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One year later

I awoke one morning to the soft chirping of the birds outside our balcony, the rays of sunlight beaming through the open glass door and falling on the parts of my skin that lay bare. I rolled over the silky sheets of our king-sized bed but found the other side of the sheets cold and empty. My eyebrows lowered into a confused frown as I studied the room around me, but found that I was its only occupant.

Tossing the soft sheets off to the side, I pushed myself away from the mattress and hopped on the floor, the cool tiles causing a slight shiver to run up my spine. I followed the route to the bathroom and turned on the shower, letting the water warm up as I splashed my face in the sink and brushed my teeth.

After a quick shower, I changed into a beige floral dress that fell above my knees, and brushed my fingers through my wavy brown locks to straighten them after a night of tossing and turning in my deep slumber. Then I quickly put on my white Vans and hurried out the bedroom door in search of the man I'd gotten used to waking in the arms of.

As I passed down the hallway and towards the grand stairway, the joyful chattering and laughter echoed in the house - a noise I had not only grown accustomed to, but also started feeling empty without. It had become a part of my daily routine to wake up to the voices of the families in our pack house, ever since I'd accepted Xavier's offer and moved into the pack home, two months ago.

When I reached the ground floor, I turned a corner heading towards the kitchen, the place where the voices sounded the loudest. As I entered the busy room, my gaze roamed across the faces of the people I'd started to consider my family.

"Nora!" Scarlett exclaimed, a wide smile on her face as she gently pushed Vincent's arm away, forcing him to drop his hold from around her waist. He turned to greet me with a slight nod to his head, and a smile on his lips.

"Good morning, everyone," I greeted the people in the kitchen, most of whom had ceased their actions and stood by respectfully the second I entered the room. It was still odd, getting used to their behavior towards me, and no matter how much I'd tried to get them to treat me as an equal they continued to view me as the superior I was too ashamed to consider myself as.

"Good morning, Luna." One of the young pack members, a girl barely past sixteen, grinned widely at me as she poured a cup of coffee.

"Have you guys seen Xavier?" I asked hopefully. Someone must have seen him, it was unusual for him to wake up so early and leave without saying goodbye.

Scarlett nodded her head, which captured my attention and I diverted my gaze to fully face her.

"He's in your spot, waiting for you."

My heart skipped a beat, then started again with an excited rhythm. A big smile spread across my cheeks, and I quickly nodded and excused myself to go see him.

As I walked past the open glass doors to the back gardens of the estate, my heart thrummed in my chest in excitement, wondering what surprise he was up to delivering this time.

Being with Xavier had been one of the best things to have happened to me in all twenty-four years of my existence, no exaggeration. Everyday I would awake with a feeling of contentment, and when our gazes interlock, my heart bursts into a million butterflies.

It was no secret that I have fallen, badly, for him.

And he never ceased to remind me that he has, too.

As I strolled through the gardens and past the trails that were highlighted by hundreds of blooming roses, the sun's rays danced across my exposed skin and warmed my cheeks, reminding me of that feeling of bliss I experienced every awaking hour since I'd started this new journey with my mate.

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