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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8. Rachel

 

Spending the night in my brother's arms meant the best night's sleepI had ever slept. All of my dreams were wrapped in warmth, held together by comfort and loyalty. Nothing could match such a perfect night, even if I couldn't remember a thing.

“Are you excited?” Andrew's whisper in my ear pulled me back to myself, shivering with excitement. The sun was setting, the full Moon rising. This was it. My first Change.

I choked for a moment and nodded. “Yes, I can't wait!”

He was standing behind me, body heat touching me even if his skin wasn't. His chuckle tingled in my ears, making my heart race even faster. “Remember, patience is the way to Luna's grace.”

I forced myself to calm down, the sun dipping below the horizon. Every hair on my naked body stood on end, charged with the energy of the night. I could feel it, this strange power blooming in my chest and spreading slowly through my limbs, like a hot drink on a cold day. Without realizing, my steady breath became ragged and I panted, having trouble catching my breath. But Andrew was calm, he knew I would be fine.

What hit me next was like a ton of bricks on every inch of my body, twice over.

Something between a mangled howl and scream worked its way from me, and I doubled over in pain. The warmth from earlier had turn to a scalding fire, trying to claw its way from my skin. I heard something crack, followed by a series of popping noises, as it felt like my bones were splitting free of my muscles and sinew. I fell to my hands and knees, but when I opened my mouth to cry for help a howl echoed from my throat instead.

I paused at the sound, looking around with new eyes and breathing in new scents. My breaths came in quick, sharp gasps, my heart beating like a drumroll in my ears. I tried to cover my ears and froze, staring. Where my hands had been there were now paws. Powerful, chocolate colored and delicate little paws. Compared to the monstrous black things I saw nearest mine, easily three times the size of me.

Looking up slowly, I took in the proud, midnight wolf before me, standing as fearlessly as any leader could. Showing me how to keep my chest held, how my chin should never face the ground but the stars—held high for the others to see. After a moment he gave me a look: this was it, my first Change. The last threshold to cross on my way to adulthood. Now there was only one thing left to do, as the next queen.

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