Rejected Mate and Following Fate - Awakening Book

Chapter 96: Don't

I crawl backwards, trembling in instant fear, because I know this is a matter of fight or die and I need to
be stronger than I was ten minutes ago. He almost ended me so easily with one swipe that it’s pathetic.
Call myself Luna? I’m a complete failure.

I need to get my head together and outsmart him while my body tries to heal, give myself time to power
up. I steady my breathing, willing all the energy I can muster up to save me from him, and homing in on
the part of me I rarely have to use. It just means he has to get really close for me to absorb what he
has when I’m this low, to draw from his strength instead of my own and it may be more useful than
energy balls which seem to be failing me.

Colton’s fast, even by Lychan standards, and I get up in a dash, to backwards run an in attempt to coax
him to me and almost get decapitated in the process as a new clawed paw tries to take my head off.

I don’t think so, bitch!!

Carmen’s sassy voice in the link rings through my head, that superior tone that I used to hate, but now I
sort of love, as she comes down over the top of me, seemingly from thin air and drags it with her in a
tumbling roll sideways. Taking the male down with a swoop and aggressive snatch at his head. I catch
sight of Colton flashing towards me, visually targeting his prey and that look of determined malice
makes my blood run cold. I just need a second of his touch, brief contact, enough to feel his gifts
surging and then I’ll be able to deflect them. He pushes through the battling bodies between us,
seemingly slowing and taking his time to savor the fact I’m no longer running and instead intent on
letting him get to me. Heart pounding behind my ribcage like a war drum, and body trembling with both
lack of blood and the icy swell of terror.

I turn my body so that if he catches me again with his claw the injury will be less devastating and in a
place that won’t make me bleed out in seconds. I tense and brace myself for the impact I know will
come and close my eyes for a second to will up the internal energy to somehow do this. Sierra was

right, the blood loss isn’t rectified, and I can barely pull myself around with efficiency, let alone take on
a wolf like him.

I fall backwards with a strangled cry of surprise as the expected full weight of my mate tears down on
me like a savage. Taking me from behind in a rugby tackle and throwing us both out of the arc of the
ditch where I was shielding. He seemed to have meant to plough through me so I would end up
splattered to the floor under him, but his sheer size ends up being a softer cushion and dampener for
me as a human and his arms under my back take the full brunt of our fall. We sort of tuck and tumble
as we scramble together, molded into one body as I hold on to protect myself.

I end up curled against his chest, clinging on for a moment with sheer desperation as we roll through
the dirt and somehow collide with a huge rock sitting proud from forest floor which thuds us to a halt.
His spine meets cold grey matter with a sickening thwack, and it’s enough to crumble the entire side
away, rendering him momentarily stunned as he grunts in pain from sheer impact. His arms splay out,
releasing me from his cloying hold and it’s all the time I need to feed from his strength, his speed. His
fierce being drawn into me as I absorb everything I can with our physical meshing together. I can feel it,
like the inhaling of smoke from the air, into my lungs and through my veins, only it’s Colton’s essence I
seem to be drawing out.

I panic as my wolf self almost rips control from me with the intensity of his powers, riling her into action
and eager to be free to protect me. I have to grapple to stay human with all I have inside, but with his
matching strength I soar suddenly with new life and find the power to jump to my feet as he does. I
grab his wrist as he goes for me, twist it back and deflect every swipe and punch and thrust that reigns
towards me with blink speed reaction, thwarting every move. Colton roars in anger at my newfound
skill, somehow manages to leg swipe my with one of his huge paws as we both crash to the ground
once more. I tuck myself inwards to protect my abdomen, twisting away from him to avoid his weight on
me again, but he catches my around the leg, his claws curling around my narrow limb rather than
piercing me. I yank and pull, attempting to keep lashing at him, while avoiding his razor-sharp weapons

as we roll around in the dirt and collect debris and gravel as we maneuver into wrestle hold rather than

I’m faster this way and he gets angry as hell as I block the blows, hold off the attempts to bite and
maim, and seem to successfully hold my own for as long as I can. It would be easier as a wolf, so
much easier, but I’m aware the whole time of the two life forces I’m protecting in my body and I’m
careful with every duck, hit and lurch to keep that part of me shielded, beneath the metal panel and free
from impact. Thanking god the armor saves me from bumps and scrapes more than I thought it would.
It may not withstand Lychan impaling, but the natural world is a little less able to penetrate it.

