She was ready to take her last breath. Life was meaningless. She has never known what happiness was. She was tired of always being afraid. Death was going to be her peace.

He has waited long enough for her – his mate. She never came, so he replaced his longing for her with hate and anger. He has learned to live without her. He didn need her now. Not after rage has become his fuel.


I don want to be here, and sure as hell don want to see his face. The chronically smug look on his face would irk anyone. On top of that, the business season always irritates the shit out of me. The dragons want to make certain their prince will be safe, the elves on my territory need reminding to keep their boundaries. Lion, the piece of shit of a cousin, keeps badgering me to attack the dragons. The vampires want an alliance, but the council hates them. Now, there is father, requesting a meeting. Few more days of this bullshit, and I am done. I legally have the right to kill anyone who bothers me outside of the season.

”What a pleasure to see you, son. ” Fur, my father, plasters a fake smile on his face.

I hate the man. He spreads his arms wide, as if to welcome me into his temple. The large, marbled building behind my father is muddled by the darkened smoke coming from the pits, covering the shine of the grey stone. It is a magnificent building, but it is the only thing left from his glory days.

”What do you want? ” I bark at him.

Thats as civilized as I can manage to be today. My father just glares at me, unfazed by my approach towards him. He did raise me after all. Well, not really, but he did leave a lasting impression.

”Liont point, I need space for the Elves. ” He gets to the point.

Its always more land. Thats where my fathers fall will be. The elves are resourceful, they are good at finding valuables, but they cannot be trusted. Yet, he continues to buy land for them. A greedy fool can be helped.

By the looks of it, I mustve interrupted his weekly sacrifice into the pit. A few humans are lined up along the cliff ready to be shoved off. My father is a lord in the underworld, not as strong as he used to be, but still a lord, and he makes sacrifices. To who? To Hades? Hades doesn give a shit. When will everyone learn that such traditions are long forgotten?

The idiocy of this situation irritates me even more. I am tempted to slice off the humans heads just to spite him, and leave him to his own issues with those damned elves. The elves are in fact cursed by the old witches to forever be greedy, hence they cannot be trusted.

I am about to tell him to piss off and leave, but a soft wind blows, and it carries the most intoxicating scent. I smell strawberries with a touch of jasmine. What the actual **? What are strawberries and jasmine doing in this dump? Its not the scent itself that is getting to me, its what the scent is doing to my brain. Its making me foggy and mushy – its addicting. I want more of it. I want to be closer to it. This feels like a prank of a witch. Best not be, I am in no mood.

I take in a deep breath to get a hold of my mind, but instead, get my lungs full of that scent. My lungs tighten as I long to find it, to hold it, to have it near me forever. Its coming from the cliff, that is the only the direction the wind will blow from. I walk over to the humans standing about ten feet away from the edge, smoke from the pit below lazily creeps to the top, as I observe them casually. I can let him know whats happening, so I pretend to think over his request.

Liont point is a swap, but I will not be doing business with father this year. Or any year, for that matter. He showed me no mercy or kindness when I fought alone to survive. Everything I have is because I fought for it with my own bare hands.

”Whats your price? ” I ask absent mindedly.

I don care about the price, I want to know where the scent of coming from. I crave it. I am desperate for it. I feel if I leave without the scent, heads will roll.

I walk past the first two humans. They smell putrid, vomit and shit combined. Fear oozes out of them, as some of them shake uncontrollably. They are about to die, so I suppose that is understandable for a human. Disgusting.

Next. No fear, thats interesting. Shes a petite thing, her head is covered in a brown hood, breathing is steady, heart is beating so calmly one could think she was sleeping.

”What do you want? ” My father asks in the distance.

He is getting annoyed I am inspecting his property, but he is restraining his frustration to get what he wants.

I ignore him. Needing to see what is under the hood, I lift it, to find her head bent down and hands calmly held together. Her heartrate has not changed, and her breathing has not escalated. Well, this is frustrating, usually people hear my voice, and they immediately panic. I want to grab her chin firmly to cause her pain as I lift her face to mine, but my body won let me grab as roughly as I wanted to. I force her face up, but she looks away from me, staring somewhere in the distance.

”Look at me, slave, ” I demand.

She looks me directly in the eyes, daring me throw her off the edge. Her eyes are the color of the sky during a clear summer day, beautiful and alluring. Her face is a bit pale, eyes sunken in with black tired circles underneath. Her cheek bones stick a little, as if her hasn eater her whole life. My heart tightens with discomfort at the sight of her in so much misery. Maybe with some food in her she would gain some color. I can tell the color of her hair with the layers of mud in it. She looks terrible, why doesn she smell like it?

A slight spike in her heartrate, but no fear. This is very irritating. Why isn she afraid? I take a breath in, and all I smell is her – strawberries and jasmine. Her smell, her eyes, lack of fear. I am drunk of the bits and pieces of her. In a perfect word, I would love to leave her here to be sacrificed by the idiot of a father, but I can seem to let her go. It is as if thought she had tied a rope around my heart.

”Ill take her. ” I decide. ”And fifty percent of what the elves find. I know how your elves are, ” I state my terms nonchalantly.

I have to force myself to leave her behind, while I talk to my father. I already miss her scent, her eyes, and just her existence.

”That thing? ” My father points to her with an insulting laugh. ”Why? ” He snorts.

His insults infuriate me, but I ball my fists to the point where my claws start to extend into my palms. I take a pained slow breath in an attempt to control myself. I am not going to kill my father today, that would be frowned upon by the council. I may be the strongest of the underworld Lords, but I have no desire for a war.

”I haven had a toy in a while, ” I state casually.

The puny humans heart rate shoots up so fast, I have to turn around to make sure I am hearing things right.

Fuck me! She is running towards the edge of the cliff and without hesitation she jumps into the pit of fire. As soon as I lose sight of her, the strawberries and jasmine disappear, and I find my myself suffocating.

Shit! I let my wings come out and I dive after her.

Luckily the fall from the cliff is long, so I have plenty of time to grab her before the fire consumes her. I, the lord of the largest part of the dark world, have to save a **ing puny little human. My ego is bruised, but for it felt right saving her, as if it is my job to protect her. The hell it is.

I am holding her in my arms, her small body snug against mine, as I turn us back to cliffs, away from the red inferno underneath us. Her scent is driving me into serenity, but my frustration wants to shake her senseless. I want to hurt some beings. I want to punch some things. So much rage, but because of this irresistible scent, I can seem to lay a finger on her. Witchcraft. I will find the witch and I will behead one.

I land in front of my father with a loud thud, placing her next to me, but the girl decides to run for the cliff again. Youve got to be kidding me. I don think so. I grab her by the waist and throw her over my shoulder.

”Let go, ” she sobs as she hits my shoulders with her tiny human fists.

Thats bold considering no one dare lay a hand on me, especially a human. The underworld in no place for a human, but it gives a sense of power to the underworld lords, so they take them as slaves. Now, I am forced to deal with one.

”I will be leaving now, ” I tell my father through gritted teeth.

I am in such frenzy that if I stay here any longer, I might actually kill my father and the humans at the cliff. But killing during the business season is against the law. I may be one of the strongest Lords in the world, but I am not interested in a war.

”Ill – ” he starts.

I don let him finish. Yes, hell send a messenger for the contract. I know.

Ive got bigger problems right now, like this girl and her power over me, than my father and his stupid elves. She continues to brazenly hit me without taking a break. She would rather die than go with me. Might have to cut her hands off for hitting me. I create a travel port to my castle with the fairy stone, the bright blue light shining in front of me, and step through. Having ferries as allies comes with its benefits, such as getting a handy travel port.

The portal arrives in my room at the castle, and I toss her off my shoulder like a sack of potatoes on to the oversized bed. She whimpers in pain in the process, but doesn look up or move anywhere. Good. Stay that way. Somewhere deep in my soul I feel a tinge of guilt for making her cry and whimper, but I have too much rage cursing through my veins to pay attention to that.

Now, I need to let my fuming furry out. My anger issues are never a pretty sight, so I step out of the room, leaving the girl on her own. She could try to leave the room, but no way would she be able to leave the castle.

Fuck! I forgot to tell Alyas she is here. He will eat her if he sees an intruder in the castle. He may be ridiculous at times, but he doesn respond well to uninvited strangers at the castle. Maybe I should let Alyas eat her, that way the problem will be gone. Sky blue eye, strawberries, jasmine…Damn it. I turn around to march back inside. Why does today have to be such a shit day?

Deep breaths, just like buddha recommended. That guy always has everything figured out. Always calm and happy. Fuck that shit. Maybe if Buddha tried punching people to free his soul, he would agree with me. I didn leave a good impression when we crossed paths, but the guy has my respect for having enough people believe in him to become a deity.

I turn the corner of the hallway to my room and my heart about stopped. She is running down the hallway directly at Alyas, who has his teeth are bared. He is ready to attack, but she doesn stop, she runs directly at him. She wants to die, and that sting a small corner of my heart. I want her happy and safe.

I am about to yell at Alyas to stand down, but he bows and nuzzles his head at the puny humans chest, stopping her in her tracks. What is wrong with him? Did the dog go stupid?

”What are you doing? ” I bark at him.

Shes can harm him, but she is a stranger in the castle. Then again, I sometimes forget Alyass tendencies around females. We have been friends for a very long time, and he is not the same person he used to be. Sometimes I miss the old Alyas.

