I needed to run. I needed to get away from my life, from that monster that wanted to claim me as his mate. Tonight, I had the opportunity.
My wolf, Kira, was freaking out. Challenging me for control because of something she smelled. I didn’t have the time or luxury to listen to her.
I sneaked out the side door, praying to the moon goddess no one would notice me leaving. I ran towards the back of the mansion and shifted. A weight lifted off my shoulders when I was in wolf form. I still couldn’t understand why I felt so weird inside.
Something was pulling me back, like a string that was attached to my chest, slightly tugging me. My eyes wandered over the huge mansion behind me. It even had castle-like vibes coming from it.
My eyes lingered on one of the windows on the top floor, I saw someone looking at me.
I knew I shouldn’t have left the party, I shouldn’t have been back there. I noticed Kira got anxious again, but I still couldn’t understand why.
Suddenly, she started fighting me again. She didn’t want to leave. I wanted to turn around and start running back home to get some stuff and just keep running.
Kira was frozen in place. I had to push as hard as I could, regaining control. Forcing her to the back of my mind and running as fast as I could.
Screams came from behind me, but there was nothing for me to do than run faster.
I had been running for hours before I arrived home. My legs trembled out of exhaustion, but the relief that flooded me was all I needed to continue my path.
I shifted back, ran inside the house, and started to pack. I moved quick, making sure no one could catch me again.
With a racing heart, I ran outside. I had no plan in place, but I would rather die than go back there.
I just needed to get to a bus stop and vanish.
—2 weeks earlier—
“Liz. Liz you have to get up.” Anna was shaking me, trying to get me to wake.
I grunted and turned away from her. “Please, just five more minutes.”
“No, we have to go. I can hear them coming.” The fear in her voice was enough for me to get up.
I got hurriedly got dressed while my eyes were locked on Anna. She kept glancing out the window, and the scent of fear slowly filled our room.
“We have to leave. They would hate it if we weren’t working already.”
I let out a sigh. “We just got home two hours ago.”
“I know, but I don’t want to be beaten up again.”
The bruises on her pale skin from her beating a couple of days ago still hadn’t disappeared.
Normally, they would have healed in a few hours. But not with us.
We were rogues, we were weak. We were only alive because they let us live.
I lived my entire life with this pack. I never knew my mother or father. But Anna’s mom took me in when I was little. They assumed I ran away from my parents or that something bad had happened to them.
I was only six when they found me. I can’t remember a life before this one, and Anna did her best to keep me safe.
I was one of the last untouched girls in this pack. After you turn eighteen, you could find your mate, but it never came to that.
Nobody left this place. They made sure nobody would ever want us. I knew what they did to Anna the night of her eighteenth birthday.
It was horrible. I couldn’t watch it.
She tried to push them off and wanted to run. But she couldn’t get away, and only got punished for trying.
She was broken. She didn’t speak for three weeks. Afraid of everyone. I couldn’t even touch her. I tried to help her as much as I could, picking up her work shift so they wouldn’t notice her being destroyed.
They would have enjoyed that too much.
I would be turning eighteen in two weeks. We talked about running away. But where would we go? We didn’t have any money.
Yes, we worked, but we didn’t get the paychecks. They went immediately to the man who ran this hell hole. We didn’t have an Alpha; rogues didn’t have an Alpha. However, the guy in charge, his name was Bolton. He was the worst.
He always gave me these looks, as if he was waiting for me. A shiver ran down my back at the thought of him.
“Let’s go, Anna,” I said while walking out the back.
We worked at the club last night and I couldn’t help but tremble in disgust. I always tried to work in the back or behind the bar. But I couldn’t let Anna do everything. She hated it even more than I did.
“So, finally up.” Boris c****d his eyebrow at us.
“Sorry, my fault. I needed my beauty sleep,” I said with a small smile, distracting his fitly gaze from Anna.
Boris was quick on his feet. “Watch your tone with me!” His eyes flickered to his wolf while his aura almost made me whimper in pain and terror.
Fuck, why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut?
“Sorry, Boris.” I glanced down, not wanting to provoke him any further.
He sighed heavily before he flopped back down. “I put you two on training duties.”
Training duties, great... We both nodded and started walking to the clearing.
