It had been a week, and Bryce still hadn’t returned to Varcolac. The whole city was worried, everyone wondering why the son of the Pack Delta was missing. Ryker had explained to his father that they got in a fight- though he didn’t mention what about- and that Bryce had run off, but the Alpha King was still suspicious. Search parties had been sent to the surrounding human cities and neighboring Pack territories, but nothing turned up. It was like he had just disappeared.
Ryker and I had continued our training routine, but there was more lightness between us. I found myself smiling more when I was around him and genuinely enjoying our sparring matches. He progressed quickly, but he was still far from being a Spartan Guardian. Today though, today was the beginning of the worst part of his training.
I motioned for Ryker to sit in the chair I had brought down to the compound. He sat, looking up at me expectantly.
“Is this the part where you give me a lap dance for all my hard work?” He teased.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “Sorry, Prince Charming.” My hands moved quickly, tying his arms and legs to the chair with leather straps- tight enough so that he wouldn’t be able to get any momentum to break free. “But I’m afraid this is the not so fun part of Spartan training.”
I had sworn to myself that I wouldn’t teach him this- that I wouldn’t teach anybody this. But he was my Goddess chosen mate, and she had said to teach him. Besides, every day I was with him was a day that I felt like I could put the past behind me, and just live here and now with my mate. I trusted him. He had shown me how much cared for me, how desperate he was to have me, and I could no longer deny that I was desperate for him as well.
“What are you going to do?” Ryker asked, his voice rightfully wary. I could tell what he was thinking. He thought this was the moment where I bound him and beat him bloody, daring him to cry for mercy. Unfortunately, this was going to be much, much worse.
I pulled a short, silver dagger from the waistband of my jeans and held it out before him. He shrunk away, wincing as the blade glinted in the fluorescent lights. “This is called The Metamorphosis.” I said, bringing the blade closer to him. “It will take time, but eventually your body will form an immunity to silver and wolfsbane. It will be hard for you. Spartans were exposed to both since their infancy. The effects will be more violent as an adult.”
I placed my hand on his shoulder, feeling the rigidity of his muscles. He looked at me with trust in his eyes, but his body was writhing at the proximity of the silver.
“If you don’t want me to, I won’t.” I offered. I couldn’t force this on him. It had to be his choice alone.
He took a deep breath to steady his voice. “Just do it.” He said through gritted teeth.
I slowly laid the blade against his hand, hearing the sizzling of his burned skin. Ryker groaned, screwing his eyes shut and clenching his fists over the ends of the chair’s arms. I moved the blade to his shoulder, tracing a thin line faintly down his bicep. His breaths were coming quick and ragged, like he had been running for miles.
“Try to relax.” I said gently. “Don’t try to fight it, just let pain sink into you, accept it, make it a part of you.”
He was fighting his urge to cry out, trying to stand by the Spartan teachings he had learned from me. The leather bindings strained against his muscles, his wolf’s adrenaline driving him to get free.
I skimmed the dagger across his bare chest, looking at the inflamed flesh it left in its wake. “Your pain is not the enemy, Ryker.” I tried to keep my voice calm and level, a soothing balm to the frenzy of physical torture he was feeling. “Your pain is your greatest ally. Your pain will tell you when you have been wounded.” I pressed the flat of the blade into the side of his other arm, feeling his body jerk and wrench beneath my hold. A repressed snarl rumbled in his chest, his face red with agony and wolf rage. Sweat covered Ryker’s body, his skin puckered and red from where the dagger had touched him. “But most importantly…” I whispered as I held his chin in my hand, making him look me in the eyes. “Your pain tells you that you’re still alive.”
I untied him after several more runs across his body. Ryker was shaking, his hair was drenched in sweat. He fell into my arms and I laid him down onto the sparring mat gently. I cradled his head in my lap, wiping the sweat from his face with a towel.
