TAYLOR

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I heard my father stumble into the house, having spent yet another night in the pub with the humans he had come to call friends. No doubt after having spent the entire day in the presence of Alpha Luke and abiding by his every word in order to keep his life.

I still don't know the reason behind Luke's hatred for my father, but it runs so deep, that I am honestly afraid to discover the reasons for their dislike of each other.

"Taylor," he finally called and I knew what was coming. It was the same thing which always happened when he was drunk and it didn't even faze me anymore. I didn't cower in fear, as I used to do when I was younger, I simply accepted what my father needed to do and allowed him the release he required to free him of his anger.

Ever since my mother died when I was seven, my father had taken his pain and anger out on me, blaming me for what happened to his beloved mate.

I still don't know what happened to my mother. I don't think anyone really knows how her life came to an abrupt end that night, but my father still chose to blame me and he chose to take his anger out on his only remaining child.

In the entire pack, I only had one friend, Jake—the son of the Beta—and he was the only one who knew what happened to me behind closed doors. I never wanted to tell him what my father did to me, but he snuck into my room one night and had to hide in my wardrobe when my father returned home earlier than I anticipated. It was then that he discovered the reason for all the bruises and the reason that I had a severe lack of trust in anyone who was a male—other than Jake. I knew he would never hurt me and he had been the only one who remained after the death of my mother.

No one knew that we were friends though, and when he tried to convince me that I should report the abuse to Alpha Luke, I kindly refused the offer. For there were strict rules about abuse in our pack.

It was illegal.

You couldn't lay a hand on your children, your mate or any other person who was considered family. If you were found to be causing harm to any of those people, it was punishable by death.

As much I hated the man that was my father, I didn't want him dead. He was, after all, the only family I actually had left now and I would never forgive myself if I was the reason for his death. It would always weigh on my conscience and I would never be able to forgive mysel.

For some strange reason, I still loved the man who had raised me from the day I was born. I still believed there was a chance of redemption, and I actually believed there was the possibility for him to be the man he once was.

Conceding defeat, Jake settled on training me to be able to defend myself. He trained me in how to lessen the impact of the blows which I received. I may have been weak when the abuse first started, I had only just turned nine when he hit me for the first time and I was almost ten when he actually broke a bone, but I wasn't that girl anymore.

I knew how to keep myself safe without raising any suspicion—given that we lived on the outskirts of the pack and my father had forbidden me from being involved with the training sessions which we were supposed to attend. He even told me that I couldn't be a tracker for the pack, the one thing I had always wanted to be, because I was so useless that I would get myself killed before I tracked down an enemy.

Jake was the only reason that I remained alive. For that, I was always going to be grateful because it meant there was a chance for me to actually find my mate and a chance for me to be happy. A chance to be able to get on with my life and be all the things I had ever dreamed of being, before my father snatched all of that away from me for his own selfish reasons.

There was, undeniably, a nagging sensation in the back of my mind which told me that my mate was never going to want me. I usually gave it my best shot to ignore it, but there were times that it was so loud, that it was impossible and I was reminded of all the reasons that my mate wouldn't want me.

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