“I know what you’re doing,” he said, moving her away from the water and toward the trees.
Destiny tried to dig her heels into the grass, not wanting to go with him. He didn’t give her the choice, propelling her forward into the thick forest.
“You mangy mutt!” Her anger switched to desperation when they entered the forest. She was entering familiar territory. It was his domain. Rocque could turn into anything, from the smallest flower to the tallest trees. As lord of his domain, anything alive protected him.
Once they entered the forest, she found herself surrounded by wolves. One particular bitch snapped at her as he forced her deeper into the woods.
“If that bitch snaps at me again, I’m going to knock those teeth out!” she snarled at the bitch who, despite her threats, snapped at her again, nipping her bottom through the thick material of her jeans.
“You fucking bitch!” Destiny managed to catch a handful of fur. Before Rocque could stop her, she yanked a large tuft of hair loose.
When the bitch whined, he reached down to soothe the ruffled fur, giving Destiny a glowering frown.
“She fucking started it—”
Destiny found herself pushed onto a low limb, which a tree helpfully lowered at Rocque’s command.
“You piece of shit!” She tried to right herself, to find the limb above her lowering to pin her in place. She kicked out, trying to get loose. Her dignity forgotten, she then cursed Rocque and the bitch that had started the fight.
“That fucking bitch—”
Her scream filled the forest when Rocque smacked her bottom.
“You son of a bitch! When Mother finds out you hit me, she’s going to turn you into a goat!”
Another hard smack fell on her bottom.
“Don’t you dare—”
Again, her bottom was struck. Every time she opened her mouth to curse at Rocque, it was met with his hand. Stubbornly, she refused to be quieted.
“The only reason you like being a wolf is it gives you a bigger dick! These bitches may think you’re a stud, but you’re nothing but—”
Rapid spanks to her bottom had her sobbing and lying quietly over the limb.
“I’ve had enough of your disdain.” Rocque moved to stand in front of her, motioning his wolves back. “You are fighting the inevitable; why?”
Destiny refused to look up at him, as if she didn’t know what he was talking about.
“You think I don’t know you watch me? That you choose lovers to anger me, and not because you want to be in their bed? I claimed you the first time you stepped into my forest. You transported out before I could take you, but it doesn’t make my claim any less. You’re mine. You were mine when you shared their beds. You are mine despite your denials to Mother that you don’t know who your mate is. More importantly, you’ve denied it to yourself.”
“You are, Destiny. You are my mate.” With a wave, the limb on top of her rose. Taking her arm before she could transport, he straightened her before moving them deeper into the woods.
She knew where Rocque was taking her. She wanted to beg him to release her, but she knew he would remain unmoved by her pleas.
She had run from her own destiny for centuries, and now her time had run out, unless she could escape or bargain her way out. Fate had bargained to escape the fate that was in store for her with Odin. Her sister had no intention of sharing Odin’s bed when the last of her daughters returned her home.
She racked her brain, trying to find something, anything to keep her from being Rocque’s mate. However, as the day wore on, she hadn’t come up with anything. Frantically, she tried to think faster when she realized they were almost to Rocque’s home.
When he waved his hands and huge trees moved aside, showing a large cabin in a grassy glen, fear had her nearly managing to get away from him. He grabbed her around the waist, though, carrying her toward the entrance of his secret lair.
“Rocque, if you let me find Zerina, I’ll willingly go with you. Help me, and I swear I’ll do anything you want!”
The lord laughed down at her. “You think to make a fool of me like Odin? I don’t think so, Destiny. Why should I bargain with you when I already have you?”
Rocque turned her around when they were past the trees. Waving his hand, he closed the portal, leaving no chance of escape. When the trees stopped moving, their protection back in place, he released her.
Destiny dropped to her knees, crying. She was trapped until Rocque decided to let her go. Mother wouldn’t help, because she wanted the children that Destiny was destined to have with Rocque. Fate wouldn’t help, or she would lose her powers for interfering. As much as Fate loved her, she needed her powers to find and help Zerina.
“I hate you.” She didn’t yell it out; she just stated the cold, hard truth, seeing Rocque wince as if she had struck him.
“Get up, Destiny. Come and meet your new family.”
“They will never be my family.” She stared up at him coldly.
