Outside the Lycanthrope Kingdom, eighteen-year-old Lilac is a shy werewolf—but she’s beautiful, and everyone around her is taking notice.
When a scent she can’t ignore hits her and she’s forced to acknowledge her urges, she finds herself looking back at the infamous Kyril Vasilo. And she learns that he’s not just a lycan…he might also be her mate.
Age Rating: 18+
Tranquility by Jessie James is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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The lycan felt himself starting to lose control.
“Faster!” he shouted to the driver as his carriage careened toward the castle.
It was already late in the day, and he could feel the change coming on.
It was a familiar feeling, an uneasy kind of alertness, an itch beneath his skin… He’d felt it for many moons.
An uncontrollable beast, a pent-up rage that burnt inside him.
A monster longing for release.
“We’ve entered the King’s estate, Alpha Kyril,” the subordinate to his right said, trembling.
Kyril pressed his palms into his thighs, his muscles taught beneath his pants, and tried to breath. It was coming on faster than usual. With more heat and vigor.
This was a mistake.
I should not have come.
The danger to the kingdom is too great!
The carriage wheel hit a stone in the road, sending a jarring shock wave through his bones.
As an alpha, the leader of a pack—one of the biggest packs in all of the Lycanthrope Kingdom—it was Kyril’s sworn duty to attend the King’s Annual Gathering. But with each year he became more and more unstable.
And this year he was worried he would lose control.
For Kyril was a lycan who had yet to find a mate.
Unlike other wolf shifters, lycans who remained unmated by the moon goddess became increasingly wayward until they lost all sense of their humanity…and became feral.
Kyril had shifted for the first time at age fifteen—seventeen years ago.
Stronger lycans had gone crazy in less time. Somehow, Kyril was holding on…barely.
“How much longer?” he growled at his men.
“Not long, sir!”
Kyril noticed the nervous twitches of his comrades, the flitting eye movements.
Clever, he thought. They know to be afraid.
Looking at the horizon as the sun sat low in the sky, Kyril grit his teeth and tried to hold on.
If they could make it to the castle in time, there was a chance he could be contained before he shifted.
If not, the entire kingdom was in grave danger.
He had to hold on. He had to keep himself calm until his men could secure him.
The lycan inside him would only wait so long.
And it had been waiting so long already…
Mate… Kyril clenched his fists and looked skyward. Are you out there?
Slowly she opened her eyes and felt the warmth of the afternoon sun shining in through the window.
She rolled over to find her mother, Mila, sitting on the edge of her bed.
“Lilac, darling,” her mother said. “Were you dreaming?”
“I was…” She wiped a drop of sweat from her brow. What had she been dreaming of? All she could remember was a figure shrouded in shadow, trapped, and a feeling as if they were… as if they knew each other.
“Oh…” Lilac sat up on her bed, a thin prayer book falling from her lap and onto the floor.
“What is this?” Mila asked, picking up the book.
“I was practicing the hymns and must have dozed off.”
Mila smiled at her daughter. It was the most beautiful smile in the world—according to Lilac.
She rubbed Lilac’s shoulder.
“It’s time to get up,” her mother said. “You need to get ready.”
“Get ready for what?” Lilac yawned.
“For the King’s Annual Gathering, remember?” Mila shook her head in loving amusement. “You silly thing, you can’t have forgotten. The lycanthrope council are announcing their newest inductee and your father is nominated.”
Lilac’s father, Legion, was the Alpha of their pack, and Lilac had known this day was coming. She had dreaded its arrival.
“Is that today?”
Her jaw started to tremble.
Lilac leaned back upon her pillow and sighed. The King’s Annual Gathering was the last event an introvert like Lilac wanted to attend.
“Up you get,” Mila said, patting Lilac gently on her knee.
Lilac groaned. She knew she had no choice.
She and her twin brother Ales had just turned eighteen, meaning they were now adults, and eligible to attend their first Lycanthrope Gathering.
The werewolf king himself had invited her and her brother.
