The Prince's Mute Mate

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SIX

Serendipity swallowed the lump in her throat as she followed Beckham through the long corridors. Every time they passed a wolf in the hallways, Serendipity would flinch back before averting her gaze towards her feet. She didn’t know which wolf she was expecting to lash out at her, and logically she knew that they most likely wouldn’t now that the Prince had staked a claim over her, but habits were hard to break.

She was grateful when Beckham slowed down and opened a door for her. She signed a quick thanks before stepping inside to be greeted with another hallway. Thankfully, she didn’t see anyone traveling through this one. Beckham closed the door behind him before leading the way for Serendipity. She followed as quickly as her short legs would allow. She didn’t want there to be another reason for him to hate her. Being human was a hard enough hurdle to jump over and now...

She gazed up at the back of the wolf’s head. Occasionally, when he stepped in just the right spot, she could see the thick white line that marred his face. She may not have given it to him but she had caused it. After she had knocked him out with a baseball bat.

Beckham turned so suddenly that Serendipity had to stumble into the wall not to run into him. A loud growl left his throat and the blood left Serendipity’s face as she clutched onto her sore head looking up at the wolf baring his teeth in at her. She retreated a few steps, but he continued his advance until she finally stopped, out of room to run.

“What, human? I can feel your gaze and it is not appreciated,” Beckham spat. She shook her head and averted her gaze. Shaky hands signed sorry. The wolf rolled his eyes before turning around.

“Pathetic.”

Serendipity’s heart dropped back into her chest when she heard the sound of his footsteps walking away from her. She followed again, this time making sure to keep her gaze averted. Just when she thought she was getting a bit closer to getting used to the idea of living in the manor, fear of the monsters had returned in full force. What had she honestly expected though? She was in the lion’s den and the only way out was to kill or be killed.

And Serendipity didn’t kill.

They rounded a corner and Serendipity looked up at the sunlight streaming through the door opposite of them. Beckham stopped and Serendipity looked at him hesitantly. The look of malice on his face sent Serendipity straight towards it. Her hand gripped the handle and pulled. A wisp of chilly air blew into the room before she stepped outside and closed the opening behind her.

“Hello.”

Serendipity jumped in surprise and turned quickly. The sight of the Prince had her stomach knotting up uncomfortably. Terror settled over her as he strode towards her from where he had been standing a few feet away. She froze like a deer in the headlights.

He was dressed in a suit and it surprised her. He looked so... civilized. Still, there was no hiding the wild side of him either. His gaze, the way he walked, everything else about him screamed primal. The Prince seemed to notice Serendipity’s fear and stopped in his tracks, a yellow glint shining in his eyes. His hand reached out for hers and she looked at it dis-trustingly.

With trembling fingers, she took a deep breath before submitting to the inevitable. The warmth of his hand engulfed her smaller one and tingles ran up her arm. Somehow the fear that engulfed her moments before seemed to melt away into butterflies and she felt herself growing more and more nervous with his heated gaze resting on her.

How could he do that to her? How could he completely unarm her of all common sense with one touch? She shivered, suddenly all too aware of how cold it was. Already she could feel slight numbness in her cheeks and knew they were probably a ruby red. Dominic looked at her with concern.

“I thought we could have lunch outside. It’s a bit warmer than usual for this time of the year, but I forgot that your temperature doesn’t run as high as mine,” the wolf apologized.

No, it’s okay. I would like to stay. Please? Serendipity signed nervously. The distractions the cold brought would help her keep her head on straight.

“As you wish, Serendipity,” the Prince relented softly as he pulled gently on her arm, leading her over towards a pair of stairs.

At the bottom, the snow crunched underneath their shoes as they walked towards the most beautiful thing she had probably ever seen. The field in front of her was the same she had seen the first time she had been at the manor. The expanse stretched out lazily before dropping off in tall, jagged cliffs. The ocean sat just beyond, and she could hear the faint roar of the waves.

Sitting right in front of her, a beautifully crafted table and two chairs were beautifully placed against a stone wall. Deep red flower petals stood out against the white snow, almost illuminating the path in front of her. Roses decorated the table in a beautiful glass vase, along with a few candles.

Dominic let go of her and stepped ahead to pull out her chair. She sat and he pushed the chair up before sitting himself. The table was small and intimate, and her foot accidentally brushed against his before she jerked it back. More space between them would have been nice, but this would have to do. She waited for him to speak, but he never did. She fiddled nervously.

