1174 Words
WARNING-the content of this book is VERY graphic and VERY dark. Do NOT read if you cannot stomach graphic violence or explicit intimacy. HYACINTH (AGE 15) "Daddy!" I sputtered and coughed in the upstairs hallway, lungs already dangerously full of smoke. The fire crackled all around us-my childhood home going up in flames. My father gripped my shoulders tightly, painfully, giving me a little shake. The eyes of his Wolf glowed with fury and hate. Not at me. But for the Alpha who had come to destroy him. The monster intent on cutting us all down and wreaking havoc...until not a person or a possession remained. My father yelled to be heard over the roar and crackling of wood around us, "Get back, Hycinth! Go to Luca at the safe house! Go now! Run!" "No, Daddy!" I wailed again, tears streaming down my face. I didn't want to leave him. He was hurt. I could smell it. Blood from several deep claw and bite wounds wafted into the air. The scent of iron oxide, a byproduct of his leaking life-fluid, combined with the oppressive stench of carbon dioxide released by the flames, burning my sensitive nose. I could barely breathe. His beautiful face twisted, the depth of his agony severe. Tears trailed down his dirty cheeks. His voice cracked, "I love you, Princess." I stared at him in disbelief. The Wolf who had been the strongest, the fiercest warrior in our Pack. That same Wolf who had indulged his little girl. Let me dress him up for tea parties with my bears. Sang me silly songs every night before bed. That man-the one I loved more than any other person in the world- was saying goodbye to me. Forever. He knew his fate. He accepted it. But I didn't think my young heart would survive. And that's when I saw him. The monster. The Alpha of Adamant Moon-Leander! The subject of legends and horrors. Violence so brutal, his own men struggled to stomach the aftermath of his rage, the brutality left in his wake. Like a demon, straight from the churning pits of hell, the Alpha appeared at the top of the stairs. He stood at the end of the long hallway, nostrils flaring. My father spun to face the threat, shoving me behind him at the same time. But I had gotten a glimpse of the death-bringer. The image seared into my brain. Alpha Leander was bigger than life, chest so broad he filled what remained of the charred hallway. Sinewy muscles flexed and contracted with each ragged breath. Pitch black hair shined like mica even with the clinging dirt and falling bits of debris. A short, neatly trimmed 5 o'clock shadow, goatee and mustache framed the sharp-edged cleft of his jaw and emphasized his straight nose and high crested cheeks. His face was made up of angles, all hard and severe. And all man. Hands fisting the back of my father's shirt, I trembled uncontrollably and peeked around him, survival instinct kicking in, not willing to take my eyes off of a predator of Leander's caliber. The glowing eyes of his Wolf, a shocking mixture of cerulean and amethyst, swirled brightly, only focused on his target- my father, Alpha of the Diamonte Pack-as he strode toward us, death and destruction burning in his eyes. And then his gaze flickered to me, and he froze, eyes widening in shock. "Mate?" he mouthed the word, but no sound came out. Time crashed to an abrupt halt. My head spun. I was sure my heart would stop right there as I crouched behind the massive protective frame of my father. It couldn't be true! I would not accept it. I was still a child of fifteen for heaven's sake! Not even shifted yet. And he was clearly a man. I'd heard tales of the young twenty-year-old Alpha who'd taken over his father's pack six months ago after his mother died. Rumor had it his father could no longer manage the stress of running the pack in addition to his heartache at the loss of his mate. His father was known to be a cruel man, but Leander's tales of destruction made his father look like a teddy bear in comparison. Leander's violence was unmatched and unparalleled, his thirst for blood unsated and wanting. It felt like minutes, but only seconds had gone by since Leander appeared at the top of stairs and now stood frozen, his beautiful face twisted in confusion. My father roared, " will never have her!" He shifted and threw himself at the other Alpha, snarling and biting and clawing. At the same time, my muscles coiled tight with adrenaline. I exploded into action. I ran! In the opposite direction, hurling through the wreckage, down two flights of stairs and whipping around the corner. My life was in danger. The fire and smoke inhalation could kill me. But that was nothing compared to the horror of my new reality if that beast of an alpha captured me. No, no, no! The chant pounded through my head, ringing in my ears. I refused to believe he could be my mate. I'd felt nothing when our eyes connected. Nothing! But the tumultuous expression in his cerulean eyes spoke the truth -Leander had felt everything. And I couldn't deny the look that came over his face for just a split second when his lips formed the word, mate. In that one second, his features had transformed into a transcendent glow. And then poof! Just like that, it disappeared. His expression snarled even fiercer, angrier at the cruel reality right in front of him the daughter of his enemy was his mate! He left no doubt in my mind. He was no happier about it than I. For just a blink, I wondered if maybe his hatred would be enough for him to let me go, to reject me. But even as I formed the thought in my head, I knew better. Not only had his face flickered into a glimpse of hope, but there had been undeniable possessiveness. His Wolf would have his mate. No matter what it cost me. No way! No way in hell! I ran faster. Seconds were all I had before the monster broke through the protective barrier of my father's Wolf. A bitter reality washed over me. I had only seconds to escape. But my father had just seconds left to live. To the very end, he sacrificed his life to protect me. My young heart broke under the crushing weight of truth-I would never see him again. My steps faltered when i thought about that. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from wailing. Not now! I forced the torturous thoughts away, shutting off my brain. I couldn't do this now. Not if I wanted to live. Getting emotional was a luxury I didn't have. Breaking down would have to wait. My freedom was at stake. And I would rather die than be taken by that monster!
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