She’s a fifteenth-century girl who stumbles into a mystical world. He’s a powerful Luna Dog ruler who finds her and claims her as his lover. Two worlds begin to collide in erotic passion and growing affection. As a human in the world of the Veil, can Lana ever hope to win the powerful and stoic Jekia’s heart, or will she forever be a prisoner to his lust for her?
Age Rating: 18+
Book 1: Mistress of the Veil
The cold bit at me through my cloak, and the woods seemed darker and denser as I walked.
I pulled my hood over my head a little more as I looked around me, taking in the quiet and stillness. The sky was gray above me and the shadows of the forest an inky black.
I wondered what time it was. Perhaps late afternoon, though I couldn’t be sure. I had been walking out there for what felt like an eternity, yet nothing seemed to be changing.
I had not given the direction much thought when I’d come into this forest. Well, if I was honest, I had not been thinking much about anything except getting away.
I kept glancing over my shoulder, wondering when the time would come that they would find me. Just the thought of hearing a horse’s hooves was frightening, causing my heart to pound.
Such a sound would spell my doom. Of that I was certain.
When one runs from such a situation as mine, there isn’t much of a chance of escape. I understood this, yet I had still done it. At sixteen, I was primed for the position I’d been bought for.
Yet I also knew every implication of being called to work for that heartless count.
Young ladies called to work in his manor did not get to keep their dignity, especially not ones born of the lower class like me.
My father may have seen a benefit in selling me off to him, but I refused to give in to such a fate.
I had sworn to myself long ago that I would not allow a man to dominate me in any way, no matter where I had come from or that I was a female.
These were the circumstances that had brought me into these deep, dark woods.
I was not foolish enough to think that I stood much of a chance of getting away, but I had been willing to try anything to do so.
Ever since I was a young girl, I had been told stories about this forest.
They claimed that it held a gateway to another world, and that people who entered either disappeared forever or were granted wishes by the Faerie folk who lived there.
For me, the allure of having a wish granted, no matter how childish it seemed, was enough to bring me there.
As a young lady of the fifteenth century, I did not have anything else to lean on in this situation.
Whether it was being granted an actual wish from a fairy or just vanishing, anything would be better than forced servitude under a heartless man.
The distant sound of a howl made me stop and scan the area around me. Was that a wolf? I knew that there were probably some around, although I confess that I’d never seen one before.
Feeling frightened, I picked up my pace, running through the underbrush and trees. Everything seemed like it was getting even darker now, the forest deeper.
There was a strange energy in the air as I ran, something that I had never felt before. It almost seemed to crackle around me like a fire.
Then, all at once, there was sunlight.
I stopped dead in my tracks, unable to believe my eyes. The once dark, dense woods now looked clear and beautiful, like something out of a fairytale.
I lowered my hood and looked at my surroundings, taking in the warm feel of the air. Everything was so green, so pristine. I could not recall ever seeing a natural place look so beautiful.
My mind immediately went to the stories I had heard. Had I just left my world and entered the world of the Fae?
A sudden rustling brought me back to reality. I looked around cautiously, trying to figure out where it had come from.
It was a quick, subtle sound, like something moving through the underbrush very slowly. An ominous feeling came over me, and I instinctively took a step back.
That was when I noticed something large slowly moving toward me through the trees. My eyes widened as I saw it, my mind unable to process what I was seeing.
It was some kind of creature, standing at least eight feet tall with a massive body that looked like it had been made from the bark of trees.
It shook its head as its glowing gold eyes caught sight of me, opening jowls that looked like an inky void yet made no sound except for a loud hiss.
Now beyond frightened, I turned and began to run again. I had no idea if it was going to come after me, but it had frightened me enough not to want to take the chance.
The bright forest seemed alive around me with the sounds of birds and strange calls as I ran. I didn’t know where I could go, but I was going to run until I at least felt safe.
Just as I came to a large embankment, I suddenly heard a strange hissing sound near me. I barely had time to turn before something hit me, sending me flying down into the steep embankment.
I hit the ground hard, knocking the wind out of me. My body was scraped and bruised, and it took a lot of my strength to attempt to sit up.
