Rejected Mate and Following Fate - Awakening Book

Chapter 17: The Attack

“All wolves have been called to the great hall, immediately” He drops his hand from my jaw and jumps
to his feet, all naked glory of him and I avert my eyes, suddenly aware of this fact and instantly shy. He
has your typical alpha package going on and it’s not exactly easy not to look at. Generally, the males
have something to be proud of and Colton is no exception. My face reddens, heat rising up my cheeks,
and I huddle myself up, still recovering from this shitstorm we just put ourselves through and now
blushing to my core because I ogled him completely starkers and realized he’s well endowed.

I wait for him to leave, hoping to pull myself together with a little headspace and try not to also check
out his ass, but he pauses when he sees I make no effort to follow.

“That means you too…. my goal’s to have you initiated into this pack, Lorey. No matter what it takes.
My father can’t keep denying us if you’re accepted. We need to have a plan…. steps to being together.
I don’t want to keep going through the emptiness of the last weeks and denying this between us. What I
said in the forest; I was wrong.” He shrugs as if he’s reciting some bland nothing of speeches and not
literally altering everything I thought was happening in the last weeks of agonizing life.

My eyes dart to him, shocked, yet not. Deep down I guess I knew this was his motive and his feelings
on where we should end up. I’m just not so sure anymore. The words I said in anger still ring true and
my heart is telling me that a bond should be stronger than his father’s command. Can’t shift that
disappointment in him, because I feel like he was too quick to give me up.

I’m a whirlwind of emotions and so much has happened in the last twelve hours that I need some time
to let my brain catch up. I’ve been through trauma, changes, a whirlwind, and I need to process it all. I
can’t tell which way is up, and I’m no longer in control of a single tiny thing in my own life. Not even
where I’ll sleep tonight, let alone live tomorrow.

“Come. Please. You can’t say here in this mess, and we need to get you some clothes.” He stretches
his hand to me extending his palm outwards and I brush it away.

“Why can’t you let me leave to figure this out of my own. This is the last place on earth I want to be.”
Tears begin to fall as self-pity hits hard and I guess it’s because I’m physically and mentally exhausted
too. This is not how I thought my life would go and from the day I turned, it’s been hell and heartache
all rolled into one.

He exhales heavily, frustrated with me, and yanks me to my feet with a forceful lunge at my arms
instead. Pulling me up despite my refusal. Taking charge and not in the mood for arguments.

“Listen to me. I need you to comply for a little while and we’ll figure this out, together. I don’t want you
to go. When this settles I’ll go to the orphanage and pack up all your stuff, and we can talk out where
we go from there; but right now, I need you to come with me and do as I say.” He has that edge to his
voice I usually hear when he’s leading his pack around. It’s the don’t argue with me, commanding tone,
of Prince. Santo.

What else can I do. I’m technically a prisoner here, with nowhere else to go. I’m on my feet, with a
persistent pain in my ass bossing me around, in a house full of people who hate me. I literally only have
him on my side to depend on, and only because the fates forced it. I have nowhere else, and if I’m
being honest with myself, everything is too messy, my gifts too new, and my mental state a little too on
the fragile side to be thinking about going anywhere alone. So, I nod reluctantly.

“Come on then. Stay close to me.” Colton turns and leads the way, sensing I don’t want or need him
touching me and I do as he says. Staying right behind him, clutching my covering and wait while he
grabs one, wrapping it on like a toga, and heads towards the door. If Carmen saw us now, naked with
ripped bed sheets to cover our modesty, she would only assume the worst and I can’t imagine that
going down well at all. Shuddering at the possibility she might see us.

Within seconds we’re in the hall, moving along the wide passage in semi darkness, due to all the
boarded up windows and lack of lighting and he leads onwards, following some turns and a flight of
stairs until we get to the floor below. I was put on the top floor in the far end of the house, away from

everyone, and now we seem to be on the third floor, in a brighter corridor with doors all bearing names,
and keypads on each.

Colton stops me with an arm, pushes me back around the corner we rounded and hushes me with a
finger to my lips as two Santo pack members appear from a door opening, both walk out and head
away from us, completely unaware of our presence. He makes us wait a second before leading the
way again, halfway down the hall to the third door on the right and turns, using his hand on the pad,
scanning his palm as it clicks open. His name’s on the door, so I guess this is his room.

