“You won’t sleep tonight if I let you nap all day.”
The words curled around her eardrums, entering into and breaking up the beautiful images that had once been her dream world. The familiar tugging of consciousness pulled her from sleep’s clutches completely and her hand flew up before she could stop it, cupping her palm over warm lips. Her dry eyes opened, the only reminder of the emotional pain she had endured before sleep had taken her under in a blissful escape. She automatically shut them at the bright light shining into space. Soft music could be heard on the speakers above her, a similar lullaby of tones that she heard from Dominic’s room every night as she tried to doze off herself.
Strong hands stroked up and down the curve of her back and she clutched onto the body she was laying on top of a bit harder than necessary. She was more warm and comfortable than she had been in years and she didn’t want the source of comfort to move. Almost as if picking the thought out of her head, she felt Dominic shift from beneath her and she shook her head quickly, gripping onto him.
Twisting out of her clutches, Dominic laughed. “I would stay in bed with you all day if I could, little human.”
She curled her body around a pillow, trying to find a replacement for the warm body that had abandoned her to sleep alone. She was not a morning person. His hand reached out and slid the hair that had fallen into her face out of her eyes. She unconsciously leaned into his touch, basking in the warmth before it too left her in peace so that she could sleep.
The sound of the water in the shower turning on roused her for a moment, but she simply flipped over, slammed a pillow over her head and fell back asleep. The next time she opened her eyes, Dominic had her in his arms. She rested her head against his chest. She didn’t know if she was still trying to process the trauma she had gone through, or if she was just too tired to move, but maybe if she tried hard enough Dominic would just lay her back in bed, and if she was lucky enough, he would slide in beside her.
She felt herself sway gently with each step he took. “You will have company in less than fifteen minutes, Serendipity.”
Her body was lowered to the ground, her feet hitting the cool tile. She opened her eyes wearily. She was in her closet. Dominic held her for a minute as she rubbed the tired feeling out of her eyes. She sent him a heartfelt glare. What time is it?
“It’s a little past two. We’ve only been asleep for a few hours,” he assured her. She nodded against him before pushing him away from her and towards the door of the changing room. He let her go after a bit of hesitance and she closed the door, locking it. Almost as soon as the nob was turned to secure her in, a loud growl followed by a bang on the closet door caused her to jump back.
“Unlock the door, Serendipity.”
As calm as Dominic’s words sounded, there was something cold about the way he delivered them and the chill sat her on edge. She paused, not sure whether or not to follow through with the demand. She had the right to a bit of privacy! So what if the door was locked while she changed? Before she changed her mind, she watched as the door handle turned violently. The sound of wood snapping and metal breaking was the last warning she got before the door was forced open.
You broke the lock! she signed with a worried frown. There was no telling how much it would cost to replace it! He didn’t seem to care about what she was trying to say, his chest heaving and eyes yellow.
“Don’t lock a door in between us. If something happened and you needed me, it would prevent me from getting to you,” he snarled.
It wasn’t that much of an obstacle for you, she signed with narrow eyes. The damage to the door was bad and she didn’t think it would even shut correctly if she tried to latch it. Little pieces of splinted wood protruded from the frame. Where am I supposed to change now?
Dominic shrugged his shoulders and crossed his arms as if it wasn’t a problem. “I’ll have the door replaced later today with something that doesn’t have a lock.”
She shook her head in amazement. Were all werewolves this unstable, or was it just the male species? She couldn’t remember Caleb ever being so emotional and irrational. You can’t just go around breaking down doors when I do something you don’t like.
He looked at her almost as if she were stupid. “Why can’t I? They are my doors. I can do what I wish to do with them.”
It was clear he was upset so she signed slowly, trying to keep her annoyance from growing into anything else. You can do whatever you wish, Dominic. You have every advantage in the world. You shouldn’t though. Trust me to be okay for five minutes without you.
Dominic looked like she had kicked him. “I do trust you, baby. It’s everyone else I don’t trust. Your safety is everything to me.”