”What? Shes harmless, ” Alyas complains, still in his wolf form.

She turns around at the sound of my voice, terrified. Her eye go wide, her pale face goes completely white, and her chest rises heavy from panic.

”Where are you going to run now, kitten? ” I mock her attempt.

Without saying a word, she starts running towards the large glass window at the end of the hall. Youve got to be kidding me. She is going to jump through the window. I rub my temples in frustration and teleport myself right in front of her. She hits my body hard and tumbles backwards on her ass, handing on the dark hardwood floor.

”Get up, ” I demand impatiently.

She wraps her arms around her legs and tucks her head in, creating a small ball out of herself. Shaking her head vigorously, as she holds herself tight.

Fine, if she wants to do this the hard way, hard way it will be. I peel her arms away and toss her over my shoulder. She starts screaming and hitting me with those tiny human hands of hers. It doesn hurt, but the fact she thinks that does any damage is annoying and insulting.

”Stop squirming. ” I turn to look at her.

Her butt cheeks are right there, next to my face. I am caught off guard at how round they are. They are perfect for me to palm.

She continues her attempts of escaping me to no avail. She unmistakably has a death wish, so I do what seems like would get her attention. I palm both of her ass cheeks in my hands and give them a good squeeze. That felt good, as a jolt of electricity shoots into my groins, making my cock responds by growing slightly. Shit. For how thin and bony she is, her ass sure feels nice. I wonder what would happen if she was healthy and fit. They would jiggle nicely. Hell, where are these thoughts coming from?

”Please don . ” She sobs as her body goes completely limp.

I pass by Alyas with the crying girl still on my shoulder to get a judgmental look from him.

”Im not going to **** her. ” I glare at him.

He clearly doesn approve of my treatment of the human.

She stops sobbing at my words and simply lays still. Her face bounces against my back and arms hang low, as if she is a dead body. Lifeless and motionless.

As soon as I get in my room, I toss her on my bed and stare at her in suspicious contemplation. She looks dirty and disgusting.

”Take a shower. The door across the room. ” I point to the bathroom door behind her.

She stares at me without moving a single muscle, her blue eyes capturing my soul.

”Do you need me to drag you over there as well? ” I am annoyed, both at her unwillingness to listen and the fact that her one look makes my heart ache.

She shakes her head aggressively and bolts to the bathroom door, walking around the white fur rug I have laid out in the middle of the room. I watch her scrawny form, dressed in torn up, oversized hoodie and some old black pants, disappear into the bathroom. Finally, she listens.

”Get her some fresh clothe. ” I mind link Alyas.

”Yes, because we have the same size, ” he responds with sarcasm.

”Just find her some clothes, ” I snap back.

”Fine. Ill go to the market. Meanwhile give her your clothes, ” he retorts.

I know for a fact he is rolling his eyes at me.

”Fine. ” Was my annoyed answer.

I place the plain white shirt and black sweats, I plucked out of the closet on the marble countertop of the bathroom, while she continues to shower. Thick steam covers the whole room, as the hot water runs over her body. I look at the muddled shower door to see the silhouette her body frozen, her heart rate escalated. Shes waiting for me to leave, as if she is still enough, I won notice her.

Sitting on the black covers of the bed again, staring into the floor to ceiling balcony doors, I wreck my brain as to who this human might be, until a knock snaps me out of my thoughts.

”Since when do you knock, Alyas? ” I yell towards the door.

”Since we have a guest. ” He cracks the door open.

The smell of muffins, sausage and eggs attack my nostrils, but nothing can get the strawberries and jasmine out of mind. It has embedded itself into every fiber of my body, into my heart, into my soul. I feel helpless against it. It is infuriating.

”What do you want? ” I snap at him.

I am not upset with him, I am annoyed with the predicament I am in. Alays being the better man, ignores my snappy mood and enters the room with a large smile on his face.

”Food for the girl. ” He walks into the room in his human form, a tray of food in his hands.

I roll my eyes at him. Always the thoughtful one.

”Why is she here? ” He asks the burning question, as he sits on the large chaise placed a few feet away from the bed.

”I don know. I think its the witches are playing a dangerous game. ” I am convinced it is them. ”I will get this curse broken tomorrow and she can jump into the pit all she wants. ” I glare at the bathroom door.

As I say those words, a wave of nausea washes over me. I need her near.

”What curse? ” Alyas asks, a bit perplexed, his green eyes reflecting the light coming in from the balcony.

I have no desire to tell him everything she makes me feel, but this mutt is older than dirt. I call him a mutt out of anger, but realistically, Alyas grandfather was Fenrir. He is no wolf to be messed with. As much as it pains me to admit, he is incredibly wise. But I won be telling him that anytime soon. This **er is overly confident as it is. He knows he is strong and knowledgeable.

”Her scent is intoxicating. Stupid strawberries and jasmine, ” I spit out.

Alyas stares at me as if I have suddenly become slow in the head. I don like his glare. Its like the answer is obvious, but I don see it.

”Wow. And here I thought you still had some brains left, ” he mutters in disbelief.

I pinch the bridge of my nose. I can murder my best friend today, but I just might.

”I have one word for you, ” Alyas starts, and I glare it him. ”Mate, ” he finishes.

My heart stops for a second. Thats not possible. I have been without one for a thousand years. I don need one now, especially not a weak little human.

Mates, a funny thing. We, demon hellhounds usually meet our mates in the first few hundred years of our lives. They are our soulmates, our other half. They make us stronger. At some point I was eager to meet mine. I wanted someone to rule with. I wanted someone to share my power with, but it never happened. I was considered weak, because I wasn as strong as I couldve been with a mate, but I proved them wrong. I didn need her then, I do not need her now.

The door of the bathroom opens, and the girl stands still, my shirt hanging to her mid-highs and the pants look like they could fit three of her in them. The steam from the hot shower seeps out behind her, creating a soft hue around her frail body. Her face is now clean, it is pale, but her cheeks have a pink tinge to it and her eyes don seem as sunken in. Her lips are the color of strawberries, and her hair is so black it reminds me of ravens. She needs food, but she is so perfect.

Fuck me, the mutt is right. It doesn matter. I don need a weak human as a mate, no need to get attached and sentimental.

”Sit. ” I point to the velvet chaise across from me.

She stares at me uncertain, then looks at Alyas and back at me.

”Ive got food, ” Alyas sings with a wide smile.

She looks at the platter of food and then back at me, rooted in her spot.

”Come sit, or I will drag you over. ” I warn her.

She swallows hard and rushes over to the chaise.

”Muffin? ” Alyas has a stupid smile on his face.

Alyass changed perception on life is irritating, to say the least. He used to be just as angry as me, but shit happened and he changed. Good for him. Annoying for me to deal with.

She doesn say anything, but her stomach grows with hunger. She looks down at her hands and shakes her head, saying no to the offered food. Are you kidding me? She is starving, and is she is saying no to food? Is her plan to die from starvation now? I wouldn put it past her at this point.

”Here, Ill unwrap it for you. ” Alyas chirps ignoring her denial. ”Say ah. ” He opens his mouth wide after breaking off a piece of the muffin.

He looks ridiculous. Compared to his huge, muscled body, she looks like a small child. I watch the scenario unamused. She better take that muffin out of his hands and start chewing, but of course she doesn . So, Alyas being the obnoxious giant that he is, lifts her chin with his thumb as gently as he possibly can, squeezes her cheeks to open her mouth and places the piece in her mouth.

”Now chew. ” He makes chewing motions with his mouth, as if he is teaching a small child to eat.

”Name? ” I ask her.

She flinches at my words and looks at Alyas.

”Romana, ” she answers after Alyas gives her a small nod with a smile.

Why is she listening to him?

”Alyas, get out. ” Im done watching him dote over her.

”Be nice. ” He glares at me.

I don bother with an answer. I continue glaring at her after Alyas has left the room, as she holds the muffin in her hands without bothering to eat it. She is scared. Not death, but of something else.

”Keep eating, ” I tell her.

She needs to eat, at least to get rid of the sunken-in eyes.

She slowly eats the muffin without looking up at me. She is terrified of me, she wants nothing to do with me. I feel the same way, or a least used to. Now that I met her, her scent has etched its way into my heart, I can do anything but keep her around. She makes me stronger, I can feel it already, but she is a weak and human. I don need her.

”Do you know what mates are? ” I carefully watch her reaction.

She nods without looking up at me. Why won she look at me?

”You are mine, ” I tell her blankly.

Her face shoots up in terror and she shakes her head vigorously, but all I can focus on is her mesmerizing blues. I am getting lost in them and I don want to escape. But I snap out my trance when she gets up and books it for the balcony doors. Not again, this is getting old. I wrap my arms around her waist before she makes it halfway across the room and hold her tight to my body. In the process I inhale deep and her scent hits me full force, her warmth attacking every cell of my body. It feels right holding her like this. She belongs with me. I realize a terrifying thought. If I could no longer look into her eyes, feel her, touch her, smell her, know she is alright, I would go mad.

Fuck me.

”Stop doing that, ” I whisper into her ear, and she goes still, her breathing heavy. ”I am not planning on hurting you, which you don seem to be afraid of. I am not going to **** you, I have plenty of women who would love to sleep with me willingly, ” I add, and she relaxes in my arms – alright, I guess thats her biggest fear. ”Now, if you try killing yourself again, there will be punishment, do you understand? ” I wait for her to answer.

