“You’ll visit, right mom?”
Jessica smiled as she gave Evangeline a hug. She sighed softly as she rubbed her daughter’s shoulders. “Of course, sweetheart.”
“The offer still stands; you and dad are more than welcome to stay with us in the castle or we could get you a home nearby,” Eve said, hope filling her words. She would miss her parents dearly. Granted, she didn’t see them a lot when she lived in the states, but now she would hardly see them every year.
The prospect of moving to Russia to rule as a Queen and to live with Adlaric frightened her, but even more so, it excited her. She was practically buzzing with joy and nervousness.
Jessica stared at her daughter in awe as she pushed her curly hair behind her ear. “It’s time for you to go on this adventure by yourself. Besides, your father and I still have work here. I better get a call every day, missy,” Jessica demanded. Evangeline smiled as she hugged her mother before walking to her father.
He stood still and quiet for a moment. Eve bit her lip as she saw her dad’s eyes fill with unshed tears. “Daddy,” she whimpered, hugging around his waist.
“I remember when you learned how to ride a bike. I taught you, you remember?”
“Yes, you said you wouldn’t leave and then I was on my face because you let go.” She giggled from the memory. He nodded and wrapped his hand around her head, pulling her into his chest.
“I’m letting you go now,” he whispered. “But don’t ever think you aren’t my little princess because you always will be. Even if you’re a Queen now.”
“Always,” she agreed before moving to Elizabeth and Maya. Kneeling down, she grabbed Maya’s hand. “Be good for mommy.” Maya nodded before springing into Eve’s arms.
“Will I see you again?”
Evangeline pulled away and nodded. “If I recall, your birthday is coming up...” Maya gasped and nodded, excited. Eve stood back up and looked at Elizabeth. “Adlaric talked with you, right?”
She nodded. “I’m going to stay with my dad.”
“Is Darius going with you?”
Elizabeth shook her head. Eve sighed as she hugged her. “Stop making a wall around your heart.”
“It’s the only way it knows how to beat.”
The Queen pulled away. “Call, text, visit whenever you’d like or if you ever need anything. That is a command.” Elizabeth grinned as she nodded. “Is Tim staying with you?” Eve continued.
Elizabeth shook her head. Her lip quivered slightly as she spoke. “He has to live his life. I don’t want to get in the way. I know his dream was to fight by Adlaric’s side and now he will.”
Tim was going to go with them to Russia where he would serve on the royal enforcement and head of Eve’s protection once Adlaric saw that he was fit. He was thrilled to be going and the King was relieved to have someone so naturally inclined on his roster.
“This isn’t goodbye. I’ll see you soon.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” Eve asked. Elizabeth shook her head no. Eve sighed and nodded before kissing her cheek and waving bye to Maya.
When they landed, it was around midnight and all the kids had fallen asleep. One by one they were all carried either by Adlaric, Eve, a Beta, or a house staff up to their individual rooms. The girls were on one floor and the boys on another. Eve and Adlaric were on the highest floor.
She yawned, smiling as Adlaric pulled her into his chest. “Let’s get you to bed,” he said softly into her ear. He led her up a giant staircase and down a dark hall to the end where two large doors stood. He let go of her hand and pushed them open.
Her eyes lit up, starting with the deep brown wood floors, moving to the fireplace that was carved from stone, to the chandelier that hung from the tall ceilings. She walked in slowly, looking at the dark bed with a grey canopy and its stone backsplash. After taking in the bed, she went to the large glass doors that gave a perfect view of the deep green trees below her and the dazzling lake in front of her. The bathroom was on the other wall, with a jacuzzi, shower, two sinks, and a large armoire that was decorated with lights. She loved how sleek, yet rustic their room looked. She turned around to look at her mate.
“There’s one more thing.”
She stepped forward with a smile on her lips. “What more could this room possibly have?” He held out his hand and she took it, walking with him to the wall behind the fireplace. Her eyes moved over a frame that had a diploma in it and she smiled when she saw Adlaric’s name plastered in big, cursive letters. “You never told me you have degrees,” she said. He ushered her to look again and this time her eyes landed on the frame on the other side.
Almost immediately her heart stopped in her chest. “I graduated? But I...I didn’t...I had classes still...”
“You had finals, that’s all, and they were very happy to give you your diploma. I just wish you could have walked,” he responded. She turned around and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.
“Don’t thank me. You should probably get studying, however.”
“I hear Saint Petersburg University is quite hard.”
“Huh? I never put in my deposit.”
“You didn’t have to. I called in a few favors and they took your late deposit. You start in August.”
“Thank you. Thank you. I don’t know what I’ve done...”
“My life revolves around your happiness now, Evangeline. I’d do anything to make you smile.”
