Laurentine drove straight to the King’s home and for the first time, Jori’s palms began to feel clammy. He should have had a cigarette before he left but since the call from Amelie, he’d been living reckless enough lately. Too much booze and too many cigarettes left him with feeling of disorientation. He personally watched as a helpless bystander the life he could have had disintegrate. As much as he despised his self-destructive personality, he held on to the memories of a woman he once loved but alas had never been in love with because they were never meant to be together.
They arrived much too soon for his comfort but as soon as they pulled up to the front of the King’s mansion, Jori stepped out and followed Laurentine inside a mansion with a manservant, maids and endless priceless articles of furniture, art and keepsakes from another time and place.
His senses were alive with the smell of fresh flowers everywhere; the marble floors they walked on were spotless and his shit-kickers clicked slightly against the surface. The walls weren’t wallpapered but instead painted vivid colors. Deep blues, purples, gorgeous deep reds and serene greens; each section of the massive home had its own personality.
Laurentine brought him to a set of deep oak double doors. “This is the King’s study and he will see you in here.”
Jori met her lovely blue-gray eyes, the green crescents intoxicating him as his heart beat faster and he could feel his animal side near the surface. It felt wrong to refer to the animal within as a wolf when he could become any powerful being in the animal kingdom. He was a pureblood Lycan but certainly not one hundred percent werewolf.
“Aren’t you coming inside?” he inquired.
She tilted her head slightly as an eyebrow arched up and her lips pursed. “No, I don’t think the King wants me to be there while he speaks business with you.” Laurentine looked away from his face and slightly bowed her head. “I serve many purposes for the King but I am not his equal…no one is and ever will be.”
Jori grabbed her hands and held them in his own, his massive palms swallowing her small, slender pale hands. “I want you to be there. I can sense your anxiety and your nervousness. One of the purposes you serve for the King is as his mistress and perhaps I can rectify that situation for you today…now.”
Laurentine looked up. “I’m not his mistress—it is true, we have sex but I do not belong to him in that way. I am merely a means to an end. I scratch whatever it is of his that has an itch…do you understand?”
“Well, that ends today because if I am forming my own pack for the King then he will have to grant my wish of bringing a mate along. That woman shall be you.”
“Jori, don’t be absurd. You don’t even like me!”
He pulled her against him and covered her petite frame with his. He held her slender waist and looked her in the eyes. “I like you too much. I fear my fiancée knew there was someone else and that is why she broke it off. My mother told me herself we would never marry but I proposed anyway because I couldn’t understand how much my life would change in such a short period of time.
“Woman, I can’t stop thinking about you, wanting to touch you and wondering how it feels to be inside you, moving with you. The taste of your mouth and the smell of your skin, the silky feel of flesh against flesh—you cannot deny me.”
She opened her mouth to speak as the doors to the King’s study opened and there, in front of them, stood Sebastiaan.
Jori knew he would have a powerful aura but his presence exuded so much more than that. He was tall but Jori still had an inch or so over him. He bowed his head and murmured, “My King, you called for me and I am here to do your bidding.”
Sebastiaan smiled though the ice never left his cerulean blue eyes. “Come in and you can bring your mate with you—”
“Wait a minute? I’m not his mate!” Laurentine exclaimed as her face turned scarlet.
“You are what ever I say you are and as of this moment, Jori has chosen you as his mate. You should be happy to accept such an offer. He is an Omega and can have any woman he wants yet he chose you, some poor little mixed-breed who is only a quarter Lycan. You should get down and kiss his feet,” the King explained with little emotion in his voice though his tone suggested what ever their “arrangement” was before had officially ended at that moment.
Laurentine bowed her head again. “Yes, my King. If that is what you wish then…I will become Jori’s mate.”
Although his heart thundered in his chest, Jori’s demeanor didn’t show the nervousness or his complete surprise with the turn of events. He wanted Laurentine, that was true, but on his terms and certainly not because the King had demanded she become the equivalent of a “mail order bride”.
He slipped an arm around her waist to steady her and reassure her. The tautness in her shoulders relaxed and although she didn’t seem all that pleased, she no longer had the tension in her body that existed just moments before.
Jori would die before he wanted to ever be thought of as an uncontrollable, feral monster who kidnapped women and made them bow down to him. His mother, Grand-mère Poitier, was one of the strongest people he knew. He needed her wisdom and strength now more than ever. However, she had accompanied Jolie to Las Vegas for her meeting with the International Vampire Council and would be gone indefinitely or however long it took for vampires to negotiate.
They both sat across from the King on the sofa he appointed to them. The love seat purposely provided a snug fit between them but Laurentine had calmed down and he sensed her comfort despite their close proximity.
A maid interrupted with a large Baccarat crystal carafe of what looked like tea and three Baccarat glasses. She poured each of them something to drink and set the drinks on coasters before she left.
The magazine table was large and Jori reached for his glass and Laurentine’s which he immediately handed to her. She sipped, grimaced and drank down half the contents before balancing it between her delicate white hands and her exposed right knee.
The King drained half the contents of his glass in one swallow. “It’s nice to have something a bit stronger on the palate when it’s hot like this. Summer is just slippin’ through our fingers and soon it will be autumn but I do enjoy a nice Louisiana summer.”
Jori wondered how the King knew it was hot outside; the mansion’s thermostat couldn’t be set at anything higher than seventy degrees if not cooler. Although it was indeed hot and muggy outside, it felt chilly inside though not uncomfortably so. Like all Lycans, he ran hot and the cool air soothed his skin especially after the run he had taken which had lasted most of the day.
“It is beautiful here in the summer. I don’t travel much and haven’t been many places outside of St. Tammany or Orleans Parish but I suppose that will change once I become Alpha of the pack you wish me to form on your behalf?” Jori finally spoke in a deep, gravel voice that oozed sex appeal and feral heat.
“That is correct. I never have liked the number ‘three’, Jori. It seems uneven and the way your pack has treated you for simply being whom and what you are is an embarrassment. It makes us appear to be ignorant and small-minded.”
“We are no different than the vampires, your Highness. They have their caste system and we have ours. The Sidhe vampires are at the top of theirs—”
“And the Omegas should be at the top of ours, Jori,” the King interrupted. “You are the top of the Lycan food chain and there is no reason for your kind to stay wrapped behind the shadows. As a Lycan who is half-Sidhe, if anyone is familiar with a caste system then it is I.”
He finished his ice tea, stood and walked to the French doors. “I am telling you this because I know you and your mate will keep my genetic heritage a secret. I have always admired Omegas and thought them to be superior instead of inferior. There are others but you are by far the strongest; as your pack was rightfully taken from you by your brother, I am offering you your own piece of the pie: territory, Lycan males and start up costs. Laurentine will be your mate if you shall desire…or if you don’t, you have inherited an indentured servant.”
Darkness Awakened is available at the following retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance, Smashwords, Kobo