Chapter 13- Lifeblood
I followed him in silence for the last five minutes and the quiet began to bother me.
“Where are we going?” I asked, finally no longer able to follow along in silence.
“We’re almost there,” he called back as he climbed over another large boulder.
I rolled my eyes at his evasiveness. Instead, I focused on the events of the day. They obviously hadn’t caught Silas or we wouldn’t be out here doing goddess knows what. I’d only been here a week and so much had happened. It felt as if I’d been here for months the way my days had been passing.
Another few minutes passed as we continued to climb and I soaked in as much of the landscape as I could. The trees had gotten thicker the farther we went into the territory and the noises had become much more woodsy. We ducked underneath a branch and it was as if I walked through a thick fog that I had to wade through as if swimming. Once I’d gotten through I stared at Sebastian in confusion. He smiled and turned pulling away a large shrub, showing me the most beautiful place I’d ever laid eyes on.
In front of us was a breathtaking waterfall and oasis in the middle of nowhere . How had I not heard the roaring falls of water?
As if Sebastian could read my thoughts, he answered. “It’s magic. A local witch helped my ancestors conceal this place. Only the Alpha and Luna know where it is. We can bring others but the magic keeps them from being able to return here or tell anyone of its location. It’s our most sacred place. We tie ourselves to the pack and land here.”
I moved closer to the water’s edge and my arm hair stood on edge as if my body sensed the magic surrounding this place.
“You tie yourself to the pack and land here?” I asked.
He nodded. “It’s where the pack imbues the water with a drop of their blood. We become family here. The water feeds into all the water sources on our territory. Our lifeblood thrives in everything the water nourishes. It’s where you’ll pledge yourself to the pack when you officially become Luna.”
A spark of excitement shot down my arms. My old pack had nothing like this. Alpha Hugo took a drop of our blood into him, tying us to him alone. Here we pledged ourselves to each other and the land.
The ground around us thrummed with a power I could only assume came from the water. The lifeblood of the pack, Sebastian had called it.
He took my hand and led me away from the water towards the tree line on the opposite side of where we entered. He pulled us through the thick trees and stopped at the edge of a cliff’s edge. Below us was the rest of the pack territory. Houses were scattered throughout and I could just make out the pack house to our left.
His thumb rubbed a soothing circle over the palm of my hand. “This is my home. The pack is my family. I will do anything to protect it from Silas and his pack of rogues.”
The gaze pierced mine. “I will do anything to keep him from you.”
He lifted my hand to his cheek, leaning into my touch. In a swift movement, he pulled me into his bare chest, the warmth of his breath caressing my ear as my name passed his lips.
He pulled back and released me from his arms. My body yearned to be near him again.
“You know all there is to know about Silas except for a detail only a select few know.”
He took a steadying breath. “I am the reason so many of our pack were slaughtered when Silas last attacked. I am the reason my parents are dead and I am responsible for the death of my best friends mate.”
I inhaled sharply. “How?”
His shoulders fell. “I told my father where Silas and his mate were. I didn’t think he would kill them. I thought he’d show them mercy, amnesty. I thought he’d welcome Silas and the newly bitten wolves into our ranks. I thought…,” he trailed off, shaking his head. “I don’t know what I thought. When my father returned and told me what he’d done I felt sick. I knew I’d made a mistake in betraying my closest friend.”
His eyes darkened. “Two nights later Silas and what was left of his half breeds attacked. They killed my parents and a third of our warriors, and a few civilian pack members.”
He ran a hand through the messy mop of hair on his head and yanked furiously. “My mistake killed them.”
His agony clawed at my heart.
“Sebastian, no,” I said, wrapping my arms around his waist. There is no way you could have known your father would react that way.”
“Maybe, but I shouldn’t have sold out my best friend.”
I pulled back and stared into the bottomless pools that were his eyes. “Silas broke council law. He was biting humans. I’m not saying his mate deserved to die for his choices but his actions had consequences and unfortunately, his mate paid them. And you can’t keep living your life with the weight of your father’s decisions. It wasn’t your fault, Sebastian.”
Tears pooled at the corners of his eyes.
“You understand me?” I asked, taking his face into my hand and bringing his gaze back to mine.
He nodded stiffly and whispered,” I can’t lose you, Lyla. After everything, I can’t lose you too.”
The anguish in his voice mirrored the ache in my heart. “And you won’t Sebastian. You won’t.”
His lips crashed into mine, an urgency behind every movement. He coaxed my mouth open and gently probed my tongue with his. Our bodies pressed into each other, longing for one another.
He pulled back and his eyes roamed my face, searching. Uncertainty seemed to be etched into the lines around his eyes and mouth. Then all at once, the uncertainty was gone. He took my hand and pulled me back to the water.
Back at the water’s edge, he pulled out a switchblade from his pocket.
My heart skipped several beats.
Moments ago insecurity shrouded the features of his face but now a fierce determination shone through.
He flicked the switchblade open and asked. “Lyla, will you take the bond as the Royal Pack’s Luna and as my mate?”
My heart stopped and soared all at once. “Sebastian,” I gasped. “What about the ceremony?”
“Screw the ceremony; we don’t need to do this in front of an audience just because tradition dictates it so. All I want is you and for our pack to have its Luna.” He stepped closer. “Will you, Lyla? Will you take my mark as your mate? Will you give your blood to the pack?”
The magic of the place seemed to know what was about to happen because the ground beneath and around us seemed to hum with anticipation.
I scoured his face for any sign of doubt but I found none.
“Yes,” I whispered hoarsely.
His rare smile graced his face and all worries of what the others would think slipped away.