Her heart fluttered in her chest and she knew he had won. He cheated, but it still didn’t change the fact that his words were enough to leave her a puddle on the floor. It was sweet in a weird way. Serendipity’s head fell back and she rolled her eyes, shooing him away from the guest room closet. She sat a duffel bag against the door so it would stay shut while she searched for clothing that she would want to be seen in. Most of the clothes that had been ordered for her were a little more than formal and she was still trying her best to remember where everything was put away. After a good ten minutes of looking in every drawer and on every rack, she found a pair of soft leggings and a sweatshirt. She had no dinner plans and she could change again in Dominic wanted her too.
She pulled her long hair back in a messy bun and once she was satisfied that she looked presentable, she moved the bag and left the room to see a causally dressed, blue jean wearing Dominic typing away on the cell phone in his hand. He slipped it in his back pocket and looked up at her with a smirk.
I didn’t think to ask about who was visiting. Do I need to put something more appropriate on? she signed nervously.
“You look beautiful.”
She flashed him an appreciative smile. He was lying and she knew it, but it didn’t make her feel any less special. Besides, if he thought she even looked the slightest bit pretty at her worst then maybe she would be able to dazzle him just as much as he mesmerized her when she dressed up. Either way, the flattery was sweet.
“They are waiting for us in my suite,” he told her, hand outstretched. She placed hers in his and they walked over into the adjoining room.
Serendipity saw the brunette first. Her first thought was about just how human the woman looked. She was dressed better than any servant she had seen roaming the halls of the manor. She looked fed, heavily pregnant, and judging by the smile on her face and the light in her green eyes, she looked happy.
Then, she was forced to acknowledge the other presence in the room. The wolf sitting beside the human woman dwarfed her in size, and he wasn’t even as big as Dominic. She was shocked to notice, short blonde colored hair on the man. Wolves with light color hair were rare and it always surprised her when she spotted one. He looked down at the human girl next to him with love in his eyes. He whispered something to the human and she giggled. They both stood as Serendipity and Dominic approached them.
Dominic wrapped a protective arm around Serendipity’s waist before extending his other to the wolf in front of him. “A warm welcome to you and your mate, Alpha Xander. I see congratulations are in order for successful mating.”
Serendipity watched the woman in front of her flush red and elbow her mate in the ribs. Serendipity knew there was a certain way of saying things around humans and Dominic had no doubt embarrassed the pregnant woman. She made a mental note of talking with him a bit later about it. Alpha Xander didn’t look phased in the slightest by his mate’s sensibilities and just hugged her closer to his side.
“Thank you, Alpha Prince. I can never thank you enough for allowing me to claim my mate during my last visit, even though she’s human,” the man said with true appreciation in his tone.
Dominic shook his head as if the topic had never been controversial. “I wouldn’t be a good Alpha if I had no respect for the mate bond. The Goddess has a plan for everyone and I’m not one to question it, no matter what species a wolf ends up mated to.”
Serendipity’s heart flipped over in her chest at hearing the sweet words tumble from Dominic’s lips. She smiled up at him before turning her attention to the couple. She signed a shy hello at both the werewolf and the human.
“Hello, Luna,” they both greeted.
The woman stepped forward a bit towards her. “It’s good to see you, Serendipity. Do you remember me?”
Serendipity’s eyebrows creased together in thought. Now that she thought about it, the woman did look familiar. There was something about her that seemed to tug at her memories. The woman didn’t seem upset that Serendipity couldn’t remember her and opened her mouth to explain. “My name is Anna. You were assigned my previous position here at the manor. Lindsey told me you did better on your first day than the temporary woman who was here for months!”
Serendipity felt the knowledge hit her in the gut like a punch. This was Anna. This was who was responsible for her life being flipped upside down. She swallowed a lump in her throat before allowing a shadow of a smile to appear on her face. She couldn’t decide how she felt. The emotions within her battled with each other and she had no time to analyze her feelings.
