I am cold, extremely cold. The wind blows against my skin harshly, sharp to the touch. My eyes open abruptly. All they see is the inky, vast night sky above. The array of tiny lights scattered about the black canvas seem to come closer as if the sea of unknown is going to swallow me up. I look to the side and I see the foundations of the large, endless trees, and they are too thick to reach my arms completely around. Standing up is tough, as the ground cannot stop moving. It feels like a giant water balloon is under my feet.
"Evangeline," someone calls, their voice growing closer with each second. "Evangeline."
My legs move in a sprint, but I do not seem to be going anywhere.
My heart pounds like a drum caged in my chest, and when I look behind me a giant, shadowy creature appears between the trees. Its red-glowing eyes fixate on me before an alarming, hair-raising growl thunders from its throat. Immediately I run in the opposite direction, knowing that it is not far behind me.
The trees wave back and forth like blades of grass submerged in water, and some come crashing to the hard forest floor. I climb over a tree trunk and come splashing into a shallow pool of water. My heart jolts from the sudden feeling, and my toes begin to turn blue.
"Evangeline," the voice calls for me again, so I hop out of the icy water and frantically search around me.
"Who are you," I shout.
A growl erupts from behind me, and I look to see the beast drawing closer. Its canines drip a red substance, and its black fur seems to be in knots. It stalks towards me in an unearthly like trudge, its limbs built to tear me apart limb by limb. "Go away," I cry, "go away!"
The muddy ground devours my feet, holding me captive as the beasts scent crawls up my nose, making my face scrunch. The putrid smell causes my stomach to rise. I yank at my legs to free myself from the sinking mixture, but they do not budge. The growls grow louder and ringing noises pierce my ears.
Air floods my lungs as if I am coming back to life. I fly up in the bed and breathe heavy, almost gasping. My hands fist the covers while my mind begins to realize that it was all just a figment of my disturbed imagination. A nightmare.
I hear shuffling beside me then his voice. "Evangeline?"
Now embarrassed, I curse myself for reacting in such ways. "Sorry, sorry."
I shove the covers off of me and climb off the bed, bringing Sebastian to sit up and register what exactly is going on at one o'clock in the morning. I unlock the window and slide it open, letting the sounds of night float into the room, and more importantly, a cool breeze. My skin feels hot and clammy.
"Evangeline, is everything alright?"
"Yes, everything is fine. Sorry for waking you," I murmur to Sebastian while enjoying the breeze against my flushed face.
More shuffling noises come from the darkness, and suddenly the bedroom light is turned on. I glance back at the door to see Sebastian walking over, half-clothed. If it were not for my already red face, he would see my fierce blush. But when did he take off his shirt? Not that my startled eyes mind casually glancing at his captivating body. Everything looks so, so taut and new. If I had no self-control, my hands would undoubtedly be running over his chest like I had never felt the sensations of touching someone else before. Something ordinary has become alien to me.
I stop my questionable thoughts for a moment. Since when did I think in such ways?
"Is it hot in here?" He asks. It is now, I think to myself. "Do you want to keep the window open?"
"Oh, I just had a bad dream that's all."
"You really want to know?" I question him and lean back towards the window.
He shrugs. "As long as you are up, I am. And it might be nice to know what goes on in that head of yours."
"Okay, well, I was in the forest, and there was this wolflike creature. It was chasing me, but I didn't feel like I was running, everything seemed to be in slow motion but whatever the beast was. It was just creepy. Now that I think of it, I might have had this dream as a child because it sounds really cheesy. Being chased by a monster, how original."
Sebastian tiredly leans against the headboard. "Maybe it means something."
"Really?" I say and close the window back up before making my way to the light.
"Well, don't dreams have meanings?"
I can tell that he is fighting himself to stay awake. My heart warms at the idea of him waiting up so that I am not alone. "Well, I don't know about any monsters chasing me anytime soon," I yawn and submerge us in darkness once again.
"You're scared of him, aren't you?"
I can hardly see Sebastian's figure, though moonlight eerily shines on have of his face, making him look unearthly. "You fear that the man—the Alpha—is going to come for you."
"I don't know. I have been thinking about it a lot," I mutter and lay down on my side of the bed, or that is at least what I call it.
"I don't want you to worry."
"Then I won't."
"If only it were that easy." I hear him sigh. "I hope you know that I'm going to handle all of this."
"You are the Alpha." I yawn again.
"All I want is for you to feel safe."
"You think that I don't? If any and everyone else were in my position they would feel safe, it is almost impossible not to, I mean, you go to such drastic measures. I have never felt so protected," I assure him. A short moment of silence comes between us.
