“Gee, I couldn’t tell.”

She really couldn’t.

So what was she going to do now?

Her best bet would be to turn lykan and run.

The thought hadn’t even left her head when the daemon pulled out of nowhere a long, thin metal chain-link with spikes. The daemon lassoed it above its head and then, to her horror, whipped it out at her. All she was aware of was the lashing, breath-stealing pain that lanced across her stomach as the spikes ripped her open. And then she was on her back gazing at the sky numbly for a moment. When the pain hit she couldn’t help but scream, clutching at her stomach only to feel warm thick fluid coat her hands. Blinking, terrified, Caia craned her neck and sobbed at the bloody mess that was her belly.

“Don’t worry,” the daemon’s voice carried from a distance but she couldn’t see it. “It will be over soon.”

No, she shook, her head falling back to the ground. She couldn’t die. She had to get to Jaeden. She couldn’t die.

Biting back more screams, Caia managed to turn onto her side and then over onto her knees, saliva dripping from her mouth with the effort.

“You’ve got heart, little wolf.”

I’m going to rip your throat out.


She had no idea how she managed the next feat. All she knew was that she needed to change in order to heal, and in order take this dick out. Maybe it was her magik but the change rippled through her in a second, no crunching, no tingling, wincing pain - just one minute human, the next a wolf. The intense, ferocious pain of her belly wound was enough to make her want to pass out for relief but she mentally shook herself, forcing herself onto all fours. She took a few steps, ignoring the blood that dripped onto the ground below her as the wound tried to heal itself with her transformation.

She looked up with her sharp lykan eyes, pulled back her muzzle and growled ferociously at the daemon as it stood amazed and surprised by what it had witnessed. It was all she needed.

Ignoring her wound, Caia ran and pounced into the air, pushing her wolf until she hit the daemon, her claws piercing its burnt flesh giving her a stranglehold. The daemon didn’t even have time to throw her off before she widened her jaws and sank her teeth into its jugular, tearing its neck open and dousing her mouth and fur in blood. She gagged a little at the amount that flowed down her throat and then salivated as the daemon began to struggle with her. It had a grip of her body and it punched at her wound causing her to whine in pain. Its actions only made her angrier. Aggressively she ripped and tore at its neck… until eventually the damn thing rolled right off its body and fell with a thud. She collapsed with its decapitated body onto the ground and backed up off of it, her belly weeping in agony.

Lucien. She had to get to Lucien.

Lucien didn’t know what he was thinking when he had asked Marion to come to his store to discuss what she’d offered to Caia. The witch was like a brick wall and she wasn’t moving.

“I’ve told you I can’t take back my offer because it isn’t my offer to take back.”

He tried not to growl and instead opted for intimidating pacing. “Marion, I thought you were a friend to this pack.”

“I am.”

“Well, how can you possibly think about taking an Alpha’s mate from him?”

Marion heaved a huge sigh and collapsed onto one of the stools that he kept in the workshop. “I told Marita all of this but I have to do what she asked Lucien and... Caia has the right to make her own decisions.”

He knew that. He did. Really. He just hadn’t thought that she would even contemplate leaving him, leaving the pack, once she knew how tightly bound they were. Mates did not leave each other for Gaia’s sake.

But she was leaving him.

Or seriously thinking about leaving him.

Lucien shook his head. He couldn’t believe it. Rage flowed through his veins as thick as the blood it rode and he clung to it desperately. It was better than allowing him to analyze just how hurt he was by her. And you could only be hurt by someone you cared about.

Right now, the last thing on earth he wanted was to care about her.

“I know you care about her, Lucien,” Marion said softly and he snarled, irritated that she could read him so easily. He forgot that magiks did that. Sensed emotions. What crap.

“She’s my mate,” he answered coldly.

“She’s more to you than just a responsibility. I’m not blind.”

He flushed, wanting to hit out at something, and instead turned his back on the witch, trying to control his breathing and his anger. The last thing he needed to do was insult the sister of the Head of the Daylight Coven. Although insulting the Head of the Coven sounded like a good idea right now. Interfering wench.

“You should tell her you have feelings for her. Maybe that’s all she wants.”

Lucien shuddered trying to control himself and he turned back to her, deliberately infusing ice and intimidation into his gaze. “I don’t want to discuss this with you. I just want you to tell your sister where to stick her invitations.”

