“You will regret every minute of this,” I swear turning to Magnus.
A harsh smile spreads on his face. He won this round and he knows it. We are in front of the King once more to seal the bond. Even if he didn’t mark me-
“Why didn’t he? Doesn’t he like us? Henrar was so-” Max is whining over the same thing over and over.
That stupid bitch - pun intended - was ready to bare both neck and ass to that asshole’s wolf. I regret submitting but there was no other way. He was going to kill Noah and I was not going to sit and watch that. I thought of attacking but that would only fuel his aggressiveness. I am no match for that gigantic wolf. So I did the only thing I could to save my friend. And I submitted to the worst of them all.
“Like you weren’t checking him out.”
I did, so sue me. There was an impressive male, butt naked in all his muscled glory standing there. I am a woman. So yeah, I checked him out from his pecks to his V and he looked good. Does that make him any less of an asshole? No. Does that make me want to murder him less? No.
“Proceed,” Magnus asks of the King.
I got to give it to Alpha King. He does give me a sympathetic look and waits for me to reject the bond. But that image of Celia suffering from the silver around her wrists is sheered in my mind. Drained, I nod to him to proceed and I drift into a haze as the Alpha King starts talking.
This is not how my life was supposed to go. This is not what I was fighting all my life for. I never wanted to be a Luna and especially to a chauvinist sadist half a world away. All my life is tearing at the seams, all my dreams, the hopes, the plans. I will leave my pack behind, the pack I was dreaming of protecting. I will never see my sweet mother and my strong father again and I have to follow a beast in the wilderness.
“Beta Everstone, your vows.”
I snap out of my stupor and I blink. I look at the King to make sure he is not fucking with me and then at Magnus that raises a brow in challenge.
“I don’t have any,” I say.
“You can repeat after me,” Magnus offers. “I, Antiope Everstone,” he waits for me to repeat those words.
“I am fully aware of my name, thank you. I’ll take it from here,” I narrow my eyes in disapproval and turn to the King. “I, Antiope Everstone, accept this male as my mate.”
The King looks at me expectedly. If he thinks that I am going to go on full sappy into his shitty situation I am forced in, he’s got another thing coming. This is as far as I am willing to go.
“Alpha Magnus Ulfisson.”
“I, Magnus Ulfisson, accept Antiope Everstone as my mate,” his thunderous voice resonates in the still tent.
He looks down at me and for a second, he seems as if he wants to add something but then he shuts his mouth and turns to the King.
It is done, I drift to my haze once more and I try to keep an emotionless face. I am bound to the most ruthless wolf in the world. He will keep Celia in a cage eternally so that I fall in line with his requests. My happy baby sister will become a chip of power in this sadistic game Magnus has started. Why?
The question replays in my mind over and over again. Why me? Has he planned this? Did he know he held my sister before that? Or did he find my sister first and then plotted this all to frame me into this mating. And again. Why me?
Cruel and ruthless as he might be, his pack is one of the most respected and rich in the whole world. There should be and least hundreds of tall, willowy Scandinavian blondes ready to take their place as Luna and beg for it. Why me? And why isn’t he looking for his true mate?
“We leave tonight,” Magnus’s voice brings me back to my prison.
“I want to go to see my family, my pack before I go,” I demand.
Magnus grabs me by the wrist and forces me down the stairs. Three guards fall behind us one of which is that almost-rapist Thane that dares wink at me. The other two are huge males, with swords around their belts and Norse tattoos on their cheeks.
“I want to see my family,” I try to wiggle out of his grasp but it’s impossible.
Magnus says nothing but continues to walk to my hut, away from the tent that went back to party mode as soon as we left. All the other bonded couples have every right to celebrate. I am just glad that he is clever enough to see that we don’t.
“You can’t do that! I want to see my family!” I yell at him.
He stops and with one sudden move he pulls me to him. Startled, I use my hand to steady myself on his chest. Damn he’s built. Two simultaneous thoughts race through my mind. One is that the taut muscles underneath feel good. The other is more practical. Taking this male down by sheer force is a bad plan. I choose to focus on the second but I don’t get the chance.
“I am your family now!” He growls lowly and his chest trembles.
“You will never be my family,” I scowl.
“When you bear me our first pup, you will change your mind,” he says and drags me behind him.
Pups? I fell Maximo excited inside me. I am older than most females are mated and mothers by now. And still a virgin. The stupid idea of a true mate and the reluctance to let any other use sex as a way to dominate over me were the two main causes that the only one satisfying my urges was me. But that is not enough for Maximo. She is a wolf, she needs a male to mate with her and pour his seed. Survival and reproduction. That is what’s mainly on Maximo’s mind.
"Well, he is strong,” Maximo begs me. ”And he is our mate.”
“He is not! We simply exchanged some words.”
He leads me to my hut and he opens the door while the guards stay outside. He closes the door behind us and suddenly the small room gets even smaller. It’s not just the fact that it is actually too small for a man like him. His presence is dominating and sucking the air out of the room.
“Change clothes!” He orders.
I weave my arms over my chest and I glare at him. He will have to learn to stop using the imperative with me and the lesson begins now. I open my mouth to comment on his behavior but I don’t get the chance. He walks to me swiftly and pins me against the wall. Wow!
“As much as I enjoy seeing you in this dress,” his fingers go over my exposed back, “you need something more comfortable for the flight.”
Damn that dress, I curse but I had nothing else to wear for the ceremony. I say nothing just grab his insolent hand and push it away. He grabs my wrist and forces me back to the wall.
“Don’t touch me!”
“I am free to touch what is mine.”
“I am not yours, you asshole. You blackmailed me into this but don’t expect me to sit back while you force yourself on me.”
When these words leave my mouth, his face goes back to stone and he pushes himself away from me. His eyes captivate mine and he stares at my face for a while before he takes a few steps back, gets to the wall across and leans against it.
“Get ready, Antiope.”
I go to my bag and pick my jeans and a t-shirt and hunt for my boots. When I get to underwear, I pause. He is still standing there.
He squints his eyes and beckons at the bathroom.
“Be out in three minutes. Do not even think of running away.”
“It may come as a surprise to you given your complete disregard on human life, but I value my sister’s well-being.”
That’s all I say and slam the bathroom door. I look at my face and I gasp. Not the way I was dreaming of looking on the day of my mating. Angry, flushed and frustrated. I open the tap and I clean my face before I slip in my clothes. When I get out, all of my things are in my bag and Magnus is holding it.
“No,” I admit.
He says nothing and opens the door waiting for me to walk out. And as I do, he puts his hand to the small of my back.
“Do not ever touch me without my leave!” I order.
Magnus passes my bag to Thane and then turns to me. I do notice that he has indeed removed his hand which makes my crawling skin settle.
“Do not ever take that tone with me,” he fires back.
“I am afraid that my tone will be the least of your problems. I have promised you Alpha Magnus, you will regret this. And I am a woman of my word.”