Chapter One

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"Megan," said Sorelle, my best friend in the world and the pack Beta's daughter. "Stop fantasizing and get your tight ass in a dress. You need to be perfect tonight."

It was my eighteenth birthday and my dad was throwing me a party in the hope I would find my mate. Omega wolves usually found their mate at sixteen, and it happened around that time for most female alpha wolves too. But I'd gone through both sixteen and seventeen without finding him. For a werewolf, even an alpha, I was dangerously close to slipping into old maid territory, which was something no female wolf wanted.

I couldn't wait to meet my mate. I so badly wanted someone to love, someone who would love me back. A guy who would hold my hand and tell me I was beautiful. Someone to walk on the beach with. To cuddle with. Someone who was just mine, who'd always care about me and put me first. He'd be strong, an Alpha or Alpha to be, and he'd always love and protect me.

"Mmm," I said, turning back to look at Sorelle rather than the ocean just visible from my bedroom window.

Sorelle was very beautiful. She was blond, slim and tall like a model, and had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen on anyone—werewolf or otherwise. Compared with her I sometimes felt

average, even if I—with my waist-length black hair, tan skin, and curvy body—was a total knockout. Sorelle was simply radiant. If I didn't know she was a werewolf, I'd suspect she was an angel exiled to earth for the crime of being too beautiful. Or too bossy. Or foulmouthed.

"Wear this one; it's just the right mix of skanky and classy," she said, pulling out a black number that had been one of the top three Mom and I had narrowed my closet down to. "And your hair will be up for once."

"You don't think the blue will go better—"

"No." She held out the dress. "Put it on."

So I dropped my robe, quickly slipping on the black dress. Usually being nearly naked in front of Sorelle wouldn't be a big deal; werewolves learn early to be cool with nakedness since transforming while wearing clothes isn't a good idea. But I had put on a lacy red bra and underwear combo, hoping I'd make love to my mate tonight. And I knew Sorelle would quickly pick up on it, since I normally only wore plain black and white undies.

"You gonna do the guy tonight?" she asked, eyebrows raised. Sorelle had found her mate two days before her seventeenth birthday, about fourteen months ago. Despite that, she hadn't slept with him yet, because she was waiting for their "moment."

"No," I lied, and turned so Sorelle would be able to zip me up. "I just read this thing about how what kind of underwear you wear will change how you act. So if I wear sexy underwear, I'll feel sexy."

"Really?" Sorelle sounded like she would sooner believe that little green men might storm into the room yelling, We come in peace; give us your Mars Bars.

Eager to change the topic, I asked, "You really think he's here?"

She finished zipping the dress up and I turned to her. She smiled. "You look totally hot!" She paused for a moment, looking toward the door. "And he's totally here. Your dad invited every wolf on the East Coast and then some. He has to be here."

"Yeah. He has to be," I echoed.

Half an hour later, after Sorelle finally got my hair arranged to her liking, we headed downstairs. The party was already in full swing, which made me feel a little bad. This was my party, after all, although I think my dad was also using it to broker some sort of peace treaty between the New York packs. My dad is this sort of super powerful alpha—some people even call him the Alpha of Alphas because he is in control of most of the Alphas east of the Mississippi. And since most wolves are omega and follow their Alphas happily, he was pretty much in charge of everyone. I was technically an alpha wolf too, but as an unmated alpha female I was kind of outside the pack hierarchy, so the whole alpha status thing wasn't as important to me.

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