“Now Luc-”

Scratch, scrape, scratch. Lucien’s ears pricked up at the eerie noise. “Ssh.”

“What?” She frowned.

Lucien shushed her again and listened. There it was again. A scraping noise coming from the front of the store. He strode out of the workshop and stopped.

“What is it?” Marion whispered.

Lucien sniffed and then turned back to the magik, puzzled. “Caia?”

The scratching sounded again followed by a whine, and Lucien was racing to pull open the store’s front door. He watched in silent horror as a blonde wolf limped into the store and collapsed, leaving a trail of blood in her wake.

“Oh my goddess.” Marion fell at her as he stood staring numbly at the sight of his mate bleeding to death on the floor.

“Caia?” he whispered.

“It’s her belly.” Marion’s lips trembled as she turned to look back up at him, her hands covered in Caia’s blood. “She’s lost a lot of blood.”

The copper smell pounded his nostrils like punches knocking him out of his daze and sending his heart into palpitations.

“Caia.” He threw himself down on the floor next to her and looked into green eyes that gazed up at him in fear. She whined, and he ran a comforting hand down her bloodied blonde coat, noting a strange black dried blood around her muzzle.

“What happened to her?” he choked, anger increasing the tempo of his heart.

“Now, Lucien, stay calm,” Marion muttered. “Her wound is bad but it’s healing as we speak.” She stopped and looked up. “Saffron!”

Suddenly the faerie was in the store looking nonplussed until she took in Caia. “Oh my.”

“Saffron, I need you to follow Caia’s trail of blood and see if you can find out what’s happened here.”

The faerie nodded militantly and left quickly.

Lucien looked down at his hands now coated in Caia’s blood and he clenched them into fists. “This is her uncle, isn’t it?” he growled and watched Marion flinch at the sound of the lykan in his voice.

“I told you to stay calm. She needs you to stay calm while I salt the wound closed.”

He nodded and stroked Caia’s head. She whined again and gazed back up at him and all his anger towards her just fell away.

“Caia,” he leaned down to whisper in her ear, while he continued to stroke her soothingly, “It’s OK, querida. You’re going to be OK.”

She growled and flinched as Marion literally poured some kind of salt onto her wound and Lucien had to hold her down so she didn’t snap her jaws at the witch. He hummed low in his throat to calm her and watched in amazement as the salt glowed like fire on a stick of dynamite, before it burned out, leaving a closed wound.

He frowned, realizing Caia had stilled beneath him.

“Caia.” He shook her head until Marion placed a hand on his forearm.

“She’s passed out. She’s fine.”

His heart beat ferociously. “She better be,” he threatened.

Marion chuckled. “Why, just five minutes ago I thought you couldn’t care less about her?”

“I didn’t say that,” his snarl of outrage shut her up and he guessed she realized now was not a time to tease him.

“Do you have a blanket?”

Lucien shook his head, not taking his eyes off of Caia. A blanket suddenly appeared over her small furry self.

“It’s for when she comes around. She’ll need to change in order to get proper rest.”

Lucien choked again, not wanting to think about what Caia had just gone through and he hadn’t been there to protect her. “What do you think happened?”

“Well,” Marion sighed gravely, getting to her feet, “Saffron will fill us in but... I can feel something unfamiliar in her energy... ”


“Daemon.” Saffron strode through the door, a grimace on her face. “Daemon,” she repeated and then looked down thoughtfully at Caia. “Is she OK?”

“She will be. What do you mean daemon?”

Saffron eyes flicked back and forth between the two of them. “The blood led to the parking lot at the mall, where I found Caia’s car obliterated and turned up on its side. It was cast in magik, Caia’s magik, so I’m guessing she used it as a weapon. Smart girl.”

Lucien couldn’t even process that. Caia had used her car as a weapon? He looked back down at her in awe. Who was this kid? “That doesn’t explain how you know it was a daemon.”

“Well.” Saffron actually looked gleeful. “I found a decapitated daemon several yards from the car. He had a spiked chain link coated in Caia’s blood so I’m guessing that’s how she got wounded. She must have changed into lykan to heal and then literally tore his head off. I’m impressed.” She chuckled. “That girl has some serious attitude.”

Marion was smiling as well. Lucien wanted to hit them both. Caia had just been attacked by a fricking daemon for Gaia’s sake!

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