Chapter 2: Abandoned

I borrowed some of Daisy’s clothes and hurried outside, desperate to find my mate. Nina became increasingly quiet as I searched and, as the sun settled high above the horizon, she whispered to me that she needed food. 

I went back to my room in the pack house, stomach growling. I rushed up the last few steps, so focused on the toast I was planning on making that I didn’t see the man standing outside my door, arms crossed and smirking. I walked straight into him.

“You’re late for your duties, Omega,” he sneered. “Where have you been all night?” 


I tried to stand up for myself. “I–”

“You know I don’t actually care, right?” he scoffed, cutting me off. “I’m just here to punish you.” 

I stuck my chin out. “You don’t need to. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“You disappointed the Alpha. It’s the Succession Ceremony today. Everything has to run smoothly.” He shoved me back against the wall. “Being our slave is your only use in life, and you can’t even serve us properly.”

‘Nina?’ I probed around inside myself for her. ‘Now would be a great time to shift, don’t you think?’

No answer. I was screwed.

He slapped me. My face smacked into the wall; I saw stars.

“Apologise, Omega.” He smirked down at me. “Beg for forgiveness.”

I bit my lip. I wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.

He shifted into his wolf form and clawed at me. I bit back my cries throughout, ending up curled in a ball on the floor, my hands held out to protect myself.

“Get to work, Omega.” He spat on me and left.

Even though I wanted to eat so Nina could come back, I couldn’t risk being any later than I already was. Blinking back tears, I hobbled down to the dining hall.

A crowd had amassed there. The tables had been pushed aside to make room for a small stage. Omegas rushed around, carrying trays and drinks. I looked around at everyone dressed in pretty dresses and neatly pressed suits. Amongst the crowd I caught sight of Daisy. My chest hollowed with relief. She was okay.

But the man being pushed through the crowd near her took my breath away. Dark hair, blue eyes, a body to die for. It was him. The man from last night. My mate. 

A booming voice cut through the chatter of the crowd. “Storm pack wolves!” 

My insides shrivelled up. That was the Alpha. He took to the stage, beaming around at everyone with a smile that didn’t meet his cold blue eyes.

“Today marks a very special occasion. Today, my son returns from the Blood Moon pack. Today I name my son, Hunter Burns, the new Alpha of the Storm pack!”

The dark-haired man was pushed to the centre of the stage. I stared at him, engrossed. He gave a short, stilted speech, but I didn't hear a word of it. I remembered the hot touch of his bare skin against my own, felt the fullness of him entering me, and I blinked in surprise when he stepped off the stage.

Cheers erupted all around. My heart thundered in my chest. My mate was the new Alpha?! Holy shit. I was saved. This was it: the answer to all my prayers. And it explained why he’d left this morning, too. He couldn’t have been late to his own Succession Ceremony. 

In a daze I made my way over to him. He was surrounded by adoring members of his pack, but I picked out a path through them. He was my mate, after all – I had every right to be by his side. I couldn’t hold in my smile any longer as I reached him.

“Hi!” My voice was bright and chirpy, and entirely unlike I’d ever heard it before. “I’m Jane Ellis. I’m your mate!”

Everyone around him fell silent and looked at me in shock. I swallowed, suddenly nervous. 

Then they burst out laughing. Hunter didn’t laugh; he looked at me icily. "Sure,” he scoffed, “you're my mate." He nodded to the guard next to him. “Take her away.”

He didn't even give me a second glance. He was so cold and indifferent, completely different to the person I’d met last night. I called out to Nina in my mind, but she didn’t respond.

I looked around, searching for help in a room full of people that despised me. Hunter was my only hope. “I promise, I’m your mate.”

“Omega, right?” Hunter's voice was so cold it made me shiver. "Don't play your Omegas' tricks on me. It's disgusting."

He glanced in the direction of the dungeon, his lip curling. Muscular men’s strong hands grabbed my arms. I struggled against them. “Don’t you remember last night?” I cried.

He didn’t even bother to reply. I was dragged away to the dungeon and thrown away like I was nothing, watching him open his arms to another woman with a gentle smile on his face.

* * *

The dungeon was dark and grimy, the only light splintering through a grate near the roof. The cell filled most of the room, with a small opening for the door and for guards to throw food in. I tried to ignore the other prisoners, huddling in a corner. 

I begged Nina to come back and save me, but she never replied. So that's what she’d meant by unstable. It turned out that everything I thought I got, wasn't mine at all. What a joke.

Several men in the cell stared at me, smiling lewdly, saliva dripping from their distorted grins.

“What do you want?” I tried to snarl, but my voice shook.

None of them said anything. They just came closer and closer, surrounding me until my back was pressed to the wall and there was nowhere else for me to go. I shuddered, gripping my knees with white-knuckled hands. 

The one closest to me grabbed me by the shoulders and hauled me upright. I was powerless to stop him, even as he started to rub his crotch against my side.

