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Word Count: 2090

~Meara

As we head back upstairs to get some rest, Sire's hand grazes mine.

"Come to bed with me," he murmurs.

His smile is weak enough to let slip how burdened with worry he is. He wants me in his room, where he can see me at all times, as if Kyro may appear at any moment to drag me away.

"Of course." I squeeze his hand. "This won't be our last night together, if that's what you're thinking."

We walk into his room, Sire not bothering to turn on any light, letting the moonlight coming through the window guide us as we start to undress.

"It's hard not to think like that," he mutters.

It's hard to be concerned about what tomorrow brings when Sire looks so glorious without his shirt on. The moonlight liberally douses his taut skin with bluish light, highlighting every bump and divot of muscle.

My eyes stray on the markings that wind up his torso toward his neck. They are the markings of a true Alpha.

"He's not going to kill me. Not yet," I remind him, picking one of Sire's shirts to sleep in.

Sire's jaw is hard as he buttons his pants. "You don't know him like I do."

"I don't need to..." I'm assuming all this because it's what makes the most sense. Kyro had every opportunity to use Hazel to kill me in the moment, but he didn't.

He's giving himself time to come up with a plan...he has to be.

I slip into bed beside my mate, his weight pulling me flush against his side.

"He's extending this shit because he thinks I was his wife's secret lover." His breaths are sharp from irritation as I rest my head against his chest. "He's going to use you to piss me off."

"Then don't let him. Don't react," I breathe, looking down his torso.

He stills as I draw my fingers along his strong abdominal muscles, feeling them tense as he watches with baited breath. I will never get over having such a man as my mate.

"How can I not react? It's you we are talking about." His fingers trace lines through my hair, sending shivers of pleasure across my skin.

"You'll know what I'm feeling at all times because of the bond. If I'm in danger, you can come to me," I assure him.

This bond has connected us in ways I would never have assumed. If I concentrate, even from a distance, it feels like I can sense every breath he draws in, every emotion that passes through him.

Instead of unnerving me, it feels right. Natural.

"What if he hurts you before I can get to you?" Sire is talking to himself more so than he is talking out loud, trying to vent his frustrations through words.

I rest a palm over his stomach. "He won't. Stop worrying."

He pulls on my arm, guiding me up until I am sitting astride him, looking right into his eyes. I let his gaze rove over me, let him remind himself that I am here, right now, and I'm not going anywhere.

"You have no idea how much I care about you." His grip tightens on my hips.

"I know. I care about you too." I smile, brushing his dark strands away from his eyes before I kiss his forehead tenderly.

A lot has changed since the bonding ceremony, and although I know part of it may be because of how interlinked we are now, I know I'm growing something for him that the bond could not have manufactured.

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