“I’m sorry.” I said softly to him. “I know it hurts.” I wasn’t unsympathetic to his pain. True, I was a baby when I started my Metamorphosis, the pain was a distant memory for me, but I knew the effect that the silver had on the bodies of my kind. I only felt the warmth of the metal and poison, but for others I had heard it equated to being burned alive. I didn’t enjoy his pain, but the sooner he completed this stage of training, the safer he would be. I wanted him to be strong, protected against anything that might hurt him.
“It’s okay.” Ryker rasped. “I asked for it.” He tried to laugh, but the effort was too much right now. “Where did you get that?” He asked, looking at the silver dagger.
I analyzed the delicate design on the leather handle, a small smile on my face. “It was my mother’s. Her and my dad had a matching set made for their mating ceremony.”
A sigh came from him and I set the weapon to the side, focusing my attention on my mate.
I leaned down, gently pressing my lips to his. I ran my fingers through his damp hair, letting his tongue snake along my lower lip. I wanted to take his mind off the pain, the exhaustion. I slid down the mat to lay next to him, moving my hands along his body to massage the tension from his muscles. He sighed into our kiss, his body relaxing against my touch.
He placed his large hand over my hip, sliding it towards my midsection. The gesture sent a jolt of tension down to my pelvis, causing my breath to catch in my chest. Our hands roamed each other’s bodies as our lips moved in harmony. Every sensation was new and exciting. I had never thought I would be touched this way. Every connection my skin made with his left my skin burning in the most intoxicating way.
Ryker’s hands slipped under my shirt, raising goosebumps on my skin. I needed more. More contact. More skin. More freedom. I pulled my shirt over my head, giving him more room to touch me. His lips journeyed down my neck, nipping against the sensitive skin of my throat as his hands wandered over my back and waist. No matter how much he touched me though, it wasn’t enough. There was a fire within me, and it was begging to be quenched.
I could sense the arousal in him, rising with mine. Ryker unclasped my bra, freeing my breasts from their constraints, and wasted no time in turning his attention to them. He kissed down my collarbone to the valley between my breasts, flicking his tongue against my heated skin. I squirmed; my body restless against the slow pace. I raked my nails across his back, my animal instincts begging him to give me more.
Ryker paused his movements, shifting to hover over me, and looked at me with feral desire etched all over his face. “We don’t have to. If you’re not ready, I’ll stop.”
I ran my fingers along his chiseled cheek, the stubble rough against my skin. It wasn’t long ago that I had never even been kissed, and now I was here, bare chested with this incredibly sexy man who was somehow my mate. “I want to.” I whispered, the words falling from my lips in quiet excitement.
I pulled his face to mine and we fell into a kiss so hungry, so passionate that it could have shook the earth. He fumbled with the button of my jeans, then slowly slid them down the length of my legs. Ryker leaned back, pulling the fabric over my feet and tossing it to the side. His hands explored the surface of my thighs, swept over my hips, and teased at my panty line.
A moan escaped my lips, my breasts heaving with my labored breathing. He slid a finger in either side of my panties and pulled them down agonizingly slow. I was completely naked in front of him. Another first for me. He didn’t give me time to be self-conscious. Ryker attacked my body with fervor and adoration, worshipping every inch of me. His lips travelled down my stomach, licking along my hip bones, which sent a clenching sensation through my core. Next he was there, in the exact place that my body was begging him to be. I could already feel the warm moisture between my legs before he settled his face between them.
His tongue was warm against me. My head rolled back in ecstasy. Every flick of his tongue, every probe of his fingers- it all drove me wild. I had lost control of my voice, a series of moans and whimpers of pleasure were coming from me now. I could feel a strange pressure building inside of me, but I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to keep going forever.
Ryker rose from between my legs and I fidgeted at his sudden absence. He slid his pants off and situated himself at my entrance. I could feel his hard length pressed against me and my arousal multiplied ten-fold. He buried his face against my neck, lightly nipping at me.
“This might hurt.” Ryker whispered in my ear.
I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and pulled my legs up to lightly hook over his. “I can handle it.” I answered.
