The Beast And The Blessed

Chapter 16

Sixteen: Natalie

Natalie’s P.O.V.

After collecting myself, I tried to leave the room, only to find the door sealed *. Joselin was surely the
culprit, and I *cursed the witch. I could flick the lock back and forth and even turn the knob, but the door
wouldn’t budge.

When I knocked on it and received a rhythmic tapping in return, I knew Tobias was at least out there,
guarding me still. It helped me to feel like I wasn’t completely alone.

After the first two hours, I accepted that it was going to be a long night. I wasn’t sure when dinner would
be arriving or if it would at all, and I could only hope that *an would at least make it home at a
reasonable time.

After a long, hot shower, the sound of the bedroom door being slammed *made me jump, and I
wrapped the towel around me in a hurry. I could hear things being thrown around the room, and I
tiptoed to the door, peering out through the crack into the bedroom. *an stood with his hands gripping
the edge of the dresser. The muscles in his back were moving, coiling, and tensing as he appeared to
be fighting off the shift.

I had seen him angry before, but not like this. His reflection in the mirror showed that he was absolutely
livid. His glowing red eyes were burning into the wood of the dresser top. I flinched as his arm swung
out, and he knocked the candle from the wooden surface, the glass shattering as it collided with the
wall next to my side of the bed.

The loud roar of anger that followed shook me to my core, but I wasn’t scared. I was deeply worried for
him. All rational thought to escape the violent and angered beast vanished from my mind, and I pulled
the bathroom door open and rushed toward him.

“*,” I called out softly, only an arm’s length away.

He didn’t have to say anything as he turned to face me, I stood there in my towel with my hair dripping
on the floor, but he never looked away from my eyes. His chest was rising and falling rapidly, and his
hands were clenched in fists.

I could see it clearer now that I was so close. He wasn’t just angry. He was hurting.

It was all I needed to swallow back my last bit of hesitation, and I moved forward to wrap my arms.
around him. *raised his arms as he stiffened further, but I tightened my hold.

My cheek pressed against his chest, and I could hear his heart start to slow the longer I held him. I
squeezed my eyes *as I waited for the moment he would *down and push me off him. Instead, I let out
the breath I had been holding as his arms dropped down around me, and he held me just as tightly to
his chest as I held him to mine.

“What happened?” I whispered, scared that I would ruin the moment if I spoke too loudly, but he didn’t
let go.

“There was an attack on one of my men.” His voice dropped as he picked me up, my feet swaying
beneath me as he moved. I pushed my chest against him harder, hoping to keep my towel up as he
moved to the armchair by the balcony doors. He sat down, pulling me into his lap.

My hand shot out to fix the bottom of my towel as he turned me sideways with my legs over the arm of
the chair. But I paused as *adjusted it for me, pulling it over my thigh and placing his hand on top to
keep it from moving. He wasn’t even looking at me, and the unconscious move took me by surprise.

“Is he okay?”

The *and dark chuckle I received in response was unexpected, but I placed my head on his chest while
my hands rested over his on my leg. “He’s dead. The venom was too strong. They had bitten him too
many times.”

My eyes widened as my hand tightened on his forearm, Vampires.

We had all thought they were extinct. The Great War and the aftermath of the battle had made sure of
that. Those poisonous leeches *the life out of everything they touched.

They had kept buildings filled with bleeders of all species, chained up for their clans to feed from freely.
The pleasure of being fed from them was rumored to be addicting, but the poison that sank into their
victim’s bloodstream would *them within a matter of days or months depending on the strength of their

The last I heard, they were still discovering the remains of those establishments as the abandoned
cities were explored by curious souls.

“They’re back?” My question was followed by a shiver, and *pulled me in tighter as he dropped his
head against the back cushion.

“It would seem that they never left.” He grumbled, and I could feel his body shaking as he closed his
eyes. My right hand released his arm, and I found myself placing it over his heart. The pounding
beneath his ribs was soothing but far too fast. As I rubbed my palm over his peck in an unhurried up-
and-down motion, his heart began to slow.

I never expected I would be able to do that to him, but I also never expected that his touch would be
able to keep me calm. It was something Jake had never been able to do.

His hand began to move in time with mine, sliding up and down over the towel on my thigh in short but
soft movements.

The want to ask him if that was what he was searching for on the map when I went into his office, but I
bit my tongue, knowing that I had annoyed him last time with my questions. I didn’t want to ruin this
moment. Whether he admitted it to me or not, he needed someone, and I was going to be there for
him. He had taken me from my *existence and quite literally made me the next queen.

I had everything I could ever ask for material-wise, and I owed him for that. But now that he was
opening up to me and seeking comfort from me, I felt like I may one day have the companionship I was
wanting as well.

“I am really sorry that they got to one of your men,” I whispered, tilting my head up to look at him. His
jaw was clenched, and my hand moved up to run the tip of my pointer finger across it.

“He is with the Goddess now.” His voice was firm as he lifted his head from the backrest of the

I watched him for a moment longer as his eyes began to drop, and the defeat became visible in them.”
Come on,” I whispered as I slid off his lap, holding my hand out to him. “Let’s go to bed. There will be a

to do tomorrow.”

Disappointment flickered in my mind when he stood without taking my waiting hand, and I turned to the
dresser to grab my pajamas from the new collection of clothes that had been provided to me.

When I left the bathroom, pulling the drawstrings on the pajama shorts to tighten them, *was waiting in
bed with his forearm thrown over his eyes. I stepped carefully over the glass from the candle, knowing I
would need to clean it up tomorrow before one of the servants saw it and assumed he and I had been
in another argument. The first one had been embarrassing enough for me.

As I curled up under the blanket, *turned on his side, wrapping his warm arm around me and pulling

me into his chest. The familiar position caused a smile to stretch over my face, and I closed my eyes as
he brushed his nose against my neck.

I wished we could stay like this forever. But I knew to enjoy these fleeting moments with him while they
lasted. In a few short hours, he would wake, and the cold king who had *two of my pack mates, and
thousands of other creatures would be back.

Update of The Beast And The Blessed by Ashley

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