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Prologue

Emory


"You're nothing to me. I reject this bond with all of my heart and soul, and banish you from my pack."


My heart ripped to shreds as I fell to my knees, the taillights of my mate's truck getting farther and farther away from me. Pain engulfed my entire being as the mate bond that had formed between us snapped. I fell onto my ass on the rough gravel on the side of the road.


When he told me midmorning he wanted to go for a drive, I thought it was because he needed to clear his mind from pack business. Being the alpha brought a lot of stress.


I'd been wrong. So very wrong.


We'd driven for two hours. Me humming along to the radio, him tapping his fingers incessantly. I'd let him be because he had a look in his eye.


A look that I now know meant he was planning on kicking me to the curb. There had been no warning. No signs. We'd been building our bond over the past few months since our mating ceremony.


I pulled my phone out of my purse and fumbled with it, my vision blurry from my tears. Pressing the call button for my best friend, Sasha, I tried to calm myself down so I could speak.


She answered on the second ring. "I'm not supposed to talk to you." Not even a 'what's up girl?' like usual.


My entire body shook and teeth chattered as I drew my knees to my chest. "Wh-what do you m-m-mean?"


"You've been kicked out of the pack, Emory. Me even accepting your call might get me in trouble." Sasha sniffled. "I told you he'd find out."


"I just thought he'd be angry... not this. What am I supposed to do? I have no money. Why couldn't he have just let me pack a bag?" My voice rose, and I took a deep breath to stop myself from screaming.


"You lied to him. What did you expect? You're no longer in the pack. You move on with your life, like he's going to move on with his." The line went dead.


I choked on a sob and shoved my phone back in my purse. I was in the middle of nowhere and all I had was forty dollars in my wallet, my cell phone, and a gift card to a burrito place. It was probably expired.


We'd already accepted our bond, and he had kicked me to the curb the second my role as the alpha's mate was put into question. I thought he loved me and would no matter what. I'd been wrong.


A sob escaped, and I buried my face in my hands. Now I had nothing except the clothes on my back and the contents of my purse. My wolf wasn't even comforting me. Where had she even gone?


Crawling on my hands and knees, not caring that the gravel was tearing them up, I moved into some bushes and curled into a ball. Maybe if I just closed my eyes, it would all be over.


***


A chill coursed through my body, and I gasped as I was pulled from my dream. I'd been running through a field of the greenest grass, Luca nipping playfully at my heels. Then thunder had rolled in the distance and he vanished, taking my heart and soul with him.


My eyes felt swollen as I sat up, rubbing the side of my head. I must have been right on a damn rock. I stood, stumbling a bit toward the edge of the road.


It was a perfect early spring night, or at least it would have been, had my wolf kept me warm from the chill in the air. She wasn't under the surface like she typically was.


I couldn't feel her at all.


He took everything from me.


I shivered and looked down the dark two-lane highway. It curved about half a mile away, trees obscuring the view. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Or was it? Maybe I was still asleep.


The noise was getting closer and louder.


Trying to clear the blurriness from my vision, I rubbed at my eyes as four headlights rounded the curve. The sounds of the car engines made me cringe, and I stepped back from the road. Mere seconds later, two cars raced past and sent my hair flying in their wake, their taillights fading in the distance.


Good thing I hadn't been in the middle of the road. I'd be roadkill.


I pulled out my phone and searched for the nearest town. I wasn't from the area in the first place, so besides pack territory, I had no clue what was nearby.


My battery was almost dead, and the internet was shotty, so no maps would load. I was on my own and left with no other choice but to just start walk.

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