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I stare through the canopy of leaves, stretching out uncomfortably.

There's a bitter chill to the air, but at least the rain has ceased. We are camped out in the forest near Kimsa's house. It's too late to walk to the edge of her magical protection bubble, and she doesn't want us in the house with her, so here we are.

"Tomorrow we go to Hazel and have her bring us to this location," Sire says as he sets down some more blankets next to me, gesturing at me to lay them over myself.

I fold my hands over my stomach, staring upward. "You haven't even given me a chance to think about this."

This should be an easy decision. I shouldn't be thinking twice about being aligned to Sire. We are mates, we are already bonded. But the way Kimsa described what it would be like to be aligned overwhelmed me.

When we are apart, I will feel it...I already do, but now, I fear it may be excruciating. What else might I feel? Will my emotions become too much to handle?

The thought is terrifying...

"What is there to think about?" Sire questions, folding a blanket up so he can use it as a pillow.

I brace myself up on my elbows. "This is a big decision. I'm tying myself to you forever."

"We are mates," he reminds me flatly.

I roll my eyes. "I know. But it's more than that, and you know it."

He pauses, a frown gathering between his brows. I can't tell if he is hurt or angry. He has every right to be both, I get it, but I can't help that I have reservations. I wish I were as ready to commit myself to him as he is to me.

"So what, you would rather Carran?" He asks softly, the depth of his tone conveying a growing fury.

"No...I didn't say that." I sit up fully. "Not that it would matter, because you're planning to kill Carran anyways."

"I am."

His jaw tightens as he concentrates on building his bed. The moonlight dances along his raven hair, along the sharp lines of his face that seem cut from glass. When he looks angry, he looks just like the Alpha he is destined to be.

"Maybe I should align with Carran, then. That way this witchy bond thing will only last a bit," I bite back.

Obviously I have no interest in being with Carran. The man is insufferable, and I know deep down that I'm meant to be with Sire, we just have to get through our disagreement.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to use this to shamelessly get what I want. If it means saving my fellow Pack members from a needless war, then I'll do it.

Sire settles down next to me, his eyes chips of dark blue ice.

"Or, you could align with me. You will be with your mate, and the Alpha."

I don't hate the idea of being Luna has much as I thought I would. It's daunting, but we haven't had a Luna since Carran's mother died, and I would like to think one would really benefit the Pack.

It just needs to be done right.

"You're not the Alpha yet," I remind him flatly, narrowing my eyes.

"Oh, I will be."

"This is the problem," I exclaim, throwing my hands up. "How can I tie myself to someone who can't even give up a revenge fantasy to be with their mate."

He swallows, watching me keenly. He knows I'm right.

"Carran deserves what is coming to him, and not just because he kissed you," he says, his tone softening, although there is a bitter edge to it at the memory of marks on my face that Carran's grip left.

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