Only the men were allowed to train. They didn’t want us to get stronger.
Training duties meant we would be used as punching bags; we weren’t allowed to strike back.
I glanced at Anna and noticed the panic in her eyes. She wasn’t ready to get another beating.
I placed my hand on her shoulder. “Are you okay?” I asked while my eyes met hers, knowing that she wasn’t.
“I don’t know how long I can take this. We need to get away,” she whispered.
I quickly scanned around, making sure nobody was listening. “You can’t talk like that out here, you know what will happen.”
She sighed. “I know, but I can’t take this anymore. You don’t want the same future.”
I knew she was right. “We will talk about this later, at home.”
We arrived at the clearing. Six men were sparring with each other. Bolton was one of them. He had a huge scar on his face running through his left eye.
I took a deep breath to steady my racing heart and walked toward him, leaving Anna behind. She feared him more than I did.
“Good morning, Bolton. Where do you want me?”
His blank eyes met mine, and a small grin formed on his face while he closed the distance between us.
I stood my ground, not wanting to show my weakness. He knew how scared I was of him. It was probably written all over my face.
“When is your eighteenth birthday?” he asked.
“Two weeks, Bolton,” I said, burying the rising fear inside me.
His eyes started to glimmer to his wolf before he grabbed my chin, tilting it to the side. “Maybe I will make an exception for you,” he said before he leaned closer and inhaled my scent.
I closed my eyes, hoping I could control it, but I couldn’t stop my body from trembling in terror.
His warm breath moved over my skin, making my disgust for him only rise more.
“Go train with Charles. Take Anna with you,” he said as he turned his back to me and walked away.
I felt sick to my stomach from his touch. I tried shaking it off, but I knew it would stay with me the rest of the day.
I walked to Charles and signaled Anna to come. Charles was as cruel as Bolton. He wanted to train with Anna first, but I stepped in.
She needed to rest; she needed time to heal.
With a menacing growl he pushed me aside. “I don’t want you,” he said and made his way to Anna. There was nothing I could do to stop him.
They started sparring. She couldn’t punch him, even if she wanted to. She was taking every hit. It was like a game for them, to keep us weak.
“Fight back,” Charles said tauntingly.
Confusion filled her eyes while Charles was getting frustrated by her lingering.
Finally, she lunged at him, trying to land a punch. He was only much faster. She was tossed to the ground beneath him in the blink of an eye.
The fear in her eyes only fueled Charles further. Charles pushed himself between her legs and snapped at her neck.
The sounds that came from Charles made my stomach churn. My vision started to blur from the tears.
I couldn’t do anything. I would only make it worse. I tried helping when we were younger. Still believing we could change this horrible place. Anna and I both tried and because of it, her mom was killed in front of our eyes. As punishment for us interfering with the businesses here. The only thing we tried to do was get some help from the town nearby. We were so naïve back then. What could humans do to a rogue group filled with vicious werewolves? That day, all the hope we had, the hope the other she-wolves had, disappeared for good.
Every time this happened, a part of Anna died. She was right. We should have run, just left. Finally, Charles released his hold on her. She quickly rolled to her side and got up.
I wanted to be with her but was stopped by Bolton grabbing my shoulder. He squeezed my shoulder hard as if he was trying to hurt me while Charles met my gaze.
“You’re up,” he said with a disgusting grin on his face.
Bolton suddenly growled at him, letting the grip he had on my shoulder go. He signaled to Charles to come and whispered something in her ear. I saw the disappointment in Charles’s eyes before he walked away. However, the relief that rushed through me made me release the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
Bolton spun around and faced me. “Come to my house tonight.”
I couldn’t stop my body from shaking like a leaf. Is this really happening? I’m not eighteen yet.
I turned to Anna and wanted to hug her, but I stopped. She doesn’t want to be touched right now. With a heavy breath, I let my arms go down. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through.
When we got back home, she ran into the bathroom and locked the door behind her. Even when she turned on the shower, I could still hear her sobs.
I started packing some stuff. We needed to leave. I was afraid of losing her. That she would take her own life.
I was done packing my bag and Anna’s when she got out of the bathroom. Her eyes widened in surprise when she saw the bags, but I could see a small glistering of hope in her eyes.
She gave me a little smile. “Thank the moon goddess.”