Survival is paramount.
For humans and paranormals.
Born into wealth and privilege, Avery’s life has taken a turn for the worse. Marked as a witch and sold into slavery, Avery fights to keep her sister safe. When a Lycan named Tristan buys Avery’s sister to be his nanny, he is persuaded to purchase Avery as well.
Avery and Tristan’s attraction to each other is undeniable. But she fears the worst if he learns who and what she truly is. If her own kind reject her for her powers, how could Tristan accept her?
Tristan glanced around the campsite. Marshall had returned with the women nearly half an hour ago and Avery, easily noticeable with her bright red hair, was missing.
He stood next to Maya who was feeding Nicholas his bottle. The baby was eating enthusiastically for once, grabbing Maya’s hands with his tiny fingers and gulping hungrily at the milk. “Where is your sister?”
Maya gave him a nervous look. “She is still at the lake, my lord. She wanted to swim for a bit longer.”
He shook his head, cursing under his breath before storming over to Marshall. “You left the Red at the lake alone?”
Marshall shrugged. “She said she wanted to swim for a while longer. I wasn’t going to argue with her – she’d probably turn me into a lizard.”
“You know it’s not safe in the woods, Marshall.” Tristan frowned at him, but the younger man just shrugged again.
With a harsh sigh, Tristan turned and headed for the lake. As he jogged through the trees, he cursed his decision to buy the Red. It didn’t take long before he was at the lake and he scanned the shore for her. Her dress was lying on the grass, but she was nowhere to be seen.
He searched the water and caught movement in the corner of his eye. He turned to see Avery surface about twenty feet from the shore. She pushed her hair from her face before floating lazily on her back.
“Girl!” he shouted irritably. She jerked and disappeared under the water for a moment before popping back up, coughing and sputtering.
“What?” She shouted back.
“Get out of the water. We’re leaving.”
She nodded and swam toward shore with long, powerful strokes. He envied her obvious confidence in the water. He could swim, but it was little more than a doggy paddle and deep water made him nervous. He would get her to teach Sophia to swim, he decided.
As she drew closer, a strange scent drifted to him and he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. He turned his back to the lake and stared suspiciously into the trees before inhaling again.
“Hurry up, girl!” he barked over his shoulder. Dimly he was aware of her splashing her way onto shore as he stared into the trees. The scent was fading rapidly, if it had even been there in the first place, but he continued to stare intently into the trees.
“What?” She asked, peering curiously over his shoulder. “What do you see?”
“Nothing.” He turned around and faced her. “But we should get back to the others. It’s getting late and we need to get back on the road before…”
His voice died as he stared at the Red.
She was wearing a short white shift that the water had turned translucent. The wet fabric clung to every curve of her pale body, and he grew hard as he stared at her. The grey dress had done an excellent job of hiding her curves and although it was obvious she was much too thin, the fullness of her breasts and the swell of her hips had him aching to touch her.
He looked up at her face. She had bathed and scrubbed her face and body clean, and he could see a tiny smattering of freckles across her nose. Her skin was the colour of milk and other than the freckles, completely unblemished. He was suddenly itching to touch her skin and see if it felt as soft as it looked.
“What’s wrong?” She frowned at him.
His eyes dropped back down to her breasts. The wet fabric and cool air had hardened her rose-coloured nipples and he had a sudden image of sucking gently on them.
She looked down at herself. “Gods!”
She blushed and pulled the wet fabric away from her body before searching frantically for her dress. She spied it on the grass but before she could reach for it, he took her by the arm and pulled her close.
She gave him a warning look and he grinned wolfishly at her. “You smell much better.”
“Thank you.” She tugged against his hand, but he refused to let her go.
He reached out and pushed the wet strands of hair from her cheek. She inhaled sharply when he ran his fingers along her cheekbone.
“You’re too thin,” he informed her. She didn’t reply, just continued to stare at him with her clear green eyes, and he frowned. “You need to eat more.”
“Whatever you say, m’lord.”
He scowled at her insolent tone before cupping the back of her head and pulling her forward. “You belong to me now,” he whispered. “You will do what I tell you.”