Never in my life had I been terrified of a woman. I bowed to no one and demanded the respect I had
But as my little sister’s face turned red, and I watched as the vein in her neck started to hammer
against her skin, I was positive that it was my last day on Earth She had always been a delicate-looking
little princess until it was time for battle. Then the bloodshed seemed to fuel her soul, and she thrived in
She may have been shorter than me, younger than me, and could not shift into the Lycan state, but by
the Goddess, she was terrifying when she wanted to be.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Killian?!” She yelled as she placed both palms on the table and
leaned toward me. I had yet to take my seat, and after noticing the steak knife touching her pinky, I had
no desire to join her at the dinner table.
“Contain yourself, little sister,” I warned as I felt my eyes burn the familiar red of my Lycan in warning of
“Oh, shove it, Killian. Don’t you dare pull rank on me!” She shouted with a growl, and I tried not to flinch
as she slammed her fist on the table. Oh, if Natalie or Joselin could see me now. They would be having
the time of their lives. “I expected more from you!”
My jaw dropped at her statement, and I stepped forward. More from me? I had all but killed myself for
this kingdom! “More? I have given everything for our people! What more could you want from me? For
the love of the Goddess, Charlie! You just got home, and you are already jumping down my throat for
She blinked silently at me, but it was the utter disappointment and disgust I saw there that made me
pause. “I never thought you would end up like dad.”
“I am nothing like dad! I put my people first! That selfish *was weak!” I shouted. The growl behind my
words made the wine and waters ripple in the glasses on the table.
“Then explain Natalie! Do you not see how much pain she is in? Did you learn nothing from what
happened with our parents?” Her yell was followed by the slamming of her palm on the table, and I took
a deep breath to keep from screaming at her. “How could you justify taking her as a breeder?”
“I didn’t take her as a breeder! I took her as my mate! She is mine!” My voice echoed through the room,
layered by my beast’s as I declared Natalie as my fated.
Charlie stood wide-eyed, all of the anger visibly melting away at my words. I watched as she sank
down into her chair with her hand over her *before letting out a loud laugh of shock. “Truly?”
I nodded once before moving back to my seat, subtly taking her steak knife away as I sat down. She
was calm now, but I didn’t know how long that would last. I had learned my lesson with her as a kid not
to underestimate her.
She was still my baby sister, but she was a warrior through and through. If I gave her the chance to
fight she would. The only thing she hadn’t fought for was the crown itself. She never wanted it and
despised being here surrounded by fake people in the court. They loved to kiss her ass and then ask
for favors before they could even stand back upright.
“Then why does she think she’s a breeder. She has to know after what happened with dad and mom,
that you would never put her in that position. Does she even know she is your fated?” Charlie asked as
picked up her fork and grabbed a bite from her large pile of potatoes.
I waited for only a second more before joining her and indulging in my meal, painfully aware of Natalie’s
food getting cold next to me and her stomach being empty upstairs.
“She doesn’t know about what happened to our parents. She didn’t even know mother was still alive
until this afternoon. I have told Natalie several times that she is my mate. What she chose to infer from
that information is on her.” Yet, the longer I spent with her, near her, holding her… the worse I felt about
it. She deserved to be happy, and while I was failing to do so in our relationship, I had at least hoped
she would be happy here in my home.
“You can’t push her away forever. If you keep going, at some point it will be too late, and you won’t be
able to repair the damage done between the two of you.” Her *was full as she spoke, and I curled my
lip in disgust at her lack of manners. She had been out for the past several years playing Robin Hood
and had forgotten all etiquette.
“She will be fine.” It felt as if I had been saying that more often lately, and each time I was starting to
believe it less and less.
“I know what happened between dad and mom hurt you. They damaged me too. But you are not dad,
and Natalie is not mom. You need to let go of their past and start looking toward your future.” My hand
tightened around my fist as the memories surfaced, and I swallowed my bite of food harshly.
Their screaming would ruin every moment of family time we had. Meals were the worst because I
couldn’t just get up and leave whenever I wanted to. I remembered how excited I was when my nanny
would come to get me for my lessons or a nap. I hated being in the same room as my parents. They
had no shame in airing out their dirty laundry in front of Charlie and me. But to the rest of the kingdom,
they were a united front, a force to be reckoned with.
My mother had been chosen as my father’s mate. She had been the strongest of her pack and was
selected to produce my father’s heirs. She was a breeder. I had never seen a woman resent a man
more in my life than my mother did my father. He gave her everything she could ever want and ever
ask for, but it was never enough for her. She always wanted more, claiming to be a prisoner and
demanding her freedom.
He tried so hard to make her happy and loved her with everything he had, but it wasn’t good enough for
I had done as much as I could for Natalie. I filled her closet and dresser with the finest clothes and the
most luxurious jewelry. She had the freedom to roam the castle and our lands as long as she had her
guards with her if she left the walls. I had given her everything I could, but I would not make the same
mistake my father did by giving her my heart.
A small part of my beast got angry at my denial. I knew deep down that she had already stolen a little.
piece of me with the way she would look to me for approval when she did something she thought I
would be proud of, how she fiddled with her fingers under the table while maintaining the composure
and posture of a queen, the way she pulled my hand up and held it over her heart while she was
sleeping in my
The rest of my heart I had to protect with everything I had. Otherwise, what else would be left of me?
“I will be nothing like our father. When the time is right, I will mark Natalie and she will be crowned the
queen. But I will not risk my people over a woman.” I watched as Charlie rolled her eyes.
“You’re pushing away your soulmate because you’re scared she will break your heart like mom broke
dad’s. I think you’re forgetting that dad broke mom’s heart too. They weren’t supposed to be together,
and they both knew it. You and Natalie are. You are meant for each other, hand-chosen by the
Goddess to love and worship one another in this and every life before and after. You are the one
hurting her.” Charlie
had a point, but it was hard to accept it when I had seen for myself the detrimental impact a woman
could have on a man.
I cut another piece of my steak, staring intently at the meat as the metal sliced through it smoothly.
Joselin had said roughly the same thing, but hearing it come from Charlie seemed to hit differently. She
had been there with me through every low of my childhood. She had the same damage that I did from
our parent’s failures.
I had the option to be better than my father, but that didn’t make it any less terrifying to open myself up
Perhaps I would test the waters first.
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heroine seems to fall into the abyss of despair, heartache, empty-handed, But unexpectedly this
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