Savannah closed her mouth with her hands, afraid to even take a single gulp of breath. This couldn’t be happening. This was some kind of sick joke.
Or there was another Castiel whom her mate could be talking to in the middle of the night. However unlikely that sounded.
There could be another explanation. There had to be another explanation.
“No, that part changes obviousiy.” Zack went on, “
Savannah is my mate, and she will stay with me. Think of it, Cass. It’s for the best. We agreed I would become the Wolf King and rule the werewolves who remain loyal to us, and it would be so much easier if the Lycan Princess is my wife. She will be the symbol of my power.”
Savvy tried not to breathe. She wanted to cry, to scream, to burst into this room, and to confront her mate.
But, she was taught better than this. She was trained. She was prepared.
Unfortunately, her broken heart no longer mattered.
She would have to think of it later. Perhaps, it was for the best, because Athena was unsettled inside, and she needed to control her better, so Zack’s wolf wouldn’t sense any distress. She had to play the happy mate part now more than ever.
“There will be no need for this,” her mate’s voice sounded firm. “Savannah is mine and we mated today. I will mark her tomorrow and be done with it. Trust me, I can control my mate. You don’t have to worry about it.
She won’t be a problem-No, she will not be a distraction, trust me. The proof is that it’s our first night and I am here talking to you. Just deal with your women.
You have too many to worry about. I’Il deal with mine.
Savannah will be busy the next few years mourning her brother and friends as well as giving birth to my pups.”
His every word felt like a slap to her face. How could a mate do this to another mate? He sounded so cold and calculating. Did he not feel anything for her?
Was it even possible?
“Yes,” Zack snapped, seeming annoyed, “I will contact them all and let them know where you expect them tomorrow. Do you think the redhead will crack by then?”
He listened to someone on the phone, and Savvy couldn’t hear what Castiel was saying, no matter how hard she tried. She knew she would be able to if she got closer. Then Zack would be able to sense her, and she couldn’t risk it.
“Yeah, it is lucky he will never be able to make that marriage alliance with the North. No, he has no idea. I think everything will go smoothly, and it will be done tomorrow. Just make sure you kill Gideon in one blow and don’t create any more trouble for us. Fine, I’ll call them now. Bye.”
The words echoed in Savannah’s ears again and again.
She then heard her mate hang up and dial another number, and herself prepared to listen in again.
“Yeah, hi” Zack said to someone at the other end of the line, but this was when she sensed another werewolf walking from the other end of the corridor and hurried back to their bedroom.
Although ‘their’ wasn’t the right word anymore. Life was cruel, and Savannah became the happiest girl alive to the most broken one in just under twenty-four hours.
She curled in the bed, pretending to sleep and thought about her options. She needed to get out of this place and preferably sooner rather than later.
Before she did that, she wanted to do something else. She wanted to find out the names of the people Zack was talking to. Any information about the traitors was priceless. She had time for this. Not much, according to what she heard, but she had to try.
She heard from Reid that Riannon let herself be captured willingly to try and use that chance to destroy their enemy. Savannah thought that, as a princess, she owed it to her people and her family to at least try. She was more than just the breeding machine his mate took her for.
Tears treacherously formed in her eyes at the thought of him. Forbidding herself from crying, she chose not to give herself away too easily.
She heard the sounds of approaching steps and then the creak of the opening door. The scent of her mate overwhelmed her again. He had that minty masculine scent with a hint of something woody. She loved it so much when they first met a few hours ago.
Now, as it enveloped her, tempting her to pretend that she did not hear anything, she considered giving in to her mate bond and the strong pull to Zack.
A part of her wished she could. Because deep inside, there was still this longing for him.
The mattress next to her dipped, and in a few moments, Zack’s hands were wrapped around her. He brushed his nose and lips gently over her neck and shoulder, inhaling her own scent. After doing it a few times, he planted a soft k!ss on her silky skin.
That would have been a sweet moment if he wasn’t a lying scumbag who plotted to betray them and kill her brother. Savvy had to channel all her inner strength not to try and kill him now. She could probably do that. He was a werewolf, and she was a Royal Lycan.
Except, it would be unlikely for her to escape and warn her brother of the betrayal. She did not know the exact plan. It would probably still work without Zack. So, she couldn’t kill him yet. Even though he was breaking her heart and a threat to the people she loved.
She had been waiting for a mate all her life. For a person who was supposed to love her unconditionally.
He didn’t. Zack didn’t. He did not even hesitate to use her to his advantage. He did not consider her feelings. He did not seem to have any remorse about his imminent betrayal. On the contrary, he adapted quickly and had already chosen a role for her. Without hesitation. Just Iike that.
“I know you are not sleeping,” he whispered, and her whole body tensed as he cupped her br3ast, chuckling. “Savvy, you are wearing my shirt, and when I left you, you were naked. Just the way I like it.”
Of course. This was all he needed her for, after all.
“So, what were you doing while I was gone?” he asked, teasing her with his fingers.
