Chapter 56 –Until That Day– Raine's POV

The moment Cage left, Alaric took me by the arm and guided me swiftly back to his suite. He was notably silent, and a tremor of anger flowed through him.

I cringed. This was going to be bad. Shit.

The instant the door closed behind us, Alaric spun and confronted me. His eyes glittered dangerously. I had never seen him this angry and shrank away from him. Advancing on me, he demanded harshly, "It was him! Why in the hell didn't you tell me you were fucking Micage?!"

Fury rippled through me.

I snapped, "For the same reason I didn't ask you to list all of the many women you have fucked! That and we probably wouldn't have enough time to run down your lengthy list!"

Something feral flared in his eyes and his expression changed – to one of desire. Instead of replying, he completely shocked me when his hands gripped either side of my neck, and his mouth came down on mine, fierce and demanding.

"Stop. It!" I fought him, twisting and turning to break his grip.

He released me immediately, but the heat in his eyes did not lessen.

I slapped him hard across the face.

Fury replaced his arousal and he raised his hand.

Maybe a smarter girl wouldn't have provoked him. He could easily kill me. But that was twice tonight that I had been kissed without my permission. Common sense wasn't running very strongly in my head at the moment. I just felt anger and frustration over my circumstances. I had absolutely no control over what happened to me and I was sick of it. I keened toward him and spat, "Go ahead and do it! I am not afraid to die!"

He lowered his hand, but challenged me with a growl, "You are willing to die for him?"

A harsh laugh escaped my throat as I sneered, "You have no idea."

My abrupt change in personality seemed to throw him off balance. He took a step back and apologized contritely, "I'm sorry. I never should have raised my hand toward you. I would never want to see you hurt. Come with me?" he murmured the words as a question, and extended his palm to me, waiting patiently for me to accept it.

I stared at him, studying his expression, and then placed my hand tentatively in his, unsure of his intention, but he seemed in control of himself now. He tugged gently to guide me into the bedroom. He sat at the edge of the bed, and patted the space next to him in invitation. Hesitantly, I settled by his side. He turned to face me and murmured, "If we are going to make this work, you are going to have to try."

"Then don't kiss me to try to erase another man's memory!" I retorted, still angry.

He nodded and admitted sheepishly, "Okay, not my best move, but believe it or not, this is not easy for me either."

I relaxed a little. I could tell he was speaking honestly, and I was curious what he had to say. He continued, "I won't lie and promise you feelings that I don't have, in an effort to get you into bed. And clearly, you do not love me as well."

"Shit, I'm not sure if that sentence was harsh or noble," I replied dryly.

He chuckled and then implored gently, "Do you really want our mating ceremony to be our first time?"

Anxiety wound through me, hard and strong. It was obvious he heard my increased heartbeat, and I was pretty certain he noticed the sheer panic that painted my face. He soothed, "Shh...I won't force you to do anything you don't want to. Until that day. On that day, if you are still not ready, I will have to take you against your will. And we both do not want that."

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