I didn’t feel the surgery they performed, didn’t know the worry I caused when I flatlined twice. I was in a land of bliss, reliving the happier times of my life.
Until the Goddess appeared that is.
She shimmied into my dreams, seeming to struggle to manifest completely as she crackled in and out of my vision. She told me that now was not my time. That they needed me for something else before she could let me pass over to the garden of paradise.
She kissed each of my cheeks, taking my hands in hers and repeated the promise she had already blessed me with - I was due a lifetime of happiness with my family, and I hadn’t even scratched the surface.
I came crashing back into my body, my eyes pinging open wide.
“Shh,” a warm voice soothed me. “Don’t try to move. You gave us all a nasty scare there,” I recognised the voice as our pack healer, the same woman who had helped me Antheia.
“Is everyone okay?” I croaked, feeling my heart break when I saw the strain in her eyes.
The heart monitor they connected me to sounded out an alarm as my heart raced erratically. I heard her call for help, felt myself be pinned down. I couldn’t draw in my breath properly, couldn’t stop my body from shaking.
I hissed as they pricked my arm, and before I knew it, there was that blackness again, tugging me under its dark cloak before I could say another word.
“Mum?” I blinked a few times, coming back to reality slowly. “Mum, please wake up. Please be okay.” Was that Eros crying softly? It sounded like Eros.
I turned my head, hearing his soft gasp and his happy exclamation as he folded his arms around me, calling for the healer to come in.
“Mum! Goddess, you scared the shit out of us!” He breathed whilst the healer checked my pulse and looked into my eyes with her bright light.
“... father?” I croaked, unable to say the words I wanted to say. I needed to know where my mate was.
“He’s okay, mum. He’s in the room next door. They had to sedate him; he almost tore the entire pack hospital down in his determination to get to you - he wouldn’t even let the healer give him any treatment.”
I gave a small laugh. That sounded like my mate, all right. I was always his number one priority, even when his own life was at risk. My wolf gave a soft whine, and I tried to call to her, but she scampered away, refusing to be soothed. I tried to remember why she was in so much pain but couldn’t remember what had caused it.
“Actually,” the healer said, drawing my attention to her, “Alpha Khaos is awake now. He’s pacing back and forth, wearing a hole in my carpets, and destroying anything in his path. But he’s keeping his promise to stay away until I’ve checked you over. Everything looks fine, Luna Violet. The bullet went straight in and out. You’re a very lucky wolf indeed.” She paused and smiled as the sound of Khaos hurling something against the wall filtered into the room. “I suppose I should put him out of his misery and let him in?”
She didn’t wait for an answer. She went straight to the door, poking her head around the tiny opening she made. “Best behaviour,” she warned, opening the door for Khaos to enter.
I could tell that it pained him to do so, but he gave a respectful nod to the healer and slowly made his way around her, quickening his steps only a small bit as he came straight for me.
“Don’t you ever do that to me again!” He demanded, placing kisses all over my face. “I couldn’t bear it if I lost you. You’re never allowed to leave me, promise me!”
“Khaos,” I whispered back, rubbing my nose against his. “I’m fine, I’m not going anywhere, I promise.”
He expelled a deep breath and took the seat next to the bed, never letting go of my hand for a moment.
“Where is Sophia?” I asked, looking at Eros’ tight face.
Khaos growled next to me and I shot him a nasty look. Now was not the time.
“She lost the baby mum; both of her animals are refusing to help heal her. The healer doesn’t know if she’ll make it through this or not.”
Khaos growled even louder, and I finally snapped at him. “What is your problem? That is his mate!”
“My problem? You dare to ask me what my fucking problem is?!” Khaos roared, sounding as though he was in the same room as me. I had listened to every word they had said, feeling my heart shatter even further.
They were wrong about one thing, though. My body was healing. My animals had not completely abandoned me. I had offered them both a deal in exchange for their help, and I would stick to my agreement with the first one who had accepted the terms.
I continued to listen to Khaos as he raged about me. “She is the one who is responsible for our daughter being taken by that sadistic bastard, or have you forgotten that? If she had been honest from the word go, this wouldn’t have happened!”
“It’s not her fault she’s a panther—”
“I don’t give a shit what she is at this moment. What I do give a shit about is her hiding who and what Jeremy was to her! Had we known, we could have hidden Sophia so that Jeremy never knew!”
“Enough!” Violet barked. I sobbed out loud. They knew.
