Author: FangSoul00 PM
Claire wasn't expecting to be handed away to Luke, the future alpha of the pack for her 17th birthday. When a nomadic pack seek help, it further complicates things, especially when a traitor is suspected amongst them. Demons are at their doorstep, as a pack of rogue wolves seek revenge on Claire's family, and a poison from Luke's past is determined to tear their world apart.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 10 - Words: 46,327 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 04-19-13 - Published: 04-16-12 - id: 3014041
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I can't believe you're willing to give me away to be some broodmare!" Claire Simmons shrieked to her parents, who, unlike her, remained seated on the loveseat in their living room.
"Claire, you know that is not what it means—"
"Oh really? Then what does it mean, Dad? What other translation is there for giving myself to some wannabe alpha male so I can whelp his young and boost his ego?" The idea made Claire want to vomit. For Christ's sake, one night she's enjoying her seventeenth birthday and the next night she's told by her own parents it is her place to offer herself to the future alpha male of the pack! This was not what I had in mind for a rite of passage at all.
"Claire, you know this is our way," Claire's father James egged on, glaring down his teenage daughter with stern and unrelenting blue eyes. "I am the current Alpha male; I must choose a successor to take my place once I retire. And, in being my daughter, you have rightfully inherited an alpha ranking."
Claire made a groaning sound similar to that of a cat's unhappy wail. "I'm just seventeen! I know females are eligible to be chosen as mates at my age but that doesn't mean they have to! I should be worrying about getting that artwork scholarship and graduating high school, not prepping for an early life as some wolf-man's bride!" She didn't care her voice had risen to high octaves.
"Has spending time in the human world been rubbing off on you?" James inquired, his sharp brow whipping upward. Claire huffed, her foot lightly stomping the soft carpet.
"Forgive me for wanting something more for myself. Why do you have us under the Old Laws like we're still stuck in medieval times? It's the twenty-first century, for God's sake, Dad!" On a last-minute whim, Claire marched out of the room and for her bedroom upstairs as her father began to dish out more explanations.
"This is our way". That's his answer for everything. I'm goddamn sick of it. Throwing herself onto her queen-sized mattress, Claire let out a heavy sigh and gazed up at her ceiling. The same posters of movies, bands, and other promotions offered her the familiar comfort and protection she needed from the outside world. Yet, if kept locked away in four walls for too long, even this little sanctuary can become a burden to a restless teenager like Claire.
Being a werewolf is so complicated sometimes, as if it isn't already hard enough for us loups-garoux to fit in and control our inner wolf in society. Claire was uncertain why her father still insisted on abiding by the Old Way of the Law; alpha pairs were chosen through medieval selection for future breeding, children were raised to avoid humans at all costs, and pack hierarchy was established through violence. She highly doubted Luke Grayson, of all people, would be the answer to all this.
Just as any other teenager, Claire had mixed feelings about school. Others of her brethren joined her; she was hardly the only werewolf on campus. Walking amongst all the human teenagers, Claire couldn't help but feel she stuck out like a sore thumb, despite appearing despicably mundane to the naked eye.
At a lean and leggy five-foot-five, with a full head of long, flowing burnt auburn hair, and soft pale skin, she knew she was beautiful. However, she found it hard to feel proud of her endowments lately, knowing Luke and other select wolf-boys were snapping at her heels. She no longer wore tight articles of clothing; if she ever did, she made sure her petite figure was shrouded with a baggy hoodie. As her wise mother always told her when she was a foolishly younger teen: "Don't put it on display for all to see if you don't intend to sell."
"God, you can smell it in the air," Claire's best friend Trixie declared, wrinkling her nose. "Everyone is all amped up for the Blood Duels."
"Everyone?" Claire drawled, taking a glance out to her bustling schoolmates around her in the halls.
"Oh, right; I meant almost everyone," Trixie added playfully, nudging Claire's elbow with hers before finding her seat. Great Luna, even her own best friend was excited to take part in the duels! Claire couldn't possibly understand why. Then again, knowing Trix, she probably looks forward to seeing all the naked wolf-men fight over her.
"But seriously, Claire, I don't know what your problem is. I mean, it isn't just the fact you're most likely gonna be the next alpha female, but when a guy like Luke Grayson is running to be alpha male?" Trixie whistled, "Almost every girl in the entire pack would kill to be in your shoes right now."
"Well, I'll happily trade places with them then," Claire snapped, pulling her thick, messy binder from her book-bag.
The concluding bell finally made its ear-splitting declaration at two-thirty, ending Claire's boring day of charades. Leaving Trixie to ride the bus on her own, Claire elected to walk the two-and-a-half miles home, needing the fresh air and isolation. It was a typical gloomy day in Amboy, Washington; the long country roads carrying inconsistent traffic. Although the route was one Claire walked every day, the long stretches of fields and pastures never ceased to offer relief to her busy mind, and she thought of shedding her human skin and running across the open plains. Even the hundred acres of forest behind her country home was losing its touch. She was growing weary of losing herself in the joy of the change only to remind herself she would have to stop and turn back in such a short time.
