Kisses and more…Questions. (Journal Entry #69)

I enjoyed dinner with Ryrk. He’s an ancient Lupoiux. An Alpha, with seventeen brothers and one sister. He is from a small village in eastern Europe and has been all over the world. He is an archiver—his task is to record every oral history of the Lupoiux people into written form.

Well, as he’d told it, not every pack was happy about that. He had the scars to prove it. He spoke of those scars as if they were battle badges. To a male warrior of any Kind, perhaps they are?

He is in Dardanos to hire some of Rand Taniss’s pack to serve as guards for him while he is in our country. 

And he wants to leave his sister with Rand Taniss, too, as he doesn’t trust many of the other packs that are around here. 

He is questioning leaving her at all after today’s attack. I don’t blame him. His sister is just twenty-six (same as my Julea), and he has never left her for more than a few days before. 

He needs a safe place for her, as their brothers are involved in something incredibly dangerous in the Ukraine right now, and his next project is expected to take weeks. He wouldn’t say much more about that. 

He did promise to bring his sister Solan to meet me tomorrow. 

And when he walked me back to the sixth-floor elevator—the guard wouldn’t let him get off on my floor—he leaned down and kissed me. 

Just swooped and did it. Right there in front of the guard! I rather think he may have been doing it to make that guard even more irritated than he already was.

Unlike Mak, who was far less aggressive about it, Ryrk just kissed me.

I didn’t know what to do, but I ended up with my arms around his waist and pressed right up against his hard, hot chest. 

I’m not sure if I kissed him back exactly, but… I enjoyed it. 

He pulled back and put one hand on my cheek. His thumb brushed my lips lightly. I just stared at him. What else could I do? 


“Shhh. If only…but we are not meant for one another, kitten. Though I would wish it so…”

I looked up, and into his brilliant blue eyes and knew. 

This male was a very powerful ancient—and whatever he had seen of the future had terrified him.

And it involved me. 

Questions, Questions, Questions (Journal Entry #68)

Well, my plans to eat alone and dare anyone to smirk at me and my cheap cotton vestis and pardus and serviceable cotton hasha in Woald yellow were completely derailed.

The instant I entered through the exclusive dining room doors, a lone diner stood. He was darkly clad and looking so dangerous I almost did a double-take. He would most certainly be a dark and mysterious hero in an Alaun Woald novel.

He just gave me the shivers when I looked at him. 

Ryrk came right to me. He held out his hand to me. As if I was the female he had been waiting for all the while. I have to say, he is an extremely attractive male. I felt my cheeks flame when I realized all eyes in the restaurant were on us.

I couldn’t help but wonder if all Lupoiux looked like male perfection? 

Maybe the reason I have no Rajni is that I am fated to be a Lupoiux mate? That…may not be so bad. 

If the wolf was just like Ryrk.

Even though I sensed he was very, very dangerous—I also sensed a similar kindness in him that I did in Tol—it was just buried in hurt in this male. That had me wondering about him, and about his story. And had me letting him lead me to his table. “Kitten, I am very pleased to see you this evening. I trust you fared well after the altercation?”

“The demons didn’t hurt me,” I said. “Not really.”

“I’m speaking of the healing chamber. And those…fools…who seem to think they have control over your life.”

“Well, they don’t. I am…demons are after me, and there is a bounty on my head.” I blurted it out, even though I had been cautioned to keep that secret to myself. “I am staying here where they can keep me safe.”

“They are failing at it, then.”

“I-I’ve rather noticed that for myself.” Somehow, I let him lead me to his table. 

The waitress hurried to take my drink order. Ryrk nodded at me, expectantly. I didn’t know what to say! I have never been in such a fancy place in my entire life. 

Maybe it had been foolish of me to consider coming here alone. 

“I hear the blood-red wine on the menu is supposed to be an…excellent vintage. You blood drinkers seem to prefer it. And from the price…”

“I should probably not eat here, then,” I said. “I just…wanted to celebrate the fact that I am still breathing. Coming here was an impulse.”

