Chapter Seven: The God Of Trickery
I don't think I could even begin to explain my shock when Alpha Cortes asked for permission to stay another week.
My Wolf reared her head at that. She didn't like the idea of him being on her land any longer than necessary. She immediately calmed down, though. Alpha Cortes was one of the strongest Alphas in the world and she knew in a fight with him, she'd lose.
Marc reluctantly agreed to let Alpha Cortes stay for one week. Alpha Cortes shot me a look that sent chills down my spine and made my Wolf growl in discomfort.
My Wolf and I were in complete agreement with this one thought: Alpha Cortes gave us both the heebie-jeebies.
Marc tightened his arm around me and I saw his Wolf come to the surface as he sensed the distress of his Mate. His claws came out and his canines extended as he looked into my eyes.
"Are you okay, Tanaya?" he asked, his voice muffled by his extended canines.
I looked over at Alpha Cortes who was watching us with an expression of amusement and mild interest.
I took a deep breath and looked at Marc.
"I'm fine," I tried to assure him.
Marc looked like he didn't believe me, but my words seemed to calm his Wolf down a little. His canines retracted, but his eyes were still pitch black, his Wolf scanning for any threats as he looked around the room.
"It's late," he finally said. "We should all go to bed. I hope you enjoy your stay in our territory, Alpha Cortes."
Alpha Cortes nodded, glanced at me and lifted his lips in a smile so creepy, I couldn't help but cringe into Marc's side.
"I think I'll enjoy my time on your territory very much, Alpha Allen."
The next few days were...strange to say the least. I mean, between Alpha Cortes lurking around and sleeping in bed with Marc and attending my classes, I was spent. Not to mention Roxanna--the girl who seemed to be madly in love with Marc--was always watching us together and it was becoming uncomfortable.
Alpha Cortes seemed to be looking for something. I swear he knew I could talk to Selene from the way his sharp eyes assessed me, waiting to see if I would fall into the deep sleep that occurred when Selene called.
So far, though, things on the Selene front had been silent. She hadn't visited me in any dreams lately. It seemed like she knew Alpha Cortes was watching me and it was unsafe to talk to me.
And sleeping in the same bed with Marc was nerve-wracking in a different way. The way he held me close, the way his breath felt against my skin was something I had never experienced before.
The Mate Pull.
That's what it was called. There was this constant pull between the two of us. It was like an invisible string was pulling me to him and no matter how many times I tried to push away, my resistance was futile.
My Wolf was always connecting with his Wolf. This usually happened when I stared into his eyes for too long. They would darken and his Wolf would ascend and in my head, I would hear the howl. One single, powerful howl and then my Wolf would come to the surface. There would be this feeling of warmth and suddenly I would feel more full, like Marc's soul had touched mine.
It was the scariest, craziest, most beautiful feeling I had ever experienced.
And then there was Roxanne. She watched us with this look in her eye like her heart had been shattered. It annoyed me to no end and it made me wonder: what kind of relationship did she have with Marc before he met me? Were they together?
My Wolf's answer to that would be to growl and say, "Mine."
Often, I wanted to ask Marc about it, but I always chickened out and just tried to pretend like she wasn't watching us--wasn't watching me.
I was sitting under a large weeping willow with Lyssa as we ate our lunch on this cloudless, sunny day.
Alyssa had become a great friend to me this past couple of days. I didn't know her too well and she didn't know me too well, but I knew that I could trust this girl with my life. Lyssa was a loyal friend and she was the only one who wasn't too afraid to talk to me, the Alpha's Mate.
"I love the spring," Lyssa was rambling on, closing her eyes as she breathed in.
I looked at the beautiful sight that stretched before us. Flowers were growing gracefully and the spicy scent of freshly grown flowers enticed my senses. Students were littered across the beautiful campus, laughing and talking as they ate.
"Spring is my favorite season," I admitted. "It's not too hot, not too cold."
Lyssa's lips twisted up into a pretty smile as she said, "Yeah, it was my dad's favorite season, too."
My heart twisted at the rueful look on Alyssa's face. "Was?"
She nodded. "It's why my mother sent me here. She couldn't bear to be around me anymore. Said I reminded her too much of him. Of her lost Mate." Lyssa frowned and shook her head. "That's why I hope I never find my Mate."