As I did, I stared in disbelief as something slowly slithered down the side of the embankment. It had to be the strangest creature I had ever laid eyes on.
It had a very long body, not unlike that of a snake, but the top part of it looked almost like that of a human male.
Its face was elongated and strange, with big black eyes and a slit mouth that extended ear to ear. It was slithering down the embankment, slowly coming toward me.
I was cutting my hands on the rocks, unable to get up for how much fear I was in.
This was not a fairytale land at all. It was like a nightmare, and now one of those nightmares was getting ready to eat me!
But just before the snakelike thing reached me, it suddenly reared back in pain, blood spurting from slashes on its chest. I stared in disbelief as something landed between us.
It appeared like a figure in white. As this figure held out a hand to its side, I could see that it had claws for fingertips.
Those claws were now bloody where they had cut into that thing.
“Be gone with you. This one is mine,” a male voice ordered.
I sat still as the snake retreated, hurrying up the embankment and into the forest. The one who had saved me turned and regarded me with what seemed like quiet contemplation.
I’d never seen anyone like him before. Though he did resemble a man in many ways, he certainly was not a human.
He had a pale complexion, with white hair and eyelashes that reminded me of the clouds in the sky.
From that hair, I could see white ears that were wide and perky, reminding me of a dog’s. He also sported a long, fluffy-looking white tail.
But perhaps the thing that caught me the most was his eyes. He had beautiful light golden eyes.
I felt entranced by them, although I confess that there was also a bit of coldness there to me. It was hidden deep within them, like he was hardened toward others.
No, this creature could not have been a man, yet he also was not a beast. It was like he was a mythical being who had stepped straight out of a fairytale.
“Who…who are…,” I managed to start.
“The better question at this moment would be why you are here,” the man interrupted.
He stepped in front of me, kneeling so that we could be face-to-face. “You are human. How did you get access to this world?”
“World?” I repeated.
The man remained stoic as he regarded me. “If I was willing to take a bet here, I would surmise that you stumbled through the gateway somehow. Perhaps you even had a strong enough will to wish yourself through. But you must realize now that you have not entered the fairytale that you might have been imagining. Those who live within the world of the Veil may hold some resemblance to humans, but we have never been so,” he went on.
I managed to shake my head. “I… I can see that. It is rather frightening here too.”
“Frightening. Yes, that could fit to one such as you.”
The man remained where he was, looking like he was studying me. I shifted a little, wincing at the pain in my hands. I looked at my palms and saw that they were quite bloody.
The rocks down here had been sharp. My legs were scraped up too, along with my skirt being partially ripped and my dark hair tangled around my face and shoulders. I imagined that I did look a sight.
“However,” the man suddenly continued. “You are quite lovely too. I appreciate that about you.
“The combination of those light brown eyes and that long dark hair makes you quite stunning, even if you are a mess at this moment.
“On top of that, you also had the strength of soul to make it in here as you did. Perhaps I can make some use of you. I have needed something more as of late.”
“What do you mean?”
I felt a chill go through my body. His words held an ominous insinuation to me.
The creature ignored my obvious fears, standing up straight as he spoke to me. “First off, let me take you back and clean you up. I wish to properly see what you look like.”
He easily picked me up from the rocks, and I was careful as I put my arms around his shoulders for leverage. I didn’t want to get my blood on his nice white shirt.
As silly as it was, I did feel like I owed him at least a little for helping me.
The man moved with lightning speed, easily sprinting through the maze of trees. Within minutes, we were coming to a cave-like opening within the woods.
The man ducked into it with me, and when we came out on the other side, I realized that we were now in what looked like a large courtyard.
This place felt much safer, much more secure than where I’d been. On the other side of it, I could see what appeared to be a large palace that had been set into the stone wall of a cliff.
My eyes were wide as I took all of this in. Who was this creature? Was this truly his home?
“Is this your palace?” I had to ask.
“It is. From this point on, you will be staying with me here. These lands belong to me, and none would dare to come here to challenge me,” the man explained.
He walked us through the courtyard to the front of the palace, where he let me down to stand with him.
