Aria was the Luna of the Winter Mist pack, renowned for her achievements in war strategy. Her contribution was crucial in her pack becoming the most powerful in the entire country. Everything in her life should be perfect. …Except it wasn’t. In actuality, Aria’s life was anything but successful. She was helpless to the whims of her abusive Alpha mate and his mistress. A mate who never loved her. As she watches their relationship grow, her options are to run away or die trying to keep her Luna position. But this is not the story of how Aria sways his closed-off heart until he finally loves her. No, this is the story of how Aria died. So when she is faced with the opportunity to go back in time and try again… will she take it? …Or is she fated to relive her mistakes all over again? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “…And if I refuse?” I asked hesitantly. “Then you will remain in the Abyss, forever reliving your earthly memories.” My mind recalled the images that had just tormented me, showing me my death over and over again. I knew now she must have shown me that strategically so I had a taste of what my refusal would look like. “Then I don’t want to be Luna again… and I don’t want to be Aleric’s mate,” I said, surprising even myself that I was bargaining with a Goddess. But I couldn’t shake the feeling something seemed off. “That is the fate I have chosen for you.” “Then I don’t accept,” I argued. “I think there is something you’re not telling me. A reason why you need me to go back so badly.” She was silent, her silver eyes regarding me warily. “…So I am correct,” I said, taking her silence as confirmation.
“It looks like everyone is here now,” Aleric said, projecting into the crowd. “We are gathered here today to bear witness to the trial of Ariadne Chrysalis, former Luna to the Winter Mist pack.”
His eyes scanned over the faces of everyone around before finally landing on me.
“Do you swear on the Goddess’ name, Ariadne, that you will tell the whole truth during this trial?” Aleric asked.
I met his piercing green eyes, a shiver going down my spine. How those eyes haunted me.
“I do,” I replied loudly and confidently.
“And how do you plead?”
I held my breath, my heart racing in my chest.
** Two weeks earlier **
“She’s pregnant,” Aleric told me.
I stared at him in shock, my face paling. My destined mate, the love of my life, was telling me that he had gotten a girl pregnant. A girl who was not me.
It was like a kick to the gut. The mate bond made the weight of his words tortuous and my inner wolf howled out in pain. I had given everything to Aleric, suffered everything for him. And yet here he was, standing in front of me, telling me such excruciating news as if he were telling me the time of day.
“Why?” I whispered, tears brimming in my eyes.
“I don’t need to explain myself to you,” Aleric said sharply. “You couldn’t even fulfil all your duties as my mate, as a Luna. Don’t start acting as if this is a surprise. The pack needs an Alpha heir. Something you are incapable of, Ariadne.”
His words stung, twisting deep into my flesh like a knife. We had been officially mated for six years now and it was true… I had failed to bear him a child. It wasn’t as though I hadn’t wanted to though. For months after we had officially found out about the mate bond, I would try everything to be with him as much as possible. But he was never interested in me, I could see that clearly. I knew he was only with me because I was the rightful Luna.
But there was something else I knew too. Something no mate should ever have to live with.
And that was that I knew about his mistress; Thea.
Aleric and Thea had known each other since before we were officially mated and I could plainly see how he doted on her over me. Gave her the love that was rightfully mine, looking at her as if she were his sun. But every part of my being loved him even if he did not love me. And yet, by some futile dream, I remained hopeful that he would warm to me once I bore him a child. After all, I was the rightful Luna and his mate.