She let silence fall between them, relieved that it was actually a comfortable silence with him. For someone who could be slightly overbearing he had the ability to be patient when he wanted to be.

“Why?” she croaked, verbalizing the confusion in her head. “Why does Yvana hate me, and Ryder and Aidan don’t?”

“She was his mate, Caia,” Lucien whispered, turning to gaze at her intensely. “She can’t see reason in this.”

“I’m sorry.” Frustratingly, the tears came even more intensely this time. Just as Lucien tut-tutted and leaned over to wipe the tears from her face, the tap in the sink and the shower blasted on.

Lucien cursed and jumped to his feet to quickly turn them off. He muttered under his breath and then turned to look back down at her. She felt his gaze, but her own was on the tap in the sink. A sense of déjà vu washed over her. It was insane, but that was three times in the last few days that the water had come on unexpectedly around her. Really, it was crazy for her to even think that she had something to do with it. Right?

“Is there something wrong with the pipes in this town?” she asked quietly.


Caia looked at him intently; he had no idea what she was talking about. She groaned and whispered an unintelligible ‘Forget it,” under her breath.

“Caia.” He was crouching down before her again, his hand brushing her hair back from her face affectionately and bringing her strange thoughts back to him. “You going to be OK?”

She nodded mutely, her heart suddenly thumping loudly at his nearness, his touch. Goddess, she hoped he couldn’t hear it.


He smiled. “Why don’t you come for a walk with me then? Get up off the cold bathroom floor?”

His change in tone made her frown and she quickly got to her feet. “I’m not five years old,” she said dryly, brushing past him. She stopped abruptly and turned back to face him; he nearly crashed right into her having been tailing right behind her. She drew in a deep breath as her heart thudded again at his proximity. She had to crane her neck back to gaze up at his face. “And...” she managed. “Just so you know, I don’t cry like that normally.”

Lucien lips quirked up at the corner. “I actually believe that.”

Hmm, she wasn’t sure what he meant by that, or how she should respond.

It was quiet out here, just as he liked it. Being Pack Leader he didn’t really have much time for himself, and so was always the more appreciative of quiet moments such as these. Caia walked a few steps ahead of him, stepping over bracken and rocks as they picked their way through the woods. Lucien let her have some space for a while, knowing she probably needed some time to collect herself. She seemed embarrassed for having been caught crying. Lykans were an emotional lot, he was used to women crying and shouting over nothing. But the sight of Caia curled up on the bathroom floor with true pain behind her eyes had done something to his insides. He never wanted to see her like that again. Damn these unexpected feelings towards her - they had hit him from the left field.

“It’s heaven out here.” She stopped in front of him, her head tilted back as she breathed in heady earth.

Lucien smiled, strolling towards her slowly. “It’s why I chose the house.”

“I can see that.” She opened her eyes and smiled gently back at him. Her eyes were still red and puffy from her crying, but at the same time the green in them seemed to be electrified from all the tears. He felt himself caught in her gaze, feeling like a shy teenager all of a sudden. At the long silence she quirked her eyebrow in amusement. Lucien cleared his throat feeling himself flush. What on Gaia was going on with him?

“Uh-” He looked away from her, staring ahead into the deepening forest. “Uh... Oh did ah... Irini tell you the story about the pack history?”

“No. Apparently Irini didn’t tell me much,” she replied dryly.

Lucien thought he caught a note of annoyance in her voice and narrowed his eyes on her. “Are you angry about that?”

“No.” She sighed, her sweet face crumpling wearily. “I even understand it. It’s just... hard.”

Her response touched him. Lykans were such volatile beings, usually quick to anger and frustration. But she wasn’t like that. The kindness with which she seemed to approach everything and everyone appeared too honest to be anything other than the truth of her. It made it hard to keep his guard up around her. She seemed to pose no threat whatsoever.

He shoved his hands in his jeans pocket and started walking ahead.

“Where are you going?”

“Into the story. Are you coming?” He threw back over his shoulder.

He heard her laugh at his whimsy and then pick up speed until she was striding by his side. “Remember to slow it down a little. My legs are like an entire foot shorter than yours.”

“Are they really?” He let his gaze wander over them flirtatiously and then laughed when he saw her blush. She was too easy to tease.

