Lincoln stretched his arms across his bare chest. His muscles swelled under his tan skin as he tensed in front of the punching bag in the gym. He ran a hand through his short, black hair, his electric blue eyes hard. He relished in his morning work out to relieve his nightmares. His six-foot frame engulfed the punching bag before him. He stretched his legs and dropped his stance as he spread his legs, black basketball shorts offering him the freedom to move without constraint. He closed his eyes and inhaled softly. His nightmare flashed before his eyes again, pain and torment. He opened his eyes and began to hit the punching bag.
Lincoln Devereaux Normand was the first of his kind, a pureblood hybrid. His mother was Victoria Devereaux, the Luna of the Decant werewolves, and his father was Jonathon Normand, the Master of the Nanta vampires. Lincoln was one hundred and fifty years old, but the first fifty years of his life were hell. He had been born into conflict, which had resulted in him being the target of others’ rage. The Decants and Nantas had been divided about his parents’ unity, and his birth elicited fear and hatred among both races. He was powerful, two different beasts living within him, which only further fueled the division amongst their people about his existence. His parents feared for his safety since before he was born.
After Lincoln’s birth, his parents’ guards became guards over him as well. His parents and their guards taught him to fight as soon as he had mastered walking. Shortly after his birth, the guards appointed to him ended up having children of their own, who were then trained to be his personal guards moving forward. Training how to fight was engrained daily, perfected to unleash fury on others when the situation arose, but that did not stop others from trying to conquer him. For about the first ten years of his life, he lost any fight that someone had started. His parents would get involved, but their involvement also made the fights worse. Children would taunt him that he needed his parents to save him, which drove him to train even harder. He began winning the fights, but he would withdraw himself from his parents after each fight to avoid their involvement in the matter. He loved and respected his parents, but he needed to handle the fights on his own.
Peace did not fully solidify amongst the controversy of his parents until he was fifty. He had spent the first fifty years of his life fighting to survive. He would be involved in at least one fight each day, despite proving that he could win. Those that fought him saw him as an abomination and craved the thrill of defeating him to prove that they were better than he was. His guards trained with him, but he refused to allow them to defend him when fights were started. If his guards were present during some of fights, their involvement was automatically guaranteed which automatically guaranteed, and Lincoln would allow them to participate. They were just doing their job and trying to protect him.
Lincoln’s massive arms kept their swell as he rotated between his fists to attack the punching bag. His abdominal muscles were outlined as he tightly twisted his core with each punch in rotation. While there was no longer a need for him to train his body so vigorously, he refused to quit. He found release in training, a calming that would wash over him. The nightmares that racked his brain nightly where the memories of the torture that he endured for his first fifty years. He loathed himself for the fights that he did lose, the nightmares that haunted him, and used those nightmares to push himself even harder. He never wanted to be that weak again.
Lincoln’s parents being a Decant and a Nanta created much more intensive training. He had to learn how to sharpen his Decant senses and react when triggered before his opponent could, and he had to learn how to fight with his Nanta speed. When he combined both methods of fighting into one, he had begun winning fights with no resistance. A wolf that moved so fast that he was almost invisible was unstoppable. He tried to use his speed as a last resort; he preferred to fight without it to prove that he needed no more than his body to defend himself. He had also been able to keep his wolf in check during fights and suppressed both sets of canines and his fangs during fights. Only his eyes would reflect the beasts within him, a fiery orange that was the combination of his mother’s and father’s beasts.
Lincoln’s electric blue eyes were consumed by the fiery orange fire now as rage possessed him. The nightmares swirled in front of his eyes, his fists hitting the bag harder. The chains that suspended the punching bag from the roof began to creak. Lincoln stood up fully and began issuing kicks into his routine. He loathed that fights from over one hundred years ago still affected him, but he allowed that loathing to strengthen his emotions. He had built a wall and only truly trusted a select few people, those that had proven their loyalty to him and his family. Women that bed him harbored no attachment; they were just a means for a different type of release. Women that did dare to bed him only did so for his power, both his physical power and the power of his title. He made peace with that knowledge after the first three women proved that true.
