As the Prince and I move around the dance floor, I’m only too conscious that every eye in the room is
on us. Of course, none of those eyes weigh on my shoulders so heavily as Sinclairs. I’m working hard
not to accidentally send him any signals that I need to be rescued, but it isn’t easy – especially after the
Prince just confronted me with one of the many lies I’ve been telling.
“That’s not surprising.” I bluff. “I lived a quiet life before coming here.”
“There’s quiet and then there’s nonexistent.” The Prince mutters bleakly. “And forgive me but I find it
highly suspicious that you made absolutely no impact on your prior pack. After all – one would expect a
she-wolf qualified to be Luna to have a high profile.”
“Believe it or not,” I begin, deciding to tell at least one truth tonight, “but I didn’t find my strength until I
met Dominic. He’s helping me recognize that my power was always there, but sometimes it takes
seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes to appreciate the parts of ourselves we take for granted.
So, no I didn’t have a high profile in the Bloodbane pack.”
The Prince scoffs. “I wouldn’t be so quick to admit that, Ella. Just imagine what the council would think
if they knew.” His tone implies advice, but his eyes glint with an obvious threat.
“I’ll gladly tell them myself.” I counter coolly, “I’m not ashamed of my past, and I think people need
leaders who can be honest about their journeys. No one starts out in this world as a force of nature;
they become one after being molded and weathered by the elements. Dominic and I are examples of
how even the strongest of our kind become so through resilience and strife, as well as the people with
whom you surround yourself – not blind ambition.”
The Prince has been keeping his voice low, no doubt afraid of being overheard, but when I continue to
speak at a volume guaranteeing others will hear our conversation, he loses his temper. “Would you
keep your voice down?!”
“Why, don’t you want people to know our positions?” I counter, feeling an unfamiliar spike of adrenaline.
Is this how hunters feel when they know they’re closing in? When they’ve got their target cornered.
“Don’t you want them to be fully informed before the election?”
“That isn’t how things are done!” The Prince snaps, forgetting to whisper now.
“Well maybe it should be.” I answer coldly. “Why adhere to outdated traditions just because that’s the
way things have always been done? Being done doesn’t mean they’re right or effective.”
The Prince growls, and I see the wolves around us rear back in shock. I know I have scant seconds
before Sinclair will appear and snatch me away from the Prince so he can attack, so I offer the tyrant in
front of me my widest smile, hoping it will convince Sinclair I can handle this.
“See, this is exactly what I mean,” I beam, mildly surprised at how little fear I truly fear. “Growling at
breeding she-wolves half your size really seems like a practice that should have been left in the dark
ages, don’t you think?”
The Prince glowers, abruptly stopping and yanking me close enough so he can hiss in my ear, “You
dumb bitch, I don’t know how you survived last night, but mark my words, I’m going to get rid of you
and that brat you’re growing one way or another. You should leave while you still can, if you stay I
guarantee your days are numbered!”
His claws are digging into my bandaged arms, and I know I can’t give into my instincts to growl back at
him. I don’t care if he’s threatening me, but the idea that he’s threatening my pup makes me want to
rant and rage – to destroy him no matter the cost.
Any fear I might have once felt for myself has translated into primal protectiveness for my child. The
problem is that it might cost us the campaign – I know how important it is for me to continue looking
calm and unintimidated by the Prince. If I let the people around us see my fear or anger I’ll lose the
Luckily Sinclair appears in our path before I can lose control and snap back the way I want to. He
suddenly steps into our path, all rugged good looks and raw power. My belly swoops and flutters when I
see him, and the next thing I know, he’s extracting me from the Prince’s arms. “I’m going to take my
mate back now.” He announces with a lethal grin, not waiting for the Prince to agree. “It’s been too
I laugh, “It’s only been a few minutes.”
“I meant what I said.” Sinclair beams, sending a ripple of laughs around the room as he sweeps me into
his arms. We spin away on the dance floor, leaving the Prince to stew in his anger.
Only once we’ve left our audience behind and I’m swaying safely in Sinclair’s arms, does he drop his
lips to my ear. “What did he say to you?”
I glance up at him hesitantly. “I’m not sure I should tell you, not here at least.”
“If you don’t tell me now I’m going to throw a tantrum right here in the middle of the dance floor.”
Sinclair jokes, though there’s a sharp edge in his voice that tells me he’s not merely jesting. He might
have chosen the words to make me laugh, but I can tell he needs to know the truth if he’s going to
maintain his control.
“He admitted sending the rogues after me.” I relate, peeking up at him. “He threatened me and the
baby, told me to leave while I still can.”
Sinclair pulls me closer, until I can no longer see his handsome face. Still, I can picture him glowering
at everyone around us, staring daggers at anyone who sets eyes on me –like a dragon guarding its
treasure. “Don’t worry, Ella.” Sinclair rumbles, his strong hands caressing my spine. “I won’t let him hurt
you or the baby.”
“I know you won’t.” I assure him, leaning close so he can feel my solid weight in his arms. “I trust you,
I’m amazed to realize I’m speaking the truth. I do trust Sinclair, despite everything I’ve been through. I
know he wouldn’t intentionally hurt me, and I know he’ll keep me safe.
“Thank you, baby.” He croons, sending delicious shivers down my spine. Even as I revel in his warm
tone and terms of endearment, his earlier threats are still ringing in my ears, and I have to wonder
whether I have another punishment ahead of me.
“Am I still in trouble?” I squeak, not sure whether I’m hoping he says yes or no. There’s something
strangely addictive about his dominance, and I’m still aching for his touch. At the time I thought the
longing would pass with time, but it seems like my hormones have gotten the better of me. Rather than
passing, my desire has only grown, and the flames were stoked ever higher when he began scolding
“No, sweetheart.” He answers, donning an indulgent smile. “You kept me from making a terrible
mistake. You helped me stay calm when I was completely out of control. You don’t deserve a
punishment, if anything you deserve to be rewarded.”
“Oh? What kind of reward?” I inquire, both hoping he’ll give me a scandalous answer, and praying he
won’t. I’m not sure how much longer I can resist him, even though I know I should.
He chuckles, sending heat through every inch of my body. “That’s a dangerous question, little one.”
I smother a whimper, even as heat pools in my core. I hear Sinclair take in a sharp breath, and I’m sure
he can smell my arousal again. I lean my forehead against the hard muscles of his chest. “What are we
doing, Dominic?” I sigh, knowing I’m being terribly contrary. “I’m sorry, I know I’m not making any of this
easier – I’m just so confused.”
“It’s okay to be confused.” He promises. “And I think you were right this afternoon. You’ve been through
too much. You’re not in any state of mind to make those kinds of decisions today – no matter what your
“But my body wants it so badly.” I confess, figuring that I’ve already admitted as much in our dream
date, so I have nothing left to lose.
“Mine does too.” Sinclair smiled wryly, “if you could hear my wolf, Ella – you’d be scandalized… maybe
“I’m not sure I could be frightened of you. Not the way you mean at least.” I breathe, “it’s the strangest
thing, If you were anyone else I’d be terrified, but it’s like the baby won’t let me.”
“He’s a smart baby.” Sinclair confirms, putting up with pride. “He gets that from you.”
I’m tempted to argue, but I can see a warning glint in Sinclair’s eyes and think better of it. “So what do
we do? How do we resist this?”
“We keep at it.” Sinclair decides, “until we can’t any longer.”
“And then?” I prompt him, curious beyond words. “When we can no longer resist?”
“We give in.” Sinclair answers, lowering his forehead to mine. “And pray we can survive it.”
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