“Careful, just a few more steps, and we are there’ Gideon chuckled as he attentively led Riannon to the big surprise he had prepared for her. She had a blindfold on but did not seem worried at all. Her lips curled into a soft smile, and she walked with confidence, holding his hand and trusting him completely.
The Lycan King looked at his beautiful wife and offered silent prayers to the Moon Goddess to thank her for such a gift. Being with Ria still felt like a dream to him sometimes. He had the perfect woman, who made his life perfect as well. Sometimes, he was so happy he felt guilty, considering many of the people around him dealt with the consequences of the aftermath of their recent war. The war that was far from over.
Riannon tried not to grin. She followed wherever he guided her without any doubt or question of his motives.
This was what trust was supposed to be.
She felt a fresh breeze k!ss her cheeks and smelled the scent of a familiar forest. She liked all this already.
Gideon stopped and stood behind her, pulling her into his embrace from the back and k!ssing her neck gently, making waves of tingles ripple over her body. He then trailed the golden crescent on her marking spot with his lips, and she let out a little m0an, hoping they didn’t have any witnesses.
“Ready?” he asked, his lips almost touching her ear.
“Yes,” she replied playfully, and he pulled her blindfold gently, taking it off.
Riannon neededa few seconds to adjust to the light, but when she did, she gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.
“Gideon-that’s -” She breathed out, unable to finish her sentence as she gazed upon their new home. A two-storey modern house sat on the top of a hill in the middle of the woods. Their secret place right on the border of their two packs, where they decided to live and raise their future children. The house had stone and wood outer walls and huge glass windows with open balconies overlooking the Silver Lake, where they first met.
“Surprise!” he whispered and pecked her cheek.
“But how?” she was astonished and turned to look at him. “It wasn’t supposed to be ready for months and months!”
“I had to pull some strings,” Gideon confided, chuckling. “Anything for my queen.”
They made the decision to create this place before their wedding. Since Riannon’s packhouse was destroyed, they needed a new one. They also needed to integrate their people, lycans and werewolves, into one new nation. More houses were planned to be built nearby as this was supposed to slowly become the centre of the new future kingdom. This was the perfect location as Ria’s pack, and the Western Kingdom’s main palace were at an equal and much shorter distance.
They would continue to spend a lot of time in the palace, of course, but this place; this place belonged to them.
Here, they did not have to play their usual political games and could live a much simpler life, which they both craved, creating something new at the same time.
A few mixed couples had already formed . Lycans had found their werewolf mates with thanks to the many meetings arranged by Riannon for the two species. They knew it would take them decades for all the changes to settle, but they both also knew too well how to be patient.
“The view here is better than I remember!” Ria sighed and leaned back onto her mate as his arms wrapped around her.
“It could be better.” The Lycan King smirked and pointed at a big rock in front of the building. “I was right there when I had the best view of my life of a beautiful woman swimming naked in that very lake. Now, that was a view to remember!”
“Hmm,” she hummed, turning around to face him before lacing her fingers into his hair to bring him lower, so his lips reached hers for a k!ss. “Who knows, if you behave, maybe I will swim n*ked for you again. Maybe I will even let you join me this time.”
An internal growl left his chest, and she l!cked his lips gently, making them part to deepen the k!ss. He grasped her tighter in his arms, devouring her greedily as always. He could never get enough of her. No matter how much time they spent together, no matter how many times he k!ssed her, took her, it was never enough.
“You are here!” They heard a familiar voice, and Gideon growled again. This time from the frustration of being interrupted. “Pardon me for the intrusion.”
“Ash!” Ria smiled at her Gamma and was about to step away from her mate, but he would not let her, instead pulling her closely. “This day is full of surprises indeed!”
“You said you had an important conversation with me, and your husband told me you’ll be here today, so I decided to grab this chance,” Ash smiled. They had not seen much of each other lately because he working mainly with werewolves, while Riannon was physically mostly in the Lycan Kingdom, paying visits to her pack when she could. This was one of the reasons why this location was so important. It would make it easier to be both a queen and an Alpha.
