I wished for the pain to stop, but it never did.
So I took the coward’s way out and left my home and my pack. There was no way I could live in the same house with the female who shattered every dream and fantasy I built around Tyler and me. I had to leave while there was still some sanity left in me.
My name is Catherine Galhart, a second-born Alpha Female from the Galhart clan. My brother, Jackson, is the Alpha of the Black Shadow Pack.
And his Beta — Tyler Salvatore — was my first heartache.
Almost a year ago, I left our pack and traveled to another continent to forget the man who broke my heart.
It was not an easy journey, but I slowly learned to accept that he was not meant for me and that there was someone out there whom the Goddess deemed worthy of my love. One day, when I’m ready to fall in love again, I will meet him.
I waved at the man who held a placard with my name, and he immediately came to help me with my luggage. I just landed at Harley Airport after traveling for almost a year. As much as I was enjoying my freedom, it was time to meet my new sister-in-law, who happened to be my best friend, Amara.
I guess with the heartbreak that happened in my life, my best friend and brother thought I would be too sensitive to hear about them being mated to each other. I was not happy with my fate, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t be happy for them.
But then, I harbored no hard feelings. The retreat I joined taught me about life and acceptance. Everything happens for a reason — the good and the bad. And the difference lies in how we react to it. I refused to let it take me down.
So here I was, surprising my whole family that I was already back in the country. Mom thought I would be arriving in two weeks. Well, I decided I would rather go home and spend time with my newborn nephew than go on another vacation with some of the shifters I met during the retreat.
I decided on the spur of the moment that the only flight I could get would make me reach home by midnight. However, it didn’t matter because I made sure the taxi company I booked with was reputable and run by a shifter who knew Jace and Dad. So if anything happened to me, they would face their wrath.
But in all honesty, I knew I could take care of myself. Even before I left, I had been attending training on weekends, but I always pretended to be weaker than my friends, so I had a reason to make Tyler prioritize looking after me.
But I didn’t have to pretend anymore that I was weak. I needed to stand up for myself. Besides, the morning training and the manual chores we had to do while on retreat helped me with my clumsiness. I was still not perfect or as strong as Amara, but I was sure I could hold my ground.
Plus, I found a new sport that I love: shooting daggers. So stand in my way, and I’ll make sure to hit you in between your eyes.
I chuckled at my own thought. Of course, that was a lie. I was still not good at it, but a girl could dream.
Aside from meeting my nephew, I had to fix my university application in Bernice City, four hours away from our territory. I hadn’t told my parents about it, but I guess at eighteen, I would be free to decide the path I wanted to take. And I wanted to move out and live with my grandparents near the university of my choice.
It was the only way I could fully move on and restart my life without Tyler.
I slid inside the taxi, and as soon as he began driving, I closed my eyes and thought of what Mom told me when I got to speak with her for a few minutes.
Tyler and Zoey separated, and the pup that she carried was not Tyler’s. Mom said he was devastated about the pup, but he was doing his best to move forward.
I had no idea what to feel at the moment. I used to want Tyler for myself, but I didn’t wish for him to have his heart broken.
And maybe this was the main reason I went home earlier than planned — because I wanted to know if I still loved him the same way I did before I left.
I had been taught to honor the mate bond all my life, and that was exactly what I did. I spent my whole life telling myself that I was not allowed to fall in love with anyone because there was someone meant for me.
And then I finally met Zoey, my fated mate. Within minutes of meeting her, I placed my mark on her skin. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought there was no way I would not end up falling in love with my fated mate.
It was too late when I realized that after the high of scenting her had calmed down, there was another side where love needed to grow.
It didn’t happen between me and her.
It had been three weeks since my fated or ex-fated mate and I finally rejected each other.
She left with Garrett, the son that I thought was mine. Although I had been waiting for almost a year for Zoey and me to finally break our bond, I was not prepared to lose Garrett.
All along, I thought he was mine, and up until this moment, I was still having a hard time coming to terms with it. But life needed to move on, although everyone I wanted in my life was gone. I was now left with nothing.
Before I met Zoey, my eyes and heart were enamored by just one female — Catherine—my Alpha’s sister. But I didn’t entertain any thoughts of her, although deep in my heart, I prayed that she would end up as my mate. But the Goddess had a different plan.
“You’re drinking again. Does it help?” Austin’s voice snapped me from my thoughts. My head tilted in the direction of the voice, and I found him leaning on the door frame of my office at the training building.
I’ve been spending more time here lately, bringing all the paperwork I needed to avoid seeing Colton, the Alpha and Luna’s son. Seeing him would always end up reminding me of Garrett.
“You tell me. Do you think I didn’t know you’d been drinking yourself every night?”
“My life is a mess. I fucked up. I have every reason to drown myself in alcohol, which we both know doesn’t help. It only makes me think more of everything I should have done right from the beginning.”
“Tell Lexi I was excited to father the pup she was carrying instead of saying I was not ready.”
“But if that’s not how you feel at that time, how would you end up saying that?”
“I don’t know, man, like I said. I messed up. And I’m just waiting for the suspension to take effect.”
“What do you plan to do for the next six months?”
“Try to come closer to them.”
“You can only do that if she hasn’t filed a restraining order against you for that bullshit you made.”
“I know. That’s why I’m just waiting until she gives me a go signal.” He let out a sigh before he continued. “I’m going back to the packhouse. I have an early day tomorrow as I will transition my duties to Marshall.”
“It’s just six months, Austin.”
“I know. And I know I deserve more. I need those six months to think about where I want my life to go. I just want to take them home.”
“She’s not your fated mate.”
“I don’t know. I think I will be okay with Lexi.”
“If she will let you.”
“Exactly, if she will let me. A man’s got to try.”
“If you’re doing it for David, I suggest you stop. Think about it. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a relationship where you don’t feel anything about your partner.”
He didn’t answer and just gave me a nod before he walked out of the office with slumped shoulders while I refilled my glass with whiskey.
I closed my eyes, and Catherine’s image flashed in my head. Ever since Zoey and I rejected each other, I finally let myself think of Catherine often. I didn’t have to feel guilty anymore.
A smile tugged at my mouth as I rested my hands on the top of my head and leaned back in my chair before raising my feet on my desk. I missed my little tyke.
She’d be home in two weeks. It had been far too long since the last time I saw her, and even though I messed up when I called her while I was too drunk, I held on to the hope that she had forgiven me, as she had all the other times I had disappointed her.
I spent another two hours in my office before finally calling it a night. I was sure that by this time, the Alpha and his family were already in their suite. Not that I didn’t want to see them, but nighttime was harder, so I would rather not see them before I go to bed.
I took one full swig of the whiskey before turning off the lights and locking my office door. The whole training area was deserted except for a few warriors who were patrolling this area. I acknowledged their greeting as I walked straight ahead to the packhouse.
My head was buzzing, and I just wanted to sleep, but for some reason, my wolf, Black, became restless in my head. ‘Calm down, boy. We’re home soon, and you can sleep.’ I chuckled as I turned the corner that would lead me home.
I saw Meynard’s car pulling out of the driveway, and it made my forehead crease. He was manning the border tonight, so what was he doing here? Then I decided to shrug it off. The Alpha probably asked him something. And before I could contemplate more, my nose smelled her.