Kylarra woke exhausted, worn out, beyond depleted. She lay in bed, staring at the rafters of the home she’d grown up in all her life. Her entire existence . . . it was built up in her mind. Were they all lies? Out of nowhere, she remembered the conversation she’d shared with Mila when that man was there. He’d all but pried at her, trying to garner information. Did he sense something different? What was his name? Alex?
“Does Mila?” she whispered. Did her own best friend think her, “off?” Quieting her breathing, she attempted to place Verrick in the house, but she couldn’t sense him. Reaching out, she thumped her arm over his pillow, tangled her fingers into the fluff, then dragged it over to shove her nose into.
Inhaling as deeply as she could, her entire body swarmed with the scent of Verrick. Following that came the thoughts and sensations of his touch. She chucked it across the room with a snarl. Asshole. A man who’d been manipulating her, hadn’t he? What she didn’t smell on the pillow, and he was a sure lucky man for it, was any semblance of perfume. There were few things a Lycaen couldn’t erase from their skin, least of all a scent pattern from their mate.
They were tuned into the scents of their partners. Had Verrick touched another woman, Kylarra would’ve gone batshit crazy. “But then you’re not a Lycaen, are you?” she grumbled beneath her breath. “Any more than I am.”
If she wasn’t, then what the hell was she? Mila couldn’t know. If Mila knew, she’d tell Kylarra. They didn’t keep those type of secrets from one another. “Until now.” At least for now. She needed answers. She didn’t want to burden Mila with what was going on. Mila had her hands full enough.
Speaking of. Kylarra threw the covers off her body and rolled to a sitting position. With her hands, she attempted to scrub some of the sleep from her face. She hopped off the bed, stretched, then plodded over to the bathroom. If Verrick was gone, he was up to something. She wanted to know where he was, but after the run last night, she wanted a shower. She’d been so exhausted when she came in that all she’d done was strip and crawl into bed.
The pillow lay in the corner on the ground where she’d thrown it. Verrick had come in. His scent was fresh on the pillow. She was as naked as she could get. “Why wasn’t I touched? That man can’t be anywhere near me lately without wanting to fuck me.” And . . . why didn’t she notice him come in?
Curiouser and curiouser.
Someone has been a busy vicious not-so-little-beast.
Kylarra turned the water as hot as it would go, then turned the flow down to make it boil. Wouldn’t do her any good to focus on him. Wouldn’t do any good to think about him until she was free of the shower, dressed, and in a more stable thought process. The woman could hate her mate, but the beast still craved him. At times she hated the wolf in her. Which begged the question: was she a wolf?
Hell, she could change into the wolf, had the senses—no. No, she didn’t. They were heightened. And lately they grew, but while in human form, not wolf. And there was another feeling inside that felt . . . different. Stealthier. Sleeker. Kylarra had no issues sensing whether Verrick was here or not. She flipped the water off and dried, then dropped the damp towel on the floor, being as messy as she could. Sure . . . she wanted to incite a fight. At least he’d stay put long enough for it.
Verrick didn’t like messes any more than her. Looking at her long red locks in the mirror, they reflected back. Leaning closer and closer, she grabbed her top lip and pulled it up. Elongating her teeth, Kylarra took note of every nuance of the teeth that came. Her gums stretched to their limits. “As Lycaen as they come.” She snuffed.
She touched the tips of her teeth with her tongue. Just a wolf. Not a vampire. Couldn’t be one. No way. She cocked her head to the side. What about a certain vampire? Would he know? Hmm.
Kylarra strode naked into the room and grabbed clothes to dress. Shoved her feet into a pair of biker boots that would prove to be as quiet as she could make them. If her senses were heightening, was it possible she could be as quiet as a vampire if she liked? Surely it was possible.
“So not vampire. What else could there be?” She paused to listen to the silence of the house as if awaiting the answer. As if the old thick board would provide all she needed. “And where the hell are you?” She let out a deep snarl in the silence. Lips peeling back, Kylarra stalked over to the phone and picked it up, dialed Verrick’s cell.
Verrick’s voice answered gruffly before one ring happened, “Not available,” followed by a beep. Because why would he waste his breath telling people to leave a message or anything else? If he didn’t answer, then they wasted effort with a message. Most who knew him didn’t bother. If he didn’t answer her though, the phone was off or dead. Verrick always answered her, even when pissed. Well, save for that whole debacle with what’s his name – Darnel. That was it.
Before the beep was finished Kylarra slammed the phone down and cursed under her breath. With one last check around the room, Kylarra was done waiting for answers. She wouldn’t waste her time with phones, with waiting, with anything. Her patience grew thinner and thinne—
The breath stole from her lungs. Grabbing the edge of the dresser to support herself, she hunched over, coughing and sputtering.
Mila . . .
Kylarra straightened. She snagged the phone from the cradle and dialed Mila’s home, not that the woman ever answered it. She was as bad as Verrick. Sure enough, there was nothing but a message telling the person to leave their name and number. A robotic one at that. Kylarra pursed her lips, debated leaving a message or not. She determined not.
Something was up. It felt wrong in a million ways. So she’d make a pit stop.
Grabbing her pack, she jammed a change of clothes inside, a few essentials, then rushed into the kitchen and jotted a note on the chalkboard she’d recently put up. And on the ledge of the chalkboard, with a devilish grin, she stashed her cell phone.
Staring at the note, a pang of guilt touched her. I can be a mean bitch when I wanna be, can’t I? “This is what he gets for trying to distance himself. That I gave him even this much is enough.”
The note said she had a few errands to run, she’d be back in a few days. If she felt like it, she’d check in at night. Since he couldn’t be bothered to check in, why should she bother?
Kylarra clenched her jaw. Her hand itched to erase what she’d wrote and be gentler. Sweeter. No. You walk out now. He’s doing this to you. He wanted this side. Now he gets to deal with it. Don’t go soft now.
Thinking about Kelsey was the trip. Her comment. Then everything that happened after overwhelmed Kylarra. Verrick had to be behind it. He knew Kylarra too much. There were secrets being kept from her. She was going down a path she almost didn’t want to. This chalkboard appeared to be the entrance to that darkness.
No. Kelsey. No. Before then. The scent. Her father’s scent on Verrick. The scent in the cabin. Verrick lied to her. Kept her father away from her. Lied to her when she needed him the most. Sloan held her prisoner, Ryker was up her ass. Kylarra was as vulnerable as she could’ve been that day and Verrick lied to her face. He’d told her Viktor was dead. It wasn’t true.
Verrick only wanted her to agree to become his. That was it. The bastard used her. He stole her father from her when she could’ve said goodbye. The sides of her vision began to turn red. Heat boiled through her; her world began to blur.
A shudder wracked her body. No! Whatever is happening to me won’t crash over me like a tidal wave I can’t control. It’s time I find out what is going on. Even Dad lied to me. He lied to me all my life.
She hated to think about it, but it was the truth. Kylarra stormed from the house with a snarl. Slamming the door shut behind her, she heard an ear-shattering crack. She winced. A large crack ran straight up through the center of the portrait etched into the glass on the door. A wolf stood in front of the others, in front of a forest. Now the wolf stood alone, separated from the rest.
“I know how you feel,” she muttered under her breath. Her heart tightened. Kylarra shook off the pain that tightened her gut and made her bottom lip tremble.
Pain wouldn’t help her. The rage might, but only when she needed it. Soon . . . soon she just might.
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Birth of a Princess is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, stories, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2020 Kim Iverson
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