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Torn Between Brother

Torn Between Brother

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“My My My…. Dan why are you stalking me? I have told you times with our number. I can’t be with you,” Elena muttered while placing her fingers painted with blood-red paint on his muscular shoulder. He turned and grabbed her till she hit him on the chest. He moved his lips gently to her neck before whispering, “You are mine and mine alone. If Talon or anybody tries to take you away they will face the consequences,” he bellowed before pushing her to the door with his left hand holding on to her neck but not so tight. “Who do you belong to?” He asked vehemently. “You.. You..,” Elena stuttered, “I belong to you,” she whispered back, trying her best not to moan out loud because his deep voice was turning her on and his hands felt like electricity to her skin causing a shot of heat to her stomach and wetness to her center down there. *** Elena Stormfang has always felt different… out of place in her pack, the Shadowood, ruled by her annoying stepfather, Ryker. Now he has arranged for her to marry one of his loyal pack members, Talon. But Talon is a ruthless and ambitious werewolf. He doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings and definitely not hers. Things change when she sees Dan Blackclaw, the mysterious and handsome polymorph, in the woods with his pack. Dan is from a rival pack, Silverwood and also Talon’s brother. Just like Elena he loves nature. They fall in love but Elena’s pack revolts against this, especially Talon who has vowed to claim Elena. But the packs are soon to have bigger problems. As the hunters, a group of humans who kill werewolves to “clean the earth” target both packs, Elena and Dan must fight for their love and their lives. Will they be able to overcome the obstacles and enemies that stand in their way? Or will they be ripped apart by the forces that want them apart?

Chapter 1 One

The Enchanted Woods

Elena's POV

I slam my photography journal on the kitchen table, the sound reverberating through the room, causing plates and cups to rattle on their shelves. The sharp thud echoes like a protest, matching the intensity of the emotions raging within me. I shoot an irritated glance at my mom, her expression a mixture of concern and exasperation. Her eyes, usually warm and comforting, now hold a touch of sadness, as if she knows the internal struggle I'm going through.

“Mom, you can’t be serious. You want me to marry Talon? He’s a jerk, a bully, and a bore. He doesn’t even appreciate my puns!”

My voice trembles with frustration and desperation, hoping she'll understand my point.

She lets out a weary sigh and reaches out to hold my hand. Her touch is soft, a familiar comfort that momentarily eases the tension in my body. "Elena, honey, I know this is hard for you. But Talon is your mate. He’s going to take over from your father. He’s the best match for you in our pack. You’ll be happy with him, I promise."

I pull my hand away, the contact suddenly feeling suffocating. My heart races as I shake my head, my hair whipping around me. “Step-father! And no, Mom, I won’t. I don’t care about his status or his bond. I don’t love him. I don’t even like him. He’s not my type at all.”

My eyes wander around the cozy kitchen, its familiar sights and smells becoming bittersweet as I contemplate my fate. I glance down at my attire, a stark contrast to Talon's formal demeanor. Cargo pants, hiking boots, and a flannel shirt; it's my go-to outfit, allowing me to move freely and embrace the outdoors with my camera. I fiddle with my bracelet, the weight of the camera charms and stones grounding me in memories of my dad, whose love for photography he passed on to me before he left this world.

“He’s always wearing suits and ties, like he’s going to a business meeting or something. He hates getting his hands dirty. He thinks photography is a waste of time. He doesn’t understand me, Mom. He doesn’t get my jokes or my passion.”

My voice gains strength as I passionately defend my identity, my true self, against the force of tradition and expectations. I open my journal, its pages filled with scrawls of witticisms and clever puns, reflections of the natural world captured through my lens.

“Look at this one, Mom. It’s a picture of a deer in the woods. And I wrote: ‘Oh deer, you’re so fawn-tastic.’ Isn’t that hilarious?”

I watch her reaction, yearning for understanding. She smiles weakly, doesn't look at me as she nods. “Yes, dear, it’s very funny.”

Frustration gnaws at me again, the sense of being unheard causing my fingers to clench the journal tightly. “You don’t get it either, Mom. You don’t get me.”

As I glance around, my eyes meet Ryker's, the alpha of our pack, standing imposingly in the doorway. His stern expression feels like an invisible force, keeping me confined to the expectations he has set for me. It's as if he sees Talon as the son he never had, the perfect heir for his leadership.

He clears his throat, and the room falls into an intimidating silence. His commanding tone slices through the air, a reminder of his authority, an authority that dictates the trajectory of my life.

“Elena, enough of this nonsense. You’re being childish and disrespectful. You should be grateful that Talon has chosen you as his mate. He’s a good leader, a strong warrior, and a loyal partner. He’ll take good care of you and protect you from any danger.”

Anger rises within me, fueled by the growing resentment I hold towards him. I clench my fists, my nails digging into my palms, the pain grounding me as I stand my ground against his control.

“Protect me from what? From the humans? From the rogues? From myself? I don’t need his protection, or yours. I can take care of myself just fine.”

The camera bag slung over my shoulder feels like a lifeline, a physical connection to my passion, my freedom, and my individuality. With a deep breath, I gather my courage, determined to face the world on my terms.

