River & Her Royal Mate by Larissa Heinrich Chapter 23

River & Her Royal Mate by Larissa Heinrich Chapter 23

Chapter 23
River didn’t open her eyes.
Voices came and went.
The door opened and closed. Questions, comments.
None of it interested her.
She faded back into sleep for a time.
Then she was awake again. Still. She didn’t want to be awake. She didn’t want them to know she was awake.
Because something was wrong.
Something was so wrong that she couldn’t face it.
She wouldn’t even give the thought a place in her mind.
It wasn’t real.
Nothing could hurt as bad as the thing waiting out there. A surreal fact that crouched in the corners of her mind, in the shadows of the room, biding its time to pounce and tear her heart out.
If she stayed asleep and didn’t open her eyes, it wouldn’t be real.
The bed sagged with familiar weight.
River knew what was coming.
It was love, but it was hard.
And necessary.
She could smell Grandma Lucy’s soft scent. It was so familiar that she didn’t even distinguish what it was like, like she did with other wolves. All she simply knew is that for her, that scent was home.
It was stories at bedtime. Campouts in the backyard. Pancakes on Saturday morning.
16:56 Sat,
Chapter 23
Tears and aches and years of constant support and love.
All of the scents that she would never share with her own child.
Her and Kai’s child.
“River.” Grandma’s hand was impossibly delicate on her side through the
covers. Her voice was pitched to match. They may as well have been lead weights dragging her down.
Quit putting it off, River.
It’s time.
Her grandmother gave her a few more moments before she repeated herself. She knew River was awake.
“How bad?” River’s voice came out as a croak.
Grandma sighed slowly.
River finally forced her burning eyes open. The doctor was standing near the window across the room, waiting with a tight lipped grimace.
His eyes said it all. And more.
Denial welled up. She wanted to shove it all away, tell them all to get out and go f uck themselves and leave her alone.
Grandma glanced at the doctor.
The kind eyed male nodded and stepped out.
“The poison that Victoria gave you wasn’t strong enough to kill you, not once Jakov got you to expel it. But it did damage, dear,” she said so softly. Grandma didn’t shy away, though. There was a stern resolve to the words.
This was the pain and strength of a wolf Matron.
To face the hurt and accept the worst with love in their hearts.
That was the way she raised River to be a wolf.
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16:56 Sat, Jan 13
Chapter 23
The trust might hurt, but it was also strength.
Despite the awful sp i ke through her heart, and the real physical pain that rippled through her muscles and bones, River heaved herself up to sit.
Take a breath.
Gathering the shredded tatters of her courage she looked her loving grandmother in the eye.
“You lost the baby, River,” she said flatly. A statement. A fact.
“I know. I lost the baby.” She heard her voice make the words, but could hardly understand them.
“But it’s more than that. Worse than that.”
What could be worse than that?
“You will likely never be able to get pregnant again, and even if you do, you will not be capable of carrying to term.”
If she had been standing, River would have collapsed.
Nails hammered down into the coffin of her heart.
She had always taken it for granted. Someday she might have children. Probably. Whenever, if or when she found her mate and they wanted to share that with her.
A family. One she would someday treasure like her parents hadn’t been
able to.
But that was before she felt the life inside her.
Before she felt the love for her own offspring. And for the baby’s father.
It changed everything.
And would he still be able to love her after all they had been through?
Would he still love her when she couldn’t give him an heir?
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Chapter 93
A bitter barb slashed inside her mind and chest as she thought, “At least we didn’t bond. At least not he’s not stuck with me this way.”
Grandma Lucy’s lip quivered as she scowled, as if she could hear River’s. scornful thoughts. Her red rimmed eyes locked on River.
“Th-this is not your fault, girl. And don’t you dare torture yourself for it. You are too loved and too precious to wound your own heart that way. I taught you better. Aunt Klara and I love you better than that.”
Aunt Klara. How she wished her aunt were here, too.
But she would agree with Grandma.
She was right, against everything she felt crumbling inside.
And Lucy Landon knew all too well what it was to lose love. To lose a child
and a mate.
It didn’t make it accepting it any easier.
The anger was still there, and still would be, but River let it bleed out with the onslaught of sorrow that poured through her.
The two females laid together crying for a long time.
River slept.
River woke.
Moonlight broke crisply though the clouds and the curtains of the bedroom. A chill breeze rustled under the door.
She might have shivered but for the intense warmth behind her, all
around her.
Fresh tears sprang to her eyes as she felt the muscular arm around her waist, the firm chest pressed against her back. Felt the soft breath on the nape of her neck.
Frost and cedar. And somehow…home.
Kai.
16:56 Sat, Jan
Chapter 23
River couldn’t remember when he had come to bed, only that the
nightmares had stopped at some point and the cold of the empty world and her loss fled from her. Did she deserve that protection and relief from the pain?
His scent comforted and tormented her.
When would he drive her away?
Did he even know yet?
She didn’t remember if she told Grandma if they could tell him, if they should. Maybe he had ordered the doctor to tell him. He had a right know,
too.
But it could wait. Facing him awake was not something she was prepared for just yet.