“What are you?” I inquired as I faced him.
I was staring at him as I spoke, taking in his appearance again. No, he certainly wasn’t human, nor were the creatures I had encountered in that forest.
This must’ve been the world of the Fae that I had heard stories of. Did this mean that he was a Fae king? Was that why he looked as he did?
“As I stated, I am the ruler of these lands. For the sake of formality, and given that you are a human who has stumbled into this world, I will introduce myself. I am Lord Jekia.”
“Lord Jekia,” I repeated softly.
What an odd name. But then, what a strange world this was.
“Come along now,” Jekia ordered as he turned toward the palace. “Let us move on and have you cleaned up. We will also be sure to treat those wounds. They are rather unsightly.”
I followed him into the palace, where I was taken to a large washroom and told to sit down on a chair while he quietly prepared some water with a rag to clean off my wounds.
I looked around me, taking it all in. This place was fancier than any I had ever seen in the human world. This creature, he was a king here. Yet in my heart, this didn’t bode well.
“I thank you for your generosity in helping me, Lord Jekia,” I stated as he cleaned up my cuts. “I realize that I may be in your debt, but I also would not wish to be a burden to you in any way. If you could help me return home, then I would never breathe a word of this to anyone.”
“You will go nowhere. Now that I’ve found you, I believe I have already taken a liking to you, so I will be keeping you as my own,” Jekia responded evenly.
“You…you are keeping me?”
That ominous feeling was increasing within me. It felt like I had escaped one prison only to find myself in another.
Jekia stood up straight, regarding me with quiet contemplation before continuing. “I believe I will.
“Being as I have procured these lands and secured my place in power, my most logical step as of now is to move on with keeping a suitable female for myself.
“As I said, you are quite a beauty for a human woman, and you have a strong spirit. I believe you will do well in pleasing me and eventually giving me a few pups.”
I immediately stood up. “Absolutely not! I did not come here looking to be another ruler’s whore!” I declared.
“And what did you have back in your world?” Jekia challenged. He moved toward me, and my back hit the nearby wall as he placed a hand against it beside my head.
“You are young. That much is obvious.”
“And if you were running through those woods looking for fairies, as you seem to have been, then I would assume you were also looking for a way out of a situation that was very unfavorable to you.
“Given your state of dress and that unkept hair, I’m willing to say you’re a peasant in status as well. Let me take a wild guess and say that you were being sold to a ruler in your world because you are a suitable age for them to do with as they please.”
My cheeks burned as he said this, though I continued glaring defiantly at him. He spoke so evenly and effortlessly, like this meant nothing much to him.
But as much as I hated the condescending tone he had, I had to acknowledge that everything he said was true. My fate in my world was no better than this. I simply wasn’t willing to give in yet.
“I will not believe that I am not worth more than being a plaything for a man, no matter what kind, or a convenient woman who will sire children for you.
“I will stay if that is what you believe is proper payment, but I will not bend to you like some common whore,” I warned him.
Jekia looked amused, letting out a small chuckle as he took a step back.
“As I stated, you seem to be exactly what I am needing here, so you may as well allow yourself to be content with this. From today, this is your home, and I am your lord,” he reiterated.
I remained where I was as he looked at my torn skirt and stained peasant top.
“This will not do either. Remain in here while I call on Edifel to clean you up. I expect much better when I next see you.”
I remained where I was as he stepped out, closing the door behind him. I did not know what to do now.
Even though this place was like some beautiful dream, I worried that being here with him might already be turning into a nightmare.
Whatever Jekia was, he was definitely coming off as strong-willed and powerful.
I sat down in the chair, replaying everything that had just happened and been said in my mind. He claimed that he was the ruler of these lands, and now he wanted to keep me there with him.
He thought that I would make a good lover and mother for his eventual children.
Oh God, I thought, ~ Is he supposed to be a Dog? How many different types of mythical creatures live in this world?~
Well, I had to admit that if he was, then he was gorgeous for a dog in my eyes. He certainly had more human features than anything.
I held a hand to my chest, thinking it all over. Perhaps it could work out in my favor. It was not like I had anything good waiting for me if I tried to go back.