“The story,” she reminded him wryly.

Lucien chuckled. “Right.” He glanced at her as she stepped gracefully over a small fallen tree limb. “You know the pack originates from Portugal, right?”

She nodded, not taking her eyes from her path. “Some of our surnames give it away,” she reminded him.

“Right... And you know about Lunarmorte?”

“Lunarmorte. Moon Death,” she breathed. “I can’t believe you fought one.”

He felt a sharp pain in his chest at the reminder. “I don’t like to talk about it.” He was curt. He didn’t mean to be, but discussing how he had killed a man he had grown up with, brought with it a hailstorm of pain that was just a little too overwhelming to bear.

“Of course. Sorry.”

The patience in her eyes made him sigh in relief. If he’d spoken that way to his mother or Irini - or any of the women in his pack for that matter – they’d have more than likely snarled and stomped away from him, in hurt.

“Do you know why we have Lunarmorte and other packs don’t?” He continued in her easy company.

Caia shook her head, her brow creasing. “I didn’t know it was something only we did. I mean, I know we’re the only ones that call it that, but I assumed the concept was universal.”

“Not really. It has to do with where our pack began.”

They walked further into the woods until he touched her shoulder and indicated for her to start walking in a different direction. She seemed more relaxed around him now, for that he was grateful.

He smiled slightly when she glanced back up at him, her eyes expectant for the story.

“The pack’s story really began with our ancestor Aurelio Lorenço,” he began. The words came easily to him as he had told this story a million times to the kids of the pack, who for some reason requested it as a bedtime story more often than not. He snorted, lykans really were weird. “You see many, many years before Aurelio’s time the blood of the lykan had found its way into the family gene pool. We’re not sure who, or when, as these things have a tendency to become confused and marred by rumor and gossip over the centuries. What we do know is that the Lorenço’s were a prosperous family of aristocratic lineage. Aurelio was in fact the brother of a Baron, Godofredo Lorenço. They were lykans but … two very different kinds. Godofredo, like the rest of his family and his ancestors, did not harm humans, in fact he married one. Aurelio, on the other hand, believed humans were beneath the touch of his family and hunted them like game. He was furious when his brother married a human girl, and soon began causing trouble. Before, his murders had been committed outside of their county. Godofredo knew of his brothers crimes, and other than some fervent pleading with him, did nothing to stop him. He loved him, wanted to protect him. When Godofredo married, however, Aurelio began taking humans from their local village. The people only began to suspect the Lorenço family after Godofredo’s wife became one of the victims, and Aurelio showed no signs of grief. In fact, he seemed to revel in her death quite publicly. Godofredo was devastated and banished Aurelio from the county. But it was too late. The people had grown suspicious of the true nature of the Lorenços, and they drove them from the county, and eventually the country. Our pack became nomads, visiting everywhere and settling nowhere. That’s one of the many reasons this pack forbids marriage to humans.”

He sighed and caught her gaze as she looked up at him. “We were settled before the Hunter, of course. And now, we’re settled again. But the history of the Lorenço family gives you an idea of why we have the rituals we have. With some nobility, and as was with the Lorenço line, the line is held through primogeniture. However, as seen with human nobility, sometimes a first born son never comes along. That’s why the Lorenço’s created what we call Lunarmorte.”

Caia shook her head, gazing in front of her, her cat eyes wide.

“What? What are you thinking?” he asked, and was surprised to realize that he really wanted to know. Ryder was right. Different was fascinating.

She laughed, a light feathery laugh that hit him low in his belly. “I’m just in awe, I guess.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe how old the pack is. I always thought we were a pretty young pack.”

“Well we are.” Lucien smirked. “We’re early modern. There are packs out there that can trace their ancestry as far back to Charlemagne.”


“I’ll say. But that’s nothing compared to how old some of the families of the other supernaturals are.”

“I always liked history in school.”

“You said.” He smiled, and Caia caught his look, chuckling as she too remembered his awkward attempt at conversation with her yesterday in his car. It seemed a million years away now.

“Will we turn back?”

Caia nodded. “I’m pretty beat.”

His eyes narrowed in on the dark circles under her eyes; the weariness in them matched the limpness of her body. He sighed. “Tomorrow will be a better day.”

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