Sometimes you have to crumble to ashes before you can fly.
Riletta knew hardship. As a shifter who couldn’t shift, she was raised in a wolf pack that ostracized her. She was ready to tackle the world when she was dropped off at the university with no identity, very little cash, and the only thing she wanted—freedom. The last thing she expected was for the university’s resident Alpha wolf to stake a claim.
Macen Giordano hadn’t expected the little female to bring out his protective wolf, but he’s not about to let university politics harm the innocent shifter. Riles may not be wolf, but she is his.
When prejudices threaten them both and shed light on her true nature, the two must survive the impossible to earn their destiny.
He threw me out of the pack.
Knowing something was inevitable and accepting its occurrence were two entirely different things. Part of me wanted to race after the long-gone car or perhaps call Elise and beg to return. But that was crazy. They’d been done with me eighteen years, three months and two days ago—the moment I’d crawled into their land from no one knew where. I’d been two when they’d proclaimed me a freak of nature undeserving of life.
But I’d been spared.
Piercing shrieks and laughter drew my focus from my trudge forward to a crush of girls several yards away. I smiled cautiously when a few of them met my stare. Fitting in had never been my strong suit, but perhaps this place was different.
Pain streamed through my core, radiating from my face when I slammed into an unmoving object—a massive chest adorned in a crimson t-shirt with a black and white snapping wolf. My throat constricted for a moment as I studied the muscular flesh beneath the shirt. He was huge.
“Slow your roll there, mouse.” Warm fingers wrapped gently around both my arms, holding me up for a moment as my limbs forgot how to work. Full lips turning upward into a smug grin shoved me backward. My pulse slammed into overdrive as I met a metallic gray gaze. A rugged jaw line drew attention from his gorgeous face to the wavy mass of thick, black hair, longer than fashionable, which flirted with his shirt collar.
This was someone who realized the effect he had on girls like me. I studied his shirt for a moment, reining in my riotous body. My lungs burned for breaths I couldn’t remember to take; something within me rubbed against my skin.
The sensation made me gasp. What the hell was that?
Could it be…?
No. There was no way. I’d been tested. Repeatedly.
I was inherently damaged beyond repair.
“Breathe, little mouse. Nice and deep for me.”
Fingers squeezed until I inhaled the welcoming brush of woodsy brine and earth deep into my lungs. I wanted to lean into his warmth, inhale deeper at his pulse point like I’d seen others from my pack do with the Alphas. He was utterly splendid in all ways.
I knew better than to surrender to the desire, though.
Abominations like you will not breathe the same air as my Alphas, Riletta. Don’t offend them with your presence. You exist because I showed mercy. Don’t make me regret my decision.“Sorry.” The squeak of my rarely used voice made me shrivel away from the strength of his embrace. Could I be any more pathetic?