She didn’t wake up slowly. Instead, she felt the beating of her heart pumping in her ears. Her mouth opened in a silent scream only to drag in air, almost as if she thought she was choking. When her eyes finally did open she realized that she was in a bed, and not just any bed. She was in Dominic’s bed. A thick comforter covered her from head to toe and she pushed it off of herself and left the thin silk sheet over her body, trying to cool herself down. She could see the thin sheen of sweat covering her body and she tried to sit up only to be swept with a wave of pain that erupted from her leg.
The confusion that had once swept through her mind like a thick fog began to clear as her memories began to flood back into her mind. She had run off without Dominic or her guards and then she had fallen. Her leg was injured and there was pain. Just the memory of the agony she had suffered made her stomach quiver as nausea swept her up in its grip. Her head turned to the side, looking for a trash bin beside the bed that she could throw up in and she froze.
Sitting in the furthest corner of the room, shrouded in darkness, was Dominic and, yet, it wasn’t. Besides their first encounter, Serendipity had never truly been afraid of him. She feared his intentions at times and the intensity of their bond did frighten her, but somewhere deep down inside of her she knew that Dominic wouldn’t put his hands on her in a violent way.
Now, she wasn’t so sure.
His eyes were a glowing yellow, all wolf. His body was tense and the werewolf looked as if he had gone through hell. It took her a second to discern the expression on his face but it was clear to her now what it was. He was angry, furious, and he wasn’t even trying to hide it. She knew that he knew she was awake and yet he hadn’t acknowledged her. He hadn’t comforted her as she woke or eased her fears. Instead, he was a predator. He was waiting and watching, stalking his prey to strike at the precise moment he wanted to.
Serendipity swallowed the lump in her throat with a dry mouth. She struggled to move her arms from out from under the sheet so that she could sign but froze when Dominic finally made a move to stand. He stood lazily as if nothing in the world could ever faze him. His footsteps were even slower and she almost wished that he was running towards her and screaming instead. She didn’t like the look in his eyes. There was something there, a determination that she hadn’t seen him wear before. She moved again, freeing her arms from the constrictive blanket so that she would be able to communicate.
As if sensing her intentions, he picked up his pace and was at the side of the bed peering down at her before she could begin to defend her actions. A loud, terrifying growl filled the room and she flinched as if he had hit her. Yep, the man was the definition of anger and Serendipity honestly didn’t know what he was going to be capable of in his state. Her eyes misted with un-shed tears and she waited for him to do something terrible. Instead, his hand reached over to the bedside table and grabbed a bottle of pills she hadn’t even noticed before. He handed her one along with a glass of water and she knew better than to defy him.
She tried to lift the glass by herself, but with shaky hands, she couldn’t quite master the movement. Dominic cursed loudly which only made her trembling worse and she felt the bed dip as he sat beside her. His hand curled around the glass and he lifted it to her mouth, helping her drink the liquid. She could have moaned at how well the water made her feel. He took it from her after she had her fill and sat it back down before turning to look at her.
She licked her chapped lips and brought her hands up to sign. Before she could sign anything, she felt his warm hand engulf hers. The grip was strong enough to scare her, but not brutal. His head moved down towards hers and his lips brushed up against her ear. “There is no excuse great enough for what you did, Serendipity. There is no point in signing useless words to me. It will only make my anger for you to grow.”
She froze at the malice in his tone and blinked away a couple of tears that blurred her view of him as he sat back up to look at her. The man sounded as if he was talking to his worst enemy instead of his mate. There was no love, no compassion, within him. He let go of her hands after delivering the warning and his fingers traveled up to her face to wipe a tear away. “It’s too late to cry, little human. You thought it acceptable to go off to such a dangerous place without protection and you were hurt. Now you have to suffer through the consequences of your actions.”
Something about the way Dominic phrased the last sentence made her blood run cold. A little sob shook her body before she could stop it and she saw Dominic’s eyes grow softer, but his wolf didn’t retreat from his body, his eyes still glowing in the low light. She heard the clatter of her teeth and realized just how much of a rip terror had on her. Her hand rose to her throat, almost defensively and Dominic watched, a cruel smile stretching over the hard planes of his face. His hand rose to push a few strands of wayward hair back away from her face and he proceeded to brush the long locks over her shoulder too, looking at the delicate curve between her neck and arm.
“I don’t ask you for much, Serendipity. I would give anything in the world for your happiness. What you did, running off like a wayward child, was selfish,” He looked away from her, but not before she saw the tears in his eyes. He took a moment for himself before turning back to gaze at her the cool, expressionless mask back in place. “You’re safety isn’t up for debate. It will never be up for debate. When I tell you to do something, do are to do it without question.”
