The Beast And The Blessed
I was amused when Holden had to get another look at the naked siren. He was amazed that she
looked so normal until I told him that was how they lured in their victims. Their song and their bodies
were a beacon to any species.
When they fed is when they would shed their skin and reveal their slimy, boney, true forms. Vile
I had seen them snatch a poor Sprite out of the air and bite them in half like a candy bar. It was not
The ground beneath us had been lifted to a comfortable lounge bed with soft, short grass. I had offered
to take Holden back to the packhouse, but he refused.
’If I don’t think about the siren wanting to lure me to my death, this is the most relaxing place I’ve ever
been,” Holden said with his hands behind his head as he stretched out beside me. He was attractive. I
would give him that. But it felt wrong to think about him any other way when he was only eighteen while
I was twenty-six.
Granted, he looked older. Much older. Being a wolf did wonders for his build, but I didn’t feel physically
attracted to him.
“She’ll give up soon. If not, we can always kill and take some of her blood. Once you drink even a drop
of it, their pull will no longer work on you.” I smirked as the siren below us went silent. She knew she
stood no chance against me. She barely made it out alive last time.
“Is that why she doesn’t bother you?” He turned to look at me, and I smirked at him.
“I can be scrappy when I need to be.” I felt my heart slow as he smiled at me. It was a feeling I had
never experienced before. He knew none of my past or the horrors I had to face. There was no pity or
disgust. Most importantly, there was no fear. “It really doesn’t bother you, does it? The way I look.”
“It does.” He reached over, letting his hand rest on mine, but I pulled away.’ I think you are the most
beautiful woman I have ever seen. That bothers me because I haven’t smelled anything from you that
would indicate you have any interest in me. I will win you over, though. I can be very stubborn when I
His green eyes bore into me, placing his hand back behind his head and flexing his muscles as he
wiggled his eyebrows.
“And what is it that you want from me?” There was a voice in my head, shouting that he just wanted to
fuck a witch, but I pushed it to the back of my mind.
“I want to spend time with you. You are breathtaking and strong. You deserve to be treated like a
Goddess. If you’d let me, I could be the one to do that for you, or I can be your friend, but I require our
midnight snack to be cheesecake next time.”
His words warmed my heart, and I turned away from him to look at the ocean before us as pain
stabbed through my chest. “You have a mate out there who will be your entire world soon. Don’t let
anyone get in the way of you finding that happiness.”
He let out a sigh, and from the corner of my eye, I watched as he followed my gaze to the horizon and
ran his fingers through his hair.
“Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to you for me to lead you on.” I could picture Tobias as clearly as if he were
standing before me. It wasn’t as if it were the first time I had thought about him today, but it was the
most painful for some reason.
‘Who is he? Can I take him?” Holden lifted his head, his eyes narrowed, but his lips twitched as he tried
not to smile.
“He can kick your ass in his sleep, but I don’t think he would care enough to actually do it if he saw us
together.” My ankles crossed as I adjusted, uncomfortable with the topic.
I laughed, the pain audible as I closed my eyes to prevent them from watering. “Because he never
“Ah, so he is an idiot. Now, that I can work with. If I can’t fight him, maybe I can help you to make him
jealous.” Holden’s suggestion hadn’t been new to me. I had tried to make Tobias jealous several times,
but that was before he ever showed any interest back.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, but I appreciate the offer. I’ve tried to move on for years, and nothing
has worked. Finally, I decided to go for it and tried to get his attention. I thought being loved by him,
even for a short while until he found his mate, would still be better than not having him at all. He wasn’t
interested.” There was a heavy silence between us as I admitted my pathetic story of unrequited love.
A witch fell for a beast who was fated to another.
I wanted to kick myself for ever becoming so emotional and weak.
“So, I’m hearing you have a thing for wolves. That means I have a chance.” Holden smirked at me, and
I rolled my eyes.
The low sound of humming started again, followed by the powerful and hypnotizing voice of the siren.
“Alright, let’s go.” I stood up, seeing the glazed look in Holden’s eyes from her song. The oversized
lounge chair I had created dropped back to the Earth, and Holden jolted back to reality upon impact
with the ground.
“What was that for?” His eyes moved from me back to the cliff’s edge. I grabbed his hand, holding it
“Come on,” I ordered, and he looked down at our hands before raising his eyebrows at me
“Where are we going this time?”
“I feel incredible!” Holden said, throwing his arm over my shoulders as I walked toward the dining hall
for dinner. I had never felt so light and relaxed as I did after drawing blood. There was nothing else like
Killian and Natalie hadn’t arrived, and I was happy they hadn’t. I knew seeing Killian would ruin my
“How long will the effects last?” I laughed as his eyes darted around the room as he saw everything
with a different view. When I had my first and only taste of siren blood, everything had a blue tint, but it
was somehow clearer and brighter than before.
“It lasted a few days for me. With your metabolism, it might be a day, maybe two.” I said, wishing I
could relax fully and let my arm wrap around his waist as my mind told me to. It amazed me how his
touching me bothered me less than when other people did it, but I still wasn’t entirely comfortable.
