearing nothing, I determined that someone in

Gabriel’s pack must have been trying to get his attention. Judging by his facial expression, which shifted from mild irritation to furious anger, it was something important.

I waited, shifting from foot to foot and trying to get ahold of myself as Gabriel

continued his telepathic conversation. I should be grateful for the distraction, I

thought. Gabriel’s proximity had been driving me crazy, causing me to temporarily forget my strong feelings of dislike. What the hell was wrong with me?

You are designed, we are designed to want him. Don’t fight it, my Wolf cautioned. And I have been led to despise him because of what he is doing to our pack.

How can you despise what Fate has demanded you to love? She replied softly.

I was saved from responding by Gabriel, who swiveled his head back to face me. “There is apack emergency. I’m going back.”

I blinked in surprise and felt a mild surge of frustration. I still had no idea what I

was supposed to do next. In a traditional relationship the female would join the

male’s pack and live with him after they Mated, but I was nowhere close to ready

for such a thing. In fact, the thought of living in the Black Mountains Pack territory was horrifying. I needed some more time to figure things out. To make matters

worse, our conversation had only served to muddle my emotions even more.

Truthfully, a large part of me didn’t want him to go. There was still so much left to discuss, and on top of that my Wolf would pine after him the second he left, I

knew. But if Gabriel thought the emergency was important enough to return to his pack I was going to make no attempt to dissuade him.

 

“I can’t waithere. Alpha Brett and my father expect me home.” I replied, infusing my tone with finality. He wouldn’t order me to return with him, would he? I would have no idea how to handle such a situation.

I saw a glimmer of irritation in Gabriel’s eyes but then it was gone. He slowly took a step forward. With his hulking height and muscled physique, the action almost

looked menacing, especially with the light of the moon throwing his face into a sharp contrast of light and shadow.

For a moment I thoughthe was going to force me to come with him. From what I

had been told he was merciless and demanding; it wouldn’t be out of character. The moment stretched on until the tension was nearly unbearable as he stared me down, deliberating.

 

 

 

 

 

“Very well, I won’t make you return with me.” He finally said, histone devoid of emotion. I blinked in surprise. Part of me hadn’t expected such consideration.

“I just….need to think,” I muttered as he stared at me. The excuse sounded feeble even tome but I had no clue what else to say.

“Then think. But in the meantime, Skylar, don’t forget that Fate has determined you to be my Mate. I expect your pack to respect that.” The last part came out nearly in a growl, his eyes flashing. Some part of me idly wondered if he meant that

generally, or if he was referring to anything in particular…for instance, if he’d

noticed Will comforting mein the clearing. The whole Meeting was a blur now – I couldn’t remember if Will had maintained the contact in Gabriel’s presence.

My Wolf yipped in excitement and I felt a strange mix of fear and pleasure as he

verbally determined me as his. Although my logical side recoiled from such a cruel

wolf claiming me,the rest of my being could not help but feel elated at the proclamation. It was a confusing mix of feelings.

Before I could retort, Gabriel had moved to the edge of the clearing in the blink of an eye. He made to enter the woods but then turned back over his shoulder. His

gaze fixated on me and held me in place as I was mesmerized once more by the blackpools of his eyes. We stood there, motionless, for a few seconds. I couldn’t help but feel as if the world had stopped around us and was holding its breath,

watching.

He had a strange look on his face as he stared at me, his eyes roving over my figure then rising again to my face. If I didn’t know any better I would have thoughthis

expression was one of barely concealed longing. The logical side of my brain tried to convince me that was impossible.

“I know you dislike me, but I will not apologize for my pack’s actions against yours.” Histone was clipped, without remorse. I opened my mouth without

thinking, feeling a surge of anger athis brusque and unfeeling comments but he cut me off. “I will be seeing you very soon, Skylar.” And with my name hanging from his lips, he vanished into the trees.

—-

I stood there for several minutes, staring after him. My mind was a complete mess, muddled with so many thoughts and emotions that I did not even know where to

begin. Gabriel was as infuriating, cold, and demanding as I had thought, but I had seen real emotion in a few brief instances, like when he asked if I was going to

reject him, when he took in my scent, and even that look on his face before he left. I couldn’t help but feel that there was a lot more depth to him than anyone in my

pack had ever realized.

 

 

 

 

 

But I shouldn’t bethinking such things, should I? He had caused death and

destruction in our pack. He was my Mate, and that sure ashell confused things, but it didn’t erase the past. I was supposed to feel only hatred for him, and here I was

transfixed by his power and beauty.

I’m pathetic, I thought miserably. My Wolf attempted to sootheme, liking these

newfound ideas about her Mate, but it did little to help because I already knew her thoughts on the matter.

 

I had to get back home. Perhaps getting away from here would help my mind be free of the thoughts of Gabriel. My parents and Alpha Brett could help talk some sense into me, or atleast distract me.

I needed to contact them and inform them that I was coming home. I opened my mind once more, expecting Alpha Brett’s and my father’s presences to once more enter in a rush. To my surprise, they were there, but my father seemed much more restrained and in control of his emotions than last time.

Dad, Alpha Brett, I’m coming home, I’ll leave now. I just talked to him and he said- Skylar, I think home would be a better place to talk about this. My father replied

calmly. I could sense Alpha Brett’s agreement. There is a lot to discuss. Your

mother still has to hear about this and it would be better to go over it in person.