Ash’s eyes grazed over her, but he stretched a formal smile quickly.
“That’s actually not a bad idea,” Riannon nodded at him, trying to struggle against Gideon, who had no intentions of letting her go. With Ash, Gideon always became overly possessive, especially when he noticed how Ash looked at his wife.,
“I am at your service, Alpha,” Ash teased, bowed jokingly as she rolled her eyes.
“I will cut straight to the chase,” Riannon announced, becoming serious in an instant. “I need you to take over Brayden’s pack.”
For a few seconds, they simply stared at each other.
Gideon finally released his mate from his clutches, knowing it was strictly a business meeting.
“But-you are the Alpha of The Silver River pack,” Ash mumbled, nervously placing his hands in his pockets. They had discussed this a few times, but he always rejected the idea, knowing if he became the Alpha, they wouldn’t see each other at all.
He knew she belonged to another, and he had no chance, but just being beside her was better than not having her in any form at all. This was enough. He had settled for this.
“Most people in Brayden’s pack resent me after our loud divorce, and some even blame me for his death,” the Alpha Queen stated honestly. “Improving their financial situation helped, but not a lot. I could earn their trust and love if I lived there permanently, but that’s impossible at the moment.”
“l can be your substitute,” Ash proposed with hope.
“No, I need you to be my substitute, Alpha,” Riannon refused, shaking her head. “I can’t do it, and it’s not worth it for me right now. If not me, the other two obvious choices are you and Harper. Trust me, Ash, no pack will survive with Harper as their leader.”
He knew this was the truth and tried to think hectically of a reason to leave things the way they were.
When he felt her touch on his hand, he couldn’t help but shiver and look at her.
“Nothing is over yet, Ash,” Ria confirmed, looking him straight in the eyes. “The battle we had months ago was only the beginning. Everyone is doing their part. No one is safe. Right now, Princess Savannah is planning her wedding in the North Kingdom with a man she doesn’t even like, sacrificing herself for a greater cause. We have to do some adjustments too. It’s not only about the pack. This is bigger than that. Zack and his allies left the Union officially, and we couldn’t do anything about it.
We had no proof other than Savvy’s words of their betrayal. They didn’t turn up to the battle, and now, they say it was Sawy’s fault. They also say Zack is dead and imply that we killed him. However, we all know this is not the truth, and the bastard is alive somewhere and just hiding out, biding his time. Because of all this, members of the Union are unsettled. Ash, I need an extra vote at the next Alpha Summit. You can be that vote if you become an Alpha. We really need you to do this. I need Ash was aware being an Alpha of this pack would be challenging. Yes, they had known him all his life, but some of them were angry at him as well for choosing Riannon over Brayden. If Harper were to become an Alpha, well, it would be a disaster. She was not cut out for this. She had changed a bit after she was abducted by Castiel and had spent a few days in his dungeons, however, the worst part for her was when they all forgot about her. It seemed to be a wake-up call for Harper, who always considered herself the centre of attention. She decided to try and be useful in the pack now that her brother was dead. Unfortunately, she wasn’t good at anything.
Riannon was right, as always. It had to be him. He looked at her hand in his. He could never refuse her. This game was lost before it started.
“I’ll do it,” he accepted, giving her a curt nod.
“As you know, it’s not going to be easy” his Queen admitted, moving straight to business as she always did.
“Beware of the current Beta, make him a Gamma and take someone else who is trustworthy as your second in command. We suspect the Beta made the order to blow up my packhouse. Or at least was connected to the foxes. Sadly, there is no proof. The man who was caught on the day of the bombing killed himself, but before that, he confessed he received orders from Jacob.”
“Why don’t we just kill him then?” Ash asked, arching his brow.
“One confession during torture doesn’t mean anything.” This time Gideon joined their conversation. “
We couldn’t confirm this information; however, it is a possibility, and you should be aware of this.”
