"Mark me," I tell him. I watch my mate. His face is unsure as he reaches for me.
"W-where do y-you want it," he asks.
Zeke places his hands on my bare waist. He brings lips down and plants a hesitant kiss on my shoulder. My fingers twitch with the desire to take control, but I stop myself. I stay still, watching him. He lifts his lips from my shoulder and does the unexpected. He drops to his knee. My breath gets caught in my throat at the sight. My phoenix presses against me. Take him, take him, take him, takehimtakehimtakehimtakehim. I ignore her.
He places a kiss next to my bellybutton. Takehimtakehimtakehimtakehim. I dig my finger into my palm to keep myself still. He peppers kisses along my waist before biting me. Desire pools in my core as pain is quickly followed by pleasure, and our mate bond snaps into place.
Zeke thinks he can keep his mark on us hidden. He is sorely mistaken.
My mind is flooded with Zeke's desire, uncertainty, and insecurity. I smile as I pull Zeke up. I stare at the scars on his face and caress his cheek. I remember who's responsible for them. Who's also responsible for Zeke's current unwillingness to mate. I frown. I will make him pay. I'll make them all pay.
Kill them, kill them, kill them.
"I-I'm s-sorry," Zeke says, pulling me from my thoughts. I smell his fear and feel it through the bond. I look at my mate mark on his neck. It looks a black tattoo of his wolf tucked under the wings of my phoenix, both of them surrounded by a circle of thorns. I place a kiss on the mark.
"For what," I ask. He looks down and fiddles with his hands.
"I-I made y-you angry." Look what you did. I didn't do it. You did.
"I'm not angry at you. You've done nothing wrong, so don't apologize." I grab his hand and lead him to my room. I sense my family by my mountain. I send orders to my servants to let them in."My parents are coming soon." I need to get him dressed in something that'll protect him from the cold. My power is the only thing that is keeping Zeke warm at the moment.
"My family always visit after my initial return."
Once I'm in my room, I head to my closet and grab a dress. I whisper a spell and it changes into a blue suit. I hand it to my mate.
"Change into this," I tell him and turn to spell him a pair of matching shoes. I place the shoes next to him. I summon a gown on me and climb into my bed. My mate looks at me in shock.
"Y-you could do that the whole time?" I smile at him but say nothing. He blushes and turns around before changing his clothes. After he's dressed, I pull my power from him as I move off the bed and grab his hand. I lead him through my home. He looks around in awe as we walk. "T-this is all y-yours?"
"Yours as well. How are you feeling? Are you cold?" He shakes his head. We make it to the dining room where my family is already sitting at the table waiting for us. We sit at the head of the table on the side near my father and brother and away from my mother and sister. Even though I marked Zeke, our bond is not complete, making my phoenix feel irrationally possessive of him. I don't want any female near him, even if they're my family.
My father turns his cold blue eyes to Zeke, assessing him. Father's silver mate marks glow slightly against his dark skin. Unlike werewolves, the mating process of phoenixes is extensive and it shows in our mate marks that show up as tribal-like tattoos that cover our entire body.
"Who is this," Father asks.
"My mate," I answer.
"You haven't completed your bond."
"He's an Omega," my sister, Fiammetta states. My eyes snap to hers. Her tone is sharp with accusations. Her amber eyes glow with barely concealed anger. The room grows warmer. "Where did he get those scars, sister?" How dare she. Frost forms over my fingers. Kill her, kill her, kill her.
"It wasn't me," I say in a bored tone, not revealing my icy rage, but my phoenix does come forward. "Be careful with your next words, Fia, or you might regret it."
"Is the person responsible alive," Father asks.
"And you thought that is was fine to show up here without dealing with that," Fia asks. I'm about to send a wave of ice when I feel Zeke's aura's touch mine, calming me. I watch as his aura move over the rest of my family.
"I-I'm s-sorry," Zeke says. My family is quickly forgotten as I turn my full attention to my mate. Through our bond, I feel his fear, shame, and oddly enough protectiveness. I cup the back of his neck and grip his chin, turning his head towards me.
"What did I tell you about apologizing," I scold him. "I failed you and I'm sorry. My family is only showing concern for you, and I'm a little emotional the first couple of days after my birthday which doesn't help the situation." I release his chin and grab his hand, bringing it to my lips. "Thank you for the de-escalation."