I hear the faint howls and the ongoing noises of battles around us, catch sight of Carmen still throwing
around the brown wolf she saved me from, but Sierra is out of sight. Probably fighting her own little war
as we all aim to get through this alive. Even with our numbers, we’re barely keeping even with the
strongest of our pack and many are failing. They have more skill and speed; more battle experience
and I already know so many of ours have passed at their hands.

A blood curling howl tears me from my focus, stunning my brain as a throbbing pain rips through my
body and renders me completely useless. Clutching my head and ears and crying out in despair at the
cruel invasion, while it feels like my entire brain wants to self-implode. It’s Carmen, it has to be, and
she’s using her own weapon to fight back where I guess she too is struggling to stay in control. Giving
the pack an instant head bashing and a few minutes of disorientation and bleeding eardrums.

I’m momentarily disabled from the shock attack and crumble to the ground with a gasp and shudder,
hitting the floor like a sack of rubble. Only, so does Colton, also unable to defend himself against her
unique power and we fall apart, groaning as ache from a wound we didn’t inflict on one another make
us crumble and moan. There’s a new wave of warmth and pain spearing through my central body as
the sound ebbs away and my ears start ringing, but it’s nowhere near the intensity of this instant

I can’t seem to catch my breath with its appearance, and I splay my hands out to scramble across the
dirt as I waiver with disorientation. I try to block out the pulsating boom of stunned hearing as I attempt
to pull oxygen from around me. I battle to fill my lungs, choking intensifying and unable to breathe at all
while a heavy weight, crushing my ribs and sudden tearing slicing, reverberates through my upper
body. It feels like Colton impaled me, but he’s still strewn nearby and suffering a similar fate, so it can’t
be him.

Panic floods me, that the inability to inhale is worse than Carmen’s head puncturing and I don’t know
what’s happening. I’m aware Colton is writhing mere feet beside me, clutching his his ribs too, but my
entire focus is on the slow suffocation as I grasp at my chest and claw at my throat to try and gain
oxygen. Confused, inner chaos growing, as I open my mouth wide, gulping, but yet get nothing. My
eyes water profusely, open wide as I blink in terror, and that’s when I see it.

Sierra, at a distance of maybe twenty feet from me, across my field of vision. She’s impaled on long
sharp claws at the core of her body, right at the point where mine is failing. She’s held in midair as she
scrambles to fight back limply and unhook herself from a grey male’s torturous hold and seems to be
whimpering in agony. He stumbles to one knee, shaking his head as though trying to drown out and
recover from the now quiet Carmen’s aftereffects, but doesn’t release Sierra from his grip.

Carmen…. It’s Sierra!!! I shriek out in the link, moving to make to go to her, but falling down as my lack
of air pushes me to instant black vision. I lift my chin weakly, focusing as best I can through the blur,
more concerned for her in this moment and silent sob out in relief as a flying wolf hauls her out of the
death hold she’s in. It drags her backwards, yanking the claws from her lungs as they fall into the
undergrowth and almost instantly my own inflate in response. Relief and oxygen swelling inside my
body so that it makes me lightheaded and I slump again as my lungs finally work.

Our life bond means her pain when close to death is my pain, and it seems to still link to Colton even if
he is under a spell. He stops clutching and gasping in the same way I was, indicating he too has been
released and I know that means nothing good for me. I force myself to get up, on shaking limbs, slowly

with determination to face him, knowing recovery of us both will be rapid as Sierra heals in the blink of
an eye. I hold my ground, fixated on his huge body, as he rolls to his upright position with an easy
move and locks black soulless eyes back on me. Without an ounce of hesitation, no delay, he comes at
me again, full fury and ready for round two.

He moves like a steam train on rocket fuel. His claws splaying towards my shoulders, tackling me
bodily once more even though I try to dodge with a jump. He flings me backwards with the impact, but I
roll onto my shoulder blades as I meet dirt and push both my feet into his abdomen as we fall. I thrust
him up hard and over the top of me, in a move he taught me, with a little effort and a huge amount of
momentum. Letting go as he goes flying further into the woods with a crashing roar.

