Wolf Girl – Leia Stone

MONDAYS. I hated Mondays. They were like your period, they just snuck up on you out of nowhere and ruined your week. I settled into first period with a literal troll breathing down the back of my neck. Starting my sophomore year in college with the same rejects who tormented me in middle and high school was not my ideal academic environment, but the only option available to me at the moment. Spinning in my seat, I glared the troll down. His nostrils flared, making the small tusks in his cheeks point upward, giving me a gnarly view of his tiny brain through his giant nostrils. “Packard,” I growled, “we’ve talked about personal space before. Please keep your acid breath to yourself.” A few of the other students snickered, but when Packard took my bag and chucked it across the room, they quieted. My bag hit the wall with a thud and slid to the ground, splaying its contents all over the floor. Rage welled up inside of me as I closed my eyes, breathing deeply, trying to keep my wolf calm. Acid Breath knew what he was doing. If he could get me to awaken my wolf, even the tiniest bit, I’d be suspended. Even being cuffed at birth, my wolf still tried to break free every chance she got.

It was something that was forbidden at Delphi High and was equally forbidden at Delphi University. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Om Dali lama. Fur rippled down the edges of my arms and I cursed to myself. I felt Packard draw closer, the heat from his disgusting oily skin pressing in on me. “Go on, Wolf Girl. Show me what you’re made of.” My eyes snapped open and they must have been yellow, because he reeled backward. Wolf Girl. Since I was five years old, the magical rejects that went to Delphi Elementary School had called me Wolf Girl.

Why? Because no other wolves went here. I was the only one with a family stupid enough to get tossed out of Wolf City. There were tons of trolls, even more witches, a few vampires, and lots of fey, but the wolves … we kept a tight hold on our pack. You really had to fuck up to be cast out to live with the magical riffraff among the humans. The cuffs on my wrist sent a magical pulse throughout my skin, and then an electrifying pain shot up my arms. Anything to keep my wolf at bay. I hated this place. I hated what they did to me. The teacher hadn’t entered the classroom yet, so technically if I could just calm down and not get caught with furry arms or yellow eyes… “Take a breather,” my one and only friend, Raven, whispered from her seat beside me. Good idea.

Sometimes she knew me better than I knew myself. Witches had a way with reading people’s emotions. I stood, tearing down the aisle and past where my bag lay splayed out on the floor. Bursting from the door of the classroom, I ran down the hallway; the entire time my wolf was beating on my chest, begging to be let free. Stay calm, stay calm, I told my inner wolf. She had a mind of her own, never listened to anything I told her, didn’t care that we’d been cuffed and kept from shifting; she tried any chance she got to be free. It didn’t matter that the cuffs electrocuted me when she tried to get out, it didn’t matter that she’d never actually been let out and never would. She didn’t care. The fur rippled down my arms as I envisioned tearing Packard’s throat out and shoving it up his ass. Just one shift, one run, one howl, and I could appease her.

Being human felt like a cage, and when I got angry it was even harder to keep her inside that cage. My nails sharpened to points; the seams of my cutoff jean-shorts swelled. “Calm the fuck down,” I growled at myself, my voice gruff with my wolf. Magic shot from the cuffs and pain laced along my spine again as I stumbled past a few witches. Over a decade of being bullied at Delphi and my parents wondered why I had anger issues. Just once I wanted to let loose and show them all how much I hated them, but I was afraid I’d actually kill someone, and the cuffs would probably kill me before then. I needed to release some of this tension, go for a run or something before I exploded. The last fifteen years of being this school’s punching bag had finally broken me and I was ready to snap. I ran down the hall, feeling the muscles in my body tighten and clench. The simple act of exercising worked wonders for taming my wolf.

I did it often to ward off an attempted shift when I was around my human friends in my apartment building. One patch of fur here at Delphi with a bunch of magical kids wasn’t so much a big deal as it was with the human population. I burst free of the double doors and into the school parking lot. And that’s when my wolf surged to the surface. Tipping my head back, she let loose with a full-on howl that ended as a human scream full of rage and agony. Pain that Packard couldn’t be dealt with properly. Anger that I was stuck in this fuck-all of a school with a bunch of assholes who hated me, while my parents worked three human jobs to keep us fed. The cuffs shot out a powerful burst of magic and I gasped in pain, cutting my howl off from my throat as it turned into a strangled cry of pain. I collapsed to the ground, holding my arms as my claws retracted and the fur retreated. Nothing like getting tasered every time you tried to be yourself.