"You never face me," his voice is smooth and deep. I could listen to him talk all day without a complaint. "You are always facing the other way when you sleep."
I bite the inside of my cheek. "You know, you speak your mind when you're tired, it's refreshing. You always have this intimidating aroma about you, but like this, when all the lights are off, I see past it... I was intimidated by you when we were first introduced. All I knew was that you were an Alpha and that you were making me nervous. That, and the fact that we are mates." Somewhat dizzy with exhaustion, I turn over and suck in a short breath when I notice Sebastian's handsome face and piercing eyes gazing back at me. "You see," I mumble, "facing each other is so intimate."
"I am no longer the only one who speaks their mind when they are tired," he tells me, though I am hindered by our closeness. Sleeping in the same bed together has become much more real. If I had no control over myself, if my mind was taken over by the animalistic side, I am sure my lips would be against his. The idea of it excites me.
"Thank you for protecting me," I whisper.
Part of me wants the wandering thoughts to stop, but the over half, the other half wants to bathe in it. Thoughts of it begin to cloud my mind, taking over and pushing everything else out, as I can no longer remember any of them. The ideas of us together make my toes scrunch up and my body hot, as if the thermostat has been turned up all the way. Where are these thoughts coming from? Why am I feeling this way so suddenly?
Sebastian's eyes seem to turn shades darker. Is he feeling the same?
Immediately I turn back to my other side, facing away from him. The covers are suffocating me, so I push them off, feeling the cooling night air stick to my skin. I cannot help but want to be closer to him, as close as we can be.
"Evangeline," he calls out, only fueling my fire even more.
"I have to go to the spare room," I blurt and rush out of the bed. "I'm sorry."
My head spins as I stumble down the hallway and track down my guest room. Once I push past the door, I hurry to the windows and slide them all open, letting the night air once again caress me. The drop in temperature cools me down instantaneously, and I fall back onto the bed, letting my body sprawl out over the duvet. My breaths are heavy as I calm myself down. One more second in that bedroom and I would have jumped on top of him, which is something I would never have planned in a million years.
As the frigid air takes over the room, I begin to see my breath in front of me.
My eyes drift closed.
Arms yank me upright and keep me in place. My mind slowly begins to wake as I am lifted off of the bed. Warmth comes to me in the arms of my mate. The lovely feeling of his skin against mine causes my eyes to wave open and closed, seeing the blurs of light. My memory is foggy.
I try to push myself more against him, soaking up the heat from his body. He carries me down the hall, yet I am focused primarily on the sensations that being in his arms is giving me. "Evangeline," he mumbles my name, "you are so cold."
My eyes stay open and adjust to the light. I lean my head against his chest as he lightly kicks open the other door to his bedroom and brings me inside. Sunlight seeps through the windows and casts beams of light onto the floor. My eyes study my pale arms as they rest on my body. Hints of purple and blue can be seen in the undertones.
Sebastian places me on the bed and throws the warm blankets over my chilled body. "What happened?" I mumble and enjoy the heat.
"You fell asleep with all the windows open, Evangeline. It is freezing in there," he reminds me. "Stay in the bed, warm up."
My eyes follow him as he moves about the room. "Is it morning?"
My voice is gentle and sleepy. "You're warm."
Sebastian studies me before coming over and standing before me. He pulls back the covers and joins me underneath. I scoot back to give him space, but instead, Sebastian holds me against him, wrapping his large arms around me once again. The position is so comfortable that I find myself melting in his grasp. The warmth of his body defrosts me, but even if I am no longer shivering, I do not want him to let go. Not only does his touch play mercilessly with my nerves, but the sounds of his breathing has me more assured than ever. I am in the highest comfort deemed possible.
The cloud I am floating on has my eyes fluttering closed. If it were not for the sunlight, I would be fast asleep.
"Are you comfortable?" He asks me, and for a moment I think he is joking.
"There is no word to describe how comfortable I am."
At this moment I feel defeated, no longer hiding myself from him. We may have just met a few days ago, but Sebastian already knows my secrets, he already knows about my gifts and the people that may be hunting me. We have already slept in the same bed. As usual, I am split in two, as one side wants to do everything with my mate right now, and the other worries that the first will get their way. My life was slow and repetitive before crossing the stream, and now it is cluttered with drama, longing, and fear.
Though being caressed in my mates caring arms seems to hypnotize me, I cannot lose sight of what is important. I have to find out if this Alpha really is after me. I know that I am assuming a lot from Henry's attack, but this is the only way to explain it as of now. This man and his father have kept my parents on edge, kept them from being with me. I will not let him suppress me too.
