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There was just something beautiful about… nothingness.



I'd been feeling off the entire day, unable to shake this strange feeling, this low hum beneath my skin. I’d lain in bed for hours, staring straight ahead, tossing and turning, the sounds of Cian and Odhran softly snoring in their beds coming through the too-thin walls.

But they weren’t the reason I hadn't been able to rest. I was too agitated, that weird feeling in the pit of my gut and the ache in my chest something I couldn't shake off. And the strangest part was… I didn’t want to let it go. I didn’t want it to leave.

I ran my hands up and down my arms, tuning out the tavern noises all around me. My skin felt tight and prickly. And my wolf… my wolf was anxious, pacing below my skin, rising every once in a while to let me know he was here and he wanted out.

I pushed away my mug of ale and leaned back in the chair, crossing my arms over my chest and staring at the other two Lycans. After I told Cian and Odhran we’d be staying another night, something they’d grumbled about only briefly because they wanted to get back home, we’d found ourselves at the only tavern in this little village.

“I told ye two stubborn bastards ye could leave at any time.” I narrowed my eyes on them. “I donna need guards.”

Cian snorted. “Like we’re leaving our king alone.”

I gritted my teeth and leaned closer, resting my forearms on the table. “I was doing battle when ye were still in your da’s bullocks, Cian.”

Odhran tipped his head back and roared out his laughter.

After holding my gaze for a second, Cian grunted and lifted his mug to toss back the rest of his ale. He gestured for another, any tension now forgotten.

“Stubborn arseholes,” I clipped out.

“Look who we are around all the time,” Odhran said and grinned, lifting his mug at me in a salute.

Both males had been tossing back copious amounts of ale since we’d arrived, so much so that I was pretty sure they’d pass out as soon as they got back to the inn.

I stood, unable to sit still any longer. “I’m done here,” I murmured, and both males nodded, pushing their empty food platters away, finishing off their drinks, then standing as well.

“Aye,” Cian said. “I think we are too. Starting tae see double.”

Odhran barked out a laugh and stood as well.

I stepped out of the tavern, Cian and Odhran stumbling out behind me. “Head back tae the inn and sleep that shite off,” I murmured as I looked around. “I need tae walk, tae clear my head.” The air was still all around me.

“Ye’ll be okay?” Cian asked, coughing to try and clear his throat of the slurred tone he now had.

“Did ye really ask me that?” I looked over at Cian with a gritted jaw.

“Ye want us tae walk with ye? No’ like we canna use the fresh air,” Odhran grumbled, his voice even more slurred than Cian’s, clearly oblivious to the irritation I felt.

“I’m fooking fine,” I all but growled in annoyance. “Ye two can barely speak straight let alone walk.” I scrubbed a hand over my face and exhaled, the scruff on my cheeks and jaw growing thick from the days of not being able to shave.

After only a moment of both males trying to convince me they were fine, they finally conceded and left, making their way in the opposite direction.

I watched them round the corner of a small cottage before I started making my way forward, inhaling deeply and picking up the scent of unwashed animals and humans, the sweet scent of fruits, fresh aroma of cut vegetables, and a muskiness in the air of a couple having sex nearby.

The truth was I didn’t need to walk to clear my head. I needed this walk to find her. Because I knew that’s what this feeling was in me, this restless energy. It was my wolf pacing and snarling, digging his claws into my body and reminding me that he was alpha, he was dominant.

It was time to find our mate.

And so I walked the tiny muddy roads of the village, going down every alley and every hidden, shadowy corner all in the hopes that I’d feel that intensity even more that she was near.

And although I still felt that she was someone here, I wanted to know what my mate smelled like. I wanted to see her with my own eyes, touch her with my callused, too-big fingers.

I rounded the corner, seeing a man astride a horse, a wagon being pulled behind. He inclined his head in my direction in greeting, and as soon as he passed, the wind picked up, and I froze, my feet stalling, my senses rising violently to the surface.