He was sweating profusely.His heart hammered violently against his chest. The cold air around him was not helping his situation. He had found refuge in the empty barn as he believed this was the only place he could truly be left alone to face the devil of what was happening to him.He could see the shadows threatening to attack him. The only thing keeping them at bay was the little window which let in the crescent moonlight.The moonlight not only kept the shadows away but also illuminated his features. His dark curls were messed up above his head. One of the locs stuck to his wet forehead and he paid no attention to it. His light brown skin glistened in the moonlight. This was partly because he was still sweating. The light went on to fall over the silk white shirt he wore. It was opened at the chest, therefore, exposing the rich contours of his smooth chest. Sadly, the view came to an end above his navel. His dark brown breeches had become dirty due to the fact that he was sitting on the bare ground of the dirty barn. His boots were fitted tightly to his legs.He rested his back on an abandoned wagon that was filled up with hay. For this reason, some of the hay got into his hair but he couldn't care less. He was more concerned with what he was facing. The main reason why he had come to hide in the barn.The night felt quiet. Too quiet. It was as if the night could feel the dilemma that he was going through.He felt himself burning up from the inside. It was a type of fire that he had never felt before. He threw a glance down to his fingers and noticed new sets of claws threatening to grow out of his nails. The horror was that they were already emerging.He squeezed his fist so tight that the claws entered his palm and caused crimson liquid to flow out of the injury."What is happening to me?" He asked himself with a deep baritone voice that had been destabilized with fear. "Why is it happening again?" He went on.His body kept trembling with every minute that went by. The fear and uncertainty of not understanding were beginning to get to him.As he was still battling with himself he caught a scent, a very familiar person. It was a mixture of coconut and roses. There was only one person in the world he knew to have this unique mixture of scent.Mariana.It surprised him that he had caught her scent when she hadn't even gotten into the barn. He was surprised that she was coming his way yet he felt some kind of comfort that she was the one coming. So he waited for her to reach him.He was almost beginning to think he imagined it until he saw her silhouette appear by the door. He said nothing as he watched her step into the moonlight.She looked as gracious as ever. Her dark blue dress fell over her legs and covered it. Her curly mass of hair fell over her shoulders and stopped by her waist. Her fair skin glowed under the moonlight. Her light brown eyes reflected the light of the moon. Her small face housed the smallest of noses and small yet full lips. She looked like a goddess who had descended from the moon itself. Her hands were placed together before her gown so that she still carried the gracious air of the lady she was."Mariana, what are you doing here?" He whispered.Mariana only smiled and moved toward him. She knelt before him and examined the young man before her. There was sympathy and concern in her eyes."Lucius, oh Lucius. Look at you," She breathed in a small and melodious voice. It was so soothing that it brought warmth to Lucius' racing heart.She slowly brought her hands to his cheek and felt the rough scar that began above his eyes, down to his lips.Lucius closed his eyes as he was getting affected by her touch. The way she trailed her fingers over his scar left electric sensations throbbing at the spot. His once hammering heart found calmness immediately and it was no longer racing with fear. It was now racing with excitement."Mariana. . ." He whispered. The claws that had being threatening to be unleashed retreated to their hiding places. The dilemma was gone. He was fine again.Mariana didn't stop with her fingers. She kept caressing his face. She leaned closer and planted a soft kiss on his left cheek. She kept peppering his skin with kisses. She went all the way down to his neck. All Lucius could say in return was her name as he felt electric sensations throbbing on every spot which her lips touched."Mariana. . ."Mariana stopped planting kisses on his neck and stopped to gaze into Lucius' glowing gray eyes. He looked mythical yet enchanting. Everything about him excited her."Mariana, you know we shouldn't. . ." Lucius finally got the courage to speak."Hush! Do not speak to me about that. It is you I want," She protested."You are betrothed to my prince and the heir to the throne. I am nothing but a mere guard to the prince. If word gets out about what we're doing then he will surely have our heads," Lucius pointed out.Mariana stopped and gazed into Lucius' eyes. For a moment, she looked serious. Lucius was beginning to feel that he had succeeded in breaking past her stubbornness. Until she broke her silence."Screw him. It is you I desired before. It is you I desire now. And it is you I will always desire. He can have my head, I don't care!" She exclaimed.Immediately after she finished, she crashed her lips atop Lucius lips. The moment their lips met, Lucius felt an explosion of sensations in his heart. His body burned with desire. Her lips felt so soft and tasted like sweet honey. He could feel her heat and he wanted more of it. At a point, Lucius feared that he was going to burn from it. For the way she moved her lips on his made him reach places he had never been to. It felt right to have her there with him at that very moment even if he knew that he was wrong.Lucius knew it deep down that Mariana was eventually going to be the cause of his destruction. He could feel it in his guts yet he chose to remain. He chose to hold on to her warmth. To hold on to the feelings of joy that she brought him. Hold on to the love that he could only get from her.Lucius chose to allow her destroy him. It was the price he had to pay for falling in love with Mariana.