Serendipity looked away from him then, ashamed and a bit angry. She had done something very stupid. She knew that and she had paid for it. Dearly. Just thinking of the agony she had been in was punishment. She gazed down at her leg and for the first time was able to see the large cast making her leg bulge up underneath the sheet. The face that Dominic was upset with her was understandable, expected even, but she needed her mate. She needed the calming presence of the compassionate man she had come to know, but instead, she got a beast. She felt Dominic’s fingers underneath her chin as he moved her head so that she had no other choice than to look at him.
He growled loudly. “You belong to me and I take care of what’s mine, little human. It’s past time that I prove it.”
The resolve in his voice concerned her. Her eyebrows crinkled together in confusion. Slowly, ever so slowly, his head bent down towards hers. The kiss was soft, gentle even, and it scared her because it was the polar opposite of what she thought he would be in the mood for. Her kissing experience was nonexistent unless she counted the many times she had given quick pecks to her teddy bears when she was little. This was something magical though. His lips were rough and they screamed man. It was an odd sensation, to say the least, and when her mouth opened in a gasp of surprise, she stopped breathing altogether. His tongue darted in if she would have moaned she could have.
Her hands came up unsteadily to rest on Dominic’s chest and she felt the rumble that left his lips at her touch. Serendipity had heard that kissing someone, the right someone could spark fireworks within, but she had never truly believed it. Now, she not only believed it but she could say that she lived it. It didn’t feel gross as she originally thought a make-out session like this could. Instead, it felt beautiful and sweet. It felt right.
Finally, her wolf came up for air and she was embarrassed to notice that her entire body was on fire. Her breath was coming out in pants and her face felt like someone had taken an iron to it. No doubt if she could look at herself in the mirror, she would be three thousand shades of red. Not giving her any time to process what had happened, Dominic didn’t even look up at her as his mouth trailed lower. Feather-light kisses were pressed to her cheek, then her jawline, and eventually down to her throat.
She couldn’t stop herself from arching up towards his mouth when it settled in a sweet spot she hadn’t even known existed. The kisses turned into something more sensual and she felt her body tighten, tingles trailing up and down the length of her body. She felt his hands then, one brushing over the light t-shirt she had been dressed in. Her nipples beaded up, almost painfully as a low ache settled in her stomach. She squirmed for a moment, wanting that hand to graze over her breasts. She needed something, anything, to help flame the fire building inside her. Serendipity’s eyes shot wide open and before she could stop herself she clutched onto Dominic’s long locks of silky dark hair, keeping him where she wanted him.
Dominic’s tongue rasped over the spot on her neck once before doing so again, a slight tinge of pain accompanying the pleasurable moment. Then, almost as if a bucket of cold water had been thrown on her she stopped moving altogether. She was feeling his teeth, his canines. Her hands moved out of his hair and instead began to push against him in fear. His large hands, the ones she thought had been moved over her to bring her pleasure, gripped her shoulder before sliding down to pin her into the mattress. She arched her body this way and that, struggling to get the wolf to let her go. His warning came flooding back to her like a slap to the face.
Now you have to suffer through the consequences of your actions.
The bastard was planning on marking her, and, as if he had read her thoughts and wanted to prove her right, she felt the sharp sting of teeth clutch onto her neck before they sunk in deep and agony ripped through her shoulder. She had only thought breaking her leg was painful. That was nothing more than a scratch compared to the icy stabs of pain that shot through her veins. Her mouth opened as he tried to breathe normally, but she couldn’t seem to draw air into her lungs correctly. A piercing pain assaulted her mind, a needle stabbing deep as if someone had taken it and shoved it between her eyes.
Then it was gone and in its wake was the cold reality of what had happened and the blood-smeared face of Dominic hovering above her with a worried expression, his eyes flickering between blue and gold. She raised her hand to cover the throbbing wound lightly and brought back her palm covered in sticky, warm blood. It dripped down her arm slowly and she watched in horror as Dominic simply wiped his mouth, no regret in his eyes.
I told you that there were consequences for your actions, Serendipity. I warned you and you put yourself in danger anyways.
It took her a moment to realize that she wasn’t watching his mouth move, and yet she had heard the words as if they had been spoken out loud. Her mouth fell open and she didn’t even bother trying to sign, not knowing what to say. The bite had done something to her. She had to have rabies or something and maybe this was all a part of some kind of terrible nightmare that she would wake from soon. She was crazy, that was it. Or maybe she was medicated. She had been hurt after all.
