Artemis wasn’t sure. But she was certain that she wasn’t laying on anything remotely close to a bed. Two opened eyes later, she found herself laying on the side of a road.
How did I end up here?
She hoped she sleepwalked. The mere thought of her mate attempting to get rid of her by ditching her unconscious body stole the thunder of the car accident that did such a number on her.
He left us.
Pain swelled in her chest like a bubble ready to burst. She knew that if that bubble gave out, tears would flow. She took deep breaths and made the effort to sit upright as she came to terms with the fact that her mate abandoned her. No tears came, but the stinging of the rejection remained.
Back when she thought he was only a stranger; she empathized his coldness. She didn’t blame him for leaving her to rot out in the rain and constantly directing her to get lost with that damned finger of his. She figured the man simply didn’t trust her enough to try and work around their language barrier. Her naive self was willing to spend some days building up that trust.
But... she was completely off. He had known they were mates the whole time. Instead of raising eyebrows to express his concern when he saw his injured soulmate, he raised a dismissive finger! A fucking finger!
Why?! Did she know him prior to her memory loss? Was he somehow connected to her accident?
Why didn’t he want her?
Artemis’ head spun from her neural tornado. And yet somehow, she found in her the strength to stand up and face the choices of walking back to the car wreck or step back into the woods. The decision came to her easily. She was going to find that horrible man and she was going to get her answers- language barrier or not.
Wrath watched the woman come to life. She stirred and stood in place for a couple of seconds, likely getting her thoughts together. The dark hair that had earned her raven nickname shielded her face. That hair... he would never forget the texture of it. When she laid passed out on his forest’s floor, he couldn’t resist but touch the dark crown that titled her queen. He knew he had no right to taint the selfless soul by bringing his polluted hand upon her, but taking advantage of the innocent was his nature. It didn’t matter how much he didn’t want to hurt her, he was programmed to do it. And it was going to happen eventually. It would.
The task of carrying her in his arms turned out to be a paradox of pain and pleasure. The sparks that nipped at his skin taunted him by showing off what could but would never be.
He chased the memories of her soft skin away; knowing that they would only serve to feed his fascination of her.
Vigilantly, he watched as she stood up and made a b-line for the forest. The forest which he carried her out of minutes earlier in order to communicate the fact that he wants her gone. Judging by the accent in her walk, his attempt had been futile.
Being mindful of his stealth, he followed her. As he continued his obsessive praising of her beauty, he picked up the stiffness in her body. Her hips held no swing and her steps were better classified as stomps. She wasn’t injured, he made sure of that while she was unconscious. Well, not injured physically. But emotionally... according to her clenched fists, emotionally she was crippled. And apparently planning on making him join her boat by beating him into it.
Without uttering a single word you managed to hurt her. Terrible. You’re terrible.
His mental dialogue paused when she made a turn that he knew pathed to the lake. When they arrived, he watched safely from behind a tree planted multiple yards away as she stood there seeming mesmerized by the water.
Having been alive for multiple centuries, hardly anything shocked Wrath anymore. He had seen much of what the world had to offer.
Except, of course, his mate’s body. His eyes automatically slammed shut when the clueless woman reached for her top and tugged it upwards.
The sound of cloth meeting sand reached him. And every ruffle coming from her direction added a new effect to his body. He was sure that his heart was attempting to dig itself out of its chest. Fear purer than the water in the lake dropped to his gut in the form of a black evil orb. Hands were now shaking, breathing palpitating, and body swaying.
The raven was in the lake. Naked. Mixing their essence. Submerged in the water that he had escaped to so many times when his thoughts became too loud. Every inch of her was being blanketed by the waves he had dunked under those days when he wanted to hide his tears from the moon goddess to spare her the pleasure of seeing him tearing apart.
They were now one... and that thought was dangerously erotic. While Artemis was struggling with her memory, Wrath’s proved itself to be healthy by reminding him that he hadn’t had a woman in centuries.
His emotions were audibly represented by the splashing of the water. They were so violently messy that he was not sure how to read them. Was adrenaline thundering up his bloodstream because of lust or because he was afraid of snapping, dragging her out of the water, and forcing himself on her?
He didn’t trust himself to find the answer to that question. He needed to leave.
He took multiple steps away from the tree only to stop when the sound of splashing stilled. Did she see him? Would she assume that he was peeping on her?
He turned around.
He stared at the water for a few seconds and realized that she was underwater. As the moments stretched, Wrath found that horrible emotion becoming more potent. He was scared. Scared for her. Because a whole minute had ticked by and she hadn’t broken the surface.
Memories of his hometown made a comeback. He was a warrior. Most men in his village were warriors and taught survival skills. But not the women. Women weren’t taught how to swim. She was drowning. She was cold. She was dying, receiving the punishment reserved for him.
He stepped forward, ready to dive into the water and save her. The second his foot touched the leaves, a violent splash roared in the still silence. Artemis broke the surface, fully safe, and continued her bath.
Wrath turned away again and started putting distance between them. He needed to reach his cabin before she did and prepare for her arrival.