Turk pulled into a driveway to a large building where males and females alike gathered inside, chatting endlessly with each other about topics he couldn begin to fathom.

One female with long raven hair turned towards his car and waved with a wink. He gave a low growl of irritation as she skipped into the building with her friends. The sooner New Moon Festival is over, the better. It was the one day a year he hated most. Ever since he was twenty-five and had begun attending to different packs to find his mate, he was always disappointed. He returned home in a bad mood. He had a feeling nothing would change this year. Ten years later, and no mate to balance his life or give him happiness.

Turk turned the car off and opened the door, getting out and going into the building. Young pups ran about playing. Females walked either with friends or with their mates. Older couples slowly made their way to a table closest to them. He spotted a group of young adults laughing, likely this years first chance at finding their mates. The raven-haired female was there and grinned at him. He scowled and turned away to find a corner where he could stay hidden from curious eyes.

Fifteen minutes later, a male stood, making the whole room go silent. ”Welcome all who have crossed many leagues to get here in time for the New Moon Festival. I hope you find your mate among my pack. But I will save the talk of mates for tomorrow. Tonight, let us feast. Get to know one another. Make friends. Enjoy yourselves. If there is anything you need, please come find me after the meal. I will be here until midnight. ”

With that, everyone dug into their food and between eating.

Turk was about to leave when a female entered in a rush. Her rose gold hair was a tangled mess about her shoulders and her clothes are rumpled with colorful stains everywhere.

The male who gave the speech stood with alarm. ”Mazelina, are you alright? ”

Panting, she said, ”Im so sorry Im late, Alpha! I was cleaning up after a busy day and lost track of time. ”

”Please, Mazelina. Calm down. Go wash up then return. No need to apologize when you were attending to your duties. ”

The female smiled. ”Thank you. I will be back. ” Turning on her heel, she can.

Turk waited in his corner, curious about the girl. She returned in twenty minutes, cleaned up except for a few stains on her skin. She looked about the room, then grinned as a boy stood and waved to her. She says before the boy and grabbed food, laughing at something he said.

Turk stared at her, seeing how she ate greedily and yet didn make a mess. She was slim and fit. Turk didn sense weakness in her, but unending strength and kindness. A young female pup can up to Mazelina and she picked her up. Setting the pup on her lap, she tickled and played, seeming to not mind the interruption to the meal, but instead, she glowed brighter as if caring for others gave her happiness and joy.

Turk watched her for another long moment, then left the room. Heading to his car, he brought out his keys. ”You
e leaving? ”

”What is the point, Owain? If I haven found her already, what are the chances Ill find her now? ”

”Theres every chance she could be here. There are many females this year. She could be in that pool and you would lose her if you left now. ” Owain put a hand on Turks shoulder. ”Please. I beg you to stay and see. ”

”You and I both know Ill be disappointed. ”

”If you don find her tomorrow, then I won bother you ever again on this subject. ”

Turk looked at his great friend and rose a sardonic brow. ”You are going to keep your word on this? ”

Owain nodded.

”Fine, but I blame you if I leave tomorrow in a cage. ”

Owain smiled. ”Ill take it! ”

”What time tomorrow? ” Turk asked without interest.

”We start at noon, but the mate finding doesn start until sunset. ”

Turk nodded once. ”Then Ill see you at sunset, ”

”Aren you going to try and socialize? ”

”Owain, Im a terror in the world. Nobody would want to get to know me. ”

”Its not your fault. Your reputation isn your fault. ”

”Do you think they will believe that? Do you think my mate will believe I am not the cruel bastard everyone says I am? ” Turk shook his head. ”If my mate is here, I will give her the chances to reject me. I don want her to live in terror of me all her life. ”

Owain frowned. ”You won survive a rejection. Your beast won survive. ”

Turk shrugged. ”Better than seeing her die. ”

He got into his car and drove to the cabin rented to him for the week. Going straight to the bedroom, he prepared for sleep, then laid down. He fell to sleep with rose gold hair in his mind.

Turk spent the next morning walking around and getting fresh air. When it got close to noon, he climbed a tree and watched as males and females gathered in the clearing below. They began to meet each other, introducing themselves and having small talk.

As he watched, the female from last night appeared her hair in a braid. She seemed nervous, her purple eyes dating around. Turk was surprised because the female was lively and outgoing. He didn think meeting new people would upset her.

Dropping down, he strode over and held out his hand to her. ”Hello, ” he said softly.

She turned to him and widened her eyes. He saw her taking him in, sensed her approval of him then scented her interest. Her body was a clear signal she had never been affected by a male before and was likely confused.

Turk gave a small smile of reassurance. ”Don worry. You would have those reactions in time. ”

Her brows furrowed. ”Im sorry. I wasn being offensive! ”

Turk chuckled. ”Please, do not apologize. Im happy you reacted like that. ”

She stared at him. ”You are? ”

He smiled. ”A male senses a females physical feelings towards him through scent. You just told me you like how I look. You appreciate my body. ” Her growing alarm made him pause. ”Has no one taught you about physical attraction? ”

She gulped. ”I must look stupid to you, ” she said, looking away.

Turk put a finger under her chin and made her meet his eyes. ”Don hide from me. You are not stupid. Your male will teach you anything you need to know. He would go slow so you could adjust as fast as you
e able. ” He paused again and frowned. ”At least its what I would do. ”

She gave him a shy smile, so different from the bold shops he always got from females. ”You
e flirting, aren you? ”

He scowled. ”You think Im playing with your emotions? ”

Her smile disappeared. ”Im sorry! Im not used to this stuff. ”

Turk tilted his head to one side. ”You never had males fawn over you? ”

She blushed again. ”Males of the pack are respectful of females. They don do anything that would hurt the pack. Females do the same. ”

”Im not trying to make you feel uncomfortable! ” he growled.

She froze, taking a step back. Turk realized he was flexing claws that grew from his fingers and his posture was threatening, baring his teeth at her. He turned and stalked away, hating himself for his reaction.

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