You aren’t crazy, little human. I have marked you. We can communicate via our mind link now. And I will always be able to find you. You running off without a guard will never happen again.
Oh god, he could read her thoughts. Would she never have another private moment? Would he always be in her head, slipping in and out whenever he wished?
I can only read the thoughts you project, which just so happen to be all of them at the moment. Calm yourself and focus and you will be able to shield yourself from me.
She froze, her eyes hardening as she yanked herself away from the man that was supposed to be her mate. Away from the man that had promised to keep her safe and happy and cherished. Instead, the beast had taken what he wanted with no regard to how it would make her feel. Hell, he hadn’t even waited until she was better. Instead, he had attacked her sick and in pain. Her hand clutched her chest at the sharp pain that shot through her heart at the betrayal. She didn’t know him at all. The Dominic she had come to know would have never have done something so altering without talking to her first.
She saw the pain flood Dominic’s eyes and she knew that he was hearing every thought that flowed through her mind, but she didn’t care. At that moment he was her enemy, the very thing she had been so terrified of when she had first gotten to the manor. God, she hated him. She hated him with everything in her. A raw sound escaped her throat as a fresh set of tears assaulted her at the emotional pain that ripped a hole through her. What had she been thinking? Had she gone insane at the thought of a full belly and comfortable bed every night to just up and forget the fact that this was the very same monster who had killed her brother?
She heard a loud whine followed by a whimper come from the other side of the bed, but she honestly didn’t care if the werewolf dropped dead at that moment. She’d probably dance on top of his grave. Struggling to push the large blanket out of her way, she moved her leg, the pain pill she had been given numbing some of the agonies she was in enough that she was able to maneuver away from him.
“Serendipity, baby,” she heard him whisper in obvious pain.
She shook her head, not acknowledging him. She didn’t want excuses, didn’t care enough about salvaging whatever lie their relationship had been to listen to them. She felt the bed dip lower as he stretched his arm out towards her and her arm shot out, flinging him away from her as she scampered back so suddenly that she, once again, found herself in the floor. This time, however, her leg screamed out in pain as it landed with a thud beside her. She wanted to scream and yet the physical pain she was in was nothing compared to that of the emotional pain that crawled inside of her and made a home deep in her chest.
Dominic was on her almost immediately, checking to make sure she was okay but Serendipity, simply rolled away again and then, for the first time, using the newfound bond that her ‘mate’ had forged between them.
Get away from me. I can’t stand to be near you.
The wolf kneeling a few feet away from her now looked as if she had slapped him, but she couldn’t bring herself to care. She looked at him and felt nothing. She couldn’t think of one thing that could make this better. Not one thing that could fix what had gone so wrong. She didn’t think she wanted it to be fixed. God, all she wanted was for things to go back to the way they had before. At least when she had been a slave, she had known that the monsters were just that; monsters. Dominic had lured her in, gained her trust, and then stomped on it like she had meant nothing to him. Had she meant nothing to him? She had been so sure she had loved him or at least was learning to love him. Now, she knew that whatever was between them wasn’t anything sweet. it wasn’t special and beautiful like he had promised it would be. It was ugly and dark.
“Little human, please,” he was crying silent tears then and still she couldn’t stand the sight of him. His face, his words, everything about him made her sick to her stomach. “I was just worried about you, so worried that I didn’t think about anything other than how I could have protected you better had I just marked you that first night.”
She didn’t respond to his desperate plea for understanding. There was no excuse he could use that would be good enough. Nothing he could say would ever make things right again.
“I love you, Serendipity. Is that what you need to hear? I love you so much that the thought of being apart from you fills me with sorrow. I think of you constantly and I only want your happiness. Don’t do this. Don’t shut me out,” he begged. She glared up at him from the floor.
Don’t speak to me about love! You don’t know the meaning of the word. I thought you were capable of more than what everyone says you are. I came to believe that you were a flesh a blood man capable of love and compassion but you aren’t. You are a monster, Dominic. That’s exactly what you are and that’s all you will ever be.
The werewolf looked down at her and swallowed, a hard look in his eyes. “I am both a man and a monster Serendipity. I will always be both and it’s past time that you realize that because you are stuck with both of us for the rest of your life. You’re stuck with me. I won’t let you go, not because of this.”
She shook her head and covered her face in her bloody hands, her tears mixing into the mess. He didn’t understand, would probably never understand. He had taken something that she would have willingly given him had he simply asked. He had taken something that was supposed to be beautiful and romantic and turned it into something no better than rape in her book. How was she ever going to find the will to forgive him when she couldn’t even look at him without breaking down with under the pressure of a broken heart.
