The Beast And The Blessed
It was the closest I could get us, and that made my stomach tighten.
Only a few weeks ago, Lycans, wolves, and humans faced off against a collection of witches and
vampires for the right to the crown. We came out victorious because of the strength of our Queen’s
magic. All of the vampires had been burned to ashes, and the witches who had taken part in the
treasonous attack had been executed for their crimes.
Yet, their spell was still in place, telling me that at least one witch involved in the casting remained.
More than likely, they were still hiding here, in the mountains.
He wanted to know why I brought us here, and the answer couldn’t have been more disturbing to me.
“Because I couldn’t get us closer,” I whispered as I lifted my hand and ran it over the thick wall of
magic. It was strong. Whoever cast this was not to be taken lightly. ‘Someone survived, and I have a
bad feeling about it.”
I walked forward through the thick, water-like air filled with magic until I reached the other side. It was
the same barrier I had felt the night before the attack.
The sounds of bones cracking and popping filled the area as Tobias shifted into his Lycan, prepared to
fight. His hulking figure towered over me as he stood just behind my shoulder. I took a deep breath to
collect myself, trying not to be distracted by his close proximity.
A cold breeze blew through the trees, making the oak leaves and the pine needles rustle loudly. The
tiny hairs on my neck lifted, and I glanced around the forest. Each step forward had my anger
It didn’t feel like we were alone, but they had masked themselves well. Tobias seemed to have the
same realization as I heard him inhale deeply before letting a low growl out.
I almost wanted them to step out so I could fight them and finally release some of this frustration on
someone, but the forest was empty. There were no animals of any kind, and the further up we hiked,
the drier and more diseased the plants and ground became. They hadn’t been like this before, and I
had to pause and confirm we were going in the right direction before we could continue.
I was so focused on our surroundings that I jumped when Tobias placed his large claw on my hip.
The need to pull away and eliminate him as a distraction vanished when I tilted my head back and saw
his muzzle over my head as he stared out into the trees. It felt so natural to have his hand there, and I
was sure he didn’t even realize he was doing it. His chest brushed against my back as he slowly turned
his head from side to side, scanning our surroundings, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from him.
He knew what he was doing. This was his job as one of the private bodyguards to the Queen. A flare of
jealousy rushed through me as I imagined him doing this with Natalie, even though I knew he never
would. I had never seen him touch her. He adored the Queen, as did the rest of her people, but it
wasn’t infatuation. He respected her and the king.
Still, I knew he wasn’t infatuated with me either, and yet, here we were.
The back of my head brushed against his chest, and he looked down at me, suddenly realizing the
position he had placed us in, and took a step back with his top lip pulled up in a silent snarl. The loss of
his body heat made me shiver, and I pressed my lips together to stop myself from turning around and
giving him a piece of my mind.
He saw us as friends. I was the little girl he saved all those years ago. Then one day, he cut me out of
his life and didn’t talk to me again for years. He didn’t speak to anyone again for years. It took a long
time to get him to let me back in, and even then, it was never the same.
Now as adults, we maintained this acquaintanceship where some days I was his friend, and some days
I was nothing more than a colleague. But I only wanted to grab and kiss him until he finally saw me as
“It’s this way.” I ground out, feeling my eyes begin to water. Once again, he pulled away from me like I
was some disease-ridden animal when he was the one who had reached out for me this time.
“Josie,” Tobias growled, but I shook my head and kept walking. I didn’t want his excuses. I also didn’t
want to hear him tell me how or why he wasn’t interested. It would be too painful.
“It’s close. We need to keep moving if we want to get home before nightfall. ‘ I stepped over a fallen
tree, noticing the small black lines that had run up the trunk. They pulsed faintly, and as I let my
fingertips graze over them, I could feel the dark magic poisoning the plant.
I saw the stone before anything else when I looked up. The large flat slab had been lifted atop another
to be raised, and I swallowed hard as I pushed my childhood memories to the back of my mind.
When I had stumbled across this during our attack, it had been covered in fresh blood. Chains had
been secured to the surrounding trees and sat in the dirt as they waited for their next victim.
But they weren’t here now.
Everything had been cleaned. Even the dirt had been cleared of any footprints.
I approached the stone slab, letting my shaking hands gently brush over the discolored rock. I spent
several minutes inspecting the rust-red-stained stone. Every line and crack in the stone had been
cleaned. There wasn’t a spec of dried blood, and I smacked my palm down loudly in frustration.
“It’s all gone. Someone came back here to clean up their mess and hide any evidence.” I turned,
walking around one of the trees that I knew had chains tied to it. Chunks of bark lay scattered on the
ground, having fallen from the friction of the metal rubbing against it.
