Authors: Rochelle Paige
Tags: #General Fiction
Shoot for the Moon
© 2014 Rochelle Paige Popovic
All rights reserved.
Edited by Mickey Reed
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons or living or dead, events or locals are entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/ Use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
My readers –
Considering Eliza’s ability to walk in dreams in this book, the only dedication which seems appropriate to me is one to all of you because you’ve helped me reach my own. Dreams are meant to be lived. Thank you for helping me show my boys they can come true.
I knew there were people who didn’t believe in psychic mumbo-jumbo. Hell, I wished I could say I was one of them. Unfortunately, I knew better from personal experience—and not the good kind. Dreaming of things that could come true in the future had run through my family longer than we’d been able to shift into wolves. It usually skipped a generation, and I’d grown to wish that it had skipped mine.
I’d learned to hide parts of myself from others—my mother had taught me well. The lesson was deeply ingrained from an early age that others wouldn’t understand the gift I’d been given. My grandmother had been ridiculed and ostracized when her pack had found out about her ability to walk in dreams. When she’d eventually found her mate, they’d moved to a cabin high in the mountains, where they raised my mother. Although my grandparents adored her, it wasn’t easy for a wolf to be raised in such solitude.
Then the day came when my grandmother dreamed of my mom finding her mate. My mom was always sad when she told me the story of how her mom had said that her mate would be a hero because he’d save her from a fire. Regrettably, my grandmother’s dream hadn’t revealed that she and my grandfather would be in the fire with my mom, which happened only a few weeks after the vision. By the time my dad came across their cabin, he could only save one, and he had no choice but to pick my mom. His wolf recognized her instantly as his mate.
With the loss of her parents, my mom had no reason to stay in the mountains, so my father mated and marked her and they journeyed to his pack. She was quickly accepted, and they had their claiming days later with the full moon. Adjusting to pack life when she met her mate wasn’t easy since she was an only child of lone wolves, but eventually, she flourished under the love and attention she received as the beta’s mate.
My mom’s hopes that the gift had not passed to me came crashing down around her the night I woke up screaming about hunters with guns in the woods. My dad was out helping the alpha with pack business, and she calmed me down and got me settled back in bed. She told me that it had just been a dream and it couldn’t hurt me but I mustn’t tell anyone else about them—not even my dad. When I heard about the attack on our omega and his mate, that they’d been shot to death, a small part of me shriveled up and died because I realized my mom had lied to me—that she wanted me to hide part of myself from my dad and the rest of the pack.
That’s when my first walls went up.
I mourned the loss of my innocence when I dreamed of the death of our alpha’s son. Too many of my dreams had come true in the past for me to ignore it, especially since we’d grown up together and, in the dream, my mother died with him. I couldn’t stay quiet. I had to speak up or my mom would pay the price for my silence, and I knew I had to do it quickly because both of them were traveling together on pack business.
Since my dad was with them as well, I went straight to the alpha about my dream. He wouldn’t listen no matter what I said or how I tried to explain my gift. I was still working to convince him when his phone rang. I knew it was too late when I watched his eyes glow with rage while he listened to what was being said on the other end of the line. I could hear my father’s voice and his utter devastation at the news he was giving—the alpha’s son and my mother had both died in an ambush from another pack, and my father was seriously injured and in need of help. With the phone dropping from his hand onto the floor, the alpha went through a partial shift as he stalked towards me.
“You were involved!” our alpha roared at me in anger, slashing my stomach with his claws.
“No!” I screamed in denial, backing away from him even as I lowered my head in submission. “I would never betray the pack like that. Never put my own parents at risk.”
“You expect me to believe you care about this pack when you’ve always held yourself at a distance from all of us?” he scoffed.
“Because of the dreams!” I tried to explain.
“Bullshit!” he spit out. “If you were able to see the future, your father would have told me years ago. I allowed you to remain separate out of respect for him all these years, but no more.”
Just when I thought for sure he was going to kill me, the pack enforcer interceded on my behalf. After a tense discussion between the two, the alpha was still determined to see me either dead or gone. Although he finally agreed that the odds were low that I had been involved with the attack on our pack that had also put my own parents at risk, he knew he would always blame me for not being fast enough with my warning. So I was kicked out of the pack because of my dream visions. Forced to leave before my father returned and threatened with punishment of death if I ever came back.
I waited in the closest town for months in the hope that I would be able to see my dad, but he didn’t return, and I feared he might have died too. Finally, I reached out to an old friend in an attempt to check on my dad. She told me that he was gone and to never call back again.