This is beautiful, she signed shyly. No one had ever done anything special like this for her and as much as she didn’t trust him, she did appreciate the sentiment.

The Prince flashed a toothy grin. It was one that Serendipity was sure had gotten more than a couple of women on their knees. She blushed again at the thought. Her mouth grew dry and she tried to distract herself by grabbing the napkin and putting it in her lap.

“I know this is hard for you, Serendipity. I just want to make it easier any way I can.”

She took a deep breath, still not looking at him. How was she supposed to do what she was meant to when all she wanted to do was melt every time he said something like that? Serendipity never felt more like a traitor in that moment, about to eat at the same table as the monster who had enslaved her kind.

As her gaze finally lifted from her lap, she realized that he was studying her. His eyes trailed over her as if he still couldn’t believe she was there. The intensity sent a jolt through her and her hands rose in response.

Some things have to change if you want me to stay, she told him. She watched his face for any sign of anger at her demand. The Prince only smirked before leaning forward.

“What exactly would those things be, Serendipity?”

Serendipity looked at him dazed for a moment. He wasn’t upset? The wolf was continuously surprising her. If she was honest, Serendipity was just waiting for the blow that would sprawl her out on the ground. Sapphire would have already done it. She looked back towards the trail they had traveled at the sound of footsteps. Before she could help it, her heartbeat stuttered as fear filled her. Someone was headed their way. She felt a warm hand grab hers and she jerked it back.

“It’s just the food, Serendipity. You have nothing to fear here,” the Prince crooned softly.

She nodded, trying to calm herself down as two humans walked around the corner with a cart. Serendipity was grateful for the interruption of food. The boys walked over carrying plates of what looked to be eggs, sausage, toast, and fruit. It looked delicious and she wanted to dive in when it was sat in front of her. It was more than she probably ate in days before she had been taken.

Dominic’s food was sat in front of him and she looked over to see what he would do to find his gaze resting on her face. He always seemed to be looking at her. Serendipity brought her hands up and curled her hair behind her ear.

“Please, eat.” He encouraged.

She reached for a fork before she noticed the two humans that had served them. She looked at one boy who seemed to be no older than 16. He was thin and he looked terrified, but he couldn’t keep his gaze away from the food sat in front of her. Her appetite left her. The other boy looked to be a bit older and looked to be in worse shape. She pushed the food away from her and Dominic’s eyes narrowed as he realized the humans had disturbed her.

“You’re dismissed!”

The two human boys scampered off as fast as they could up the trail. Dominic picked up his fork and Serendipity followed. She pushed food around on her plate but couldn’t find it in herself to put anything in her mouth. It didn’t take the wolf long to notice what she was doing, and he growled before the sound of the fork clanging down onto his plate had her attention solely on him. Frustration didn’t even begin to describe the look on his face.

You should eat, she signed after sitting down her silverware.

He narrowed his eyes at her. “I will not eat if you refuse your meal.”

She was shocked at first and then she felt her anger grow until it bubbled over and her blood boiled. She wasn’t eating because if she did, she wouldn’t be able to sleep that night and not see those skinny humans in her dreams begging her for food. He wasn’t eating simply because she wasn’t eating. It was petty and reminded her of what a spoiled child would do.

Fine. We can both go hungry, she signed quickly, her eyebrows drawing together in an irate line. She wanted to bash the insolent monster in the head.

His frown deepened but he was wise enough to not say anything as she cooled off. She held her breath as she threaded her fingers through her unruly hair. Why couldn’t she think clearly around him? She felt her anger slip from her even as she tried to hold onto it. It was if she was sky high on his presence and everything, even the bad stuff, was being put through a nostalgia filter.

“It’s the bond,” the Prince blurted out. She met his eyes, surprised at the comment.

“You can’t think clearly. It’s almost as if you’re in a daze. Your unable to be angry with me for long and all rational thought flies out of the window when you are near me,” he tried to explain gently. “We are mates Serendipity. This is all supposed to happen, even if you don’t want it too. For whatever reason, the Goddess chose to bind us together. It’s a gift.”

Serendipity rolled her eyes. A gift! Her fingers squeezed her knees beneath the table. She wanted to feel something else. She wanted to distract herself from just how normal she felt around him. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. She was sitting across from a wolf for goodness sake! She should be terrified. She should cower and want to run!

So why did she want to do the opposite of all of those things?