I closed my eyes, trying to fight the memory of me pulling and yanking against the chains, trying to get
free…to get away from the evil witches slicing into my skin. The horror of knowing it could have been a
child on that rock, getting their magic sucked out of their soul, made me grab my knees as my mouth
began to water and my stomach rolled. 1
Tobias approached me slowly, his claws gently scraping my skin as he pulled my hair back to keep it
out of the way. The tender touch and thoughtful gesture made my chest hurt. I took a few deep,
calming breaths as my stomach settled before standing upright, thankful I hadn’t been sick in front of
“There is nothing here. This was a waste of time.” I felt bitter and angry. All this confirmed was that at
least one witch was still alive, practicing dark magic and growing stronger. I had seen the blood and
chains. I had felt the evil air surrounding this area when I had snuck into this forest to do my part for the
pack during the war. But now I knew they had survived.
I spent the whole day on this stupid trek to find answers and had nothing substantial to show for it. I
was left with no more information on the potential threat to our people and even more hurt and
confusion from Tobias.
Before he could say anything, I grabbed Tobias’s forearm, and we were sucked into the darkness.
I didn’t know where to take him or where he lived. I had never been invited there or welcomed into
Tobias’s life outside of the castle. That realization seemed to be the last straw before all of my anger
deflated, and we were left standing in the sitting room of my private tower. Defeated.
‘Thank you for traveling with me today. You may go.” I dismissed him without looking back at him as I
walked up the stairs to my bedroom. I needed to think through this and come up with a plan.
The sound of him following me up the stairs made me tense, but I was done fighting today. Everything
had been a struggle or a fight for the past few months. The only difference was that I had people on my
side before the war. Now, I was in it on my own.
My position in the kingdom had basically become obsolete.
If I couldn’t take down this threat on my own and prove myself to Killian and Natalie, I had no doubt I
would be out of a job and a place to live.
Killian had been my best friend since I was brought here. But even he had distanced himself after he
found his mate. He said everything was okay between us, but it wasn’t lost on me that he withdrew
from me after Natalie falsely accused us of having an affair.
I understood. His mate came first. If I had one, I would do the same thing. But even after the air had
cleared, he hadn’t treated me the same. It was rare now that I could ever talk to him alone. If I did, it
was like a silent alarm went off, and someone would come to interrupt us within a few minutes. He
would keep the doors open when I would be in the same room as him alone, making it difficult to
discuss any private or confidential pack matters, let alone anything personal.
With his mate being a descendant of the moon goddess, she was more powerful than I was. She could
talk to him privately or through the pack link about important matters without interruptions or
eavesdroppers listening in, something I could no longer do. It was why I was positive that she would
soon be taking over my role and I would be sent on my way.
No home. No friends. No family.
Then there was Tobias.
The fight for Tobias was a lost cause, and I knew it would be better for both of us if he just went back to
“Josie,” Tobias said firmly, his hand catching the door to my bedroom as I attempted to close it between
“Not now,” I said as I ignored him coming in behind me. His voice had been clearer than before. The
rough growl behind each word was gone, and I knew that meant he was back in his skin. It also meant
he was naked; my heart couldn’t take that right now.
Having him in my bedroom was like bringing a starving person a tray of food and telling them they
couldn’t eat it.
“Yes. Now.” He argued back, but I moved into my bathroom and closed the door between us. He didn’t
stop me this time, and I let my head hang down as I gripped the counter’s edge, taking several deep
I turned on the tap, splashing some cold water on my face as I heard movement in my room.
The water dripped down my face and onto my chest as I looked myself over.
One last try, Joselin. Get your shit together.
It had been a long time since we had been alone or in private, and I was going to take advantage of it
and be bold. If Tobias still wasn’t interested, I would move on and find someone new.
I hadn’t been with anyone in months. Tobias was the only one I cared for, and if I had a real chance
with him, I wasn’t planning on ruining that by fucking strangers. But I was losing hope that I had a
This was his last chance. If he didn’t make a move, I would just go back to fucking whoever I pleased.
My tongue ran out over my lips as I silently pleaded to the Goddess for this not to backfire before I
dried my face and turned to the door. There was only so much rejection a girl could take, no matter how
strong they were.
The bathroom knob felt cold as I wrapped my hand around it and pulled it open.
Tobias sat in the corner of the room in the plush chair where I enjoyed reading at night, and I let my
eyes wander over his naked body. He looked livid. His jaw was clenched, and his hands gripped the
chair’s arms tightly as he glared at me. I couldn’t tell if his eyes were black or brown in the dim lighting.
“Now.” He demanded again, and I smirked. I didn’t want to talk right now.
“One moment, I got my shirt wet while washing my face.” His eyes dropped to my chest, undoubtedly
seeing the very few drops of water on my top. But he didn’t say anything as I reached down and
grabbed the hem, pulling it up and over my head slowly.
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