“l see.” The werewolf tensed. Was he ready for this if he had to do it alone?
“Ash, we will support you at all times,” Riannon said as if she read his mind. S he always had a knack for that.
Always guessed the exact thing he was thinking of.
“Have you already chosen a new Gamma?” he asked, deciding to change the subject. He didn’t want the Lycan King to see his desperation and longing for his wife. It wasn’t appropriate.
“Yes,” the queen acknowledged, smiled, “I chose one of the red girls who decided to stay with me and to prove her loyalty.”
“Bridgit?” he chuckled, remembering the feisty female who fought by his side at Castiel’s house.
“No.” Ria shook her head. “Bridgit decided to go back home to her family and give them another chance.
She hopes to find her mate and feels it might be a bear.”
“Good for her,” Ash replied, nodding curtly. “I have to go now. If we are going to do this, I’ll need to prepare a few things before the announcement.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay for dinner?” the queen asked, and Gideon growled possessively behind her.
“Nah, I need to go. Perhaps another time.”
“All right,” Ria agreed, smiling. She squeezed his hand in a friendly manner.
“See you, Alpha Jones,” the Lycan King said, wrapping his arm around his wife’s waist and leading her away from him.
Ash saw Maya and Reid walking out of the house, and Riannon giggled happily, running towards them. She forgot about Ash, only looking at her husband to see if he kept up with her.
In this moment, Ash knew he had to move on too.
He couldn’t go on like this.
“Maya! Reid! You are here as well!” Ria rushed to their friends, stretching her hands towards baby Danielle. “She is getting bigger and bigger! Come to your godmother, my sweet Dany!”
“There you go!” Maya handed her the baby, and then brushed her daughter’s red locks. She felt a prickle of pain as those locks reminded her of the one who killed her brother. Still, when she looked into Danielle’s eyes, she saw Dean and immediately felt relief. Her belly had grown large, and their second child would be born in just a few months. Reid was so happy when she told him.
Riannon and Gideon walked toward their home and watched their friends happy with their kid.
“lf you are ready for this, then so am I,” Gideon whispered as he winked at her, taking her hand in his.
“We talked about this,” she sighed, “it’s too risky right now. First, we need to weed out all the traitors and win this war once and for all.”
“I know” he affirmed, chuckling, “You can’t blame a man for trying.”
“As soon as we are ready, I will give you as many pups as you like,” Riannon promised, grinning at him. “
Boys, girls. Strong, beautiful, and smart like their. “
“Mummy,” he interjected before she had a chance to say anything. “No, worries, Ria, you only motivate me to deal with our enemies quicker. Then, I can have you all to myself.”
“I want this too,” she stopped walking, and he pulled her into a warm hug, !issing the tip of her head. “I don’t like how they turned everything upside down with Zack’s absence. They say we had something to do with it. A hunch tells me that when we find Zack, we find the culprit as well. The one who was commanding our rival army during the last battle.”
“Who is possibly Castiel’s brother,” Gideon finished for her, and she nodded. “We’ll get them all, Ria. I swear to you.”
“l am worried for Bridgit as well” she confessed suddenly. “When she left, we were in contact. Lately, she hasn’t replied to my messages. I don’t know where she is and whether she is okay.”
“That one is harder to solve.” Her mate brushed circles with his hand over her back to try and reassure her. “Bridgit is a werebear, and none of them are currently on our side.”
“I know,” Riannon agreed, “I can’t help but worry.”
“We will figure something out,” he assured her, pulling her hand with him so that she followed him to their new home. “One day, all our friends and family will meet here, and we will have a feast.”
“Sounds promising.” She let outa little laugh when he lifted her in his arms right in front the doors.
“That is a promise,” the Lycan King chuckled. “
Everyone who is dear to us will be here. Savvy too. I will even tolerate her future husband.”