~ONE MONTH EARLIER~The atmosphere was cold, despite the fact that the sun was shining high in the sky. Maybe it was because of the towering trees that shielded the lives beneath from the sun's warmth. It could have also been because the sun had just begun to take its place in the sky. Or maybe it was because of the emptiness in Mariana Rosette's heart.Mariana's horse trotted through the quiet woods. Her two companions also followed quietly behind her on their horses. No one said a word.Her white mane suddenly neighed. This caused Mariana to reveal the hand that had been hidden safely behind her dark cloak. She placed her palm on its neck and gently caressed it."Not now, Calliope. Be calm," She told the horse.She moved her dark boots slightly on the dark saddle of the horse. The movement caused her brown riding dress to make ruffling sounds. She ignored it.She threw a short glance at her companions again. They were both of the male species and were old enough to be her fathers. T
Mariana Rosette couldn't forget the gray eyes that she had encountered in the woods. Even as the iron gates of her aunt's courtyard came into view. Even as she examined the elegantly constructed mansion in which her aunt resides. Even as the horses came to a stop and she dismounted Calliope, the thought of those intriguing gray eyes never left her head."We're here Lady Mariana," Quin announced behind her.Mariana nodded and threw another scrutinizing stare at the mansion. It was still the way she remembered it when she visited as a child. It stood on its own in its magnificence. It had a rich mixture of expensive and exotic woods from the best parts of the world as well as bricks that decorated some parts of the wall. The house was the family home of the Romans, her mother's home. The Romans never had a male child and with Mariana's mother dead, every riches that they had was inherited by her aunt, Lydia Roman. Lydia was the same person who had become Mariana's new guardian as her
There was confusion on his mind as he strolled through the castle corridors.He had tried to get her off his mind. He had tried to forget the incident but no matter what he did, her flawless skin kept coming back to his mind.Lucius made a right turn and spotted the stone stairway that he was about to ascend. Some maids passed by him and giggled suddenly. He chose to ignore them.His mind suddenly took him back to the forest. The only reason why he had been there in the first place was that he had been tracking down one of the beasts that had been terrorizing Asgaria. He had heard of the beast's stories in the pubs and inns that he visited. There had been people turning up missing or dead. The threat had become too much that even before Prince Leonard brought up the matter to him, he had already taken it upon himself to go hunting for it.He subconsciously brought his left hand to the scar on the left side of his face. When he realized what he was doing, he dropped his hand to his sid
Mariana's eyes were squeezed shut."What is the name of your horse again? Ah, yes, Calliope. It will be really devastating if some bad misfortune were to befall the poor horse. It's up to you though, if the horse will remain safe or not," Lydia's threat came back to Mariana's thought.It still baffled Mariana that her aunt had dared to threaten her. All this was happening because she was an orphan now. It was happening because those beasts had murdered her parents that day. If her parents had still been alive, then she would have been in the safety of her room, not bothered at all about some rich and spoilt prince that whom her aunt had arranged a marriage for her."I am done my Lady," Leandra whispered.This caused Mariana's eyes to fly open. She had totally forgotten that Leandra was in the room with her. She had forgotten that Leandra had been dressing her hair. She had zoned out to another episode of her many thoughts.Mariana stared at herself in the mirror. She looked different.
"Let's go sit in the dining room and have some breakfast. I'm sure you're hungry from your journey here," Lydia began. She was trying desperately to kill whatever atmosphere that her niece had managed to create. She was hell-bent on making the marriage proposal work."That is a good idea," Leonard agreed and he followed Lydia to the dining room.The place was already prepared with all sorts of food. It was like a mini feast. Leonard corked his brows in amazement. He had heard that Lydia also knew how to play a good host but he had not known to what extent. She really was good at it.Lydia gestured at the seats for them. "Please, do sit here," She announced and both men took their seats.Then Lydia turned to Sarah, Leandra and Cassandra who had been waiting in the room for them. She gave them silent instructions to begin serving the prince. They nodded and immediately began to fulfill their duties.Mariana was about to take her seat when her aunt gave her a naughty look."Mariana dear,
He stalked through the woods.He was as quiet as ever. He moved like his feet never touched the ground. He moved like there weren't thorns in the bushes. His eyes glowed as he listened for any other sound that was unnatural to the forest. He listened for any disturbance. Any extra sound.Lucius could feel that he was close to catching the beast. He had to put an end to it immediately for it was terrorizing too many people.There was a thick fog around him. Probably because the sun was yet to rise. His cloak gave him some form of cover and the fog also hid his location. His gray eyes glowed even brighter as he moved. He could feel it in his guts that he was close. Suddenly, he heard a twig snap behind him. He whipped his head to the back immediately to see what it was. It was pointless for he could barely see due to the fog.The forest immediately grew too quiet. Even the birds which had been calling before had stopped. It was as if the forest could feel the tension in the air. Lucius
Mariana Rosette rode Calliope in silence as she neared her aunt's home. There were multiple thoughts in her head. She was thinking about Lucius' gray eyes. She was thinking about the beasts he described. How much they resembled the beasts who had attacked her hometown.Had these same beasts followed her all the way here? Was the world not safe anymore? Where had these beasts been this entire time? Why had they come up now? Why were they attacking and terrorising humans now? What did they hope to gain?Mariana rode into the courtyard. She dismounted her horse. "You did good today Calliope," She patted the animal.Calliope whinnied in response. Mariana led Calliope to the stables. She reached the entrance and met Jasper at the doorway looking worried. When he spotted Calliope, he breathed a sigh of relief."For a moment, I thought I had lost your horse. You could have informed me that you were going to ride her. I would have prepared Calliope for you myself," Jasper began.Mariana shru
Lucius could not take his eyes off Mariana. He felt something deep within him fighting to be unleashed and run to Mariana. He wanted to grab her badly and pull her into his arms. He wanted to plant kisses on her neck. He wanted to plant kisses all over her delicate body. He craved to plant kisses at that spot between her legs. He broke away from her intense burning brown eyes. She wasn't his. She was Leonard's. It was treason to think about the prince's woman in this way. He could be killed for it. It was dangerous to have her on his mind.But her smile was too beautiful to ignore. The smile she had on her face made his heart pump out blood faster than normal. It made him feel more alive than he had ever felt. That was going to be pure torture. Why had Leonard chosen him to get Mariana to the castle? He was going to have to spend the entire ride alone with her. How was he going to control himself and stop himself from touching her? He was very sure that the moment he made contact wit