“Maybe I don’t want to be a werewolf at all. Maybe I just want to be normal, like a human.”

My voice wavers, but my resolve remains firm. In the midst of the turmoil, I cling to the hope that one day, they will see me for who I truly am, a wild spirit yearning to roam free with my camera in hand, capturing moments of untamed beauty in the natural world that speak to the core of my soul. And in that reflection, maybe they'll find a way to understand and accept me for the person I am meant to be.

He gasps and his eyes flash red.

“How dare you say that? You’re an abomination! You’re an insult to our kind! You’re a disgrace to our pack!”

He raises his hand as if to strike me, but I’m fast. I dodge his blow and run out of the kitchen, heading for the back door.

I don’t look back as I hear him shout after me.

“Elena! Come back here right now! You’re not going anywhere! You’re going to marry Talon whether you like it or not!”

I ignore him and keep running until I reach the edge of the forest that surrounds our home.

I breathe in the fresh air and feel a sense of relief wash over me. It's crazy how he thinks being a human is such an abomination yet we go to their schools, learn with them and try to blend with them to keep our secrets.

I love nature more than anything else in the world.

I love how it makes me feel alive and free.

I love how it inspires my creativity and humor.

I love how it shows me beauty and wonder.

I take out my camera and snap a picture of the sun setting behind the trees.

I smile as I think of a caption for it.

“Sunset is my favorite color.”

I chuckle to myself and continue walking deeper into the forest and breathe in the crisp air of the Shadowwood territory, feeling the soft glare of the sun caress my skin. The woods are my home, my refuge, my sanctuary. I walk deeper into the forest, my camera slung over my shoulder.

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved the wilderness. It was my father who taught me to appreciate its beauty and mystery. He also gave me my first camera, a gift that changed my life. Photography became my passion, my escape, my way of expressing myself. In the darkroom, I could freeze time and preserve memories, creating a world where I could be me.

But I crave more than that world. I crave freedom. Freedom from Ryker, my stepfather’s tyranny. He snatched my mother from me when they married, he robbed me of my happiness, he forced me to mate with Talon, a man I don’t love, a man I don’t desire. I loathe Ryker for that. I loathe him for everything.

I forget the bitter thoughts and focus on the present. The forest makes me feel calm and curious. I see a white flower that glows in the sunset. I snap a picture of it and admire its elegance.

Suddenly, I hear voices in the distance. They sound like wolves, but not like any wolves I know. They have a different tone, a different rhythm, a different song. I feel a surge of curiosity and follow the sound, hoping to catch a glimpse of them.

I reach a clearing and gasp at what I see. A group of men stand in a circle, their chests bare and their skin marked with intricate wolf tattoos. They are beautiful and terrifying at the same time, radiating strength and power. They are the Silverwood pack, the enemies of my pack.

One of them catches my eye. He is young, but he has an aura of authority that sets him apart from the others. His eyes are dark and piercing, his hair is black and tousled, his lips are thin and firm. He looks at me as if he can see through me, as if he knows me.

I feel a jolt in my chest, a spark in my soul. Something connects us, something beyond words or reason. He is my enemy, but he is also something else. Something more.

He opens his mouth to speak, but before he can utter a word, his pack mates notice me. They snarl and growl, baring their teeth and claws. They charge at me, intent on killing me.

I scream and run for my life, clutching my camera to my chest. I hear them behind me, closing in on me. I know I can't outrun them. I know I'm doomed.

But then he appears in front of me. The young man with the dark eyes and the wolf tattoos. He blocks their way and orders them to stop. He looks at me with a mix of anger and curiosity.

His voice is a low rumble, a dark echo, a hidden danger. He stands still, his body tense, his muscles coiled. He studies me with his eyes, looking for signs, for motives, for secrets.

His gaze catches on my neck, where a gunmetal crescent moon with a shimmering gemstone pendant that reflects the sky’s colors dangles from a thin chain. The mark of my pack. The mark of his enemy.

His eyes harden, his lips twist, his jaw clenches. He spits out a word like a curse, like a challenge, like a warning.

"Shadowwood."

He says it with contempt, with hatred, with disgust.

He lowers his head, his teeth inches from my neck. I feel his hot breath on my skin, sending shivers down my spine. I brace myself for the pain, the blood, the end.

But he doesn’t bite. He lifts his head and looks into my eyes, his expression softening. He lets out a low growl, almost a sigh.

“Just… let her go… she’s not worth it,” he says through clenched teeth. He turns to face his pack, who are snarling and snapping at me. “Back off. All of you. She’s mine to deal with.”

His pack mates hesitate, their eyes darting between him and me. They sense his authority, but also his conflict. They don’t understand why he’s sparing me, why he’s protecting me.

“But she’s a silver wood,” one of them protests. “She’s our enemy. We should kill her now.”

He glares at him, his eyes flashing with anger. “I said back off. She’s not your concern. She’s mine.”

He steps in front of me, shielding me from their view. He places a hand on my shoulder, gently pushing me away. “Go. Run. And don’t look back.”

He saves me.

Why?

I don't know.

I don't care.

I run as fast as I can, away from him and his pack.

But not away from his eyes.

They haunt me.

They call me.

They bind me.

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