“Just behave at their wedding,” Riannon snorted, knowing this subject still pained her mate. Despite her calling him almost every day, he missed his little sister a lot. “l am sure we will get an invitation really soon.”
“l am surprised it’s not here already.” Gideon rolled his eyes. “He wanted to marry her for so long.”
“You wanted to marry me too, but it still took us some time to prepare for the wedding and the coronation.”
“What a wedding it had been!” he chuckled. They both remembered too well how they were only allowed a little private ceremony with their friends and family before the big coronation and then the huge reception, where they talked and shook hands for most of the day.
Nonetheless, Gideon knew he would never forget how beautiful his bride looked in her elegant sparkling champagne dress. How her eyes sparkled, and how the wind blew strands of her hair.
He would never forget what he told her before the priestess of the Moon Goddess on that special day when they stood in the inner garden of his palace, holding hands, surrounded only by their beloved, who were their witnesses.
“Riannon, I swear to love you and to protect you with my life as the most precious thing who was given to me by the higher beings. I also swear to treat you as my equal, never as someone less. The Moon Goddess knows this; you deserve this and so much more. You are my heartbeat, you are every breath / take, you are the blood in my veins and the essence of my existence. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I lived life without you, and I am never going back to that. Today, I take you as my wife, my Luna, my Queen, and my equal partner. I am ready to spend all my life with you. Will you accept me?”
“Yes,”she accepted, smiling with tears glistening in her eyes. “Gideon, I swear to love you and stay with you until the day I die. Possibly even after that. ” She gave him a little smile at these words, and he knew what she meant. “I promise to be your pillar, your accomplice in everything you do. I have never loved anyone the way l love you, and no one has ever given me what you give me every day. No, I know this is how it should be. I promise you my love, my devotion, my loyalty, my respect. I promise to hold your hand even if the whole world is against us. I love you so much, and I take you as my husband, my King, my equal partner, and the love of my life. Will you accept me?”
“Yes,”he nodded and even before the priestess could announce it, he pulled her into his arms and covered her lips with his.
Riannon and Gideon explored their new house together, paying special attention to the training grounds, where Gideon planned to train his wife. Her abilities were still unknown to them. She was becoming faster and stronger every day and could match any Lyčan he knew. Even himself. Nonetheless, his intuition told him this wasn’t the limit.
Riannon knew this too. Too often Onyx would disappear, and she was aware her wolf spent time with none other than the Moon Goddess herself. When she asked her about what was going on, Onyx offered her the most vague answers, saying she would tell her everything when the time came. However, her dreams were becoming more and more realistic. Disturbing even. For in her dreams she saw a battle. A battle that hadn’t happened yet.
The Alpha Queen loved how her new house turned out. She loved every room that she planned personally with their architect. Of all the rooms in her house, she appreciated the bedroom the most.
Riannon was exhausted, but she didn’t want him to stop. Gideon trailed his tongue over her inner th!gh, which made his intentions on what he was about to do next very clear. He wanted more. More of her, more of their life as husband and wife, as king and queen, more of the happiness they felt when they were together.
Ria felt her strength was replenished with every k!ss he left on her body, every touch, every tease. They were two halves of the same whole, and as mates, they gave each other strength. She laced her fingers into his hair to give him a push in the right direction when a sudden urge to empty her stomach overwhelmed everything else she felt.
“Wait!” she muttered and pushed her confused husband away to run to the bathroom.
“Ria, what’s wrong?” he asked, now worried, and he became even more worried when he heard her throwing up. His phone rang, and he instantly recognised Savvy’s personal ringtone.
“l am fine!” Riannon let out an apologetic sound and stood up to clean herself. She had no idea what had just happened. She had a stomach of steel and never-
A sudden thought occurred to her, and she began to try and recall when she last had her period. She had been so busy she couldn’t remember. Finally, the realisation made her gasp, her hand instinctively rubbing her belly and Riannon sighed.
“He did what to my sister?!” Gideon growled loudly.
Apparently, nothing was going according to plan.