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Shadows of the pack

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Blurb

Aria's world is shattered when her chosen mate, Liam, unexpectedly rejects her on the day of their mating ceremony and announces her twin sister, Seraphina as his chosen mate. Heartbroken and seeking a fresh start, Aria unknowningly ventures into the forbidden territory of Knox, the enigmatic alpha of the Nightshade pack. Instead of facing punishment, she is offered a place in his pack, sparking skepticism and distrust among some members who see her as an outsider. As Aria navigates her new life within the Nightshade pack, she becomes entangled in a web of deception and betrayal. Seraphina, driven by ambition and envy, aligns herself with Liam's power-hungry father, leading to devastating consequences for both packs. Amidst the turmoil, Aria finds herself irresistibly drawn to Knox, who grapples with his own dark past and a promise he made to be bound to his deceased mate for the rest of his days. Complicating matters further, alliances are formed between enemies threatening to destroy everything Knox had worked hard to build. An unexpected night between Knox and Aria results in unexpected consequences. With her sister's betrayal running deeper than she imagined, tensions rise within the packs, leading to a climactic battle where alliances are tested and lives hang in the balance. As the dust settles, Knox confronts his past and the fate of the packs and their love hangs in the balance. Will they survive the battle or will it be the end of their story?

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The rejection
Aria stared at her mate, Liam, disbelief coursing through her veins as his last words echoed in her head. "I reject you as my mate and choose Seraphina." She looked from their intertwined hands to the triumphant smile on her twin sister, Seraphina's face. Her eyes traveled round, everyone had a look that mirrored hers, shock. No one had ever rejected their mate in the Silvercrest pack before. "You are rejecting me and choosing her?" Aria asked Liam disbelievingly. "Aria. It's nothing personal. I know the moon goddess sealed our fate, but I love Seraphina." "Love? You love her? Just like you loved me a few hours ago?" "Aria", her twin sister, rolled her eyes, "Stop causing a scene. You could choose to stay if you want but if you excuse us, my mate and I have a mating ceremony to get to." Seraphina turned to her, "Actually, it's forbidden for any of the pack members to miss a mating ceremony so you have to stay". Aria's gaze went to her father, the alpha of their pack, who bowed his head defeated. She knew there was nothing he could do. There was nothing anyone could do. Her mate had rejected her. After eagerly waiting for years to find the one she would be bound to for the rest of her life, she got rejected. Hot tears welled up in her eyes, threatening to spill as she watched her father officiate the mating ceremony of Liam to her sister. Her mating ceremony. Members of the pack whispered as she felt it all, shame, pain, heartache and most of all, betrayal. Betrayal from Liam and not Seraphina. Her sister had always hated her from the very start. When they were five, she had plainly told her, "You killed mum when you were born. I wish you had just died with her too. I hate you." Her feelings never changed. Now Seraphina had taken the thing she wanted most, her mate. Cheers erupted, snapping her out. It was official, she would be alone for the rest of her life. The next few days got even harder. Having to listen to Seraphina's snide remarks at the table was bad enough, now she had to deal with seeing them together. Wherever she went, pack members whispered and looked at her with pity, but no one ever said anything to her face. Aria dropped her fork angrily, bringing a smile to her sister's face. "Aria, where are you going? Dinner isn't over", Seraphina smirked at her. Turning to the father, she bowed, "If you will excuse me father." He nodded, his eyes holding the pain he felt. Immediately she got into her room, she started packing. She couldn't stay in this place anymore. Couldn't walk around for the rest of her life hanging her head in shame. She grabbed her things from her dresser, the picture on it catching her eyes. Her mother smiled beautifully in it. She was never lucky to have met her, but she knew her mother was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. "You look exactly like her". She turned to look at her father. He smiled at her, "I used to think the moon goddess was being cruel, taking away the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and replacing her with someone that looked exactly like her. " He looked around her room, "Were you going to at least say goodbye before you left?" She blew