He spins on the ground as he collides, comes right back like a boomerang, and launches himself at my
laid down posture as I move. He misses me by a hair’s breadth, crashing onto my vacant spot and
tumbling over like a clumsy oaf who’s too fueled with fury to control his reflexes. I dodge as he swiftly
follows me with a claw swipe, and I manage to push his wrist away at the last second. I have to
counteract his jaw coming in to take a bite at my face as he follows through and end up thrusting my
head down and sucker punching him in the belly with the flat of my palm. A sudden energy boost giving
me oomph and he staggers back with the blow.

“Colton, are you really this stupid?” I spit at his face while he attempts to right his footing and gives me
a second to breathe. “If I die, so do you, you utter Moron!” I thrust a knee into his groin with a crunch
when he flies back into me, my confidence growing with the use of his own strength on my side,
knowing that even in wolf form that’s still a sensitive area. There’s a grunt as knee bone flattens wolf
bone; an instant as his body shudders and crumples a little, and I have to duck when he almost takes
my head off for it in howling agony.

His roar of frustration that I wounded him there, that I’m matched in every way, fuels his rage and I pull
backwards with a slight limp because of my now bruised kneecap. It was so worth it though, even if it
might mean our twins don’t get more siblings in the future.

I grit my teeth, show my fierce, and using a throw he taught me yet again, by wedging my butt as I
swiftly turn in his abdomen, grabbing his upper arm, I throw him right over me in a forward flip. I toss
him several feet with the exertion of using what I’m absorbing by touch, then jump to straighten to meet
him face on when he recovers his standing. I can feel my energy building again, although it seems my
vampire gifts are the ones weakened by my blood loss now, while the wolf and her ability to absorb are
still going strong. It makes no sense, but I’m glad a part of me is still in this fight, even if I am stealing
my mate’s abilities. Colton would tell me to do this, and I know when we break this curse, he’ll be
thankful that I could use his own alpha power against him.

Carmen flashes into sight from the left seemingly she finally shook off the wolf she had been battling
and goes straight for Colton’s face, side on, taking him down to the left with her and they roll away from
my sight under bushes and roughage. I make a move to help her but I’m held still with a sudden gentle
touch on my back.

Come… Meadow and Leyanne will be at the mountain by now, we’re barley holding on here, we need
to get you out of the thick of it. Colton’s too strong and you’re not going to maintain this energy.

Sierra’s voice floors me as she jumps in front of me and tries to trip me over onto her back the way
Carmen did earlier, but I stand my ground. I know she means well, and she thinks that now I’ve proven
myself, I should retreat and stay safe. That’s not how this works.

“No. No other wolf can match Colton, and I won’t let someone die trying… he’s mine! I have to keep his
focus on me. Carmen won’t be able to hold him.” He’s my mate, my responsibility and he would
annihilate any other in the pack without breaking a sweat.

Carmen yelps out in a ringing blast as if proving my point, her whimper echoing from nearby and I turn
in time to see her being tossed thirty feet in the air, like a ragdoll with no weight to her. She comes
down to earth with a bone shattering thud, a slight tremble of the ground beneath my feet, which leaves
her panting and whimpering, as internally things crunch and grind as her body starts to insta-heal.

Unlike before when Colton’s attention always came back at me, this time he turns and heads to her for
a second blow, before she’s had time to recover. My stomach lurches into my throat, knowing the killing
intent across his face and her lack of seconds to get herself up.

I fly forward without hesitation. I run, at full speed at the back of him and throw myself onto his back as
he rears back to deliver a smack to Carmen’s exposed underside, while her body tries to repair broken
bones. It would be a death blow in her state of vulnerable and she wouldn’t stand a chance.

I grab him around the head, pulling his jaw left and dodge his claws as he grapples, reaching back to
dislodge me, to no avail. Sierra works with me, and swipes under his legs with a fast maneuver that
brings him down backwards, almost on top of me. At the last second, I let go and leap away, so his
crushing weight misses me or else I’d be squashed. I’m not fast enough to escape though, as he
catches hold of my left ankle and yanks me back brutally. He digs his claws into bone and flesh on one
of the smallest parts of my body, following with a crushing snap of searing splice that makes me cry out
in wailing pain.

I turn impulsively, shocked into retaliation by the instant agony and hit him full on with a powerful ball of
energy. I get him right in the face, smack, and it sends him rolling away, releasing my broken and
slashed ankle as I crawl away as fast as I can for Sierra. Aiming for her healing help as she closes the
gap between us once more.

