Chapter One: Catching The Scent
I hate this place.
This castle is not my home.
The wolves here will never be my pack.
Lysander will never be anything more than my enemy.
He stares at me like he’s never seen me before. I’ve lived in his home for years.
“Go.” I stare into Lysander’s eyes and let my voice carry the demand. I am harsh and relentless. My core aches as the scent of his arousal reaches me.
I am the daughter of the Boreal pack’s alpha. Falling into Lysander’s arms is beneath me, even if he is an alpha.
My mate. It’s unfair. Fated mates are highly unusual. I never expected to feel the mate pull.
I shake my head to clear it. “Leave me.” I try again. My demand ends on a breathless whisper.
Lysander only holds me tighter. How did I come to be in his arms?
His muscles are as hard as the walls around us. It’s all I can do to keep from whimpering as need crashes through my body.
He caught me as my heat began and I sought release from the insatiable and primal craving.
Thinking of it causes a rush of wetness between my legs.
He inhales deeply. His pupils dilate until all I see is black. His erection presses into my stomach. “Aria.”
My name is a curse from his lips. My knees weaken. I attempt to lock them into place but fail. I am Ariadne. A fact I’ve hidden from him and everyone else within these walls.
I plant my hands on his shoulders and push. “I do not need you.” My bloodline is one of the oldest known to our kind. I should be stronger than this.
Lysander crushes his lips to mine. Heat spreads from my core and travels down. The man kisses with a fierce and possessive nature.
Everything he does is forceful. He’s a battle-hardened hero to his people.
I hate him.
Lysander deepens the kiss.
He does not ask for entry, merely forces my mouth to open for him. His tongue duels with mine, stroking and teasing. A moan slips from the depths of my throat.
I drag my mouth from his by sheer willpower.
“Your mother will be calling for me.” I attempt to force some measure of distance between us.
In this world, Lysander is alpha, and I am nothing. I’ve been relegated to a lady-in-waiting, a station so far beneath me that it’s laughable.
I’m not laughing now.
His hot breath tunnels down the front of my dress as he presses a kiss to the hollow of my throat. “My mother is sleeping.”
As I should be. My palms ache from where the glass shards were removed. Was that only hours ago?
I’ve lost all sense of time as Lysander plunders my mouth again. I taste his excitement and hear his thundering pulse.
He works his lips down my jaw and nips at my neck.
I growl and twist my hands into his hair. “I hate you.” I do not desire him so much as my body craves sex. At least, this is what I tell myself as my body winds closer to his.
His arms band around my waist, cinching me to his chest. We breathe as one body. Our ragged breaths fill the room.
No other sound dares to interrupt.
I wish for the door to open even as I burn at the thought of Lysander leaving me unfulfilled.
If someone were to catch us here, I would never live down the insult. Lysander would hate me as much as I hate him.
His canines graze my skin, almost piercing it with the force of his passion. His shirt is rough under my forearms. I lock my arms around his neck and lick the soft line of skin under his jaw.
My wolf hums her approval within my mind.
I can sense Lysander’s wolf hovering at the edge. Our wolves are usually well under control, but a female’s heat turns them primal. They want nothing more than to fulfill the need.
Lysander has not responded to my words.
I’m wet for him. I hate that my body betrays me and grows ready. Anticipation runs rampant in my veins.
“I hate you,” I whisper forcefully into his ear.
“It’s just the heat,” Lysander growls into my neck. His teeth graze my skin. He smells of cedar and lust. “Once it’s over, we’ll go back to how things were.”
Annoyance penetrates the haze of hormones. I want more than a romp in the sheets. But from him I want even less. Being his mate makes it nearly impossible to resist him.
Why did he have to be the one to find me, hot and ready for fucking? Would that he’d left me to handle things myself.
His warm lips nibble my earlobe.
Shivers cascade down my back. I jerk on his hair, pulling his head from my neck.
Desire flashes in his eyes. I know what is coming. I want to delay it—and enjoy it—as much as possible.
It is too late to turn back now. Lysander is incapable of walking away now that he’s scented my heat.
I should feel powerful in that knowledge.
His hands roam my back, leaving trails of fire in their wake. I arch into him, rubbing myself against him.
Ready or not, this is happening.
My wolf rumbles an agreement. She’s all for hot sex in the castle.
