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Chapter 91 – Urgent– Raine's POV

We were finally home. I was finally home, I thought in amazement.

Cage had to attend to some meetings, so I planned to check on Talon and Ivy. Their new residence was close to ours, so it only took me a few moments to walk the distance between us. I quietly entered their suites, and made my way silently through the hallways, until I found the room that contained their voices, talking and joking together. I knew they were not aware of my presence, and I watched them discreetly from across the room. I didn't want to interrupt their natural interaction, because whenever they noticed I was there, their behavior changed radically. Both of them held back, restrained and reserved.

Ivy smiled at him brilliantly, giggling at something he had said before I arrived. I forced myself not to inhale sharply when I saw her expression. I recognized the look in her eyes as she stared up at him. It was clear that she thought he hung the moon. It might not have been love just yet, but it was pretty darn close.

He returned her smile, however his features were reserved. He purposely held back and there was something else...Almost as if a bittersweet and unbearable sadness settled over his features. My heart twisted. I did not like seeing him in distress.  I cleared my throat and tried not to startle them as I spoke, "Talon, may I speak with you?"

His head snapped around to look at me, and Ivy instantly dropped to her knees, bowing submissively, as was the protocol for all pets when first approached. Ivy hadn't been a pet for very long. She didn't know the rules, and until today she hadn't reacted to me in such a fashion.

And I was amazed to see she even wore a beautiful crystal collar. I had given Talon an expense allowance and full liberty to purchase whatever he saw fit for her. Given his dedication to duty, I probably shouldn't have been surprised that he had chosen to have her wear it now, before her work officially began, simply because it was the proper attire every pet was required to wear. The rest of her clothing, however, was not normal pet attire, which I was extremely glad to see. She wore a cute pair of black shorts and matching crop top. The outfit still revealed her curves, but radically covered much more of her skin than the normal lingerie pets were expected to wear. Or even worse, nothing at all.

Truthfully, I would have been shocked if Talon had decided to dress her in anything less. His choice was a good compromise. The shorts were cut low on her belly and very high on her thighs....provocative enough, so that she wouldn't stick out too much among other pets. The last thing he wanted was to draw attention to her.

It was evident in her swift response and new attire that Talon had been training her on how to behave in her new role.  His diligent teaching was absolutely necessary because in the next few days, she would begin her duties outside of him, daily tasks and chores that assisted in the overall function of the estate, and would no longer be under his constant care and supervision.

I knew he was nervous about it, because if she made a mistake, he would have no choice but to punish her. I saw how the guilt of having to whip me affected Alaric, and I definitely didn't want Talon to be forced into the same position.

Even though Cage and I had elevated status, it was still Armand's kingdom and his rules regarding pets were not changeable, which meant if something did go wrong, we would not be able to stop the earned punishment.  I shuddered hard as I remembered the most painful experience in my life. Ivy had already been through it once as well, so she too intimately knew the danger.   

Talon broke my moment of introspection when he crossed the room quickly to my side, eager to please me. "Of course, Mistress!"

I cringed. That was what I wanted to talk with him about. I wasn't particularly fond of the Mistress title when it came from him for some reason. Maybe it was because I had changed his position to employee, rather than pet. Technically, I still owned his life completely, but I never wanted him to think of himself as a pet again. So, little by little, I had been working to change his perception. I smiled warmly and suggested, "Why don't we take a walk?"

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