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Fated to my Timebound Mate(Breeder#7)

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Blurb

I'm Sasha Wentley. It took a lot to shut the door on my dark history flooded with unhappy memories. Coming face to face again with my childhood bully was hard, and being his mate was complicated, to say the least. The problem was, he was the only one who could save me from getting lost in time.

"I don't want to let you go," I whispered. I pulled him down to me and kissed his lips again.

He sighed and ran his hands down my sides.

"Are you sure about this, Sasha?" he murmured, pulling back.

I nodded. "I don't care if you remember me or not. I don't want to spend another moment without you."

"Sasha, this isn't you," he pleaded as he held me firmly in his arms and I felt my heart sink.

"This is the real me. There is a reason we've fallen through time, a reason we've always been torn apart. We're not meant to be together, just let me go."

Fated to my Timebound Mate is created by Alice Knightsky, an eGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.

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Chapter 1 : Wounded
*Sasha* The last heat of summer curled the edges of the leaves that blew across the street from trees strategically planted by the city along the sidewalk. Amanda had to hold down her skirt as we clicked high heels on pavement to the bar. I didn't have that trouble. My skirt was form-fitting, clinging securely to my slight curves. Nostalgia's door swung in easily in the breeze, and the smell of fruity drinks and peanut shells wafted over us. So did the noise of about sixty standing and sitting patrons. The place was packed, literally and figuratively. “Let's split up," Amanda said, her sharp green eyes picking out places people might be vacating soon. “Split up? How will we even find each other in this–“ Amanda grabbed my shoulder then and hauled me toward a pair of emptying barstools. We skidded into them just as another pair of girls was about to. “Sorry," Amanda said, unrepentantly. The girls scowled. So far, we weren't making any new friends. Amanda turned her head sharply, already erasing them from her world. “I can't believe we're starting up again soon," she groaned, referring to the fact the first semester after summer break was looming over us. “I'm excited," I admitted. “Hopefully, I was assigned to the new library build in the North for my work-study." With a flick of her wrist and a flirtatious smile, Amanda called the waiter over. “Two Bite of the Wolfs," she smiled. “Two–is one of them for me?" I asked. “Yeah. It's a little early in the night to get completely blotto, don't you think?" Amanda winked. Considering six men had been licking salt off her hand between shots the last time we went out, it seemed wise, uncommonly wise for Amanda. “Why do you go to college if you hate it?" I asked. “Are you struggling or something?" Amanda shook her head, distracted by a passing tight backside. “I'm in the top three." Moon Goddess. “The top three?! What the hell are you complaining about, then?!" I gaped. “It's bo-oring," Amanda complained. “For you, maybe," I huffed. Amanda finished ogling the passing guy, who'd thrown her a wink for her trouble. She reached across the table and patted my hand. “I know, I know–eye on the prize, Miss No Social Life. You're going to be an engineer, and not just any engineer, a Royal Engineer." “Yeah, if I get this work-study," I sighed. Amanda snorted in a rather unladylike manner as the waiter returned and set down our drinks. She took a long sip of hers before continuing, “Sasha, honey, you work hard enough to power three cities. You hardly sleep, we almost never go out–even though it's summer–and you've got the White Queen herself in your corner. Not to mention you're actually talented… you're getting this work-study." “Hmm," I said, pushing my hair behind my ear. “I hope s–“ The crowd parted, and in the mirror over the bar, I saw a face I'd never forget. His steel-gray eyes, encased in dark lashes and hooded beneath his dark brows just caught the low lights of the bar. His brown hair was cropped short on the sides and left just curly enough to be wild on top. He was bigger than I remembered, built tall and muscular, but I would know that face anywhere. His complexion was deeply tanned over his wide jaw and high cheekbones, hinting at a summer he must have finished enjoying in the sun. Lucas. f*****g. Black. His eyes suddenly met mine in the mirror and his playboy smile brightened. I could feel the charm rolling off him as he approached us, much to my dismay. “Ooo," Amanda said, catching the same figure in the mirror and not-so-subtly fanning