Honeysuckle. The sweet pure scent filled Alistair’s lungs as he made his way through the forest. He was frantic, exhausted from searching for the source. When he first began tracking the scent, he was unsure why it had elicited such a reaction from him. He salivated as his eyes burned from lack of sleep, his entire body tense from being unable to rest or relax. Alistair had not fed in days. His only care in the world was to find who that sweet, irresistible scent belonged to. He had to find it, for he knew he would not rest until he did.
For his kind, there was but one soul out there that was made just for the wolves of the mountains. Someone that fate had chosen for each wolf to mate with so they could carry on as the strong race they were. And Alistair knew he was staring right at the woman who could do just that.
The wolves were dying out. It was not like the old days when they almost outnumbered man and could multiply to continue their legacy.
Alistair had not been with a female in years. His company was best spent alone. The pack was family and it was all he needed. While Alistair may not had been alive to witness the beginning of the end for the wolves, he had been around long enough to know that being careless was no longer an option. Nor was spending the rest of his waking days without a mate and heirs. But Alistair never allowed his walls to fall. Not even for the most beautiful of females.
But on this day in particular, his walls came crashing down. The dark-haired beauty’s laughter filled the air as he could only stare from the entrance in the forest that would lead to the little village. She walked with friends, but all he could focus his bright gold eyes on was her. Even from his faraway distance, he saw her as if she were standing right before him.
Alistair could spot every tiny detail, from the brilliant hazel in her eyes to her delicate chin. There was a small birthmark above one eyebrow. She was petite, quite short compared to the average woman. He was used to the much taller females of his pack, but her small frame pleased him. Her generous hips and cleavage immediately garnered his attention, and he found himself salivating again. The maiden’s name, where she lived, or anything else about her he did not know. He did not recognize her in the slightest. She was a mortal female; that much was true. Alistair would have scented right away if she were wolf.
Impossible this divine creature would be anything less than a goddess sent by Odin himself.
Alistair mused as he continued to gaze upon the beauty. He strained his ears to get even a small tease of her voice, which matched her beauty perfectly. Small and delicate, just like her. Her name remained a mystery as he attempted to keep up with her group. Not once did he question his intentions. The moment his eyes found her he was sure of the reason why this magnificent creature had provoked this response.
A true mate was not often revealed to one of his kind so presently. Survival of the pack was far more important than finding a mate. He spent many years worrying for the safety of the pack, letting his years slip by without a female by his side. His beta, Ceardach had pleaded with him to take a mate, for he feared they too would soon be wiped out, like the other packs of their country. His alpha’s loneliness was not easily hidden. He would fake a smile, assuring Ceardach he was perfectly fine. When the time was right, he would seek a mate, true or not. This only placated his trusted friend for so long, until he voiced his concerns once more. Only now did Alistair understand why after all this time, after all those years of sleeping in his empty bed, of living day after day in his loneliness, why it was all worth it.
His true mate was standing right there within reach.
He began to curse himself for not finding her sooner. It dawned on him that she was young. Her scent revealed it. A girl of eighteen was only just ready to be courted in her village.
In Alistair’s world, she was ready to be mated and breed his pups.
He began to feel the jealousy surge through his body, the thought of another man touching what he knew now was his sent a low growl escaping from his throat. He searched the group for a male he would presume to be around her age. If he so much as suspected he was connected with her in any intimate way, he would die that very night, and Alistair would enjoy killing him. Even when a female in the group touched her arm he snarled. No one would lay a hand on his mate without his permission. He would be by her side at all times to ensure her safety.
She appeared to be far younger than Alistair when the threat of old age no longer plagued him. However her scent determined she was well into her breeding years as a woman. Alistair could not help but imagine her swollen with his seed, so beautifully round with his pups.
The mother of the next generation of his pack… it had been so long since there were many little ones running amok in his pack; so long since there were pups to take under his wing. The younger members were already learning the ways of the wolf. But for the pack to survive and thrive there was always a demand for more pups. If not, they would branch off, and lone wolves were proven to be in far more danger.