Dominic shifted his body to the side a bit, sheltering Serendipity as he spoke a bit louder. “Xander, you will never guess what I was able to have imported from Italy.” She clutched onto Dominic’s side for a bit of support as the two men bantered back and forth. She knew he was trying to make the situation as easy as possible and the thought helped bring her back down to reality.
She looked towards Anna, who was wearing a dejected expression. Serendipity felt bad. She wasn’t trying to be rude. To be destined a future politician, she sure was going to have to work on her social skills. Besides, seeing the woman she once thought dead was a shock. Anna had been nothing but nice and she was pregnant for crying out loud! Serendipity’s face burned bright with embarrassment the more she thought about it.
“-absolutely the fastest thing I have ever driven,” she heard Dominic boast when she brought her attention back to him. He looked down at her when he finished speaking, almost as if he could tell she was looking up at him.
Take him to see it, she signed. Anna and I can catch up while you’re gone. Guards are posted outside. We will be fine. Serendipity saw the hesitation and sighed before shooting him a soft glare. I’m fine. Go. Dominic gave her a heartbreaking grin before kissing her forehead and letting her go. They turned towards the other couple.
“I’m staying here. Have fun, but not too much. I don’t want you wrapped around a tree again, no matter how invincible you think you are,” Anna told her mate seriously. He leaned down and whispered something in her ear before sweeping her into the most passion-filled kiss Serendipity was pretty sure she had ever seen. Then, he let Anna go and followed Dominic out of the room.
The door closed with a bang and Serendipity turned to stare at the woman she had been left with before sitting down across from her. Anna slid forward on the armchair, holding her baby bump as she did so too support herself. She watched the woman awkwardly twist her hair as if she was the one nervous.
“I want to apologize if I have made you uncomfortable in any way, Luna. I begged Xander to see if I could get an audience with you as soon as possible since he and Dominic are friends from school. Please don’t blame him for this,” the woman begged. Serendipity just shook her head and patted the woman’s hand before grabbing a pad sitting on the table.
I’m not upset. I’m very happy you came. Was there something that you needed from me?
Serendipity handed Anna the notepad and the girl scanned it. “No, I don’t need anything. I honestly just wanted to offer you friendship. I remember being in your shoes and it would have been nice to talk to someone who had been through the same thing. The werewolf stuff can be intense at times.”
Serendipity’s eyes were wide with shock. Anna just wanted to be her friend?
Anna continued rambling nervously. “I had a ton of questions and I had to figure things out all on my own. It was hard, and it still is, to feel like I fit in anywhere. I am not human anymore now that I carry Xander’s mark, but I will never be excepted by a werewolf pack as one of them either. I figured we could make our own little group.”
Serendipity scribbled down a note.
I would love to your friend. It means a lot that you reached out.
Relief colored Anna’s face when she read the note. “Thank goodness. I have no one to talk to besides Lindsey when Xander feels like he wants to let me use the phone. Well, I talk to the baby a lot now too.”
The possessive, controlling traits don’t get better with time?
A glance down a the note had Anna snorting. “Oh, trust me. It only gets worse. Let me know me when you get chained to a bedpost for five days and then we will talk.” At the look of horror on Serendipity’ face, she amended her statement. “I kind of deserved it. I shot Xander on ’accident and then ran away after calling a medic for him. It’s a long story, but I promise I wasn’t in any pain during the chained up part,” Anna blushed.
Serendipity wanted to laugh but wrote her next question down instead. Is it normal for everything to happen so quickly?
“I had sex with Xander the first time I saw him. The mating pull was so strong, I didn’t even realize what I had done until I was being kidnapped and we were halfway to his territory. Whatever you are feeling for Dominic is real, though Luna. Don’t doubt that.”
The silence was filled with the scribble of graphite on paper.
Please, call me Serendipity. I’m glad to know I’m not going crazy. I know I’ve only known him for a short time, but I feel like I can trust him.
Anna read the paper. “I don’t know all of what Dominic has told you, but mates can’t lie to each other. It makes them ill, physically. They can talk around the truth with each other or choose not to answer the question, but you will catch on quickly if the Alpha Prince does that. Don’t let him avoid questions, or answer a question with a question.”
