Home > Rejected Mate (The Alpha Shifter Collection #13)

Rejected Mate (The Alpha Shifter Collection #13)
Author: Sam Crescent

 


Chapter One

 


Constance walked down the main path heading toward the town hall of Silver County. A small town located near the mountains with a questionable population, especially as most of them were wolves. Human by day, wolf by moonlight. This was once her home, a place she loved to be. The people were her family, but since the rejections, she felt the cold seeping into her bones, ready to cast her out.

At twenty-one years old, she was the oldest person to go through her transition as most made the change between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Not her. Nope. She had to turn on her twenty-first birthday. As if her life wasn’t already hard enough. She loved the pack, she did, but they had a hard time accepting her.

She was the only woman in the pack who possessed curves. Of course, they called her the fat one, chubby, whatever name suited their cruel mood, but she had embraced her figure. Mainly because all the diets she went on were fucking useless. None of them worked. She didn’t lose weight, but gained it.

It wasn’t fair, but rather than dwell on what wouldn’t be, she embraced who she was now, and well, she truly believed she was awesome, or at least she had no choice but to keep telling herself that.

So, the cold. On the moon of her twenty-first birthday, she had turned. Her first-ever full transition into a wolf. Great times. Nothing like a body snapping to really embrace your furry side. She’d also found her mate. The one who was destined to be hers for all eternity.

And this was where the cold came in.

She was a fat, late-changing wolf with a mate who rejected her. That summed up her life in a few short words. Tanner Silver, the alpha’s son, had sniffed her, and he’d been aroused—she’d scented that—but he’d turned her down in front of the entire pack. Rejected her like some diseased thing.

The memory awakened the humiliation.

Within twenty-four hours, her job at the library was revoked, her parents had kicked her out, no one in the pack wanted anything to do with her. She’d gone from being tolerated to rejected not by one, but by all.

She’d packed her bag and been headed to the bus stop when Gage Silver, the alpha himself, had approached her. He told her that she couldn’t go, not yet. She had to come to this town meeting. This had all occurred three days ago.

Three days of pain.

There had been one hotel that had put her up. The room was small, and she’d spent all three days curled up on the bed, arms wrapped around her stomach, shivering and sobbing as the rejection began to hit her.

In all the pack history, no one had ever refused their mate. The very idea of it was … it wasn’t right.

The thick sweater she wore did nothing to make her feel warm, and considering it was a nice and toasty summer’s evening, that was saying something.

The pack must have been wanting to get rid of her for some time for the effects to be so instant.

A couple of people up ahead stopped and pointed at her. She heard the chuckles and tried her hardest to ignore them. Her face didn’t show the signs of her turmoil, the pain rushing through her body as if she’d been struck by a train repeatedly. No one knew she was close to running.

The alpha had given a direct order, and she had no choice but to abide by it, even though it was the last thing she wanted to do.

She pressed her lips together as she entered the main hall, moving to the back of the corner, wanting to hide. Even her wolf was broken inside. Her wolf being the one that suffered the main rejection.

What sucked the most was that she didn’t like Tanner. They were the same age, had gone to school together, and the truth was, he was a fucking asshole. Gage was a nice alpha. She’d liked him growing up, and if she’d been truthful, had always had a bit of a crush on him. He exuded power but not cruelty. He was fair and controlled the pack with ease. She had never heard anyone complain about his decision-making or his punishments, not once. Her parents had been in awe of him.

Tanner was the complete opposite.

Sure, he was good-looking, and he knew it as well. He chased after girls like they were candy and he wanted to gobble them all up. Being the alpha’s son, he took advantage of his position.

That night when she realized who Tanner was, what her wolf wanted, she had been on the verge of rejecting him. Of saying hell no to him, but he’d gotten there first. Had he known her intention? Did he realize she fucking hated him? Even as her wolf wanted to be with him, she had far more control, and the very thought of being near him made her want to vomit.

As if her thoughts brought him into view, Tanner entered the town hall like he owned the place.

His arm was draped around Tiffany, another cruel pack member. The two had been going out for as long as Constance remembered. Everyone had expected them to mate, but of course, it hadn’t happened.

Tanner had been furious the night after she turned.

Pushing those thoughts to the back of her mind, Constance kept her arms wrapped around herself as she stared up toward the main podium.

Gage had entered, and she looked at him, surprised to see his gaze on her.

“Is everyone here?” Gage asked. He looked away, glancing across the main hall. Not everyone was in residence. There was no law to say they had to be here, but anyone missing would get an update at some point. Everyone was a gossip and everyone liked to be up in others’ business.

“As you all know, this is a special meeting tonight. I appreciate you all coming out on such short notice.”

She noticed his hand grabbing the edge of the podium.

Gage was a tall man, and he towered over most of the pack, well over six feet. He had short, black hair and intense blue eyes. She’d seen his wolf a few times when she’d gone camping out in the woods in an attempt to turn herself. He’d been walking by. She didn’t know if he knew she was there, or if he was just enjoying a night’s stroll. Either way, she’d taken her time to watch him, to admire him.

“Earlier this week, one of our own, Constance Button, had her first turning, and during that time, she found her mate. My son, Tanner.”

She stared at her hands.

No one said a word.

This was what Gage was good at, commanding authority. Taking the attention away.

“Tanner rejected her. This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. I have taken the necessary three days, and before our meeting tonight, he has said he will not have her as his mate. Now, I’m aware that this has caused some … confusion amongst you. I am saddened by your rejection of Connie during this time.”

She lifted her head. No one called her Connie. Gage wasn’t looking at her.

“I’ve heard her position at the library has been removed, even though we all know that place runs smoothly when she’s there. Her parents have kicked her out, again, at a time when a first-time wolf is most vulnerable.”

Glancing across the town hall, she was surprised to see people actually looked ashamed.

“Due to this … circumstance, I’ve had to consult past town chronicles about my position on how I can help this current situation.” Gage paused and his gaze landed on her.

She couldn’t help her body’s reaction. Even now, her crush remained firmly in place.

“According to the books—” He lifted an old book that had certainly seen better days. Everyone was aware of the chronicles. They were available for anyone to consult, if they wanted to. “A rejected mate is not a common occurrence, but it does happen.” He flicked the book open. “I will read what a previous alpha has stated.” He stopped, took a sip of water, and then read. “A rejected mate is indeed cause for much grief, but there is no cause to expel any party from the pack. We are a pack, a unit, and so, after consulting with many elders in different packs, I have decreed a law.” Gage stopped and glanced up. “If all parties have agreed to the rejection, then there can be no other choice. An unmated male or female of the rejected line can come forward and claim the rejected for themselves.” He snapped the book closed. “You all know I’m not mated.” Gage looked at her. “And I claim Constance Button for myself.”

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