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Never Later (Book 3)

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Summary

I can go without food for a while and for a shorter while without drink. But I don't seem to be able to go without you. That is what I think. For you're the food that nurtures me and the drink that slakes my thirst. For I'd waste away to nothing, love by not having you always first. —Edwina Reizer

Genre:
Romance / Erotica
Author:
Mayah
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
52
Rating:
4.9 8 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Part 1

"I like the taste of it," the old woman cynical let Belle watch her knife glint in the moonlight. "Fresh, ripe and sweet. The flesh, the blood."

Belle struggled to move, to shout or breathe even. Her body was stone cold and hard and just as heavy. She was pinned to a rock by a force she couldn't sense. The old woman was the same she had once killed and then shapeshifted into her form the day she frightened Lily of her fate.

Her mouth opened but no sound made it through. The old woman raised her knife with both hands and looked down at Belle with her white pupils.

"Children. Newborns. I eat them."

The knife came down and a scream tore through Belle's throat. She jerked up in bed, clad in sweat and fear. Cole was by her side, running her shoulders.

"It was just a nightmare," he assured her. "You're safe with me. Calm down. Here, drink some water."

He raised the glass hastily to her lips and watched her drain the liquid. Her face was white as sheet.

"This is the fourth nightmare this month. What's wrong? Are you hiding something from me, Belle? You can tell me about whatever it is that's bothering you or we can go see a therapist. You're losing weight too."

Belle heaved, her lungs greedy for air. She could hear the worry and concern in his voice. That was the only thing which calmed her nerves.

Him.

Cole had changed the way she lived and felt. The way she was and wanted to be.

Sliding closer, she hugged him and buried her face in his neck.

"I'm okay," she rasped with a sore throat. "Just a nightmare..." The fear was lingering in her tone.

Cole combed her hair back and bundled her in his lap. Her skin was burning.

"What was it this time?"

Belle remained silent. Explaining her nightmares to him was difficult.

"I don't remember."

"You sure?"

"Yes."

Cole inhaled. "Belle. Don't make me feel like I'm a stranger."

Her arms tightened around him. "You're not."



Morning came soon. Belle barely slept a blink and was up before Cole. She made him coffee and then disappeared to the woods near her clans. It her some time finding her friend Opali in the Red Coven.

"Belle?" Her friend was surprised seeing her that early in her dorm room.

"Opi," Belle paced in her room, her forehead in her hand. "There's something wrong with me."

Opali rubbed her eyes and yawned before sitting up in bed. "What?"

Belle stopped. "Nightmares."

"Everybody have nightmares at some–"

"No." Belle urged. She dropped beside her in her bed and clutched her cold hands in her hot ones. "They're different. I see the people I have killed in my assignments. It's terrible."

"What else do you see?"

Belle frowned. "Heard. I have heard about children and babies in each one of my nightmare."

Opali stared at her friend then silently slid off the bed. Venturing into her closet, she came out of it with a small jar in her hands.

"Here. Smell."

Belle looked down at the jar and instantly recognized the brown potion.

"Opi..."

Her friend pursed her lips and gestured her to proceed. Belle gulped and took the jar. Her fingers trembled when she touched the cork and pulled it out.

Not a second later a vile, pungent smell made her retch. Opali jumped back and gathered her gown in her hands.

Belle retched so hard, tears leaked in her eyes and her ribs hurt. Opali took the Ittar from her and closed the jar.

"Oh dear," she drawled.

Belle wiped at her eyes and clutched her stomach. "Don't tell anyone here."



Ben and Amelia could see their son working on a project from afar. He had recently sold his beloved car for goddess knows what and hired the best art students from their University.

"How much time do you need?" Ezra asked across the table out in the meadow.

The students observed the drawing on the table and then asnwered, "Three weeks at most."

"Fine but remember, I need it perfectly done."

"Don't worry, we'll put all our effort into it. The statue will enhance the beauty of this temple. We garantee it."

Ezra nodded and let them do their work. He turned in time to see his parents heading his way.

"Mom," he hugged her and then hugged his dad.

"What are you doing here?"

Ben raised the food basket in his hands and placed it on the table.

"Food," she said and nodded over his shoulder. "You're making a statue?"

Ezra rubbed his neck and glanced at the students arranging their tools up in the new temple.

"Yup."

Ben sat down on a chair and pulled out a sandwich for himself.

Amelia cupped her son's cheek and scrutinized him from his hair to his toes. The emotions swirling in her eyes were very much obvious to him.

"You don't visit me anymore."

Ezra raised a brow, "I came over two days ago."

Amelia stared at him as if he was dumb. "That's too long of a time. I want you at my house more often."

A small smile widened his cheeks. "Okay, mom. As you wish."

"And take care of yourself."

"I'll be more careful."

"And stop drinking so much."

"I'll be conscious of my drinking too."

