The cold fall wind rushed through my pure white fur as I weaved in and out of the thick trees. The night had long turned dark and winter would soon be here taking over from the fall. This was the third night I volunteered to patrol the border with the guys.

I had a War Tactics midterm in morning and I was supposed to be studying for it. I was a senior in a high school full of shifters. At a young age shifting is a little unstable with our quick tempered emotions. So for the human’s safety and our own we have a school apart from them.

Senior year was supposed to be the highlight of our lives. My friends and I had been looking forward to it since the end of junior year. But the first month of summer was life altering.

In every Alpha family, there is a son born to lead the pack. But in our family my father was the last in line. My mother was unable to give my father a son. I was the first and only child in the Shadowland Alpha family. The responsibility to lead this pack would fall on my mate.

Five months ago our territory was attacked by rogues. It looked like they had been recruiting wolves for years. They had enough to conquer at least half of our territories. Since these attacks our pack was taking every precaution to protect our territory, the Shadowlands.

There were seven wolf shifter territories. Each had their own separate pack and Alpha. My father and Alpha Eric of the Hollows were murdered the night the rogues attacked. The intruders were chased out beyond the border with their tails between their legs. But they threatened to return soon.

Uncle Bruce, my father’s Beta and second in command, took over the responsibilities. I am not old enough to run a pack on my own and my mate was supposed to lead. Once a wolf shifter turns eighteen they are able to find their mate; the one person fate had destined them to be with for the rest of their lives. A mate was supposed to be the other half of your soul. The moment you lay eyes on him you feel a pull in your heart and it’s like you’re complete.

The reason I know so much about the pull and feelings is because I found my mate this summer. Two days after my father was murdered I turned eighteen. We held a funeral the next week and that’s when I saw him.

I had known him for most of my life but until my eighteenth birthday I had no idea he was my mate. He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. I ran the moment I laid eyes on him. Tristan was twenty-five, which meant he had to have known we were mates for years and refused to claim me. He was Alpha of the Hollows, the neighboring territory pack. He took over from his father, Alpha Eric, a few years ago. So when his father was murdered it didn’t devastate their pack.

Since he already had land it was unclear whether the other Alphas would allow him to take over the Shadowlands as well. I hoped that was the reason he refused to claim me but we hadn’t spoken about it. I didn’t tell anyone I found my mate and he clearly hadn’t either. I’ve been avoiding all contact with him for the past five months. But it killed me inside not to see him or talk to him. I knew I was denying a part of me but I was too scared to be around him. It was becoming more apparent that he didn’t want me as a mate. So as much as it killed me inside to not be with him I gave him the space he so clearly desired.

My father never would have let me run patrols like my uncle had been. Ever since his death everyone let me do whatever I wanted. Tonight I wanted to run aside my pack members. It kept my Alpha wolf happy to be with her pack.

Uncle Bruce sent five of us to search the borders where we last caught sight of the rogues a week ago. As a female shifter my wolf was smaller than males. But that just meant I was faster than the guys. Unfortunately it also meant I had to train harder than them. My hard work ethic made me into a scrappy fighter. Whenever I wanted a training session, the guys hated being my partner since I could slip beneath them.