She decided to just go with the role he chose for her. This was how he saw her, and it had to do. For now.
“I went to the bathroom and realised you were gone,” she complained, pouting her lips. She could feel him smirking at that. “I missed you and decided to put your shirt on. Where have you been? You left me all alone.
“l am sorry, my love.” He bit her earlobe gently. “
Urgent pack matters. You looked so tired. I did not want to bother you. I am all yours now.”
His hands started caressing her up and down her body, one of them dangerously low on her th!ghs.
“I am tired,” she continued to whine something she wasn’t particularly good at). “Tomorrow is a long day and you have already exhausted me. Could you-could you hold me?”
Zack chuckled again and stopped his advances, following her request.
“Anything for you,” he lied, and she felt as if a knife stabbed through her heart.
They could have been happy. They could have had anything. But they never would.
Savannah started to control her breathing to make it seem as if she had fallen asleep. However, every time she thought her mate was asleep and tried to move, he pulled her tighter against him.
She closed her eyes just for a moment after fighting with sleep for most of the night. Savvy awoke from the sunlight streamed through the windows, but most importantly, from something sharp grazing over the sensitive spot on her neck. The realisation that these were Zack’s canines made her flinch and he growled in protest.
“What’s wrong?” he asked her, turning her to face him. “We are mates, aren’t we? You are mine. I want to mark you, Savannah.”
She had to switch on her inner Riannon, running her fingers up his n*ked chest.
“I want that too, Zack. More than anything.” She bit her lip seductively when she looked at him and caused him to snarl hungrily. “But-l want a marking ceremony.
As you know, I am a princess and there are rules and traditions. These are very important for lycans. Those things are inherited by us from the olden days. Lycan royals marked their mates publicly so there could never be rumours about the couple and their children. It’s important to us.”
“Then a marking ceremony you will have,” he agreed with ease. He probably really wanted to be the king if he bought that lie.
“We need to get ready,” Savvy sighed with a fake regret in her voice. “Gideon might find out where Ria is any minute. We can’t lie in bed naked all day. We need to be prepared.”
” Life is unfair” the Alpha snorted, but got out of bed after all and went in the direction of what looked like a bathroom. “Care to join me? I bet we still have a few minutes to spare,” he taunted.
“l am not a big fan of quickies,” slipped off her tongue before she bit it. But, luckily, he only let out a little laugh and then closed the door behind him.
Savannah decided not to waste time and charged for the bedside table, where she noticed his phone. To her disappointment, it was locked and, after a few attempts with the six digit code, she had to admit that it was useless. So, she put it back and stared at the wall in front of her. There was an almost full-sized picture of her mate hanging in a golden frame.
What a narcissist.
The time went by quickly, and she was counting seconds until Zack would come out after he was done showering.
The smile on his portrait was smug, and she did not like it.
“Maybe it’s a misunderstanding,” Athena suggested, and Savvy smiled bitterly. She wished it was a misunderstanding. But she knew it was not. “He is our mate, we need to at least talk to him,” the wolf suggested.
“We will talk when our family is safe,” she cut her off.
“But look at his face! Someone like him can’t be-“
“Right!” Savvy jumped to her feet with his phone in her hands and went all the way to the wall, swiping her finger and enabling his face recognition.
She had to try different angles, but in the end, the phone unlocked.
Savannah knew she had seconds to get what she needed, and she scrolled through the list of the last calls first. Luckily, Zack was very well organised and next to each name there was also the name of the pack.
“Bingo!” she whispered with excitement, but at the last moment a new message icon appeared, and she opened it, her eyes going wide.
Zack took his time in the shower as if water could help him wash away the feeling of guilt his wolf tried to make him feel. Still, the decisions were made long before Savannah. All he could do now was to just try and leave her out of it as much as he could. She would be alive and happy by his side. She had to be.
She would still be a royal, and she would have their kids to love instead of her brother. Yes, it wasn’t perfect,but it would work. He could tell she already loved him.
The bond made him change his own plans. He was supposed to kill her with Gideon, erase the Western Royal Lycan family once and for all. But the moment he saw her, he knew he would move mountains to keep her.
While everyone discussed their plans at the impromptu Alpha meeting, he was making adjustments to his own plan in his mind.
He couldn’t sleep with Savannah by his side, and only after talking to his partner Castiel did he feel at ease. They could both have it all.
He dried himself properly after the shower and walked out of the bathroom to find his mate not waiting patiently for him on the bed as he had hoped.
“Savvy?” he called her, but there was no response. Although, what was he hoping for? That she would hide under the bed?
Zack got his clothes and started putting them on one by one, feeling how distressed his wolf was.
“What is it?” he asked nervously.
“Our mate is unhappy. She is far away and getting further every second!” The reply irked him.
There was no way. No way in hell!
He quickly scanned the room and saw his phone right where he left it. Just in case, he decided to check it.
Savvy didn’t know the code.
