Chapter 48 – One Step Closer – Raine's POV

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Chapter 48 – One Step Closer – Raine's POV

Music: 'Infinity' by The XX - super sexy song. You must really check it out above.

The next four weeks passed quickly. True to his word, Alaric and I spent a great deal of time together, learning about each other's histories, likes and dislikes. He was actually quite fun to be around. He treated those around him with respect and fairness, regardless of their station; and it was obvious why his people loved him.

He had also been considerate of my request to take his time getting physical with me. Even though we shared a home, and even the same bed, he had not made any move to touch me, further than just a simple kiss on the cheek or forehead.

Talia and I also seemed to come to an unspoken agreement. She and Alaric maintained their playful banter, not holding anything back, even when I was around. I actually preferred it that way, because I felt confident they were not trying to hide anything from me, and I believed her now that they had not slept together.

Their mutual affection for each other was obvious to me. Talia obviously understood she had feelings for him, but I wasn't sure if Alaric realized he cared for her more deeply than others.

For right now, it was a comfortable arrangement for all of us. And strangely enough, I thought I might be okay if he decided he wanted something more with her in the future. I would never tell him that. But as long as he continued to treat me with genuine respect and care, I would rather him be with her then some strange woman I didn't trust.

And even Gen. Raed and I seemed to come to an understanding. He continued to watch me like a hawk, never letting go of the potential that I might be a flight risk, however he was also fiercely protective of me. And his protection was completely necessary, because being promised to Alaric wasn't enough to sway some of the slimier vampires from trying to get physical with me, either for my body or my blood. Apparently, my scent was addictive enough for them to risk crossing Alaric, to get to me.

Tonight, however, my nerves were shot and I was on edge. We were back in Armand's country, and soon Alaric and I would be presented to Armand, in front of his people, at a lavish ball in our honor. After which, Alaric would speak to Armand privately, formally establishing our intended union, and the time frame for the ceremony. I couldn't even begin to think realistically about going through the mating ceremony right now. It was just too much stress for me to take, and I pushed it out of my mind.

Talia interrupted my chaotic thoughts when she whispered, "Are you okay?"

Apparently, I had been staring off into space. I pulled myself back together and examined my reflection in the full-length mirror in Talia's apartment. I was wearing an extremely revealing see-through black dress, with a daring V-neckline. The sheer fabric was decorated with intricate embroidery, making my nipples less visible, and I wore a black string thong to cover my front. It didn't hide much, but it was better than the alternative of going without panties. The dress had not been my preference, knowing Cage would be there. But vampires certainly liked to put their females on display.

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