Overview: “I thought I would be used to pain by now, but I was wrong.”
Ellie may only be twenty years old, but she knows how to keep herself safe: keep moving and don’t get attached to anyone or anything. Nothing short of death will stop her foster father, and she refuses to let anyone else die because of her.
Ash may have been his parents’ obvious successor, but Zac deserves to lead the pack—even if Ash has to take beatings to prove it. There’s no need to challenge the ruthless status quo. He has nothing to lose anymore, so the best he can hope for is Zac’s acceptance.
That is, until a sudden Alaskan blizzard forces Ellie to choose to either freeze to death or shelter in a barn with a giant wolf. Little does she know that the wolf is Ash. Even as a wolf, Ash brings Ellie comfort, and all he knows is that he doesn’t want to leave her side. But now he has something to lose in his alpha’s vicious reign, and even though Ellie’s tired of running, she doesn’t plan to stick around. Their worlds are inexplicably intertwined, but can Ashchallenge his alpha to show Ellie that his world of magic and his strength as a wolf can keep her safe? Or does their connection just mean that he will be the first to die because of her reluctance to leave?

 

Saving Ellie by Whitney R.B Book Chapter One

 

Stars invade my vision with the force of the blow. No matter how many times I get punched in the face, the effect is the same. A touch of pain, flashes of light, and a side of dizziness.

“Fight back, Ash.” Zac bares his teeth in frustration.

I bite back a groan while the white spots fade. I wipe the blood from my mouth, grimacing at my split lip. “You know I won’t.”

“Why?” He runs a hand through his dirty-blond hair. He seems more on edge than usual today. He also threw more power into that punch than I’m used to from him.

“I already told you why.” I sigh as I roll my neck, trying to relieve the tension. “I won’t fight my—”

“I know that,” he says. “But why? I just want—” He stills, his blue eyes are wild, jumping around our surroundings.

From what I can see, there’s nothing in the pines around us. Then again, my senses are off right now. But it’s always been just me and him, has been for years now. He finds me while I’m on patrol and attacks, trying to incite a challenge. I always expect it, yet I never do anything about it.

A breeze ruffles our clothes. There’s a chill in the air promising snow and a hint of something else. My eyes narrow across the field. Maybe I spoke too soon. It seems we do have company today.

“What do we have here?” Zac’s beta Austin walks out into the open not even a minute later. His red hair is a striking contrast against the green of the trees and the blue sky. He’s flanked by Zac’s other beta, Eryn, and delta, Rick. Austin looks back at his companions. “I told you they would be here.”

Zac growls. “What are you doing here?”

I spit blood on the ground near them as they grow closer. I’ve never liked the lycans he chose to stand behind him. They only want power and have no respect for anyone, including their alpha.

Eryn grimaces but still flashes me a flirty smile when she catches me watching. She takes a step back in surprise when my lips curl in disgust. I’m sick of her advances. Going for any male lycan with two legs, her loyalty sways as swift as the wind. She’s been persistent in her pursuits of not only getting into mine but my best friends’ pants, as well. She quickly rebounds, shooting me a glare as she flips her blonde hair over her left shoulder.

“I’m tired of this going nowhere,” Austin says. “How long has this been going on? Years? I think you need help in teaching Ash his place.”

A rumble starts in the back of my throat.

“I’m perfectly capable without you,” Zac says with a bite. “Don’t undermine me.”

My gaze snaps to him in shock. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him stand against them before.

“Word’s getting out that you shouldn’t be alpha, Zac.” Rick wraps an arm around Eryn’s shoulders. “Maybe it’s time for Eryn and I to take over as alpha couple.”

Growls erupt through Zac and I. Zac jolts, turning toward me with wide eyes.

“What? We may not get along, but better you than them.”

He frowns as he turns back to them, giving me a side-eye before directing his attention to them.

“See what I mean?” Rick laughs.

