She sensed Sebastian’s smugness before he said, “I told him you’d be mad.”

“Oh yeah, you already knew right. He warned you off.”

“Sounds like you’re mad about that, too.”

She winced at the hope in his voice. How could he still want her even after she had been with Lucien? She sighed. “I’m just mad he told you before me.” Caia stopped and glared. “No, let’s rephrase that. I’m mad he didn’t even tell me.”

“What does that mea-”

“Forget it.” She blushed, realizing that none of them knew that Lucien had to tell her because of the whole “sex=moon=glowing hands” thing. “I don’t want to talk about it. I’m trying to concentrate on getting Jaeden back.”

Sebastian grabbed at her arm bringing her to a standstill again. “You have news?” he asked eagerly.

She nodded, knowing her eyes emulated the eager hope in his. “I’m getting closer. I can feel it.”

“What are you planning?”

Caia didn’t hesitate. “When I find her I’m going after her. And you’re coming with me.”


Sebastian grinned. “How are we going to do that?”

She shrugged. “If I’m the one finding her I’m in a good position to make demands. Anyway Lucien owes me this.”

Before he could say anything the pack’s scents hit her. She turned to watch them heading towards her and braced herself. She was grateful for Sebastian who edged closer to her, offering her comfort and reinforcement. She just had to ignore the niggling possessiveness that still lingered in his emotions.

“Well.” Mal grinned as the group reached them, his eyes full of mischief and laughter. “Go, Caia. I guess I’ve got to be extra respectful to you now.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “What?”

“Hey, I’m not saying anything. I’m impressed. You got yours.”

“I got mine?”

Sebastian growled, sensing her tone. “Back off, Mal.”

He just laughed and shook his head. “You need to watch yourself there, Sebby boy. There’s a difference between protecting the Alpha’s fêmea as we all should... and coveting her.”

“The threat of Lucien’s wrath doesn’t seem to bother him.” Dana whistled. “How hot, Sebastian.”

Caia blanched at the flush on Sebastian’s cheeks. “Leave him alone.”

“Well,” Alexa spoke for the first time, her eyes spitting fire, “I guess we better do as she says.”

The rest of the pack tittered and moved to pass them. “Whore,” the word whispered from Alexa’s spiteful mouth to find Caia’s ears. Sebastian bristled and she had to lay a hand on his chest to stop him going after the female.

They stood in silence for a moment and then the bell for first period rang. Caia turned back to Sebastian, her eyes sad now. “I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to the pack’s temperament. Only yesterday Mal defended me against ‘them’ and now...”

Sebastian snorted, “He may be obnoxious, but he’s not spiteful. He’s just having fun, enjoying us squirm a little. It’s Alexa and Dana I’d worry about.”

“I’m not worried,” she said softly. “I have no intention of taking up my position beside Lucien.”

“What?” Sebastian gasped. “Are you serious?”

“I told you it’s not even a discussion. All I care about is getting Jaeden back.”

His eyes brightened considerably, and he smiled, trying to look nonchalant. “And after that?”

She shrugged. “I need to speak to Marion about it. I guess more training. For the war.”


“Please, Sebastian. I don’t want to talk about it. I need to concentrate on Jaeden.”

Sebastian sighed but nodded, and led her into the school. “Let me know when I should put my game face on.”

Caia grinned, feeling a rush of anticipation. For the first time ever she felt in control and certain that she was capable of bringing her friend home, even if it meant facing off with Ethan. For the first time since she was told about the prophecy, she believed she actually stood a chance.

Ah, the arrogance of youth.

Ethan smirked at Lars as he railed on and on about how he would never have been so stupid as Xylena had to have walked into the hands of the Daylight Coven. Lars, who was twenty-five years old and could barely master a basic communication spell. Xylena had been a two hundred year old faerie who had worked her way up the ranks from peasantry to Ethan’s right hand. There was no comparison between the two.

“Caia didn’t detect your presence?” Ethan interrupted.

Lars shook his head quickly, sending sparkles of sweat flying from his hair. Ethan curled his lip in distaste. “No, my lord. In fact I was extremely fast in getting the information you needed. Xylena is dead and the pack now know about their missing pup.”