His gaze locks onto mine. “We’re drawn together because of your heat. Nothing more.” It’s fact I’m happy to embrace.
If I cannot retreat from this, I’m damn well going to get release from it. My body is an inferno of heat and desire.
I refuse to love him. These feelings will pass the moment my heat ends.
If we keep reminding ourselves, will that make it true?
Lysander grips my waist in a bruising hold.
I hate him. I tell myself this over and over again. Even as his hands slide down my buttocks and haul me against his throbbing sex.
I hate him, but gods do I want to fuck him.
“Remove your clothes,” he orders. It is his way. Orders are to be obeyed, especially by the likes of myself.
The whole servant and master thing isn’t as hot as I hoped.
“You first, Lysander,” I hiss his name between my teeth. I tear at his shirt, ripping the buttons and sending them flying across the stone floor. They ping and bounce.
He can order me around all he wants. This is one time I do not have to obey.
Lysander releases me, and my legs refuse to hold me upright. I slide to my knees. My hands trail down his chest and stomach.
Soft light catches the dips and hollows of his muscles. His abs are solid, the skin like velvet as I follow the trail of hair disappearing into his pants.
I’m eye level with the bulge of his erection. My mouth dries even as I long to taste him.
Lysander reads the need in my eyes.
“Yes.” He grabs a handful of hair in one hand and releases himself with the other. His erection throbs in my face. He gives it a quick stroke, swiping the bead of cum from the head and smearing it over my lips.
I take in the sight of him.
Fuck me, he’s enormous.
Lysander has a proud stance. He knows he is impressive. Another surge of hatred hits me but is shoved aside as my wolf demands I pleasure us.
I whimper and reach for him. Wrapping both hands around his shaft, I stroke.
Muscles leap in his thighs. He brings his other hand to my face. “Open your mouth.”
I obey. Not because he demanded it, but because I want to feel him. I place my lips over the head and slide down as far as I can. It isn’t enough. More. I need more.
He moans and thrusts forward, shoving his cock down my throat. Yes. This is what I want.
I release one hand and move it to rub myself. He thrusts again then slides from my mouth. “No.” I bare my teeth and slide my mouth over him again.
“I want inside you.” His hands tighten on my head and pull me back to my feet. “I’m going to bury myself inside you until you think you’re fucking dying. I want you to scream for me.”
Lysander grips the back of my neck. His other hand kneads the flesh of my thigh beneath my skirt.
I slide my hands over his chest and tug his shirt free. As I toss it aside, I see Lysander’s full chest for the first time.
Scars cover his torso. Some are thick and ridged, puckering his skin. One lashes over his heart, a thin line that appears to be an old stab wound.
I trace my thumb over it. My brows pucker. Reality crashes cold and hard over my own heart.
They’re obviously battle scars. I snarl my lip. It curls up and over my canine as my wolf surges to the surface.
She wants free. These scars trigger her anger as well as my own.
Lysander grabs my skirt and jerks, shredding the material and baring my skin.
He gives me a feral smile and I shiver.
“Mine.” He grinds out the single word between clenched teeth.
He is my enemy. I attempt to control my desire for him. It is a tidal wave already in motion.
It would be easier to lasso the moon and bring it to earth than deny my heat while Lysander hungers for me.
Cool air brushes my body but does nothing to ease the heat of desire flushing my skin. Blood roars in my ears. I swallow hard as Lysander stares at me.
Despite my anger and resentment, my nipples peak under his hungry gaze. His head dips and he takes one into his mouth.
I gasp and reach for him.
Suddenly, his hand palms my wetness and his finger slips inside. I grind into him as pleasure builds.
I need release. Now. I slide my arms around his back and freeze. My fingertips meet more scars. These cross his back in ragged motions that tell of tearing teeth and claws.
He is my enemy. Damn the Moon Goddess for her cruel sense of humor.
She has put Lysander and I together in the most intimate of ways. I want to hate her too.
My once proud pack is no more, and the fault lies with Lysander.
I’m about to throw myself back and away from Lysander—my enemy—when he slides a second finger inside me.
He is everywhere. His mouth, his hands. There is no escape.
No matter how much I wish it were otherwise, Lysander is my fated mate.
This cannot be my life. It feels more like a dream. Why won’t I wake up?
If I called upon the Moon Goddess and begged, would she bother to intervene?