He was a physical person, but I needed baby steps.
“What the world is that smell?” I heard Natalie ask, and I tensed before turning around and dipping my
head in a respectful greeting. I had probably pissed them off enough today. I didn’t need to give them
even more of a reason to kick me out of my job and home.
Holden’s arm dropped from my shoulders as he sobered and bowed as well, our voices overlapping as
we greeted our leaders.
“That would be siren venom,” Killian said, his eyes landing on my bicep where the bitch had managed
to get a hold of me. I wore it proudly, knowing every Lycan and wolf here would know I had fought and
bested a siren. “Josie, a word.”
Oh, how I wanted that word to be, ‘No.’
That was a sure way to make him lose his temper. He had been doing very well at keeping himself in
check, and I didn’t want to be the person he lost it with. I nodded once, following him to an empty sitting
room down the hall, leaving Holden and Natalie alone to talk.
I hesitated as I spun toward the door, wondering if he wanted them open or closed. He had taken me
aside, so I assumed he wanted privacy for this conversation. Still, I knew he would be uncomfortable
being alone with me.
I was starting to believe he thought I was a siren too, waiting for the perfect moment to cast a charm
over him and ruin his life.
“Close the doors,” He ordered. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath at his clipped and agitated
This was it. I had lashed out too many times, and now I would be let go. I doubted anyone in the city
would let me purchase or buy a house from them without hiding who I really was. I would have to find a
safe place to build my own. It wouldn’t be difficult with my magic, but it would be lonely.
History told me that my newfound friendship with Holden would be short lived. Once Holden found his
mate, she wouldn’t be too keen on him spending time with me. So, I couldn’t count him as a friend yet.
I did as Killian ordered, turning to face him but not moving closer. I stared at his chest, not bothering to
offend him further by looking into his eyes.
“Did you get seen to?”
His question surprised me and my hand moved up to cover my bicep where the siren had sunk her
teeth into me. It was a euphoric experience. One that would have drugged me enough for her to have
me at her mercy had I not already tasted her blood.
I hadn’t imagined he would care anymore. He certainly hadn’t paid any attention to anything that didn’t
involve Natalie over the past few months. He hadn’t tried to visit me in the infirmary after the war when I
had been stabbed. Granted, I had sent Natalie away during her attempted visit, but Killian didn’t even
I had wanted to talk to him about the horror I had experienced, not with the stabbing but with the
monsters in the darkness. He was the person I trusted the most.
I had expected to see Killian or Tobias, but they never came.
It wasn’t until I had shown my face again that I discovered Tobias had made it a mission to avoid me.
Killian was so focused on helping Natalie control her powers that he ignored and pushed aside
“I’m very sorry, Josie. I will work on being a better friend.” His hands were in fists at his sides, and I
knew it was because he was having difficulty apologizing and admitting that he had done wrong.
“You’re…” I stumbled over my words. My eyebrows raised as I tried to hide my entertainment at his
apparent internal conflict and power struggle.
“Sorry. Yes.” He looked unamused as I smiled widely at him. The day was getting better, and I could
only pray to the Goddess that it would stay that way.
My smile crumbled as my hand massaged the bite mark on my arm. There was still one question that I
wanted to hear him answer. “Why didn’t you check on me after the war, after I was stabbed?”
Killian scoffed, his hands stilling at his sides, showing me he was confident in his answer. “I knew you
were strong enough to get through it, and you did. You were out working again two days later.”
“I had to.” I wasn’t ready to tell him my fears about being replaced by Natalie. Everything I could do,
she would be able to do too. Her magic was stronger than mine was.
Killian waited, silently demanding that I explain, but I knew better than that. We had been friends for too
long for him to pull that shit on me.
“Things will never be the same between us, Ian. I get that. You have a mate and will be starting your
own family one day. I know it’s important to do everything possible to hold onto that. It’ll just take time
for me to get used to our different dynamic.” My stomach growled, empty as I hadn’t eaten since the
brownies last night with Holden.
“You will always be my family, Josie,” Killian said, stepping forward to place a hand on my shoulder.
I smiled at him sadly. If only I could believe that. Family had never been good to me. My parents, the
previous king and queen, Talia…
“You too,” I whispered, discretely stepping away to open the doors, letting his hand fall to the side.
There was no point in stirring the pot by having his scent on me when we returned to Natalie. She
didn’t seem to care and trusted me well enough now, but I knew Killian.
I knew he was constantly stressed and terrified to do something that would ruin his relationship. He had
thought he had lost her once, and that had been the first time I had ever seen him on his knees before
anyone. If keeping my distance would help him feel more confident in his relationship, then that is what
I would do.
Holden smiled brightly when I saw him still waiting with Natalie. She glanced between us, openly
I was surprised when she said nothing as he held his arm out for me, and I looped my hand through it.
The door opened for us, and we entered the packed dining hall. My eyes immediately found Tobias,
and I looked toward my seat. I wanted to show him that he couldn’t get to me anymore, but the look on
his face made me question my reaction to his presence. 2 He was furious.
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