herself. “Yum-a-licious at your six." Holding his gaze in the mirror, I could see that he was indeed coming our way, as several girls nearby began to crowd the space around us to get his attention. My jaw tightened. “Yeah, I guess… snake." Amanda's eyebrows shot up. “What, me or him?" “Him." I took a fortifying gulp of my Bite of the Wolf and deliberately dropped my gaze away from the mirror as he got closer, trying not to catch his eyes again. Lucas Black either didn't take the hint or didn't care. He did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, like it was his personal privilege to do so–typical. “Hi there, beautiful," Lucas said. I peeped an eye up at him, but he was talking to Amanda and not me. That boiled my blood even more. Amanda fluttered her eyelashes at him and extended a hand, not to shake but to kiss. “Hey, handsome." Lucas played along and kissed the back of her hand with a gallant bow. For some reason, I wanted to growl. I didn't even have my wolf yet, and I still wanted to growl. This asshole making nice with my best friend was enough to make me sick. He chatted with the other girls as well, making an obvious effort to ignore me. The girls were eating out of his hands, taken in by his good looks and charming ways. His spell was like drawing moths to a flame. They didn't know him like I did though. Finally, he turned his steel-gray eyes my way. “Sasha...." At least he remembered my name, but why did he make it sound warm and gentle, sending an unexpected shiver through me? I tried my best to fight the effect he was having on me. He was the same jerk he'd always been, and I had to remember that. “How have you been?" he asked. “Excuse me...." I said, feeling ill. I shoved myself off my barstool and made a beeline for the bathroom to avoid having to make any real pleasantries. If I timed it right, I could splash my face, give him time to chat up and move along with a more willing female who didn't know what a jerk he was, and return to the bar, avoiding any further contact with him altogether. The least I could do was spare myself this disgusting display of false chivalry from that— I bounced off a large beer gut and stumbled back, startled. The way to the bathroom had been completely clear a moment ago. “Excuse me, sir," I said as I sidestepped him. Or tried to, at least–Beer Gut moved into my path again, this time putting a hand low on my bare shoulder. The heel of his palm was almost indecently low on my chest. “What's the rush, pretty pup? I thought maybe you and I could talk a while." He spoke to my pushed-up bodice, not my face. Creepy crawlies of disgust crept over my skin. “Um," I said, firmly pushing his hand off me, “maybe some other time." “Aww, don't be like that, babe," Beer Gut whined, gripping my arm before I could get away. Beer sloshed over the top of his frosted mug. He was drunk–just one more point in his favor. “Let me go," I said sharply, trying to twist my arm out of his grip. He started backing me toward the hall between the bathrooms, to the dark corner next to an “Employees Only" door at the end. “I promise, once you go Jack, you never go back." Sweet mercies of the White Queen… I twisted my arm again, but his grip didn't let up. He slipped an unwelcome arm around me, his oily skin and dank smell of sweat hitting my nose and stomach unpleasantly. I tried to pull away and he gripped me tighter, pressing my body into his. He laughed, and the creepy jiggle of his body against mine made my skin crawl. I fought against his hold but he wouldn't let me go. Just as I was preparing to knee the drunkard in the balls, his grip on me vanished. A squeal hit my ears before I actually saw what was going on. Between me and him stood a towering figure of a man whose wolf was so close to the surface I could hear the crackle of his bones preparing to make the shift as he growled, low and guttural, in warning. He was towering tall, with a muscular back and powerful arms, holding Beer Gut by the back of his neck and then slamming him mercilessly to the floor. The guy on the ground didn't need any prompting as he scrambled to his feet and vanished into the crowd. The man who'd knocked him back turned to me. If I had gained any breath after being released from that unwelcomed embrace, all of it expelled from my lungs again as I came face to face with my savior. Lucas. f*****g. Black. In the next instant and without a thought in my head, my arm flew out from my side. As if it had a mind of its own, my hand connected with his cheek. I felt the sting in my own hand before I even realized that I slapped him clear across his face. I held my breath, waiting for the return of the low growl and crackling bones, but he merely lifted an eyebrow and looked at