Chapter 1


I mean, of all people, I had to be mated to the King. 

Why? I didn’t want a mate; I didn’t need a mate. Let alone him.

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The ruler of all Lycan’s and Wolves. She-wolves had been throwing themselves at him for centuries. Begging for the chance to stand by his side. Willing to tear down anyone in their path to get even a glimpse of his dark eyes for the chance that it could be them. That they could be Queen. That the most powerful Lycan in history, the biggest alpha-hole there was, would be their mate. 

But it had to be me.

From my hiding spot in the Royal Gardens, I quieted my racing heart and breath, and prayed–prayed– that he hadn’t seen me. Hadn’t smelled me or sensed me. That, maybe, he somehow hadn’t felt the bond between us snap into place. 

Maybe, I could catch my breath here for a moment, then slip out and leave this ball with no one ever knowing what had happened. I could go back to the hotel and tell my parents I had been feeling so sick and had to leave. I could–

My thought process was broken as the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. The only hint that a dangerous predator was nearby. I whipped around, a gasp catching in my throat, already knowing my praying had been for naught. 

The King stood only a few feet away, a near feral look in his dark eyes. His broad, muscled chest rose and fell quickly, beneath the black velvet of his tunic. He licked his lips, his full lips curling back into a snarl. “Mate.”

I backed into the trunk of a massive oak as he stalked towards me, my fingers digging into the rough bark. He stopped only a millimeter away, so close I could feel the heat radiating off his taunt form, and bent his head down, his nose trailing up my neck to my jaw. 

My heart stopped as he took a deep breath in, one of his hands curling into the skirts of my ball gown, the other pressing into bark over my head. I was caught, pinned, like a butterfly to canvas. 

“Do you know how long I’ve been searching for you?” His lips were at my ear, his voice deep and graveled. “Now that I’ve found you, I’m never letting you go.”

Dear Gods.

There was no denying this mate bond was strong, stronger than I thought. 

My mouth was dry as bone. My tongue and limbs froze in place. Seconds ago I wanted nothing more to escape. Now, I only wanted to curl into him. Needed to feel his hands on me. 

The king brushed a piece of hair out of my face, making an embarrassing sound bubble up in my throat. 

“Never in my life have I seen a girl as beautiful as you,” he said softly, hazel eyes searching my face. Sparks shot down my body, my stomach coiling with the praise. 

Why were his words having such an effect on me? This wasn’t normal, but then again nothing about this situation was.

“Could you…could you give me some space please?” I managed to say.

The king raised his eyebrows and replied, “How can I be sure that you won’t run? I don’t want to have to catch you again, but I will if I have to.”

I shivered at the threat in his tone. As much as I tried to convince myself that the king wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous, my body was saying otherwise.

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Tell me your name,” he said.

“Aarya. Aarya Bedi.” 

“Aarya,” the King said slowly. Like the word was a candy, melting on his tongue. “Come.”

My body responded immediately, a warm thrumming filling me as he took my hand and began leading the way through the gardens and back towards the Palace, the ball room. I had no choice but to follow. Heart and thoughts racing, I swept into the ballroom beside him. The hall of hundreds of glittering guests all turned to face us. But there was only one I could focus on. 


The boy who had broken my heart less than a day ago, standing in the front row with his new mate beside him.  All night, it had seemed like he’d been pretending that I didn’t even exist. But now, he couldn’t take his eyes off me. 

I quickly ripped my gaze away. Heat pooling in my cheeks.

“Can you now let me go?” I asked the King, so quietly only he would be able to hear. 

“No. I never thought I would find you; I almost gave up,” Adonis replied softly, almost to himself. He pulled me forward again, into the center of the crowd. They parted for us, creating a path which led straight for the twin thrones. 

This would have been the perfect time to say something romantic, but fresh panic swelled in me and I blurted out, “Well I never wanted a mate after getting my heart broken.”

King Adonis’s grip tightened on mine. “Who the hell had your heart before me?”

“You can’t be telling me that no one has ever broken your heart before?” I asked, side stepping his question.

“Who was it?” Adonis growled.

I shook my head, grateful we’d arrived at the front of the room. That we were forced to turn again to face the crowd, the thrones now at our backs. 

“Royal subjects,” the King said to the glittering, jewel-encrusted crowd. “I have found my queen. Bow.”

My stomach dropped and the whole room prostrated before us. All pairs of eyes falling to the floor in reverence. All but one.

“He’s the one, isn’t he?” Adonis whispered.

“N- no-” I stammered. Even though Hunter was the one who had broken my heart, it’s not like I wanted anything bad to happen to him. And Adonis’s tone held dark promises.

“Don’t. Lie. To. Me,” he snarled into my ear.

And then, before I had a chance to say another word, he dropped his hands from my waist and charged across the room.

In an instant, Adonis had Hunter pinned to the ground.

The Royal Guard jumped into action, calling for everyone in the crowd to “Get back! Get back now!”

Adonis’ tunic was on the verge of splitting. He was about to shift. And then there was no telling what he might do in his Lycan form.

But I couldn’t just ‘get back’ and watch my mate tear my first love to shreds.

So as throngs of people ran away from Adonis’ rage, I ran straight toward it.

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