That’s when a throat cleared behind me. Oh. Fuck. My whole body stiffened as I stood on the tips of my Converse shoes, preparing myself to come face to face with a teacher. Being a wolf, I was categorized as a “predator student.” The only other species that got that designation here were the vampires, and the dark fey. The vampires were kept so well fed no one really bothered policing them, and everyone was terrified of the dark fey so they didn’t police them either. But me … if I partially shifted, growled, eyes went yellow, anything to show I was “threatening” a fellow student, it was all recorded and counted against me. One more strike and I was out of here. I inhaled as I spun around, and the first thing I smelled hit me right in the gut, sending warmth down my chest, trickling through my stomach and settling right between my legs.

Wolf. Male. Dominant. Unmated. One smell, that’s all it took for me to know these four things. “Having a bad day?” His voice was deep, husky, undeniably sexy. My eyes went from the dark-wash jeans that clung to his muscular thighs up to the powder blue t-shirt he wore that was so tight it was like a second skin. It strained against his muscles, showing every dip and curve, even his nipples, which were pointed tight. When I got to his face, my heart jackknifed in my chest. Eyes the color of honey looked back at me from behind thick black lashes.

They were threaded through with a deep blue the color of the ocean. He had a chiseled jaw and a chin butt. Honest to God, I’d always wanted to meet a guy in real life who had a chin butt. It was a weird fetish of mine. Bucket list achieved. “You could say that.” I ran my fingers through my blond hair, taming any flyaways and trying to get my shit together. Other than my mom and dad, I’d never met another wolf. “You don’t have much control over your wolf.” His comment probably wasn’t meant to be cruel.

By the tone of it, he was just making an observation, but it stung nonetheless. I shrugged. “Why should I want to control her?” His eyes went from warm honey to hot lava and I swallowed hard. “New student?” I asked. Please say yes. Having another wolf at school would be amazing, especially this wolf. Wolf Boy and Wolf Girl ride off into the sunset together and live happily ever after in banishment. He shook his head slowly. “Just visiting.” Fuck.

I peered out at the parking lot to see two huge dudes standing on either side of a black SUV that was pulled up to the curb. They had their hands out, stilled at their sides like they were going to pull a weapon on me for talking to this guy. He must work for the alpha and be here on business or something. “From Werewolf City?” I pried. I was slightly desperate to know everything about the place my parents were banished from. His eyes slowly transformed from orange to yellow, and then to that striking bright blue as his wolf fully retreated. The blue of his eyes held a sorrow I couldn’t place, a brokenness I felt in myself and recognized in him. It was just a flash and then it was gone. What could this perfect specimen possibly have experienced to be broken inside? This guy was insanely hot, movie-star hot. My wolf liked him immediately, but I was pretty sure she would like any decent looking male of her same species.

We couldn’t afford to be picky in a place like this. He nodded slowly. “Why are you here?” Shame burned my cheeks. I didn’t answer, and dawning understanding lit up his face as his gaze fell to the cuffs on my wrists. “Banished?” he asked, confused. I nodded and his lips turned into a frown. “Do they hurt much?” He pointed one meaty paw at my wrists and I chuckled. “Only like I’m being burned alive.” A possessive growl ripped from his throat and I stumbled backward a few paces, not expecting it. He opened his mouth to speak, then the doors opened and the school administrator, Mr.

Darkworth, stepped out. He was short for a fey, just a touch over six feet tall, and the wolf next to me had a few inches on him. “Sawyer, I’m so sorry to keep you waiting.” Sawyer. Why was that name familiar? When Mr. Darkworth saw me there, he looked startled. “Demi, I trust you are behaving?” He glared down his nose at me. I tucked a chunk of long blond hair behind my ear and nodded. “Just, getting … a bit of fresh air, sir.” I moved to go back inside, taking this as my cue to bolt, when Sawyer’s hand snaked out and grabbed me gently by the upper arm.