My father certainly wouldn’t help me, and it was even possible that the count would have me jailed for running from our contract.
I jumped as I heard a knock at the door. The knob clicked, and it opened to reveal a beautiful woman. She was very tall and dressed in long white robes that billowed out around and behind her.
Her black hair was shiny and straight, falling to the floor around her, and she had a full face with ruby-red lips and eyes so dark that they looked black.
She smiled as she saw me, almost like she was pleasantly surprised.
“My, you are a pretty one. Lord Jekia has a good eye,” she commented.
“Who are you?” I asked cautiously. She did not feel threatening, but I was certain she wasn’t a human.
The woman gave me a polite bow, her robes sweeping around her with the movement.
“I am Edifel, and I will be working with you under Lord Jekia’s orders. I will make sure that you are cleaned up and clothed nicely, as he wishes,” she explained.
As he wishes.
I didn’t like those words, but I let it be. There was nothing else I could do at that time.
Edifel came over to me, holding my chin with her long fingers to look closer at my face. Her fingertips ended in points, yet her touch was very gentle.
“Yes, yes. Very lovely indeed. Such pretty eyes and hair, paired with such a flawless complexion. How very beautiful,” she commented.
“Um, what is going to happen now?” I managed to ask.
“First, I will be cleaning you up. You are a mess, and I can tell that you were not able to bathe recently in your world.
“This hair will be much nicer once I have washed it out and trimmed it as well,” Edifel explained.
She stepped over to the nearby bathtub, waving her hand over it. Water bubbled up from the bottom, filling it within minutes. Edifel added soap as it did, causing many bubbles to rise within it.
The next thing I knew, I was being stripped by two sets of hands and placed into that warm water.
I confess that it had been quite a while since I had had an actual bath, and this one was more luxurious than I had ever had before.
The soap smelled like flowers, and Edifel’s fingers, though pointed, were gentle as she massaged them through my long hair. I closed my eyes, attempting to relax. At least I could try to enjoy this.
Edifel rinsed my hair and had me finish scrubbing myself clean, then had me get out.
She wrapped a large towel around me, then sat me in a chair in front of the nearby mirror, pulling my hair back like she was figuring out how she wanted to work with it.
I was staring at my reflection as she did all of this, letting everything sink in. I had run away from one situation and was now in another, even more precarious one. What kind of luck did I have?
Well, if I was honest, I’d never had much since the day I was born.
Edifel finally finished trimming my hair, letting it fall in place. She looked pleased with herself as she took in the sight of me.
“Lovely. This is much, much better,” she commented.
“It looks nice, but what of my clothing?” I asked her.
“Those are not suitable for Lord Jekia’s chosen one. I will be taking you to the fitting room to put on better dresses,” Edifel announced.
I was brought out of my seat, and we left the washroom together. Holding the towel tightly around me, I glanced at my surroundings as we walked down the long hallway.
This place was so big, so vast looking. I wondered if I’d get the chance to explore it soon. I imagined it would depend on what Jekia wanted.
I might have free rein, or I might be a prisoner to his whims.
The fitting room that Edifel took me to was as large as the house I’d once lived in. There were many dresses on racks there, all of different shapes, sizes, and colors.
I stood still in the middle of the room as Edifel moved to one of the racks and sifted through the dresses there.
She finally settled on a blue one that had black lace lining the bottom of the skirt and the top of the dress.
“This seems about right for you. Let us put this on,” she told me.
I did as she asked, removing the towel and letting her put the dress on me. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
Though very comfortable, feeling like satin, the skirt was just below my knees, and the top of it was cut low at my chest with the lace looping around the tops of my arms.
I was feeling a bit more exposed than I was used to in this, especially the tops of my breasts. Proper ladies didn’t show that.
At least, that was what I’d always been taught.
“Um, this is a little… um…”
I couldn’t quite finish my words as I looked at myself in the mirror.
“You may feel slightly uncomfortable for now, but you will grow used to it. Lord Jekia has stated that he wants clothing to flatter your body, not hide it,” Edifel told me.
