I woke up in the infirmary, and everything hurt. Pain filled my abdomen, my neck, and my nails were all ripped off. I felt like falling asleep, yet I knew I couldn’t. I was over-rested, it seemed.
Heaviness on my thigh made me look downward. Daphne was sleeping, seemingly exhausted, her head leaning on the blanket wrapped around me. She’d probably stayed up all night to heal me, the stubborn woman. Yet I knew she was out because she needed to recharge; my injuries, according to how I felt, were vast and not yet healed completely.
“Never thought I would see you go on such a rampage, Luxford,” an achingly familiar flat voice draw my head to the side, and I saw Shade sitting on the chair next to my bed. He was looking at me with ruffled hair and worn-out eyes.
I opened my mouth, and words I knew I shouldn’t have said came out. “I did it for you.”
He jerked as though I slapped him. “How?” he asked tautly. I knew what he was really asking here; how did I know? How did I do it?
“I don’t know where I got the power from,” I told him truthfully. “But both my wolf and I felt it in our guts that these people were harmful, and poised some kind of danger to you.”
His lips pursed, his stormy jungle eyes narrowed. “I can take care of myself, Daisy. I don’t need you to the job for me.”
I chuckled humorlessly at that. “That’s what you don’t get, Shade; mates do this kind of things to each others. It’s my right to avenge you.”
He arched an eyebrow. “Really? Then it’s all right by you if I go investigate about that father of yours.”
My laughter died down. “It’s not the same. He’s dead.”
“And so are they,” he bit out harshly.
Sighing, I tore my gaze from him and fixed it on the ceiling. “I didn’t kill the kid, did I?”
It took him a few moments to answer that. “No,” he said, voice lowering.
Relief washed over me. “Good.” Because Gerardo Redway didn’t strike me as dangerous. He was only a teenage boy. But the rest... they weren’t innocent. Of that I was one hundred percent sure.
The bed gave in a little and my eyes returned to my mate. He was sitting next to me now, and when I looked at him, he seemed even more beautiful than before. And when he raised his hand and placed it on my forehead, as if for checking my temperature, I shivered, goosebumps rising on my skin. It was so good being touched by him. So good and so torturous. I closed my eyes in pain.
But then he said softly, “You did well,” and my eyes snapped open and collided with his. His face were awfully neutral as always, but his eyes... they pierced mine intently. “Despite everything, you did well. They didn’t deserve to live.”
His hand brushed the hair from my face, caressing my skin softly. I swallowed hard. “You won’t tell me what they actually did to you, would you?”
He stopped the caress, and looked away. “You don’t want to learn my secrets, Daisy.”
Of course he would say that. “You’re wrong, Shade,” I said lowly, “you’re the one who doesn’t want for anyone learn his secrets.”
“And is there anything wrong with that?” his eyes returned to me, narrowed again.
I shrugged and winced. No good. Pain burned me. “I guess nothing I’ll ever say to you will compute that we’re mates and therefore we should tell each other stuff.”
He cupped my cheek and my heart skipped a beat. “I will tell you one thing that should answer one of your questions,” he said, and his eyes turned completely serious. “Every time the Season hits, I don’t get Hazed. I don’t get aroused. I feel no overwhelming lust. It’s been years since I last slept with a woman, and my body doesn’t require it. I don’t need it.”
My heart was pounding so loud it was almost all I could hear. “Years?” I whispered, astonished. It was impossible. No werewolf had immunity to the Mating Season. No werewolf could go on without sleeping with women. It was part of what made us werewolves; the need get an intimate touch, the need to be touched. Sure, I’d known Shade was different in this aspect, but this was a whole new definition of different.
“I told you I’m not good enough for you, and I’m sticking by it,” he said, face softening a little. “I know it hurts you. I know I hurt you. I know I should be the mate you deserve. But I can never be that. I’m not it for you. I’m sorry.”
Instead of listening to that last part, I asked, voice raw, “When was the last time you had sex?”
He tensed. I hoped he wouldn’t dodge my question. I really hoped he wouldn’t. And he didn’t. “Sixteen years.”
My eyes widened as my brain tried to assess what he was saying. Shade was about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old. Sixteen years meant... “You were eleven,” I whispered, horrified.