When he checked the messages, everything became crystal clear. The last two were received while he was in the bathroom. They were both marked as read.
One was from King Gideon. But the other-the other could be the end of him if he didn’t get his mate back.
“My mate Savannah is gone and is on the run,” Zack mind linked his Beta, “Send everyone available.
You’ve got to track and bring her back. I am coming too.
This is a life-and-death situation. I would prefer to get Savannah back alive. If there is a chance of that-“
He threw the phone away and shifted, jumping out of the window. He had to get her, and he had to do it fast.
Savvy managed to reach the woods unnoticed in just her mate’s boxers and shirt. There was no point wearing anything else as the moment she was hidden by the bushes, she shifted into her wolf and ran, ran, ran.
Before she managed to get too far, she heard howl after howl. Dozens of wolves were after her, and she sped up.
Her wolf, Athena, was a true Alpha warrior, and despite being in pain, she accumulated all their energy to save themselves.
She had the speed of a lycan to her advantage.
Unfortunately, she did not know where she was. These lands were unknown to her, and she didn’t recognise her surroundings.
However, these were minor things now because here and there she started to see the glimpses of other wolves. They were getting closer. She knew there were too many of them for her to handle alone.
She wasn’t going to give up.
A grey and white wolf jumped on top of her from out of nowhere, knocking her off her feet. Savannah bared her teeth and ripped his neck out for obstructing her. Blood sprayed her own fur.
She started to run even faster. The howling behind her grew closer. They knew secret paths that she didn’t.
Soon she sensed him. Her mate. He was after her too.
Two brown wolves attacked her from two different sides. She managed to bury her claws and teeth in one of them, but unfortunately, the other one ripped a part of her side.
She winced from pain, but charged at him next, killing him almost instantly. Then she finished off the first one and charged in the opposite direction from the howls. She ran for her life. Although it wasn’t only her life at stake, she also ran for the lives of everyone she Savannah could feel them with her skin. They were literally inches apart now. So many of them. Would Zack kill her, knowing she wasn’t a little obedient princess? Or would he hurt her and lock her up? She heard so many stories of Alphas treating their mates horribly. She’d rather die than be one of them.
But in all honesty, she’d prefer to kill him instead.
She took one last leap and ended up with her paws in the shallow water. It was a small river, and she decided to cross it.
Her pursuers charged right after her, yet suddenly out of nowhere, three pumas jumped out from the trees on the shore she just walked out on, followed by a beautiful snow leopard.
Savannah shifted back to her human form in seconds, falling to her knees, and raising her hands.
“Asylum!” she screamed, “l, Savannah Stormhold, seek asylum!”
Turning to look over her shoulders, she realized there were more than three pumas present. Several lions and tigers appeared, all of them baring their teeth at the wolves.
Zack shifted before her eyes, looking at her with a mix of emotions, yet fury was evident on his face.
“Savvy, come back” he called after her with an intonation which, before everything she found out today,
She could call gentle and full of love.
She wasn’t buying any of his charm anymore.
“No!” she said firmly, and the snow leopard shifted into a young woman with snow-white hair which contrasted with her skin. A part of her skull was shaven while the other was braided into many thin long braids tied together.
“l am Alpha Zack Morgan,” her mate spoke, addressing the woman, who was clearly in charge. “This is my mate, Savannah. All I want is to get her back.”
“She doesn’t look like she wants to go with you.”
The white-haired woman smirked.
“It’s just a lovers’ quarrel!” Zack insisted, talking as if Savvy wasn’t even there. “I’ll take her home, and we’ll fix everything.”
“No, we will not!” She stood up from the ground, covering her bleeding side with one hand and clenching the fist of another. She had enough, and she wanted to put an end to this. “I, Savannah Stormhold, Princess of the West Lycan Kingdom and a member of the Stormhold pack, reject you, Alpha Zack Morgan, as my mate.”
“No!” he growled so loudly that flocks of birds, who sensed the presence of the alpha predator, flew away from the nearby trees. “I do not accept it!”
She wanted to insist, but wolves suddenly charged at the werecats, and a new fight began. Savvy wanted to join them, but the woman with white hair stopped her.
“There is no need,” she said, “They will not be able to come to our land.”
It looked like it was the truth as more and more huge cats arrived on the scene. She saw pumas, jaguars, tigers, lions, and lynxes.
Savannah realised how lucky she was. The wolves would hardly be able to deal with al of them. Those were deadly beauties.
“Come,” the girl invited as she stretched out her hand, “You need help, and you will get it here. My name is Naya, I am the daughter of Alpha Ramina.”
“Nice to meet you, Naya.” Savvy smiled weakly. I will never forget your kindness. And, now, please-It’s very urgent. I need a phone to speak to my brother.”
Gideon stood and watched at the mansion where his beloved was kept and wished nothing more than to get her out now. He was about to try and connect with her via the mind link when his phone rang.
His sister’s voice trembled. He was preparing to ask her what was going on when she stopped him and told him things he least expected to hear.