Thrown to the Wolves (Black River Pack Book 3)By: Rochelle Paige
Crystal, Ella, Harper & Tessa,
Thank you for keeping me sane, making me laugh, trusting me with your words and being the best soundboards a woman could ask for. I’m not sure what I would do if a day went by without talking to you all, and I don’t plan on ever finding out.
I knew there were people who didn’t believe in obeying their parents. Hell, I wished I could say I was one of them. Unfortunately, I knew better from personal experience—and not the good kind. I learned at a young age that, if I stepped over the line even one little bit, there would be consequences.
Some of my earliest memories were of my father’s punishments. When I was four, he took his belt to me in front of a store full of our pack members because I’d misbehaved when we’d been out shopping and hadn’t liked an outfit my mom had wanted to buy for me. Then, when I was six, he wouldn’t let my mom feed me anything but bread and water for a week because I’d sneaked an extra cookie before I’d gone to bed.
As I got older, my father’s treatment became worse. It didn’t matter how hard I tried to meet his expectations. I started to feel like the harder I tried, the worse it got. When his punishment was particularly severe, he left me hurting for days even though I healed quickly because of my shifter blood. For my father, obedience wasn’t just an option—it was a requirement.
Because I was his only child, he wouldn’t accept anything less than my total capitulation. I’d never understood why there was so much distance between us when all the other fathers seemed to spoil their daughters, but I assumed it was because there was something wrong with me. That I was a failure in his eyes.
Being different from everyone else when I was growing up meant his attention was directed my way more often than I liked. While wolf children were full of energy and wanted to play, I was happier staying home and reading because I was more interested in what I could learn than tumbling around with friends. Everyone else was fiercely competitive, but I couldn’t seem to care about the sports that were so popular among our pack members.
By the time I hit high school, most of the other she-wolves were sleeping with any guy who wanted to hump their legs. I was curious about sex but much more selective about who caught my eye. Although my dark hair and eyes were similar to the other pack members, I was the smallest girl in my class and never seemed to get the growth spurt my mother always told me was just around the corner—unless my tits and ass counted as growing. My curves definitely set me apart from the other girls, who were lithe and athletic.
When my sixteenth birthday rolled around and I didn’t shift, I felt like an utter failure. The celebratory feast the night of what should have been my first change was the first time I felt like my dad might actually be proud of me—until his eyes filled with disdain when it became clear I wasn’t going to shift. For two more years, I lived with the knowledge that my father thought I was a waste of space. A girl who was too weak-blooded to even shift into the animal I knew lived inside me. The treatment I’d received for sixteen years seemed like child’s play in comparison to what I endured during those years.
It wasn’t until my eighteenth birthday that I realized why I had grown up feeling like an outsider in my own pack. The look of anger on my father’s face when I shifted for the first time confused me at first, and then I realized my mom was also looking at me in horror. Glancing down, I nearly fell over in shock when I didn’t see the wolf body I’d expected. Instead, I had inexplicably changed into a bear. I quickly transformed back to my human form right as my father turned his anger on my mom.
“What in the goddamn hell is the meaning of this?” he roared.
My mom’s face had lost all its color, and her eyes were frantic as they bounced back and forth between my father and me. “I d-d-d-don’t...” she stuttered, clearly searching for an acceptable answer to explain why I wasn’t a wolf shifter like my parents.
“You cheated on me, Lucie?” my father asked, utter disbelief in his tone since cheating was almost unheard of amongst wolf mates.
“No!” my mom protested. “It wasn’t like that.”
“You and I are both wolf, so there’s no fucking way any daughter of ours would be bear,” he snarled as he prowled over to my mom and lifted her by the neck until he was holding her against the wall.
My mom’s eyes darted to me, and an apology flashed in them before she looked at my father and offered an explanation.
“I was raped,” she claimed.
My heart plummeted when her words registered in my brain. This could be the explanation for why my father had always been distant with me—because he’d never felt the bond to me that men feel for their children. His wolf might have known all along that I didn’t carry his blood. And if I was a reminder of a brutal moment in her life, then I better understood how my mom could have stood by for years and never interfered with the manner in which he had treated me.