She was here. She was safe. Finding her was no longer a problem.
Yet, I couldn’t get her off my mind. I kept thinking about the split in her lip and the bruises on her arm. I
wanted to find whoever was responsible and end them for what they did to my mate.
I was livid by the idea that she was in our room hurt, alone, and from what I saw back at her pack…
scared. But she managed to wipe away any compassion I had for her when she asked about other
women. Either her opinion of me was so low that she thought I kept a collection of concubines around
for my pleasure, or she was fishing to see if I was going to be sleeping with other women and, in turn, if
she could sleep with other men.
Both thoughts made me not want to be in her presence. It was the exact reason why I didn’t want a
mate. A soulmate had the power to destroy you and crush your will to live.
If it weren’t for Joselin’s vision, I would have been happy going on with my life alone. Perhaps one day I
would have had to produce an heir but not with a mate. There would have been no need to mark a
woman and tie them to me for the rest of my life when they could just as easily have provided me with
a child and then stayed out of my way.
But the thought of the woman in our room, possibly in our bed, made my beast happy and, in turn,
made me angry. He wanted her, and I despised the thought of her.
I knew the second she left the room and began to wander the halls of our home. When I should have
been focusing on the threat at hand and the map in front of me, she had all my attention.
I stood from my chair, sending it flying back onto the floor as I ran my hands through my hair.
“If you are that frustrated, you have a mate now that can help relax you…” Joselin laughed with a
suggestive wiggle of her eyebrows as she picked my chair into an upright position with a flick of her
“Mind your own business, Josie,” I growled out, still all too aware of my mate’s presence moving closer.
I didn’t want to think about her or be focused on her. I had bigger fish to fry.
The reports of vampire sightings and attacks were at the top of my list. They had been extinct for over a
century. Having them pop up now was worrisome. I needed to find out where they were hiding and how
many of them there were.
They had started The Great War a century ago, and we had all thought they had been purged from the
Earth. For decades after our victory, there were hunting parties roaming, making sure that every last
one had been eliminated.
But now they were back, and even Joselin, as powerful as she was, couldn’t locate them with her
Something or someone was protecting them, and I needed to find out who and how so I could take
down the threat to my people.
Having a mate was the least of my worries and should have been at the bottom of my list. Yet, as she
approached my office door, her smell had me losing all focus on the task at hand. She smelled like a
freshly baked dessert, just sweet enough to make you want to sneak a taste when no one was looking.
That was how they lured men in, and I wasn’t going to fall victim to her charms when I had a duty to put
my people first.
It was something my father never considered when he ended his life and reign over a woman.
Joselin looked up, making eye contact with me as she sensed my mate approaching. Her mischievous
smile made my stomach tighten as she jumped from her chair and pulled the hardwood door open only
a breath after my mate’s delicate hand knocked against it.
My mate looked startled as Joselin stood in front of her, her hand falling slowly back to her side.
“Good. Maybe you can get him to start acting reasonably.” My childhood friend said as she flipped me
off behind her back. I let out a low growl that she ignored as she moved to show affection to her latest
toy. She had been trying to capture Tobias’s attention for years, and I was positive he was about to
crack. The mute giant was a force to be reckoned with, but Joselin loved a challenge.
I glanced over to my mate and seeing her damp hair and fresh clothes made me swallow hard.
Everything about her had been designed to attract me. Knowing she had been in my shower, was
But I had to push the thought down.
She was a temptress…a siren, and I would make sure that she would never control me or drag me
down to the depths with her.
I focused back down at the map on my desk, trying to figure out the best plan of action for our patrols to
sweep for those bloodsuckers. That was what I needed to focus on.
“From the tension, I take it you two haven’t actually met yet,” Joselin said, and from the corner of my
eye, I could see her pushing my mate toward me. She was close enough as it was. I couldn’t think
straight with her in the castle, let alone in the same room as me. Her scent was enough to make me
drunk with lust and want, but my mind was strong enough to know that nothing good would come from
giving in. She was here for one thing and one thing only. When the battle came, she would fight
alongside me, and she would be the reason I would live another day. I would honor and respect her for
it. I would give her everything she could ever want or need, but I could not give her my heart.
“Allow me to introduce you.”
“Joselin,” I growled in warning. I would remain civil with my mate, but we didn’t need to get to know one
another. We certainly didn’t need to be anything more than what we had to be. Eventually, the kingdom
would expect me to mark her and to make her officially their queen. They would also expect us to
produce heirs. All of which could wait until after the threat to our people had been eliminated.
Joselin waved her hand at me, and I rolled my eyes at her blatant disregard for my authority. She was
my right hand and always maintained a high level of respect in public, but in private she went back to
being the *little girl who would turn people’s food into worms and bugs during formal events to get a
reaction out of them. “Your name, dear?”
“Natalie Matthews,” Her soft whisper felt like a feather being run down my spine, and I pressed my
palms further into the table to keep my beast calm. Never had I had such little control over him. As
soon as I caught her scent for the first time, everything changed.
Now he wanted her more than he wanted anything else in the world, and I had to hold him back.
“Natalie, meet Killian Amery, your mate.”
My mate. Natalie.
“I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to leave the room.” She said as she took a step closer.
I pushed off the desk, glaring at her for her * comment. “Of course, you can.” I snapped as I began to
fold the map, needing a minute away from it so I could come back with fresh eyes later. Of all the
places she could have gone to explore, she chose to come to my private office to bother me. She may
have been mistreated in her last pack based on the marks, but she could come and go as she pleased
as long as she had her guard with her.
I just needed time to adjust to her being so close before I could be around her and maintain rational
“You didn’t tell me I could.” She shrugged as she kept her eyes locked on me. I couldn’t stand it. The
warmth and comfort that I felt from just her stare alone made me question how it would feel to have her
in my arms.
I *the door on that thought. I knew it was going to be hard to resist her, I just didn’t realize how difficult it
would truly be. “You are my mate, not my prisoner.”
The declaration had left my lips with intention of informing her how * that statement was. Instead, I felt
a warmth form in my chest at the verbal declaration that she was mine. It settled deep into my soul, and
as much as I wanted to look away from her, I couldn’t.
“I don’t understand why you chose me.” Natalie looked confused as her green eyes bore into me, and I
nodded in understanding. She was only human right now. She had no way of feeling our mate bond
One day I would have to tell her we were true mates. She would find out on her own when she shifted
anyway. But for now, it could work in my favor to keep her at a distance if she didn’t know the truth.
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