To not attend would be an unforgivable offense. As much as Lilac wished she could stay in her room forever, she would never do anything to disgrace her family in the eyes of the kingdom.
Slowly, Lilac got to her feet as Mila headed toward the closet.
“Where do we begin?’ Mila asked no one in particular. “Makeup? Etiquette? We need to pick a dress, of course. This is all so exciting!”
Since Lilac rarely went out, she knew how big a deal this moment was to her mother.
“First,” she said to Lilac, “you go freshen up. Quickly!”
“Okay, okay, I’m going.” Lilac’s shoulders slumped forward.
She’d never understood what all the fuss was about when it came to getting ready. It’s not like she was trying to attract anyone’s attention.
The thought of luring a mate had never appealed to her much.
The last thing I want is someone to notice me!
“They won’t even know I’m here,” Kyril mumbled to himself, unable to avoid feeling ashamed as he looked upon the tumbledown ruins of an old chapel.
After their arrival at the castle, the alpha’s men had informed the king of Kyril’s need for sanctuary. The king, aware of Kyril’s struggles, was prepared.
The king’s men had escorted the lycan and the members of his pack here—a long disused puritan church at the far end of his estate.
As far from the gathering as possible.
Kyril’s body was beginning to shake. His muscles tensed and released in spasmodic waves.
“Thank the goddess.”
Saliva gathered in his jaws and a growl grew in his gut.
His men groaned as they unloaded heavy chests from the carriage.
Kyril followed them inside.
The last of the day’s sunlight shone in through the paneless windows of the disused chapel. The lycan squinted into the pastel haze as he bit down.
His men opened the chests and began to unpack their foreboding contents.
They pulled out heavy rusted chains. Chains with which Kyril was all too familiar. They secured them around rocks, fastening them to the floor.
Kyril moved to the center of the room, and his men began the task of tying him up. He looked around with his human eyes one last time as he began to feel the crushing weight of the chains on his shoulders.
Although the walls remained upright, the roof was long since gone—caved in. Piles of rock rested where columns once stood.
What had once been a tranquil place of worship was now in chaos.
The marble floor was cracked and overgrown. Grass spiked through the crevices, and vines draped themselves down the walls and around the spot where the lycan stood.
Working quickly, with their eyes downcast, they imprisoned their alpha.
They secured their chains around the lycan and the remains of an altar.
The cold metal links wound around the muscular chest of the lycan, tightly snaking around his solid arms and legs.
Will it be enough?
Will these chains be strong enough to contain me?
“Do you like it?” Mila said, pulling on the strings of Lilac’s corset. She grunted in pain and looked at the pale lilac gown her mother had laid out.
“Just because…ow!”—Mila tightened the bodice—“just because it’s my name doesn’t mean—ow!—I have to wear it, you know.”
“I know, but you look so beautiful in it,” said Mila, pinching Lilac’s cheek. “Now, sit down so I can get to work on your hair.”
Her mother styled Lilac’s raven hair into loose waves that tumbled down her back and pinned freshly picked edelweiss across the braid she weaved, creating a delicate flower crown.
“You look stunning,” her mother said. “Now, just some light makeup.”
When they were done, Lilac stepped into the dress while her mother helped clasp the back. She turned, looking in the mirror, admiring how it fit her body.
She didn’t look like the quiet girl who studied the psalms and kept to herself. No, Lilac looked…grown up.
The sight alone was enough to give her goosebumps.
It’s too much, isn’t it?
“Now, the shoes,” her mother said, a pair of heels dangling from her fingers.
Lilac winced. She slid her feet into the pumps and followed her mother downstairs, gripping the railing the whole way down.
Legion stopped in his tracks at the sight of her.
“Mila,” he said, “she looks beautiful!”
“So beautiful she might even find her mate,” Mila teased, and Lilac blushed.
“The day she finds her mate,” Legion sputtered. “I’m going to send her to a convent!”
Mila tsked and shook her head. “You cannot break the laws of the wolf realm, Legion. Eventually, she will find her mate.”
