“We were darn lucky your parents never caught us watching that one.” She fanned herself, most likely remembering one of the many sex scenes we’d been scandalized over back then. The show had been something we definitely shouldn’t have been watching at that age, but I’d been drawn to shows depicting the supernatural world after binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there had only been so many to choose from.
“Yeah, but I’m not sure if they would’ve freaked out more because of the sex or the vampires.” I shook my head and heaved a deep sigh. “I can’t believe they’ve known about them all this time and never said a word.”
“I bet that’s a part of why they hated how much you were fascinated by vampires. What are the odds that your aunt was a potential consort who was killed by a nightwalker?”
I wiggled my fingers in the air, the moonlight bouncing off the amethyst. “Probably the same as Athan finding this a hundred years ago.”
“Good point,” she conceded with a smile.
“Soooo,” I drawled, wagging my brows. “I guess we should get to the reason I wanted to have this little chat.”
Thana bounced on the bench, rubbing her hands together. “You have questions about the claiming, right?”
“Yup.” I nodded, my cheeks heating as I thought about the few details Athan had already shared with me.
“Losing your virginity, no matter how good last night was, will pale in comparison to what happens when Athan claims you.” The pink in her cheeks matched mine, making me giggle. It came out sounding super nervous, probably because I couldn’t imagine a night more intense than the one I’d already spent with Athan. “The level of dominance during the claiming is through the roof.”
Considering how Athan had mastered my body last night, drawing reactions from me that I didn't think were possible, my jaw dropped. “How so?”
She traced her finger over the inside of her wrist and shivered, her lips curving up in a smile of pure feminine satisfaction. “If it’s anything like my claiming, there will be a little bondage, some biting, and lots of orgasms.”
“Well, then.” I cleared my throat and grinned. “I guess I have a lot to look forward to.”
“Without a doubt.” She took my hands in hers. “But the claiming is more than just mind-blowing sex. It’s so powerful when you share the claiming words with each other.”
She went on to explain what Athan would say and how I was supposed to respond. My ring warmed on my finger, almost as though it was anticipating the moment I would fulfill my destiny with Athan.
“And after you experience the most amazing night of your life, you’ll find the bond between you and Athan unlike anything you’ve ever felt before.” She let out a dreamy sigh and smiled with a faraway look in her eyes. “Inner walls you didn’t even know you had will come crashing down, and you’ll be totally open to him. But it won’t scare you because his will too, and you’ll have no doubts about exactly how much you mean to him. It’s so freeing to understand you’re right where you’re meant to be.”
I was so touched by the description of her connection with Kieran, tears filled my eyes. “I’m thrilled you found him. It’s really great to see you so happy. You’re practically glowing.”
“Oh!” Her lips formed a perfect O as she dropped her hand to cover her belly. “You raced out of the ballroom before I shared the news with Kieran, so you didn’t hear. That’s the pregnancy glow.”
“You’re going to have a baby?” I shrieked, clapping my hands together.
“Yup.” She beamed a smile at me. “I have a little daywalker on board.”
“That’s awesome.” I stood and pulled Thana to her feet, giving her a big hug before brushing my palm over her still-flat belly. “I’m so excited to be here for your pregnancy. I can’t wait to go shopping for adorable baby stuff with you. This is going to be awesome. Can we go tomorrow, or is it too soon?”
“That sounds perfect to me. I’ll have Kieran set everything up with the baby boutique in town so they stay open a little late for us,” she offered.
Living most of my life in the evening and night was going to take some getting used to, but spending it with Athan—and having Thana so close—was more than worth the minor inconvenience. “I’ll let—”
I broke off when I spotted a stranger striding through the garden toward us. The man was tall and pale, with blond hair and sunken eyes that glowed red. His lips spread in an evil grin, showing a set of fangs that were stained red. I gasped in fear, and Thana whirled around.
“Nightwalker,” she hissed, confirming my suspicion.
His gaze was locked on me, and he didn’t react to what Thana said. It was almost as though he couldn’t see anything beyond me until Thana stepped in front of me and blocked my body from his line of sight. “What are you doing?” I muttered, pulling on her arm so she’d get behind me. “I know you’re stronger than me because Kieran claimed you, but you have the baby to worry about now. You need to focus on protecting the life growing inside you, not me.”