I did not want my mother to know about this but there was obviously noway

around it. I sighed in resignation. I’ll be there as soon as I can. I glanced up; it was a while until sunrise and our pack village was hours away at a wolf’s speed. It’ll

likely be morning or afternoon.

Hunt along the way, my father replied. Focusing on him more, I could tell that his mental state of calm was more forced than I previously thought. It wouldn’t be

good to push him now.

Keep your eyes and ears open, Skylar. Let us know if you run into anything. That was Alpha Brett, and with one last mental goodbye, they were gone.

After shifting into wolf form, heading west for a bit and catching a quick meal of rabbit, I decided I was in roughly the right position to head directly north, which would take me to our home on the far side of the valley. I was still relatively close to the meeting place and it was best to just put all of that behind me, for now. No sense in wasting anymore time.

I began to run in full wolf speed, forcing all of my doubts and confused emotions

into fuel to increase my pace even further. The undergrowth rushed by in a blur

beside my powerful figure as I leapt over rocks and logs in a single bound, thrilling

 

 

 

 

 

in the joy of running completely free. It was true that running really was the best therapy, and with the haunting promise of Gabriel seeing me again soon, my Wolf at least was letting me be.

I ran like that for a long while before deciding to take a break. For all I knew the Meeting wasn’t even over yet; they could often last hours because of negotiations. It seemed more likely that the ‘pack emergency’ Gabriel had was enough to cause an end to the Meeting but I couldn’t be sure, and I definitely did not want to beat my father home and encounter my mother alone.

I had just lowered my head to a nearby creek in order to quench my thirst when I felt it.

Somebody or something was watching me.

The fur on the backup my neck stood up with awareness and I quickly swiveled

my head from side to side, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever was nearby. I saw nothing except the trees swaying with the breeze, leaves rustling. Pricking my ears, I listened intently.

Nothing.

That was unusual in itself. Usually, if I listened hard enough, I could hear the faint cries of small animals, the chirping of birds, or even the noises of various insects. However, the forest around me was oddly still. It wasn’t the same feeling I’d had in

the clearing with Gabriel. This time it was as if the forest was hiding from something.

A deep growl emanated from my chest as I raised my head, sniffing the air. If

anyone was close by, I would be able to smell them with my overly keen senses. For half of a second, I caught a whiff of something unfamiliar. It didn’t smell like anything I recognized, animal or human, and it definitely didn’t smell like a

werewolf. Even with such a brief whiff I could tell it was dangerous, and I growled louder.

Lowering myself into a crouch, I sniffed once more, fur standing on end. Again, I detected nothing. A growl continued to emanate from my throat as my claws dug into the ground.

I remained in that position for a few more moments but I could not catch the scent again. Whatever had been nearby was gone.

My fur slowly lay flat again as my sense of awareness disappeared. Whatever the

hell it was had left me alone but I was paranoid now. I needed to get home before it came back. I had no idea what had been watching me but I knew instinctively that it was highly dangerous.

I took off running for home again, my Wolf and I both on high alert.

 

 

 

 

 

I tried to put the thoughts of the unknown creature and Gabriel’s dark eyes out of my mind as hours passed and the sun finally rose. Tendrils of color stretched

across the sky, turning it brilliant hues of orange, yellow, and pink. The forest

around me was thrown into sharp relief, every leaf and twig defined by the bright light of the sun. I was trekking downhill now into the gigantic valley we called

home. I could see the entire lay of the land thanks to the beautiful sunrise. I was struck by a pang of possessiveness as I gazed at our territory…the territory my Mate was trying to take away.

What would Gabriel do now? I still felt my dislike and distrust for him, but I was unsure if my original idea of his character was accurate. After all, if he was as

cruel as they said, he would have Claimed me without my permission or forced me

to come along with him. Yethe didn’t. That meanthe had a selfless bone somewhere in his body, right?

After stopping once more to rest for a while and dine on another rabbit I found

nestled in a burrow, I started on the final leg of my trip. I kept a slower pace now

to assure that I wouldn’t beat everyone home. The slow trot had my Wolf pacing in anticipation; she didn’t like moving at what felt like a snail’s speed. However, it did allow me to appreciate the full beauty of the morning as I watched the sunrise in

the sky and morning turn to early afternoon.

Fortunately, a couple hours later I caught my father’s scent on the wind and knew

they had beaten me home. I picked up my speed again then stopped at the fringe of the trees before shifting back into human form. I had tied my clothes tightly around my ankle before shifting and I retrieved them now, swiftly donning them and

exiting the shelter of the forest.

I smelled them before I saw them. As I turned the corner, I came face-to-face with Alpha Brett. He and all of the others from the group that attended the Meeting

were standing around nervously, talking amongst themselves and waiting for my arrival. As soon as I entered their peripheral all heads turned to face me. I detected a wide range of expressions from nervousness to outright disapproval.

“Skylar, we’ve got to talk about this.” That was my father, stepping forward and speaking softly.

It was time to face my pack, but instead of looking at me as Skylar, they were looking at me as their worst enemy’s new Mate.

.

.king softly.

It was time to face my pack, but instead of looking at me as Skylar, they were looking at me as their worst enemy’s new Mate.

.

.

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