Lilac blanched. That was the last thing in the world she wanted: a mate.
She’d never had a close male friend, a beau, not even the slightest dalliance, and she liked it that way.
She remembered the one boy who’d dared to court her: Hunter Blackwood, an Alpha from a neighboring pack. He was friends with Ales, and she always found it strange how he followed her around, offering to help with anything she needed.
It wasn’t until Hunter had tried to kiss her that her father had thrown him out.
To this day, Hunter was forbidden to see her.
She found the whole thing almost completely overwhelming. For one, she simply didn’t reciprocate his feelings, and secondly, the thought that one day she would need to explain as much to him filled her little heart with terror.
Her father said that Hunter was simply a lusty dog trying to get a bite. And Lilac had no experience dealing with dogs of any kind…
A growl escaped his lips as the alpha commanded his men to hurry.
He had yet to shift fully but was well on his way.
Rage rose within him.
Blurring his vision…
Speeding his heart rate…
Time was running out.
“Quickly!” he managed through a snarling jaw.
His men hastily finished securing their leader as the sun began to set.
There was no time left anymore.
“Leave me! LEAVE ME!”
Without hesitation, the alpha’s pack abandoned the chapel, leaving their leader to battle his beast alone.
Suddenly the lycan was overcome with anger…
Chaos and rage burnt in his mind…
He could feel the fury inside…the feral monster…rising to the surface…
As his muscles ached and bulged…
His head swam with images of violence…
His fangs grew and his jaws snapped…
He pulled at the chains to ensure he was contained…
As the transformation overcame him…
He looked to the rising moon and howled…
“Is that my sister?”
Lilac turned to see Ales at the door, wearing a tuxedo, black hair slicked back. He looked every bit an Alpha in the making.
“Looking good, sis,” he said.
“You look very handsome, Ales.”
“Are we all ready then?”
Lilac looked around for her clutch.
“I forgot my bag in my room. I’ll be right back!”
She quickly entered her bedroom, grabbed the clutch off her vanity, and was turning to leave when she noticed a cold breeze against her skin.
I didn’t leave the window open, did I?
When she went to latch it, she discovered a folded piece of paper resting on the windowsill, a heart-shaped stone holding it down.
“Hunter?” she said, picking up the note.
Lovely Lilac, maiden most fair,
How my poor heart aches in despair.
Too long, I’ve yearned. I’ve hidden in fear,
But tonight, I vow to bring our young hearts near…
Her eyes widened as she let the poem drop to the floor. She’d recognized the handwriting and was sure it was Hunter who had left the note.
This was enough to make her shiver with anxiety. Hunter was going to attempt to woo her at the gathering.
And the only thing she found more terrifying than his affection was the thought that she might make a scene rejecting him.
“What’s taking so long up there?” her father called out impatiently.
Lilac hurried downstairs to her waiting family. “Mama, I think I’m feeling sick. May I stay?”
“Nice try,” Mila said, pushing Lilac out the door. “It won’t be as bad as you think.”
Lilac prayed that her mother was right, but Hunter’s poem seemed to suggest the opposite.
Tonight, I vow to bring our young hearts near…
Lilac gulped. She didn’t know what “vow” Hunter was alluding to, but it made her heart race and her palms sweaty.
And then there was another feeling. Some wisp of yearning left over from her nap.
As if somewhere out there, someone…something was calling to her.
The carriage doors slammed shut, and they headed off into the night, Lilac staring out into the darkness.
She felt the icy realization that her life was about to change and wondered if it had anything to do with the shadowy figure she’d dreamed about.
That’s ridiculous, she chided herself. Why would anyone at the King’s Gathering be chained up like a beast?
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Lilac and her family arrived at the council headquarters, a massive, multi-story stronghold, with so many ballrooms and hallways that Lilac was sure she’d get lost if she didn’t stay close.
The Assembly Hall that held the Lycanthrope Gathering was the most decadent room in the entire citadel.
Crystal chandeliers hung from the vaulted ceiling and grand tapestries adorned the stone walls.