River slipped out from the haven of Kai’s grasp, glided past the bay. windows and out into the dark sitting room. The chill plucked at her bare
feet.
Her soft steps carried her past two sleeping forms curled up together on the couch. They had stayed outside, ready to be there for her.
She couldn’t acknowledge them yet, either.
The castle was hollow. Vacant and cold.
It felt like a friend.
River said goodbye to that slight comfort a minute later.
The grass in the garden was icy under her feet, but it barely registered.
Only the bite of the moon’s light reached her through the fugue of her
loss.
Its chilling blue and silver glow cut her to the core, shined into all the dark places of her aching soul. Where it opened the flood gates of despair and. anguish and desperate rage.
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Chapter 28
River ran.
Like she always had when things got too hard. When she couldn’t face the hurt. But she could not run from this.
She did not remember shifting.
Her wolf body screamed with the momentary release, galloping through the night with complete abandon.
There was only heat and breath and running harder than she had ever run
before.
Acid coursed through her veins and searing fire tore at her lungs.
Sharp frost stung her teeth and nose with every gasp.
But she ran on.
Hours might have passed, or days.
But when she collapsed on the hill, steam wisping off her coat in thick sheets, the moon was still looking down on her, just from a much different vantage point.
The castle was nowhere in sight.
Just a lonely, solitary hump rising above the woods, reaching up to the sky.
Her howl started as a whimper. It wobbled and growled up through her
chest.
Why was she doomed, cursed?
Her throat burned, dry, and it ached to make the sound at first.
Every time she found a shred of happiness or contentedness, it got ripped out of her hands.
Ripped out of her heart.
Her howl ripped from her lips, violent and shattering.
o
16:56 Sat, Jan 13 BS
Chapter 23
Every new breath fueled another and another howl. River poured out every failure and hurt.
And then there was another howl beneath hers, deeper and just as sad.
Kai stood farther down the hill behind her, giving her space, but his voice. joined in harmony with hers.
Another howl pierced the air, farther away, across the valley.
Then another.
Soon the night hummed with the chorus of the pack. All in mourning. All for her. She was one of theirs.
Quiet settled after an eternity of the sad song.
The pack grieved.
River sank down on the satin stalks blanketing the hillock. A look down at the wolf-prince gave him permission to approach.
Kai dragged a blanket in his teeth and tugged it over her, ever so gently. She might have laughed at the sight any other time.
But she also no longer felt such deep despair.
He was incomprehensibly warm as he settled down against her, nuzzling her neck with his snout. She leaned into him and they laid together for another blur of night time eternity..
Maybe this was goodbye.
But River had just a flicker of hope. He came to her. He found her. Like he had the first time they met.
Exhaustion threatened to drag her down into sleep, but she fought it off. She had to know. Needed to hear him tell her how he felt.
Malachi was in his skin before she had to ask or suggest it.
She followed suit and let him bundle her up with him in the huge blanket.
16:56 Sat, Jan 13
Chapter 2 3
“Kai…” She was h oa rse from howling.
“Shh. There isn’t anything you have to say, River. I am so sorry for what I did. How I treated you. And for bringing this on you.”
“You didn’t cause this.”
“But I brought…her here.” Kai’s head sagged with guilt.
“Victoria was determined to get here and cause damage. And she had help.
I should have found a way to tell you sooner. I should have had Anna call you. Then maybe you could have come back before she got to you.”
“I feel so stu pid. And so…” His voice shook.
River knew the sensation he was feeling. The disgust. She felt it after Clay tried to take her. When he touched her against her will.
Victoria had violated Kai’s mind.
River tipped his head back up toward hers with her fingertips.
His lips parted vulnerably and she brushed hers over them, testing. Her heart couldn’t take it if he turned her away.
Kai’s arms tightened around her, pulling her into a deeper kiss. His gestures were gentle, but his meaning was desperate, full of longing.
River pulled away briefly.
No.
She needed answers.
Just one answer, really.
“Kai. The doctor said-”
“Nothing that makes a d amn bit of difference about how I feel about you.” Kai cut her off determination filling his whole demeanor. “River, I want you. You are my mate, the only one who I would ever want.”
“Even if…?”
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River & Her Royal Mate by Larissa Heinrich

River & Her Royal Mate by Larissa Heinrich

Score 9.3
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Artist: Released: January 11, 2024 Native Language: English

How To Read Novel River & Her Royal Mate by Larissa Heinrich

River Landon is ostracized by her classmates for being an orphan. When she turns 21, she realises that she is fated to the Alpha's son! But when he rejects her and claims his girlfriend instead, River is heartbroken. Little does she know that life has more in store for her than Just being the Luna of a Pack... Enter Kai, a mysterious stranger who's new to town..

River & Her Royal Mate by Larissa Heinrich

River Landon is ostracized by her classmates for being an orphan. When she turns 21, she realises that she is fated to the Alpha's son! But when he rejects her and claims his girlfriend instead, River is heartbroken. Little does she know that life has more in store for her than Just being the Luna of a Pack... Enter Kai, a mysterious stranger who's new to town..

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