Did Eros know?
“What are you two on about? Jeremy is just her parent’s old Alpha. What do you know that I don’t?”
Eros did not know.
It was a curse to count your blessings too early, but I was beyond grateful at that moment that he didn’t know how badly I had betrayed him.
“We’ll talk about it later, Eros, darling. Khaos, how was she to know it would come to this? Antheia is a strong girl, we’ll get her back!” Violet hushed him.
“When? Are you in any fit state to get her back? Am I?! I promise you both now that if Antheia comes to any harm, even the slightest cut on the tip of her finger, I will personally kill Sophia myself, regardless of whose mate she is. Have I made that clear? Fuck, Violet, these are my children! My babies! You know what I went through to be a part of their lives! I don’t see sense or reason when it comes to that! All my wolf knows is there is a snake in this house who has endangered his babies.”
I didn’t stick around to hear the rest. I pushed myself out of bed, steadying myself against the wave of dizziness that rushed through me and made my way into Violet’s hospital room.
“You don’t have to threaten anyone,” I muttered as I pushed open the door. “I will kill myself if anything happens to Antheia. I love her like a sister.”
You could cut the tension with a knife. “You’ll wish you could kill yourself by the time I’m done with you - what that Alpha Jeremy did to you? That’s a walk in the park compared to what I will do, I assure you.”
I didn’t doubt him. I had heard all about what he had done to his adoptive parents, the way he had burned his mother alive, cooking her from the inside out. I meant less to him than all of them combined, no doubt. Luckily though, if everything went to plan, I wouldn’t be around to experience that.
Hysterical that I was now thinking of being mated to Jeremy as “lucky”. But, since my panther was the one that healed me, I would obey the promise I made.
“Sophia,” Eros called. I looked in his direction, refusing to meet his eyes. “I need to know, Sophia. I saw Jeremy in front of you. I know the power that runs through you. Why didn’t you kill him?” He sounded so sad, as though he almost knew the answer already.
“Please,” I begged, not wanting to hurt him any further. “Don’t make me say it.”
“Why!” He roared, making me jump with the force of his voice. “Why didn’t you kill him?”
I looked at Khaos, and I could have sworn I saw him give a discreet nod. I knew then that he would take care of Eros and the mess I was about to make.
“He’s my mate,” I whispered, shame flooding my body.
Khaos was on his feet in an instant, his chair crashing into the wall as he jumped forward, holding back Eros who was already halfway into his wolf skin. “I’d go if I were you. Get somewhere safe before he does something he’ll regret. Go, before I change my mind and let go of him!” Khaos panted, wrestling with his son who was driven half-mad by my revelation.
I didn’t need to be told twice. I ran from the room and straight out of the packhouse, grabbing one of the survival backpacks on my way out.
I turned around and glanced one more time at the packhouse that I had called home for a brief moment before I scented the air and followed the smell of the tyres that had driven down here not long ago.
“Eros! Enough!” I barked, my voice full of Alpha authority, forcing his wolf to back down. He shifted back, his skin drenched with sweat, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t been completely sure that was going to work, not anymore.
“She’s probably in her room,” I told him, pushing him towards the door. “Go for a cold shower or run it off, but you are not to go near her until I have seen you again and I am sure you won’t harm her. I couldn’t care less if that woman dies right now, but I know you will never recover from the guilt if you do it. Are you listening?” I demanded.
“I’m listening,” he said through gritted teeth, slamming the door behind him.
I flopped back down into the seat Eros had just left and huffed heavily.
“Never a dull moment?” Violet quipped, though her face betrayed her sadness. “Are we going to talk about it?” She whispered.
I frowned at her, “talk about what?”
She looked up and met my eyes, “about your wolf. I felt—”
“You felt nothing” I interrupted, taking my anger out on her as I barked the words.
“Khaos,” she breathed. “I felt the bond snap. I’ve experienced it before so don’t tell me I’m wrong.”
“You’re wrong, Violet. I don’t know what you felt, but it wasn’t that. My wolf is still there. He’s not in good shape but he’s there,” I held my hand up to her, linking her fingers through mine when her hand came up to join me. “Feel him.”
“He’s there,” she gasped, tears running down her cheeks.
“He’s there,” I nodded in confirmation. “I have no idea how much he has left in him but it will be enough. The moment Eros is calm enough to listen to reason, I’m taking him to Jeremy’s pack. Sophia can wait, we’re going to get Antheia back.”