“Why are we hiding if you’re taking me downstairs anyway?” I ask blatantly, composing myself since
leaving that room and he slides an arm around me and shuffles me into the darkened space, pulling me
in and closing the door behind us with a last outwards check of the hall. He walks off across the
bedroom, towards a set of wooden doors in front of me, sliding them open to reveal wardrobes, and
starts pulling out clothes in multiples of two. It’s dull in here thanks to boarded windows but light is
shining through the cracks brightly now, illuminating enough, telling me daylight has come.

I follow him, taking in the almost Scandinavian, Ikea style, and minimalism of his room. He likes space,
and neatness, with very few items cluttering it up. Neutral tones, light woods, plants and lots of floor,
and open calmness. It’s clean and airy and almost obsessively organized.

“Carmen just needs to know I brought you in here and she’ll go nuclear. It’s best if I appear downstairs
with you, where she’s contained, because frankly, my ears, and my head, can’t handle her gifts right
now. She still thinks we have a future, and I need to talk to her about that.” He carries on focusing on
clothes, his tone level as though he hasn’t just caused me pain with careless words.

It quietens me and that distant heartache and pang of jealousy finds its way back home to my stomach.
In all this mess I was starting to wonder if our bond has been dented and if I was starting to feel
differently about him. I guess I’m not that lucky, as my heart still seems very attached, despite

everything. I’m mad at him, disappointed in him, but yet, I still yearn and love him. My soul still wants
and needs him.

We dress quickly, although his clothes are baggy on me, and ill-fitting, but it’s better than showing up in
a rag and a smile. Following him close to his heel, leaving his room, we make our way down another
two flights of sweeping staircase and two other levels before we end up back where I caused such a
scene hours ago. That sweeping final stair to the main entrance which is now immaculately calm.

It’s a lot cleaner and tidier now the debris is gone, and the front door closed, with the addition of several
new heavy-duty locking mechanisms in place. The boarded glass panels are screwed on with braces
over them for now, hinting that the threat of another attack is on Juan’s mind.

Colton takes my hand in his unexpectedly, sliding strong fingers into mine and leads the way across the
vast marble floor into a small corridor that runs away from the bathroom he put me in earlier. I don’t
reject his touch, needing it now I’m on a comedown of what happened upstairs. Once again vulnerable
and out of my depth and clinging to him to take charge while in his domain. Drawing from his strength
and ability to swagger through the worst kind of chaos.

We walk down the dark almost claustrophobic space, with voices, noises, lots of movement cascading
our way, and follow two Santos we catch up with inside the most crowded room I’ve ever seen. It’s hard
to tell how big it would be empty, for it’s packed solid with adult Santo wolves, mostly male, from all
over, even the ones who don’t reside in the pack house. Easily over a hundred or so, and they’re all
squeezed in, fighting for breathing space as we join right at the back, unseen.

There are several elders and the Shaman, right down at the front, standing on a low podium facing
back at us all. Men I have never seen before in my life, standing behind them, and I guess these are
the older generation of retired elders, coming out in our time of need. Mostly men in here as is the way
when dealing with important matters, or femmes who have no children and are better suited to battle,
as all of those who are not are home minding their little ones. Juan Santo is right in the center and he

seems to be waiting for everyone to quiet before he starts. The overwhelming seriousness of this
cascades around the room, thickening the atmosphere with a heady tension.

Colton pulls me in front of him, placing me right at his chest so he’s up against my back, lacing his
fingers into both of my hands from behind as they hang by my sides in the darkest of our shadows. He
rests his chin against the back of my head, bringing his body to fit snugly into mine, so we are
completely joined without it being obvious to those around us. It looks like two people standing close
due to the crushing lack of space as our hands are concealed in darkness. He’s a good head taller than
me, so it’s a natural position, and I glance around to see if anyone is staring, but they’re all too focused
on their alpha king.

“Quiet now” A voice from the front rows hushes the uneasy mumbling and scraping in the room and
everyone stops talking, the atmosphere somehow heavier with the forced hush. Juan steps forward,
although I can barely see him over the people in front of me and have to stand on my tip toes to get a
proper view between heads. There’s a moment of pause as he looks around us all, his eyes catching
his son across the crowds and I can’t miss the fleeting surge of anger as he realizes I’m right in front of

I glance away, instantly scalded, landing back down on flat feet, wounded by the penetrating glare and
scan the room instead to see if Carmen is anywhere close by. I can’t see her thankfully, which means
she probably can’t see us, and try to sink down further to better conceal myself behind the Santo in
front of me. Colton squeezes my hands and holds me closer, somehow letting me know that I should
ignore it.

