The warehouse was just over on the other side of town. Abandoned as far as the outside world knew. But I knew better. At night it was a full-on warzone. One of the biggest supply houses we had in the city. The basement housed hundreds of weapons. Some made of metal and some made of born and breed flesh.
“Where’s Draven?” my voice radiated through out the warehouse. Earning me more than a few side ways glares. I didn’t care though. Everyone in this room knew who I was and better yet what I was capable of. Some were smart enough to pretend I didn’t exist, and stay out of my way. Others not so much. Either way, I came here for a reason and I couldn’t leave here until I sorted this out.
“My dear friend, it’s so good to see you.” None other than Draven’s voice carried from a doorway opposite me.
Draven Diaz was a beast of a man. Literally. Standing at least six foot seven. He was stocky, and built for battle. He towered over everyone I knew, including myself who stood tall at six foot five. He was a hell of a fighter, striking fear in the eyes of all the enemies who could be so unlucky as to come into contact with him.
“Hello my old friend.” I clapped the back of his shoulder in a stern hug. “You look… well, fed. You look fed. Good to know, Collette has starved you by now.” The mention of my younger sister’s name causing a wider smile on Draven’s face. “Yeah, key word being yet, give it time. I’m sure when you tell me why you’re here, she won’t be too pleased with me.”
I hated how right he was. Collette fell madly in love with Draven her very first mating ceremony. Draven was a simple man, who wasn’t even in the same ballpark as Collette. A royal wolf. But the moon goddess had a plan for the two of them.
“It’s not as bad as you think. Just a bunch of rouge wolves causing trouble. I could use the assist. The boys are busy tonight.” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. We both knew what the rest of the guys were doing.
Hell, I was surprised, Collette hadn’t roped him into tonight. She was another one, who was a sucker for romance. Always talking about how many pups they planned on having. Made me sick. How someone could be that in love with another person.
“Alright brother, I’m down. But if we finish early, we got to head back to the Manor. I promised Collette I would at least make an appearance. If I don’t, I will regret it. No way am I making that woman mad right now.” I shook my head, expecting nothing less from my sister. I knew he couldn’t be getting away with it this easy. “Deal.” I said grabbing a dagger from the row of knives. “Lets go.”
I started walking away from the bar leaving Killion behind. How could someone be so good looking. I mean that man looked closer to a god than a wolf. Pure perfection. I could still feel his eyes burning into me even as I walked away from the bar. So, I put a little more sway into my hips than usual.
I turned my head around slightly, seeing him staring. His blue eyes locked on mine instead of my body. Maybe tonight wouldn’t be so bad after all. I gave Killion a quick smile before I headed in the opposite direction of the party.
My stomach had finally started to settle, and I could not decide if the warmth I had felt before was due to my nerves of being around Killion, and all his sexiness or the wine. I searched the seating areas in hopes of trying to find an empty table or seat to sit down and enjoy the rest of my wine. Besides these heels were killing me. I was ready to kick them off.
When I finally found one, I quickly made my way over to it.
There were so many wolves here, but I guess that what happens when the mating ceremony only happens once every couple years.
I looked at my phone and seen that I still had some time before the moon would be at its peak and the ceremony would really begin. I looked around, hoping to find a glimpse of anyone I knew from back home. When not even my brother was in sight, I decided to do a little exploring of the grounds. After all, how often was I going to be in a place as breath taking as the Manor.
The royal estate where the ceremony was always held, belonged to the Royal family. The Knight Family. By far the most respected family from our lands. They tended to stay to themselves, even though every couple of years they hosted such a radiant event. I had never even seen one. A member of the royal family, this was my first year. I know they were said to all be present but really how were we supposed to know the difference.
Indeed, the mansion was beautiful, but the garden was what made this estate so magical in my opinion. It was like a hidden oasis. Something straight out of a fairytale. I made my way down a stone walkway and out to the gardens, seeing lilac bushes everywhere. The smell was amazing. I inhaled the scent in my nose. God, there was just something about that smell that would always bring me happiness.
The music from the party was starting to become nothing more than a dull hum behind me as I continued walking. I enjoyed the quiet. I was never much of the partier. I more so enjoyed curling up next to my fireplace with a good book. I took a sip of my wine as I walked. Enjoying the chilled taste as the warmth from the alcohol, made me begin to relax. I had never been a fan of alcohol. I did not like the way it made people act when they had too much of it. I knew that I had to be smart and take it nice and slow, especially tonight. I did not want to make a fool out of myself in front of everyone.