The smile on his face dropped when Amelia teared up and sniffled.

"I'm sorry. Did I say something wrong?" He grabbed her arms in concern.

The emotional mother shook her head. "You used to be so stubborn and irresponsible, never listening to me. Now look at you."

Ezra shared a puzzled look with his father. Seeing her crying, Ben pulled out his handkerchief and handed it over to her then sat down on his chair again.

Amelia dabbed under her eyes then blew her nose into the handkerchief and sniffled some more.

"You don't say no to me anymore."

Ezra was surprised. "Isn't that what you always wanted? I don't want to refuse you anything–"

"No. That's not what I wanted." She objected. "You were stubborn, childish, irresponsible, temperamental and many other things but you were my son. You wanted what you wanted. This is not you. This shouldn't be you. I don't want to see you become a man. You're a boy. My boy."

Ben sensed her upcoming mood swing and hastily grabbed the basket.

"He'll be fine. I think the little boys working for your son at the moment might be hungry. Why don't you help them out? That one looks thirsty as well."

Amelia nodded in her affectionately weak moment and took the basket from him. "They're so young, poor things. I'll be back."

She patted her son's chest before venturing past him. Ben shook his head and leaned against the table. Ezra scratched his chin and watched his mom.

"How are you dealing with that?"

Ben glanced at him with accusation in his eyes. "Her mood swings?"

"Yes."

"Don't ask."

"Good suggestion."

Ezra leaned beside his dad and crossed his arms. His maroon shirt bulged around his biceps. His broad shoulders filled out the shirt instantly. The house he has made under the temple was a new instalment in the original building. He was now living under the place where his Lillian worshipped for him.

"Ezra." Cole parked his car beside the flower beds outside the temple and slid out of it with an envelope in his hands.

"Hey," they bumped fists.

"Hello, Ben." Cole shook hands with him.

"How's Luke doing?"

"He's doing well."

Ezra looked down at the envelope Cole extended towards him.

"Dave send an invite from the Palace."

Ezra frowned and opened the invite. "The queen's coronation? Since when do we have a queen?"

Cole shrugged and handed him the keys of a car from the pack. "You have to go."

"No way. I have work here and Dave invited you, not me. I haven't even seen him for the past four years. Why is he sending us invites, anyway?"

Cole rolled his eyes. "Get over yourself. He was asked to send the invites to the highest ranking packs. We're one of them if you remember."

"I don't care."

"Look... Belle is pregnant."

That cut whatever response was ready to bubbble out of Ezra's mouth. A sweet pang disturbed his chest when the picture of small baby shoes crossed his mind.

Ben congratulated Cole for his baby. He was more than ecstatic about it.

"Belle is having some trouble with her sleep. I have to stay back but I want you to go. Dave is the training assistant Zeta. We can't drop the invite just because it's from him. Our pack has to attend."

"Look man, I'm not free. There's still construction going on–"

"I'll take care of everything back here. Please. I need this favour from you. You already owe me a lot for making me the Alpha. This was supposed to be your problem, not mine but here we are."

Ezra threw him a look and then sighed.

"Fine. But if anything went wrong with the construction, I'll bulldoze your house down."

"Deal."



Luke loaded the suitcases into the jeep and then joined Ezra in at the front. They were taking a few guards with them for safety measures.

"Say hi to Dave for me." Cole teased Ezra expecting him to cuss or burst out but his friend just shook his head and climbed the driver's seat.

It hurt him losing a part of Ezra. He was a whole new man and Cole was struggling to accept it. They were still looking for Lily but they never got a positive response from their search team.

"Luke, call me when you get there. I'll have Dave arrange your stay if you decided to stay there for a few days."

"No," Ezra cut in. "We're going to attend the coronation only. That was the deal."

"Fine, fine."

The ride was long and tiring. It took them 14 hours to get there. The palace was mightier than Ezra's expectations. People swarmed every crook and cranny like bees except the Royal chamber.

"Zis way Mr. Cole Schwart." A porter in proper uniform greeted them at the bottom of the giant stairs to the palace gate.

Luke looked at Ezra then at the porter. "Ezra. Cole couldn't find the time, unfortunately, so we're here to attend the coronation."

The porter bowed politely. "I apologize. This way Mr. Ezra."

A group of porters grabbed their luggage and led them through a series of chambers to their suite. They arranged their wardrobes and then took their leave after the leaving the details of the event.

Exhaustion was heavy on their shoulders so they retired to their rooms and rest until dusk. People flooded the palace, a stage was created and set. A buffet was arranged and the queen was going to show up at evening.

Ezra, Luke and the remaining guards changed into their suits and made their way to the grand hall. Women were dressed in impressive gowns. Each was trying hard to look better than the rest. The event was grand as a whole.

A herald announced their names at the top of the stairs and so the night began. Ezra caught the eyes of many but his eyes had a permanent resident. She was wise, she was beautiful and she used to be his.