Later in the day, after Sebastian left to continue with the searches, I find myself running into Henry. He is hopping around, no longer confined to the bed upstairs. Though his ankle is obviously in no condition for walking, Henry does not let that stop him.
"Are you sure that's safe, what if you fall down the stairs?"
Henry shrugs. "I've already done it a few times. The fear has faded. But I wanted to talk to you about something. Since I can't do much, I went down to Sebastian's office and searched through the books. A lot of them are super old, and I ended up finding one on myths. Evangeline, you're a myth."
"I'm a myth?" I repeat him as I help him to the couch.
"Well, technically you and everyone else with your ability. In the book, it's called the Daughters of the Moon Goddess. It talked about how they communicate with her because of a spiritual link. It runs in very few family lines, and that's talking about hundreds of years ago. Really, they couldn't emphasize enough on how rare it is, but it's there overall."
I smile. "Yes, as a myth."
"But it's not a myth, you and your grandmother are living proof," he says excitedly.
"I suppose so, but you're the only one who believes me. I'm not even sure if Sebastian does."
"You told him?"
"I had to eventually, I mean with the attack and all. To make a long story short, I think the Alpha of my old pack is trying to kill me," I explain. "Wait, that's one more person who believes in the ability."
Henry rolls his eyes at my sarcasm. "So you think the men who attacked me are looking for you, to kill you because of your ability?" I nod. "Wow, luckily I didn't tell them anything. I acted like I didn't know who you were."
Henry leans back on the couch, getting comfortable as I sit down beside him. "The book is on the second bookshelf, two shelves down from the top and has a green cover. I think it's called Lycanthrope Mythology if you ever want to look at it."
Bruiser comes moseying into the room before he jumps up on one of the seats across from us, laying down. I have begun to love the dog, enjoying what it is like to have a pet. "He is always with you," I glance at Henry.
"He is my dog."
"When did you get him?"
"About three years ago. Everyone was tense in the house, Sebastian was arguing with my father about taking over, and my mother was trying to get them to calm down. I just got sick of the yelling, so I took my Dads truck and drove to the closest town—"
"You went into a town?" I ask, extremely intrigued and curious. "What was it like? Could they tell you were different?"
Henry takes a breath as if he is venturing back to the day in his mind. "It was eye-opening. I wasn't a very good driver, my dad taught me when he could, so I parked in this dirt lot. After that, I wandered down a street and went into the shops. The people, they were talking about what to have for dinner or how their daughter is getting married—"
"Married? What's that?"
"It's a thing people do to connect themselves if they are in love. They put a ring on their finger, and it's a symbol of their union," he explains.
My brows furrow. "Like mates?"
"It's their version of it. They chose who they want to be with for the rest of their lives. They have no mate bond."
"How odd," I murmur. "Could they tell you weren't human?"
"They didn't have a clue. You know, our kind live among them, in the cities and towns. I told you that not all rogues are bad people, some just want to live life out there, where they are free." The longing in his eyes pulls at my heart. Henry wants to be free, out in the world, making his own decisions. He wants to live alongside the humans and follow their way of life. "Anyways, there was an animal shelter in the town. I saw Bruiser and decided to take him home so that I could have a little piece of the town with me."
"Why don't you go live out there? It's obvious that you love the idea of it."
Henry sighs and shakes off my words. "I can't Evangeline. I'm the Alphas brother, Alpha blood. If anything happened to Sebastian, I would take over, and if I find my mate... I don't know. Maybe one day."
The idea of towns and cities overwhelm me. After living with my Grandmother, secluded in the forest, this pack is to me as towns are to Henry. I am content here, satisfied here, and I believe I can be for the rest of my life. Henry is not like me though, he craves more, to see and experience more. I hope he finds his way to the place he desires to be. He deserves that. Henry has a free soul, and he must express it.
"I always thought you were so happy."
He looks at me, wanting to know more. "I am happy."
"You would be happier out there."
"Until then, I'll be okay."