He took my hand and sliced a thin line into my palm. My racing heart matched the beat of his own. A thin rivulet of blood ran down my arm and dropped onto the ground. The buzz of the magic pulsed in the air.
Sebastian took my uncut hand and led me closer to the pool of water, its light illuminating all around us. It poured over us, enveloping us in its soft luminosity.
When had it gotten dark?
He grabbed hold of my bleeding hand, eyes never leaving my face. Was he worried that I’d back out?
“Lyla, do you accept the Royal pack as your own, as the people who will always have your back, as your family? Do you accept your responsibilities as Luna and vow to put the pack’s need before your own?”
His gaze burned into mine as the magic of this place waited to take my oath and my blood and weave them into the fibers of our territory and pack bond. It waited for my soul to accept my new family.
I knew we had so much to still learn about each other and Sebastian and I were still on shaky ground but none of it would change the outcome. He and I were chosen for each other. The Moon Goddess wanted me to be a part of this pack. She had chosen them as my family.
“I do,” I said firmly as I let a few drops of my blood to fall into the water.
A burst of energy exploded from the pond, burying itself into the earth. A snap in my mind nearly brought me to my knees. Thankfully, Sebastian had anticipated it and caught me.
Hundreds of pack voices filled every space and corner of my mind. Confusion and elation ran unbridled down the link. We had robbed them of this moment but there didn’t seem to be any anger towards us, only happiness and relief.
Sebastian gave me a moment to get used to the fullness of the link and to put my walls up, effectively reclaiming my mind.
The moment I was able to breathe again I noticed the change in the air between us. Sebastian pulled me to him and every neuron in my body instantly ignited. His nose grazed my neck, sending shivers along my spine.
A slow torturous descent of kisses and nibbles from my earlobe to my marking spot left me gasping for air. He whispered my name before sinking his teeth into my neck, bonding me to him forever. A rush of adrenaline flooded me followed by a raging inferno of flames. Desire licked and scorched my skin, begging to be fed.
Sebastian retracted from his bite and it was all I needed to quickly find the spot I’d mark him as mine. A throaty moan rumbled in his chest as my teeth sank in and the intensity matched the throbbing ache between my legs.
I needed him here and now but the small annoying part of me that I’d never been able to conquer didn’t want to be so vulnerable out in the open. I wanted to overcome that prudish part of myself but today wasn’t the day. I’d find a way to get him to our bedroom.
I licked his wound before placing soft kisses along the edge.
My heart lurched. It was as if I could feel his happiness, his need for me. It only enhanced my own longing. A thrill shot through me as I decided how I would get what I wanted.
Sebastian’s eyes flicked open, catching on a second too late. “Lyla,” he growled, trying to reach for me, but I was already gone.
I zipped through the woods, adrenaline coursing through me, running as fast as my two legs could carry me. Feelings warred within me, anticipation, giddy excitement and a climax aching for release.
I could hear Sebastian trailing me, catching up. I hadn’t had much of a head start but there was no point in leaving a false trail to throw him off; we both knew where we were headed.
The thrill of the chase flowed through the half-completed bond between us, fueling our already oversensitized nerves. I raced down the slopes and dashed through the never-ending trees.
Just as I thought I’d clear the last few, he caught hold of my arm and whirled me around. He thrust me up against the nearest tree trunk, pinning my arms by his thighs. My heaving chest grazed his as I gazed at him.
Our lips crashed in a fury of passion and snarling need. Before long I had to pull away, gasping for breath but Sebastian didn’t let up; his lips continued their assault on my neck while his fingers grasped my hips.
A celebration in the making could be heard in the near distance.
“I don’t think I can make it home, Lyla,’ he moaned against the skin of my neck as his hands began to roam beneath my tank.
My thighs clenched.
His fingers stopped their slow rise towards my breasts as he inhaled deeply, muttering his approval of my scent cloying the air. I moved to push him away, trying to get to the house before I did something crazy and let him take me here against the tree; but he held my arms down as he ground his hips into me.
“Sebastian,” I moaned.
He chuckled darkly, toying with me. Well, two could play that game. I maneuvered my hands close enough to rub my fingers along the length of him. The touch took him by surprise but he growled his approval. I used the distraction to wiggle out of his hold to make a last sprint for the privacy of our room.
I raced past the last of the trees and came to a full stop. Hundreds of pack wolves were gathered on the training ground and outlying areas.
Sebastian snuck behind me, wrapping a possessive arm around my waist. “I tried to warn you,” he chuckled seductively. “Or was this the privacy you were aiming for?”
The smirk he undoubtedly had on his face was laced into his words.
He kissed my neck as the pack watched on. Smiles of approval were everywhere I glanced, everywhere except on Tiberius. His scowl rivaled Beta Alexander’s.
As one the pack kneeled, necks angled in submission. Pride filled me as I gazed over my new family. I would work hard to earn the submission they offered freely.
Sebastian scooped me into his arms and the pack went wild, but my attention was on my mate.
Their party began anew as we disappeared into the house, Sebastian kicking the door shut behind him. I slid down his beautifully sculpted body and shook in anticipation. He pushed me against the wall, claiming my lips. I jumped, wrapping my legs around him, reveling in the searing of his lips against my flesh. His hands cupped my bottom as my teeth tugged on his bottom lip.
A loud cough penetrated my sex muddled brain but not enough to convince me to detangle myself from him.
“Lyla Marie Green,” said a deep voice.
It was like I’d been doused with a bucket of ice water.
I unclenched my legs from around Sebastian and looked up in time to catch his eyes go wide. It was exactly who I thought it was. Thankfully, Sebastian had the quick wit to try and hide the bulge in his sweats.
I turned and came face to face with two of the people I loved most in the world.