Keel held the small human in his arms, wishing he could have her as more than just a friend. For the last two years, he’d been in hell. Every time he saw her, or caught her sweet, delicate scent, or saw something that reminded him of her, his body reacted. His heart would speed up, his body vibrating to go to her and claim her, and his cock throbbing in his pants.
But as much as he craved this tiny female, he had to stay in control. He couldn’t allow his biological instincts to take over. Violet was simply too young for him.
After long talks with his king, Commander Korom, Oris, and Tark, he knew that the humans aged differently to Torian's. But that didn’t stop his own mind from screaming that an eighteen year old female was still a child.
Bending, Keel placed a soft, longing kiss to the top of Violet’s head, drawing in her intoxicating scent through the ridges on the top of his nose.
He would never get enough of holding her so close. Of having her fill his every sense the way she was in that moment.
“Keel?” Her soft voice asked. He drew back and looked down at her still in his arms.
“Thanks for being so amazing. I love you, you know that, right?”
A shaft of pain shot through Keel’s heart at her words. What he wouldn’t give to be able to join with this female. To mate her and have her as his for the rest of his life. For all intent and purposes, Violet was his mate. His heart knew it. His mind knew it. His soul cried out for her and his body craved her.
But he had to hold onto his honor. It was all he had. If he let go of his honor and gave in to her, he would be nothing more than a desire driven male.
And if Violet chose not to be his mate in a few years, it would destroy him. Most Torian males found it very difficult to survive the loss of their mate.
If he gave Violet what she wanted then she left him for another male, it would drive him crazy.
“I know,” He whispered, pushing back his emotions. “I love you too, Vi. I always will.”
She looked up and met his eyes, “Then why are you still holding back? This bullshit about me being too young is… well… It’s bullshit. Everyone on this planet knows we belong together. Even you do. So what are we waiting for?”
He sighed. They’d had this conversation so many times already.
“Violet… You know my reasons.”
She shook her head and pulled out of his arms. Her blood colored eyes turned cold and she stepped back.
“Yeah, I do. I’ve heard the same excuse for the last two years. Well I have something to say about that.”
Keel crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at her. He knew that look on Violet’s face. She was about to be the bitch he’d heard her sisters talk about. Violet had a cruel streak in her when she was upset. He’d seen it himself. She had a tendency to speak without thinking when she was mad. And judging by the look in her eyes, she was very angry.
“What is that?” He asked, bracing himself. Whatever she said to him, he would take it with a calm, rational expectancy. Later, Violet would come apologize to him, and things would be okay. But for now, it looked like she needed to vent.
Violet pulled in a long breath, squaring her shoulders as she met his eyes.
“You can’t keep doing this to me, Keel. I will always love you, till the day I die. I want to be with you, to be your mate and to have you as mine. But I can’t wait another twenty years for that to happen. I won’t. As much as you hate to hear this… I have needs too. Needs that are getting stronger with each passing month. Needs that… that if you don’t want to see to, then… Then I guess I will have to find someone that will.”
Keel stayed absolutely still as he glared at Violet. His body was wound up so tight, he felt like he might snap at any moment. A hazy red curtain was falling over his vision, and his teeth were grinding so hard, he vaguely worried he might break one.
He expected harsh words from her, maybe a few threats. But not this. Not her telling him to his face that his worst fear might come true. That she might go looking for another male and leave him behind.
Was she correct? Was he pushing her into the arms of another male by not taking her into his own?
“Keel?” Her soft words snapped him out of his thoughts.
“No,” He growled, his eyes narrowed at her.
“No?” She raised her brows, the angry look intensifying.
“If you let any other male touch you, I will kill him, Violet. Do not test me on this. You are mine, and no other will ever lay a hand on you.”
“You are such a selfish asshole, you know that! You don’t want me, and you won’t let anyone else have me. You make me fall in love with you, then tell me I have to wait twenty years to be with you! That is not fair, Keel! Humans don’t live as long as Torian's. In twenty years, I will be half way through my life. I will be past the time I can have kids. I can’t do that. I won’t.”
With his hands rolled into fists at his side, Keel stepped closer to her and spoke in a cool, calm voice.
“I did not ask you to wait twenty years. I only asked that you wait a few more. At least until you are the same age as Lady Lilly was when she met the king.”
Her eyes went wide, “Lilly was twenty seven years old. That’s nine years! I’m sorry, Keel, but no. I can’t wait that long. I want a mate that will love me, and stand by me, and give me a family before I’m too old to have one. I know I’m still young and yeah, kids will come later, but not in nine years.”
She backed away from him, her eyes filling with dark crimson tears, “Make a choice, Keel. Take a few days to think about it, and let me know what you decide. Once the Earth delegation leaves at the end of next week, I want an answer from you. Either you will be with me fully... Or you need to let me go.”
With that, she turned and left the room. Keel stood there, staring at the door as it swung closed behind her.
He knew she had a point. She was right with everything she said. But the primal part of him, the part that wanted to claim his mate, rebelled at the idea of anyone else touching Violet the way he wanted to touch her. To kiss her… To strip her naked, and make love to her. To bond her to him in a way that can only be broken by death.
But hearing the words had sent his rage into overdrive. His body hummed with tension that would need a way to release.
She’d given him until the Earth delegation left Toria. He had ten days to make his choice. Ten days to find a way to push past his deeply embedded values and honor, and finally claim his mate.
Sighing, Keel turned back to the window and watched as the staff bustled around the gardens.
Even though Violet was mad at him at the moment, he would still go find her and take her to the academy. It was the highlight of his mornings. He loved to feel her tucked tightly to his back as he weaved through the buildings on his air-bike. Her arms wrapped around him, holding on tightly. The smile on her face when he landed at the academy. The sweet kiss she always gave him when she said goodbye.
How could he ever give any of that up?
Turning away from the window, Keel left the dining room, and went to look for Violet.
He found her in the hallway outside her bedroom. Her eyes were white, the blue in them a striking contrast to her oil black hair and pale skin.
God of Creation, she truly was an incredibly beautiful female.
Violet raised her eyes and met his gaze. Her anger was gone, but what he saw in her eyes cut him even deeper. Sadness. Heartbreak. Regret.
He didn’t know what to say. He wanted to scream from the rooftop that he was claiming her. To be mated this very morning and to never let her get away. Instead, he found himself lost for words.
“We better get going, Keel. I don’t want to be late for school.”
He nodded, “Of course.”
They walked out to the main parking area to the side of the Keep in silence. Keel kept his personal Air-bike parked with the rest of the private vehicles used by the residents and staff of the Keep.
Reaching into the small compartment on the side of the sleek black metal craft, he pulled out two disk sized rings. He handed Violet one, and clipped the other around his neck.
Turning to check Violet had hers on, he nodded and swung his leg over the bike.
A moment later, he felt Violet climb on, before he pressed the ignition.
Reaching up to the ring around his neck, he pressed the activation button and held still as the small metal plates unfolded around his head to make a sleek silver helmet.
Glancing back at Violet, he was satisfied to see she had activated hers. Shifting to get comfortable on the bike, a small, sad grin pulled at his lips when he felt Violet’s arms wrap around his waist. She curled her small frame around him, tucking her chest to his back.
Without lingering, he lifted the bike into the air, and shot towards the academy.