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      I wasn’t sure what was happening to Ava, but I could give a pretty accurate guess.

         Marking is always done were-to-were. And Shifters are naturally stronger than humans.

          She’s feeling the pain because she’s human. It doesn’t feel good to her because she’s human.

         “Ava,” I whispered. Her head snapped up, a slight trace of fear in her eyes- fear that I had caused, I was sure. She was terrified of my touch. “I-I think it’s because you’re h-human.”

         Tears threatened to fall from my eyes. I tried desperately to hold them back. I couldn’t be weak, not in front of Ava, when her whole world had been falling apart for months now.

         “How?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper.

         “I don’t know from experience,” I said, “but whenever someone else has described it to me, they said while it does, indeed, feel as if their whole body is on fire, they say it in a good way.”

         “And it’s not like that for me- because I’m human.”

         “Well, we’re not sure that you’re human. Finn thinks you could be some kind of supernatural- psychic abilities and all.”

         “I feel a but coming on here,” she mumbled, resting her head on her hands.

         I sighed and nodded. “But you’re apparently human enough to feel pain significantly more than any Shifter does.”

         “Great,” she mumbled sarcastically, her voice muffled by her hands.

         I fell back onto the bed, wishing I could hold her in my arms and comfort her, tell her that everything would be okay.

         Sometimes, I’d heard that Shifters didn’t want to even perform the Mating ceremony because the “burning” feeling would go away.

         But in order to traditionally complete the Mating ceremony… The two Shifters had to kiss.

         I now believed it was a stupid tradition, but it was necessary to seal the bond.

         Completely ********* necessary.



         Hours prior, I’d been terrified of losing Ava to Jace forever. But now, all that occupied my thoughts was this girl resting in my bed.

         I didn’t know her name, and I wasn’t sure where she came from, but she had just washed up on the beach in front of me. Her breathing was finally steady, and I’d gotten all of the water out of her lungs.

         I wasn’t one to believe in fate, but how could I not- I mean, I could turn into a huge wolf. Anything was possible.

          Maybe Jace is right, I thought. Maybe I only love Ava because of Natalie.

         Or maybe that’s just how it started.


     I pulled open the door to Roman’s cabin, my hands clammy from the nervous sweat I was giving off. I was absolutely terrified. He’s not going to know about Jace until you tell him. It’s okay, Ava.

         I stepped inside, my flip-flops slapping the floors. “Hello? Roman!” I called. The house seemed to be empty.

         I sighed, raising my fist to knock on the door to the bedroom.

         Just then, it opened, and Roman stepped out, closing the door behind him. His jaw was set, and he did not look happy.

         I bit my lip. “Uhhh hi.”


         Seeing Ava in front of me ripped my heart out. Even with the girl in the other room, I knew that Ava had betrayed me, and it… hurt.

         I ran my hands through my hair. Hi? That’s all she has to say for herself. “Listen, Roman, I-“ she began.

         “Save it,” I growled.

         Confusion swept over her face, then followed by understanding. “How do you know?” she asked in a small voice.

         I raised my eyebrows. “Besides the ********* hole in your neck? Everyone in the pack can feel it. I knew as soon as I woke up this morning. How does it feel, being together with your ‘perfect other half,’ eh? Is it everything it’s cracked up to be?” I snarled.

         “Roman, I had to-“

         “You didn’t have to do anything!” I cried.

         “Yes. Yes, I did. It was either that or lose Jace.”

         “And I’m just not ********* good enough for you, am I?” I demanded.

         “Roman, that’s not what I-“ she began.

         I shook my head, pulling her to me, lowering my head so that I was whispering in her ear. “Just tell me one thing,” I said quietly.


         “Was it worth it?” I asked her, clenching my teeth.

         She thought for a moment. I tilted her head up, placing a kiss on her lips.

         “Yes,” she whispered, pulling away from me. She turned and hurried out of the cabin. From my view through the window, I could see her eyes red and puffy, tears making their way down her face.


          Yes. That one word played over and over again in my mind. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

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