“Don’t fight it. I feel it too,” Dominic whispered, his words comforting even when she desperately didn’t want them to be.

Serendipity shook her head. Why can’t you see how wrong this is? I don’t even know whether to be terrified of you or not. I don’t know how I can’t be logically, but...

Dominic clenched his jaw together. “You never have to fear me Serendipity. I know I am a werewolf, but the beast inside me is the only other being I would ever trust more than myself to see to your safety. We could never do anything to harm you.”

Serendipity wanted to believe him. She did.

Did you hurt Beckham because of me? she signed, needing to know the answer more than she needed her next breath.

The Prince crossed his legs. “No, Serendipity. I didn’t Punish Beckham but if it wouldn’t have happened the way it did, I would have.”

Serendipity didn’t know how she was supposed to feel after hearing that. Was she relieved that he hadn’t hurt the wolf? He had admitted to wanting to. He had admitted to planning to. Something had happened before that though.

What happened to him? she asked curiously.

“The Alpha King protects his own. I wasn’t the only one to notice the bruises on your arms,” Dominic replied.

Serendipity felt the blood leave her face. She had just left the Alpha King and he had been the one to punish the wolf? He didn’t look like he could fight his way out of a wet paper bag. Then again, he was a werewolf. They were all unpredictable monsters, even the ones she thought were sick apparently.

“I can smell your sadness. Don’t be upset about Beckham’s face. He’s a wolf. He won’t even scar permanently,” the Prince tried to appease.

She shook her head before signing again. It’s not that. I don’t even know you. I don’t know anything about your kind.

Dominic leaned forward then, sliding their food over before clasping her hands in his. Tingles erupted everywhere his skin made contact with hers and she briefly wondered if he felt them too. “You know me Serendipity. Your soul knows mine. It’s one half of the same. We can figure the rest out together.”

The intense look of conviction on his face made her want to reassure him that everything was okay and that she understood. But she couldn’t do that. Instead, she did the next best thing and interlaced her fingers through of his before squeezing it lightly. She pulled her hands back and the Prince relented his grip before leaning back to sit upright in his chair. She sucked in a breath at just how much taller he was when he did that.

Before silence dominated space between them, she began to sign again. Your dad was trying to explain that to me this morning.

He gave her a sheepish look. “I hope you don’t mind. My father thought that you might enjoy the class. We are aware that you don’t know much about our world and it’s a good place to start.”

I enjoyed it. He explained some things and put a lot into perspective for me, Serendipity signed, gauging his reaction before continuing. He says you could get mating sickness if I leave. Is that true?

His mouth hardened into a line. “I would get mating sickness after a certain amount of time spent without you in my presence.”

Serendipity already knew it to be true but somehow hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth made it seem more real to her. That was it then. She was stuck. She couldn’t be the reason for anyone’s death. Not even her brother’s murderer. Seeing the dark storm clouds gathering in the wolf’s eyes, she tried to explain her thought process.

It’s not that I want to leave. I’ve been treated well here. I’m just scared that I can’t be whatever it is that you are looking for. Or maybe it was that she was scared that she would be what he was looking for and she would hate herself for it. She couldn’t exactly tell him that though.

His eyes softened and he stood before kneeling in front of her quicker than she could move out of his way. He still dwarfed her in height even on his knees. It wasn’t fair that she was at such a disadvantage. Sparks erupted and pulsed up her arm as his fingers threaded through hers.

“I never believed that I would have a mate, and I swore that if I ever found mine that I would have nothing to do with her because of what happened to my father,” he explained to her. Two fingers reached up to tilt her chin up. Their eyes meet, his filled with a fierce determination and hers with confusion and uneasiness.

“Then I caught your scent in my bed. All of a sudden, in a blink of an eye, it was as if everything I had ever done and everything I was supposed to do was nothing in comparison to finding you, holding you, learning to love you. My universe shifted and you’re now at its center,” he bit out. His voice was husky and raw, and Serendipity knew this wasn’t easy for him to confess.

“I’m just asking you to try. I promise to protect you and put your happiness and care above my own. I can give you whatever you want. I can offer you things that were once impossible for you. We can be happy together.”

Serendipity wanted to tell him what he wanted to hear. She wanted to nod and jump into his arms and pretend that the world wasn’t still shit for humans. She wanted to be blind to all the wrong happening around her and bathe in the bliss her new social status.

But she couldn’t be selfish.