Serendipity hadn’t known any of that, but the information put her mind at ease greatly. It explained the weird way he dealt with some of her questions. It also helped explain why she was the most honest version of herself around him, sometimes without meaning to be. She hesitated before writing the next question.
Is it normal for wolves to mark their mates when they first see them?
“I’ve never heard of a wolf being strong enough to resist the pull. Xander marked me when we first met and every mated she-wolf I know was mated during their first encounter with their mates,” Anna explained gently in response.
Serendipity thought back to her and Dominic’s first moments together in the library. He had cornered her, put his lips on the flesh of her neck, traced his long canines over her skin, and all but bit down when she pushed against him. He had come back from the brink of primal instinct, an impossible task, all to make sure she was comfortable. She couldn’t help the happiness that flowed through her at that fact. She wrote down another question.
How did you two meet?
Anna smiled dreamily up for a moment before beginning her tale. “I was having to help prepare guest rooms for some of Xander’s pack on the first floor. I walked in on him changing and at first, he was furious. I honestly thought I was going to die. Then, he touched me and instead of hitting me like I thought he was going to do, he kissed me instead. The rest is kind of history.” She laughed and rubbed her bump. Serendipity could only describe the look on the woman’s face as peaceful. She felt herself long for that. She wanted to feel that same peace.
“How did you and Dominic meet? There have been rumors about the Prince and his human, warrior mate!” Anna chuckled. Serendipity couldn’t help the skeptical looked that twisted her features up in a scowl. She shook her head in disbelief as she wrote.
Rumors? Warrior mate?
“You have a reputation, Serendipity. You’re the great wolf tamer, the only one who can meet the darkness in the Alpha with the light that lives in you. Everyone knows how terrifying Prince Dominic is. As for the rumors, I heard that you knocked out twenty of Dominic’s best guards that he sent after you, but one of my human friends from home said someone told her you ran three wolves over with an SUV. That’s some of the tamer stuff too.”
Serendipity silently laughed before writing down everything that she could remember that had happened to her since the craziness had begun. Anna looked up at her after reading the note and laughter busted free from her chest. “You knocked Beckham out! Oh my God, I bet he is giving you the hardest time right now. You poor thing.”
Serendipity joined in on enjoying the joke when she heard the loud growl come from the hallway, no doubt Beckham. She kept forgetting that wolves had enhanced hearing! Oh, at the things she couldn’t wait to ask Anna! There was so much that could be explained to her from someone other than her mate. She scribbled another question down.
Where do you live now?
“Xander is Alpha of the territory that used to make up New Mexico and most of Colorado. We are there most of the time, me a little more than Xander. He doesn’t like for me to travel with him in some of the more...rugged parts of New Nation,” Anna explained.
I used to have a grandmother that lived in New Mexico. I loved Christmases with my brother in Santa Fe. Do you like it there? Have things gotten easier?
Anna took a moment to think about the question and gathering her thoughts. “I love it there. At first, there wasn’t a moment of the day that I didn’t try to escape. Then I came to appreciate some of the pack members and humans there and I adjusted. As for it getting easier, being a mate to a werewolf is no easy undertaking. Just when I feel like I have one thing nailed down, there is always something I don’t know about popping up and making me look like a fool. Werewolf culture is very different from our own.”
Serendipity knew that to be true! Dominic tried to shelter her as much as possible, but there were still things that he did, or other wolves did, that she didn’t understand. The importance of strength was one of those things. In human culture, all beings were celebrated for things that made them unique and the weakest links were lifted and embraced. Being born in any way deficient as a wolf could mean death. She came close to asking Anna’s opinion on the topic, but stopped herself and wrote something different down. She could have that conversation with Dominic at a later time.
Dominic has been helping me study, but so far he’s been very, very thorough on the ‘safety’ part. By the rate were are going, I will finally get to the first chapter of real content by this time next year.