“No,” I whispered, shaking my head, tears blurring my vision. “No, stop.”

He pushed me into the centre of their loose circle. More hands reached for me, starting to strip my clothes. What was happening?

I writhed, trying to elbow or kick them off me. When that failed, I grabbed at my clothes and clutched them to my body.

They managed to yank my top off. I huddled in my bra, folding my arms tight around my breasts. Another two started to work on my jeans, giving up and ripping them clean off my legs when the zipper wouldn’t budge. I cried out, squirming against their touch. 

I didn't understand why all this misfortune had to happen to me. No matter how much I kicked and fought, no matter how much I struggled I couldn't get away from those dirty hands.

Then, all at once, the hands disappeared from my body. The sudden absence of heat made my skin pebble with goosebumps. Screams filled the entire dungeon. The metallic tang of blood hung thick in the air. 

I looked up. A huge black wolf appeared in front of me, baring its fangs. The other wolves backed away, hanging their heads, limping where their claws had been bitten off.  

Blood dripped from the black wolf’s mouth. Dazed, I looked between them. I hadn’t realised they’d shifted into wolves. The pack fled, and I was left alone in the cell with the black wolf.

I knew him. He was the wolf I had saved in Daisy's cabin. It was Hunter's wolf, though I didn't know what his name was.

“Hunter,” I breathed, barely daring to hope, “is that you?” I moved closer to him, my fingers aching to brush through his beautiful fur.

As I was about to touch him, Hunter shifted back. "Don't you dare touch me, Omega!” he snarled.

His words were a knife to my heart. Even though he’d saved me, he still didn’t believe me.

He appeared naked before me again. "Turn around."

I turned around as he’d ordered. A shirt dropped over my head.

“Shit,” he muttered, shoving his legs into his trousers. I turned around, saw his bare chest, and realised that the shirt I was wearing was his. It seemed that every time we met each other we were naked. I almost smiled.

I found my voice as we sat down in a small room at the mouth of the dungeon. It was mostly bare, just a hollow in the wall with two seats carved into the rock. “You saved me. Thank you.”

“You don't have to thank me,” he said. “I can't just watch a girl get raped and not do anything about it. Besides,” he huffed, I‘m the Alpha. It's my job.”

I wet my lips. “What happened back there?”

“You’re an Omega,” he said, with clear disgust in his tone. “One unmated, unmarked, and of age. You’re sending out a signal to all those men, one saying: fuck me, please.”

I frowned. “That’s horrible. I don’t want that. I…”

“Spit it out.”

“I want you. Do you really not remember last night?”

“I don’t remember anything about you. But I do know I wouldn’t have spent last night with you.”

“But I am your mate! I’ll swear it on anything." A sob choked me. 

“Where is your wolf? Why can’t I feel the mate bond?”

“I can’t find her, she’s gone! I…” 

“It doesn’t matter. I don’t really believe in that mate bond crap, anyway. You can’t be my mate, Omega.” He sneered at the word. “I have chosen one for myself. Amy is perfect for me,” he said.

His contempt for me was clear in every word he said, in every shift of his beautiful eyes, in the scowl that marred his perfect face. It broke my heart.

“You were poisoned,” I blurted out, desperate to convince him that I was telling the truth. “Maybe that’s why you don’t remember.”

He frowned. “I feel fine.”

“Because I healed you. We,” my cheeks flushed, “did it, and somehow you’re getting better…” I cut myself off when I saw his mocking expression.

He scoffed. “Then, thank you? I don’t know what you want from me. I’m not leaving Amy. Before today, I didn't even know you. Nothing about you interests me. And you're an Omega. How ridiculous it would be, for you to be my mate! An Omega,” he repeated, shaking his head.

He wouldn’t admit to being my mate. I knew that. But there was more at stake, now – now that I knew what the other men in the pack wanted from me. Shuddering at the thought, I made my choice. 

“I want to be your Omega alone. No other men can come near me. Talk to Daisy. She couldn't find any medicine to relieve the poison in your body except me.”

He huffed. “Sure. I don’t want every guy in our pack to become a rapist. Control yourself, Omega! I will ask Daisy about the poison. But don't call me your mate ever again.” He glared at me. “Omegas will always bring troubles.”

I clenched my fists and felt my mate’s deep disgust for me.

If he didn’t believe me, why was he helping me?

* * *

In the months that followed, I got my wish: one night with the man I loved every month, but it was one night he always forgot.

Every time, I pretended that he loved me back. I pretended that he knew what was happening, that he knew I was his mate and that he adored me as I did him. 

The rest of the time, he didn’t believe me. Daisy and I worked desperately to work out what the poison was and who had given it to him, but we found no answers. All the while I fell deeper and deeper for a man who despised me.

At least those nights belonged to me only.

Even if he would never know.

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