Serendipity slid her chair back, yanking her hands from his as she stood. She found herself standing in front of a kneeling wolf, holding all of the cards for the first time in her life and she felt empowered.

No.

There was no room for argument or sign of weakness in her movement. She watched as his face fell. A pang of regret instantly bubbled up within her and she watched as his head fell towards the ground. Then his head snapped back up, his eyes a bright yellow. They narrowed up at her and he lifted himself off the ground, towering over her.

She shrunk back but held her ground. I can’t be with you and pretend like everything is okay when it isn’t. My people are suffering. I was suffering! If I hadn’t been your mate and you wouldn’t have found me when you did I would be in my cold apartment, hungry and scared.

“Why won’t you at least try?” He roared and turned on the beautiful table that had been set up so eloquently. It flew backward, the glass shattering as he destroyed it. She hugged herself, a new sense of fear filling her as she backed away from him. Anger rolled off of him in waves. He turned back towards her and the expression of fury melted off of his face as he took in the disheveled state of his mate.

“Are- are you scared of me?” He asked her, sounding almost hurt by it. She didn’t move, the cold stinging her nose as a breeze whipped past her. She watched as his eyes slowly morphed back to their normal hue.

He took a step towards her and it took everything in Serendipity not to move. “You never have to be afraid of me.” He whispered.

I’m sorry, Serendipity apologized. I can’t let you waltz into my life and make me forget everything I care about. I would never forgive myself. She wanted to make him understand. This was bigger than her. It was bigger than him. Help me change things. Help me do the right thing. I know that deep down you know the way humans are being treated isn’t right, she pleaded.

The Prince sighed. “I’m willing to work on some of the laws that humans are forced to abide by so long as you agree to try and make us work,” he bargained. Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. She hadn’t honestly expected to make any progress with the Prince. If anything, she had expected to be punished.

Do you swear? She signed the question with skepticism all over her face.

“I’m not promising to free humans, Serendipity. I understand that this is hard for you, but too much was lost in the war,” he cautioned.

She stepped closer to him and smiled shyly before wrapping her arms around his torso. She felt him tense up, his arms by his side before he moved to pull her closer. She sighed into his chest, his smell comforting. The warmth she felt surrounding her was staggering and it made her never want to let go of him, but she found the strength. It took the Prince a moment longer to find the same strength before he followed suit by letting her go, but he kept hold of her hand.

“How about brunch inside?” He asked as they began the walk back to the manor.

She looked up at him seriously. That’s my first request. I want you to provide everyone who works here with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Protein bars don’t count.

He froze as he looked down at her. She watched as a million different emotions played over his face.

Please, she asked again. If he refused the request, she didn’t know if she could find it in herself to eat.

“I’ll see to it once we get inside. It isn’t as if we don’t have it to spare,” he relented. The smile on Serendipity’s face grew larger.

I’d love to have brunch with you, she signed, leaning closer to his warmth.

She didn’t know if the shaking her body was doing was from the anxiety, she got being so close to the wolf or the cold. He was a wolf though. A bit of positive reinforcement wouldn’t hurt her and would only serve to make the Prince more susceptible to listening to her in the future. At least, that was what she was telling herself. Serendipity knew that not everything she was planning to achieve would be this easy to make happen and she would have to prepare herself for the upcoming battles, but for now, she would count her blessings and feel a little less guilty about enjoying being the closest thing to happy she had been in years.

As promised, the first place they visited inside of the manor was the servants quarters. Serendipity clutched onto the Prince’s hand as she walked past the very same people who she had worked with not long ago. Human eyes stared at her, some filled with fright, others curiosity, and, surprisingly, there were a few who gazed at her with envy. She pushed herself closer to Dominic every time they passed a wolf and it was clear he could tell she wasn’t comfortable with all the attention she was getting.

Finally, they made it to the kitchen and as soon as Prince Dominic pushed the double doors open the human chef’s eyes went wide and he brushed his hands off on his apron before walking towards where the Prince stood with his human mate by his side, his previous project forgotten.

Serendipity noticed the bead of sweat that made its way down the man’s forehead before he addressed the wolf in front of him. “Alpha. How may I help you today?”

“From now on, all humans that are employed here at the manor, no matter if they are outsourced from another company or not, are to be offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner for free,” the Prince told the man. Serendipity noticed how hard his jaw was set. It was as if he was having to pry word after word out of his throat. She stepped forward from her place behind him, placing her hand in his.