Be still. You’re safe with me. He comes through gently, caressing my mind with a tender tone and I
exhale dejectedly.

For now, maybe. While they’re all distracted with Vampire attacks and end of world foreboding, but my
gut says it’s temporary. I can feel the hatred lingering in the air from Juan’s vicious frown and it

unsettles me in every kind of way.

“You all know why we are here…” Juan begins and it’s the final push needed to bring a total hush to the
room as all completely still, not even the shuffle of moving bodies, and fall deathly silent. It tugs my
attention back to him and I peek around the side of the male in front of me to catch sight of him again.
“We were attacked by a long-forgotten enemy, and quite frankly, we didn’t see it coming and were not
prepared. Despite the rumbling of recent months, we didn’t honestly expect them to rise and attack in
this way and we failed our people. We lost fifty-three of our kind, on the dark side of the mountain,
tonight. Forty-seven lost in the battle and six bonded who perished when their mates heart took its last

My heart aches as he says it, visualizing so many of the faces I know went down in that attack. Unlike
anyone else in this room, I’m probably the only one who not only knew their names, but what every
single one of them looked like, who they were as people, and their ages not only when they died, but
when they were first dumped in that hellhole without their loved ones. Memories with all of them, even if
they were not close to me. To these wolves, they’re just numbers to measure their failures against.

I close my eyes as the tears begin to fall silently down my cheeks, warm unwelcome rivulets of
remembrance. The pain returning once more, and I can’t stop myself. My heart filling up and straining
to contain it as my mind is swamped with images I don’t want to relive, and I shudder as I push them
away, inhaling heavily as my shoulders start to tremble with the effort of not falling apart. The horrors of
how I last saw them all, trying so hard to invade my brain and cut me down all over again.

I nestle back into Colton as his arm comes up around my body and across my neck as he cuddles me.
His comfort, because he can feel my pain, my body trembling as I cry, squeezing my eyes shut to gain
control. His touch is what I need more than anything and I stay here in the darkness of my own doing,
listening and silently weeping while held tight in his comforting embrace.

“We think it was a test, for this device we found in the orphanage.” Juan carries on and my eyes rip
open at his words, shoving my despair aside as I squirm, wriggling out of Colton’s hug to see what
everyone is craning necks to look at. Catching a gap as ones on front move sideways to look where I

He holds up a small perfectly square black box, an antenna sticking up at the top but a complete lack of
buttons and dials of any sort, that looks harmless. Small and compact, no more than a tissue box in
size, with another wire sticking out from the rear about a foot long and doesn’t seem to attach to
anything to power it. It doesn’t look real, more like something a child could make with card and glue
and some black paint and I blink at it, stupefied, glaring furiously, and hating that something so
insignificant, destroyed my life.

“They chose our weakest and our most secluded and walked right in, depositing this in the center of the
first-floor kitchen. We think they wanted to test its effectiveness and still have a fighting chance should
it fail. It didn’t…. we’ve only one survivor left from the home and only because of the fast actions of our
pack. We managed to take down many of their kind, but a few escaped and will be reporting on their
success for sure.”

There’s a murmur and uneasiness as people glance around at one another in scared question, and I
catch the whisper of my name on the hushes wave of sound. The mix of both relief that my survival
ensured their own Santo alpha, but also the bitter ones, calling me a reject and querying how I was the
one who managed to live.

I catch the low, body vibrating, internal growl from Colton as his protective instinct kicks in at hearing
my name and a couple of nearby Santos glance this way, eyes widening in surprise and they instantly
stare down at their feet, turning meekly submissive in a flash. Faces darkening with fear and shame at
being caught by him of all people. Realizing he’s right here, among them, and not down there with his
immediate family. I turn away to block them out and stare down at the front instead, mentally blanking
them all, because this has always been my life and I’m not that bothered by their remarks.

I catch sight of his grandmother in the shadows when they settle down, a woman who barely shows
face but is lingering nearby. Unsurprisingly, there’s no sign of Luna Santo, Colton’s mother. She’s been
absent from view since the wars and rumor has it, she locks herself up in her room on the main floor
upstairs and never leaves. No one has seen her in years, and if it weren’t for Colton’s memories of her
in my head, I wouldn’t even remember what she looked like.

