Chapter 1 Loss "I'm sorry, I am so sorry," I sobbed kneeling beside her. "Please just hold on for a little while longer. Help is coming, I promise." My voice broke, coming out strained and desperate. I was desperate, though. How could I not be? Desperate for this to be an awful nightmare, desperate to save my mate. Her body laid before me, bloodied and mangled. The ground beneath her slowly becoming saturated, stained by the crimson liquid. The mixture of blood, dirt and sweat that marred my face had been long forgotten. I didn't care that I was completely naked or that my leg was surely broken. Nothing mattered, nothing except her. The sight of her beautiful heart-shaped face, which was slowly turning ghastly white, caused pain like nothing I had ever felt. It ripped through me from my gut right into my chest. I hadn't gotten to her in time. Guilt overwhelmed me, as more tears pooled in my eyes. I peered around the small clearing, overgrown with an array of wildflowers, in hopes of finding help, even though I knew there would be none. The forest was unnaturally quiet, not even the rustling of leaves could be heard. The cold autumn wind ceased its brutal assault as if it too, knew the graveness of the situation. Looking back down at her, I was devastated to see the sheer amount of blood still gushing from her wound. The bright red liquid began seeping from between her parted lips, the rising and falling of her chest slowed dramatically. Her golden hair was splayed out around her, tangled with dirt, blood, and leaves. A shaky hand lightly cupped my cheek. Her fingers were cold, much colder than they should have been. She offered me a weak smile though it failed to reach her eyes. Suddenly the thundering sound of paws pounding against the forest floor could be heard in the distance, breaking the stark silence. Moments later I felt the pushing in the back of my mind, but I wouldn't let them in. Opening the link would allow them to sense the emotions running through me, and I couldn't allow my pack to feel the anguish I was experiencing. They were moving fast, pushing their bodies to the limit. She was nearly as important to them as she was to me. They didn't want to lose their Luna. "Logan, it's o-okay," Olivia choked out in a whisper. I wanted to tell her not to speak, not to waste her energy, but I couldn't. I needed to hear her soothing, loving voice one last time. In a panic, I sat up in my bed, my body drenched in a cold sweat. It was then that I recognized that it had been a nightmare. Only it wasn't a nightmare, it was a memory; one that haunted me every night and even during my waking hours. Every time I shut my eyes, I saw Olivia's life slowly leaving her body. Whoever said time heals all knew nothing of real loss. It had been over five years since her death - five years, four months and eight days to be precise. Time seemed only to serve as a reminder of how long ago I lost my angel. My beloved was gone and with her, a large part of my will to live. So many days I spent contemplating ending this miserable excuse for an existence. Many nights I would ask myself what was the point of living if I didn't have anyone to share my life with. Lazily, I stumbled out of bed and shuffled towards the bathroom. I felt the cold hardwood floor against my bare feet as I made my way to the sink. I slowly took in my appearance in the mirror. It was then I noticed how much I had changed since Olivia's death. My face was covered with stubble, which was something she would have never tolerated. I smiled a little when I thought of how she despised even the slightest facial hair. The black hair atop my head was becoming far too long for my liking - and hers. I needed to make a mental note to get it cut, although I likely wouldn't get around to it. I was much scrawnier than I had been, and my bones had become slightly more visible beneath my tanned skin, which could be attributed to my lack of eating. I wasn't living anymore; I was merely surviving. My pack was all that kept me going. They still felt the loss of their Luna. I knew I needed to be strong for them though I was failing at it miserably. In the beginning, I tried to throw myself into everything pack related, spending countless hours in my office dealing with things such as requests to join or leave the pack. Most of them being the latter of the two. If I wasn't there, I was in the training facility teaching the young members how to fight and control their wolves. Only sleeping when my body was nearly collapsing from exhaustion. That only lasted a few days as the reality of Olivia's death finally sank in. Knowing I would never see her breathtaking smile or hear her angelic voice sent me into a tailspin of despair and self-loathing. Even after all the time that had passed the ache was still there, but it was the reliving it that was the most unbearable part. In the beginning, I relished in my nightmares. I use to kid myself, believing that seeing her, if only in my sleep, was better than nothing. The trouble was it was always in her last moments. Every time I woke up it was like failing her all over again. Moutain Ridge had been one of the largest packs in the region. After the attack that ended my mate's life, we lost about sixty members. Thirty-six of them in the battle, the remaining twenty-two chose to leave the pack. Their reasoning, they feared that the pack would crumble after their Alpha lost his mate. I didn't blame them, though. It was the most common outcome in this situation. Many would lose their will to carry on and take their lives, knowing they would never feel the kind of love they did with their mate again. Others would grow weaker and end up being killed by a rival alpha looking to take over the pack. Then there was a tiny handful that would become rabid with rage and would have to be destroyed to prevent them killing all in their path. Although I was barely hanging on, I was still here. We were weaker than we once were, but I still held onto the hope that we will get through this, somehow. I wouldn't lose my pack as well. I couldn't. I was left mateless and still worse for my pack: heir-less. I had no hope for an heir without Olivia. The chances for conception with someone that wasn't a wolf's mate were slim to none. Even so, I don't think I could bring myself to try for a pup, even if it was for my pack. I did have other ideas to solve this problem, though. Plan A was to find a capable wolf from another pack with alpha blood that could care for my pack when I no longer could. Plan B was to locate another pack and merge the two. Both were less than preferable, but there were no other options. For now, I would continue to strive to be the leader they deserved. I was sure they could carry on without me if it weren't for the fact that Alpha-less packs were always attacked by both rogues and other packs alike. They were looked at as vulnerable or easy pickings. Griffin, my beta, had taken over most of the alpha duties after my breakdown. I hadn't been able to leave my room, our room. Her scent was everywhere there, but slowly the smell of cherry blossom mixed with peaches was replaced by my own scent. It was then I realized, I couldn't continue on the same destructive path anymore- my pack needed me, I needed them. "Morning Alpha," Griffin said with a mock salute after he sauntered into my bedroom. I couldn't help the slight smirk that made its way onto my face as I walked back into the room. The man had yet to learn the meaning of knocking. "To what do I owe the displeasure of your company?" I jokingly asked. "Well," he drawled out, with his signature mischievous grin. "I thought I would inform you that your desk is about to collapse from the sheer weight of all the paperwork you have yet to finish going through. I mean, I know I'm amazing and all, but I can't do everything around here," he said, overly dramatic, as he threw himself on my unmade bed. Griffin tried to help, but truthfully, he didn't understand what I was going through. He couldn't; he had never lost a mate. In fact, Griffin had yet to find his. Always joking, he was just too awesome that the moon goddess couldn't find a she-wolf who could handle him. Which I believed very well might be true. His constant joking made things more bearable for me. Although it wasn't any big secret that I was barely holding things together, Griffin was the only one that knew the depths of my despair. He was the one to pull the gun from my shaking hand the one time it had all become too much for me, and I had finally decided I couldn't take it anymore. I could always count on him to help talk me off the proverbial ledge. My pack was the only one we knew of that had survived this long after losing their Luna. This gave me immense pride. We would continue making it; I thought as I walked towards the door. Griffin made not attempt to get off my bed as I exited the room.