The human looked shocked, his mouth agape. He looked at Serendipity for the first time, his eyes meeting hers. She watched as hope bloomed across the man’s face in response to what he had just been ordered to do. As flustered as the chef looked, she could see how happy and surprised he was at the turn of events.

“Sir, no disrespect, but to cook that many meals I will have to put in an order immediately for more food and I will need more help. I have a select staff that I trust and will need to interview more people for the job,” the cook stuttered.

“Do what you must. I want it implemented by the end of the week. Any paperwork can be sent to my desk, as well as any applicants you may have in mind for the positions in the kitchen,” he barked. The chef nodded before turning to talk to other chefs that had been listening in.

Dominic grabbed Serendipity’s hand and spun her out of the kitchen. She could tell he was irritated, and that was putting it lightly. He growled lowly at the everyone he passed as they trailed down the hallway together. As soon as they turned and entered into a somewhat private corridor, she pulled her hand from his grasp and stopped. The wolf turned on her quickly, his eyes going back and forth between his normal brown and the yellow of his wolf. His eyes were narrowed, and his face set in a grimace.

She frowned before stretching her arms around him. She pulled him close. Serendipity hadn’t had any plans of grasping the wolf in an embrace, but the unsure expression on his face made up her mind for her. She was tense at first, not knowing how he would react. Then she heard him take a deep breath before relaxing. His head rested on the top of her and she stood still for a moment, simply listening to his heartbeat as his calming scent surrounded her.

Worry began to nag at her, and she pulled back. If he was acting so irritated and irrational at simply feeding humans, how was he going to feel about other things that she was going to want? Other things that would eventually include freeing humans...

She took a deep breath. Serendipity had to be patient. Not everything was going to change in the blink of an eye, and this was a big step for him and a big step in the right direction for humans. Slow and steady would win the race.

I know that wasn’t easy for you. Thank you, Serendipity decided to sign.

Dominic’s expression became lighter and she smiled before hesitantly moving closer to land a kiss on his cheek. Butterflies exploded through her stomach and her face grew hot. She just knew that if she could see herself, her face would be as red as a tomato. Prince Dominic looked as if the sun had exploded, his eyes looking down at her with passion in his eyes.

Positive reinforcement, she reminded herself as she straightened up.

Didn’t you promise me brunch? She asked before interweaving their hands once more.

Prince Dominic led Serendipity to the library where they were served lunch and one BLT sandwich later she found herself scrolling through the what seemed like endless aisles of books. Her fingers trailed over the old leather spines as she read names or attempted to when she stumbled upon something in Latin or another language she didn’t know.

She couldn’t help but admire the beautiful bindings that she saw and she knew that most of the books must have been very, very old. As she tried her hardest to focus on picking out a couple of books to read, she could feel eyes on her. His eyes. It should have felt uncomfortable and yet something was comforting about it. He made her feel protected and safe.

She peeked down the aisle she was on to meet his gaze and she tucked her hair behind her ear nervously. She couldn’t deny just how handsome he was. It was as if someone had read her mind and made all her fantasies come to life in the form of a Greek God.

She pushed her eyes, and thoughts, away from him and turned down an aisle that obstructed his view of her. She paused, leaning against a shelf. It was the first time she had felt safe from prying eyes since all the madness had started. How was she supposed to do this? How was she going to turn her back against everything she believed in and try to form a relationship with the Prince?

“See anything you like?” Serendipity jumped, turning as she did so to look at the wolf. She shook her head quickly, her hand resting on her chest. Her heart was beating a mile a minute.

He smirked. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I just thought you would want to talk a bit more before I’m required to attend a meeting with the elders.”

She nodded before grabbing a random book that caught her eye. She didn’t want Dominic to know she had only rounded the bookshelf to get away from him. Reaching the table, she placed it with the other three she had picked up.

She turned to look at Dominic before bringing her hands up hesitantly. She knew he wanted to know more about what she required for her to try and make them work and he was right to assume that she wanted more than just him listening to her concerns about what was happening.

I’d like my own room.

Her hands shook and she couldn’t tell if it was nervousness or if it was her body doing everything it could from stopping her from making the request. She watched Dominic’s eyes narrow and his jaw clench down as if he was having to stop himself from rebelling.

With closed eyes, he gave her a short response. “That’s not necessary. I can sleep on the couch. I promise not to get into the bed with you again. Not until you want me too.”

