Alien Beast’s Fated Mate: Chapter Four


He was a walking legend. Dusky skin with gray spots that ran from his temples down his neck. Fangs. Sweeping, pointed ears. For my entire life, I’d been told stories of savage, man-like beasts in the woods beyond the Canyonlands.

I’d only half-believed.

His body was larger than a man’s, broader, rippling with muscle, hands huge. Pale blue hair was caught in a queue. Shoulders practically burst from a tooled leather vest, his pale shirt stretched tight. Breeks and boots were of a different leather than the vest. An empty scabbard hung from a braided belt.

Did primitive, man-eating monsters wear belts and boots?

Taking a calming breath, I dared look at his face.

Brutal blocks of bone, eyes heavily ridged, cheeks broad, chin a slab. His eyes were strange. The irises were multi-colored, a blue ring surrounding a green, the pupils slit like a night predator’s.

Yet his mouth looked delicate, soft. Until he opened his mouth to speak, revealing sharp, prominent canines.

“We need to keep moving,” he said, his deep voice rumbling through me.

The beast man strode away, not looking back. I watched the play of muscles across his broad back as he moved.

I jogged to catch up, my heart beginning to pound. “Who are you? Why are you here?”

“My name is Drax of Zashi. I claim you as my mate,” he said, glancing back at me with an intense gaze. “For months, I have dreamed of you. Did you not dream of me?”

“No…” I whispered, though something deep inside me stirred at his words.

Not until I was placed in the Tomb, my mind twisting itself in knots. Then I felt his presence. Did I dare admit it?

“You can’t claim me. Arrangements must be made. A dowry paid to my father. My parents would never let me marry below my status,” I babbled, unable to meet his penetrating stare. “My marriage must be to a man in a higher ring.”

“I don’t care about rings,” he said, his voice a low rumble. “Only that you must accept me. If not—”

“Really? You’re giving me a choice?” I said, my heart skipping.

“No. You are mine.” He glared at me, desire and possession burning in his strange eyes. “Figure it out. You called to me. I feel your need. There is no hiding from our bond.”

Bond. Yes, I did feel something while the priests crammed skills and knowledge in my brain. I had come to think that the presence was my own mind, inventing a savior, keeping me sane. Life had swiftly become a horror. It was only a coping mechanism.

Except my made-up hero now dragged me into the woods, far from Terr.

“Where are we going? It’s dark. We could get lost,” I said, though I already felt lost in his presence.

“We can’t get lost. My mind touches Grindi’s,” he said.


“My bagart,” he said, glancing back again, his strange eyes seeming to see right through me.

How I knew that a bagart was a beast of burden, I didn’t know. They were built like stie—hooved browsers—except carnivorous, with a spread of fierce horns to bring down prey.

“She is racing to meet us. Once we are mounted, we will lose your captors.”

I wasn’t getting on a predatory beast with this powerful, primal man. Period. No matter who was on our trail.

But what was I going to do? Break away and run back for Terr?

Could I even find my way through the woods?

We were forbidden from traveling so far from the city walls. Not even hunters came this far, I was sure.

“Do all you Frostlings speak my tongue?” He turned, eying me curiously, his gaze heating my blood.

I found myself mesmerized by the way his full lips formed the strange words.

“Frostling?” I managed to ask. What the hell was that?

“I’ve been told of your kind, my ancestors going back to the sunrise of eternity committed your fearful image to tapestries, to dark songs.”

He said it as if he knew something about my people. But I was just an ordinary girl from Terr.

“Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not sure how I came to know your language. It must be something from the Tomb. But why put that in my brain?”

Vaguely, I recalled the oracle behaving oddly after a lightning strike. How else could I be fluent in a language spoken heretofore by legendary monsters?

So many questions. With the sudden insanity my life had become, I didn’t feel grounded enough to find answers.

On and on we ran through the woods. My head spun, lungs burning, trying to keep up with his long, powerful strides.

My foot caught on something. With a yelp, I tumbled forward.

In a flash, Drax was there, catching me before I hit the ground. Lifting me in his arms, he continued on.

My weight seemed like nothing to him. Instead, he seemed relieved that we were moving at a faster pace. I felt the hardness of his body pressed against my curves, the heat radiating from his bare skin.

We passed enormous trunks, branches ladened with broad leaves, the ground rising and falling beneath his steady feet.

