"Mmm." I mumbled nonsense beneath my breath as my body unconsciously shifted on the hard dirty ground.
Pebbles and dirt rubbed roughly against my skin, causing my face to scrunch up in annoyance.
My eyes fluttered open reluctantly, greeting the dark clearing I was laying in.
The fire that we started was close to burning out and Liza and I were sprawled out beside it without a care in the world.
Liza was snoring softly.
I dusted off the pebbles that stuck to my skin as I sat up, a yawn releasing itself from my lips.
I must have looked a mess.
Wasn't surprising considering the fact that I was laying on the solid dirt, dirtying myself in the process. Especially my hair... yikes.
I groaned in annoyance and glanced up at the moon that still shone brightly in the sky.
I snapped my head over on the opposite side of the fire to meet Axil's intense gaze.
My lips tugged down slightly, "it's kind of hard to when my bed is as hard as a freaking rock."
Axil chuckled, "that's because it is."
"Yeah yeah," I muttered, hugging my knees to my chest and gazing at Liza as she twisted and turned in her sleep, no doubt as uncomfortable as I was.
We stayed like that for a while... silently sitting beside the fire and staring at nothing in particular, the singing of the crickets and the fire cackling our only background noise.
"Are you ever going to acknowledge what I said?" Axil asked me out of the blue.
I furrowed my brows and glanced over at him, "what are you talking about?"
"Don't play dumb."
I sighed and rested my chin on my knees, pursing my lips.
"What do you want me to say Axil? My mind's blank right now," I muttered in response.
"Why won't you believe me?"
Jesus... what's up with these questions? I hate being put on the spot like this... it made me nervous as hell.
I fidgeted slightly, "it's not like I don't believe you, your kind rarely lies about something as sacred as mates... but it's more like I don't want to be forced to love someone that was chosen for me by someone else."
"It's not that simple. These emotions we're feeling came on their own. Is it wrong to be attracted to someone?"
I snapped my head up to him with a raised eyebrow, "and how do you know that, huh? How do you know what I'm feeling? If it's real? Ho-"
"Come here," he beckoned me.
My eyes widened in surprise as my ears probably malfunctioned. Did I hear him right? He was ordering meee?
A shiver creeped down my spine as his voice cascaded over me, gentle yet firm.
I hesitantly gazed at him as his beautiful eyes blinked at me, waiting...
I didn't know what came over me... but I suddenly found myself wanting to go to him. It was a mere impulse, I knew... clearly telling me that my feelings for this man was developing and I had to control it before it got worst... I couldn't control it though... I kinda didn't want to...
I got up slowly from my position next to Liza's snoring figure and walked over to where he was, my tummy getting queezy as I was aware of his heated gaze burning into my skin.
He patted the ground beside him as I approached and I sat down nervously, a little further away from his desired spot.
He chuckled and moved closer to me, turning his body so it faced me. I reluctantly did the same and looked down at my fiddling fingers.
My heart leaped into my throat as I felt his large hands grab a hold of mines, etwining our fingers easily.
I blinked down at our entwined fingers with wide eyes, shocked out of my mind at his bravery. I tried to tug them away but his firm grip didn't allow it.
I could feel the warmth of his hand radiating outwards and spreading across my entire body, caressing me... telling me that I was safe. I wanted to drown in this feeling... this feeling of security that freed me of my burdens and heavy thoughts...
Sadly though... this feeling came from a person and not an object. There's no telling when he'd leave and take this away from me...
"Look at me," Axil said.
A nervous chuckle escaped my lips as I shook my head.
"Look at me," he demanded.
My inner succubus reared it's head as his words touched that hidden side of me.
I felt the heat as it pooled into my nether regions, causing me to squirm slightly as my face heated in embarrassment. I didn't like to be like this... it was uncomfortable to leave my wetness laying in my panties.
I looked up into his eyes as they darkened considerably in lust but he shook his head, as if he was losing focus and chuckled.
"You're beautiful," he muttered, making me even more embarrassed as I wanted to hide my face away from his scrutiny.
"Thank you," I mumbled.
He lightly swung our hands as we looked at each other.
"Do you want to die for me?"
Shock rained over me as his question entered my ears and I tried to recoil from him in astonishment but his hold remained firm.
"Basing this off of your reaction just now, can you now tell me you're being forced to love me? Because if you are... the mate bond would mean to love me unconditionally and to die for me no matter what is said or felt. Are you willing to give your life for me?"
My eyes blinked in surprise as my usually overactive mind fumbled around for words to say.
"I... I... this..."
I shook my head reluctantly.
Axil smiled gently at my flustered look.
"The mate bond isn't what you think it is. We aren't forced into anything. The goddess gives us a choice and that is why every werewolf has the ability to reject their destined partner. The goddess gives us a potential soul mate in hopes of us finding happiness but in the end, it is our decision on whether we should accept this gift or not. Yes, the mate bond affects us, us werewolves more than you humans or witches but it doesn't take away our will to reason and decide our own path."
"Many werewolves choose to freely accept their mates out of respect for our goddess and many of them choose to reject for whatever life reasons are out there. There are also some who are reluctant at first due to their partner's history, or lack thereof in my case," he chuckled to himself, "but the point is... what you're feeling is as real as it gets... and it wouldn't be going away even if we weren't mates. The mate bond is simply directing us towards a path that could turn out absolutely magical or lethal depending on our choices."
I glanced down at our entwined hands as my heart softened. I was reluctant. I didn't know what to do... I didn't know what I wanted... this was all confusing to me...
What to do mama?
His life... wasn't my life... I've already extracted myself from the supernatural world and for good reason... or so I tell myself...
My eyes snapped up to his as he moved our hands towards his face and pressed his lips firmly against my hand.
My insides turned mushy as I fangirled.
Oooooh shit that was soooo hot. My inner girl squealed mentally as my heart throbbed loudly in my chest.
"I'm not saying that we should immediately get together and fast forward to the baby making or sharing thoughts or anything. I just want you to tell me that you're going to give this a chance... give us a chance... because I like you and I want to get to know you better."
"I..." words still refused to leave my lips as my thoughts stood still.
I honestly didn't know what to say... this wasn't easy for me...
"What about back in the woods... when you talked inside of my head? What was that?" I tried to change topics pathetically.
Axil shrugged, "until I've fully marked you as mine, we're only able to access each other's thoughts when you come in direct contact with my wolf."
"Oh..." I trailed off as I turned my head to gaze at the stars shining above us.
Which was a bad move on my end...
I didn't realize until I felt his warm breath breathing onto my neck but Axil had leaned into me until his lips were grazing against my ear...
I gasped in surprise and reflexively tried to pull away but of course, I was unable to.
"So what's your answer, kitten? What I've noticed about you... is that sometimes... a little push is necessary to force you to face your fears... to face me. I'm right here so stop avoiding this," he whispered in my ear huskily, soaking my panties even more as I trembled.
A twig snapped a few paces away from us.
Axil's body tensed as his head snapped in that direction and his eyes narrowed threateningly.
A beastly aura began to shroud the clearing as a foreboding feeling cascaded over me.
"What is that?" I asked.
Axil's tense lips twisted as a ferocious snarl forced through them, his eyes now glowing a bright hazel as they stared at the shrubs we parted before to enter this place.
His voice entered my ears and caused my heart to drop into my stomach.