Mac (Mammoth Forest Wolves Book 2)(2)By: Kimber White
Her companion was different, more reserved. She seemed more aware of her surroundings, dropping her smile as she looked ahead to the next intersection before turning her attention back to her friend and smiling. They each had denim backpacks slung over their shoulders with the blue and yellow Birch Haven College logo on them.
These were normal girls, happy, carefree. They’d probably just come out of some night class in the massive college building at the center of town. Sociology, Psychology, or some other liberal arts course they’d probably never use in life. God, it all seemed so normal. So harmless.
I closed my eyes and sucked in a breath of air as the breeze picked up. The scent of the girls reached my nostrils and my pulse quickened. Snapping my eyes open again, I zoned in on the quiet one. She was blonde too, but it was a natural shade with soft, honey-brown lowlights. Not like her bottle-blonde companion. Her scent was clean and warm. I found myself wanting to see her eyes. Were they dark or light? My fingers itched to touch her soft hair and run along the curve of her shoulder. She wore a tank top too. Black and plain. Her tennis shoes squeaked as she turned on her heel and the pair of them reached the end of the street. They were about to turn left and out of my line of sight.
A shudder went through me as they finally passed. I grew even more daring. Just a few more steps and I’d emerge from the brush. No human could see me from this distance. I stayed in the shadows. A shifter would be able to scent me, but only if they were trying to.
They were out there though. I’d stayed on the southwest edge of Birch Haven. I could tell not many humans ventured this way. This was the wild place beyond the safety of the gates. It’s what they all craved. I knew in my heart, every person in that damn town had been lured there for a reason.
My whole body quaked as I tried to keep my own reasons from dragging me over the edge into madness. My fists curled and I drew blood in the well of my palms. God, that was dangerous too. Blood would make me easier to track.
I quieted my breathing once again and tried to clear my head of the scent of the two women who’d just walked by.
I hadn’t allowed myself to speak her name aloud. Was she here? I’d been foolish enough to believe I’d be able to scent her too the instant I got close enough. If I closed my eyes, I could see her as she used to be when we were kids. She hated being left behind. Five years younger than me, she’d tried so hard to keep up.
“You can’t go where I go,” I’d told her, dismissing her as she stomped her foot. Her shoes were untied and the white laces caked with dirt.
“Take me anyway,” she’d said. She was only nine years old, scrawny with scabby knees and tragic hair that she’d tried to cut herself. The same ginger shade as mine, it stuck out in peaks and cones, and people would mistake her for a boy that whole summer, even if she wore a dress.
“You stay home with your mother,” I said. “The woods are no place for you.”
At fourteen, my inner Alpha had already begun to stir. It made me rough and strong, but I was already out of control. And Lena was no shifter. She was just a human girl who didn’t understand why our father wanted nothing to do with her. Her mother lived next door to mine. They’d been friends growing up. Now, they’d shared a husband who left them both for yet another.
“The house is no place for me,” Lena said, tears leaving a track down her grubby cheeks. God. She usually ended up spending more time at my mother’s house than her own. Lena’s mom had taken our father’s abandonment a whole lot harder.
A howl to the west pricked my ears. I had no more time for silly little nine-year-old girls who didn’t understand how the world worked. I thought I did. I thought I’d be strong enough for both of us.
In the end, I hadn’t even come close. Ten years later, the Pack came for Lena and I could do nothing to save her. I’d heard the rumors for years about young girls being taken in the night. Spirited off to mate with powerful members of the Chief Pack whether they wanted to or not. Lena most definitely didn’t. By the time I knew what was happening, she was already gone.
One week later, my choice had been clear. When Jagger and Liam broke free of the Pack, I went with them. I would find my half-sister. I would bring her home. No matter what it took.