Arranged throughout the hall were candle-lit tables set with polished silver and bone china that sparkled in the light.
Lilac had never been anywhere like this before in her life. And people seemed to be as surprised to see her as she was to be here.
Lilac trailed behind her parents as they were ushered to their table.
She could feel eyes on her and hear the murmurings in the air.
Everyone knew Alpha Legion had a daughter, but to catch a glimpse of her in public was a rare sight indeed.
“It’s Alpha Legion’s daughter…”
“She is so…”
“Lovely, I know.”
Lilac blushed at the compliments, bowing her head to hide the flush that crawled up her neck to her face.
Thankfully, her mother, Mila, looked so beautiful that she was attracting a great deal of the hall’s attention as well.
“Mila,” someone called out. A charming middle-aged man walked up to them, grinning.
“After all these years, you’re still with this sorry excuse for an Alpha?” he said, jabbing Legion’s ribs.
The men were clearly old friends, because Legion returned his jabs with a punch of his own. “Careful, Alpha Mason. We both know who the stronger Alpha is.”
Mila stepped forward and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek, which he returned.
“Do you even age, Mila?” Mason teased.
“Like a fine wine, Mason.” Mila winked. “And don’t you forget it. Is your radiant wife, Nancy, here?”
“But of course. Listen for the loudest gossip. That’s where you’ll find her.”
They all laughed. All except Lilac who felt extremely out of place. Her fingers inched toward her clutch, knowing the safety of a book lay inside.
Mason shook Ales’ hand next. “The future of the pack, here in the flesh. Congratulations on coming of age.”
“Many thanks, Alpha Mason,” Ales said politely.
Finally, Mason turned to Lilac.
“And you must be the mysterious Lilac. It is a pleasure to finally meet you.”
Lilac nodded in response, not used to these overly friendly customs.
Mason continued, feeling the need to fill the silence.
“Your father has told me so much about you. You truly are a special gift from the Goddess. A surprise, I understand! I still can’t believe your father was unable to detect you during Luna Mila’s pregnancy.”
Alpha Mason chuckled lightheartedly. The fact that this was public knowledge always made Lilac feel squeamish.
Being the daughter of someone as important as an Alpha, though, what did she expect?
“Have you heard about the king’s announcement for the council?” asked Mason, switching gears to pack politics.
“What about it?” Legion replied.
“The king will be announcing the name of a new council member.”
“Yes, I’d heard that part,” Legion huffed. “Do you have any idea who it might be?”
“I heard Eli Damon might be a contender,” answered Mason, grinning.
Her father’s lips thinned. “Ah yes, the lusty dog you mean.”
The mention of Eli’s name brought Lilac’s mind back to the poem. The odds of avoiding him were next to impossible.
“I also heard Alpha Kyril will be joining us tonight. Although I have yet to see him,” Mason commented while scanning the room.
The sound of that name brought butterflies to Lilac’s stomach.
“Kyril Vasilio? I haven’t seen him in ages,” replied Legion.
“Nor has anyone else,” said Mason. “From what I’ve heard, the king granted him a reprieve from the council so he could search for his mate.”
“He still hasn’t found her? He has to be at least thirty by now.”
“Thirty-two,” replied Mason. “It’s been seventeen years since his first shift. Personally, I doubt she exists.”
Legion sighed. “Poor luck for a lycan alpha. I couldn’t imagine life without my Mila.”
“Nor I without my Nancy,” answered Mason. “Speaking of whom, I should be heading back to my table before my mate wonders where I’ve disappeared to.”
The Achilles family took their seats, and Lilac immediately turned to her brother.
“What’s wrong with Alpha Kyril?”
Just saying his name sent shivers down her spine.
Ales gave Lilac a sideways look, unsure why she was asking.
“Alpha Kyril disappeared a little over a year ago. No one is sure why. Some people spread rumors that he’s…feral.”
Lilac had only heard that word in passing before. Everyone knew that a feral wolf was more dangerous than any creature in the world.