My heart jumped into my throat at his touch, his eyes blazing yellow as I looked up at him. “Do you like it here?” His voice was gruff, his wolf close. I snort-laughed. “Are you serious?” How could I be happy here? As a wolf I needed to live among my kind or I’d go crazy. Thank God for Mom and Dad or I would have to be put down. No one liked living here, on the outskirts of Magic City, crammed in with the humans. It was fucking awful. He released my arm, blinked twice, eyes flashing from yellow back to blue as if shaking off his wolf. Mr. Darkworth frowned.

“Shall we, son?” He motioned Sawyer into the double doors that led to his office, and I took the other set back to class. When I sat down, I noticed Raven had gathered up the contents of my bookbag and placed it on my seat. I gave her a smile of thanks and then spent the rest of the class staring at a spot on the wall and wondering what the fuck just happened and who that guy Sawyer was. THE NEXT FEW HOURS, Sawyer filled my every thought. He saw me lose my shit and howl. How embarrassing … and he was here “visiting.” That was vague as fuck. I told Raven about it at lunch and she was all ears. “How old was he?” She leaned forward, twirling a blue chunk of hair between her fingers. I shrugged.

“Older than me but not by much. Maybe twenty-one?” “Want me to do a spell and find out why he was here?” Her eyes glittered and I grinned. “Nah, I like the mystery,” I said. “I’ll brew on it for years, wondering where the man of my dreams went before I settle down and marry a human.” Raven snickered. “You sure?” She motioned over to Isaacs’s table. “He’d take you back in a heartbeat.” I clamped a hand over her mouth. “We do not speak of the time I hooked up with a fey, okay?” Peeling my fingers from her mouth one by one, she laughed. “You said you liked it,” she reminded me.

I pulled a chicken tender from my plate and pointed it at her throat. “Speak another word of this and die.” Isaac was hot, but he had a weird foot fetish thing, and I wasn’t feeling the pointy ears. It was a phase and Raven knew that. “Maybe he’s on socials. Sawyer, any last name?” Raven pulled out her phone, ready to detective the fuck out of this guy. “Nope. Just Sawyer.” I peered over her shoulder as she typed Sawyer into Instagram and started to scroll through profiles. We were about halfway down the page when the cafeteria doors burst open.

Four hulking males fanned out and scanned the crowd, and one female with bright red hair brought up the rear. I didn’t need to smell them to know they were werewolves. I could see it in their stances, the way they sniffed the air and searched the cafeteria with yellow eyes. Oh fuck. What did I do? I shrank in my seat, trying to disappear, when one of them looked directly at me. A quick scan told me none of them were Sawyer. Maybe he went back and asked the alpha about a girl named Demi who was cast out of the pack, and they said I shouldn’t be allowed to go to school here, or maybe— “Demi Calloway?” I held my breath as terror rushed through me. “Yes?” I squeaked. The dude hovering over me was jacked, a huge wolf, who I now recognized as one of the guys waiting by the car this morning in the school parking lot. There was a gun at his hip, likely filled with silver bullets, and a vampire stake in a holster at his thigh.

This dude wasn’t fucking around. He handed me a letter with a golden wax seal. Legit it had a wax seal like this was 1601. I gulped, taking the letter. “Thanks.” I attempted to shove it in my bag and prayed he’d go away. “Open it,” the wolf growled. Crap. The whole cafeteria was watching me now. Even the lunch lady looked nervous for me.

Tearing the seal, bits of gold wax falling into my lap, I rolled the letter open and scanned it. Typed in an italic font was a letter addressed to me. DEMİ CALLOWAY, You are hereby cordially invited to attend Sterling Hill Collegiate Academy of Werewolf Sciences. Werewolf Law 301.6 states that all unmated females ages 18-22 must be present the year the future alpha chooses his mate. Sincerely, Werewolf City alpha in residence, Curt Hudson WHAT THE WHAT! My heart hammered in my chest as I noticed messy handwriting scrawled a personal note at the bottom.

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