Completely devastated by this news, I spent several years roaming on my own, becoming something I’d never thought I would be—a lone wolf. Losing my parents and my home was almost more than I could bear. The yearning for the closeness a pack brought never left me though. And I swore to keep my dreams to myself if I ever found another pack. Then, one day, I wandered into Wolf’s Point. I didn’t mean to stay. It was only supposed to be another stopping place. But then I saw Spencer, and as much as my head told me to leave before anything happened between us, my heart and my wolf insisted I stay.
I recognized him right away—the mate of my dreams. I’d dreamed of him for years, even before my mother’s death. You’d think this would have been a wonderful thing, and the start of these dreams certainly was—right up until they always turned into a nightmare. It was horrifying to watch my mate as his face darkened with anger, his wolf glared from his eyes, and his lips twisted into a snarl, and then sorrow would crash over me in waves as he told me that I would never be his mate, I wasn’t worthy of him, and even though I’d shared his bed before, I never would again. Then I’d wake up screaming right as he turned to walk to the woman he called his own—his mate.
I should have run in the opposite direction when I realized my mate lived in Wolf’s Point, but instead, I rented a cabin on the outskirts of town. I agonized over what to do while I kept to myself as much as possible. When my funds were low and I’d finally reconciled myself to the fact that I just couldn’t leave, I applied for a job at the local diner—The Packed Plate. They needed another cook and I had always been good in the kitchen. Plus, the job let me earn money without having to be very social with the locals.
I hadn’t realized it when I’d been hired, but the diner was owned by the alpha of the Black River Pack and his brothers. I quickly learned that my mate, Spencer, was the pack’s enforcer and beta to his brother. His duties kept him busy, so he only came into the diner to eat, which allowed me to watch him from afar. The youngest brother, Parker, spent most of his time helping at the bar they owned. But Hunter, the alpha, did check in on things pretty regularly. When the older she-wolf who managed the place for them told him that I was a lone wolf in need of a pack, Hunter introduced himself and asked me some questions, most likely to confirm for himself that I wasn’t a danger to his pack.
As I worked at the diner and saw Hunter interact with his wolves, I grew to respect him as a leader. When he approached me a few months later to ask if I wanted to join their pack, I found myself giving his offer serious consideration. Even though I knew what would happen between Spencer and me if I stayed, I said yes.
I managed to maintain my distance from Spencer for almost a year. Every time we were near, I couldn’t deny the spark of chemistry between us—one he seemed just as determined to ignore as I did. And my dreams hadn’t gotten any better over time—if anything, they were worse because they were now filled with visions of Spencer fucking me. But the underlying fear remained because the dreams still always ended with my heart being torn from my chest as he denounced me.
I didn’t know if it was my proximity to Spencer, but the dreams also came more frequently than ever before. In search of something to stop the dreams from coming, I started going to the pack bar at night. If I drank enough, then I was able to sleep through the night without being woken up by my visions. However, my tactic backfired horribly when Spencer found me there one night after I’d drunk myself into oblivion.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he growled at me before leveling a glare at Parker, who was standing behind the bar. “How could you let her get so goddamn drunk?”
“Chill out, bro. She needed something to take the edge off, and I always make sure she gets home safely,” Parker replied.
“Always?” Spencer bit out. “How often is she in here getting trashed?”
Parker looked at me with sympathy in his eyes before answering his brother. “Often enough.”
“And what the fuck do you mean by ‘take the edge off’?” Spencer demanded.
Parker shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t know what, but something’s been bothering her for months.”
I struggled against Spencer as he lifted me into his arms. “When a pack member has a problem, you’re supposed to help them. Not help them make it worse! Fuck, Parker. You’re the one who has the ‘knight in shining armor’ complex. You couldn’t be bothered to lift a finger other than to pour a drink to help her?”
Spencer didn’t wait for Parker’s response before he stormed out of the bar and gently placed me in the passenger’s seat of his truck. Then he slammed the door when he got in and didn’t look or speak to me the whole time it took to drive to my cabin. When he pulled into the drive and removed the key from the ignition, I heard him mumble under his breath before he sighed deeply. Once he’d climbed out of the truck, he lifted me out of my seat to carry me into my home.
The cabin was small, and he seemed to know his way around as he walked through the hallway to my bedroom. After he placed me on the bed, Spencer ran his fingers through his hair in frustration.
“Fuck,” he hissed out. “I wasn’t going to do this. Not with you.”
When I gasped at his words, Spencer’s head jerked up so he could lock his eyes with mine. The hurt I felt must have shown clearly, because he leaned forward to grasp my chin in his fist.