It amazed him how these emotions hit him all at once, having seen her just one time. Alistair grew more determined each minute to see her up close, to touch her, to kiss her…
Alistair shifted, allowed to blend in with the crowd of crying children, shopkeepers, and the usual hustle one would expect in a small village. He was careful not to make himself known to her yet; he had to wait or he feared he would be unable to control himself if he found her alone for a mere second. The urge was too strong, and his natural predatory instincts were screaming for him to take her now.
She could be yours this very instant. Draw the others away and swoop in and carry her off. Faster than the blink of an eye.
Alistair shook the intrusive thoughts away. That was foolish; he would never risk revealing himself publicly. He stared and followed for what could have been hours, studying every little movement and mannerism. She had a habit of smoothing her hair back with one hand, then running her fingers through the long curly locks. Alistair balled his hands in fists, restraining himself from reaching out to grab it himself. She had such small feet, her boots were far too large and she struggled to keep herself from tripping, but giggled every time she did, along with her friends.
Her laugh was like a sweet melody he could listen to for an eternity. It brought him comfort similar to a song a mother would sing to her child to lull him to sleep. Alistair found the tension in his body slowly depleting as the stress of the last several days almost melted away completely.
He followed until she branched off from her friends and saw her enter her small home on the edge of town. Daring to peek in her windows was a bad idea, for it would only rouse him further, but it didn’t keep the thought of breaking the fucking door down and taking her where she stood from entering his head. Alistair ignored it; he’d never risk the safety of his pack. The villagers would likely torture him for information. But he would die before he gave up his family. And now he knew he would die before leaving his female.
Alistair took a final look at her home before running back into the forest, shifting again, her scent still in the air.
Oh, yes… she is mine.
Alistair raced back to the clearing in which he and his pack resided, not far from the village but a considerable distance, far enough where there was no chance of a mortal happening upon their home. He calmly entered his pack’s domain, where several members were all sitting in the small den in the center of the clearing. It was considered a place they could be comfortable and socialize with one another. Surrounding the den were their homes. They built this sanctuary themselves over the course of hundreds of years. They could remain close, but their homes were sufficient enough for each member of the pack to have their privacy. Not everyone cared to hear the sexual escapades filled with longing and need of their pack mates late at night when the fire dimmed and moon rose high in the sky.
Ceardach was among those in the den, jumping up upon his alpha’s scent permeating the air.
“Ah, there you are, we were beginning to worry.”
“Not now, Ceardach. I must lie down for a short while. I feel unwell. Make sure everyone is accounted for tonight and they return indoors safely.”
Alistair knew Ceardach would sense he was lying, but the beta knew better than to question him.
Ceardach nodded and went about his night, leaving his alpha be.
Normally, Alistair would wish to be with his pack, to spend time with them, but he was far too agitated already. Being away from the woman was already taking effect. The true mate was meant to be taken as soon as possible, but he was unsure how long he could wait. He had to be careful not to expose himself publicly, but to also consider the fact that the connection was already made. It would be very difficult to go on even another day without her.
Alistair tossed and turned the entire night, staring at the dark night in his window until the slightest glimmer of sunlight shone through the trees. He immediately jumped up and quickly dressed. Wasting even a moment of this day would hurt him greatly.
He could smell the recent kill of an animal nearby. The rest of his pack was likely out hunting. In this time of day, it was best. Alistair preferred hunting alone or at least with Ceardach. That would change once he was mated with the woman.
He exited his modest home, where he was met with several of his other pack members.
“Good morning, Alistair!”
Elspeth cheerfully greeted him as she shifted with a brief glimmer of bright light. Her mouth was still covered with the blood of their kill. Elk, from what he could recognize. Their blood smelled and tasted sweeter than most beasts.
Elspeth was the oldest woman in the pack, but was forever frozen in her youthful looks. He estimated her age to be in the four hundreds. Gifted with her healing abilities, she was one of the most valuable members of his pack.
He nodded his head, and then motioned for Ceardach to come speak with him. His beta immediately walked beside him, still in his wolf form.
“I need for you to keep an eye on things today. There is some… business I must attend to.”
“I sensed it; you were so uneasy last night. What troubles you, friend?” Ceardach looked up at him with curious blue eyes.
“No trouble. But it is important. I will explain later, perhaps tonight.”