She nods and I slowly let her out of my arms. She jumps out and I already miss her closeness. I am royally **ed.

”You get to stay until I decide what to do with you, ” I tell her.

She nods in return.

”I will be gone all day tomorrow. Alyas will be here to babysit you, don do anything stupid. Do you understand? ” I clarify.

She nods again.

I wish I was strong enough to have her sleep in her own room, but as pathetic as it sounds, I need her proximity. If don have her close, I won sleep all night and the meeting tomorrow will be a shitshow.

”Because we are mates, you will sleep with me. ” I decide.

Her eyes go wide with terror again. Her heart is beating so wildly, it is slightly concerning. I half expect her to start running again, but stays rooted in her spot.

”I told you, I will not be forcing you to have sex with me, ” I remind her as I release a long frustrated sigh.

She nods, but her heart is still hammering. Honestly, most women would go out their way to have sex with me, why isn she interested?

”You can wonder about the castle and do what you want otherwise. ” I continue to watch her face, as if memorizing every part of it.

She nods again without saying a word. Not such for words, is she?

”Alyas, show her around. ” I mind link Alyas.

I leave the woman alone in my room to deal with my anger issues. Yes, it is a problem. I am aware.

”Of course. ” He chirps a bit too joyfully for my liking.

Fucking mutt and his joyful perspective on life.

I try taking a few deep breaths, but it doesn seem to be helping. Fuck it, chaos it is. I let my rage free, by smashing everything surrounding me. Courtesy of the hellhound gene, and then burn everything in the gym to dust. Courtesy of the demon gene. Ash floats around the room like snowflakes around the now empty room, with some metal bars sticking out here and there. Not a pretty sight, but this happens frequently enough where I will have everything replaced by tomorrow evening. Much better. Now I can take a few deep breaths to collect myself. Eris was right, chaos feels good. It feels satisfying.

I recognize the emotional issues I have. But these issues, have gotten me this far. One does not become the strongest Lord by being kind and friendly. Frankly, anger tends to eat away at a soul. Anger makes one forget of better things in life. Anger isolates.

I close my eyes, attempting to think of what to do with the girl. She is human and weak, which makes her a liability. If someone were to find out I have a mate, everyone would try to kill her to weaken me. If I were to get rid of her, I would go mad, so the most logical thing to do is just to keep her around and maybe isolate her from the world in my castle. But if I keep her around, she might try to escape or kill herself again, she isn exactly fond of me.

I try to think of a reasonable plan, but my thoughts betray me and wonder off to her alluring eyes, her pale skin with that soft tinge of pink on her cheek, her raven black hair laying to her hips. And then my mind goes to the feel of her ass on my palms. After that I lose any common sense because I start imagining what it would feel like to train kisses from her lips down to her neck, what it would feel like to run my fingers against her bare skin… this is problem.

If I focus on the meetings for tomorrow, I won have to think about her, so thats what I do. I head into my office and I put my energy into work. At this point it is late, so she is probably sleeping. Let me rephrase that, I hope she is sleeping. I don have the energy to deal with her fear and her constant need to fight me.

”Mia, I sent you some emails, make sure everything is set up for tomorrow, ” I tell Mia over the phone, as I walk out of my office.

Alyas is leaning against the wall. The giant looks like a creepy statue, looming, waiting to crush your soul.

”So, shes sleeping in your room? ” Alyas smirks at me.

I rub my face to refrain from punching that smug look off his face. Maybe I should. Another way to let my anger out. I can hurt him that much, he is just as strong as me, if not stronger.

”Yes. ” Is my short response. I am not falling into his traps.

”Shes sweet, you know. You could be a bit nicer. ” He follows me down the hall, that is dark by now, just a few lights on the wall turned on.

”Im sure she is sweet, Alyas. But she is a weak human, she is a liability. What would happen if someone found out my mate is a weak little human? They would kill her easily to ruin me, ” I explain the inconvenience she is.

”She makes you stronger. Are you telling me you, Lord Lucian, can protect his own mate? ” He mocks me.

The bastard knows how to push my buttons. That is what I get for being friends with him for so long. Damn the wolf and his wisdom. Why can my anger and annoyance be justified. Yes, I can protect her, but I waited for a millennium.

”It took her a thousand years, ” I grit through my teeth, as irritation and resentment boil over.

I have learned to live without her. I have accepted her absence. Why now?

”Yes, and thats her fault, ” Alyas responds with sarcasm. ”Shes been alive for barely twenty years. ” He points out.

”Shes nineteen? ” For some reason her age surprises me.

”She turned twenty yesterday. ” There is sadness in his voice.

I suddenly feel guilty. Shes so young, with such a strong desire to die. What happened to her to want to die so badly? I want the ones who failed her so terribly to hurt.

”Fine. Ill try to be nicer, ” I grumble.

The truth is, I don know how to be nice to her. Where do I start? She hates me. She probably knows my reputation and wants nothing to do with me. Fate is cruel, isn it? I wait a thousand years for her, and she turns out to despise me. I didn help the case, but still. Wouldn it be easier to hate her as well?

I open the door to my room and I am greeted by her sweet scent, sucking away the anger, rage, annoyance, hate. I look at the bed excepting to see her small body tucked under the sheets, but the bed is untouched and empty. Panic starts to settle as I frantically look for her around the room. She better not have jumped out of the balcony. I look towards the balcony for my eyes to stop at the loveseat-couch next to the balcony, her body curled up like a small kitten, probably cold without a blanket. I breathe out in relieve.

I take a moment to be a creep and watch her face. She looks so peaceful and perfect. I run my finger against her face and move a strand of her raven hair out of the way, but she tucks her knees closer into herself. Shes cold, so I slide my arms under her and scoop her into my arms. I expect her wake up and start screaming, but instead she mumbles something incoherent and nuzzles her nose into my chest.

Now that she is not kicking and screaming in my arms, I can feel the warmth of her proximity. I can feel her curves and the softness of her skin. She weighs nothing and that worries me a little bit, but food can fix this problem in no time, as long as she stops refusing to eat.

”Sleep tight, kitten, ” I whisper.

I place her on the bed and cover her with a blanket. I want to kiss her strawberry lips. They are calling my name, but if I do that, I am afraid I will want more.

I am **ed.

”Mama! ” I hear a piecing scream. ”Mama, don go! ” Another scream echoes through the room.

I open my eyes, startled, ready to kill at sight only to be met by a thrashing Romana. She is screaming in her sleep, her face tear stained.

”Mama, papa, please don leave me! ” She begs in her sleep.

Her voice is broken, as tears pour out of her closed eyes. What am I supposed to do to make her stop? Her pained screams make me want to hold her until everything is okay. I never had the urge to comfort a crying woman until now, so I do know how do to this right.

”Shh… its okay. ” I try scooting closer to her.

”Mama, please! ” She sobs even louder, begging.

I can feel her agony and despair, as her face contorts, tears staining that beautiful face of hers. This might make it worse, but I grab her flailing arms, wrap my own around her, and hold her tight.

”Its okay, kitten. No one is leaving you, ” I whisper into her ear. ”No one will ever leave you. ” I hold her tightly in my arms.

In that moment I realize, I was making that promise to myself. I can leave her, no matter what. I can let her go, no matter how hard she tries to leave. She is mine. She can hate me, but with me, in my castle, she can live comfortably. She will be safe. I realize I am an angry asshole, but at least she will be safe. And maybe, I will be able to let go of my anger to love her.

”Its okay, ” I repeat.

She slumps into my body, pressing herself closer, as if to make sure I don go anywhere.

”Don leave me, ” she whispers.

Her breathing evens out as he leans into me, and I inhale her scent letting it become a part of me.

”I won . ” I close my eyes and hold her tight, letting her know she is safe. No one is leaving her, especially not me.

So much for me keeping my distance and getting rid of her. Stupid mate bond has me wrapped around her finger. I am helpless around her. She is my weakness and my strength. I keep holding her until her sobbing disappears, her breathing becomes even, as her arms lazily hang on my shoulders.

This is what serenity feels like.


I am simply tired of always being afraid. I am tired of feeling worthless. I am tired of being beaten. I want it to be over. I want to fall asleep forever. It would be amazing to finally be at peace. Nothing can hurt me if I am dead. Someday I will have my peace.

”Did you sleep well, princess? ” Alyas asks me, as I walk down the very long and curved flight of stairs.

This castle is so grand and beautiful, with intrigued art and specious rooms. A mixture of the old and modern interior designing. It feels strange walking around and having to do any work or have to hide at the sight of any Royal.

It is early in the morning and I am still wearing Lord Lucians shirt and sweatpants. I look silly in the oversized clothing, but at least they are clean, so I can complain too much. I haven had clean clothe for as long as I can remember.

Alyas keeps calling me princess and I don know how to respond to that. I am the furthest thing from a princess. I am nothing, less than nothing. So, I lightly smile, but the oversized man, with well-defined muscles, smiles even more. His blue eyes sparkle with life, as his short blonde waves accentuate his tan. Where one gets a tan in the underworld, I don know.

He has been kind and doting ever since Lord Lucian dragged me here. No one has ever been this kind to me. I don understand why he is so nice, but I am happy to accept such treatment. I haven had much of it.

