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Carnage Island (Reject Island)
Author:Lexi C. Foss

I don’t answer. Not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t.

He chuckles, his lips meeting my temple again as he adds, “Good girl.”

Another test—one I pass. Because I know better than to move or reply. I don’t even clench my legs despite the desire pooling between them.

I focus on my wolf instead and my excitement to finally feel her outside of my heart.

The need to shift is all-consuming now, with the moon an added seduction against my skin.

But I have to wait. Canton will call on me when he’s ready, when he’s finally chosen me publicly.

“I approve,” I hear him growl, a few of the wolves chuckling at the clear intent in his tone.

I’ve never attended a mating ceremony, but I’ve heard stories. Sometimes the males claim their females for the pack to see, not just via their bite, but their bodies as well. I’m hoping Canton doesn’t go that route. I want the freedom to run once he allows me to shift.

But I won’t be able to fight him whenever he forces me back into human form.

So he could technically make me shift quickly between forms, claim me, then let me run.

Or he may never let me run at all.

It’s a fear I’ve harbored all my life. I’ve met females whose mates preferred them in human form. However, I think Canton will approve of my wolf and let me frolic. Our meetings have all been positive and the fact he calls me Clove says he respects my choices.

A low hum of growls ignites in the air, the wolves anticipating the final bond.

I’ve missed whatever Alpha Crane has said, my mind too focused on what comes next.

Canton’s palm encircles the back of my neck as he steps into my space, placing my head near his upper thigh. He’s tall and wider than me, as are most male shifters. I’ve always been petite for my status, my alpha tendencies inside more than outside.

“Close your eyes,” Canton says softly, his opposite hand going to my cheek in a tender caress. “This is going to hurt.”

I do what he requests, my body alight with nervous energy. It buzzes through my veins, sending tingling sensations to my fingertips.

The final test.

Canton releases a low growl, one that causes my wolf to whine inside me. She doesn’t want to be forced out; she wants to choose.

But that’s not how this works.

She’s not in charge here. Canton is, and she has to respect that or we’ll both pay the ultimate price—rejection.

He growls again, this time with a little more force, sending vibrations down my limbs. I force myself to breathe, to remain calm, to let him control my change. But his third growl is harsher now, demanding my animal comply and causing my bones to snap beneath his power.

By the fifth growl, tears are rolling from my closed eyes, my wolf fighting the call of our mate.

“It’s natural to fight,” my mother warned me before the ceremony. “Just let nature take its course. The Alphas want a strong mate. And you’re the strongest of all of us.”

Canton’s grip on my nape tightens, his growl becoming even more aggressive.

I lose count of how many times he snarls.

I’m too lost to the sensation of my bones snapping and shifting, the movements foreign and painful.

How do the females submit to changing back for the claiming? I wonder, my insides turning to liquid fire as a whimper escapes my lips. How do they enjoy the claiming?

I’ve heard that the claiming is a beautiful ceremony filled with passion and pleasure.

But I can’t imagine feeling that right now.

I bite my tongue to keep from screaming as my legs finally give out from under me. Canton keeps me in my position with his hand on my nape and my cheek.

It hurts.

It feels as though he’s going to snap my neck.

It’s unnatural.

I need him to release me, to let me finish my shift. Is he punishing me for taking too long? Is he holding me like this to prove he’s in charge?

I whine, my body his to control entirely. What more does he want? I can’t… I can’t fight him. He’s too powerful. Too masculine. Too Alpha.

He finally releases me and unleashes a growl that vibrates through every inch of my being, the wolf inside him demanding my animal come to life.

She snarls in response, but neither of us can fight his call.

I curl into a ball as the shift takes over entirely, my body contorting in ways it’s never done before.

This must be why they don’t allow us to meet our inner animals until our mating. It hurts.

As much as I want to see my animal, I don’t appreciate the pain it requires to meet her. I feel weak. I feel unworthy. I feel soft.

A mewl leaves my lips unbidden, my limbs shaking as the final phases of my transition hit my core.

And then everything stops.

The agony. The fear. The anticipation. It just melts away as silence descends.

Peace.

My wolf yawns and stretches, pleased to finally be free.

Except the sudden intake of air around me has my wolf’s ears flattening in concern. She doesn’t like that sound and neither do I.

I sniff, trying to draw out the cause of concern. It ruffles my fur, the stench of it growing by the second.

“What the fuck is this?” Alpha Crane demands. “Some sort of sick joke?”

I blink, confused.

Canton is no longer beside me, he’s over ten feet away and glowering at me with a look of disgust that goes straight to my heart.

I lift my head, the sensation a bit strange as the muscles in my neck are new to this form.

I can’t stand yet, my limbs still awkward beneath me.

I glance down to try to figure out where to put my paws and how to…

White fur.

I stare at it.

Why do I have white fur?

It should be black. All Nantahala Wolves have black fur. Santeetlah Wolves have brown fur.

The Black Mountain Pack is home to the Carnage Wolves.

And Carnage Wolves have white fur.

White fur, like snow.

White fur, like…

Like my paws.

Oh, moon… I’m in trouble.





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“Explain yourself!” Alpha Bryson shouts.

I shiver, my focus instantly going to the male I’ve revered all my life. But he’s not looking at me. He’s looking at my father.