Status: Finished.

More Than Just Baser Instincts.


The next morning, Tiberius woke me with a chaste kiss and an apology: he said he needed to step out for a conversation with my father. He said he would lie about our progress, but he expected more effort on my part in return.

I told him not to hold his breath.

But today was the day I escaped. My ankle was fully healed, and Leonard had informed me that most of the guards would be concentrated in the audience hall. Apparently today was a mate-naming ceremony, and a lot of the "mates" were less than pleased with the pairings. Gerald may have been a monster, but he wasn't ignorant.

But he was pretty damn stupid to leave an opening in his defenses!

I gathered the sleeping babes in my arms and threw open the window. The main path was to the far right of me, so if I just ran as fast as I could and as quietly as possible...

I would be home-free in the forest, running back the way I had come. And I would have Quince once more.

The mental image was the only motivation I needed, and it was what pushed me out of the window.

The landing was far less elegant than I had planned, with my ankles absorbing most of the horrible shock of falling two stories. But the lazy lions lounging in the sun did not seem to notice me as I collected myself and catalogued the pain coursing up my spine. But I didn't want to linger long, so I began walking with almost impossible casualness.

I was just a woman out for a stroll with her children. Until someone saw me, I would try it this way. Unfortunately, I couldn't just shift and run—what with these helpless cubs in my arms. There were a few soldiers standing idly in the sun, and one glanced over to me before confusion washed over his face.

"Civilians shouldn't walk this close to the border," he told me, grabbing my arm rather roughly.

I panicked.

And I ran.

"Stop! Damn it!" he hissed, sending out a roar that made my blood run cold. "Stop her! She's heading to the south lines!"

But there was one roar in the distance that every other sound paled in comparison: the booming threat from Gerald. I pushed my feet harder against the ground, propelling myself past the open plains and into a thick forest. Trees shot up out of the ground to thwart me, but I ducked and dodged the leaves and roots.

Lions began merging, coming out of hiding in the foliage; but I just ran harder, ignoring my legs that screamed in protest. Not again. I wouldn't fail again!

I gritted my teeth and gave one final burst: all or nothing. My foot passed over the border, and my heart soared.

"Damn it!" a male hissed.

Then mud rushed towards face.

I scrambled beneath his weight, crying out as the babies were stolen from me and men gathered all around me as they hissed threats I couldn't hear.

I only heard the man screaming in my ear, the man telling me how stupid I was.

"Elaine, do you know what you've done! You've ruined everything!" Tiberius hissed, dragging my body up with him as he pulled us from the dirt. He crushed my body against his as his hands brushed feverishly over my face. "You idiot! You stupid idiot!"


"You caused this," he hissed in my face before grabbing me and throwing me over his shoulder. The joint rammed into my gut, and the breath was knocked out of me.

"Gerald, sir, I—"

"Spare me!" His fuming face was suddenly in front of me, and I shrunk away. "I gave you a fair chance, you ungrateful bitch! Tiberius."

"Y-Yes, sir?"

That horrible lecher grinned at me. "I guess we don't need to wait any longer, do we?" I squirmed against Tiberius' hold, but my father grabbed my chin. "Take her back to the room. And mate her."

"No!" I screamed, thrashing and clawing furiously at the arms that held me.

"I told you to just make the best of it!" Tiberius snapped, jerking me roughly to readjust me on his shoulder. "Do you see what you've done? Because you couldn't just accept it like everyone else!"

"Damn it, let go of me!"

"I put my neck out there for you," he hissed, jostling me again as he trudged up the staircase. "And you pull this stunt! I hope your mate feels every ounce of what I'm about to do, Elaine. I hope it rips his fucking heart out! Because I'm pretty damn sick of this!"

I cried out when he suddenly dropped me, but my back just bounced harmlessly against the mattress. When I tried to sit up, Tiberius pushed me back roughly and clambered onto the bed until he was leaning over me.

So I spit in his face.

So he crushed his lips against mine.

I screamed into his mouth, bringing my knee up to try and kick him—to make having children quite impossible for him. But his hand caught my knee and forced it back down while his disgusting tongue pried past my lips and was all but shoved down my throat. I slammed my head back, trying to sink into the mattress; but he just followed.

