The Edge of Reason - Book cover

The Edge of Reason

Michelle Torlot

Age Rating


A soulmate is supposed to love you forever. So what’s wrong with Ember?

Ember grew up in a sexist pack where women are valued only for cooking, cleaning, and bearing pups. But when her fated mate rejects her, she’s sent away to join a very different kind of pack.

Led by the powerful and brooding Alpha Damon Scopus, Ember’s new pack plunges her headfirst into a war she doesn’t understand, a new mate bond she never expected, and shocking revelations about her own identity. Has Ember finally found a place where she fits, or is she hurtling toward her own destruction?

Age Rating: 18+ (Depression, Self-Harm, Suicide, Violent Death)

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Chapter 1


I sit on the edge of the cliff, my legs dangling. All I can hear is the roar of the waterfall crashing onto the jagged rocks below.

The humans call this place “Lovers’ Leap.” Broken-hearted lovers come here to throw themselves off the precipice when the pain and heartache get too much.

A voice in my head urges me to jump. My wolf. She’s taken our rejection badly. We both have, but it’s worse for her.

Gone is the voice in the back of my mind, ready with a sassy comeback whenever Alpha Stone orders us to do something degrading. My wolf can be feisty and uncooperative, always wanting to take control. As annoying as it can be, I miss it.

Now, she mostly just whimpers. If it were up to her, she would’ve ended her miserable life three days ago—and mine along with it. After all, a wolf needs her mate.

I do too, but I’m not ready to commit suicide over it. I just came here because it’s peaceful—a refuge from the whispers, the pity, and the sight of my mate with his arms wrapped around someone else.

A tear trickles down my cheek. I try to push the thought of Noah away, but the tightness around my chest remains, squeezing my heart like a vice.

Mates are supposed to love one another. The male is supposed to protect and provide for the female, not humiliate her and cast her aside.

I’m snapped out of my reverie as a deep voice shouts my name. “Ember? What are you doing?”

I turn and spot my brother Oliver hustling up the hiking trail toward me. Panic masks his face. I force a smile, but I’m sure he can tell it’s forced.

“Don’t worry, Oliver. I may be weak, but I’m not weak enough to jump.”

I don’t tell him that if my wolf were in control, we would have jumped already.

He sighs and shakes his head. Then he offers me his hands, pulls me to my feet, and wraps his arms around me.

“You’re not weak, Ember. One day, you’re going to be a fantastic pack healer. You have a gift.”

I sigh. One day, maybe, but not now.

I’m smaller than average, and so is my wolf. My mate—or should I say, ex-mate?—is the exact opposite.

Noah is one of Craven Moon Pack’s warriors; some say the best. The only pack members who can best him are our alpha and beta.

Even my brother can’t take Noah down. He offered to try on my behalf, but I don’t want him to. It’s bad enough for one of us to be humiliated; Oliver doesn’t need to hurt or debase himself for me.

He sighs and presses a gentle kiss to my head. “The alpha wants to see you.”

I look up, tears pooling in my eyes. “Is he going to”—I swallow nervously—“banish me?”

My brother shakes his head. “No. Of course not. You haven’t done anything wrong.” He sighs again. “If anyone needs banishing, it’s fucking Noah.”

Just the mention of his name makes my heart crush a bit more.

Even though Noah is in the wrong, I know everyone in the pack is taking his side. Compared to Noah, I’m nothing. Worthless.

My brother seems to think I’ll become a pack healer just because I help out at the hospital sometimes. That will never happen. For one thing, werewolves hardly need any healing; the Moon Goddess heals all but our gravest injuries quickly.

For another thing, Alpha Stone is old-school. Females of our pack are only good for cooking, cleaning, and producing pups. Without a mate, I’ll be useless. Worse than useless.

I sigh and break from my brother’s embrace. Time to find out what fate awaits me.

It takes me about half an hour to walk back to the pack house. Oliver shifts into wolf form, darting off ahead of me.

If I shifted, I could make the run in five minutes. But I don’t, because once my wolf takes control, anything could happen.

I walk through the buildings of our pack’s settlement toward the pack house, where the alpha’s office is. It’s also home to most of the unmated wolves.