Lincoln grabbed the bag suddenly to cease its movement as his mother’s scent flooded the room. His mother smelled of lavender and vanilla, and it made him smile. Such a calming scent, he thought. He turned around and found her leaning against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest. Mother’s long, blonde hair flowed freely down her back. She wore a white tank top with a pair of jeans. The concern in her electric blue eyes quickly extinguished the orange fire in his own eyes. He sighed as his matching blue eyes returned. He ran a hand through his hair and grabbed the white towel beside him.
“Another nightmare?” Mother asked.
“I’m fine,” Lincoln answered as he wiped the sweat off his face.
“Mother, please,” he sighed. “I always have nightmares, I’m fine.” He tossed the towel on to his shoulder and walked over to her. He smiled at her softly. “I’m fine, mom.”
“Stubborn, just like me and your father,” Mother said softly with a smile on her lips.
“Always,” Lincoln replied. “Speaking of, where is Father?”
“On his way back, he was patrolling with James. Why don’t you go spar with Rhea? I know that she prefers the early morning workouts like you do,” Mother stated.
Lincoln grinned and shook his head. Rhea was the daughter of Father’s guard, James, and Isla, the guard of the previous Mistress of the Nantas, Bella. Rhea was five years younger than him but had been appointed his guard since she was born. More than his guard, she was one of his best friends. She was the only woman that he fully trusted, aside from Mother. Lincoln enjoyed training with her because she was one of the few people who did not fear him, and she never held back with him during training. He cared for her deeply, almost like a sister. She was also the only woman who did not try to bed him, and he had decided long ago that he would not try with her. He valued their relationship too much for something like sex to change it, and he appreciated her more than she would ever realize. With her, he was not a beast or the prince of two races. He was just himself; he was just Lincoln.
However, that did not stop Mother from dropping hints about him pursuing Rhea further than just a friend. Rhea was part of the family, and Mother trusted her immensely. Father often teased Mother about it and would redirect the conversation because Father knew how Lincoln felt about the situation. Lincoln could not ignore his mother’s advice today, though. His nightmare last night was the worst one that he had in a while. Training with someone instead of an object, especially if that person was Rhea, was a good idea.
“You want to submit her to my torture so early?” Lincoln asked.
Mother grinned. “It’s only torture if you can beat her.”
“Is that doubt in your voice, Mother?”
“Not at all, love. You two make a pretty even pair.”
“That’s because I don’t allow my wolf to train with a Nanta. He gives me an unfair advantage against her,” Lincoln said.
“Really?” Mother asked as she arched her eyebrow playfully. “You’ve never used your Nanta side when training with Nate?”
“A training match between men is dominance, Tori,” Father said as he entered the room. Lincoln shared his father’s height, both standing face to face. Father’s emerald, green eyes were bright as he looked at his son. “In a match between men, you make damn sure that you give as much as you can to prove your superiority, especially between two male wolves.”
Lincoln nodded. “Exactly. Nate and I make a game out of kicking each other’s asses. Do you really want me to do that to Rhea?”
“Preferably not,” Mother said.
“You should go,” Father said. “Nate is already over there warming her up.”
Lincoln rolled his shoulders back while he stretched his neck. Two sparring partners on a bad day rather than just one partner, and both were his best friends. Nathan was the son of Mother’s guard, Aurora. Lincoln trusted him fully and cared for him like a brother. Nathan rather enjoyed the company of women and had made remarks about trying to start an enjoyment with Rhea. Lincoln had threatened him with the full extent of both of his beasts if Nathan hurt Rhea in anyway, and that was the last conversation that they had about her. Nathan was not ready for any real commitment, which put Lincoln on edge about Rhea being used just for fun, but she was her own person. If the two had ever acted on a spark, they had not said anything to him, and he was not going to ask. Rhea and Nathan were still best friends and their dynamic had not changed, which assured Lincoln that, even if they had acted on a spark, Rhea had not been hurt. If the dynamic between Nathan and Rhea were to change to a negative one, Lincoln would intervene in a heartbeat.
“Do you need me today?” Lincoln asked.
“Not that I can think of, but I know where to find you if necessary,” Father replied.
“Clear your head today, your father and I will be fine,” Mother smiled.
“I will, Mother,” Lincoln nodded. He hugged both of his parents and exited his house. The nightmares attempted to return but he forced them away. He allowed images of Rhea and Nathan to take their place, and a calmness started to wash over him. His parents meant well, but his friends understood the nightmares better than his parents did. They knew the severity of the darkness and became his light.