out a breath, "I can't stay here anymore Dad." Gabriel nodded, "I know." His gaze traveled to a picture that hung on the wall, one of her and Seraphina. "Your sister is a complicated woman and before you look at me like that. Yes I know what she did is unforgivable but I hope one day, before the moon goddess takes me, you will forgive her." Aria kept quiet. "It's getting late. I should be getting to bed". Gabriel reached into his pocket. "I came to give you this." He handed Aria a necklace. "It was your mother's." "Alpha Randy of the Moonlight Pack is an old friend of mine. He will take you in without a second thought. A wolf needs a pack to survive." "Go to him and ask to join his pack. You can start over there. Just one thing Aria. The Moonlight territory is on the other side of the border. You will have to pass through the boundary of the Nightshade pack. No matter what you do, do not step into their territory." Aria gulped. She had heard a hundred stories about the Nightshade pack. Even more of their Alpha, Knox or as everyone called him, The Alpha of the Shadows. He lived with his pack members isolated from the other packs and he had one rule. No one steps into his territory. The unfortunate victims never made it out alive. "Thank you. I love you." "I love you too, Aria." Before the first light of the next day, she was gone. Aria stared at the line. The line that marked the end of the Silvercrest territory. Once she stepped outside, she knew she would never return. She turned her back to the line. The place she called home for many years stood still before her eyes. It was different now, she no longer felt accepted. Worst of all, even though she had to live with rejection for the rest of her life, she couldn't deal with waking up everyday and facing them so she took the first step outside the line. The moon hung in the sky longer, not wanting to give way to the sun. Aria took it as a sign that the moon goddess was watching over her. She made her way through the uncharted territory. This was her first time ever leaving the Silvercrest territory. Her wolf senses heightened. She listened intently to the sounds, not wanting to miss anything. Some wolves chose to live as lone wolves, all alone with no pack or territory to call their own. She heard such wolves lived in the woods in their wolf form. A fate her father didn't want her to end up with. She prayed to the moon goddess to not have an encounter with any of them. A sudden snap of a branch shattered the stillness, causing Aria to freeze in her tracks. "Relax, Aria. That was just a tree branch". She told herself. Suddenly she heard a low growl. That was definitely not a tree branch. Then, from the shadows emerged a wolf, its piercing yellow eyes locked onto Aria. Its fur bristled with aggression, and its snarling fangs glistened in the moonlight. There were lone wolves and there were savage wolves, wolves that had no connection to their human form. Without a doubt, Aria knew the wolf staring at her was savage. Savage wolves knew only one thing, to hunt and kill. Her instincts screamed at her to run. Without a second thought, Aria turned and bolted, her feet pounding against the forest floor. Her muscles strained, propelled by a mix of terror and determination. The wolf gave chase, its growls and barks echoing through the woods. It was relentless, closing the distance between them with every passing second. Aria was a werewolf but unlike most others at the age of twenty three, she had never wolfed out. There was no way she could fight a savage wolf. Branches whipped at her face as she weaved through trees, her breath coming in ragged gasps. Panic and dread filled her. Was this how she was going to die? Torn into shreds by a savage wolf. She turned back in the hope that she was outrunning the wolf, but just then, a bone-chilling howl cut through piercing her ear. That could only mean one thing. Aria froze in her spot as four more wolves emerged from the shadows, their eyes glinting with hunger and aggression. Snapping out of it quickly, she continued running as the five wolves chased her. The faster she ran, the more they closed in, their snarls growing louder, the pounding of their paws reverberating through the woods. She should never have left. She pictured the huge smile on her sister's face when she heard she was devoured by savage wolves in the woods. The sadness in her father's eyes. Distracted, a branch caught her leg and she tripped, stumbling to the ground. And then, with a gut-wrenching sense of dread, Aria heard it—the feral growl that resonated from behind her. She tried to scramble to her feet, but it was too late. She let out an ear-piercing scream as the first wolf that had been chasing her lunged at her, its claws extended, its jaws open wide.

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