“Very well, but do not shut yourself away. You know whatever weighs on your mind could be easily remedied by being with your pack.” Ceardach cocked his head toward a group of laughing members in the den, happily dining on what was left over of the morning’s kill.
“It always does.” Alistair smiled. He was a trusted friend, but Alistair knew that Ceardach, as his beta, would do anything for the pack. He had seen him offer up his own life to save his alpha’s many times and proved to be a fierce warrior when the time came. “I will return tonight.”
With that, Alistair was off, sprinting through the woods until he found a safe spot to change his clothing and set them down to spare ruining his attire.
He shifted and began tracking the female’s scent once more, but it immediately filled the air and his nose. Alistair smiled, feeling at home with the comfort of knowing just how close she was. Out of nowhere he heard a soft singing that seemed to rustle through the trees. His ears pointed, straining to find where it came from. He recognized it as her melodic voice. Carefully, he made his way to the edge of her village where her cottage rested. Alistair caught her leaving her home, carrying a small basket as she shut her door. She was still singing the same tune he heard in the forest, which he recognized as a common lullaby.
She would sound so beautiful singing it to our little ones.
By this time, the sun was out and shining bright and business as usual began in her village. Alistair crouched in the shadows until he could safely blend in and began following her once more. The more he trailed along, the more the song circled his mind and he soon had memorized it. Her town was so busy with people they hardly even noticed or paid attention to the large man stalking the innocent little woman.
She wore her long hair in a sweet braid today, loosely hanging over one shoulder with little tendrils falling. He resisted the urge to grab it and drag her away. Her shape was well defined in her cream-colored bodice, causing him to bite the inside of his cheek. The mauve-colored skirt dragged along the dirt, slightly too long for her petite frame. Alistair frowned as he observed the dirt and grime that was scattered all along her dress. Surely she had something much more suitable than that?
He ducked in a street corner when she stopped at a fruit vendor, picking out apples. Perfectly round and red, like her sweet little lips he would soon bite. The female filled her basket and handed over her silver to the vendor. Kindly, she thanked him and was on her way.
Alistair emerged from his hiding spot, only he was beginning to lose her in the crowd. Ducking behind houses as fast as he could, he beat her to the next corner. No one would have ever seen him. He turned the corner and purposely bumped her arm walking opposite of her.
“Oh! I am so sorry, sir!”
She had dropped her basket, which Alistair reflexively caught faster than she could process what had happened, before it hit the ground.
“Quite alright, miss, no harm done.”
He offered a benevolent smile, offering her basket back and making clear eye contact.
“Thank you, I do not know what I would have done if I had spoiled these. I used some of my last pieces of silver.”
He sensed her anxiety at the thought of losing food he imagined she had to make last for the week.
Her last pieces of silver she used for only some apples? Gods, no, that could not possibly be enough to sustain her.
She shyly smiled and took her basket back, but suddenly appeared uneasy at Alistair’s deep stare.
He felt angry that she could potentially be starving and he was being kept from taking her away this very minute, but he masked it well enough to carry on the conversation.
“You must be careful, little one, it is quite crowded here. Anyone could… steal something from you and never be seen.”
He felt his cock stiffen at his words, and could almost feel the goosebumps that spread across his mate’s flesh.
“I can assure you, sir, I can take care of myself.”
Alistair heard her heart racing. She was frightened.
The woman turned to walk away but Alistair could not stop himself from reaching out and grabbing her exposed arm.
“You should not be out, little one. There is a storm coming.”
The beating sun above them told a different story, but it was true. He could hear the thunder in the distance even from where they stood now, estimating it would hit that very evening.
Her flesh was so soft. So warm… he didn’t hesitate to circle his thumb over her forearm, which did not go unnoticed.
She looked up to the blue sky, exposing her slender neck. Alistair’s mouth watered at her pulsing vein.
“Begging your pardon, sir, but it is a beautiful day, no? I believe I can manage on my own.”
She nervously shifted her feet.
“Oh, I’ve no doubt of it. But one must always… be cautious.”
Before the woman could open her mouth to retort, a friend down the road called out to her.
“Riona! Come quickly or we’ll be late!”
A woman appearing to be around her age waved to her and beckoned for her to come over.
“Excuse me, my friend needs me.”