My eyes widened. I was new to the whole Werewolf thing, but I had come to realize Mates were a pretty important deal around here. Every Wolf wanted to find their Mate.
"Why not?" I couldn't help but ask.
"Because losing my father, it destroyed my mother. She's here, but she's not here. She's a shell of the person she was. My mother used to laugh all the time and now." Lyssa shook her head, her chestnut waves swirling around her pale face as she did. "Now Mom can't even smile. She's ruined. All she can feel is the loss of her Mate."
I was quiet. I tried to imagine losing Marc and immediately cringed away from the thought. My Wolf whimpered and curled in on herself. The thought of losing Marc forever put me in physical pain. I could see why Lyssa was afraid to have a Mate.
Because losing your Mate would end you.
I walked into the room that I now shared with Marc. He wasn't here yet. Marc worked late hours, always fumbling with those papers with his brow scrunched as he concentrated.
I had stayed with him one night as he worked, but to my dismay I hadn't lasted long and I had fallen asleep and Marc had to carry me back to the room.
I was lost in my thoughts when suddenly the balcony doors blew open and air far too cold for the spring blew in.
I wrapped my arms around myself as my hair whipped around my face. The icy air caused goosebumps to raise on my arms and my teeth started to chatter.
"Tanaya," Selene's voice called. "Come forward. Come to me."
I walked toward the balcony, toward the sound of Selene's voice.
Instantly, I could see her pale back as she looked up at the crescent moon. Her midnight black hair swept her flawless snow colored back as her long, graceful neck tilted up toward the moon.
I noticed the closer I got to her, the colder it got. I also realized that this was my first time meeting Selene in real life. She normally came to me in my dreams. I also could feel how antsy my Wolf was acting. It wasn't the "we're in danger" kind of antsy, it was more the kind of nervousness one would feel if they met God. The urge to kneel to her was strong and she wasn't even looking at me.
Finally, though, she turned. Eyes so blue it was surreal stared into my own as she smiled kindly. She was so beautiful, it was almost painful to look at her.
"Tanaya, my daughter, I know I should not be here," she began, her perfect eyebrows pulling together as she frowned. "But you must be warned, you are in trouble."
I nodded. I had a feeling I knew who was the reason I was in danger.
"Alpha Cortes." I didn't ask it, it said it because I knew.
She nodded once, her lovely face was still troubled.
"Alpha Cortes is only a pawn. There are bigger forces at work here, Tanaya. Dolos is coming."
I frowned. "Who's Dolos?"
"Dolos is the god of trickery," Selene explained, turning her face to the moon again. "He knows about you. About what you can do. He is a master of deception. He is cunning and treacherous. He would do anything to possess the power of the moon and the children of the moon."
"So what? He's going to try to put a hit out on you?" I asked, my eyes widening.
Selene smiled wryly and shook her head.
"No, he will not kill me. He will take me. I am the moon, Tanaya. The moon cannot exist without me."
I was quiet for a moment as I processed what she was saying.
"But, why would he need me?" I asked, shaking my head. "I can talk to you, but it's not like I can summon you or something crazy like that."
Selene gave me another wry smile.
"My child, you do not know the extent of your abilities." Selene stepped toward me and gently placed her cold hand on my face, giving me an expression a mother gives her child. "You are special. I picked you. Out of all of the Werewolves who worship me and all of the Vampires who bow to my will, I chose you. I would give up the moon for you, my daughter. And Dolos knows that."
Again, I was quiet as I looked into Selene's earnest eyes, searching for some hint that she was lying. She wasn't. I could see the seriousness in her face and I nodded once.
"What do I do?"
Selene released me and moved gracefully to lean over the railing of the balcony.
"Dolos will come to you in disguise. He can shape-shift into your friends, your parents, your enemies and your Mate. You must use your abilities to see through his lies. It's the only way we can defeat him."
"But, I don't even know how to use my abilities," I complained.
Selene's lips stretched into a smile and she said, "Your Wolf does and when the time is right, she will reveal it to you."
She looked up to the sky again, admiring the moon before she turned back to me.
"Be careful, my daughter. And remember, always trust your Wolf."
And then she was gone and with her, the cold air went, too. I stood on the balcony, leaning against the railing as the warm spring night enveloped me in silence.