In those four years, he never felt the need to sought another woman. There was no place for them in his life or heart because it was already occupied.

He adjusted the sleeves of his navy blue blazer and combed his long hair back with his fingers. There was a sharp stubble now on his once smooth jawline. The color of his suit matched his blue eyes and maybe that's why a woman seductively came up to him and offered a dance.

"I hate dancing." Ezra told her in a flat tone.

She was a little too determined but fortunately Dave showed up, taken aback and shocked seeing him there.

"Hey– I-I mean welcome."

"Thanks." Ezra grabbed a plute of champagne from a tray and walked pass Dave, ignoring him as if he weren't there.

Dave turned around and followed him through the crowd.

"I didn't expect you here."

"Unpleasant surprise."

"What? No. It's good seeing you after so long."

Ezra stopped abruptly and turned around, almost bumping into Dave.

"Do you have something important to tell me?"

"No." Dave answered flat out.

With a nod, Ezra put his flute back in the tray a waiter was carrying and made his way to the VIP seats arranged for the alphas on the balcony. He was drinking every type of alcohol available yet it barely effected him.

An hour later, the doors at the root of the grand room opened and the royal Zeta announced the arrival of the Prince and the Queen.

Some people were still surprised at the age of the queen. Their King was centuries old and never been seen. It is said he lurks in the shadows. Even his own son has never seen his father. Yet the queen had met him and chosen to rule by his side. She was barely three decades old and looked even younger with magnificent golden hair and emerald eyes.

"Queen Vera of Werewolves."
A hush fell over the buzzing crowd. People turned and stared as the divine beauty descended the stairs and curled her arm around her step-son's arm. He led her to the podium.

Ezra, however, was stunned in his seat. His hands suddenly felt ice cold and his blood even icier. His throat felt flooded with icicles. Down in the crowd, his eyes jumped to a familiar shade of black hair. The woman was looking away, almost invisible in the crowd of glimmering gowns and jewelry.

But those steps, the way she moved, her hair and his drumming heart. It drove him insane. He shot up from the chair and ran down to the crowd. People were busy again with their gossip and awe of the queen and his heart was busy pounding a hole through his chest.

His mad eyes, bathed breathes and frantic steps might have scared the woman because she too started hurrying away from him. The crowd wasn't big enough to stop him.

Even the ocean wouldn't have been enough to keep him away.

So she ran, up the stairs, holding the mid of her peach gown in her hands and making her way through people.

Ezra followed her out of the grand hall and into the halways.

"Wait!" He shouted. "Who are you?!"

The woman bumped into a waiter frantically and sent his glasses flying off but she didn't stop because Ezra was getting close, so very close.

She changed her route and seeped into the servant quarters. Her legs were sore and fatigued but she pushed her limits and forced herself to climb the second set of stairs. Her ears were ringing and heart running faster than she was.

Almost there.

A shriek tore from the bottom of her stomach as a hand curled around her arm, whirled her around and pulled her closer.

Their breaths stopped but their bodies moved but a chest clasped to hers and took the hit from the wall they bumped into.

Seconds stretched into years and infinity. They were both trembling, heaving, panting, shocked and lost in their own fears.

She didn't move. Her biggest dream and her biggest nightmare was looking right at her. He couldn't see her face but did he have to?

This was her. His Lillian.

She was there, closer than his heart and stealing her gaze.

Relief.

Relief flooded his body. Relief and anger and sadness, pain and so much more. Everything he fought all those years came through but the strongest was his love for her.

He grabbed her chin and tipped it. Her lashes touched her cheeks. Her strength of looking up was long gone.

"Got you." He whispered.



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Further Recommendations

Claudia Asbury: Book is a wonderful read just like all of her books. Give it a read you won’t be disappointed!

Chante: Loved it, short and sweet

Cinara: Me gusto mucho Y más el final. Estuvo muy gracioso y lindo el final.

Crystal Patzel: Other than some minor grammatical errors the story itself- going from past to present is fluid and captivating.

amalia3026: Its a fun quick read

Joanna Shenfield: Great story. Lots of drama. Lovely ending

Inoue: Me gusto toda la historia, se la recomiendo a todos en buenísima

tfhemmer5: Another home run on this one as well. Damn keep up with your best self. WONDERFUL just like you're other books. Everyone needs to read this trilogy of books. Nothing but the best.

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oromicristina: Aprecio la forma y el tono con el que se describen los encuentros sexuales de sus personajes. Muy erótica por cierto.

dontknowlove26: I can't believe I am so far in the series all ready there is no way it should be almost done 😞 Great read Thank You!

sonia: Omg like seriously that's crazy he's not dead but he's alive so sad tho at least they can be a family again I hope the 2 find their mates soon !!

sonia: Still loving the series will definitely tell others about this site and your wonderful books

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