”So, how was your sleep? ” he asks again.

That larger-than-life smile is still on his face. It is eerie to see a man his size have such a joyful persona.

”Well, thank you, Alyas. ” I attempt to smile back at him.

For as long as I remember, I was not allowed to smile, or speak for that matter. All my life the only thing I have known was hate and disgust. I am tired of living like this.

”Lucian is out until later today, so we can go to the market, buy you some clothes, and maybe some ingredients for a cake to celebrate your birthday? ” He rambles off a plan.

Thats why Lord Lucian wasn there when I woke up, he only left a note saying, e good. By telling me to be good, he means not to try to hurt myself or run away, I assume. I have thought about it before going to sleep, but it seems to be difficult to escape him. But if he will be gone for the day, maybe I can try again. Especially if we are out in a market, Im sure it will be easy to step in front of a moving vehicle. Just one step.

”Unless you want something else for your birthday? ” He waits for me to pitch in an idea.

I never celebrated my birthday before, even when mama and papa were around. Cinnamon rolls always sounded so good. Sometimes I dream about them, but a cake is fine as well, so I stay silent. This will be my first birthday celebration, I don want to spoil it by being ungrateful. Plus, it doesn matter. I am planning on leaving anyways. The land of the dead awaits me, it has for a very long time now.

”Romana, you can have anything you want. ” He dramatically spreads his arms.

Anything? I am skeptical of such kindness, but it is so easy to believe him. His smile will make any worry disappear.

”Cinnamon rolls, ” I whisper, and I hold my breath, afraid I mightve ruined my opportunity with cake.

”Ooh! ” he exclaims with excitement. ”Do you have a recipe? ” he asks. ”Because apparently my recipe is disgusting. ” Theres defeat in his voice.

Alyas sees my discomfort and awkwardness, but he ignores it. Instead, he pretends we were friends chatting. I like that about him, he treats me as his equal. He doesn growl at me or boss me around. He simply talks to me. No one has ever done that before.

I nod. I used to bake them everyday, and they smelled so heavenly, but I was not allowed to taste them. It was a punishment for being clumsy.

”Awesome! ” He pumps his arms in the air ready to go.

I smile at his enthusiasm. What a strange man he is. Such an old werewolf, but yet, always so happy. I wish to be as happy as him. I wish to have reason to be happy as him.

”Now, lets go have fun, ” he sings enthusiastically.

I nod in response. I don want to speak out of turn, but he looks at me quizzically. Did I do something wrong? I mustve, there is reason why I was not allowed to speak.

”I know that Lucian is bit of an asshole, but don be afraid to say what you want, do what you want, to feel how you want. If you want to tell him to go take a hike, then do so. In fact, I will pay you money to do that. ” He watches me carefully. ”My point is, you are free to do as you wish. He may stomp around all angry. He has his issues, but he would never hurt you. ” he explains.

I would like to believe Alyas. I really want to, but it is not as easy as one might think after all these years of suffering. How do I accept freedom when all I have known is betrayal and pain? How do I make myself believe I can be happy when my own parents sold me into the underworld? When all my life I have been beaten, starved, told I am ugly and worthless. And now, the universe has granted me a mate, uncommon for a human, but he despises me. Just like everyone else, Lord Lucian hates me. I see people smile and I wonder why. What do they feel when their lips curl into a smile?

I am free. I am free. I am free. If I remind myself enough, will I finally believe it? I could start by trusting Alyas. If it turns out my freedom is a lie, I have already come to terms with death. Maybe just for today I can believe in this illusion of freedom.

I am free. Maybe there is hope for me yet. Maybe I can learn to live. That is such a small chance, that it is non-existent.

”How much would you pay me? ” I try my voice. It feels strange, to speak openly. Freeing.

”Thats the spirit. ” He bursts out laughing.

I smile in return, that felt good. I am free. I am free. I have to believe that. It maybe a mistake, trusting so easy, but what do I have to lose? Just for today. Just a few hours. Until I find a way to my peace.

”No, I am not paying that. ” Alyas haggles with a creature I am not familiar with.

Brown skin tone, smooth and perfect, but the eyes that are completely purple. If it wasn him hissing at me, I would think he is fascinatingly pretty, but the creature continues to hiss at me while Alyas is trying to get a better price for the cinnamon. I take a step away to look at something else. I don want any trouble.

The thought of running away has crossed my mind, but the note said to be good, reminding me of punishments. I had enough of punishments. I am tired of being afraid. Even though Alyas says Lucian won hurt me, I am still terrified of him.

Every time he sees me, he either growls or glares at me. Even though he is utterly handsome – dark brown eyes, black hair, wide shoulders, tall, and the olive skin tone I would kill for, he is still incredibly intimidating. He said we are mates, but he won even bother looking at me, he thinks I am ugly and thin. My ribs do stick out a bit too much, but its not my fault I wasn allowed to eat. My eyes are also a sunken in, and my hair are plain black. Nothing special about me.

So, running away isn really an option, unless I had an exceptionally well thought out plan, which I don . Instead, I chose to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, while I can. Which at the moment involves looking at a random stand with necklaces and bracelets. Not that I would ever dream of buying one, but that creature hissing at me is unsettling.

A flashing movement catches my attention and I turn to look at a man in red pants and sweater, throwing swords, moving them smoothly, as if fighting an imaginary enemy. I stare and wonder if I should just step in front of him. His sword would go smoothly through my abdomen, blood would pool out of me quickly, my body would drop to the ground, and everything would fade away. Now, that would be freedom guaranteed. I like that idea. Lord Lucian is not here to stop me.

”Hello. ” A voice startles me out of my thoughts.

”Hello, ” I respond cautiously.

Others acknowledging me is still a new concept. I am used to being invisible.

”Can I interest you in something? ” A green elf asks me.

The elfs smile grows, as his yellow eyes stare at me intently. I don like his stare, it feels deceiving. Hoping he could save me from the elf, I look at Alyas, but he is still in a heated conversation with the creature.

”No. ” I try to give him a polite smile, but his stare is making me uncomfortable.

”How about a sample of perfume? ” He insists, still staring, as if I have something he wants. Creepy.

”Alright. ” I agree, even though there are no perfume on the display stands.

I have this inkling feeling I shouldn trust him, but I brush it off. Maybe there are creatures out there just as kind as Alyas.

”Ill be right back. ” He hustles off into his tent, his short frame wobbling, as he does so.

I should go back to Alyas, but he is still arguing. How hard is it to bargain for cinnamon? I never bought anything so I wouldn know, but still.

”Here we are. ” The elf huffs out of breath.

He opens the bottle and places a few drops on my wrist. It smells like almonds, it is a pleasant smell, but I feel a light tug in my chest as soon at it hits my skin.

”Opomi dou, ” he whispers while looking down at my wrist and I look at him confused. ”A charm for good luck, ” he answers to my puzzled look with light smile. It wasn a kind smile, like Alyass, it was almost deceiving.

”Thank you. ” I try to smile back, but it feels awkward and forced, as the suspicion won leave my mind.

”No talking the elves. ” Alyas gently tugs me away from the stand, as he snarls at the green, little man.

”Why not? ” I ask.

The strange little man was unsettling to talk to, but he seems harmless. What can he possibly do to me? The cinnamon was the last thing on the list, so we start heading back. I steal a glance of the man in red, still throwing his swords, the blades creating a mesmerizing shimmer against the sunlight. It wouldve been such a swift end.

”Greedy bastards, ” he growls from the distance at the elf I was talking to. ”Did you have a fun day, princess? ” He changes the subject with a playful smile.

”Why do you call me a princess? ” I have to ask, I have been no one for so long.

”Because you are. ” He winks at me playfully.

His easy-going spirit make me feel safe and comfortable. For the first time in my life, I feel as if I am a real person with at least a speck of value.

”I had a wonderful day. ” I return his wide smile.

A smile this wide on my face feels foreign, but it makes my heart swell with warmth. It is a pleasant feeling, to smile, and mean it.

”I told him we would have so much fun you won try to run away or harm yourself, ” he says with pride. He genuinely seems satisfied with himself, drawing me to trust him more.

”Well, I thought about it, but it is his land, he would find me in five minutes. I may be no one, but I am not stupid, ” I tell him half of the truth.

”So, its not because you had a great day? ” His feelings seem so hurt that strings of guilt tug at my heart.

”Since I am being honest… ” I start. This will be painful to admit. ”This has been the best day of my life so far. ” And I meant those words.

I have clean clothes, I ate, I wasn yelled at or beaten, I slept on a comfortable bed, even though started on the couch. Alyas stops in his tracks, so start to panic a bit. Was I too honest? Shouldve I just stayed quiet?

”Well, more to come then. ” He recovers from his shock and smiles at me.

I let out a breath of relief.

I never thought about finding happiness or freedom. I always looked for a permanent way out, but now that I have only spent one day with Alyas at the castle, I see a glimpse of something beautiful that can happen in my life. That is, if Lord Lucian doesn kill me first.


My father is talking again, as this meeting continues to drag on and on, but my mind wonders off to her. The soft pink on her cheeks. Her plump lips. The curve of her hips. Her raven hair spread like a black sea behind her.

