Bride of the Alpha(3)

By: Georgette St. Clair

“The White Blaze Alpha has been in more death matches that I can count. He is undefeated,” I said firmly. “Kray would not want to challenge someone with that kind of reputation.”

“She’ll be fine,” Corwin said to Bess reassuringly. He didn’t sound all that convinced.

In the mirror, I saw Corwin throw his arms around Bess’ shoulder, and then he saw the look of wistfulness on my face and withdrew it.

“Don’t do that on my account,” I said.

Bess and I and Corwin had all been best friends in college, and then in our senior year, Corwin proposed to Bess. Corwin was a sweet, thoughtful, handsome guy, soft spoken, a perfect gentleman. I’d had a mild crush on Corwin for a while there, but it wasn’t full on raging lust. I was happy for Bess, most of the time anyway. She was a full figured gal like me; she gave me hope that maybe someday, even though I wasn’t model material, I could find my perfect man.

“Who knows, maybe Maxwell Battle will be totally hot. Want me to ask around?” she asked. “Or I could Google it.”

His picture likely wouldn’t be online, because shifters try very hard not to have an online presence – we like to keep a low profile in general, since humans don’t know we exist – but it’s a small world out there among us supernatural folk, so we probably had mutual acquaintances. There’s only a couple hundred packs in all of the U.S., all of us living in rural areas so we can shift when we want to without fear of discovery.

I made a face. “Nope. I could care less what he looks like,” I said. “He’s the caveman who was going to grab my friend by the hair and drag her off to the wedding chamber. Screw him.”

I turned back to the mirror and pulled a comb out of my purse, humming “Here comes the bride,” as I combed my hair.

Chapter Two

Oh, my fur and whiskers. My future soon-to-be-ex-husband was hot. So, so hot. He was standing outside the lodge, talking to a few very handsome shifters who looked as if they were related to him, but I could barely see them because he was so hot.

I was even willing to forgive them for having come to pick me up in a pickup truck on my wedding day.

Maxwell was tall, about six four. I’m five six, not exactly short, but he would tower over me. He had broad shoulders and big, burly arms, and mighty thighs. I could tell because his jeans fit him quite nicely.

Jeans. Was that what he was going to marry me in? My illusion spell made it look as if I were wearing a flowing white silk wedding dress trimmed in lace, and a massive gauzy veil covering my face and flowing down my back, held in place with a garland of pearls and white roses, and he was wearing a black t shirt and jeans?

Oh, well. I wouldn’t mind stripping those jeans right off him. I went back to mooning over how gorgeous he was. Full, sensual lips, high cheekbones, thick dark hair that I couldn’t wait to run my fingers through…

Wait. I gave myself a mental slap on the face to bring myself back to reality. I’d never get to run my fingers through that hair. I’d be effectively divorced by this afternoon.

I watched him throw back his head and laugh at something one of the guys who’d come with him said, and felt a sudden twinge in my belly. Maybe Corwin was right. Maybe he would want to be married to me…

No! What was I thinking? I’d taken leave of my senses.

A hot guy like that would never want me. I knew that quite well. I looked just like my mom, and I’d spent my childhood and adolescence listening to her moan about how men never fell in love with women who looked like her – and then watching her be the living proof of that. My dad had an affair with my mom, and left without marrying her. It had broken her heart. She’d never gotten over it, she’d gone through life dating jerky guys and mooning over my dad, who ran off and married some beautiful, slim leopard. Then he’d cheated on her and she’d booted him out, but that was another story entirely.

I sighed, and went back to admiring the scenery. Maxwell and his family were a very handsome group of shifters, and actually the scenery behind them was beautiful too. It was June at the foothills of the Timber Mountains, and the emerald green of the trees and the shocking blue of the sky were like something out of a Technicolor dream. Fat white clouds floated like lazy, happy sheep, drifting in a gentle breeze. The Timber Mountains loomed in the distance, dark purplish blue and capped with white.

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