Chapter 1

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Reaching her father's cottage, Rose silently prayed that no one would try to speak with her. She couldn't be held up another second.

Alas, her dainty fingers had only brushed against the brass doorknob before a male voice came from behind her. "Pardon me, miss Rose."

The young woman sighed heavily, letting her head fall against the cottage door. Why did it have to be Him? Taking a deep breath, Rose turned around. Clearing her throat, she greeted, "Good morning Robert."

The man before her grinned, pushing back his long red hair. Taking a moment to make sure his hair was immaculate, the man gave a nod. "Hello darling."

Although the term was one of affection, the young woman repressed the nausea that had risen in her stomach. She and Robert were to be married in the coming month. It was a joyous affair...for everyone but her.

The man crossed his arms, the disapproval clear in his dark green eyes. "Thinking again? A woman should never do such a thing. Once you are mine I'll make sure to put a stop to that altogether."

Rose glowered, stepping back. "I do not wish to be yours!"

At her comment, she heard one of the village women whisper, "I told you she's crazy!"

Rose merely rolled her blue eyes. Anyone else in town would be thrilled to have Robert as their betrothed. He was handsome, strong, and the leader of the most well-respected, lethal group of werewolf hunters in the kingdom. But none of that had any effect on her.

Robert took a step closer, his tone lowered dangerously. "It doesn't matter what you want," he gave a cruel smile, "Besides, you should be happy. If you marry me, then your father will have the money he needs for his medical attention."

Rose fell silent. There was no point in arguing. He was right. Nodding her head, the young woman opened the door to the small cottage, "You, Robert, are no better then the heartless monsters you hunt."

....

Walking into the cottage, Rose's anger instantly dissipated. Brushing a lock of long, curled black hair from her eyes, she gazed softly at the old man sleeping in the dining room chair.

Her father, William, was quickly beginning to show his age. His once blonde hair was now white as snow, and his blue eyes had become dull. Sadly, as William had gotten older he had become sicker and sicker, and his condition was only getting worse.

The old man awoke with a cough, before his eyes landed on his daughter. William smiled, "Ah, you're back."

Rose nodded. When her father went to stand, she hurried to his side, "Oh don't get up. You know that's going to hurt your back."

William sighed, lowering himself back onto the seat, "Very well."

Pulling up a chair, Rose sat beside him. Digging into her small woven basket, the young woman announced, "I got a new book today."

William nodded, "Good." Seeing his daughter's fatigued expression, the old man patted her shoulder. "You should sleep, darling. You were up all night caring for me."

Rose gave a small smile, placing a gentle kiss on his forehead. "Wake me if you need me." She relaxed into the chair beside her father, sleep taking her in seconds.

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