I woke up this morning to her curled up next to me. Her arm was splayed across my abdomen, her cheek smooshed against my chest, her mouth slightly opened as she lightly snored. I couldn get enough. I wanted to stay in bed and watch her for eternity. When I did try getting out of bed, her grip around my waist tightened and she snuggled closer, pressing her breasts against my side. That made the usual morning-wood problems even more difficult.

”Lucian, to get your attention, I would like to inform the council that I am declaring war on you, ” Lion starts. Okay, that did get my attention. ”I have found my mate, so I will be strong enough to defeat you. ” He boasts. Dumbass. ”Once I win, you will have no choice, but help with the dragons. ” Lion finishes his declaration, creating an awkward silence in the room.

”Okay, ” I say simply. There is just no cure for stupidity. ”I assume this meeting is over now? ” I casually look around the table of ten men that makes up most of the council.

I think everyone was expecting me to break the table or get angry, which honestly does sound tempting, but I want get home to her. I miss her scent and everything about her. They of course don know whats on my mind, so they stare, baffled. They don need to know about her. My goal is just to keep her safe and healthy.

”Okay? ” Lion asks with annoyance like a small child that he is. ”You have no mate, you are weaker than me! ” He gets way to close to me for my liking.

I want to punch him square in the nose.

”Lion, if you like your face the way it is, you best back off. ” I threaten him.

At this point my eyes are black, my wings are itching to come out, and my claws are elongating out of my nail beds.

He feels the power radiating off me, thats why he takes a slow step back. Too late to take that declaration of war back now, is it? His face shows a hint of confusion as to why I still have more power than him. To be honest, I myself am surprised at how powerful I feel. I am not weak by any means, but this new surge of strength is impressive.

”I will be leaving now. ” I turn around and leave.

I don need to listen to anymore insults. This meeting was long enough as it is. Father talked about his elves, Lion whined about the dragons, and everyone else just wants to be rid of the vampires. I personally don have an issue with them, but the council feels they are a bit too violent. This is the underworld for **s sake. Everyone fends for themselves.

I enter the castle and I swear every inch of it has been doused in cinnamon and sugar. Usually I smell her right away, her scent hitting me like a wall of bricks no matter what, but not right now. I can barely sense her. Something isn right.

I follow the ridiculous smell of cinnamon into the kitchen to find her and Alyas stuffing their faces with cinnamon rolls. Romana is sitting on the countertop laughing while Alyas, like always, is making a fool out of himself.

Her laugh might be the most beautiful sound in the world and her smile has stopped me dead in my tracks. Unfortunately, I am brought back to reality when I realize her scent is barely there. I don feel drunk on it the way I usually do. I should be happy, right? No, I need her intoxicating scent. I need to know she is mine forever.

”Whats going on? ” I ask.

As soon as my voice rings through the room her wide grin turns into startled fear. Her smile is now embedded in my soul. I need it again. I need to see her joy and happiness.

She hops off the countertop effortlessly, but I almost lose it thinking she would tumble down to the ground, considering how thin and fragile she looks. But her moves are energetic and light as she hurries over to place a roll on a plate.

”Cinnamon rolls. ” She offers, as she stands across from me, now wearing a pair of pink sweats and a white t-shirt instead of my clothe.

Her hands tremble a little as she holds the plate in front her, but there is so much pride in her eyes. Her pride makes my heart swell. I want to tell her they smell amazing, but something is not right. She feels sick, as if slowly dying. The feeling of possibly losing her is gnawing at my soul to the point where it hurts.

I take her chin into my hand and turn her face back and forth slowly, looking for any injury or signs of illness. Nothing. She looks great, but something feels off. Since I have her face in my hand, I take the opportunity to dust off some sugar from her eyebrow, running my fingertips against her delicate skin. Sparks run through my arm spreading throughout my body at the contact of our skin. This feeling will never get old. Her blues seem brighter than they did yesterday, but her scent is so weak. It is infuriating.

”Alyas, call the physician. ” I decide to go with the safe route.

”Why? ” He turns his head around, confused, a roll stuffed in his mouth.

”Shes sick. ” I glare at him.

He is about to protest but decides to get on the phone and call the doctor. He lives in my house free of rent or any payment, least he can do, is small tasks I ask of him. Hes an Alpha of half the werewolves alive today, yet he choses to leech of me. He could be out there, ruling, being the king. But here he is, stuffing his face with cinnamon rolls in my kitchen.

”I feel fine, ” she whispers at the roll in her hands with defeat in her voice.

”I know, ” I responds as gently as I can. I realize I can come off a bit harsh sometimes, but I am doing my best for her. ”Whose recipe did you use? ” I look at the roll still in her hands.

”Mine. ” She shrugs her shoulders slightly, the pride now gone.

She seems disappointed I asked for the physician, but it is for her own good. I take the roll off the plate and place it into my mouth. Her head shoots up as she watches my face for a reaction. Holy shit, this is delicious. I chew speechlessly as she continues to stare at me, waiting for my review. I look down at her, just to double check she is okay. Her eyes are not as sunken in anymore, she seems more energetic, and happier, as if something has shifted in her. She seems alive.

”Its not bad. ” I manage, as I stuff the whole thing in my mouth. Don ask me why I couldn just tell her it was the tastiest thing I ate in my whole entire long life. ”Better than the garbage Alyas makes. ”

”Hey, that is rude! I tried, okay? ” He protests. ”Doc said three hours. ” He takes another roll and shoves it whole in his mouth.

I have the urge to slap his hands away from the dessert, but my concern for her is outweighing the desire for the rolls. Shes not actively dying, so I suppose three hours should be fine.


Lucian said I was sick, but I feel good. Happy. At least happier than I have been my whole life. Is he really that disgusted by me he thinks I am defected? I realize I am not pretty, but I am not disgusting. I don think I am, at least. But maybe I am. At string my heart knowing he thinks I am not healthy enough for him.

”Ill take one more for the office, ” he says after stuffing the first roll into his mouth.

I think I heard him moan when he tried the roll, but he said it was just alright. I turn around enthusiastically to grab another one, excited he liked them more than he cares to admit. At least I did something right. I turn around to hand him another one, but I slam my face right into his hard chest, barely keeping the roll away from his clean and well ironed, white dress shirt. I guess hes made of pure stone as well.

”Owie, ” I whisper to myself, as my forehead throbs at little.

He lets out a soft sigh of frustration. Yes, I know. Weak little human. I understand I will never be good enough, but Alyas kindness has been plenty. I haven thought about ending my life after the trip to the market, so that is a good start. And, Lord Lucian hasn threatened to beat me or forced me to work.

He reaches over me to open the freezer, making my heart jump quickly. His chest is right in front of my face, my lips almost touching it. My nerves get to me at his proximity, so I inhale quickly. His musky scent of rain fills my lungs, and the urge lean into him overpowers me.

”Make sure to ice it. ” He snaps me out of my thoughts.

He hands me an icepack out of the freezer and takes the plate with the roll out of my hand, barely any emotion in his voice. I nod and place the icepack on my forehead without looking up at him, I do not want to see the displeasure in his eyes. At least he is not growling at me, thats an improvement.

”Alyas, let me know when the physician arrives, ” he tells Alyas.

I watch him walk away, his shoulders broad and strong, as his confident stride disappears behind the wall. The soothing smell of rain disappears I find myself wanting to follow it, so I be engulfed by it. I wish I was a confident as him. I wish I had the luxury to walk with my head held high. I wish I didn live my life in constant fear. I wonder, what does it feel like to never be afraid?

”Well, now that the party is over, I know you have been dying to go to the library, so run off. ” Alyas smiles at me. ”Ill clean up. ” He motions me to scurry off.

”I can help, ” I protest.

No one has even cleaned up after me before. It feels wrong having someone do that for me. I was always the one doing all the cleaning. If there was a single spot left dirty, I was punished. I do not want to be punished for something I could easily do right now.

”Run off, princess. ” He smiles a huge smile while eyeballing the rolls.

He is going to eat them all, but thats alright Ive had enough. I am happy to know he loves them that much, to be willing to clean the kitchen for me.

I run to the library as fast as I can, but I am not as careful as I thought I was. I have miscalculated my step and my toe smashes right into the sharp edge of the stair. Oh, dear gods that hurt! My toe burns, stings, and throbs. The pain knocks out the air out of my lungs, so I attempt to huff quick short breaths.

”Ow! Fudge muffins! ” I start swearing to relieve the pain. ”Mother, effer! ” I continue with my version of profanities. ”Fudge! ” I finally let out the breath of pain I was holding. ”Ow. ” I manage to slowly get up and start limping to the library, with my toe as a reminder of my clumsiness.

”Are you okay? ” I hear Alyas yell somewhere from below with a chuckle.

”I stubbed my toe on the stairs! ” I yell back at him. ”Don laugh at me, I am clumsy. ” I probably shouldve not yelled that.

What if Lord Lucian hears me? He hates me enough as it is. Oh well, be it as it as it may, not that I am a big fan of him myself. Mister I am scary and will kill anyone who looks at me funny. Yes, I am terrified of him, but I trust Alyas. He says Lord Lucian won hurt me. At least I hope he won .

On a much happier note – library. I am actually allowed to read any book I want. This is a dream come true. I am so thrilled I can help myself, but squeal from joy.

”Yes! ” I run through the rows like a mad woman.