This is not a plan…. this is not a plan. This is barely keeping our shit together.

Her panicked rambling comes at me in repeated mumbles as she quickly, hands on, tries to heal me as
she turns human again. Only too aware he’s getting up and already coming for us. Her anxiety rising in
time with mine and the sense of urgency becomes almost hysterical in its weight around us.

“No, it’s not….. I don’t know what else to do but keep his focus. We have to give the witch time.” I
compel her, hands up in bewilderment of ‘what else can we do?

She heals me only seconds before I dodge out of the way, instinct kicking in, his claws miss both her
and I, as she turns and leaps back. I know this isn’t working. Colton is hard on any day of the week to
defeat and even with my gifts, I’ve never actually overpowered him when he wanted to fight back. He’s
never actually properly intended to win anytime he trained me and always held back and tried not to
hurt me. It’s becoming pretty obvious that the advantage in that was what made me think I could
always kick his ass.

Like this, with no holding back, I’m barely keeping up and I squeal mid run as my hair is caught from
behind me with a brutal tug of ripping roots. I’m dragged backward while distracted by my own stupid
thoughts. Panic searing through me that I so easily got myself captured but followed by relief when I
realize it’s not Colton

Sorry, I didn’t know what else to grab.

Carmen growls through the link, releasing my chunk of hair from her mouth as she lets me loose. Right
away I see she saved me from a lunge of another wolf who had tried his luck going for me. One who
has gone crashing right into Sierra’s angry thrust. She head butts him low and then tosses him
backwards over her body with little effort and sends him rolling into the forest behind with a crash.

What the hell is taking so long with the witch? It feels like it’s been hours already.

Carmen snorts, pulling my mind away from her question by pushing me full force, back, as two wolves
dive over us accidently when clearing the log and don’t see us at all. I realize they are being pursued
by enchanted wolves and heading into the mini battle that’s pulled Colton away from us while he deals
with a group of protective land wolves. This is chaos and the only way to tell who is who is by looking at
their eyes. Only Colton is an obvious target as he stands huge and foreboding with being the only black
male among us.

“Where is he?” I blanche, my eyes scanning our surroundings when I stray back to arm myself to take
him on again and I realize Colton isn’t here anymore. In the blink of an eye, he seems to have
disappeared into thin air and it kicks my manic panic button into fury.

I span the circle around us, a flurry of worry and anticipation spiking inside of me, dodging another fly
attack from a brown wolf that Carmen flips on its side and tosses backwards. My panic rises further,
and I spin around, visually raking every space in front of us. I know I can’t let him out of my sight, I can’t
lose the one person who may have ability to chase the witch down.

I take in the trees, the bushes, the rocks, and all around us, frantically searching for a sign, in an effort
to locate him then weaken instantly, blood draining from my face when I spot what I seek. Twenty feet
to our left, almost concealed by a thick tree trunk. He’s holding up a smaller, grey wolf, by the throat,
his teeth close to their jugular in a threatening manner and about a second away from tearing it out.
There’s no mistaking that’s his intent.


My ears almost explode, and I swear my heart erupts in my rib cage as though it already combusted as
I crumble to the ground, grasping the agonizing pain in my skull as even my vision begins to vibrate. I
forgot how painful Carmen’s scream could be, guessing earlier she had gone lightly, and by god it’s so
much worse when her emotions kick in.

I feel like my eardrums are bleeding as I force myself to clutch my ears and struggle to look up to see
Colton has dropped his prey long enough for it to crawl away. Every single wolf around us is cowering
in pain, at the god-awful noise coming from that girl. It’s effective to say the least but it’s really not
directional and all of us are being wounded in a bid to save one.

If I thought I could deal with this pain for the long term, it would be a great weapon in keeping everyone
here from killing each other, but as soon as it’s stretched into long seconds, my vision begins to blur

and blacken and the pain in my head threatens to knock me out. It’s that moment before glass shatters
with high frequency, and even though I know she isn’t trying to hurt me, my nose starts to flood and a
trickle of blood runs over my top lip.

Thankfully she stops. Before my mind and heart give out, but I’m left with a woozy sensation and all my
senses seemed to be knocked sideways and I’m back to dizzy and disorientated. Feeling surreal, like
I’m caught in a dream where this isn’t happening in reality. I impulsively lift my hands to the wet warmth
rolling over my mouth, knowing it’s blood but startled to find it’s also coming from my ears as it makes
way down my neck. I shover with the sudden dampening on the clothes inside my body shield aware
Carmen has ruptured something.

