She's met her mate . . . and he's met his match.
Megan Ross has been waiting her whole life for her mate to come and sweep her off her feet. But the wolf she meets on the beach is NOT the sweet gentle boy she's been dreaming of. Instead, he's a warrior, one whose suffering has led him to lock his heart away in a prison as cold and hard as a diamond, who fights to resist the bond and their deep attraction.
Far from home, with a soulmate who is still a stranger, Megan learns that the path to true love isn't quite as straight and easy as she thought . . .
Alyssa Brandon’s debut novel Bound to You is guaranteed to make readers swoon, sigh, and maybe even cry before it's over.
Praise for Bound to You from the Swoon Reads community:
“To put it simply I was hooked.” —Cinda Edana, reader on SwoonReads.com
“This book had me laughing, crying, and swooning a lot!” —Ronda Rigdon, reader on SwoonReads.com
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|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
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"Megan," said Sorelle, my best friend in the world and the pack Beta's daughter. "Stop fantasizing and get your tight ass in a dress. You need to be perfect tonight."
It was my eighteenth birthday and my dad was throwing me a party in the hope I would find my mate. Omega wolves usually found their mate at sixteen, and it happened around that time for most female alpha wolves too. But I'd gone through both sixteen and seventeen without finding him. For a werewolf, even an alpha, I was dangerously close to slipping into old maid territory, which was something no female wolf wanted.
I couldn't wait to meet my mate. I so badly wanted someone to love, someone who would love me back. A guy who would hold my hand and tell me I was beautiful. Someone to walk on the beach with. To cuddle with. Someone who was just mine, who'd always care about me and put me first. He'd be strong, an Alpha or Alpha-to-be, and he'd always love and protect me.
"Mmm," I said, turning back to look at Sorelle rather than the ocean just visible from my bedroom window.
Sorelle was very beautiful. She was blond, slim and tall like a model, and had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen on anyone — werewolf or otherwise. Compared with her I sometimes felt average, even if I — with my waist- length black hair, tan skin, and curvy body — was a total knockout. Sorelle was simply radiant. If I didn't know she was a werewolf, I'd suspect she was an angel exiled to earth for the crime of being too beautiful. Or too bossy. Or foulmouthed.
"Wear this one; it's just the right mix of skanky and classy," she said, pulling out a black number that had been one of the top three Mom and I had narrowed my closet down to. "And your hair will be up for once."
"You don't think the blue will go better —"
"No." She held out the dress. "Put it on."
So I dropped my robe, quickly slipping on the black dress. Usually being nearly naked in front of Sorelle wouldn't be a big deal; werewolves learn early to be cool with nakedness since transforming while wearing clothes isn't a good idea. But I had put on a lacy red bra-and-underwear combo, hoping I'd make love to my mate tonight. And I knew Sorelle would quickly pick up on it, since I normally only wore plain black and white undies.
"You gonna do the guy tonight?" she asked, eyebrows raised. Sorelle had found her mate two days before her seventeenth birthday, about fourteen months ago. Despite that, she hadn't slept with him yet, because she was waiting for their "moment."
"No," I lied, and turned so Sorelle would be able to zip me up. "I just read this thing about how what kind of underwear you wear will change how you act. So if I wear sexy underwear, I'll feel sexy."
"Really?" Sorelle sounded like she would sooner believe that little green men might storm into the room yelling, We come in peace; give us your Mars Bars.
Eager to change the topic, I asked, "You really think he's here?"
She finished zipping the dress up and I turned to her. She smiled. "You look totally hot!" She paused for a moment, looking toward the door. "And he's totally here. Your dad invited every wolf on the East Coast and then some. He has to be here."
"Yeah. He has to be," I echoed.
Half an hour later, after Sorelle finally got my hair arranged to her liking, we headed downstairs. The party was already in full swing, which made me feel a little bad. This was my party, after all, although I think my dad was also using it to broker some sort of peace treaty between the Boston and New York packs. My dad is this sort of super powerful Alpha — some people even call him the Alpha of Alphas because he is in control of most of the Alphas east of the Mississippi. And since most wolves are omega and follow their Alphas happily, he was pretty much in charge of everyone. I was technically an alpha wolf too, but as an unmated alpha female I was kind of outside the pack hierarchy, so the whole alpha status thing wasn't as important to me.
"Wow," Sorelle said, snagging a bottle of beer from a table. "Your dad really pulled out all the stops for this."
"Yeah," I agreed absently, distracted by my younger sister Rose. She was on a sofa in the corner, reading. Rose was sixteen and had just found her mate a few weeks ago. Said mate, Carter Thorn, was sitting next to her, looking resigned and bored. I reached out and stole the beer Sorelle was sipping and took a swig. Rose had a mate, the thing I wanted most, and she was acting like he didn't even exist! But even though she was acting like an idiot, he was still there and trying to be with her. So unfair. Life sucked.
"Incoming," Sorelle said, taking the beer bottle back and nodding toward a cute blond guy. I'd never seen him before, but then again, that was the point. Most wolves here tonight were strangers, since it was pretty clear my wolf was not interested in picking anyone from my own pack or the other local one.
