If only I had the slightest idea that my life would be turned upside-down, just by stepping onto that bus five years ago, would I choose to leave or stay? If I had remained in Orshore, I would probably be dead.
It was the morning after my twenty-first birthday and here I was, sat bound to a chair, blindfolded. Nothing felt familiar. The worst case scenario was that I had been kidnapped and dragged off to the creepy island at the centre of the lake.
Please don’t let me be there. A shudder sliced through me, chilling me to the bone.
Last night was hazy, although I was pretty sure I had fallen asleep in my own room. I had been enjoying my party, having the time of my life with my brother and my friends. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened, I was certain of it. Maybe I had gotten a little drunk. My shoulders slumped as it dawned on me... the wine. It had to have been the wine.
That was right. The flashbacks began to filter through, revealing the missing pieces to the puzzle. My friend, Hannah, had coerced me into a prank, forcing me to wear that ridiculous wedding dress and plying me with wine. "I'm gonna kill you, Hannah!" I growled my frustrations into the void. As much as I struggled against the restraints, it was no use. I only succeeded in pulling them tighter, causing the binds to bite into my skin.
My body stilled, exhausted and helpless. The haunting sound of wolves howling in celebration sounded eerie as hell. I knew I couldn’t escape even if I wanted to. They had me surrounded. I prayed to god I wasn’t where I thought I was. If I was...then that meant I was miles away from the mainland, with no way off this godforsaken island.
I’ve been told that I have to accept fate, that my life is meant to be shared with someone else. That we were going to be soulmates who were destined to be together... that the union between him and I had been arranged long before I was even born.
I wasn’t sure how I was expected to embark on a relationship with this person, when I had never even seen his face. I knew something had been coming for years, but there was nothing quite like hindsight was there?
He lured me in, keeping me here. My sudden change in luck, the gifts, the money. There was one thing I’d come to realize: There was no such thing as something for nothing. Everything came with a price. When something seems too good to be true...then it probably was.
One thing I know for certain was that I’d been lied to. My whole life had been a lie. My life indeed wasn’t my own, I belonged to someone. The mysterious Alec, I guessed.
Apparently, I had no choice in this matter either. People would die if I don’t co-operate. Something else I discovered recently was monsters indeed exist, and there was some who wanted me dead. I chose to remain here in Stonevale, this being the lesser of two evils. I was a coward. If I had listened to the niggling doubt in the back of mind and ran away from my deceiving friends and the mysterious Alec, then those monsters who lay in wait for me, would have decapitated me the moment I stepped foot out of town. I had been trapped here, for better or for worse still remained to be seen.
I heard the servant who led me in here hurriedly scuttle out of the room, the sound of an unmistakable gasp leaving her lips as if there was someone of great importance approaching her.
I swallowed hard, clenching my fists as I waited with fear for what might happen next. The atmosphere had changed around me the moment I heard the fast approaching footsteps drawing closer.
A strong presence entered the room I was in, their eyes seemed solely focused on me. I could practically feel their eyes scorch my skin, dragging their heated gaze from head to toe.
Whoever it was stopped directly in front of me. It made me feel helpless that I was blindfolded, my hands bound together, unable to defend myself.
A shiver ran down my spine as the mystery person, no doubt a male, ran their fingers along the side of my face, stopping to cup my jaw. My bottom lip trembled as he traced it with the pad of his thumb. Strength emanated from him in powerful waves, yet his touch was nothing but reverent.
I sensed the male bend down. His minty breath fanned across my cheek. His cologne smelt heavenly, woodsy and masculine, pure male. It was all too strangely familiar. Where had I smelled it before?
I almost fell over when I felt soft full lips press a kiss to my own, taking me by surprise. The contrast of his cashmere lips against what felt like short stubble sent electricity shooting through my body, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand to attention. I was shivering, goose-bumps prickling at my skin but I no longer felt afraid. The kiss was enough to placate me, lulling me into a deep sense of contentment that I couldn't begin to rationalize, even if I tried.
He attempted to loosen the blindfold by pulling the knot at the back. When the silk loosened enough, I allowed my eyes to adjust to my surroundings.
My eyes were downcast at first, landing on his open black suit jacket and white shirt. I slowly looked up into the most beautiful hypnotic eyes I had ever seen, and everything fell away as I stared at the god-like man that sat kneeling in front of me. That same man who captured my attention at the club.
“You...” I breathed.