After just a few minutes of walking I came upon an old empty terrace, surrounded by spruce trees and lilacs with a wooden swing bench tucked away from the light of the walkway. No one would venture out this far. No one wanted to be far away from the party. The swing sat just close enough that you were overlooking the valley. A view only the royal and privileged got to see but would never cherish the way I did in this very moment. The scene before me was breath taking. Something right out of a movie. I made my way over to the swing and sat down, adjusting my dress as I did.
I could not help but admire the view. It was breath taking, and even though I knew there was other things I was supposed to be doing tonight. Like hopefully finding my mate. I could not help but take a moment longer than necessary to enjoy the view. Who knew if or when I would ever see something like this again.
I looked beside me in the hummer to Draven. He was so whooped. Even now as I sat and listened to him and Collette on the phone. What kind of crap was this?
“I know. I promise we will be back in time.” Draven was cradling his phone in his hand. Collette had just got back to the Manor, realizing he obviously wasn’t there. “My, Amora, I know…. Yes. Absolutely…. I love you more.” His voice was always softer when he spoke to her. It was a shame. I had known Draven for the better part of my life. When he mated with Collette I was surprised. I knew a different side of him than she got to see. I knew the warrior he was. She saw him as the hopeless romantic that she loved.
Stupid mating bond.
Changing a person for no reason, with no mercy. You couldn’t control it no matter how bad you wanted too. What a curse falling in love ways.
One of the many reasons I was so glad I hadn’t found mine yet. I had a very clear picture of what I wanted out of my life. I had a lot left to do. Having a mate would surly change that.
“Sorry about that bro. Collette, she worries you know.” His voice was back to normal, as he sat in the seat next to me. He adjusted his seatbelt, and looked out the window. “No need to apologize, man. I don’t claim to understand it but I get the whole mate thing. Collette can be a little much sometimes though.” He nodded in agreement. We both knew I was right.
We rode in silence for a few minutes before we pulled up outside of a rouge outpost. “You ready?” I asked. Grabbing the duffle from the back seat. “I guess, can we try not to kill anyone tonight? Collette is not going to be happy if I come back smelling of blood.” That made me chuckle. He really did know me so well.
“I make no promises.” I said handing him a hand gun. Not thinking we would need them but just to be safe. I would hate to deal with a raged-out Collette all over a little spilled blood. Besides I liked this suit.
We walked right up to the front door. Unfazed by the six men that stood posted outside as security.
“I’m going to need to talk with whoever is in charge here.” Draven grabbed one of the men by the jacket. Without a second thought. There was the Draven I knew. “Well whoever thinks they are in charge.” He corrected.
I stood back, allowing Draven to take the lead. I wasn’t going to pick a fight tonight. For his sake. Besides I could feel a dull ache in my stomach. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a proper meal.
“Who are you?” one of the men spat out. His bald head red from being out in the sun for to long during the day. Draven chuckled, but looked back to me. I stood, flicking open my lighter to light a smoke. I was becoming impatient. Who did this fucker think he was?
“Yeah, and who the fuck are you?” one of the other men asked. Coming closer to see what all the commotion was. Draven’s face was beginning to turn a bright red color. He hated a lot of things, but he despised disrespect. Something he would never tolerate. Especially towards me. He knew who I was, and better yet what I was capable of.
“Watch your mouth, and show the proper respect.” He grabbed the one man from around the throat. “Now like I said, who’s in charge?” I could see Draven’s knuckles turning white from squeezing the man’s throat too tight.
“That man over there...” Draven pointed back towards me. I stood, puffing on my blunt. “That’s Cyrus Knight. Now I suggest you tell me what I want to know.”
I could see all of the men around us lower their weapons without a second thought. I nodded to Draven.
“Damn man. Sorry. I swear I didn’t know. Ease up. Felix, take them up to Dom.” Draven’s fingers loosened from around the man’s neck. I looked to him with a grin. “I thought you said we weren’t going to kill anyone tonight?” I asked, Draven still angry. “I didn’t kill him. Even though I really really wanted too.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle.
The men led us through the outpost. “Dom’s the man you need to see.” The man with a hand print on his throat said. Leading the way. “Sorry about that sir.” He was scared. I could sense it on him. A stink I was all too familiar with. But underneath that was something I was expecting, Worship.
