A month and a half before Yule
He could swear that there was something in the air. He could feel the light brush of… magic on his midnight blue fur and he bristled. Caleb prowled on the lonely, dark alley, sniffing for threats. She had been attacked twice and Caleb had been unable to catch the demon or whatever it was. Dread skittered down his spine.
Protect your mate—
He lounged on the ledge of a building as the last rays of the sun kissed the land beyond the city skyline. As the green and white blended in the shadows in the distance, Caleb turned to look at the window, whose sides were now covered with hoarfrost.
His heavy overcoat parted, the light snow dusting of his now revealed black shirt and pants. The broad-shouldered, raven-haired man snagged too much attention as the humans passed by. So, he simply chose a spot away from prying eyes to keep an eye on her… his mate… his Elize.
Caleb gasped at the sight of his perfect mate when the curtains drew open. Wearing a pink gown that pooled just below her hips, she looked ethereal with her golden hair falling till her waist.
He knew where she was headed. His eyes focused on every movement she made. He could hear every breath she took. She entered her kitchen and bent to look inside her refrigerator. The prominent swell of her hips were just enough for his imagination to go wild.
He knew the routine.
She took out the bag of blood she had acquired from the local vet and grimaced as its stench filled her nostrils. She inserted a straw in the bag and took a tentative sip once she reached her dining table with just two chairs. Soon enough, she threw the half-empty bag in the trash and walked back to her bedroom to sleep with her hand pressed against her stomach. Once again, she would go hungry. She grew weaker by the day and only fed on animal blood to survive just that day.
He knew she was addicted to his blood. She had latched onto him the very first day she had turned into a vampire… a day before they got married… and the day after.
His throat bobbed at her agony. He closed his eyes. Then he tipped back the canteen of whiskey, gulping half of it down in one gulp. He wanted to go to her, but he knew that she hated the idea of him being near her; hated the idea of seeing him after what he had done to her.
And so, Caleb grew more anxious by the day. His magic had filled him to the brink and there was no vent. Magic pulsing with anger. With his free hand, he lifted his fingers in the air. Raw magic that was thrumming in his blood, now danced around his fingers pulling the flurry of snow and curling it around them. Being the strongest sorcerer in the world, he had this endless abyss of magic that wanted to break out or it would burn him. He wanted to go back to his kingdom, Ixoviya, but how could he leave his mate, his queen, unprotected.
Caleb recalled how Elize was dying from terminal illness and how he had convinced her family to take her with him to Bainsburgh. From there they had to go to Ixoviya, where his younger brother Daryn and his wife Dawn had called him for his coronation. They had freed Ixoviya from their vicious mother, Sedora, who was now into hiding. Unfortunately, she had taken their father with her.
Caleb had asked their friend Lorza, the vampire king of Wilyra, to help Elize recover because she was on the verge of death. He just couldn't see his mate dying. The thought of losing his mate tightened his chest as misery sank its claws so deeply into his soul that he tasted a whirl of emotions ranging from pain of death to rage of not being able to save her.
Lorza finally saved Elize, but she had turned into a vampire, a demon.
But Caleb was in for a big surprise when he found that instead of staying with her family, she was living in this tiny one-bedroom apartment. It was obvious that her family had abandoned her. And she seemed angry, gloomy, frustrated, ever since. He had heard her cursing… him, a number of times… She hated him and he loved her. He would watch her every day, waiting for the axe to fall on him… waiting that she would reject him…
Gods. He didn't want to feel the pain that would come with rejection. He groaned, had more whiskey from his canteen, and looked at the raven that watched him from the chimney of the apartment below, perhaps waiting for him to throw his cold crumbs of bread. He wondered as to why this raven watched him so closely every damn day ever since he had come to Yorkshire. He had shooed it off a number of times, but it always came back. Ignoring the eerie eyes of the raven he looked down from the ledge at the ground that was now covered with a layer of snow and pine needles.
"Why don't you go and meet her, Caleb?" Ileus asked, and Caleb could have sworn that his cousin was bristling with something he was about to reveal. He had already felt his presence a while back because of his magic, but didn't acknowledge him. He got up and sat on the ledge of the apartment building. He handed his canteen to Ileus, for he found him too slightly nervous.
"You have managed to build yourself a terrific life over here," said Ileus. He drank the remaining whiskey and wiped his mouth with his hand. The Dark Wizard gave him a pointed look with his golden eyes. Ileus handed the canteen back. Caleb glanced at him once before filling it once again.
"Why are you here?" asked Caleb in a rough voice. "If you came to take a jab at me, then you better run. I am not in the mood!" He looked back at his mate through the window of the glass, who was now deep into reading. She had covered herself with the soft blanket and all he wanted was to go and slide next to her. What would he do to be with her?
"We need you," said Ileus. "You have to come with us!"
Suddenly, Elize sprang out of the bed and drew out the curtains fully.