I've always been told that when you meet your mate, you just know. Your heart beats faster, your skin sings when you touch, and no matter what happens, you'll always be there for each other. It's no longer just one person against the world but two.
That wasn't the case with this man. His scarlet eyes blazed like rubies forged in a fire, they reminded me of lava. My heart was beating faster, but it was in fear. This brute was my mate? The one I'd been searching for all this time?
He held me pinned to the damp grass, one hand clutching both my wrists and holding them high above my head making my arms ache. There was no softness in him. Whoever he was, he was not on my side.
"A rogue on my territory, huh?" he drawled.
I struggled against him again but I might as well have been struggling with a block of concrete. His knee slipped between my legs, spreading them. "Please," I whispered, turning my face away from him. "Let me go, I'm just passing through, if you keep me here I'll be found."
He laughed and a midnight wind swept in, sending his long black hair flying. He reminded me of a lion, he looked as hungry as one too. "Why would I let you go? I know you can tell what's going on here, little rogue." He leaned down, neck nestled in the crook of my neck, and inhaled. "You smell like chocolate." His tongue darted out, tracing the curve of my neck.
I struggled harder. Tears stung the corners of my eyes but I didn't want to give them lease. I had to fight. I wouldn't give in to this monster. But, there was another one, one I feared more than this brute. "Please," I whispered again. "I'll do anything, just let me get inside."
He pulled away and a slow smirk spread across his full lips. "Anything?" he purred, he moved his knee up and down against my thighs. There was no doubt what he was after.
I swallowed. I didn't want to give up that kind of anything. But if I stayed here, I'd only be caught. I knew what the punishment for running would be, especially from him. "Anything," I whispered with a sob.
He laughed down at me, still not letting me go. His free hand trailed down, following my curves. "My name is Alpha Zale, and from this moment forward you're not going to be a rogue anymore. You will be part of my Vermillion pack."
What choice did I have? His hold tightened on my wrists, squeezing me so hard my bones threatened to crack. This wasn't a patient man this Alpha Zale, and I'd never heard of him or his pack, or I'd never have run this direction. "My name is Amanda. Amanda Style," I whispered.
He nodded, a predator's grin flashed across his lips. "I Alpha Zale take Amanda Style into the Vermillion pack, and as our Luna."
The bonds settled into place as he said it, but I couldn't stop my body from shaking. "Wait," I hissed, struggling even more than I had before. His knee pressed against me again, my thighs clenched around him. His legs were all muscle. This man would tear me apart if he tried anything with me. "There's been a mistake, I never said I would be your Luna!"
"You said anything," he reminded me. He bent down, lips brushing over my skin. "I need a Luna and since you're my mate anyway, you have no choice. You might as well give up. You belong to me and the pack, completely."
There was something about the way he said that. "What do you mean, I belong to the pack?" I whispered.
Zale tossed his head back, a rich vibrating laugh escaping him. "Exactly what it sounds like, sweetheart. I'm the kind of Alpha that likes to reward his warriors, and I always share." He moaned, eyes half-lidded, staring down at me. "I'm just imagining you on your knees in service to one of my men while I'm behind you." He ran his free hand through my hair, wrapping it around his fist, and pulled back until I hissed. "Yes, that's the look I want to see on your face over and over again while you learn your place, Love."
His cruel laughter echoed again. I tried not to think about it. "But we can go back to the packhouse?" I whispered.
He cocked his head, staring down at me again. He wrapped my hair around his hand another time and I gasped as the roots threatened to be torn from my hair. "Rule one, I'm the boss." He leaned down, lips at my neck again and he sucked hard on a spot before biting into it. At least he wasn't marking me but damn his bite hurt. "Rule two," he continued, licking the spot until it sealed. "You're mine, whatever life you had before, it's done. Your former self died tonight. All that remains is my perfectly willing Luna, and if she disobeys..." He let my hair go and I took a breath. "I'll have to punish you, and I love my punishments. You will learn to dance for me in all matters of situations, Amanda."
A howl echoed through the forest. I closed my eyes, I couldn't stop trembling. He'd caught my scent, he was following me. I'd be found, tortured, torn apart. I thought of all the horrible things and whimpered.
Zale got off me and before I could roll to my feet, he picked me up, tossing me over his shoulder, and grabbed a handful of my ass, squeezing it. "Whoever they are, they'll never see you again, unless you fail on your part and I'm forced to tie you to a tree and watch them do whatever it is you're so terrified of."
Maybe I hadn't picked the least of two evils. I had the sinking sensation that I'd shacked up with someone even eviler than my original tormentor, and this man was my mate?
Zale walked off with me, his steps quick as he raced through the forest and took me far away from the sounds of pursuit.
My new life in the Vermillion pack was about to begin.