Max couldn’t imagine being any happier than he was at that moment. Estrella Del Mar looked at him with as much adoration as he felt for her.
Estrella’s blue multi-layered ball gown swept the dance floor of the old ballroom as he spun her around to a waltz played by one of the two mariachi bands his father had hired for the celebration of Max’s and Estrella’s Pairing.
“How is it that I have been so blessed with a Luna who is the most stunning she-wolf in the entire Azul Valley?”
Estrella laughed. “You would say that to whichever she-wolf happened to be your mate. I just happen to be the lucky one.”
Max put his hand on his heart. “I am offended by your bluntness, Señorita!”
“¡Ay, Señor! Get used to it.”
A little while later, they sneaked away from their reception and he stole a kiss behind the door of their room. She kissed him back immediately, but tickled him and got away to the dressing room when he reacted to the tickling and collapsed.
“You play dirty!” he called out to her as he changed into his pajamas.
A silver ice bucket with a bottle of champagne and two crystal-stemmed glasses on his night table caught his eye. Frowning, he picked up one of the stemmed glasses. His name was etched on the glass with cursive letters.
Fancy, his wolf Supremo said. Must have been Mamá.
“I always play dirty,” Estrella said as she appeared in the doorway. She wore a light blue silk nightgown that revealed a generous amount of cleavage. He suddenly felt hot and overdressed in his cotton two-piece pajamas.
Max gulped. He had to figure out how to keep his hands to himself the rest of the evening. He gave her the glass in his hand.
He popped the cork and filled her glass before he filled the other one.
They raised their glasses, but he couldn’t think of anything to toast to. He had her. That’s all he had ever wanted.
“I love you, Estrella del Mar. I always will.”
“And I love you, Máximo.”
—and that was the last thing Max remembered until the next morning.
Max woke up with a blinding headache. He had something wet and slippery in his hand, and he let it go so he could rub the side of his throbbing temple. The stench of blood invaded his nose as whatever he released clanked onto the floor. He opened his eyes only to find both of his hands soaked in blood.
Panic-stricken, he looked over at the other side of his bed and found Estrella Del Mar, bloodied with several stab wounds all over her chest and neck. Her eyes were open and unblinking.
He reached out to touch her, unsure if what he was seeing was real. Her skin was ice cold to the touch, and he pulled his hand back quickly.
“¡Estrella! Wake up! This isn’t funny!”
Max started to sob. She wasn't a prankster, but he had no idea what else to say.
This was all so wrong, he willed himself to wake up from this nightmare.
He brought his hand to his mouth to quiet his sobbing, but the taste of his dead mate’s blood on his tongue made him violently nauseated.
Max passed out.
If you're still reading this, thank you for giving this story a chance to live in your mind for a little bit. I appreciate your time and for sharing with me your comments and reviews. I must give you a couple of warnings, however.
First of all, Missing Half is the second book of the Azul Valley series. If you haven't read Book 1: Another Half, you'll be supremely lost. Sorry. That's how series work. That said, I'm happy to have you read my stories regardless of what order you choose to read them in.
For those coming from Another Half: Yes, Max's story is important, but we also pick up a few weeks from where we left Blade and Rex. We're not done with those two.
And if all goes well, you'll love Max as much as I do...