Alpha

Rachel lives and breathes the world of magic. As an heir to the throne of a secret werewolf culture, she stands in the doorway to the spirit world, staring in the face of things her pack can only imagine. That is the way. Her parents understand, as does the next Alpha, Andrew, her predestined soulmate. But when the scale is tipped out of balance, they're both placed in a race against time to save their pack and everything they have ever known, plagued by a question of morality: What is right? Or, more importantly, what's wrong?

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5. Andrew

 

I kissed her.

It didn't matter that the entire pack was watching, that Luna herself would be witness. It thrilled me, actually, knowing that so many people could see this, my claim, my love. Such a beautiful, warm creature and she was mine to protect from here on.

I threw back my head to howl at the nearly full Moon, round and lovely in the sky. My voice rolled off into laughter, and the other young men followed my example. A part of me felt self-conscious until I remembered: I am their Alpha, the leader that they follow by instincts too deeply rooted to ever dig out.

Without thinking, my shoulders straightened and I stood taller, head held high and proud as I looked over my future pack. The men glanced my way and followed my example, standing proudly beside their newfound partners as each woman approached and they replied with their offerings. I noticed Rachel's grooming partner, Heather, standing shyly at Nick's side, his arm wrapped around her protectively. A fine beta he would make.

Soon enough, though, only two men remained, not enough women for this year's Choosing. They fell back into the pack, loners for another year. My father brought our attention back to the ceremony, gaze falling on my sister and I more than once. I smiled when I saw pride there.

“Just as our Moon and Sun saw fit the souls in each other, so do these young pairs here, fresh as the spring we stand in. This year, we also celebrate the match of our next leaders, Andrew and his queen Rachel. With this bond, I would like to set a banquet, presented as a gift from Luna and her generosity,” he declared, and we all cheered, howling with glee. We said our farewell to Luna, dismissed from the Circle, and congregated at the fire pits and benches a mile or so away. Rachel and I never released each other's hands, and when we arrived we found our mother waiting for us, with seats beside the current Alpha and queen. Our new places. Our new lives.

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