Shade did not confirm or deny. Instead he rose back to his feet. “Go to sleep, Luxford,” he said quietly, “you need to rest some more.”
When he was out of the room, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I would be up all night trying to put the puzzle pieces together. Because what Shade had just shared with me... it was significant.
And it explained so much yet not enough.
I managed to fall asleep once more and the next time I woke up, I felt better. No one was in the room, meaning Daphne left at some point and Shade hadn’t returned, and all I wanted was to keep on sleeping, just so I could wake up later on and feel like myself again.
As I came to shove the blanket off me, there was a sudden rustling sound from the window. Whipping my head toward the noise, I found that it was open. Frowning, I was about to get up when someone appeared on its ledge out of thin air.
Freezing, I watched with wide eyes as that someone hopped into the room, landing gracefully on his feet. It was a man who looked to be around my age, maybe a little older, and he looked like a gangster wannabe with low-hanging pants, faded tee, and old sneakers. His hair was dirty blonde and ruffled, and when my gaze met his, I saw that his eyes were hazel. But that wasn’t what bothered me about the man; his eyes seemed wild, almost twisted in a way I couldn’t explain.
And he’d appeared out of nowhere. Meaning he was probably...
“Hello, Daisy Montgomery,” he said, smiling in a way that sent a shiver of pure terror down my spine, “it’s good to see you doing better.”
I blanched. Did he just call me... “Deity,” I whispered, horrified, “you’re a Deity.” But he didn’t give me soothing vibes like Kimbringe did. No, the vibe he gave of was entirely different.
“That I am,” he smirked, “my name’s Michelangelo, but that’s too old fashioned. Nowadays I go by Damon.”
I’d heard of this Deity. Damn right I’d heard of him; not long ago, he’d threatened Claire before she went on her adventures to Logia with Zachary and Shade. He was one of the bad Deities, the Negative ones. And that meant he wasn’t here for a friendly visit. “Why are you here?” I asked, trying not to think of the fact he’d just called me Daisy Montgomery.
“That’s a good question, isn’t it?” his grin broadened. “Let’s just say, Webb was a good friend of mine.”
My face was probably deathly white by now.
“Ah, so little Freddie was right,” he chuckled, walking toward me slowly, as though he was stalking me. My wolf sat back, frozen. “You’ve been looking into some information about good ole Webb, haven’t you? Well,” he stopped inches away, “your search has now come to an end. I’ll give you the answers you’ve been seeking, and more.”
I didn’t trust the sudden glint that appeared in his unstable eyes. “Don’t tell me anything and leave,” I said, my voice too quiet, too meek, “please just leave.”
“But that won’t do,” he cocked his head, “you see, I owe Webb a favor, and I don’t like owing anyone anything. Since the block is dead, I can repay him through you. It’s a marvelous solution to this peculiar situation, isn’t it?”
My heart rate kicked up and a survival instinct blared to life, pushing me to run from him as far as I could. But I didn’t. I stayed in place. If I didn’t move an inch, maybe, like bigger predators, who would dismiss me and begone. “I don’t care about debts,” I told him, trying to make myself sound calmer than I was. I wasn’t successful. “Just leave and I’ll consider whatever favor you owed him paid and sealed.”
He burst into laughter. “You’re definitely something, little wolf,” he said, eyes twinkling with sinister humor, “you’re wasted on this pack and with this people. But I can see why he likes you.” His eyes raked my body in a way that made my skin crawl. “Dominant males like this kind of feisty females. Especially males who were chosen to be the next One True Alpha.”
My blood drained completely from my face. “What did you just say?”
His grin shot a warning bell into my head. “There’s so much you don’t know, little wolf. So much the people around you hide from you. You won’t get genuine answers from those who care. But you will from those who don’t give a fuck.”
Before I could move, he grabbed me and threw me over his shoulder. I tensed for a second before thrashing. “Let me go!” I yelled, terror washing over me like a doze of cold water. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!”
“You’re coming with me, wolf,” he chuckled and ran to the open window, “and I suggest you won’t fight me too much. You’ll only get rewarded, you know.”
And with those words, he jumped off the window. I couldn’t even scream. I couldn’t thrash anymore; it was useless. I was useless. And before I knew it, black dots entered my vision.
“Sleep, little wolf,” he murmured, “soon enough, you won’t be able to sleep anymore.”