“Hello, are you alright?” A man asked as he approached the swing from behind me. My back was to him so I could not see him at first, but the second he spoke, and as his voice reached my ears, every hair on my body stood up in attention. Chill bumps covered my skin in an instant, and I could feel my heart begin to pick up its pace again. Just as it had before. Sitting next to Killion at the bar. I sat still surprised. Hoping I was imagining the voice that was approaching from behind me. I was not expecting anyone else to stray this far from the party.
Wolves tended to stick together. You know the pack thing and all. It is not that I did not like people, I just tended to stay to myself. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one.
“I apologize if I frightened you. I just was not expecting anyone to be out here. I was just over there and seen you.” The man spoke again. I knew he wasn’t going to just leave. I stood up and turned to face him.
My eyes widened as I did. All the breath in my lungs leaving my body in a rush. The man standing before me was by far one of the most beautiful men I had ever seen in my life. Which seemed to be the pattern for tonight. As he stood in front of me, I studied his appearance. My words escaping me completely.
The man wore a tailored black three-piece suit that clung to his every muscle in a way that would drive any woman mad. I tried my best not to stare but failed. Finding my gaze locked on his piercing blue eyes as they studied me. I was lost. Lost in his presence, and the undoubtable pull I felt towards him. I was mesmerized by him.
Upon further glance, I could see the stranger wore his dark hair short, slicked back yet still unruly. As if he had run his fingers through the strands too many times giving it that sexy just fucked look.
His face was so divined and chiseled, as if a sculptor himself had created it from scratch. Then there were his eyes. I blushed as I scanned them, feeling like I had just done something wrong. His eyes were beautiful, the palest of blue color, that in the right light had just a hint of gold in them. They reminded me of the moon, with the morning sun peeking over the horizon.
“Hi.” I squeaked. Finally finding the voice I so desperately wanted to use. Not realizing I was sounding more like a small, frightened field mouse than myself. I shook my head, embarrassed by the fact that my own voice sounded nothing like my own.
“I am so sorry. I did not think anyone would come out this far. I was being nosy and wanted to see the grounds.” I apologized, feeling like I was in trouble, and had to defend my actions.
I knew I should not have left the party, but in the back of my mind something told me I should. Even after my little encounter with Killion. My mother had always talked about how magical the gardens were and now I could agree with her. I would kill for a garden like this. The smells, and arrangements of various flowers.
I looked down at the ground instead of him, hoping I could just go back to the party and act like nothing had happened and I had not just got caught like a child where I was sure now, I had no place being in the first place. “No apologizes needed…” He paused gesturing for me to give him my name without saying as much. I looked from the ground to him. “I’m Andrea.” I said, giving a small curtsey, regretting my decision to do so the moment it happened. What was I doing? This guy probably thought the absolute worst of me.
Sure, this was probably another one of the hottest men I had ever seen but he was just that; a man, and that was no excuse to act like a lovesick fool. Even if he made me feel warm.
“Andrea, what a lovely name.” he said, the tone of his voice causing me to melt once more as he took my hand in his. Pulling it up to his lips for a gentle kiss. “I am the one who should be apologizing for the intrusion. Please, sit with me a moment before the party gets going.” He said gesturing back towards the bench.
I paused, standing there dumbfounded trying to register the words that were coming out of his mouth. His distracting beautiful mouth. When, declining his invitation would be nothing short of a show of disrespect I decided to sit back down next to him, looking out once again over the beautiful valley.
“So, are you enjoying the festivities of tonight, Andrea?” he asked adjusting his suit jacket, as he sat down beside me. I watched as the material of his suit tightened just a bit to his skin. I blushed, hoping he couldn’t see how red my face was in the dim lighting. I could feel my body heat begin to rise again just as it did before when I was talking to Killion.
“I am.” I answered honestly, my voice was calming as my nerves were slowly beginning to fade. I was nervous around this man because he was just so attractive nothing more. I needed to calm myself down but how could I?
He was close enough now to smell. I took a deep breath, regretting it the second his scent filled my nose. My god he smelled so good. I could not put my finger on what the scent was, but I knew it made the small hairs on my arm stand to attention when it entered my nostrils. I tried to contain myself. I had never been affected this way by another person.
“It’s not every day we all get together like this. At the Royal families’ home might I add. “Everything here is so beautiful, and no one is divided.” I relaxed a bit on the bench, enjoying the view of the valley below. From up here, it was easy to lose yourself.
The man was good company, and even though he was a literal knockout he made me feel at ease, on what was meant to be the most important night of my life. I enjoyed talking with him, and better yet, I enjoyed looking at him.