She slowly wriggled her arm free of his grasp, but Alistair instantly missed her warmth.
“Good day, sir.”
She politely nodded her head and turned away, not daring to look back at the strange man. Alistair clenched his fist. His mate would not turn away from him again. The bond was greater than he thought.
Riona… Riona Riona Riona…
That name, so perfectly fitting for such a delicate-looking female. Alistair thought her looks similar to that of a porcelain doll, capable of breaking if handled too roughly. Far too dainty and exquisite for his hands, which could rip and tear through the toughest of hide.
And I am too selfish to ever let her go.
The storm he had correctly predicted was rolling in and fast. Tonight; it had to be tonight. Alistair was unsure of what he was waiting for until the urge to howl took over him. The wolf took over, calling for the woman until the natural instinct would coax her from the security of her home right into the arms of who she was meant to be with.
He would stay away no longer.
It was dark, which he blended in with perfectly, only being seen when a flash of lightning would illuminate the street. He finally picked up her scent as she peered out of her little home, which he saw was also pitch dark. It was no problem. He would still be able to see her perfectly.
As if you can hide from me in the dark, little lamb.
What he saw when his enhanced eyes focused in on her small frame nearly took his breath away.
Her white nightgown hung loosely down her shoulders, as if she was trying to rip it. Her disheveled curls bounced as she nervously looked around the dark street. Alistair smirked.
Wondering where that sound is coming from, pet?
Alistair felt the throbbing, the ache in his lower stomach that also plagued her. Her traitorous body was searching for relief any way it could. And so cleverly right into the hands of the man who would take her on this night. The waves of pleasure that rolled through her projected onto him until he found himself salivating. Riona slumped against the door as he witnessed her run her shaking hands over her chest and down her stomach. She gripped the fabric of her gown and pulled it up, finding her sex as the small moan that escaped her lips reached his ears clear as day. He could hardly control the low rumbles coming from his chest as she threw her head back and let out a guttural cry as she struggled to find her release. Even as she curled her toes and arched her back, her pleasure she was searching for would not find her until she gave in to the man who would take her.
Alistair lifted his head, letting out another dominant howl. He could not help himself; he needed her to come to him.
The harsh noise did not scare her, only making her slowly turn her head toward his direction. The hazy sensual look on her face told many stories, as if she were begging him.
She arched her back once more as she stood upright. She knew he was there. Or that something was there… and she was coming to him.
Alistair’s heart leapt into his throat, his stomach lurching. More than anything he wanted to leap through the trees and drag her to him that very moment, but something halted him. He could see she sensed something, her sedated gaze pierced through his as she ran a hand over her tangled locks, bringing it down her throat and over her bust, tugging down the lacy neckline with one finger. The same hand moved all the way down her stomach as she got closer and closer to his position.
Her full hips swayed sensually in her nightdress, the little pooch of her tummy barely visible through the thin fabric. Perfect to breed his pups. He licked his lips and ran his tongue over his pointed teeth as the tops of her breasts swelled with each breath. More than anything, Alistair wanted his mark there. A sign to all others who she belonged to, and a warning to any wolf who dared come close enough.
Yesss… come to me, my mate… my darling. Open yourself up, little one… it’s time to come to your master… just a little further.
He knew his voice echoed in her head as she reached out to the darkness with one hand. Touching her again was all he craved in this moment, not caring for anything else in the world other than his mate finally accepting him and forgoing all else in her life. Her sleepy smile warmed his heart as he prepared himself for what was about to occur.
Live for me… with me… by my side… give me everything you have, my darling…
Give me your love…
The flash of bright lightning revealing his appearance before her, combined with the sound, snapped her out of her hypnotic, trancelike state, followed by a shrill scream. Alistair cursed himself and pounced from his position. That scream could likely have woken up the entire village.
In seconds, he grabbed his woman up in his arms, running as fast as he could from the village as she struggled and clawed at his arms. Her gown caught on branches and bushes when she tried to fight back.
Alistair knew she would be frightened, but denying him simply would not do. He understood the fear she would almost certainly feel toward him in the beginning. He would use it to his advantage, but eventually she would willingly accept him and the pack, becoming what they were. Then surely, she would come to love him.