She smiled beneath her eyelashes. She grabbed his shirt with her hand and untucked it from his dress pants. “I’m not quite tired anymore.”
When Eve woke up the next morning, she felt nauseous, but it soon faded and she went down to see the kids. She wasn’t surprised to see Adlaric already with them, playing a board game.
“Eve! Come play with us!” Aurora shouted. Evangeline smiled and sat down next to them on the floor. “You can be on my team! Boys versus girls.”
“What are we playing?”
“Clue,” Answered Aurora. Eve laughed and grabbed her piece. After a few minutes, Adlaric grabbed her hand. “Are you feeling alright?”
Eve looked at him strangely. “Yeah? Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Your hands are turning yellow,” her responded.
She turned her hands over and chuckled, shaking her head. “No, they’re getting pale because I’m cold. They always get pale.”
Immediately, Adlaric stood up and went to the thermostat, turning it up.
“You hate heat,” she said.
“I love you more though,” he responded, kissing the top of her head as he came back and sat next to her. “Elder Honors requested to meet with you tomorrow,” he said.
“She’s quite excited to finally have a Queen. She most likely wants to meet to go over your coronation. Oh, and tomorrow we need to go the the vault to pick out your crown.”
Every time someone mentioned anything about her title, she blushed and her stomach flurried with excitement and embarrassment. She felt more like a Queen now than before, but she still didn’t feel worthy.
“Vault?” She asked.
“It’s where the Kingdom keeps all the jewelry of pass royals. It’s downstairs.”
Eve kissed his cheek and nodded. “Alright then.”
“I think it was Plum, in the kitchen, with the ax!” Eros shouted. Eve looked guiltily at her mate.
“Maybe Clue wasn’t the best game to play with 8 adolescent children?”
He nodded with a grin. “Hey, we’re still learning this parenting thing.”
Later that night, after the kids were sound asleep and silence overtook the Kingdom, Adlaric asked Eve to walk with him. They went over the moat’s bridge, and into the dark, tall trees that surrounded the palace. He held her hand and walked quickly through the pathway.
Eve smiled and tugged on his hand. “Small legs! Human race!”
He apologized and walked slower, pulling her to his side, kissing the top of her head. “Not my fault you’re tiny.”
“You like that I’m small.”
He nodded with a subtle hum before smirking mischievously.
“What?” She asked, nervously. He continued to grin before grabbing her arms and pulling her to his chest, wrapping her legs around his waist.
“Hold on,” he said.
“What do you–”
Before she could finish, he took off in a sprint, faster than humanly possible. He was so fast and dodged trees so fervently that they blurred in her eyes. Her heart raced in her chest and after the fear left, she laughed in enthusiasm. It was fun. The air nipped her skin but in a way that woke her up and revitalized her. He stopped and put her on her feet again a few seconds later.
Her chest heaved with happiness as she laughed. “Can we do that again! That was amazing! Holy fucking shit!” She giggled, her hand over her mouth in pure astonishment.
She blushed and looked at her feet. His finger lifted her chin and he kissed her before facing her toward the lake that had beams of the moon sprayed across it.
“This is beautiful,” she whispered, catching her breath. She looked toward her right and spotted a cave that looked well-visited by the pack-members.
His hand slithered around her waist. He leaned forward and moved her hair to the side, kissing her delicate neck. “I want this to be our place,” he whispered against her skin.
His hand moved down, under her dress, and ran slowly up her thigh. “I’m going to mark you here.”
Her breath hitched and the heat from his hand flew to her wanting and untouched center. “Mark?” She asked.
He slowly turned her around. Eve was shocked to see his face morphed into more animalistic features. He opened his mouth to expose his canines. “It’s a bite,” he explained. “We call it a mark because once you have it, it will stay on your skin and warn others that you are a taken female.”
“Will it hurt?”
He smiled devilishly. “No. It’s...beautiful.”
“Have you done it to others?”
“Is that jealousy I hear?” He grinned again, shaking his head. “I can only mark my true mate and I can only mark once.”
“I’m glad I’m the one you want.”
“You’re the one I need,” he corrected. He noticed her yawn and smiled. “Let’s get the Queen to bed.” Once again, he wrapped her around her waist and raced back to the palace, laying her down on the bed.
“I’m so sleepy. I have no idea why.” Fatigued, she snuggled into her covers and closed her eyes.
“I’ll call a doctor tomorrow and have you checked out. Maybe you’re getting sick.” Adlaric laid down beside her, with his hand on her stomach and his head nuzzled in her neck. She smiled as his hair tickled her skin.
What do you think is wrong with Evangeline? Also this book won first place in an awards competition!