The Werewolf’s Bible might have the info I needed in it, but the only time I picked it up, I got one of the most messed up visions I’d ever had. I’d tried to read it with my gloves on but the pages were worn and delicate. I took off my gloves.

Anger made me sweat. Then fear made me shiver. Despair. Confusion. Anger. Rage. Fury.

I’d thrown the book across the room, and pages ripped from the old binding. It took me a full hour to calm down. To separate my own feelings from those in the vision.

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Suffice it to say I wouldn’t be attempting to read it anytime soon.

I was mulling it over again at lunch as I ate my thrice-daily mountain of food, but the whole thing was so alien to me.

“Look at that,” Chris said.

I turned to see one of Imogene’s friends—a blonde whose name I didn’t know—sitting at a table alone with one of the guys—Stephen? Stefan? Something starting with an “s.”

“Hope found her guy?” Meredith said.

Adrian laughed. “Yeah, right. That girl’s a tease. She’s got a couple more months until she turns eighteen. No way is she settling on one until then. Guaranteed. I’m still in the running.”

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Chris and Adrian fist bumped.

Meredith shoved Adrian. “I’m going to get more food. Anyone need anything?”

“Nah. I’ll come with,” Chris said.

Adrian got up too, leaving Shannon and me alone in uncomfortable silence. She and I weren’t exactly clicking. We’d gotten into a habit of ignoring each other’s existence, and I was totally fine with that.

I chewed on my lip, thinking to myself. “I wish everyone would shut it with the whole ‘mate’ thing,” I muttered, not intending it to really be heard.

“Listen, love,” she said in a condescending tone. “Every girl here will be mated by the time she’s eighteen. It’s the way that it works. Girls are precious, and the males protect them.”

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I tried to keep the disgust off my face. “Eighteen is barely legal. No one should decide who they’re with at that age. You don’t even know who you are yet.”

“Some choose earlier.”

“It’s not the Stone Age anymore.” I ran my fingers through my hair. I didn’t have long until my birthday, and couldn’t imagine choosing anyone…okay, I could totally picture choosing Dastien, if he were anywhere to be found. “Whatever might seem normal to you, isn’t to me. It’s not right.”

“Tough luck. You’re going to have to choose a mate soon.” She pointed at the next table over. “See there, three boys have been courting Samantha. She’s favoring Paul at the moment, but she could change her mind.” She spun in her seat. “And there. Nikki is already promised to Jacob.” She stared at me. “Look around. Loads have already made their choices.”

I looked from table to table. There were only a few girls who hadn’t chosen, and they had a bunch of guys with them. And there were still a few tables of just boys—who were all watching me. I did a finger wave to them. They stood—ready to jump at my request. It was beyond creepy. And more than a little sad. They didn’t really want me. They just wanted a girl, and I’d do just fine.

“Don’t tease them,” Shannon said.

I crossed my arms. “If it’s all so important to choose, how come you haven’t?”

She grinned, and I didn’t like the look of it. “I’ve got my eye on one. And since you’ve ditched him for the half-breed, I’m sure I’ll get him.”

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I should’ve known. Every girl, their moms, aunts, and female cousins wanted a piece of Dastien. I’d seen him with his shirt off, so it was understandable, but that didn’t mean it didn’t bug the crap out of me. But who did I ditch him for? “What half-breed?”

“You like to call him Chris.”

What a bitch.

Some people in LA liked to call me that since I was half-Caucasian and half-Mexican. It was safe to assume that “half-breed” was an insult in any culture, even supernatural ones. That she called a friend one was inexcusable. “You seem to think real highly of your friends.”

“I like him fine, but he isn’t a suitable mate. His great-grandfather was bitten. So it’s fitting that you two would pick up.”

And now she was calling me a “half-breed.” Why was Meredith friends with her? “And you think you’ll get Dastien?”

“Rightly so.”

It took everything in me not to punch her in the face.

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