Oh my god. I’m sorry.

Her voice comes at me but I shake my head and push away the furry body that moves to help hold me
up, suddenly attentive to my fragile movements.

“I’m fine, it’s okay.” I soothe, my voice sounding alien and detached from my own head and fake a
show of stability. Pushing myself to my feet and ignoring the sway of my limbs.

I’m too weak like this, too vulnerable and I can’t keep screaming on Sierra to heal me every five

Talking of which I stagger on my feet, trying to pull my brain back together and click on the fact I can’t
see her. Carmen is between Colton and I, as he’s now also heading this way and other wolves roll into
view too. They seem to distract him long enough that Carmen pushes me bodily backwards, so we fall
into a gulley, flanked by fallen logs and I collapse in a hazy mess with the sudden vertigo of her fast

Shit. I didn’t think … I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to hurt you. I forgot that humans can’t take it for long and
that you can’t heal…. I’ll find Sierra, she was there a second ago…. Hide, stay low. Don’t move while I

get her. Carmen’s panicking, appraising my face and the continued blood flow down my mouth and
from my inner ears. The rising sickening nausea in my body has all my senses swirling, and I feel like
I’ve had a blow to the head. I can’t see straight, the ground waving up and down and little stars of
glittering lights start coloring my vision. I’m in a bad way, just from a sound.

“No, it’s okay, I’m just dizzy… I’m good.” I lie to her, feeling worse than I want to admit but I can still get
up and still fight if I take a moment. I don’t want her to blame herself for anything more in this life than
she already does, and I don’t want to prove Meadow right in being the useless deadweight in this.

I pull myself to my knees and then gasp, painful inhalation, and grunt, as I’m winded by a backward
kick to the head that sends me reeling as a wolf jumping over knocks me for six and fastens onto
Carmen with a ferocious bite. We didn’t see them coming.

She howls out in rage, and pain, and claws at it latched onto her back, trying to dislodge it as I muster
enough energy to help. I throw the last ball of pure energy I can pull together, and it sends it cascading
off into a groaning heap, mere feet away. It’s long enough for Carmen to get the better of it and she
hauls it across the leaf strewn basin and throws it hard, and furiously, out of our hideaway.

We have to move. Now!

She catches my arm in her mouth, that commanding snidey tone on show once more, and tugs me
hard as she can to get me going. I know she wants to put distance between me and Colton and I don’t
blame her for choosing me over the plan.

It’s only then, when I have to fight gravity and momentum of moving, that it dawns on me I’m doing so
much worse than I thought. My vision is all over the place, and I’m struggling to walk straight, my head
spinning. I stumble and fall onto all fours after only a few steps forward, letting out an exasperated
noise, unable to hide how much I’m suffering. Carmen hesitates, looks out into the chaos and seems to
struggle to decide what to do.

I’ll find Sierra, stay. Look, behind you, in the log. Get in and lay down. Hide. I’ll be fast, please…I beg of
you…stay concealed.

This time I don’t argue. I know this is bad and I’m losing use of my limbs and even the sensation of my
fingers and toes. I can hear a soft high pitch tone rattling inside my brain and the bleeding hasn’t eased
up at all. My head’s aching, my sight’s completely out of whack and I know something is really wrong
with my mind. My wolf is writhing and whining to let her come out to help me and I have to grip on with
every ounce of willpower to stop the self-preservation kicking in to make me turn. It’s a battle in itself
and it drains me as fast as this new injury is doing.

Despite the sun rising high enough to warm my bones there’s a coldness seeping through me as I
struggle to take control, and I barely manage to crawl into a fallen log Carmen guides me to. I feel like a
coward having to hide but I have no choice. The witch was right and like this I’m weak, no match for a
wolf, especially not Colton.

I either have to accept fate and lose the lives within to save my pack, live on to keep fighting for them,
or succumb to the fact that I can’t do this, and I need to retreat and hide to save my children. My pack
or my babies…. that’s what this comes down to and I can’t choose to let go of my own blood.