“My stay has been comped, kitten. By none other than the dhar of this place itself. Dinner…is on me.”

“Oh, but I…”

“Oh, but you will. As thanks for my saving your life. You will keep me from eating alone. None in this place dare to venture near the Lupoiux in their midst. They are frightened little rabbits, your people. Especially the females.” He smirked, but I saw it. There was a deep hurt and dissatisfaction in him. But no…malice.

At least not toward me. 

Now the Jareth guard that was now sitting at a table fifteen feet away from us—well, I sensed Ryrk wasn’t too keen on his presence. 

Well, neither was I.

“It is that the Lupoiux have been attacking our people for decades. When I was young, a pack came to our farm and tried to drag me and four of my sisters off. Fear is a powerful motivator. And now there are Lupoiux in our hotel, just weeks after Cormac Jareth—the male in green today—after his mate was viciously attacked by Redd Gothan Lupoiux in the public gardens. We’re a little on edge now.” And Ryrk was terrifying. Different from a Dardaptoan. He seemed far more dangerous, for one thing. 

And very, very mysterious.

“Wars will not be resolved in just days. It will take far longer than that for our people to not wish to kill each other. But not all of us Lupoiux are dangerous monsters. Dangerous beasts, perhaps. But not monsters. Tell me, kitten: What is it that demons want from you?”

Well, that was the question of the night, wasn’t it?

Vacation at Hotel Dread. (Journal Entry #67)

I had no choice. I ended up back in my suite. I took a long, hot shower—my room wasn’t glamorous enough to have a tub—and stayed there until the hot water heater was empty. 

Demons had nearly killed me. Again. 

Nowhere was actually safe. When am I going to finally realize that? 

The hotel certainly isn’t safe for me. 

I’m just warehoused here. Probably until the inevitable happens, and I end up on a demon’s piece of toast or something. 

Even with the heat of the shower, I still had to fight the chills. 

I’m going to die. And it’s going to be at a demon’s hands. 

I’m going to die after having barely lived.

Well, Jumena Kyrran Woald wasn’t going to go out that way. 

I dressed in the best vestis and pardus I have here at the Hotel of Dread. I fixed my hair in the most elegant style I could. 

I am going out. I am going to be with people, my people. Whether they are Woald or not. 

I may be destined to die, but I am going to enjoy every single minute I have until that happens.

There was no guard waiting at the end of the door now. Not until I stepped out of the elevators in the main lobby. There was a third guard. He introduced himself as Tol’s replacement.

I have to say that set me back a little. Tol had been replaced. The guard didn’t say it, but I just knew it was because Aodhan and Kierce and Cormac thought he had been derelict this afternoon.

Those…those assholes. 

To tell you the truth, I’m really starting to despise them. In so many ways. 

This guard wasn’t nearly as friendly or open as Tol. He just stood with his arms crossed over his Jareth-green vestis and watched me. “Should you be out here now, female?”

Female? Apparently with this guard I did not even warrant a name. “I am Jume. Please u-use my name and not f-female. Most of us think f-female is quite rude, you know.”

He just watched me, from dark-gold eyes. As if he was judging me—and finding me lacking. His vestis and pardus and hasha were of the finest silk. His watch cost probably more than my family’s entire food budget for a year. So why was this male warrior merely a guard to me?

I don’t know. But I don’t like him. At all.

I most certainly do not trust him. It’s just a feeling I’m getting at the moment.

“I am going to treat myself to dinner in the restaurant on the second floor.” Where only the wealthiest of Dardaptoans could afford to eat. Well, Alaun had paid me two days ago. She’d included a bonus—the same she would have with Landrey—once the most recent book hit its initial sales goals. 

I am going to celebrate tonight.

Celebrate that I am still alive, anyway.

I am not ready to be locked away in my cell for the night.

He just followed behind me, big and dark and hulking.

One good thing I can say about my enforced vacation at Hotel Dread: I am no longer intimidated by strong warriors watching my every move. I am almost starting to get used to it.