I screamed again when he finally ripped his mouth from mine, screamed bloody murder as his teeth grazed against my neck before he trailed disgustingly sloppy kisses down to my collarbone. But Arianna didn't come. Leonard didn't come. My mother didn't come.

Quince...didn't come.



"I love you, Quince," I whimpered, slamming my eyes shut when he tumbled to the hem of my dress.

"Our son's name will be Rory," Tiberius muttered, pulling the thin fabric from my body. "We're having a son."

"Please," I choked, grabbing his hands feebly and shaking them. "Please don't do this!"

"My condolences," he murmured, his hands moving to the buttons of his shirt. "I am sorry for this." His eyes watched me as he threw the shirt aside. "I just don't want to die."

"What about your mate?" I rasped out, grabbing his arms when he tried to slip out of his trousers.

He shook his head and easily jerked out of my grasp. "She's mated. With four cubs. This is all so romantic of you to want to stay loyal... But that's just not going to happen, Elaine." He glanced down at me, and I shivered under his gaze. It all felt so disgusting, so wrong!

"Kill me. Just kill me instead!"

He frowned. "I'm sorry. This might hurt."

Quince's P.O.V.
Bryce gripped my shoulder firmly, giving me a curt nod before glancing to Camden. He smiled softly, but I just remained stoic. They meant well, but this waiting was making me pretty damn antsy! Bryce had his mate safely waiting for him at home—with his cub and soon-to-be cubs. Why...Why did I have to walk her right into that damn place! I was such an idiot! Of course those bastards wouldn't be fair!

"Quince, we're all behind you," Bryce assured me as my eyes swept over the house full of lions awaiting my orders. It was easy to get volunteers—but becoming the lead male took procedure. And without my female, it was taking a hell of a lot longer!

"I know that. But that doesn't change—"

Curious... My hand rose to my chest, and I rubbed it, trying to soothe this sudden burn. What was...

I screamed, crumpling to the dirt like a damn doll. My skin had burst into invisible flames! Surely! Bryce was yelling in my ear, but all I could feel was this pain of a thousand needles! Someone was stabbing me in the chest, cutting a jagged outline so they could chuck my heart out like a toy!

"Quince, what's wrong!" Camden shrieked in my ear, shaking me.

But I curled into a ball, shaking as this pain proceeded. For the next five minutes. I begged them to kill me, to grab a real knife and just end this horrible pain! But the damn ingrates refused, and I just writhed alone in pain.

Begging for death. Begging for my mate. Begging for Elaine...



"Elaine," I whimpered, slamming my eyes shut. Oh, gods...

"Quince, what the hell is the matter with you?" Bryce hissed, dragging me to my feet.

But I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

Elaine... I knew I wasn't her one and only, but I sure as hell was supposed to be her last. I was to make love to her for the rest of our lives, rear beautiful cubs—our cubs. She wasn't dead; no, this wasn't that kind of pain. But my mate... I love you, Quince.

"Elaine," I choked, collapsing again. I could feel her pain wrap around me, suffocating me like a thick blanket on a hot summer's night.

"I know you miss her, but—"

"You don't get it," I growled between clenched teeth, hating the empty, vacuous feeling that consumed me. I couldn't comfort her. "That bastard!" But then there was a new pain.

My mate was crying, she was begging for death. And I could do nothing to help her!

"What happened!"

I grabbed Bryce's collar, hissing in his face. "Her cubs are supposed to be mine! Not his! Mine!"

"You don't mean..." He didn't seem quite so put off by my anger anymore, but that piteous look on his face nearly sent me over the edge. "Oh, Quince. I'm so sorry."

"This wouldn't have happened if this damn sector would listen to me!" I roared, lashing out and grabbing Camden by the neck. "My mate was just raped, and all you people can say is 'Sorry!'" I threw him aside. "Get out. Just get the fuck out! Now, damn it! I didn't fucking stutter!"

Elaine's sobs were the only company I had. The only company I would ever have again.
♠ ♠ ♠
Hmm... This probably wasn't a good place to leave off either... But it'll have to do!