The red moon appeared above in the breaks between branches. It was low in the sky. Morning neared.

With the first vague glow of dawn, I heard a commotion in the woods ahead.

A giant beast broke through the screen of leaves, shaking a head loaded with killing antlers. Bearing shredding fangs at us, it rose on its hind legs. Sharp front hooves pawed the air.

“Grindi!” Drax commanded in a resonant tone that shook me. “Down!”

I felt a flurry in my brain, a whirlwind of fierce command through our strange bond.

The massive animal settled down and trotted over. On its back, a kind of saddle was strapped. Drax set me down and leaped astride it with effortless grace. Despite my fear, I couldn’t take my eyes off the play of muscles beneath his skin. He reached down and pulled me up into the saddle in front of him, enveloping me in his warmth and the scent of leather and spice. I trembled as his arms caged me.

“Hyah!” His legs jerked and the animal trotted off with a snort. His arms surrounded me, hands gripping the leash. I felt both terrified and exhilarated.

Now we moved much quicker into the woods away from Terr, from all I’d ever known. But pressed against the sturdy frame of this powerful primal man, I felt a foreign thrill instead of fear…

“They wouldn’t chase us this far,” I said, my voice breathless as I leaned back against his broad chest.

“No?” he rumbled, his warm breath tickling my ear and sending a shiver down my spine.

“There are laws. While Terr holds lands as far as the great canyon, none are allowed that far. Most of our farms are south,” I explained, trying to focus as his muscular thighs squeezed against mine with the motion of the beast. “Warriors maintain order in the city. Hunters take down monsters that threaten our herds.”

He chuckled, a deep sound I felt vibrate through him. “Not a very adventurous lot.”

“They wouldn’t have chased us very far outside the walls,” I insisted, though I was having trouble thinking clearly with his hard body pressed so intimately against my soft curves.

“Your people would allow me to take you?” He sounded confused, his breath hot on my neck. I squirmed as unfamiliar desires began simmering inside me.

My heart sank as reality intruded on my traitorous thoughts. “I may have exaggerated the importance of Four Ring. It is really the middle of our society. I am not very important. Especially since…”

After a pause, he prompted me in that deep, rumbling voice. “Yes…?”

We moved farther and farther from Terr. Fright squeezed my heart, competing now with other strange feelings this man provoked in me. “I can’t go home again anyhow.”

“Why?” His arms tightened around me reflexively.

I sighed, simultaneously comforted and disturbed by his possessive hold. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“I would try,” he promised. “If it is important to you, I would learn.”

How long had it been since someone really cared what I thought, what I wanted?

Lost in my thoughts, I fell into a light trance, the hours slipping by as we traveled further away from Terr.

Suddenly I realized the motion of the beast and his intoxicating nearness were lighting fires inside me I didn’t understand. I squirmed against him, my breath coming faster.

“We’ll need to camp soon,” he rasped, his voice husky.

After riding all day, my legs were numb and sore, but tingles of excitement coursed through my body too. The trees had changed, now lower, the canopy thicker, and the rush of water came from the distance.

Drax brought his mount to a halt and slid off, then reached up to grasp me about the waist. As he lowered me down along the length of his body, we both froze, gazes locked. The barely leashed desire in his strange eyes stole my breath.

Neither of us moved for a long suspended moment. Then he set me down carefully, steadying me as I found my feet. “You have had a hard day,” he finally said gruffly. “We should rest. There is still far to go before we reach my home.”

I shook out the pins and needles in my legs, nodding wordlessly. His nearness made it hard to think or speak.

Did I want to see his home? Did I have any choice?

Drax made camp with a bedroll from the saddle in the crux of fallen trees. A single bedroll. Would we have to share? My cheeks flushed and I busied myself gathering sticks, intensely aware of his every movement.

“Can you start a fire?” he asked. “Grindi needs grooming.”

I focused on igniting the tinder pouch he gave me, understanding his need to put some distance between us. The growing attraction was palpable, impossible to deny. What would happen when we could avoid it no longer in the intimacy of this camp?

The fire sparked to life as darkness gathered. Now what? I glanced at Drax caring for his mount, his muscles flexing. Heat that had nothing to do with the flames washed through me. 

I looked away, trembling. 

We were utterly alone here. 

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