Serendipity took a moment to gather her thoughts before explaining further. It’s your room. You should be able to sleep in your bed. I’m not saying never, I just need time to process everything that’s happened. I need space.

He looked as if he wanted to argue, with her but she was surprised when he nodded instead. She gave him a small smile in relief before feeling strong enough to sit down on the couch beside her. The hardest question had been asked and the tension had mostly melted away.

“That can’t be your only demand. What else do you desire?” He drawled.

Lots of awful, sinful things, Serendipity thought to herself, her face burning a bright red. His legs moved closer together and she couldn’t help but begin to notice how the shirt he was wearing flexed with the slightest of movement. How could anyone be so perfect?

I understand that you’ve given Lindsey a permanent job here at the manor. Thank you, she signed as sincerely. She did appreciate him trying to keep her only friend near her. I want access to her anytime I wish. Seeing as to the fact that you have responsibilities that will require you to spend time away from me, I should be able to have someone to talk with that can understand me and act as moral support anytime I need it.

She watched as Prince Dominic thought about her request before he nodded in agreement. She smiled a bit wider. Two out of three requests granted. One more to go.

She held her breath as she signed her last request, knowing it would be the one he would have the most issue with. I want to start talking about the conditions in which humans are made to live. It doesn’t have to be every day, but I want your word that we will discuss one issue a week at a minimum and come to an agreement about what can be done to make the problem better.

Surprisingly, he didn’t hesitate with his response. “Fine. We can talk about one issue once a week,” he promised. She noticed that he didn’t agree to work on any of the problems and her eyes narrowed at how casually he made his vow, but she didn’t push. Her foot was through the door and there was no point in making him agitated.

“Is that it?” He asked her when she didn’t continue speaking.

She nodded hesitantly. For now.

“It’s my turn then,” he deviously murmured as he leaned forward. The look of shock on Serendipity’s face prompted a laugh to tumble from his lips.

“I’m a wolf, baby. I don’t give anything without taking what’s mine first,” he explained, flashing his teeth. “For me to grant your demands you have to meet mine as well. You will have a meal with me every morning and you will share dinner with me every night. I’m sure you notice I have a busy schedule as Alpha so if I don’t get the privilege of seeing your beautiful face throughout the night, then I want to be able to say good morning and goodnight properly.”

She flushed and agreed. Sharing two of her meals with him wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice.

“You will attend all social functions with me as my mate. Dances, pack meetings, everything and anything that requires my presence you will accompany me.”

She hesitated this time before agreeing. Her anxiety grew in the pit of her stomach and his hand reached out to grab hers. “There is nothing to be afraid of. I’ll be with you and I’d never let anything, or anyone hurt you, or your feelings for that matter. Everything else, we can figure out together,” he told her before tightening his grip on her arm and pulling her off the couch she was on and onto his.

She froze, her first thought that she had done something wrong. She tensed up and her eyes opened wide as she braced herself for pain. It wasn’t until her forehead hit his chest that she realized he was just trying to hold her. He peered down at her mischievously and she couldn’t believe how young he looked in that moment. It was as if they were kids and he had gotten caught sticking his hand in the cookie jar before dinner.

Serendipity rolled her eyes as contentment filled her. She wouldn’t fight something that felt so right. She relaxed against him and he brought his arms to rest around her. She reached for one of the books she had picked out.

“First edition Shakespeare. Quite a taste you have for the classics,” the Prince murmured. She nodded against his chest in agreement as she stretched her legs out on the couch between his.

He stroked her hair back behind her ear. A low purring startled her, and she jerked her head away from the book to look up at him. He just shrugged his shoulders.

“My wolf is happy,” was all he said.

She continued to try and read, though it was more than difficult. She couldn’t help but realize how strange all of this was. There was still so much that she didn’t understand. What she was doing was wrong. Wasn’t it?

She felt the wolf’s chest rise and lower beneath her as he sighed. “Stop thinking so much. I can practically hear the gears turning in your head. It’s normal for you to feel comfortable around me. The mating bond won’t allow anything else. That’s not to mention how strong and courageous you are. Not many others would be able to stand alone in a room with me. You have amazed me at every turn,” he told her, entangling his hand in her hair again as he played the long strands.

She kept her face in her book, not bothering to respond as she blushed furiously. Tears stung her eyes. Did he think that of her? She smiled a bit at the thought.

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