I always wanted to read and not be afraid of getting caught. Lord Marcus never allowed me to read, he said there is no point for someone as stupid as me. I snuck out in the middle of the night anyways. I couldn help myself, there is so much to learn. The world is such a big place and there are so many wonderful things out there.

First things first. I need to learn all the creatures of the dark world, so that is the isle I go to and get started. My heart hammers from joy as I frantically turn the pages of old books, filled with years of knowledge. An hour into reading I find the purple eyed creature who has been hissing at me while I was at the market. He is Emestias, a snake born in the Amethyst caves that can turn into human form.

I am barely halfway through volume one, but a heavy exhaustion takes over, making it hard to keep my eyes open. My eye lids feel like they are twenty pounds each, but I must stay up, who knows when I will get this opportunity again. Ill just put my head down, just for one second. One second, thats it…


”Doc is here. ” Alyas mind links me, as I scroll through my computer in my office. ”Want me to go find her? ” He asks.

”No, Ill go get her, ” I respond. ”I know where she is at. ”

I heard her run up the stairs to the library and stub her toe in in the process. The girl is clumsy. I wanted to go check on her, but I didn know how to do that without scaring her. My anger issues are a working progress, but I am not sure how to show her I want her to be safe and happy.

”Remember to be nice, ” he reminds me for the billionth time.

”I won be nice to you, if I find out you ate all the cinnamon rolls, ” I snap at him.

I know for a fact he ate them all. Downside of living with Alyas is that he is vacuum when it comes to food. There is silence on the other side on the mind link. Nothing.

I step out of my office and make my way to the library. There is a chance I am overreacting, but something in my gut tells me I am right to be concerned. My gut hasn failed me yet. I search for her in the library trying to remain cool and collected. I can be calm. It is not her fault fate is cruel to both, her and me.

Be nice. I can be nice. I can smile and be kind. Totally. Easy. I find her body slumped at a desk over a book, surrounded by the tall shelves. She mustve gotten bored and fell asleep, the books she has on the desk are not the most exciting to read, it is literal encyclopedia. I come to stand behind her, but her breathing is too slow and shallow, and her scent is almost gone. My panic rises, but I try to keep cool.

”Romana? ” I kneel next to her. Nothing. ”Romana, open your eyes, kitten. ” I nudge her but get no response.

Shit, I knew it.

I pull her body out of the chair, but she doesn even bother moving. Her arms hang to the sides loosely as I scoop her into my arms. Fuck. I rush to my room where Alyas said the physician would be waiting, slam the door with my foot almost ripping it off its hinges, and hurry to the bed.

”Fix her, ” I demand from the physician, as soon as I place her on the bed.

I can lose her as soon as found her. Fucking hell. I shouldve just accepted her right away, but instead I let my wounded pride get in the way. My chest tightens as worry floods my sense. Never in my life have I been this afraid.

The physician gets to work immediately scrambling through his bag of supplies, his long grey beard covering half of his face, as he checks her body, takes her blood, tests her blood on the spot. My fists become white, as I try to control myself.

”What happened at the market? ” I grit at Alyas. She was fine this morning.

”I didn let her out of my sight. ” He defends himself.

I know he wouldn let any harm come to her, but something did happen while he wasn looking.

”She was poisoned. ” The physician finally steps away from her and turns his attention to me. ”Not sure what exactly. I gave her some medicine to slow down the spread of it, but I need to get back to run some more tests, ” he explains. ”It would be helpful if she could tell me how this couldve happened. ” He looks at Romanas sleeping body.

”Mhm. ” I hear her mumble and I walk to her side, but Alyas beats me to it and takes her hand into his.

Are you serious right now? I will kill the wolf. He better get away from her right this instant.

”Princess, what happened with the elf? ” He rubs her hand gently. I will rip his paws from his arms, I swear.

”What elf? ” I ask, but Alyas ignores me, all attention on her. I am going to kill him, but first I need to know about the elf.

”He gave me perfume on my wrist, ” she croaks out while turning her other hand to him. ”He said a good luck charm as well. ” She attempts to smile, but has no strength. ”Its so cold. ” She shivers.

”Get more covers, Alyas. ” I order him, but I mostly want him to get away from her.

I want to hold her hand. To confront her. To be near her.

”Let me see. ” The physician takes her wrist. ”Do you remember what he said? ” He asks her.

”Opomi dou, ” she barely answers, her face pale and lips dramatically dry.

She drifts off into slumber, as her body continues to shiver. The physician looks up at me confused, his grey eyes looking through Romana again.

”What? ” I growl at him. I need answers. Now.

”Shes just a human, ” he mumbles to himself. ”Show yourself, the source of power. ” He rubs her wrist.

The urge to rip of his head for calling her just a human is strong, but I need the man for answers. She is my human. My perfect human.

As soon as he speaks those words a mark of a start appears on her wrist, illuminated by a light like the suns. I do not know that it is, but it is certainly enough for me to worry.

”What is that? ” I ask, to be ignored by the shock of the physician.

I have seen my share of spells and marks, this one I have never seen.

”That is not possible. ” Is all the physician manages to say.

”Explain, before you lose your head! ” I snap at him.

People ignoring me is getting irritating when I need to know what is wrong with my mate. Baffled by Romanas spell, he doesn bother with fear, as he tries to gather his thoughts.

”The elf is trying to take her power, ” he starts. Shes human, she barely has any power, but I wait for him to continue. ”Very rarely, and I mean very rarely, so rarely to the point where its just a myth, ” he points out. ”A star will die from loneliness with the intension of coming to earth, to feel some company. The star will put all of its power into a dying human and live in that human feeling through them, ” he explains.

I have heard the myth, but thats all it is, a myth. If she is a star, that means she is the most powerful being until the next larger star in the galaxy. Shock runs through me, as I realize the danger this can put her in to. I doesn matter if she is powerful or a human, I shouldve given her all of me as soon I laid eyes on her.

”Are you sure? ” I ask the old man.

She shivers from the cold, even though Alyas has dumped a few extra blankets on her already, as her lips slowly start to turn blue. She needs to get warmed up before she freezes to death, but I don know what else to do. I will create an inferno out of this room if I have to, as long as she warms up.

”No, but that is what it looks like. ” He gives me an uncertain answer.

”How do I stop the elf? ”

I am ready to kill the little damned bastard. He will die a slow death. Elves cannot be trusted. The council should declare war on them instead of the vampires. Fucking idiots.

”So cold… ” she whimpers. ”So much warmth… ” She grabs my hand and pulls me closer to her, her small hand barely holding my fingers.

”Get out! ” I yell at the physician and Alyas, causing her to drop my hand. Shit, I didn mean to startle her. ”Find him. ” I order Alyas.

I don have to tell Alyas twice. He will gladly kill for Romana. As much as it pains me to admit, I am glad Alyas has been spending time with her. Yes, I am jealous she smiles at him and cowers at the sight of me, but at least she is not trying to kill herself anymore. I will try to do better. I can be a better man for her. She deserves better.

”Snack time! ” Alyas sings with a wild smile on his face, while the physician is long gone out of the room.

He is a goofy wolf, but he has a menacing side. A side that even I need to take a step back from at times. His past is not made of roses, but blood and pain. I look like a sweetheart compared to him when he is snaking. I stand at the edge of the bed watching her sleeping face as she shivers out of control and my heart aches to make it better for her.

”So much warmth. ” She shivers towards me.

I take off my shoes and carefully get under the covers to let her feel the warmth of my body. She glues herself right into me as soon as I wrap my arm around her shoulder. I let her get comfortable as she continues to wiggle herself into me.

”So warm, ” she mumbles into my chest.

It is impossible to get any closer, but she keeps trying, so I wrap my arms around her and hold her tight. She stops shivering and drifts off into sleep, her breathing calm and steady, so I place my lips at the top of her head and inhale her scent. It is fading, but it is still there. She is still mine. She is my star. I smile to myself, as I keep her warm.

I just hope Alyas finds the elf on time.


It is so cold. My body is shaking involuntarily. I can stop shivering no matter how hard I try. Everything is so fuzzy, I can see anything, but the blizzard in front of me. I hear voices, but they are so faint, I cannot make out what they are saying. I feel something warm nearby, so I reach for it and grab it, hoping for at least some relieve from the cold.

”Get out! ” A sharp demand echoes from the distance.

I quickly let go of the warmth I was holding on to, regretting it immediately, because my blood turns to ice and the uncontrolled shivers return. I need that heat back, it is my only chance to stay alive. If it gets any colder, I won be able to move any more. I will die without that soothing flame.

The warmth suddenly is so close I can feel it on my skin. It engulfs me, protecting me from the blizzard. My blood warms and the painful shivering stops. I can get enough of it, so I try to keep it close to my body. Yes, this is perfect. I am happy just like this. I let the warmth keep me safe as I drift into nothing, letting my body rest. Peace. Comfort. Serenity. I am happy here.


The elf is sitting in a cage, at the stony basement of the castle, his hands tied behind his back. He doesn have any fear or remorse, as I walk into the room. The smell of mold and something rotting invades my nose, making me cringe with disgust.

”So little **er, got a bit too greedy. ” I growl at the little bastard in front of me.

I had to leave Romana shivering in bed to deal with this shit. As soon as I left her body, she went ice-cold again. I am not happy she is miserable, but I am happy to know she feels the bond as well. Maybe she will learn to love me. Maybe there is hope I can make this right between us.