Anna crossed her arms in amusement. “Unfortunately, that’s also something that is only going to get worse. The protective instinct in a wolf is like nothing I have ever seen. The fact that I am pregnant has only made it worse for Xander. I’m surprised he agreed to leave me long enough to go look at the car if I’m honest.”
Serendipity could have groaned when she heard that news. If Dominic became anymore concerned for her safety, she was going to blow a gasket. The low sound of something knocking against the door caught her attention and she turned right before it was opened and Lindsey stepped inside. She watched as Anna stood suddenly and rushed over to Lindsey, squealing in excitement the entire way. Lindsey grabbed the girl and hugged her for what seemed like forever before pulling back. Her hands grabbed Anna baby bump in excitement!
“Look how big you’ve gotten! How long have you been at the manor? Paisley told me she thought she saw you speaking with Serendipity. I didn’t think you were going to be here until tomorrow,” Lindsey asked, her speech rushed.
“I wanted it to be a surprise. We put our luggage down not even an hour ago and then we were straight-up here to see the human Luna,” she explained. “Surprise!”
Lindsey laughed. “I can’t wait to see that knucklehead of yours. I have half a mind to knock him up one side of his head and down the other for not bringing you to see me more often.”
Anna seemed to think about it, her finger resting on the tip on her chin as she hummed. “I’ll hold him down for you if you can manage to get me some more of those pastry deserts. I’ve been craving them for weeks and no one in the packhouse at home can fix them correctly.”
Serendipity watched as the two girls chatted back and forth from the safety of behind the couch. Seeing the way they communicated stung a bit and she wished for nothing more than what the two girls shared. She could tell their friendship was special.
“Let me grab my purse and we can go down to the kitchen. I’m sure Xander will know where to look for me. I’m always in the kitchen these days,” Anna said mischievously. She walked closer and grabbed her bag, turning to look at Serendipity with an outstretched hand. “Come on! You have to try one of these desserts with me. It’s heaven in a bite-sized sphere of perfection!”
Serendipity was shocked she had been remembered but grateful. She grabbed Anna’s hand and was pulled around the couch and to where Lindsey was standing. She exited the room first, but found herself stopped in her tracks. Beckham’s intimidating figure filled the doorway. Serendipity signed excuse me, but the wolf didn’t move. He didn’t speak sign language! She looked back at Lindsey, hoping her friend could translate.
“She said move,” Anna spoke up out of nowhere. Beckham’s eyes narrowed at the figure of Anna standing in the doorway.
Beckham sighed dramatically. “I thought we got rid of you for good, but you are just finding ways to annoy me now, Anna.” The wolf sounded bitter.
Serendipity’s mouth dropped open in shock, but Anna just laughed in the wolf’s face. He cracked half a smile and Anna pushed her way past Serendipity to hug Beckham. He returned it hesitantly and released her a few seconds before she released him.
“I heard you’ve been giving Serendipity a hard time. I’d hate to have to tell Xander. You know how much he talks to Dominic and that would be bad for you, wouldn’t it?” The pregnant woman threw the threat at him as if she was informing him of the weather. Serendipity had to admit the show of courage was inspiring.
The wolf rolled his eyes. “I will ease up on the Luna. I can’t let you or Serendipity leave this room until I have word from Dominic that I can. The human slave is free to get back to work anytime she wishes.”
It was quiet for a moment and Anna’s eyes filled with tears. Her stomach growled loudly and then the sobbing started. Beckham looked the most uncomfortable she could ever remember seeing him and he patted Anna’s shoulder in comfort. She just cried harder and Lindsey grabbed her and pulled her back into the room. Serendipity sent a glare towards Beckham and slammed the door shut. She turned around and Lindsey was holding Anna on the couch. Her sobbing hadn’t gotten any better.
“I’m just so hungry and when I mind linked Xander he said I had to wait. Beckham was so mean though! He didn’t have to be so mean,” she sobbed. Serendipity wrung her hands together, not sure what she could say or do to make the woman feel better. She walked to her bathroom and grabbed a washcloth. She wet it and went to the kitchen to make a glass of water. She took them both out to Anna and bent down to hand her the items.