My heart breaks open and the internal wracking guilt gnaws at my sanity. I’m instantly so consumed
with sudden grief that when I slump into my hiding place, failing to check around me before seeing
Carmen shoot off in pursuit of my healing mother-in-law. My entire focus on the damp earth under my
flat palms, as I lay on my front and shallowly breath through the mist of my own broken eyesight.

The log is ripped from around me, so sudden, like the blink of an eye that I can’t react. I grip the fallen
debris below my fingers in haste to cling on, as I’m trundled out like a floppy rag onto the ground into a
disheveled heap and discarded. The huge black silhouette of my worst nightmare, and best dream,
towers over me and snarls in satisfaction that he found his prey once more. I lift my frail hand in an

attempt to muster what power I have left and it dies on me completely, ebbing away like a flickering
flame that’s been caught in an airless room.

I’m seeing two of him, my head aching, my throat dry and my limbs no longer functioning. Heaped in an
awkward position on uneven ground, because I’m so fatigued, I can’t move myself. My gift even as a
wolf has given up on me, the will to turn is all that claws inside, and I need to choose how this goes.

Save myself…. Kill them.

Let him take me, we die anyway and yet the pack may yet survive.

Could I live on with the knowledge I took my babies lives? Could I look him in the eye and watch him
destroy himself with the guilt that he did this, when the spell finally breaks.

No. I can’t. I’d rather die than live with his pain, and mine, and the loss of them.

Colton lifts me up by the throat, choking me with his sheer pulsating strength, even without gripping
hard, pulling my lifeless form to him as though I’m a mere scrap of rubbish. My eyes mist over as
emotions consume me and I stare helplessly into the dead and empty eyes of the man I love more than
anything in the world. It’s his body, his wolf, but he’s not in there anymore and nothing I do will change
it. Physically he’s hurting me as he presses just a little, but emotionally he’s destroying the last ounces
of my soul and I begin to sob like a broken child. Pain coursing through every nerve ending.

I know this is it…. My life, or theirs, and the way this is looking, they will die anyway if I don’t turn.
Because Colton isn’t about to stop. My wolf can’t defeat him either. I have to face the reality of this.

I weakly grab at his wrists, hating his familiar warmth, the feel of his fur and the expanse of muscle
beneath. Aching and yearning for him, while being petrified of who he is in front of me. It’s like he
senses I have nothing left to fight with and that snarl turns to a toothy smug growl, showing his

satisfaction that I’m not fighting him anymore. He takes pleasure from seeing my tears, mingled with
my own blood, spreading across my mouth and chin and the pitiful sodden expression of lost hope.

Colton, please…. It’s me… Lorey…. Your mate. Don’t.” I know begging is futile, but my body is too
weak to try, my heart refuses to give up on him and as he starts to choke the life out of me a little more,
he holds me up to admire what he’s about to kill. My voice is all I have left, even while the claws
constrict around my neck, closing my airways and disable my ability to breath. I grasp at his fingers
with both hands, to try and hold him back and gasp when he tightens with a flex, to show how easy this
will be.

There’s nothing behind those eyes, no life, no acknowledgement of who I am, and I pull everything in
me to try and deflect one last time, only managing a slight push of air at his face which barely moves
him at all. He seems amused by it, my feeble attempts, and drops me in a heap on the ground as
though mocking me by delaying the urge to end me. My body drops, bashing rocks and sticks scattered
across the ground as I slump into uselessness submission. I’ve never been so ashamed of myself.

I killed a bear on my own for gods’ sakes…. It’s not a hard choice. Turn and live, turn and fight him.
Turn and live with knowing I ended the life of our children before they even had a chance to exist. I just
need to let go of them, to save my people, just be brave, be a Luna, and maybe one day, we can try
again. Once he comes back to me…once…… once……

“I can’t do it!” I cry out in anguish; loud and hoarse as it burns my throat and my soul screams in pain.
Sobbing his way with a broken expression, focused on his empty eyes, even though he has no idea
what I’m talking about. I wail in broken despair, pushing myself down to facepalm the earth, burying my
face in the rotting leaves of the dirty musky soil. I know he’s standing over me, toying with his little
mouse, and enjoying the slow build to killing me but it feels like I’m already dead inside.

The only way I would stand a chance with him is as a wolf. And it’s the one option I refuse to take.