I shook my head, trying to go with this the best I could. Maybe things just worked differently in this reality. It was not like I had much of a choice but to try my best to get used to it.
Edifel led me out of the room, leading me through the maze of hallways. The next door she opened led to a bedroom. I stepped inside, taking in how large it was.
Like the fitting room, it seemed larger than the home I had once lived in. There was a round bed near the right side of the room, and I could see various dressers and wardrobes set around the walls.
Large windows also lined the right side of the room, and I stepped over to move the curtains and take in the view of the bright courtyard outside.
“This will be the bedroom you will share with Lord Jekia. I will take my leave of you here for now, as he requested,” Edifel spoke up.
My heartbeat quickened as I heard that, and I turned to face her.
I was too late. She had already gone, closing the door behind her. I drew in a long breath, standing still and trying to relax my quivering heart. This place was like a beautiful prison.
I both looked forward to and feared what would come next.
After about ten minutes of sitting in there on the bed, the door finally opened again, and Jekia entered.
I got up and stood very still, letting him walk around me to inspect me. He looked pleased as he did.
“Much, much better. You are as well suited as I had anticipated,” he stated.
“What are you planning on doing with me now? You had me brought in here, so you must have something in mind,” I said evenly.
“I do, but that will come later. I simply wanted to allow you time to see the room we shall share,” Jekia responded.
He remained calm and collected. “Come. You are thin, and I would imagine you haven’t had a decent meal fed to you in a while. You do me no good if you are unhealthy.”
“I still don’t get what you want in all of this,” I continued as the two of us walked down the hallway together.
I couldn’t look at him as we did, though I did wish to speak more on the things that bothered me. Hopefully he would allow it.
“I am a human, and you obviously are not. Why would you decide to take someone like me as your mistress?”
“I do not wish for you to be a mistress,” Jekia responded.
“Then what am I supposed to be here?”
“You are to be my wife.”
I stopped dead in my tracks, not believing my ears. “Your wife? But this isn’t my world. I don’t belong here.”
Jekia stopped with me, turning to face me with a nonchalant look. None of this seemed to be bothering him at all.
“You are here now, so here you shall remain. Once a human enters the Veil, they can choose to stay and will no longer age.
“Being here will allow you a long life with me, but the only price is that you will never be able to return to the mortal side.
“If you do after the next four days, you will grow sick and die within days,” he explained.
“I’ll die?” I repeated softly.
“Yes,” Jekia confirmed. He crossed his arms. “But you seem to have the wrong picture of your situation with me. I have no intention of keeping you as any kind of slave.
“As I just stated, I wish for you to be my wife. You will remain by my side and allow me to bed you as I please, and eventually you will give birth to a few heirs for me.
“In return, I will give you whatever your heart desires. It is a fair trade, do you not think?”
“But I am human. Is that even possible for me to do?” I had to know.
“It is,” Jekia confirmed. “As you see, our bodies share plenty of the same traits despite me being a Luna Dog, as do most in this world. Humans and what they refer to as the Fae are not incredibly different when ones takes a good look. We have only been mostly forgotten by humans since the worlds were separated long ago.”
He made good points, and though he did have those animal like traits, he did look mostly like a handsome young man. It left me little room for debate, though I had plenty of other issues to bring up.
“Are there going to be other wives?” I had to ask. I had no idea how it worked over here.
“No. I only need one to serve as a wife.” Jekia stepped closer to me, looking me over before cupping my chin with his thumb and forefinger,
“As I stated before, I find you quite lovely, so I believe you’ll satisfy me physically. You also seem to have quite a sense of yourself, which I appreciate.
“I do not entertain females who cannot think for themselves. I cannot stand them. At least with you, there seems to be a fire in your eyes and a deeper intelligence in your mind.
“I believe I could enjoy our conversations in the future as much as our physical pleasures.”
That surprised me. I hadn’t been expecting him to want to talk to me.
“You’d have conversations with me and listen to what I have to say?”
“There is no reason for me not to. You are allowed to state your feelings and opinions,” Jekia confirmed.
“I…I have never been offered that before,” I confessed.