No sooner had she done this before the door to her and Dominic’s room was slammed open. It hit the wall with so much force, it bounced back. A panicked Alpha Xander rushed in, a deadly storm raging in his eyes. Serendipity moved as quickly as she could to the side and was just in time to avoid him running into her as he took Anna in his arms.
“I’m sorry, bebé. I just didn’t want you going into a crowd of unfamiliar wolves to get food. This isn’t home,” Anna sobbed a little quieter in his arms. Serendipity noticed Dominic had taken a couple of steps into the room out and his eyes immediately directed their attention to finding her. She blushed and walked towards him. His arms reached out to pull her close when she was in range. He held her close for a minute as the couple and Lindsey spoke in low voices.
You know, when I become pregnant, you better be prepared with around the clock food service if you don’t want me to just live in your kitchen, Serendipity signed up at him seriously.
She felt Dominic tense in her arms. He looked up at her with a spark of something in his eyes. Hope, she realized. It was the first time she had seen him look down at her in the way he was. It was almost intimate.
“You want to have my pups? ” he asked hoarsely. She froze, realizing what she had said. The words had been signed casually, a tease more than anything. She hadn’t even realized... She blushed when she noticed him still looking down at her, waiting for her answer. Meeting his gaze through think lashes, she finally gave it to him.
I’m not saying now, or anytime soon, but one day, Dominic, I think I would like to see a miniature you running around.
She signed the words carefully, not wanting the wolf to take an inch and run a mile. She didn’t know how he would react to hearing her say such a thing. His face filled with such joy that she was surprised by his next words.
“Everyone out of my quarters.”
She hit his arm for bring so rude, then clutched onto him tighter than she ever had before as she was lifted from her feet up into his arms. By the looks of it, Lindsey was finding the situation funny as she left the room without a word. Xander lifted Anna off of the couch and they interlaced their fingers as they walked to the door.
“Thank you for honoring me with your presence today, Alpha Prince. I must take my Anna to eat. Good luck with your mate,” the wolf said before the couple left and the door closed behind them. Dominic looked down at her with a hungry gaze, walking to the bedroom before dumping her onto his bed.
She silently laughed, moving hair out of her face just long enough to see Dominic climb into bed beside her. She grew tense, ugly thoughts entering her mind. Her hands shot out when he crawled a bit closer.
I don’t want to have sex yet, she signed. Dominic looked confused. I don’t want you to think that just because I said I want a kid that I-
His hands engulfed hers and he laughed loudly. “I didn’t tell everyone to leave and carry you into my room to ravage you. I know you aren’t ready, little human.”
Serendipity’s mouth opened in a little ‘ohh’ and her she looked down, trying to hide in the thick locks of her hair. It didn’t work of course and he was lifting her chin before she could take a deep breath. She couldn’t count the number of times he had done that since they had met. Somehow, he always made sure she was looking at him. It was as if he was addicted to her attention, and she supposed she would give it to him for as long as he wanted.
He stretched out beside her, his back resting on the pillows. He reached out and pulled her to him. She struggled at first, then stopped resisting when he threw a glare her way. “I never get any time off of running New Nation, Serendipity, and my sick father is pushing himself to do my tasks so that we can get closer. Honor that sacrifice. Be with me without getting stuck in that head of yours.”
She immediately felt bad about Alpha Gabriel taking on all the responsibilities of his son, who was much more capable. She was about to tell Dominic that he needed to alleviate those duties to someone else when she stopped herself. She was terrible, wasn’t she? Her mind was always leaping to conclusions and seeking out information that could be used to free humans or help her understand wolves better.
She hadn’t taken any time to truly get to know the incredible man and wolf in front of her. She sat up across from him and crossed her legs so that she could see him. What would be a good jumping-off point for both of them? She thought back to her time in school. How had she gotten to know people before her voice had made her a social recluse?
Would you like to play twenty questions?