“You know that’s not true. Give them a chance. Give me a chance. If you want to leave when Zerina returns home, I won’t stop you.”
She looked at him doubtfully.
“I’m telling the truth. I’ll not only let you leave, but I’ll take my claim back.”
“You give me your word?”
Rocque nodded, clenching his hand into a fist and hitting it on his chest over his heart. “You have my word; I will release you when Zerina returns home.”
Destiny got to her feet, ignoring the hand that he held out to her. “Fine, I’ll stay, but I’m not going to like it.”
Rocque clenched his jaw in anger. “Something tells me I’m not going to like it, either.” He arrogantly strode away from her, leaving her to stand alone.
When the wolves around her transformed into humans, their contemptuous looks had her feeling ashamed.
One attractive woman who had long brown hair gave a sniff of disgust as she walked past her, flipping her hair. Destiny had to jerk her face away to keep from getting hit with it.
“Bitch, do that again, and you’ll have another bald spot to match the other one I gave you.”
Destiny watched as the bitch went into the cabin behind Rocque and the rest of his pack.
She looked for a place to sit, tired after the long journey with him holding her every step of the way.
Going to the large porch, she took a seat on the top step, angry at herself for letting Rocque get close enough to catch her. She had dodged him so many times, only to fail when she sensed that she was close to finding Zerina.
Destiny heard them talking inside. The twelve members of his pack were actually Rocque’s private guard. The highly skilled hunters and warriors were deadly to anyone who came too close to their leader. He had chosen the most efficient, fearsome warriors from throughout time, gifting them with immortality in return for their loyalty. He kept the number of his guards to eight just because they were that good.
Rocque commanded legions in his capacity as lord. He could make a tree fall with a single word, then make them grow with another. He could turn himself into an animal as large as an elephant, or as small as a fly. He could control swarms of bees and herds of horses. Anything that was alive was at his command and under his protection, which was why she had no intention of being his mate.
Rocque was always surrounded by his guard. The five men and three women were constantly together. Destiny liked being on her own. She had a small castle that she never visited, content helping others find their destiny, not wanting to find her own.
No one knew their own future, and that included both her and Fate. They were only given glimpses. Fate was the stronger of them, though. Destiny knew she wouldn’t dare sacrifice the things that F
ate had to for Mother.
So far, she wasn’t pleased with Mother’s choice of mate for her. Mother might have pretended not to know who her mate was, but she had. The wily woman knew more than she let on, and she expected Destiny to eventually fall in line with her plans.
Getting to her feet, she looked up at the sky.
“I’m not going to take him as my mate!” she railed. “You can butt into Fate’s life, but stay out of mine!”
When the sun kept smiling down at her, her shoulders drooped. Then she heard the rustling of leaves in the trees and could have sworn she heard Mother’s beautiful voice say, “Be at peace, Destiny. Rocque and I aren’t asking for anything that isn’t willingly given. Choose wisely when you deny him as your mate. Your sister, as well as mankind’s fate, could rest in your hands.”
“Neither you, Fate, nor I can determine man’s fate. Man does,” Destiny whispered, knowing Mother could hear her.
Sorrow filled Mother’s voice. “No, it rests in yours.”
“Quit fighting,” Jinx scolded her, pulling her hair back tightly to wind in a tight coil that would rest at the nape of her neck.
Zerina picked up one of the increasing number of combs that she would find on her dressing table to pin her hair back with. She saw Jinx admire the sapphire one before putting it in her hair. Her silence was beginning to worry her. It was unusual for the fairy not to be chatting away.
“Nothing.” Jinx shrugged.
She knew something was bothering her. She hadn’t said a word since Hades transported them back to her room for them to get ready for dinner.
“Are you angry that we got your hair wet?”
“No.” Zerina could see her troubled expression. “Just don’t do it again.”
The fairy had dressed herself in a black gown. She normally dressed in bright colors, but tonight everything was muted.
Zerina’s worry deepened. Could her being away from the land where fairies dwelled be taking a toll on her?
Zerina stood up, adjusting her gown until it spread out behind her. Taking the fairy in her arms, she then gave her a tight squeeze. “I feel terrible that you’re missing home and that you’re stuck here because of me. After dinner, I’m going to ask Hades to let you go home.” Releasing her, Zerina gave her an encouraging smile.