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Shadows of the pack novel Chapter 2

Aria's scream echoed through the darkened forest, a desperate cry for help as the wolf closed in on her. Her heart pounded in her chest, fear coursing through her veins like wildfire. She braced herself for the impact, for the sharp pain of teeth sinking into her flesh.
But in that moment of imminent danger, two massive wolves leaped from the shadows lunging at Aria's attackers.
The larger of the two bit into the neck of one of the savage wolves killing it instantly.
The snarls and biting continued until the bodies of four savage wolves lay on the ground.
Aria watched with fear as her saviors turned circling around her,rooting her in place.
She tried to get to her feet but her leg throbbed with the pain from the flow.
Bones cracking filled the woods and the two wolves transformed into humans. One with long black hair and the other with a scar that ran across his face.
"What are you doing in our territory?"The scarred man asked her.
She gulped trying to find her words, "I'm sorry. I was on my way to the Moonlight pack when those wolves attacked me."
The long haired man pierced her with his golden eyes, "Every wolf knows the rules. The Nightshade territory off limits".
Aria froze, "Nightshade?" She looked around.
He continued, "Why should we believe you? How do we know you are not a spy?"
Aria's eye darted between the two of them.
"I promise. I am not. I was going to the Moonlight pack", she replied, fear lacing her voice.
The long haired man turned to the scarred man, "Ryder I suggest we kill her and get on with our patrol. Knox will be expecting us back by now."
Fear gripped Aria. The mention of the name sent chills down her spines, even more scary than the fact that one of them suggested they kill her.
Ryder stared blankly at her sitting on the ground, then his eyes widened for a brief moment.
He turned back to his counterpart, "Jacob.She has the mark of the moon goddess."
Jacob narrowed his eyes, "So what? Rules are rules. We stay away from the other packs and they stay off our territory."
Ryder sighed, "I know."
He turned to her, "Who are you?"
"I'm Alpha Gabriel's daughter."
"What is an Alpha's daughter doing in the woods?"
She finally managed to fight the pain standing to her feet, "My mate rejected me and chose my sister. I couldn't stay there any longer."
Jacob's hard gaze melted. He faced Ryder, "What are we going to do with her?"
Ryder's eyes traveled to her already swelling leg, "You won't make it another day alive in these woods. There are many more wolves like that."
"We are taking you to Knox", Ryder announced.
"What? No! I'm fine. Please don't take me to him."
"Knox won't be pleased if we show up with an unexpected guest," Jacob warned.
Ryder folded his arms, "Let me worry about Knox."
He gestured to her, "Bring her."
Aria tried to run but it was to no avail.
Jacob moved fast hitting certain points in her body with his finger and her entire body went numb.
Knox sat in his grand throne-like chair, his presence commanding respect from everyone in the room. The pack house was filled with a tense atmosphere as the doors swung open, revealing Ryder and Jacob, flanking a restrained and visibly fearful Aria.
His gaze immediately went to the black haired girl with fear in her silver gray eyes before returning to his beta. His wolf paced around.
"Ryder?", He questioned his right hand man.
"We found her in our territory", Ryder answered.
"And why did you bring her here?"
Jacob spoke this time, "She is the daughter of the Silvercrest Alpha and she bears the mark of the moon goddess."
Knox's eyes flickered with surprise for a moment before they narrowed, "And that is supposed to be of meaning to me?"
Aria's wolf purred as his eyes landed on her, his scent surrounding her.
"Why were you in my territory?"
Her wolf whimpered at the tone of his voice.
Aria gulped,"I didn't mean to. A group of savage wolves attacked me."
Knox leaned back in his with calculated calmness, "I see. So would you care to tell me why I shouldn't slit your throat right here?"
His wolf growled at him, then the temperature in the room thinned as his eyes blackened.
Aria took a step backwards.
Her wolf lunged to the surface. She didn't understand. She had found her mate. There was no way the most feared Alpha could be her mate.
"Knox. She was rejected by her mate. That's why she left her pack".
Knox's eyes flickered between Aria and Ryder. Then his expression became unreadable.
"What is your name?"
"Aria", she replied.
"Aria", he tasted the name on his tongue.
"What do you suggest I do with you Aria?"
"I was going to the Moonlight Pack. I promise if you let me go. You won't ever see me again", she rushed out.
"Moonlight pack", He repeated to himself.
"That's Alpha Randy's pack", Jacob helped.
Knox's eyes landed on him. He bowed his head in apology.
Aria's eyes widened, "You are letting me go?"
"No. But I will give you a choice. I either kill right here". He paused as his wolf growled at him again.
Knox didn't understand what was wrong with his wolf. He had found his mate, a wave of pain washed through him as he struggled not to remember and according to his beta, she was also mated just left unclaimed.
 His wolf lunged to the surface again.
Aria watched as Knox's eyes blackened again.
His wolf wanted out, so did her wolf. She pushed her back down just as Knox's eyes returned to normal.
Gaining control he continued, "Or-"
His wolf circled around. "Or you can join my pack."
Was there really a choice there, she nodded eagerly, "I will join your pack."
Knox smiled at how eager she was, "Not so fast. Before you join my pack, you must prove yourself worthy. Tomorrow at dawn, you will face Nebra."
Soft gasps spread round the room.
"Jacob will take you to where you will stay tonight." He nodded dismissing her.
Ryder walked up to Knox, "No one has ever survived Nebra. She is dead either way."
Knox glared at him, "Then it would fix this mess you caused. Intruders aren't allowed in here. You know the rules. You know what happened."
Aria turned to look at Knox one last time, her wolf paced around, clawing at her to get to him.
They couldn't be mates, she had felt the bond but this was unlike it.
Wolves have heightened senses, but his scent was all she could smell, enticing her wolf.
Knox watched as she was led away, his wolf growling at him for letting her leave. He ignored him, turning to Ryder who was still speaking.
"I apologize, Knox. I just thought-"
"You thought wrong. Prepare Nebra."
"But Knox-"
"Just do as you are told Ryder."
Knox went outside, finally giving his wolf control.
He wolfed out and immediately the wolf went in search of her.
Sleep eluded her that night, maybe it was the fact that she felt like someone was watching her or that her wolf wouldn't stop pacing around in her head while continually clawing at her to set her free.
Unfortunately, that was something she couldn't ever do.
 The next day at dawn she found herself standing in the huge field. The pack members of the Nightshade gathered.
Aria's breath hitched, her senses heightened as anticipation filled the air. Suddenly, from behind her, a low growl emerged—a primal, bone-chilling sound that sent shivers down her spine.
She turned around and was met with the largest wolf she had ever seen.
She heard Knox's voice from above.
"Nebra", the wolf growled, "Attack."
The wolf leaped at her, drawing the first blood, slicing its claw against her skin.
She screamed as it dug its teeth into her.
Her eyes caught Knox's eyes, just as the realization sunk in. She had been wrong. Her wolf circled, repeating mate before her world went black.


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