“Please, I am so sorry. Goddess, you’ll never know how sorry I am,” he croaked. She did look at him then, a good hard look, taking in his state. He looked not much better than she knew she must. The dark circles under his eyes were deep and black, accented by her blood that had rolled lazily down his chin. He was crying, honest to god tears and the whites of his eyes were bloodshot. She had noticed the scruffiness of his facial hair when he had deceived her with the earth-shattering kiss they had tenderly shared moments before, but looking at him now it looked like he hadn’t shaved in a few days, leading her to wonder just how long she had been out of it.
She sighed loudly, still an emotional wreck. He was suffering too, she knew that. She would have had to be blind and deaf not to know. Technically, she had run off. In hindsight, she would have had to been claimed at some point and he had made it as pleasurable as possible for her under the circumstances. All she wanted was to got to sleep and pretend that none of it had ever happened. She wanted her Dominic to hold her and tell her everything was going to be okay again. She wanted to forget. With tired eyes, she gave him a curt nod of acceptance and the wolf’s tears slowed as he approached her slowly, his arms wrapping around her. She could pretend that his touch didn’t make her sick. She could ignore the shocks that had seemed to intensify since the bite and the way they made her want to hit him over and over and over until he felt as bad as she did.
She could ignore it because she had no other choice. As much as she wanted to hate him, she wasn’t just falling for the werewolf. She had already fallen and the love she had for him ran deeper than anything she had ever felt for any other being she had come to care for. She closed her eyes and leaned into him, her heart on her sleeve. He rocked her back and forth, his chin resting on top of her head.
“I’m so sorry, baby. I shouldn’t have done it. It wasn’t even your fault. Goddess, I am such a fuck up. I know it wasn’t your idea and Lindsey has already been punished. I just couldn’t get past my rage-”
Serendipity froze again, her mind trying to wrap around what he had just told her. Her hands came up to sign but she stopped herself at the last moment and used the bond instead.
What did you say?
Dominic stopped his gentle rocking motions and looked down at her with confusion in his eyes. “I said I’m sorry. Please believe me when-”
She recoiled away from his touch, shutting the man out again before signing, not trusting herself enough to use the bond. “Did you do something to Lindsey? Please, tell me you didn’t, Dominic.”
His silence was answer enough and just like that, the last whole piece of herself fell, shattered into a million pieces as she pushed him away with violent shoves as his eyebrows narrowed in confusion. His mouth opened and then closed a few times before he composed himself.
He scoffed. “If you think for one moment that I wouldn’t go after those that hurt you, then you truly don’t have any idea of the lengths I’d go to to keep you safe,” he responded, not one hint of regret coloring his words.
God, she was so fucking weak. What the hell was wrong with her that she would just forgive a man that was capable of such evil. She stopped crying, her mouth opening in horror as she tried to imagine what sorts of evils had been committed. The memory of her short time in the basement flashed back to her and she just shook her head, shock holding her captive. She swallowed before meeting his gaze, not flinching.
You don’t even feel bad about it, do you? Do you feel nothing? Do you not care?
He got to his knees, frustration playing out on his face.
He didn’t even grace her with an answer, instead slipping his arms underneath her limp form as he deposited her back onto the bed. She rolled over, curling away from him. She felt numb, detached from the rest of the world. Her mind raced with different scenarios. Lindsey scarred, mauled... dead. Her only friend punished because she went out when she knew better than to do so. Just like that, she was sobbing again into the comforter where no one could see her. Where he couldn’t see her.
She felt his hand against her back and didn’t even bother moving to escape it.
I want you gone or you can send me back to my district, Dominic. This has all been a lie. Every word that has escaped your mouth has been a way to manipulate me into doing what you want and I feed into it like an ignorant fool.
“Serendipity, you know that’s not true.”
She closed her eyes before using her bond. I don’t know anything anymore. When he still didn’t move, she asked again more firmly. Please go.
She felt him stand then. followed by the sounds of something slamming into the wall. She didn’t even turn to look at whatever he had destroyed, not wanting to waste any more energy on what was so obviously a lost cause. Lindsey may have told her that it was her destiny to change things for humanity, but Serendipity had been given an impossible task. She couldn’t change someone who had no desire to want to better themselves and Dominic didn’t want to. He couldn’t have wanted to because he wouldn’t have hurt her so bad. When the violent sound of destruction finally ended, a panting Dominic stood beside the bed, so close she could feel his warmth.
“I’ll leave for now. I fucked up. I know that. But this isn’t over. This will never be over and I will do whatever it takes to prove that to you.”