The feeling was exacerbated by a tall figure that stepped out of the shadows. The first thing she noticed was his height; he was very tall and very built, and he had very pointed ears.

That’s a new one, Lilly thought. His eyes glowed yellow like a cat's and he had a sharp straight nose and thin lips. Even with his obviously inhuman qualities, he was more than handsome. Lilly felt herself drawn to the stranger, and something in her told her that her future had always had him in it.

“King Cypher.” Mona stepped out of the way and pulled Lilly forward. “I have brought her just as I said I would – your mate.”

Oh, snap, Lilly thought. Didn’t see that one coming.


Cypher watched the reaction of the human female who stood next to the witch. He was taken aback by her beauty. She was petite compared to his 6 foot 4 inch frame.  Her hair was a deep brown and looked so soft that he itched to run his fingers through it. When her eyes met his, he felt it in his soul. She had eyes the color of butterscotch and every emotion she was feeling was written in those rich, golden eyes. She licked her lips and he followed the motion like an addict would follow a drug held in the palm of a dealer. He took several steps toward them but stopped when he was an arm’s length away.

“What is your name?” he asked her in his deep voice. He smiled and had to give her credit when she didn’t flinch under his scrutiny.

“Lilly,” she answered confidently. “And you are a king? King of who, or should I say what?”

Cypher laughed. “You have spirit, little one,” he said. “Yes I am a king, King of the warlocks.”

Lilly coughed and sputtered, then swallowed. “I’m sorry,” she started, having to clear her throat again before she could go on. “Did you just say warlocks?”

Mona rolled her eyes at the human. “Please tell me you didn’t think the only thing not human in this world were werewolves.”

Lilly ignored Mona, continuing to watch Cypher.

“So it’s King Cypher, correct?” she asked him, regaining her composure.

Cypher nodded once.

“Okay, just a small question here, but why would you want me to be your mate? You don’t know me from Eve.”

Cypher cocked his head to the side and his brow furrowed. “Who is Eve?”

Lilly and Mona both let out a snort at the same time, then both stopped to glare at the other.

“It’s just a saying.” Lilly waved him off. “The important part of the question is ‘why me?’”

“I didn’t pick you, Lilly.” Cypher watched as her lips tightened and her forehead wrinkled in thought. “Desdemona brought you to me.”

“Who is Desdemona?”

Mona bowed dramatically. “Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am Desdemona, the last witch in this world. My power is beyond anything you can comprehend and Cypher has information I need. We made a deal, a mate for him and the information for me. It’s just an added bonus that you are who you are.”

Cypher looked at Mona, trying to decipher what her words meant. Who was Lilly to her? What did she know about Lilly?

He looked at Mona and his face became a blank slate.

“Two days,” he told her.

“Yes, yes, as we agreed.  You have two days with her. Then I want you ready to go to the veil.”

“Wait!” Lilly yelled as Mona turned to go. “What about my daughter?”

Mona shrugged. “I don’t know anything about your daughter.”

“Why do I get the feeling you are lying?” Lilly asked through pursed lips.

Mona’s smile turned sly. “I have no idea, Lilly Pierce. I would never be dishonest.”

Lilly snorted. “Right, and any second now you are going to bust out in Mary Poppins These are a few of my favorite things.” She let out an exasperated breath. “Can you at least tell me if she is safe?”

“As much as I would love to give you some heart breaking news about your flesh and blood, the truth – and it nauseates me to even think that word – is that I don’t know what she is up to at the moment. The last time I saw her she was furry and running on a battle field.”

Lilly’s mouth dropped open. “What?”

“Hey, I’m just calling it like I see it. She was furry and ripping through my army. As far as I know, she lived through it. So that’s a plus, right?”

Lilly stared speechless at the witch and then in the blink of an eye the witch was gone.

She looked around as if Mona was going to pop up and yell “boo”.

Cypher let out a deep breath. “She can be very dramatic at times.”

His voice drew Lilly’s attention back to him.

Cypher stood and stared at her, unblinking and unashamedly. It had been a very long time since he had spent any quality time with a female and he couldn’t remember if he had ever been with a female of such beauty.

Lilly cleared her throat, trying to not worry about Jacque because she knew that there was nothing she could do about it at the moment. She could only deal with the situation before her.

“So are you going to throw me in a dungeon or something?” she asked the tall, handsome king. She really wished she hadn’t thought of that last adjective, but truth be told, he was a looker. Jacque would call him eye candy and Lilly would agree.

Cypher smiled and it transformed his hard features. “I don’t have any plans to throw you in a dungeon. I thought you would prefer a room with a bed and human amenities.”

“Huh,” Lilly said, lifting a single eyebrow. “Well, that does sound better than a dungeon.”

“I know you must have questions, and I’m willing to answer them. But I would really like to take care of your immediate needs. Are you hungry?”

Lilly nodded. “But first, can I use the ladies' room?”

Cypher pointed down the hall. “Third door on the right. I’ll just wait here for you.”

Lilly walked to the bathroom, only looking over her shoulder once. Cypher was still watching.

Lilly stepped into the restroom, finding the light on the wall and flicking it on. She closed the door and turned the lock. Letting out a deep breath, she looked in the mirror over the sink. Her face was pale and haggard. She turned on the water and splashed her face with it. A towel hung on a hook and she used it to pat her face and hands dry. She hung the towel back up, laughing at herself for being so cordial in her captor’s house. She shrugged. Might as well be neat.