HER LIMBS WERE TINgling. Her lips were numb. A burst of heat and the occasional cold ran across her skin. She’d never felt something as intense as this.
Every bit of her was screaming in agony. She wanted release from this misery, but couldn’t find it.
Voices swarmed her subconscious, trying to consume her with every passing moment. Though she tried to fight them off, she felt weaker and weaker. Lily didn’t know what was happening. She didn’t know how to break free of this new mental prison.
Wake up! A voice pleaded with her. Wake up Lily!
She tried, but couldn’t. No matter how intense her attempts were, she couldn’t pry her eyes open.
A fiery flame consumed her, becoming all that she was. She felt an indescribable agony swallow her whole. All she could do was internally scream.
In the midst of her subconscious, a figure formed ahead of her. It was wide in stature, muscular and quite formidable. She wanted to coward before it, but found herself unable to move.
“Get them out of here!” The figure called out. It briefly looked over its shoulder at her. Suddenly, she felt a pair of hands on her arms, shaking her. “Didn’t you hear me?”
Hazel eyes bore into her. A silent warning sparked in their depths.
Lily tried to listen. She tried to escape. She couldn’t. The ground beneath her was frozen solid, and flames flickered around her. They engulfed a sudden forest.
Lily realized then, this was a vision. She had one when she touched Isla. She must’ve been touching that brute of a man.
“Take the kids and get out of here. I’ll handle this.” This time, his voice was gentle. It seemed more tender than the man she briefly met. It didn’t match his stature at all. “Please.” His plea was followed by a gentle kiss.
Oh, her heart skipped a beat. Such passion enveloped her, making her senses go wild. How could someone who appeared so brutish, be so loving.
“Go.” He gently nudged her. His fingertips lingered on her skin, a fond memory of his endearment.
Lily reached for him, but it seemed the harder she tried to touch him, the further away he got. The ground moved beneath her, and the flames in the forest grew. “No!” She yelled. “Please! Caspius!” Tears welled in her eyes.
Darkness fell. As it consumed everything, his fading figure transformed into a beast. Then, there was nothingness.
Bright lights blinded her. She tried to rub the sleep from her eyes, but found that she couldn’t lift her limbs. They were bound to a bedpost. Or perhaps that was just her imagination.
Lily looked around, trying to memorize her surroundings as best she could. She looked for possible exits, but found only two options. The door, and a balcony. Lily didn’t know how high up she was.
She wasn’t going to leap to her death. Still, it seemed a better idea than what she was facing here. Immortals, monsters, visions. What the hell had she gotten herself into? Was there an end to any of this?
There is. Death. A voice cackled in her head.
Lily continued to take in the room. The room was quite large. Mahogany wood ran throughout, leading up to rich red walls. Bookcases were casually pressed against a few walls. It was practically a library. French doors led out to the balcony.
In the center of the room was the bed she laid on. It was quite large, four pillars holding it together. Black satin sheets draped over the sides, a furry, wine colored blanket keeping her warm.
There was another door, steam pouring out from the thin crack at the bottom. Lily assumed that was the bathroom.
She gulped. “Fuck,” she cursed under her breath.
Lily gathered her wits. She did her best to sit up, blowing a strand of hair out of her face. She pushed the blanket off of her, instantly regretting her decision.
It was freezing cold in the room! Though she was previously dressed warm, now she was donned in a knee-length t-shirt. Despite her curves and height, it still hung low enough to cover her.. Oh my! She was met with a gust of cold air between her legs. She wasn’t wearing any panties. What the hell!
The bathroom door swung open. Oh, god. Lily had to cover her face to keep her heat flushed cheeks hidden.
He was standing there, in the doorway. A towel was wrapped around his waist, barely holding on. There was a fine dusting of hair that led downwards, drawing her attention more than she wanted. Another towel draped around his neck. “You’re awake,” he said.
The sound of his voice was practically erotic. Lily had to control herself. After what she just experienced, she knew it would be a while before she could bare the touch of anyone, let alone a male. Yet, for some reason her hottest fantasies were all she could think about.
“Forgive my appearance. You needed to rest, and I needed to wash your scent off of me.” Her scent? Was it really that bothersome? Did she smell that bad to him?
She cowered more under the blankets. “I’m sorry,” she squeaked. She nibbled on her bottom lip.
Lily quickly pulled the shirt from her body, trying to smell just her. All she got was a whiff of woods, as if she’d spent all day outside. It was him, she realized.
“Don’t be. It’s not often I find a scent as lovely as yours. Any longer on me, and my beast would have gone crazy.” The mattress jostled beneath her.
Lily flinched as the blankets were pulled away from her. She had to swallow a scream as she attempted to pull the blankets back over her. She failed.
This brute of a man was close to her. Dangerously close. She could feel his heat radiating off of him, filling her and breaking through the chill of the room.
Lily locked eyes with him. She blinked, trying to figure out what she was going to say. Instead, she swallowed every phrase. Lily nibbled on her bottom lip, trying to put some space between the two of them.
“You’re nervous. I can smell it on you.” He backed up, ensuring that he kept eye contact with her. “I don’t mean to make you nervous.” The raspiness of his voice was indescribably delicious. “I never got to introduce myself. I am—.” Lily cut him off.
“Caspius. I know.” She pulled her gaze away briefly, letting it roam. She blushed again. He was still in his towel.
“You know?” He cocked a dark brow at her.
“I think you touched me. Isla touched me, and it gave some sort of vision from her childhood. You touched me, and...” She nibbled a little harder on her lips. “I think this thing works through touch.” Lily looked down at her hands. ‘I’ll make sure to never touch anyone.’
“So you must know that I am a shifter then.” He waited for her to answer.
Lily gave a stiff nod. She pulled her knees to her chest, remembering that she wasn’t wearing underwear. She kept her legs tightly closed. “Did you change me?”
“Your clothes had blood on them. I will not let my mate wear blood soaked clothes. You will be comfortable.” He reached out to caress her cheek.
Lily flinched. Her body stiffened, and her blood ran cold in her veins. “Mate?”
“I have waited a very long time for you. I sensed you, knew your presence existed. But did not know who or what you were. Now that you’re here, I will never let you go.” His eyes glowed golden.
Lily shook her head. “Wh-. Ho-. N-no! No!” Her head was starting to ache. She wanted to scream at the mere thought of what he was confessing. After all, they’d barely met. “I don’t know you. You don’t know me. I...” She shook her head again. “I want to leave. I want to go home!” She kicked her feet over the edge of the bed. She sprung to her feet, only to be nudged back down onto the bed.
Caspius’s hulking body blocked any chance of escape. He looked down at her with golden eyes. The pupils morphed to that of a cat. He growled at her. “Stay.” His nostrils flared.
“I don’t think that’s really your choice.” She mentally punished herself. Normally she wasn’t so bold. Normally, a man like him would have her cowering in a corner, begging him to just let her be. Yet here she was...
Lily stood back to wobbly legs. She pressed a finger to his chest. Sparks flew through her fingertips. She knew he felt it too. There was no way he didn’t. He appeared to be unmoved by it though. “You’re going to let me leave.”
“No.” He narrowed his eyes. The gold in his iris disappeared, their hazel hue becoming so much more intense. “You’re staying here, beautiful. Whether you like it or not, this is your new home.” He gave a sultry smile. “If it weren’t for your current events, I would have you over my knee, and spank you for challenging me. Given that a lot has come to your knowledge,” he paused. Caspius gestured towards the bathroom. “I drew you a bath. I will give you privacy.” He gave the slightest of smiles.