Chapter 1: Talon's POV
Staring back at me from the mirror was the reflection of an anxiety-ridden face. I honestly couldn't remember the last time I had been this nervous.
Hell, even the nerves I had felt on the day of my marriage to my Willow hadn't been as wracking as this.
My stomach was in a knot as I paced the well-polished floors of my bedroom over and over in agony.
Was this it? Was I finally going to get the news I'd been dreaming of for so long? Was my willow going to come out here with the best news of my life? Of both our lives?
To the goddess, I really prayed so. We deserved nothing but good news at this point in our lives. We had tried for so long to not get this blessing now.
I chuckled as memories of our grand mating came flooding into my mind. It had been the happiest day of my life, the day I claimed Willow as mine, the day I became a mated Lycan ruler; whole and able-bodied to lead an entire territory of werewolves. I could still remember the whistling and celebration from the different pack members as Willow and I completed the mating ritual.
She was so beautiful, clad in a traditional garb that brought out those curves that made betas go crazy. I was one lucky werewolf to even be considered hers.
It had been a thing of tradition for our type to produce pups immediately after mating. Being werewolves, it was supposed to be an easy enough feat, even easier than an average human being.
That was not my case.
After the first two years of excuses from willow and I on how we weren't ready to produce a pup yet, my people was starting to get worried. And I honestly couldn't blame them, even though I was starting to get worried, after all, I needed an heir to secure my lineage. I needed an heir for peace to continue reigning in my territory.
It had started as one miscarriage after the other. We had tried everything we could, even the pack mage had cooked up potion after potion with promises of a child but all to no avail. I could tell Willow was losing hope and so was I, but I had to be strong for the both of us.
I was tossed back into real-time when the sound of the door clicking open brought me out of my musing. I looked up and there stood Willow with a blank look on her face.
She approached me slowly as if she was cautiously approaching a wild animal, afraid of startling it. I should have seen the tell-tale signs of distraught on her perfect features. The sudden change in her heartbeat should have been a sign to prepare me for the bad news.
I let out a low sigh as the very familiar feeling of anxiety swirled in the pit of my stomach –But no, I had to be hopeful. If not for myself, then for my mate.
"Well?" I croaked wearily. The anxiety-laced voice I heard didn’t sound like mine but I could care less at this moment.
Willow took a moment before whimpering in a shaky voice, "I'm sorry Talon."
She shook her head erratically like that would suddenly change the current state she was in. "Talon I'm so sorry. I've done everything, sh-she said this would be it... I... I don't know why n-nothing is working... I c-can't..."
"Shhh, it’s fine my love." I quickly strolled to her, pulling her into a warm embrace and stopping her rambling. "It's all right, we can always try another time." I tried to assure her, shoving down my own disappointment and despair to comfort my distressed wife. "It's all right my moon."
"But it's not all right Talon!" Willow sniffed, burying her face into my chest. "People are talking. I'm sure they're saying things about me… about us. Your people are getting worried and if I can't do this they'll—"
"Stop it." I chastised pulling her face closer to mine. I wiped away her tear-stained cheeks with my thumb and looked deep into her eyes.
"I will cut off the head of anyone that dares disrespect my mate and their queen. That I promise you!" I growled threateningly.
Willow had to understand that we were in this together, any insult hurled at her was an insult hurled at me. Nobody from my land would question my mate and go scot-free. I wasn't given the title of the Lycan King for nothing.
"But you need an heir... and I can't produce one for you," she cried.
"We'll deal with it. We'll work through this together." I assured, frustration clawing at my heart at her distress. I could tell Willow had perceived it with the way she was looking at me with doubt staining her feature.
"But how Talon? How are we supposed to produce a pup when I'm defective—?”
"Bite your tongue!" I growled. A look of shock on my mate's face at my sudden outburst.
How could she say that? Call herself defective.
For all we knew, the problem could be coming from me. I could be the main reason we were struggling to conceive a child –not hers!
"Talon, listen to me... please listen to me," Willow whispered gently as she held my hands tightly. "We have to do this. You know deep down inside of you that we have to do it... we have to."
I looked away stubbornly, pulling my hands away from my mate's tight grip.
How could willow expect me to be okay with this?
It had started earlier on when we started trying for a pup and failing. My mate had then suggested we tried a breeder to conceive a child. I had dismissed the idea as quickly as she had suggested it, hoping to the goddess that it wouldn't come down to it.
I prayed that by some miracle Willow would be touched by the goddess with fertility. It was crazy how cruel life could be. How people who deserved children were denied the privilege while those who didn't deserve it were given freely.
"Talon talk to me," Willow mumbled, stepping forward to touch my face gently. "Please my love, say something."
"What do you want me to say?" I sighed, suddenly tired of everything.
I was tired of being frustrated. I was tired of trying for something that should have naturally come to us. I was tired of putting up a brave face for my people when I was slowly losing my mind. I was tired of the possibility of having to defile my mating bond by bonding with another woman who wasn't mine.
It was all too exhausting.
"I know it's going to be hard but we have to do this," She said comfortingly.
"There has to be another way," I whispered weakly. "There has to be something else we could do, something we're not thinking of. We can call the mage and have her cook up some potions for us."
"Talon we've done that. You know we have."
"There must be something she's forgetting to do. A step she forgot to take. It can't be down to this!" I tried again to reason but Willow wasn't backing down.
"It can't be down to this Willow!" I yelled out in frustration, punching a hole through the wall, and tearing up my knuckles in the process.
I had to let all this anger bubbling inside of me out somehow, anyhow. I was frustrated, I shouldn't have to make this decision, and I shouldn't have to be in this situation.
"Nothing else can be done," Willow replied calmly, completely unflinching at my outburst this time. I guess she'd had enough as well.
"How can you be okay with this? How can you be okay with me fucking some other girl who isn't you?" I said letting out a pained groan as I slumped on the well-made king-sized bed laying by the corner.
"It's not fair to you." I sighed, running my hands roughly through my unruly strands of hair.
"It’s not fair to either of us," Willow said walking over to me. She knelt in the space between my legs and brought my face forward to plant a rough kiss on my lips.
"But it's our duty. It's our duty as a couple and yours as the King. It's your duty to your pack... to your people. You have to show them all, that you have what it takes to be the leader of the kingdom Talon. And what better way to do that than to bring forth an heir."
"This is all messed up," I replied watching her intensely. She didn't break eye contact as she dipped her hands into my pants and started to palm my rapidly growing erection.
"Willow." I half warned, half moaned.
"You seem tense… I'm only helping you out, my love." Her smooth sultry voice rang out seductively. "Let me make you feel better my King. Let me show you how much I care about you Talon."
"We still... hmm... have to talk... about this Willow," I groaned, bringing my already fully healed knuckles to graze softly against her lips.
"True." She replied with a seductive smile, slowly jerking me off. "But that can always wait."
And with that, I was a goner.