"Hi," the guy said, stopping in front of me. "I'm Eric."
"Megan," I said, offering him my hand to shake. I didn't quite like the way his eyes immediately dropped to my chest, but I tried to stay positive. Unfortunately, my wolf had no reaction at all to him.
"Nice house," he said, looking around. "Big."
I nodded. It was the pack house and had a lot of large open rooms ideal for gatherings and parties. The great hall, the biggest room in the house, was half the size of a football field and two stories high. I figured it would probably be possible to cram most of our guests into it if we needed to. Possible but not comfortable.
"I like to think it's just the right size," I said, turning away a little, hoping that someone else would come and try a meet and greet. Scanning the room, I spotted Oscar heading my way. He was Sorelle's stepbrother and liked to make crude jokes and ruffle my hair like I was five. "I was actually going —"
"So you're eighteen, huh?" Eric continued, even though I was turning away from him. "You sure you're really the Alpha of Alphas' daughter? It just seems like —"
"Hey, Eric, why don't you take a hint and piss off," Oscar said from behind Eric. Eric tensed — werewolves, especially more dominant ones, don't like anyone sneaking up on them — and turned around, eyes flashing.
"Oscar," Sorelle growled, her voice a low warning. But neither Oscar nor Eric were paying attention to us anymore. Male alpha or beta wolves from different packs tend not to get along. Something about protecting their territory and yada yada. And Oscar was in line to be our pack's Beta, which meant extra tension. He couldn't ever be seen as weak because that would reflect badly on him and his father and our pack.
"Dad," I called, hoping he was somewhere nearby. I also tried to send the message of trouble through the pack bonds. Wolves can't talk to one another through their pack bonds, not with words, but sometimes we can send impressions and images.
"Fucking great," Sorelle swore as Eric launched himself at Oscar. Both of them started throwing punches at each other even as they were transforming into their wolf forms. People drew back to make room for the fight. Clothing tore. Eric got clocked mid-transformation, right in his half nose, half snout. A minute later the guys were both fully changed and circling each other in wolf form. Oscar's coat was reddish and long while Eric's was gray and brown.
"Kyla is going to be pissed he ruined that suit," Sorelle said with a smile that was big enough to rival the Cheshire cat's. "He's like a little kid when it comes to keeping clothes whole."
"At least he's not getting his ass kicked," I noted as Oscar pinned Eric's back leg to the floor. In most werewolves' eyes, getting into a fight was all right as long as you won it.
"There is that," Sorelle said, and linked arms with me. "Let's go."
I let her tug me away, since I wasn't interested in watching whatever this was turning into, and even though Eric's refusal to leave me alone was technically the cause of the fight, I knew they no longer cared if I stayed. It was about the two of them, their need to put the other one in his place and prove who was the better fighter, defending rank and showing that your pack was strong. Mostly, though, it was about kicking the other guy's ass. So really it was pretty much just like when human teenage boys get into fights ... except with fangs and claws.
I couldn't help but smile along with Sorelle as I glanced over my shoulder. My dad had just shown up and was breaking up the fight, thankfully before either one of them got the chance to do any real damage to each other or to the hardwood floor (although Oscar's suit was no more).
As the Alpha of Alphas, my dad can pretty much just tell other wolves to stop fighting and they do. It's like some weird compulsion forces more submissive wolves to obey, which for my dad was pretty much everyone. Not all alphas have it and most of the ones who do are not as strong as my dad. This was the reason we were able to host more than twelve different packs at our house tonight without World War III happening. There was still a lot of tension.
"Lots of people," I said as we walked through the great hall. I felt like a mix between a juicy steak and a doll being displayed behind a glass window no one could touch. Or talk to. "Why aren't they, like, coming up to talk to me?" I whispered to Sorelle.
"Don't know, but don't worry," she said fondly, squeezing my arm. "There's, like, a couple of dozen hotties around here. One of them is bound to be to your wolf's tastes, right?"
"Right," I agreed.
"I'm going to see if Scott can get us some drinks," she said. Scott, her mate, was six years older than her, always wore suits, and worked at, like, an investment firm, but he could still party and was almost always willing to let us join in.
I wanted to tell Sorelle not to leave me, but I wasn't that kind of girl. The kind who had to have her best friend standing next to her to function. At least I liked to think I wasn't. I'd gotten quite a bit of practice during our senior year because I'd been in lots more AP classes than Sorelle. I was going to get even more practice at college. I'd applied and gotten into my first-choice school: Caltech. I just hoped my mate, when I found him, was open to moving to LA for a few years. Only I had to start talking to some of the wolves and actually find my mate before I could ask him about that.
So I smiled at a guy nearby, which seemed to break the bubble around me, and before long I was in the center of the room, surrounded by lots of guys. Guys who were way too old, way too grabby, way too nerdy, way too smooth. There were even a couple of guys who were way hot, and I tried to convince myself they were yummy, but none of them caused my wolf to sit up and take notice.
