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Fangs, Flames, and Allure: A Reverse Harem Romance by Zenia, Zara (1)

Chapter One

Katie

“Madam, can I get you anything for the ride?”

Glancing up at the flight attendant who’s giving me a beaming and friendly smile, I shake my head politely. “No, thank you.”

I pop my earbuds in, fully prepared to take a glorious nap on the ship ride to Desergan, the planet where my sister Eva currently lives. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Eva, and I know I have a world of hurt and betrayal to make up to her that will take years, and not the mere weekend I have to spend with her.

As the pilot ascends into the air and prepares to break the barrier of Earth’s atmosphere, my heart races with excited anticipation. To me, this trip represents freedom, celebration and healing.

It’s been three years since my father died in the construction accident. His legacy still haunts me, and not a day goes by where I don’t wonder whether mom and I made the right choice to leave the woods on that fateful night.

Maybe we’d still have Eva with us, but hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t know how to rewind the past and patch up rough pieces of history that have caused pain and suffering to my family. I miss when it was Mom, Dad, Eva, and me. Those times were simpler, more vivacious. The days were full of crisp sunshine and laughter that faded into the night as sweet dreams filled our minds.

Now, my dreams have turned to nightmares and I don’t understand why, or where it’s coming from. I’m currently studying at NYU and loving it…for the most part. I miss Eva, and part of the reason for this trip is to not only celebrate turning twenty-one, but to also reconnect with her.

As we climb further and further into the orbit and vastly boundless scope of space, I find my eyelids becoming increasingly heavy. The wear and tear of life is peeling away layers of stamina and I’m stripped of all my worries.

As I drift into the oblivion of sleep, I hope that it will be dreamless, and I can just escape everything that bothers me in the galaxy we live in. That’s when my mind gets amped up. My unconscious begins to flash with vivid colors of red and yellow.

I know I’m dreaming, but I can’t wake up. I recognize this dream, I’ve had before, and more than once. I try to keep my eyes open so that I can observe my surroundings. The yellow sky is so bright and intense that I have no choice but to squeeze them shut again.

When I do finally regain enough stability to glance around, the ground is red. My throat is dry, and the temperatures against my skin are sweltering. I begin to sweat immediately, but it’s not just from the atmosphere, it’s an underlying nervousness that I can’t repair.

Suddenly, my mind flashes to the woods. My father is there, talking to Eva. He tells her that she’s special. I always felt as if my dad loved Eva more than me. He always told her that she should remain in the woods, but he never told her why.

Eva loved the woods, they were her home until one day, like Dad she was attacked by wolves, only Eva was saved by Trylor and Brandt, brothers and shifters of Desergan, and Lucas and Morgan, a pair of vampires. Trylor is the king of the planet Desergan, and to save her, he teleported all of them to his planet. Of course, I didn’t know all of this at the time, Mom and I had moved to the city after Dad died, and I didn’t really get to see Eva again for a while.

Maybe the reason I have these nightmares is because I feel guilty about leaving Eva. I don’t know if my mother feels the same way. I hardly ever talk to her anymore either. I’m distancing myself more and more.

I need to focus on my studies, even though I feel ordinary most of the time. I’m a college student sure, but what sense of purpose do I really have? None, at the moment. I don’t have any career plans, but I’m just grateful I get the opportunity to come and visit Eva.

If I can at least attempt to make everything right between us once again, or at least start the healing process, I feel like there might be hope for my eternal peace after all.

My eyes jolt open and I glance around. My heart is racing, and a cold sweat is forming over my skin. Stupid fucking bad dreams. “Good morning,” the same flight attendant buzzes with a perfect smile. “We are now on Desergan.”

“Thank God,” I mumble to myself as I unclick my seatbelt and shoulder harness. I remove the oxygen mask that I have to wear on the trip and stretch my wobbly legs.

I take a deep breath as I exit the tarmac and walk into the international space station on the outskirts of the planet. From here, it will be about an hour’s ride to the palace where my sister lives with Trylor.

When I get into the car that will speed me off to my destination, I watch the foreign planet buzz past me in a whirl. I take a deep breath, inhaling a dramatic sigh. I hope I can get through this weekend with Eva. I’ve always been jealous of her, mostly because of all the positive attention she received from my father when he was still alive.

The car trip doesn’t take nearly as long as I expected. I didn’t gear up enough time to prepare myself for the reunion of sisters, but here I am, standing on solid Desergan ground. I shudder as a memory of the red and yellow planet comes back into my mind, walking up the steps to ring the bell.

The planet isn’t Desergan, and it’s not anywhere that I recognize. I fear that it’s a premonition for my future, but I’m too scared to admit it. Eva’s fate is already sealed. She’s destined to be here with Trylor as his mate forever. What will become of me? As I run a shaky hand through my long blonde hair, I am afraid because I don’t have the answer to that question.

A few seconds later, Eva swoops the door open with a bright smile and a welcoming hug. Her embrace feels natural, peaceful. “I missed you,” I tell her after we finally pull apart, sizing each other up in a loving way.

Eva looks touched as she pat’s her chest with her palm. She has the same long blonde hair and blue eyes as I do. People used to think we were twins, back in the old days when we were still a family.

“I’ve missed you too, Katie.” Eva’s expression reflects sincerity as she welcomes me into the palace which she now calls home. “I can’t believe you are here, finally!”

“This place is amazing,” I say as I spin around, staring in awe at the magnificent architecture of the palace.

“Trylor and the others are busy with, well running things, but we will see them later. Shall we start the tour?” Eva asks.

I don’t know whether she’s truly happy here, or just trying to make the best of an unfavorable situation. Personally, I can’t even imagine living on another planet and being happy. Either way, I know she’s stronger than I am, inside and out.

_____________________

Later that evening, Eva and I are sitting on the balcony overlooking the palace grounds. I’d met the rest of Eva’s family at dinner, even Spes, my nephew, who was unbelievably grown-up. I suppose things work differently here on this planet. Children grow and mature much faster here.

Now it is just me and Eva enjoying the peacefulness of the crickets chirping, and the stars twinkling. It’s a serene environment, at least for now. I decide to bring up the questions that plague me every day. I pray that Eva will have answers, but I know better than to get my hopes up.

“Eva?” I turn to look at my sister.

“Yeah?” She has a curious frown on her face.

“I’m glad you decided to come back and find me.”

Eva smiles. “Me too. Spes wanted to know you, to know more about Earth, about us. So Trylor made it happen. I know it’s easier for me to travel down to you, but now, with the new space travel available, I hope you’ll come and visit us here more often.”

“I will.” I look out over the beautiful scenery, so different from Earth. “Do you ever get used to it?”

“No,” Eva laughs, “but it’s home.”

“Eva?”

Eva tilts her head at me, raising her brow.

“How did you know?” I ask vaguely.

Eva shakes her head. “Know what?”

“You know…” I say and pick at a thread on my shorts that’s fraying on the edges. “That you were…special.” The word escapes my lips sharper than I intend.

Eva leans back in her chair and sighs, staring off at the horizon.

I study her and notice a vacant expression clouding her features. “Was it something Dad did?” I press. “Was it something he said?” All I want is a reason for why I feel so inferior to Eva, even after my father is gone.

“Katie…” Eva begins in a lecturing tone. “You know deep down why Dad always said that to me.”

I ponder her statement, digging through the roots of my brain, but I come up empty. I don’t like being ordinary. I’m quiet for a few moments, a sign of frustration.

“Why do you ask me the same thing every time I see you?” Eva asks as she inspects me through narrowed eyes.

I look my sister in the eyes and for the first time, ever in my life I lie to her. “It’s nothing.”