He nods. His face goes red as he gives me a shy smile. Take him. My family's here. Kill them. I need them alive. I smile at my mate. He's so adorable. I release his hand but keep a hold on his neck. I rub my thumb against his throat. I remember Amethyst, no me, doing that, and him turning a pile of mush every time she-I did. Oh, this is so confusing. I watch as the tension leaves his body. I turn back to my family.
"We can discuss this later," my brother, Orestes says. His green eyes meet mine, silently conveying that we shouldn't discuss anything in front of my mate. I hold back my scoff. I could've told him that. "What is your name?"
"Z-Zeke," my mate answers.
"I am Orestes, Amay's older brother. You may call me Ori."
"I'm Fia, her younger sister, well, not anymore. I'm the older one right now." She sticks her tongue out at me.
"That's nothing a little death won't fix," I tell her. I gesture towards my parents. "These two are my parents. Now that we got all that out of the way, let's eat."
I turn my attention to feeding Zeke, a habit I've picked up from Amethyst I don't plan dropping. I watch my mate's face as he enjoys the food. Lunch goes on uneventfully with me answering questions about my time on Earth. After lunch, I take Zeke to my room to let him sleep off some of his fatigue. I leave him and rejoin my family.
"I need your help," I tell them.
"Who are we killing," Fia asks. I smile.
"We have a very long list but we're going to have fun with them first."
"What is your plan," Mother asks. I tell them.
"What was the crime," Ori asks.
My brother, ever the earth phoenix. I answer his question, telling him everything I know which isn't much since Zeke is rather tight-lipped about what was done to him. Currently, that works in my favor because the mystery gives me creative freedom over the punishment that I can dole out. My brother nods thoughtfully.
"I will need to search your mate's past to know the extent of the crime, but based off what you've said, we have a solid case. I know someone who can get you everything you need," he says.
I drop Zeke off at his home. I watch to make sure he enters before driving off. I head home. Once there, I enter the house, finding my sisters standing at the door staring at me with worried expressions.
"Hello, bitches," I greet them. Diamond pulls me into a hug.
"I thought you would forget about us," she says.
"How could I forget you? You get on my last nerve."
"You made it seem that you would change completely," Topaz says as Diamond pulls away from me.
"Unfortunately, Amethyst remembered my first rebirth the most vividly. My birth family at the time wasn't kind to me. It messed with me."
"Why you talking like you're not Amethyst," Ruby asks. "Are you? Are you not? What do we even call you?"
"It takes a couple days for my time as Amethyst to sink in," I answer. "It's like I'm looking through the memories of someone else. You can continue to call me Amey. It's very similar to my actual nickname."
"It's exactly the same," Diamond points out.
"The spelling's different," I counter. I clap my hands together. "I'm calling a family meeting." We gather at the dining room table. "I have a favor to ask."
"What is it," Topaz asks.
"I want to clear out this pack."
"You mean you want to get rid of Alpha Carter," Diamond says.
"Yes, and if I become the Alpha of this pack, I'll wipe it out."
"So you, what, want us to challenge the Alpha," Sapphire asks.
"Exactly that." My older sisters fall silent for a moment, staring at each other. I'm they're talking through their triplet bond.
"We'll handle it," Topaz answers.
"I'll let you know when to strike. Now, I believe you have information I want."
"I'll get it," Diamond says before running off. She comes back with a small binder.
"What are you gonna do with that information," Ruby asks.
"It's best that you don't know," I tell her with a smile. "Thank you so much. I'll see you later."
I walk back to my car and sit in the driver's seat before opening the binder. I look over the information on the people who hurt my mate. I stop on the first one I recognize. A picture of an older Hispanic she-wolf. Gamma Carmen. I smile as excitement fills me. Let the hunt begin. I step out of the car. I cast an illusion around me as I partially shift. My phoenix comes forward as my hair turns white and my soul's gem appears on my chest. White wings sprout from my back.
I take off into the sky. It doesn't take me long to find my target. She's in an outer part of the pack's territory, currently forcing herself on barely breathing wolf. The she-wolf steps away from her victim and puts on her pants as I land.