"You feel anything yet?" Sorelle asked as she returned a few minutes later. She handed me a red drink with a little umbrella. "When I first felt Scott, it was like a tingling in the air. But some girls claim they smelled their mate before anything else. Others that their voice was like angels singing. Any of that going on?"
"No," I said with a sigh, taking a sip of the red liquid in my glass. It tasted alcoholic and too sweet. "Nothing. What if he isn't here? What if he's —"
"Hello, gorgeous," a deep male voice said from behind me. Both Sorelle and I spun around.
The guy was built, and while his voice was way too deep to belong to an angel, his face sure looked like it could have belonged to some kind of god.
But when the guy reached forward, took my hand, and kissed the back of it, I felt nothing special. There was no tingling or wonderful smell coming from him. I mean, he was possibly the hottest guy I'd ever seen, hot enough I should be totally into him even if he wasn't my mate. But I felt nothing for him.
He was just like all the other wolves I'd greeted tonight.
The guy seemed to realize there was no bond between us, although his eyes said he would be more than happy to take me to bed despite that. But I wasn't interested. Even if he was super hot.
I pulled my hand from his. "Excuse me."
From the corner of my eye, I saw Sorelle give Mr. God Face another look before she followed me. Sighing, I made my way to the back of the room toward the dining room, which held a big buffet. Or it had an hour ago; now most of the food was gone.
"Gaw," I moaned as I leaned against the wall. "Why couldn't my mate just come find me?! My feet are starting to hurt and my cheeks are going to get sore from all this smiling."
"Hey, you are the one who's been dreaming of this since kindergarten," Sorelle said, raising her hands in mock-defense.
Suddenly little voices began to whisper in the back of my mind. What if I was broken? What if I had some strange defect and I'd never find my mate? What if I was destined to be alone forever? What if destiny wasn't all I'd dreamed it would be? What if, what if ...
I knew I was being silly and overreacting, but I'd so hoped to just walk down the stairs and find him. Like a magical path would open up among the guests to guide me to him.
"Sorelle!" Kyla, Sorelle's stepmother, suddenly called from our left. "Your brother just told me you were drinking beer? What's that in your hand?"
Sorelle groaned and quickly put her drink on a side table. "You'll be all right while I deal with the stepmonster?" she asked.
"I'll be fine," I said with a little wave. "I think I'm going to go and get some air."
Sorelle nodded and headed for her stepmother, who was looking disapproving. But then again, disapproving was her standard face when dealing with Sorelle.
I slipped into the kitchen. There was a handful of wolves from my pack there acting as cater waiters (it wasn't like we could have humans do that because of the high risk of them seeing or hearing something they shouldn't). I barely managed not to collide with one of them before I raced through the connecting mudroom to the door leading to the beach.
The night outside was still, only the soothing sound of waves disturbing the quiet. I headed for the water. It would be fairly cold despite the fact that it was summer, but at that moment I wouldn't have cared if it was the arctic sea I was stepping into.
I smiled as I left my shoes behind, glad my dress was short so I could walk knee-deep in the water.
The ocean was like a security blanket to me. Ever since I was just a pup. I'd come out here to watch the ocean and feel it slosh around my feet when I was upset.
It was my place.
Then I heard the sound of a lighter being clicked open behind me. I stiffened and tried to catch a scent, but the soft ocean winds weren't favoring me. I turned, slowly, so I wouldn't fall into the ocean.
The man was standing next to my shoes, taking a drag of a cigarette. The smell was horrible, sticking in my nose. I'd never known a wolf who smoked.
But that wasn't something my brain was able to focus on right then. Because looking at him, even across the dozens of feet that separated us, I knew.
The stranger on the beach was my mate.
I moved toward him, my feet nearly slipping as some force seemed to reach out from within me. It was like a rope of air had curled from me to him. The rope was visible, bright white and slightly shimmering for about two seconds, and then it was gone. Only it was still there. I could somehow feel the rope connecting us, binding us together. Forever joining us.
"Oh hell," the stranger — my mate — said. His first words to me ... not the romantic declaration I'd been hoping for.
I took several more unsteady steps toward him, unable to take my eyes off him. I could only see that he was tall, six feet at least, and broad shouldered. Dark hair. The rest of him was obscured by the moonless night.
When I finally reached the shore I was glad, glad because this close my night vision allowed me to see him. He looked a little older than me. Maybe twenty-two or twenty-three. Not surprising. Most alpha wolves in the house had been older than me as well, since male alpha werewolves often had trouble finding mates. Mostly because an alpha will normally only accept another alpha as its mate and alpha females are rare; only about three in ten of those born with the alpha gene are female.
My mate's skin was pale, his features were appealing, and despite the cigarette, he smelled great. But it was his eyes that captivated me. They were the color of spring leaves, of growing things. Of beauty and new life. I just couldn't look away from them.
"We're ...," I started, my throat feeling dry, " ... we're mated."
"Fantastic," he said flatly.
Excerpted from "Bound to You"
Copyright © 2018 Alyssa Brandon.
Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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