Mate…. Mate…. Mate….
God damn it! I sat bolt upright in my bed, my hands twisting through the sheets in frustration. The clock on my bedside table said it was already five in the morning, and I hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep yet. And all because my stupid head wouldn’t shut the hell up.
No matter how hard I tried not to think about it, my mind kept flashing back to Jasper. The way he had sounded so earnest and gentle as he’d told me the words that had turned my world, already hanging precariously out of balance, completely upside down. How his eyes, so deep and warm, had bore into my own, showing nothing but brutal truth and honesty, telling me that everything he said was real beyond a doubt…
Mates. We were mates, me and him. I remembered the first day when I had seen him, when that voice in my head—then I hadn’t known who it belonged too, but now I knew it was my wolf talking—had chanted that over and over. How, every time I heard it and looked at him, it felt right. The electrical charges, the strange gravitational pull I felt towards him, maybe even the wolf-dreams—it was all side effects of something so powerful it shouldn’t even exist in a rational world. Something I had been trying to deny since the first time I saw him.
When a shifter finds their mate, it’s the biggest thing that’ll ever happen to them, and it’s for life. Their wolves call to one another, and the minute you see her or him, everything is altered—it doesn’t matter what might have been before, it’s here and now that matters. Suddenly, their all you can think about, and just like that, they become your whole world. Jasper’s words replayed over and over in my head, torturing me.
While I tossed and turned, it was one sentence that came back to me; suddenly, their all you can think about, and just like that, they become your whole world. So was I that to him, then? His whole world? I had never understood the way he looked at me, so intently, so fervently… so lovingly, and adoringly. I had never understood why he treated me different from everyone else, when everyone else would hardly look at me—now, for a reason I understood. But it had never mattered to him that I was a rogue, or that I was completely clueless, or that his father hated me. It never mattered, and he had never been using me.
I didn’t know how he felt about me, but it was obvious he had some feelings for me.
But did I return them? Whatever I was supposed to feel for him, did I?
I thought about the spark that went through me every time I saw him. Okay, so I couldn’t deny that I had feelings for him… of a sort. They definitely weren’t feelings a friend should feel towards another person who was no more than a friend. They were much more vivid than that, intense. But… could I call it love?
Did I really love him?
I flinched when I thought that word. Love… I had stopped believing in love a long time ago.
Ryan and I had started dating when I was fourteen. I was young and naïve then, and before then, no guy had ever paid me any attention. Ryan had been coming around the house for a year by then, and I knew him well enough that by the time he asked me out, I said yes without hesitation. He had been showing interest in me for awhile, if it wasn’t already obvious the first time we met. His eyes would watch me wherever I went, and he lavished his attention on me, knowing just how to make me feel special and loved. And being as love-starved as I was, that was all that mattered to me. I never thought how our relationship might be wrong—how he was nearly twelve years older than me, already graduated and out of college, or how he wanted things from me that I shouldn’t have had to give him, or how Phil encouraged all of it. He loved me, and that was the only thing that mattered.
At least, I had thought he did. But now, I knew he had only been using me. As our relationship progressed, and I got older, he expected more of me. Lord knows that Brendan had been warning me for ages, but I’d ignored him, foolishly too. I had always given Ryan exactly what he wanted, because I knew how scary he would get when I didn’t, but the first time I finally summoned the courage to tell him ‘no’…
|Hayden Panettiere||as Emalie Harper|
|Max Thieriot||as Brendan Harper|
|Drew Roy||as Jasper Emerson|
|Patrick Dempsey||as Alpha Emerson|
|Willa Holland||as Lily Hansen|
|Alex Pettyfer||as Drew|
|Nicole Anderson||as Lanie Sorenson|
|David Henrie||as Cody Sorenson|
|Miley Cyrus||as Jessica Saunders|
|Lucas Grabeel||as Aaron|