I take a step forward without thinking, but Zac’s arm juts out, stopping me. “Don’t encourage them,” he says in a hushed tone, which confuses me. Is he trying to protect me? Isn’t fighting what he wants? He’s been wanting me to challenge him for years, to prove that he’s the rightful alpha, but I won’t, no matter how many punches he throws my way.

“Growing soft, Zac?” Austin grins, wetting his lips.

“No,” Zac says through clenched teeth, dropping his arm.

“Then you won’t mind if I take a turn.” Rick pushes past Zac to throw a punch, but I easily block it and retaliate with a breaking punch to his nose.

Rick curses, holding his bleeding extremity, his eyes tearing up. “I thought he wouldn’t fight back.” He throws an accusatory glare at Zac.

“I never said I wouldn’t fight you.” I shake out my fist. It’s been awhile since I last threw a punch. It felt great.

Rick’s eyes narrow, then jerks his head to Austin.

I step back as Austin stalks toward me.

The only warning I get is a scent of magic in the air before two other lycans grab me from behind. I should’ve smelled them before they even got close, but it seems like they had help from a witch to block my senses.

“How?” I grind out, straining against the lycans hold.

“Potions.” Austin smirks as he advances with Rick.

Even as a pureblood, my odds look grim at four against one.

I grunt as Austin and Rick take turns pummeling me in the ribs, stomach, and face. I kick out, catching Rick in the balls.

He goes down like a rock. I partial-shift my hands and dig my claws into the lycans that hold me.

They curse and let go. I pivot around, whipping them both in the neck with the edge of my hands, knocking them out.

I sweep my legs under Austin as he comes up from behind. He stumbles but regains balance quickly. I grab one of his legs and twist it into an odd angle. He screams in pain and crumbles to the ground.

Rick recovers from the groin shot and catches me in the calf with his pointy shoes. I swear he wore them with the sole purpose of inflicting more pain because they’re ugly as hell. I block a punch to the face and knee him in the stomach.

I see Eryn advancing in my peripheral vision as I’m focused on Rick, but I fail to dodge as her claws slash across my face.

A roar tears from my throat as I reach for her, but she slips away.

“I wish you didn’t heal so fast. I was hoping for a nice scar.” She lunges again, this time aiming for my stomach. I take a step back to avoid the attack, but Rick is there, holding me in place just as her nails slice across my abdomen.

Rick throws me onto the ground as I grip my stomach. I need to heal it, but it’s deep, too deep to expend the energy right now. I look down at the blood on my hands and curse myself for being out of shape. I need to start training with Russell again.

I stumble to my feet and shift into my wolf form. I push through the pain as I kick my hind legs out into Rick, then headbutt Eryn’s side, sending her flying into a tree.

I turn and lunge at Rick, who’s halfway through his shift. I lock my jaw around his arm, piercing his flesh with my canines.

He shouts and digs a partial-shifted hand into my wounded stomach. I release him and stagger back as a wave of dizziness hits me. He finishes shifting and bites into my neck before I can refocus.

“Enough,” Zac roars, freezing us both. “I never said I wanted him dead. If this continues, that’s what will happen.”

Rick growls around my neck, reluctant to free his prey.

“Let go.” Zac’s voice rumbles with the power of an alpha, forcing Rick to remove his teeth. Austin gives me a death glare as Eryn helps him up. He slings an arm over her to use her as a crutch while he limps away.

“Grab your friends.” Zac fixates on Rick.

Rick growls with irritation but nudges his bleary-eyed accomplices on the ground until they stand up.

Zac is last to leave. He glances back with a frown, then turns away completely.

My shoulders slump once I’m alone, but I’m unable to relax. I need to make it to my safehouse before I faint from the blood loss. But my body is too weak to shift back into its human form. I’m fighting the urge to give in, to collapse onto the ground. My progress is painfully slow as I stumble through the pines. I force my eyes to focus as the sun sets and snow begins to fall.

I might not make it in time.