We’re not the largest pack, but there’s a school and a hospital, and a few private houses similar to the home I share with my brother.

I walk with my head down and my arms wrapped around my body. My long, blonde hair curtains my face to hide my shame from the curious eyes that follow me.

I wish I didn’t have my wolf’s senses, but I do. Even though people avoid me, I can still hear their whispers.

Look, it’s her. Her mate rejected her.

Not really surprising, is it? She’s so small and weak.

I try to block them out. No good ever came from eavesdropping.

Inside the pack house, I head toward the alpha’s office, tap lightly on the heavy oak door, and wait.

His gruff voice bids me entry with a monotone, “Come.”

He sits at his paperwork-strewn desk and doesn’t look up for a moment when I come in. I stand in front of the desk, head down, fingers interlocked behind my back, awaiting his command.

He sighs heavily. “Sit, Ember.”

I sit in the lone chair placed in the center of the room, far from the desk. It’s a power play, an attempt to make me feel isolated, which, in my case, isn’t needed. I feel worthless enough as it is.

I place my hands on my lap and stare at my feet. Alpha Stone will take any wrong move, word, or glance as a challenge.

“Your situation has become increasingly awkward,” he begins, “so it’s up to me to resolve it.”

I swallow nervously. Here it comes.

“The treaties we have with other packs require us to send them pack members from time to time. Usually, we ask for volunteers for transfer. But because of your situation, I have decided it will be in the best interest of the pack if you are sent elsewhere.”

I feel the bile rising in my throat. I want to scream at him, Why me? But he’s made up his mind.

I think I always knew it would go this way. I can’t stay in the same pack as Noah, inspiring awkwardness and pity as Noah parades around with his new mate. And Alpha Stone would never transfer Noah; he’s too valuable.

I risk a glance up. The alpha’s expression is hard and businesslike, as though he’s just traded some goods for something more worthwhile.

“When?” I whisper.

I hear him stand.

“You have one hour to say your goodbyes and gather any personal belongings.”

I stand. My legs feel like jelly. “Where? Which pack?”

He clears his throat. “The Dark Moon Pack.”

My head starts to spin, and my legs almost give way beneath me. I quickly bow. “Yes, Alpha.”

I turn and leave his office as fast as I can, breaking into a run as soon as I shut the door behind me, desperate to get outside the pack house before I vomit.

There’s little in my stomach to come up, but I eject a thin stream of burning bile onto the soil.

Then I drop to my knees and cradle my head in my hands as the tears begin to flow.

Rumors abound of the Dark Moon Pack and their warmongering alpha, Damon Scopus. Even his name sends a shiver down my spine.

Alpha Scopus’s pack is the largest, because he forces all the other packs to send him wolves—usually warriors. It keeps his pack strong and weakens the others.

Everyone says Alpha Scopus has a short temper. People who anger him either end up killed or so badly injured that they can never fight or hunt again.

If my wolf wanted us dead, she will probably get her wish.

I head back to the house I share with my brother. It’s only us there. Our mother died several years ago, and our father died soon after, pining for his mate.

Oliver sits on the porch, his head in his hands, but as I walk toward him, he looks up at me.

That’s when I realize. “You knew. You knew, and you didn’t tell me. How long?”

Oliver sighs. “It’s not as bad as you think. It’ll be a fresh start.”

My mouth hangs open at his words. “You know where Alpha Stone’s sending me?”

Oliver frowns and shakes his head. “He just told me he was arranging a transfer. It’s not like you and I won’t be able to see each other. Most packs allow family visits. I know ours does.”

I stare at him and shake my head. “This is goodbye, Oliver. I’m going to the Dark Moon Pack.”

All the color drains from my brother’s face. He jumps up and rushes over, wrapping his arms around me.

I want to push him away, but I don’t. These might be the last moments we get to spend together.

“When?” he whispers, his voice cracking slightly.

“About an hour,” I whisper back.

He sighs and squeezes me a little tighter. “I thought we’d have more time.”

I don’t answer. I just let him hold me as the tears trickle down my cheeks.

Perhaps I should have let my wolf throw us off the cliff, after all.

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