me curiously. “I think you meant to say, 'Thank you.'" My hand still stung as he gave me an infuriating grin. I wondered if he'd even felt the slap at all. “Thank you for ruining my night out," I said. His other eyebrow shot up on his forehead and his grin widened into a smile. “Come on, don't be like that," Lucas said softly, reaching out to tuck a wayward strand of hair behind my ear. I couldn't move… I couldn't even breathe. The heat from his body poured off of him in waves, carrying his scent of warm citrus and rosewood. “How have you been?" I gritted my teeth and kept it together. “I've been fine," I said, “but am not up for a stroll down memory lane right now. I have a lot on my mind. Excuse me." I pushed past him. Forgetting the ladies' room, I simply left the bar. *** I imagined my hand still stinging as I crossed the campus quad, heading for the engineering department. I'd felt smug to begin with, but now, in hindsight, I felt a bit bad about it. He did come to my rescue, after all. Dry leaves crunched under my feet as I left the quad and mounted the stairs to my major's building. It had been home for three years now, and this would be my fourth. This work-study would be paramount in determining my future after graduation. I pushed my hair behind my ear as I walked down the silent halls to my advisor's office. I hadn't slept a wink, and I was telling myself it was the stress of not knowing about my work-study and not the slap. Nope, not the slap–it was definitely not the slap. Professor Augustine's door was closed, and since I was raised to be polite, I knocked even though I had an appointment. “Come in, Miss Wentley," my advisor said. My palms were sweating a little as I turned the knob and stepped into Professor Augustine's office. “You wanted to meet with me, ma'am?" I asked. “Yes, yes, Miss Wentley. Please, sit down," Professor Augustine said, gesturing to the chair across the desk from her. I settled bonelessly into the chair. Professor Augustine pulled an envelope with the royal seal stamped on it in wax. The royals liked to do some things the old-fashioned way. I sat up straighter. “I haven't opened it yet," Professor Augustine said. “I thought you deserved to know the news at the same time I did." Given it was such a small envelope, I felt myself deflate. Much like a college acceptance, if it was a letter and not a packet, it was likely a rejection. “Now, remember, no matter what it says, you are still the most talented and hardworking student in this department," Professor Augustine prefaced before sliding a letter opener under the seal. I braced myself. I knew the rejection would be crushing, but I wanted to be professional at least in front of my advising professor. Professor Augustine flicked her eyes over the letter, then gave me a wide smile over the top of the single sheet of paper. “Congratulations. You got it!" I'd held my breath so long I thought I might pass out when the words left her mouth. “Really?" I wheezed. “Truly. But I thought you must have been accepted to the new northern library project when I saw this." Professor Augustine's eyes twinkled as she pulled a large packet from her desk and handed it to me. This one was also sporting the royal seal. Tears stung my eyes, but I tapped into my Wentley stoicism and didn't let them fall. “This is… this is so… so...." “Great? Wonderful?" Professor Augustine supplied with a wide smile. “Well, it was certainly to be expected and it is well-deserved." She handed the packet across the desk to me. This one was addressed to me and me alone. Still, the professor had been kind enough to wait for me to open her letter, so I figured I could do her the same courtesy. I opened the packet with all the details of the project, from its current building status to how to get to the library to.... I blinked, then stared, then blinked again. “Is something wrong, Ms. Wentley?" Professor Augustine asked, her face pinched with concern. Yes.... “No," I responded quickly, “no problem at all. Thank you so much, professor." Professor Augustine smiled again. “You go run along and tell all your friends. I am extremely proud of you. I know you will do well." I nodded and rose, hugging the packet to my chest to keep my hands from shaking. “Thank you," I said again before heading out. My heart pounded as I walked down the hall, then out the doors, then down the stone steps, across the sidewalk, and back to the quad. I sank down in the grass, pulled the papers away from my chest, and scanned the page again, but the words, unfortunately, didn't change. Under “Project Manager and Head Engineer" appeared a name I'd hoped never to deal with again. Lucas. f*****g. Black.

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