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Chapter 3

JASMINE

A few days after the beach trip, I entered the café in our downtown area to start my shift. I was on the early shift, so I had to be there at five in the morning to clean and prep everything for opening. I always started by wiping down all the tables and counters and sweeping the floor. They cleaned the evening before too, but Valerie, the owner, was very obsessive about cleanliness, which I appreciated. Then, I went to brew the drip coffees. Valerie was busy pulling everything out of the oven and putting it all in the displays. She had arrived even earlier than me. Valerie almost never took a day off and often worked twelve-hour shifts. She was very curvy, with curly red hair and a fiery personality to match. She never took crap from anyone.

As all the different coffees were brewing, I went to open the register. At six, we switched the sign to "open." When I first started the job, I thought I'd never learn everything, but now I was an expert at all the different espresso drinks—cappuccino, latte, Americano, macchiato, mocha, flat white—if it could be done on an espresso machine, I could do it.  Even though Lucy had been working here longer than me, she still got the drinks confused sometimes. She mostly helped with decorating cakes and making dough for all the different pastries anyway, since that was her true passion. She was basically Valerie's protégé and always helped her whenever someone ordered an elaborate cake—especially for weddings.

The morning rush normally lasted from 7:30 until 10:00, as most pack members would stop by the café on their way to work. I pretty much had everyone's orders memorized. During the school year, when it would slow down after the morning rush, Valerie didn't mind if I studied while I stood next to the register.

Lucy came in at 7:45 for her shift. Valerie glared at her, looking at her watch. "Fifteen minutes late today! At least it's better than yesterday!"

Lucy put her hands up and ran into the back to drop all of her stuff off and put on her apron. Then she rushed to take her place at the register so that I could help Valerie put together all the drink orders that were coming through. Lucy loved working the registers because she could flirt with every single male that came in, no matter their age. Valerie believed that's why there were so many regulars, and one reason she put up with Lucy's terrible punctuality.

"Oh, hello, George! You're looking good in that suit today! The usual Americano and chocolate chip muffin for you this morning?" I heard Lucy from the register. I just rolled my eyes at her nonsense. As it got closer to nine, I heard Lucy say, "Hello there, Mister Alpha! Damn, you're looking fine today!"

I turned around to see that Blake was standing at her register to place an order. He smiled at Lucy and said, "As I do every day.  Just a large black coffee, please." Lucy rang it in and moved onto the next customer to take their order.

I ran to grab the ticket and made his order, then I went over to hand it to him. He looked straight into my soul with his piercing blue eyes and said, "Thanks, Jasmine. Nice to see you." Then he turned and walked out the door.

I left work at 1:30 when my shift ended, and I decided to go for a bike ride around the pack territory instead of going home. After riding around aimlessly for about an hour, I rode out to the lake on the outskirts of the territory and found a shady place to sit under a tree where someone had left behind their towel. I shook it out and sat down, staring out at the glistening water, the sun's rays reflecting off it. It was so peaceful that I pulled out my cellphone to read a book, leaning my body against a large tree trunk. I became so immersed in the book that I lost track of time.

It had to have been over two hours that passed when a huge wolf with brown fur so dark that it almost looked black came sprinting out of the woods and shocked me. I sniffed the air and realized the wolf smelled just like Blake. Being a werewolf gave us a heightened sense of smell, and we could differentiate people just by their scents.

He looked at me for a minute and then mind-linked me. "Mind if I borrow your towel?" We could communicate telepathically with other pack members when in our wolf forms to compensate for the fact we can't speak.  His mind-link reminded me I was currently sitting on a towel and stood up to give it to him.

He took it with his mouth and ran into the woods. He emerged a minute later with it slung around his hips. "Thanks, I didn't want to be the one to corrupt you," he smirked. I couldn't help but stare at his broad shoulders, muscular arms, and well-chiseled chest and abs as he approached. Damn, he had an amazing body. He sat down next to me and asked, "So, what are you doing out here?"

I took a seat next to him, baffled by his sudden appearance, and replied, "I was riding my bike around the pack territory and ended up here. It was so relaxing by the water I stayed and read a book."

"Do you come here often?" he asked, holding my gaze. Goddess, he had the most mesmerizing eyes.

"No, not really. But I didn't feel like going home yet and this seemed a good place to be alone."

"I know the feeling," he looked at me sincerely.

"What brings you out here?"

"I like to run through the forest in my wolf form. I wasn't planning on stopping here, but then I saw you and thought it looked secluded enough that I could work my charm on you and get in your pants."

I widened my eyes, not knowing how to respond.

He smirked and said, "Don't worry, I'm joking! Anyway, one of the first rules of being Alpha is not to screw around with pack members. Just makes things really messy!"

I relaxed. "What are some other rules of being Alpha?"

"Well, let's see, make sure you walk around shirtless as much as possible so that your abs can be admired, and don't think I didn't catch you looking," he winked at me, "and don't let drunk girls embarrass themselves by falling over at the beach." I glared at him. He smirked and continued, "Also, it's probably best if you're not naked when you hang out with now-sober girl at a different beach, especially if your first rule is not to screw around with pack members."

"You wish," I replied.

"Oh please, if I took this towel off, I bet you one hundred bucks you couldn't resist me. Trust me, the Alpha genetics don't end at my abs," he smiled mischievously.

"Well, you're not my mate, and my rule is no screwing around with anyone that isn't your mate," I replied earnestly, annoyed with his belief that I would just fall at his feet to be with him.

"Wait, so are you a virgin then?"

My cheeks burned at his question. I nodded my head, not able to speak the answer.

He kept looking at me, "Wait, seriously? Have you really never done anything with anyone that isn't your mate?"

"No, I haven't." I could tell that I was completely red, the skin on my body burning. Why did I have to blush so easily?

He stared at me for a while, his piercing blue eyes not blinking. Finally, he asked, "Have you ever kissed anyone?"

"No," I responded.

"Wow, I can't believe I've met a unicorn in the flesh. You're actually completely saving yourself for your mate? I didn't think anyone did that anymore."

"I'm not the only one!"

"Well, I definitely haven't met many others like you. And most that I have were still in high school."

"I'm very religious. Anyway, my parents would never let me date anyone that wasn't my mate and I still live with them."

"What they don't know can't hurt them. Also, it makes things kind of exciting when you have to sneak around," he smiled, and seemed to zone out as if he were remembering something.

Suddenly, I felt my phone vibrate. I looked down to see my mom was texting me, asking me where I was. Oh, shit! I had totally lost track of time. I quickly texted her back to let her know I was on my way home. "Shit, sorry, I have to go home. I didn't realize how late it was."

"No worries, it was nice to hang out with you for a little while. Maybe we can do it again sometime," he said, then added, "Next time, I'll have some clothes on, but only if you want."

I laughed, waved goodbye to him, and turned to go. As soon as I was about to toss my leg over my bike to peddle away, he called out to me, "Hey!"

"Yeah?" I turned back to look at him curiously.

"Did you want your towel back?" he asked as he stepped toward me, his thumbs hitched inside the top of it, as if he were about to remove it.

"Oh," I felt my face burn in reaction. "It's not mine."

He nodded, a mischievous smile on his face. I turned back toward my bike and immediately left, speeding back toward my house. I wasn't sure what to make of our meeting. It was so hard to read him. But something about him made me feel comfortable while simultaneously putting me on edge.

Comments (2)
goodnovel comment avatar
Karina Vazquez
I still don’t know where the story is going
goodnovel comment avatar
Lisa Bryden Lindley
This author is pretty good! She knows how to write properly and the chapters are much longer than some of the other stories I've been reading . A+
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