”She is light. Light is not yours to keep, ” the elf says as he looks around eagerly. He can feel her power, and he is starting to behave like a crack addict.

”Hm. ” I look at him with a smile. ”If you know she is the star, then you know per legend, the sun will choose her mate. ” He knows the legend very well. ”The sun has chosen me as her mate, so that means the light itself has given me the start. ” I give him another wicked smile.

He looks at me, his greedy eyes, learning his mistake. A mistake indeed it was.

”Now, let go of your hold on her power or your caves of treasure are no more. ” I threaten. No point threatening his life, he knows he is wolf kibble already.

”Fine, the light is yours. ” He takes a deep breath as he parts with her power. There is nothing more sacred to the elves than their caves.

”Wonderful. ” I smile at Alyas. ”All yours. ”

Leaving the room. I let Alyas do his thing, which is never pretty. I hurry back to my room to see her again, to hold her, to keep her warm. As much as I hate to admit it, I love the way she snuggled up so close to me. The way she clung to me for dear life. The way her breathing became calm when her cheeks hit my chest. I love the way her leg was draped over my thigh and her arm held on to my chest. It was as if I was her only peace.

I open the door to find her sitting up in the bed, stretching her arms out wide, as if she had the best sleep of her life. She spots me and tries to make herself as small as possible. Without missing a step, I move towards her, but I manage to intimidate her, because she scoots back to the headboard. I smirk. Can get away from me.

”Scoot closer. ” I move the sheets away from her. She is still wearing the pink sweats and white t-shirt from yesterday. ”Come on. ” I encourage her after she doesn make a move.

Less than an hour ago I could barely peel her off me, now she wants to vanish from my sight. She scoots over hesitantly, with snail speed, so I grab her ankle to drag her over.

”Ah! ” She yelps in extreme pain with her face contorted. I did not grab her that hard. I made a conscious note to grab her gently.

”Whats wrong? ” I ask.

She should be fine now that the elf is dead. I remove my hand to look at her ankle only to find a large purple bruise covering it. It looks a few days old, it mustve happened right before I met her. I pull up her sweats a little further to find yet another bruise. How many of them does she have? When I can pull up her sweats any further, I look up at her face. She is looking away, her lips in a thin line, ashamed of the marks.

”Take off your pants. ” I want to see the damage.

She looks at me with terror, tucks her feet into herself and shakes her head. I take a deep breath in of frustration. Why won she just listen to me?

”Fine, did you buy shorts or a dress at the market? ” I ask, as politely as I could possibly manage. I think I did okay, because she nods her head. ”Go put it on, ” I tell her.

She hops off the bed quickly and runs to the closet. I wait for a few minutes, but she doesn come out.

”Romana? ” I call her name. No answer.

Why would she answer me? I am only the lord the of largest part of the dark world. I rub my temples and get up to go find her. Where does she think she is going to hide in the closet? I walk into the large closet, almost expecting her to be hiding underneath a pile of clothes. Instead, she is standing in the middle of the room wearing a pair of black jogger shorts, trying to pull them down to cover herself.

She sees me come in and looks down at the ground, clearly uncomfortable, but when is she ever comfortable around me? I look at her legs. Bruises cover most of her skin, and I want to kill some people. Right now, I need to control my anger. Right now, I need to heal those bruises. Right now, I need her to be okay.

”Come sit. ” I walk past her to the bench at the end of the closet. She doesn move, because why would she do as I ask.

”Romana, I will toss you over my shoulder. ” I warn her.

That gets her attention because she hustles over to the bench and sits at the other side of me, as far as she possibly can. Fine, I will let her be difficult. I reach over to her ankle, move my hand under it, and place her foot in my thigh. Her whole entire leg is covered in bruises of different colors and shapes. What in the actual hell? I run my hand over the soft skin of her leg and heal any damage I can see.

I can heal, but only what I can physically see. No one knows why the random gift. The witches say it is because of the hybrid gene, but who the ** actually knows. Fate threw in an extra ability, probably as an apology for the shit life. I set her healed leg down, taker her other one and repeat the process. It feels right caring for her like this. Fulfilling. Natural.

She stares at me I silence, her heart hammering, as if waiting for something bad to happen. It will take time to build our trust, but I am hopeful we will get there.

”Lift your shirt, ” I tell her as gently as I can. If there were so many bruises on her legs, there are guaranteed to be more on her body. ”Please, ” I add.

She just stares in return, fear written all over her face. Oh, for **s sake! I try not to show any of my frustration with her unwillingness to listen to me, so I scoot towards her calmly, reach over for her shirt and tug it upwards just a bit. She whimpers and I look up to find a tear rolling down her cheek.

Fuck! Why can she understand I can hurt her. I don want to hurt her. I would never dare lay a hand on her.

”Remember, no forced sex, ” I remind her. ”I am not going to force myself on you. ” I clarify.

She nods but tears continue to pool out of her beautiful blues. I am not sure she believes me, but I will earn her trust. To get this over with quickly I look at her abdomen, which was clear, but her ribs had a few large ones on each side. That is a lot of damage for a small body like hers. Who ever did this to her will pay with their lives.

”All done. ” I pull down her shirt.

Her cheeks are soaked with tears, dripping down her chin. I have this the urge to hold her face and wipe away her tears, but I am not sure I can do that without scaring her anymore, so I let her be.

”How did you get those? ” I scoot back to the other side of the bench. Maybe some distance will help her feel at ease.

”The usual, ” she answers casually.

”Yes, that explains a lot, ” I respond sarcastically. ”Which is? ” I ask.

”Lord Marcus said I was clumsy. ” She shrugs her shoulders. The son of a bitch. The fat weasel can barely walk himself. If you could call it walking. But he beats a small woman for stubbing her feet. ”I am clumsy, ” she barely whispers.

”You are. ” I agree with a chuckle. Not a reason to get beat to a pulp though.

”Sorry, ” she whispers while anxiously playing with her fingers.

”For what? ”

”Being clumsy. ” She continues to play with her fingers.

”You don need to apologize for being clumsy, just be careful. Don rush and you won trip on the stairs. ” I suggest.

She looks up at me embarrassed. Better than fear, Ill call that progress. I lean against the wall behind the bench, close my eyes, and let out a slow breath. I just want a moment of peace. I want to feel her presence next to me, where she is not terrified of me or trying to fight me. Or trying to die on me.

I can feel her staring at me, but I pretend not to notice. Again, better than fear or her avoiding me. I keep my eyes closed letting her stare as much as she wants, even though I do wonder what she is thinking about. Does she think I look like a monster? Does she wish she died at the cliff? Does she hate me?

I **ed up with her. I know that much. It doesn help that she has been beaten, abandoned and starved. She was fragile to begin with. I was supposed to help her, heal her, protect her. Instead, I chose to feed my anger.

A few silent moments later, the scent of her arousal hits my nostrils. I almost choke on my own saliva, but I recover before making any noticeable noise. This is a very interesting turn of events. I stay still trying to keep my breathing steady as the smell of her excites every cell in my body. Never in my life did I think a woman getting excited from watching me would make me so happy, and I have lived a very long life. I am trying to refrain from smiling, but the corner of my lips twitches up a little from her reaction. At least she doesn hate me that much.

It is tempting to open my eyes, to catch her mesmerizing blues stare at me, but I decide it is best to let her do things on her own terms. She is so afraid of sex or any touch that this is a major jump forward. I don want to ruin that. I may have anger issue, but I am not a complete idiot.


I didn want him to see my bruises. I didn want anyone to see them. They are hideous, they are a reminder of how fragile I am. Thats why I always kept myself covered, waiting until they heal. But he saw those ugly parts of me. I was expecting him to scold me and belittle me for being so weak and clumsy. Thats what Lord Marcus always did, but he just healed me instead.

He started to lift my shirt and I panicked. Those are the worst ones, the ones on my protruding ribs. I whimpered from shame. I wanted to cry and vanish. He already thinks I am sickly and ugly. Mama and papa thought I was defective and a waste, so they sold me for a few coins. I don want him to think any less of me than he already does.

He healed my body in silence even though I am embarrassed and ashamed to show so much of my ruined body to him. It is not a pretty sight, after all. He promised me he wouldn force himself on me, so I believe him. Maybe it is the mate bond asking me to trust him, or maybe I am stupid for wanting to believe him. I am a stupid girl, he will never find me pretty.

Yes, he is always angry. His form is menacing. His glare is vicious and deadly. But he hasn broken my trust yet, so I hope that someday he will see me, the way I crave him to see me – beautiful, strong, and perfect. I am terrified of him, but my heart wants to trust him. Silly heart wants to hope when he is near.

With his head leaned against the wall and eyes closed, he seems in peace, as if this moment is perfect. A perfect moment of serenity. He has been a little different today, a bit more gentle. Something happened yesterday. He said I was ill, but I was just tired. I went to sleep and now I am fine. I am not weak as everyone assumes, I just need to eat some food and heal from the beatings. I can be strong. I already feel so much better.

I watch his face carefully in awe of how perfect his jaw line is. At how his black hair is slightly messy today, and his long eyelashes lay gently over his lower lids. I have his urge to touch his face, to run my fingers against his cheeks and jaw, to feel the roughness of his recently shaved stubble. I look away from his face only to be caught off-guard by his muscled arms. Unlike his usual formal wear, today he is wearing a black short sleeved shirt, that shows off his toned forearms pleasantly bulging biceps.