“Yes, it is something amazing to be a part of.” He said, looking from the valley below us over to me. My cheeks were bright red and heated. I did not know what was happening. My breathing picked up again, and my skin started to produce small beads of sweat.
“What pack are you from?” I asked, eager to learn where this man had possibly come from and change the subject. Anything to distract me from myself. A small boyish grin appeared on his lips. “I am from one of our higher up packs, you could say.” He said with a laugh.
A laugh, that made the warm feeling in my stomach grow more noticeable. The feeling had increased ten times. Causing the dull ache that was there before turn into a cramp in my gut. What the hell was going on?
“But enough about me, I want to know more about you?” I smiled, feeling pulled closer to him. “I’m from the Northern pack, I came here tonight with my brother. Liam. We are just common wolves. No one special.” I said, looking up to him from beneath my lashes. His smile had faded, and a serious look now occupied his face.
“I beg to differ.” He said taking my hand in his once again and pulling it towards his lips. “I have a feeling there is a lot more to you than meets the eye.” The second his lips touched my skin, I felt that same familiar heat as before. Spreading through my body like wildfire. I looked to the man, wondering if he felt what I was feeling in this moment. Was this it? Was he, my mate? I mean I felt the same way around Killion, so it can’t be.
“Your very kind…” I paused waiting for him to give me his name. His body stiffened, “My name is Daniel. Daniel Knight.” he said, deadpan as he watched me waiting for my reaction. I sat there, all breath escaping my lungs. Knight. Where did that name come from? I knew I had heard it before.
That’s when it hit me. Like a brick wall. Causing panic to rise within me. How could I be so stupid. “Knight, wait, as in the royal family.” I asked slowly connecting the dots. “Ah, so you have heard of us then.” he said, his boyish grin returning to his face once again.
I froze. My head was beginning to spin.
“You’re a royal?” I asked again, not sure what else to say.. How could I have been so stupid. In my defense no one had seen the royal family in years. They stayed out of the public eye, and for good reason. Our species was slowing decreasing. The royal families were the only wolves who could keep our species going.
“Yes, my brothers, parents and I make up the royal family. Is that a problem?” he asked casually, and I couldn’t tell if he was beginning to get annoyed with me or not.
“No of course not, um sir, I mean your highness, I just…” I paused, feeling embarrassed as well as tongue tied. What was I supposed to say to him?
“I never thought, I would be in the presence of a royal that’s all.” I said my eyes glued to the ground, avoiding eye contact with him all together. I had already probably made a complete fool of myself.
I stood up and kneeled in front of him. Showing him the proper respect, he deserved as an Alpha. “Sweet Andrea, you humble me with your innocence and respect. I thank you.” His voice was sincere. “There is no reason to be so formal its only us.” I stayed as I was. Unsure of how to react.
“There is no need for you to bow to me, Andrea. I do not require such things.” He said with a smirk, as he pulled me up, my knees leaving the hard ground. “Your highness, I apologize I am a younger wolf. This is my coming-of-age year, I am not as familiar with the way you do things. Please forgive me?” I said, feeling a panic attack coming on. I could not believe this was happening.
I was in the presence of a royal, and I could not be more terrified. I was a mere wolf, nothing special. To have an Alpha even look in my general direction was a great honor. “Andrea, there is nothing to forgive because you did nothing wrong.” He said trying to reassure me.
As we stood next to each other, I could not help but feel drawn to him. His smell entered my nostrils again and again causing my body to heat. What was that smell? I couldn’t get enough of it. I shook my head trying to clear my foggy mind. The moon was minutes away from its peak and then I could forget about all this. I had embarrassed myself enough for the night.
“Thank you, your highness.” Gesturing towards the moon. “I guess we should get back?” It was time for the ceremony. The moon was about to be at its highest peak. After that happened, the party would turn into something else completely.
We were wolves after all. We would all spread out and search for our mates. Allowing the bond to guide us to our destination. “You are right, I’m sure my brothers will be looking for me by now.” He said guiding me to the beginning of the terrace where the gardens began.
As we made our way back through the garden, the party had seemed to multiply with guests in such a short amount of time. I looked around, trying to see a glimpse of Liam through the crowd of people.
“I must leave you now, Andrea. My brothers and I must, well, attend to our duties. I will find you later?” he asked as more of a question than a demand. I gave him a smile and nodded as he went off into the party. Allowing the breath in my chest to return for the first time all evening.