Just what he needed. He grumbled and restrained himself from throwing something at the vainglorious idiot. “Fine. Change of plans. We don’t want the pack finding us here-”

“But, my lord, I thought this was what you wanted? The pack weak and emotional over the loss of one of their own?”

“Don’t. Ever. Interrupt me again,” he hissed.

Lars blanched and backed up. “Forgive me.”

Ethan jumped to his feet and began pacing. “Jaeden was never meant to be that kind of pawn; she was just a bonus punching bag. Now the pack is looking for her and I don’t have any inside information on what’s happening with Caia and her Portuguese lover.” He stopped and made a clicking noise with his tongue as he thought.

After a tense few minutes he huffed and turned back to Lars. “We need to kill Caia.”

“Isn’t that a little hasty? We don’t know for certain how things have progressed with her and the pack.”

“Lucien’s her mate. It’s enough to send him crazy and obliterate order in the pack. We need Caia gone before they become aware of her trace magik. They’ll know for certain that Caia is the-” he choked off, hating to admit it. “Is the true Head of the Coven, and that the Midnights are incredibly vulnerable with her in Daylight hands. Once she’s dead we’ll attack. The pack will be too grief-stricken to keep up much of a defense.”

“I don’t mean to question you my Lord but won’t that draw the attention you specifically wished to avoid?”

“No,” Ethan sneered. “Why would it? It will just be you and me taking them down.”

Lars paled. “Two of us against an entire pack?”

“For Gaia’s sake man, they’re a tiny pack and we have everything we need to know about them from Xylena’s findings. We’ll sneak in after Caia’s death and take them out during their mourning. They’ll never see it coming.”

“But won’t they be expecting our attack if we kill Caia.”

Ethan smirked. “I didn’t say we were going to kill Caia.”

“You ready to talk to me rationally yet?”

Caia groaned and twisted around on her bed to see Lucian leaning casually against her doorframe. “Let me see. It’s been less than twenty four hours since I found out that you lied and possibly tricked me into becoming your mate. What do you think?”

His face darkened and she took some satisfaction in his anger. “Tricked you?” he seethed quietly, prowling into the room and slamming the door shut behind him.

“Uh-uh.” Caia scrambled off the bed and onto her feet. She flicked her hand and the door whooshed back open.

“Getting pretty good at that,” he grumbled and threw himself into her computer chair.

“Lucien, get out.”


“Fine. I will,” she huffed and headed towards the door. He cut her off in seconds, looming over her like a giant cliff face.

“Look, finding myself bound to a teenager is bad enough, but to a magik. Thanks.” He laughed humorlessly up at the ceiling as if talking to the gods, and then he looked back down at her, glaring. “So, why don’t you cut me some slack and help me deal with this.”

Caia snorted and crossed her arms over her chest defensively. “Deal with this? This is how I’m going to deal with this. I am not binding my life to a guy – any guy – especially not some jumped up Alpha who doesn’t trust me, let alone love me. How’s that?”

“Caia.” He looked pained as he rubbed the back of his neck, clearly uncomfortable. “I do care about you. But you have to understand this has not been the usual situation and yeah... I’ve screwed up.”

She wanted to believe him. Gazing up into those intense silver pools, feeling his heat so close to her, Caia was dealt with unfortunately timed flashbacks from last night. A flush erupted across her skin and she cursed inwardly. Lucien’s own eyes darkened having felt her heat. He made as if to move towards her and she backed up, holding her hand up, warding him off. “Whoa, stop. I know enough about a mated couple to know that the attraction thing is just part of the deal OK, but this,” she gestured between the two of them, “Will not be happening again.”

“Caia, you can’t deny a mating.”

“Doesn’t it bother you? Don’t you feel cheated? What if you fall in love with someone, Lucien, and you can’t have a family with her?”

He shrugged. “I’m not falling in love with anyone. Neither are you for that matter because you are my mate. Mine. So deal with it.”

Silence descended over the room like a thick, uncomfortable blanket.

Caia cleared her throat. “I’m not going to be your mate, Lucien. You deal with that.”

She flinched as a snarl ripped from the back of his throat - her hair even blew back from the deep breath of his growl.

And then he was gone, slamming the door so hard the entire upper floor shook.

“Well, that could have gone better,” she muttered and turned determinedly back to her bed. Time to connect to her evil uncle and see if Jae was alright.

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