I can’t save myself and end them, even if he kills us all. My wolf isn’t even trying to save me anymore,
because she too knows that saving me will kill me in other ways. I’ll never recover mentally,
emotionally, if I make that choice to put my life over theirs. I’m their mother, I can’t be the one to choose
to discard them. They’re innocent and they never asked me to be created. They’re the product of our
love, our bond, our time together, and I won’t be able to ever look him in the face again if I lose them to
save him.

I love them both already. As much as I love him. Maybe more.

My wolf, it’s like her instinct to keep me alive has disconnected too and is in there with them, hoping
she can keep them safe instead of me. She’s as torn as I and no longer is my survival, my safety, her
priority in this fight.

His hot breath and panting raspy heat hits me right by my ear as he bends low and growls into the left
side of my head. My body goosebumping all over as a cold wave turns my skin to ice. I freeze, holding
my breath and tremble at his sudden proximity, still affected by him but with a growing fear. There’s a
moment of still, a slight silent pause, where I actually wonder if maybe he’s doubting the instinct to
deliver the final blow and stupidly for a moment think he won’t do it. Maybe there’s an ounce of him still
inside his body, who’s fighting to save me too. I grasp onto that tiny inkling of hope, that our love is
stronger than a spell.

I’m wrong

Colton thrusts a clawed clenched grab into my right shoulder with a fierce impale, tossing me aside,
and sends me splaying back ten feet with the impact. I fly through the air, everything slowing down into
surreal disbelief and any chance of finding my strength evades me. He sends my lifeless body into the
trees without a way to shield myself, so I’m hammered by the impact, with a crunch, and cracking. My
ribs shatter in the process, piercing soft flesh, and pulsing vitality, behind my armor. I can’t even cry out;

such is the massive blow to my body, the immense scourge of immense hurt, which stuns me into
numb uselessness.

My body plate is dented and warped, as I slide down from mid-way up the trunk, and crumple into a
broken mess, at the base of a shadow oak tree that broke my flight. Crunching my splintered body into
agonizing pain, the collision into hard wood has completely knocked the wind out of me. I lay in a
mangled heap and grasp for air, mouth opening and body trying, but I’m like a fish out of water.

Unable to do anything at all except whine under my breath, and claw weakly at the dirt around me,
trying like crazy to inflate my lungs even an inch. My shoulder’s wet from a severe set of puncture
wounds that extend up onto the side of my neck, and I know it’s probably my jugular that’s making the
flow so intense. The throbbing coming from there, in time to my low and weak heartbeat, pulsing out
my blood with every thud.

I’m bleeding fast and hard and have another two claw marks across my arm where he must have cut
me with his throwing blow. I raise my head with all I have left and catch sight of him walking to me,
slowly, predator like, while my blood drips from his paw and claws like a red beacon that signals his

As he gets within a foot of me, my eyes fall down and level with the huge, clawed feet coming to my
face. I don’t know why, but he chooses this moment to turn semi human and the sudden sight of that
tanned skin on normal feet, and strong legs, , standing so close, gives me the energy to take one last
look at him, A slight hope that Leyanne has won and maybe he’s turning because my mate has come
back to me.

My eyes rise to his, and I almost cry out loud once more when I still see only the deadly black obsidian
of his pupils, in a human face that’s sneering my way in total disdain. Although his teeth and claws are
still out and waiting.

It seems he’s chosen to toy with me until the end, and kill me in his weaker form, to show how pitiful I
am. He doesn’t need to be wolf to do this, I’m not resisting. There’s no glory if he’s four times the size
of me.

Colton please… don’t.” I beg breathlessly forcing the words out and crying silently as the inevitable
becomes clear and a memory hits me full force in the face.

Colton’s dream… it was a vision; it was this moment. He saw my death – our death, because I wouldn’t
turn. And now I know why.

He knew it, he felt it, and his dreams warned him of all that was coming. If only we took heed and never
ventured into the forest again.

My hand slides to my abdomen, almost like a last final decision that their life means more than my own
and despite knowing they will die too…. I just can’t be the one to end theirs. Colton would never forgive
himself, and neither would I. It would be our undoing.

He walks forward, slowly, no care in the world, taking his time, and I screw my eyes shut and start to
whimper under my breath as I accept fate. My body is broken and my blood seeping out at a rate that I
know I don’t have much time left.

“I’m sorry.”

I failed them all.

My pack, Sierra, Meadow…My children……

My mate.