Though I have not seen my mother in a decade, we now have something in common. Paranoia. The constant feeling of eyes on me is driving me to near madness. I am now doing things differently than I naturally would, reacting in other ways because the intense fear that he is watching me is always on my mind. Before I make a decision, something as simple as taking a sip of water, he pops into my head. Do I want to drink this in front of him?Marina has noticed this in the morning. She stares at me as I reluctantly eat breakfast. My eyes will glance out the window every few minutes before I take another slow bite. She has asked me if something is wrong, but I tell her no. The only places that I can find privacy are in rooms with no windows, or if the curtains or pulled closed. I can no longer fall asleep with the windows open either, even with Sebastian beside me. I worry that he will slip thr
My time in the attic was difficult. Not only was I very young, but I did not understand why I had to be hidden away. All I knew was that my ability held me back in some ways. It held me back from making friends with the other children, it held me back from learning with others, it held my mind back and caused me stress. Communicating with the moon goddess was a shoulder for me to lean on when I shouted that I could not go any further. When the desert sun boiled my back, and the climb seemed too hard, she gave me a drink of water and threw me a rope. I counted on her, and for the most part, she answered my calls.I remember some days more clearly than others. The winter months blend together, mix into one long day, while the summer months are chopped up by the hour. I watched the snow from my attic window, the rain, the leaves falling from the trees—I would watch the children dance
It is unique, the feeling of a kiss. Sebastian's lips caress mine, sending an unforgettable sensation throughout my body. There is an ignition inside of me, and I have the opportunity to back away, to push myself off of him, but I cannot. Half of me is gripped on tight, not willing to put an end to the pleasant feeling on my lips and in the pit of my stomach. His hand rests on the side of my face, holding back any stray hairs from slipping down and interrupting. It is a gentle kiss, no force, just pure instinct. When it does come to an end, I find myself wanting more.There are no words spoken between us. Sebastian pulls me into his hold and continues to embrace me through the night. No nightmare or terror comes to me, but a dream instead. A dream about my mate, about our kiss and so much more. My mind will not let go of the feeling. When we connected, it felt overwhelmingly right.
The house is empty. My grandmother is gone. Two guards wait outside as I roam through the vacant space. Everything is still here, the furniture, some clothes, food, it is like she just disappeared. Right when I came through the door and called through the house, realizing that she is not here, I panicked almost to the point of an attack. Immediately, I blame it on the Alpha, as my mind cannot conjure up any other guilty man.After shouting at the guards to search the area for her, I scavenge for a note, possibly saying that she has gone away. Once I find none, tears spring to my eyes and my heart squeezes tightly in my chest, the pounding shielding any other sounds from slipping in. What if he took her? What if he killed her? The thoughts rush as if the dam holding them back finally broke.The house is silent besides the frantic s
"Please, tell me you've found something," I ask the guard as they return from the latest, and most likely the last search. The guard tells me the usual, and my shoulders fall, disappointed and weighed down by worry. I could take this information two ways; the first is that she could still be alive, and the second is that she could be high above us. As always, it is easier to visualize the second."Are you sure you found nothing? How far out did you go?"The guard looks down at me, pitying my desperation. "We went out farther than the last time and saw nothing but forest. I'm sorry, Luna.""Where is Sebastian?"Heading in the guard's direction, I find my mate close by talking with Andrew. He notices me, most likely seeing the depressio
My head leans against the window as the events from last night come back to haunt me. Everything is a little fuzzy, but I can recall my embarrassing actions quite clearly. The kissing, the intense feelings, the headache, it was all horrifying, though I did enjoy the kissing very much. I cannot help it, the Mate bond has me tightly in its hold. The bond will surely give me a hard time these next few days, as Sebastian is painfully far from the Kenn Pack. I wonder if he will be able to sleep because I know that I will be tossing and turning for most of the dreadful night. My anxiety is already continuously reminding me of the nightmares since Sebastian will not be here to shield me from it all.Saying goodbye was a hurdle, and I almost did not make it over. This is the first time we will ever be apart for more than half a day, and the realization of being on my own is making my foot tap ra
I walk freely along the path, into the heart of the pack, with my guards following strictly behind me. With each step, I wait for something to be set off, some triggering effect in my mind to suddenly release all memories of this place from when I was a child. With each step, I am pulled further away from Alpha Kenn's house, but I continue with no plan of stopping. Am I supposed to feel lost here? Though I did not venture off much, a part of me is still hoping for a familiar building or area. It is when I come up to a set of homes, that my fingers begin to tremble, shaking slightly with anticipation. Finally, something familiar, the air smells of something I have tasted before, something pliable so I can bend it to mean what I want.I continue along and study each house as we pass by, gazing up the structures from foundation to roof. My eyes act as a metal detector, waiting for an
"Sebastian?""I cannot wait for you to come home tomorrow," his voice soothes me, making my raging nerves settle for a while. "My heart has grown too fond if that is possible.""Today will go by quick, okay? Just focus on work, and I promise it will be morning before you know it." A smile lights up my dreary face. "I can't wait to tell you everything when I get back.""Was the trip worth it?""At night when I am lying awake, no, but when I am talking with Alpha Kenn, definitely. I have learned so much, and when I get back, I'm sure all of our problems will be solved.""You sure are confident in what he is telling you."I watch Alpha