“Then consider it your first privilege here. Now come. I am certain they are setting our dinner out now, and I do not wish for it to become cold,” Jekia continued.
I followed him to the dining room, feeling the growl from my stomach as I started smelling the food. It all smelled so good.
Stepping in there, my eyes widened as I took in the spread on the round table. It was more of an intimate setting, but the food on the plates looked so wonderful.
I had never had such an elegant-looking meal.
Jekia sat in the chair beside mine, keeping the same calm nature that he’d had since we’d met. I studied him as we ate together, trying to take in everything I could about my new husband.
No, he was not bad looking at all. Age-wise he came off as perhaps a few years older than me physically. I thought his white hair along with those ears and that tail were pretty.
But the thing that caught me the most were those eyes. Such beautiful eyes.
“My lord, may I ask you something?” I spoke up as we were finishing.
“You may,” Jekia allowed.
“I realize that I may be prying or even out of line with such a question, but I know nothing of your world. You stated to me that you are the ruler here and something called a Luna Dog. Is that a named used for a certain type of Fae?” I went on.
Jekia huffed, looking a bit indignant. “Not at all. I realize that humans tend to believe that all should be lumped in with fairies, but that is not the case in this world.
“As for myself, I am simply what I am; a Luna Dog. I just happened to be extremely powerful, which was enough for me to take my position as one of the rulers of this side,” he explained.
“I see. May I ask how many rulers are on this side of reality?”
“There are four, including myself. But for the time being, you do not need to know the others. All you need is me.”
Jekia looked thoughtful as he regarded me. “Tell me, what is your given name?”
I blinked, realizing now that I hadn’t told him. How rude of me. “Oh, it’s Lana Barnes.”
“Lana. What an unusual name. I do not believe I have heard it before,” Jekia commented.
“My father could be a bit unusual at times in his whims. He was a poor man, but he always did say that he could have a legacy with his children.
“Although I do not believe he enjoyed having a girl,” I confessed.
“There are those with the issue of not understanding a woman’s worth, but let us not get into that.
“For now, would you like for me to explain this world to you?” Jekia offered, standing up and offering me a hand.
I nodded gratefully. “Yes, I would very much like that.”
The two of us headed outside to the courtyard. The sun was going around now, and I could see the deepening rays of twilight coming over the sky.
Everything was very tranquil out there, much different than the woods I had been in just prior.
Jekia looked up at the sky, quietly taking all of this in.
“Let me start by telling you that this area around this palace is all protected by my energy. You may roam anywhere you please here, but do not leave without me beside you.
“The forests outside of my palace grounds can be treacherous for a human, as you have already seen.
“There are other towns and villages within these lands, as well as many other creatures that you appear fond of calling Fae, and you will see it all in time,” he explained to me.
“So you are saying that this place is like a mirror of my world?” I guessed.
“It is,” Jekia confirmed. “The world that you stand in now, the one I call home, is referred to by many simply as the Veil.
“This is the unseen world, separated eons ago from the mortal world that you humans currently reside in.
“Every creature that you have heard of in tales you will find here, and many that you have never heard of also.
“Consider that everything you know in your world has an equivalent here, though they may be either more humanlike, or more monstrous.”
“And if I stay here with you, I cannot return to my world ever again?”
“That is correct. But given your circumstances, I believe you may find a happier life here with me. I will make sure that you are treated well too,” Jekia promised.
I let out a sigh, kicking my foot around the top of the grass. “Do I have a choice here? I have nothing left to return to, and I cannot say that I dislike you.
“You come off as a bit demanding, but you have shown me kindness in saving and accepting me like this.”
“I am known to have some kindness within me, especially for those I hold close, which are very few now,” Jekia confirmed.
He held out a hand to me. “Come now. Allow me to show you around your new home. I believe you will like it.”
No, I didn’t know what I was truly getting into with this arrangement. The only thing I understood for certain was that it had to be better than where I had come from.
If Jekia was offering sanctuary in exchange for me playing the role of a wife, then I could do that. I was a survivor, and I would find a way to survive in this world too.
At least, that was what I believed then.