Some say she was scarred horribly by the battles, both mentally, and physically, and is too ashamed to
come out and face her people. Meeting one of the few things in the world which can leave unhealable
damage on a wolf, and her mental state has crumbled with the trauma. Only I now know from being
inside his head there’s some truth to the stories, and there’s only a vague blurry visual of Colton being
told she’s cared for, away from the mountain, because the war broke her.

Those around us turn silent as Juan breaks through the thick atmosphere once again, drawing me
away from my train of thought and disrupting my searching of the past for answers to her lack of

“Testing weapons can only mean we’re heading for a war with an enemy we thought we long ago
vanquished. They’re working on a strategy, and this is just the beginning. There have been stories,
rumors, but nothing concrete for many months, although this is now our proof. Civilization as we know it
is about to change drastically. We must protect the packs and join with those from other lands, prepare
for what is coming. We must unite and finally be ruled by one leader, one voice, to work as one, under
my guidance as alpha, if we are to survive a second war like the last.”

I shiver as his words begin to hit home, my brain scrambling to fathom something as huge an
undertaking as that. We’re a dozen packs in one state, but worldwide there are thousands, hundreds of
thousands, and most still do not live in peace with the others of their kind. Rivalries exist, and some are
still at war with one another, even now with the history of the wars behind us. A common enemy may
change that, but there’s a lot to do before that can happen.

Packs are destined to want to rule over one another, fight for dominance, forge the hierarchy, and our
mountain is not normal when it comes to living in close proximity. It was a necessity, as we recovered
from the war of before, our people shattered by loss, so we were more pliable in accepting another
pack as our leader. Most of our own alphas never came back to dispute the claim to rule us.

Santo’s idea, that he will become the only leader and unite us all seems ridiculous, given the vast
amount of us in this world he will need to unite. I’m sure there are other pack leaders out there who
believe themselves far superior to him. Other dominants with way more ability, and gifts, and it’s not in
an alphas nature to yield without a fight.

I shiver, my body trembling with all that is dawning on me, how terrifying our future now looks and
Colton firms his hold on me, reassuring me as best he can. Trying to keep me calm and be that rock I
never knew I needed before I found his touch. I exhale heavily, submerging myself in his body heat and
try to bring myself peace.

“We need to put measures in place to protect our mountain from another attack; effective immediately.
Allocations of groups, with leaders, will be assigned to those who haven’t already had so. We are the
reigning pack in Radstone, and they’ll all be looking to us now, to lead, and protect them. Training will
begin at first light for all old enough to fight, so all of you eat. Sleep. We’ve already sent small details to
walk the perimeters and each of the villages has been ordered to do the same. We’ll have guards
outside at every hour, keeping watch, and we’ll revise a system to improve on all of this, set up drills
with how to react should an alarm be raised. This coming few weeks, we’ll be moving all surrounding
packs into the south side of the mountain, here among our people, for their own safety. We have much
to do, there will be upheaval, and chaos, but we must keep our heads. This was a first offensive, and
we do not know when they intend to return.”

The silence becomes unbearable when his last words fall in the air around us, and the gravity of our
situation sits heavy on us all. Some of these men and women are survivors from the first war against
the vampires and already paid their dues, but most of us were just children, or young enough to stay

behind. We lost so many, and although or numbers have recouped over the years, we’re not living in
readiness for a fight. We’ve had relative peace for years, and I have no idea how the hell we’re going to
get through this.

Bringing us all to one place to live in each other’s pockets, here in the Santo land is going to be
madness. We’re spread far around the skirts of the mountains and high in number. There are not
enough homes to accommodate bringing us all together at this one shaded side, under their command
and watchful eye. Not to mention the children, their schools, and their animals on the outer farms. This
is insanity.

I feel sick to my stomach, knowing that everything I knew before, my idea of empty living, was in fact
the best years of my sad existence. Now we’re dawning on a new age, and I’m wishing with all my
heart that I could back to being that unworthy reject, in a house full of unwanteds, in the shadowy side
of our peaceful mountain.

If I could back I would. I would never complain again, never crave a different life, because what we
have coming, couldn’t be any worse.