I felt pressure, then a stinging, stretching sensation. I instinctively clutched him tighter, wanting him as close as possible. I cried out as he eased himself all the way into me- whether from pleasure or discomfort I wasn’t sure. We stayed like that for a moment, he was giving me time to adjust to his size, and all the while he was kissing along my neck, up to my jaw and then my lips. I rocked my hips against his, begging for him to keep going.
His movements were slow at first, an easy rocking that made me see stars. This felt amazing. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. His weight on me, his skin against mine, the full feeling of him inside me. He was mine. And I was his.
Our rhythm picked up, the pace growing faster. With every thrust he sent a new wave of overwhelming bliss through my body.
“Asenna.” Ryker groaned as his hips worked against mine.
I felt like I was at the edge of a cliff, seconds away from falling over. His hands held me tightly, my core tightening from the sensory overload. We were climbing, climbing, peaking. We crashed together, falling over the edge and into the biggest high I could ever imagine.
Our breathing was rough and ragged, our bodies glistening in sweat. As I looked up at his face, staring into his eyes, I understood what my father had always said about my mother. Right now, in our beautiful, perfect little world, I could see an entire cosmos reflected in his eyes.
After our unplanned escapade in the compound, Ryker went to get some much-needed rest. Torture and sex could really take a toll on a person. I decided to catch up with Larken while my mate was recovering.
“Ease up there, brat.” I said, watching him inhale his ice cream.
He smiled his chubby little grin at me, and his freckles got all scrunched around his nose. I’d missed the kid, but his good ole Mommy Dearest maintained the belief in my corruptive powers.
I wiped the smear of chocolate ice cream from his cheek, wondering how he had gotten it up to his ear. “Sorry we haven’t hung out in a while. I’ve been pretty busy with Ryker.”
“Oh, I know.” Larken said with a knowing, teasing look.
“What?” I asked defensively.
“You don’t think Soren told me about you and Ryker? Sitting in a tree… k-i-s-s-“
I slapped my hand over his mouth, my face flushing scarlet red. “Shh! Keep it down, will you?”
He giggled, sticking another heaping spoonful of ice cream in his mouth. I smirked and rustled his messy hair before leaning back in my seat. I watched the bubbling fountain at the center of the courtyard, thinking about my earlier encounter with Ryker when the most annoying, ear piercing voice broke my reverie.
“Well if it isn’t the local charity case.” Skylar said, twitching her hips as she approached.
“What do you want?” I asked, not bothering to give her much mind.
Her face screwed into a hateful expression. “I just wanted to let you know, that it would be in your best interest to leave Ryker alone.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her.
Larken looked at her with petulant hatred and crossed his arms. “No way. Asenna and Ryker are mates. She’s going to be Luna someday and she’ll be the best Queen ever!”
Thanks, brat. I thought.
Skylar erupted into a fit of shrill laughter. “You- you honestly think that’s going to happen? A Spartan? Luna?” Her heaving chortling overtook her again.
“And what exactly is that supposed to mean?” I challenged, standing up and leaning over the table, daring her to give me a reason to launch myself over it.
She dabbed at the tears in the corners of her perfectly made up eyes, trying to compose herself. “Marcus would never let you be Luna.” She said breathlessly. “The idea of it, really. A Spartan- the Luna of the Pack that wiped out her entire family!” She fell into another fit of laughter.
Her words hung in the air. “What did you just say?” My voice was flat, emotionless.
“Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t know.” Skylar chastised. “It’s common knowledge, honey.” At my look of disbelief, she went on. “Marcus is the one who led the attack on your Pack. Serves them right too, if you ask me- bunch of primitive barbarians…”
I didn’t stay to listen. My feet were carrying me to the manner in a daze. The Pack that wiped out your entire family. The Royal Pack. The attack. No- the massacre. It was them. It was all of them. Marcus- Ryker’s father. He was the reason I was alone. The reason my Pack was dead. The reason my family was dead. The reason I was the last of my kind. And Ryker… he had known this whole time.