It's as if everything in my life is restricting itself. The simple freedoms she had were collapsing around her one by one. A low growl emanated from the back of Claire's throat; she grew out her claws and dragged them forcefully along the wooden fence of an abandoned house, where weeds and sticker bushes pushed through the cracks of the degenerate posts. The feeling of her nails digging into the lifeless wood was exhilarating, sending little currents of electricity through her arm.
Coming up to a routine corner, Claire didn't expect to see a compact black Toyota pickup parked on the side of the road; she knew who it belonged to even before she laid eyes on the expectant face inside of it. Swearing under her breath, she turned on her heel and went back for the corner.
There was laughter; arrogant, amused laughter. "Sheesh, Claire, you sure don't spare hurting my feelings, do you?" The truck's door shut, and Claire could hear unhurried footfalls behind her.
"Leave me alone, Luke." Before she could finish saying his name, Luke had leapt in front of Claire's path, cutting off her escape route. He stood before her proudly and without anxiousness at six foot one, his deep hazel eyes mocking beneath messy black bangs and full brows.
"That's not a very nice way to greet a friend," Luke accused lightly, his straight, modest lips pulled up at the corner; dimples accentuated the small gesture.
"You're not my friend," Claire snarled.
"Ouch," Luke complained, half-grimacing. "Why am I not a friend? We've known each other since forever, haven't we?"
"That doesn't make you my friend." It's true, Luke was one of the older kids Claire used to spend a great deal of time with when she was younger; they weren't close, though. When she had just become a teenager, sure, she may have developed a little crush on him, despite the fact he was four years older. After all, he was rather attractive; a fine face with high but soft cheekbones, pale skin lightly dappled with a couple freckles on the cheeks, and disheveled black hair. He was a good-looking male any she-wolf would kill to have as her own, but Claire refused to be part of that crowd. As Luke continued to grow and establish his rank in the pack for alpha, Claire lost any interest she had in him as a person. Despite her best efforts to avoid him, luck was not often in her favor, such as today. Ever since she turned sixteen last year, Luke had been sticking closer to her than ever, sometimes making special trips to her house just to see her.
There was nothing Claire could do about this. In her world, once a werewolf turns sixteen, they are the equivalent of a twenty-one-year-old adult; they are eligible to establish pack rank, as well as be up for grabs as another's mate. Claire knew in human society, a twenty-one-year-old pursuing a seventeen-year-old was frowned upon, but in her society it was hardly taboo.
Regardless, some of the human ways had rubbed off on her. Pervert. Claire tried her hand at steering away from him and remarkably he stepped aside and let her pass. But when she heard his footsteps behind her, she knew he hadn't surrendered.
"Have a good day at school?" he asked, pacing behind her.
"I did, until you showed up. What does it matter to you, anyways?"
"Well, believe it or not, I'm interested in what goes on in your little world." Claire snarled when she could hear the smile in Luke's voice; she couldn't discern, however, if the smile was mocking or of genuine curiosity. "At least let me give you a ride home," he then insisted, and Claire could feel him right behind her. She swerved around to face him, uncomfortable with having her back to him.
"I can walk home," she argued. Despite herself, her spine tightened when Luke's easy facial expression suddenly turned solemn and without humor.
"Haven't you been watching the news lately? There've been 'animal attacks' going on up in Seattle. The last attack was in broad daylight. I don't feel comfortable leaving you to walk another mile home by yourself." Now he's concerned for her? The implication threw Claire off guard. Acting on common sense, however, she decided it would be rather brazen to walk home if a couple out-of-control werewolves were out on the loose. She heard of the killings last month; since then, she's heard her father mumble and theorize as to who the culprits were, based on the information he received from a certain leak in the police force.
Huffing, Claire walked over to the passenger-side door of Luke's truck, climbed in, and fastened her seatbelt just as Luke finished chuckling and had sat behind the wheel.
Besides the tense silence in the truck, Claire appreciated the shorter commute to her house. She was more relieved to see the two-story log house more than she thought she could be when Luke's truck turned the corner onto her street. Claire unfastened her seatbelt and slipped out of the truck before Luke fully put it in park. He didn't make any attempts to control the volume of his snigger. But Claire wouldn't forget her manners. "Thanks for the lift," she said without emotion, walking hurriedly for the porch. Once she unlocked the door, she glanced back to Luke's truck, without thinking. He continued to sit in the driveway and she could see his eyes watching her leisurely. Resisting the urge to flip him the bird, Claire quickly slid inside the house. But even through the door she could feel Luke's intent stare.
And that's who they want me to spend the rest of my life with? Claire snarled, slamming her bedroom door, the last attempt to keep Luke's essence away from her conscience.
A/N: Sorry it's not the most exciting first chapter… It'll pick up soon ;) Please leave some feedback; I welcome constructive criticism! :]