Given the chance, they would even murder their own kind.
But before Lilac could ask any more questions, a silence descended upon the hall. Everyone turned to see a red carpet unfurl down the magnificent staircase that stood at the far end of the hall.
Then the band began to play as the king, queen, and prince descended, followed by three council members.
She watched the royal family ascend the stage and King Agnus take his place at the banquet table.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!” he boomed across the hall.
All the men bowed to the king. Not the female wolves, though, who only bowed to Goddess Selene.
“Rise,” King Agnus commanded. “I welcome you all to the Annual Lycanthrope Gathering. Before we move on, I want to put all your minds at ease by announcing the name of the newest council member. The Alpha we’ve chosen has proved his worth and strength time and time again. Please welcome to the council…Alpha Legion Achilles!”
Cheers erupted throughout the hall as Lilac’s father stood in shock. The whole family couldn’t believe it.
Lilac gasped and looked at her father in awe and astonishment.
“Thank you, baby girl.” He smiled. Everyone gathered round to congratulate him. And soon they were all moving to the dance floor.
Lilac, so caught up in the moment, didn’t even realize she was joining in—until she felt a hand grab hers.
“May I have this dance?”
She turned to see Eli Damon—hazel eyes, chiseled jawline, rich brown hair, and a body to die for.
She had forgotten what a gorgeous man he was.
A rosy hue spread across her cheeks as the handsome Alpha stared into her eyes.
“Yes, a dance is fine,” replied Lilac, averting her gaze.
Eli placed his hand on Lilac’s waist and led her to the center of the floor.
Lilac had never had a reason to practice dancing, but Eli led her so confidently she didn’t need to know how.
When the music slowed, he leaned in close.
“You look beautiful, Lilac.”
“Thank you,” she whispered. “You also look…very dashing.”
A comfortable silence settled between them, their bodies swaying and eyes lingering.
“Did you get my poem?” Eli asked.
“I did,” she replied, sheepishly. “How did you—”
“I told you I would bring our hearts near, didn’t I?”
Lilac blushed. “Alpha, I—”
“Eli…what do you mean?”
“Lilac, isn’t it obvious?”
Lilac’s eyes widened, and her heart started to pound out of her chest.
His eyes shined with a sincere warmth that could mean only one thing. He didn’t need to say it out loud. Lilac understood. It simply wasn’t mutual.
But before she could stop him, he said it anyway.
“I love you, Lilac.”
Lilac stepped away from him, not knowing what to say.
She felt obligated to respond. But there was no way to let him down easily.
Her heart was just too kind to break his.
This was too much. He was not her mate. She knew that deep in her heart, yet here was this perfect man offering up his.
Panic began to overtake her.
“I…excuse me. I’ll be right back,” she whispered.
Without another word, she turned and ran away from the dance floor. She could feel Eli’s sad eyes watching her go.
She could feel the eyes of everyone in the hall watching her go.
She couldn’t breathe.
She had to get outside.
She needed air.
Stumbling out the door, sprinting out into the moonlit night, Lilac found herself at the center of a hedge maze. She leaned against a lamp post to steady herself. She knew she never should have come tonight.
She broke her rule for one night and look what she’d done? Broken the heart of the sweetest werewolf. An Alpha, at that.
But she had told Eli Damon before that she didn’t want a mate.
There was no mate for her.
She was surer of it now than ever before.
Which is when her senses pricked up and something deep inside her core triggered and everything around her started to sway.
She could smell it now. An alluring aroma, so inviting it seemed to lull her into a trance. The scent was musky with a hint of citrus and patchouli rosewood.
Lilac’s body called out for the scent, yearned for it to wrap around her body and blanket her. It felt so far away.
She had to find its source.
She couldn’t stop herself from moving towards it. Almost sleepwalking. It was like an out-of-body experience.
Before she knew what was happening, Lilac was walking, jogging, running. Nothing could stop her. Something about this musk, this trail of desire, this invisible tether called out to her soul.
Lilac wouldn’t rest until she found its origin.
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