It's been 3 months that I've been 16. 3 months I have been without a dad, too. It doesn't seem so short a time. It's gone by so slowly. Mom is getting better now... I guess, We don't talk much anymore even less then we did when daddy was still around. I wish daddy was here to protect me. Now that he's gone... I'm just another-piece-of-tail for all the males.

Especially now that I'm 16, technically a female past her 16th b-day counts as a grown woman. I'm suppose to be choosing a mate or, well, letting him choose me, then submitting to him. Thank god, I haven't run into any loners during my late night runs in the forest alone. They most likely wouldn't restrain themselves. Even if I begged it of them.

Keep me strong,



"Grace!" Mom yelled from downstairs.

"Coming," I called back. I went straight out the front door. Rafe and Abby were waiting in the truck.

"Hey," I greeted them trying to be polite to Rafe without giving him the wrong idea. I was not his I didn't & never would belong to anyone. I'm dominant.

"Hey, Gracie!" Abby bounced excitedly in the backseat She was counting down the days until her 16th B-day. She wanted a man I didn't!

Abby was beautiful, But all of us were attractive, She had golden hair touching her shoulders in perfect curls, and light Blue eyes. She's my best friend now.

Abby couldn't wait for the males to see her as a full grown woman. We were also the only girls close to the same age. Her older Sister Rachel.

She and I never got along. She'd already graduated. Rachel took online college classes. So she could stay with the pack. Everyone did that we were nothing without the pack.

The thing that sucks is that when you become a full grown female you're expected to be with a adult male. Male's don't mature untill they're 21st b-day. (you know the whole girls mature faster then boys thing).

"They scheduled the ritual for tonight." Abby announced quietly but I already knew this Uncle Aaron had already told me and mom. My door opened. I hadn't even realized we'd gotten to school.

"We can't even battle for a chance to be Alpha." Luke said . Holding a hand out to help me out of the truck. As I took Luke's hand I heard Rafe growl. To human ears it would sound like he was clearing his throat, but I knew better. Me and Luke both heard the possessive note warning Lucas away from his territory.

I don't belong to anyone! Then I snapped.

"That's why you cant have a chance at being Alpha!" I snarled-figuratively, of course. "You honestly think Shifters would follow a hormone-crazed-pup around?" I jerked my arm out of Luke's possessive hold and pulled Abby out of the backseat. We walked the halls together in comfortable silence.

"Are you excited about tonight our first real ritual, right?" I asked her, trying and failing to sound excited.

"I am. But I keep thinking about you... You're dad would be so proud of you, ya know?" she whispered. I didn't reply. I wished I were male. I would make him proud then. I would be Alpha I'd keep our pack in line. But the most I could ever be is the alpha's bitch, that's the highest rank a female shifter could ever get.

The bell rang so me and Abby headed off to class.


I got a ride with Rafe and Abby. Then went upstairs to my room to take a shower and change into pants and a black lacy tank top for the ritual.

"Are you ready?" Mom called up the stairs.

"Yeah," I told her jogging down the stairs. Slipped my converse on and met her out side. We went to the meeting place a perfectly round meadow. People were already there. Mom left me to go talk to Abby's mom. Abby was busy flirting with an older boy, I think he turned 21 in a month or so his name was Jake he was nice. Not my type. But nice.

I squatted down, so my fingertips could brush the grass. The blades, so soft, blew through my fingers. I felt someone's gaze on me when I looked up I met a dark pair of eyes. I looked away in record time. Then felt stupid. Why should I be looking away like I did something wrong! He's the one staring!

I raised my chin at a confident angle and stared back, challenging him. He caught on and smiled slightly. I felt the corners of my lips turn up as well.

I didn't know this male. He wasn't a boy, I knew that. He must have been a loner and now he wants a pack of his own.

Mom told me that's how Dad was. He ran off because he didn't believe in what his pack laws stated. So he waited until he was old enough to be a leader of his own. Then he met mom... everything just fell into place for him.

This Male probably already had a female waiting for him a few hours run from here.

The men were splitting up, understanding and agreeing to the rules of the tradition of my pack. I turned to where I heard Abby whistle to me.

"Hey! What do I look like? A dog?" I called mocking, annoyance, hands on my hips as if scolding her.

"Not at the moment." She called back chuckling slightly, then she froze like a deer getting startled. I saw her eyes move from me to glance over my shoulder.

I spun around my elbow jutting out, so It'd hit whoever was sneaking up on me. But my arm was caught above the elbow gently before it had the chance to hit anything. I thought maybe it was my uncle because of how gentle the hand restraining me was, but the smell was all wrong. I looked up, meeting the dark eyes I'd caught staring at me only moments ago. Beep brown, like Dark chocolate... So beautiful...

"Didn't mean to scare you, by the way, nice reflexes." He commented.

"You didn't scare me, and thanks." I said. Still studying him. He was one of the most beautiful Males I'd ever seen. Bronzed skin, Black wavy hair that hung in his eyes.

"Sure, I didn't." he whispered, his warm breath brushing against my cheek.

"Didn't what?" I whispered leaning in closer.

"Never mind," he chuckled, quietly. He never moved, never pulled me closer to him, never closing his fingers any tighter around my arm to keep me in place, he was simply changing his position. He was letting me lead. That's all I'd ever wanted and he was giving it to me. My whole body jerked in awareness. It was like I'd never known a male until I met him. Now that I'd met one, I wanted one. Him in particular. I wanted to be my mates equal.

Just when I'm beginning to think Males aren't all that bad, I smelled Rafe and his friends coming over to join the ritual. I slid my arm slowly out of his gentle grasp. My body wanted to melt as I felt his hand glide gently down the bare skin of my arm. I thought of places I'd want his touch on my body that no one had ever dared touched me before... I moaned quietly in the back of my throat. Before I could get my hand free he caught it, still gentle, and raised it to his lips. My breath came in and out faster

Oh, what is he doing to me? I thought.

Then he turned my hand over so my palm was up. He lowered his lips to my wrist and bit down gently on my pulse point, just scraping his sharp teeth over my sensitive flesh. My heart stopped then picked up in double time.

A/N: Reviews are appreciated, I don't mind criticisms as long as its constructive and not random flames. Or, leave me a review just to let me know your reading, and you liked it XD