Everything about him makes my body tingle, my heart rate spike, and my chest grow with pleasure. I look back up at his face praying to everything mighty he didn catch me shamelessly gawk at him. Thank gods his eyes are still closed, but his lips twitch into a light smile, barely noticeable. His smile is so beautiful, I want to touch his lips, to feel their softness. I want to know what makes him feel so content.

I am getting so carried away thinking about his impeccably sculpted form that my own body is warming up. A tight warmth collects in my belly, as I tightness forms in my groins. It is surprisingly satisfying, to the point where I want more.

”Do you want some cinnamon rolls today? ” I ask, forcing myself to tear my eyes away from his lips.

”Yes, that would be nice. ” He looks at me from the corner of his eye. ”Don give any to Alyas. ” He adds.

”Why not? ” I protest. He chuckles and ignores my question.

”Did you know you have the power of a star in you? ” He suddenly asks me, but I don understand.

”What do you mean? ” How can one have a power of the star?

”Do you know the legend of the lonely star? ” He asks.

I nod. I have read it, but it is just a legend. Just because I wasn allowed to read it doesn mean I didn sneak out into the library. I love to read. I love to learn. There is so much out there. On earth we were told that only certain things are real. Only one religion is true, as all others are a lie. Earth teaches mythology, where in the underworld, everything is real. Everything exists. Even in the underworld the story of the lonely star is considered a myth.

”The star chose you, ” he states.

Watching me carefully, he waits for my response, but my mind goes to other stories. Stories which tell about powerful beings and their mates. The powerful ones are power hungry, they use their mates to gain power. The more powerful the mate, the more powerful the other becomes. My mind is racing and my heart gets stuck in my throat. Does that mean he will force himself on me, now that I have power in me? He didn want to before because I was a weak human, but now he will have to. He is one of the powerful ones. He frowns at my blank terrified stare, as if trying to read my mind.

”You are overreacting about something and if you don tell me what is on your mind, I can tell you if you are wrong, ” he tells me. I stare into his dark chocolate browns, unable to speak. ”Use your words. ” He encourages me.

”Now that I am not a weak human, does that mean you have to complete the mate bond? ” I ask the dreaded question, as my heart hammers at my own words.

He laughs at my question. What is so funny? For him to feel the full effect of the power, I didn know I had, he would need to complete the mate bond. I read books on this. I know.

”Not unless you want to, kitten. ” He winks at me with a playful smile.

This playful size of him makes my heart ache, but I have never seen a woman enjoy sex. So, no thank you. All I have seen, is my friends being dragged away by force. They always screamed and cried. When I saw them afterwards, they were sad, as if their soul has been sucked out of them. I don want that. My soul has been damaged enough as it is.

I think my saving grace was that I was so clumsy. I got beaten a lot, that made me look ugly. So, in turn, no one wanted me. Generally speaking, I am too ugly for men to want to have sex with me, but it was still always my fear. Does he find me ugly as well? He did say he would have sex with me if I wanted to. I am confused. He does want to have sex with me, but he won because I don want to?

I shake my head to his offer, but he only smiles in return. I don understand this man.

”Now that you are better, I have meetings to attend to. ” He gets up to leave.

”What do you mean? I was never ill. ” I don move from my spot. Why does he insist I was ill?

”The elf at the market, ” he starts, as he peels of his shirt and picks out a white dress shirt from the hangers. My mind freezes at the sight of his bare upper body, my lungs give out, and my heart starts beating in overdrive. ”He saw the power of the star in you, so he put a spell on you to take it, which in turn almost killed you. ” I try to focus on what he is saying, but his sculpted abdomen and chest are speaking louder. I think my mouth started salivating. What is wrong with me? ”So, we will revisit the no sex thing later, kitten, ” he says with an amused chuckle.

Lifting my chin to face him, he plants a light peck on my lips. The touch of his lips against mine was so delicate, it leaves me speechless. I can think. My mind is fuzzy and my body shudders with thrill.

He leaves the closet without looking back at me, but I can seem to force myself to move. His body was calling for mine to be near. I was so mesmerized I could barely hear what he was saying. I want to be a part of him. The touch of his lips against mine was so sudden, so gentle, so fast. I didn have time to understand what happened until after he left the closet. The kiss, it was delightful and delicious. I want more.

Every time I saw a man kiss a woman, the woman always seemed disgusted, they wanted it to stop. When his lips pressed against mine, it was magical. I want his kisses, they are addicting.

I make my way to the library, because that is only the most amazing place in the universe, and I have a new subject to research. Romance and sex. A woman my age should know such things, but I didn think I would live long enough to experience the good things in life. That is why I never bothered reading such books, but the single touch of his lips, makes me want to know. What if there is more to it than I know? It seems like it should not be hated. His kiss was such a pleasant one, I can stop thinking about it. I can stop thinking about how sweet his lips tasted, how much I want more of him.

”Romana! ” Alyas calls my name from the distance.

”What? ” I yell back into nowhere.

”Where are you going? ” He suddenly appears in front of me in his wolf form, his grey fur lusciously shining against the lights of the lamps above.

His wet nose is right in front of me, pressing into my arm. He startled me, considering I am going to do my secret research.

”Research, ” I answer vaguely.

”On what? ” he asks, a bit too excited.

”Its a secret. ” I am not telling him Lucian kissed me. I am not telling him I liked it.

”Lets go play first. ” He wags his tail. How am I supposed to play with a wolf three times my size? ”It will be fun, lets go. ” He motions me to get on top. Well, that might actually be fun, the research can wait.

”Why all this energy? ” I ask as I grab on to his fur.

His fur is so soft I want to stuff my face in it and snuggle him. Alyas is kind, goofy, and energetic. He always makes sure I am comfortable and that I smile. But I see the pain hidden somewhere far away. When always having to watch people, so I could hide in time to avoid a beating, I have learned to see things others don . Alyas has pain he is hiding. It is distant and barely noticeable, but it is there.

”I got to snack on some elf. ” He waits impatiently for me to hop on.

Ew, you eat elf? ” I ask with disgust. Gross, they are green and hairy.

”Sly bastards, but so tasty, ” he responds. I can see his energetic smile even when he is in his wolf form.

I swing my feet over his back and position myself comfortably. If I fall off, I will ruin my perfectly healed skin. Lord Lucian might think I don appreciate him healing me, so I try to be cautious. I knew he was powerful and terrifying, but I didn know he had the power to heal. No one ever mentioned that.

”Where are we going? ” I ask, and a rush goes through me from the height, as he lifts his body to stand tall.

”Into the forest, ” he states, still as excited as before. I look at the forest ahead of us and my heart rate jumps from fear. That is where the monsters hide. ”Don worry, I won let anything bad happen to you. If there is even a scratch on you, Lucian will kill me. ” He tries to calm my nerves.

”I don think he cares that much about me, ” I state my honest opinion.

I am a mate he never wanted and considers weak, so of course he doesn care about me. Alyas bursts out laughing. His whole body shakes, creating an earthquake for me, so I instinctively grab a tight hold of his fur.

”What? He thinks I am weak. Plus look at me, I am not the prettiest girl out there. ” I defend myself.

I am being realistic. Lord Lucian has called me a weak human multiple times. He often times ignores me, he scowls at me, he is cold and terrifying. He is beautiful and so perfectly sculpted. I, on the other side, am plain and average. I am certain he wishes I was prettier and stronger.

”Has he said that? ” Alyas asks, with a hint of concern in his voice as he starts walking into the forest, ignoring my tight grip on his fur.

”No, but Alyas, honestly, ” I mumble into his neck.

I have always known these things about myself, but for some reason saying it out loud hurts more than I want it to. Knowing that Lord Lucian does not think I am the prettiest girl hurts. I want him to think I am pretty. As much as I don want to, I can feel the mate bond as well. I feel myself drawn to him, but realistically speaking, it doesn matter. He will never love me. He will never want me.

”He would kill for you, ” Alyas says with conviction.

He doesn wait for me to respond, as he lunges into the forest with full speed. I was expecting his run to be rough and bumpy, but it is graceful and smooth, almost lulling. Making his way past the trees and shrubs, as he runs without saying another word or complaining about my death grip on his fur. At some point I relax, lift my head out of his neck, and open my eyes to passing trees.

The wind blows a pleasant breeze of cool air on my face and I understand why Alyas like to run. It is serene and peaceful. He runs for what seems like eternity, until he reaches a cliff with the view of a river flowing lazily below us. The sun is setting behind the hills, with hues of purples and blues covering the sky. The sight is so breathtaking I can say a word. I simply stare at the sight in front of me in awe.

”We should probably head back before it gets too late. ” Alyas finally breaks the silence.

”Alright, ” I whisper back. I don want to go, I want to enjoy this beauty forever.

”Did you have a good time? ” He asks as he turns away from the sunset.

”Yes, thank you, ” I answer, bracing myself for a long run back.

This was magical, it was the most beautiful sight of my life. Maybe that doesn mean much to someone else, but to me, it means everything. I don remember the last time a saw a river, a sunset, or so many trees. I was sold to the underworld at a very young age. Since then, I was secluded to the castle kitchen.

”Don tell Lucian, he might get jealous. ” He laughs as he starts running.

Lord Lucian wouldn be jealous, he doesn care about me that much.

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