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~Meara

I push away from Sire, whirling around to face him.

My cheeks are flushed with shame, knowing I've been caught in a lie that I'm not going to be able to escape from. Sire wouldn't have brought me back here so promptly if he didn't know something was going on.

"Why don't you sit down." He motions into the other room, his stare ice cold.

"Take me back, Sire," I growl.

He brushes past me, shaking his head. "You're not going anywhere."

My jaw tightens as I narrow my eyes at his back, contemplating ways to get out of this conversation. He won't understand, even if what I'm trying to do is for his benefit. He would rather kill Carran now then continue hiding.

"I just needed a break..." I exclaim, following him into the sitting room.

Sire waves his hand in the direction of the double glass doors. They swing open, a warm breeze flowing in, contrasting against the chill that has seized my insides.

"I know you were with Carran," he mutters, falling into his brown leather seat, letting out a long sigh. "Are you in love with him?"

The thought is so disturbing, so left-field that I almost laugh.

"Absolutely not," I splutter. "I went there to see if he wanted to align with me. But not for love."

To Sire's credit, he is remarkably calm, although the depth of rage buried in his eyes conveys the real truth. He is furious, and I don't blame him.

"Did he?" His voice is deceptively calm.

"He agreed," I say quickly, tensing as I anticipate his reaction. He taps his fingers against the arm of the chair, the consistent rhythm disconcerting.

"It's not happening."

I steel myself, knowing I need to get this out. "What is the alternative? If he sees the curse has ended, he may ask one of his witches how. If they figure it out, he will know you're alive, that you're not trapped in the tomb anymore, and he will use all his force to come after you."

Carran won't underestimate either of us if we force his hand. He will harm my mate, which is a thought I cannot bear, regardless of how I feel about him.

And he will come for me...Any chance at a normal life will be taken from me.

"That's no problem for me. I'm going to kill him anyways," he says. I roll my eyes, expecting that exact reaction.

"Sire. Be serious."

"We can't hide it from him much longer," he reminds me coolly. "As soon as the curse is lifted, I will be working out how to regain my Pack. He will learn of me eventually."

"But-"

He holds his hand up, silencing me. "I am far stronger than him. I can keep us both safe."

I sigh through my nose. His powers allow him to kill everyone on the face of this earth without mercy, without any struggle from him. That isn't what I want, though. We need to balance our survival with everyone else.

"I just don't want any harm to come to you," I breathe, stepping toward him.

"It won't," he assures me. He stands swiftly, closing the gap between us. "Please do this with me, Meara. I should have asked the first time, I just assumed it was obvious."

I close my eyes. Either way, there is a risk. What it comes down to is who I would rather have this connection with.

All I know is it's definitely not Carran...

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