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ShardanaJase has just been given the bad news from Lawson that their company, Cosgrove Industries, wants an Icthyuman and Human hybrid child. Since he is there, he is the chosen candidate. Even if it will mean his death, Lawson is determined that Jase will mate with Shardana and produce the child.

“Where have you been?” The words might have been teasing from a human woman. From the Icthyuman Queen, they were a reprimand.

He patted the pack on his shoulders. “Running low on fresh water.”

She nodded. He knew she counted the bulbs of water he kept near her sleeping place. He was glad he didn’t have to lie to her about it.

“We will go to the Sacred Grove now that you have replenished your supply. I want to spend the night there. We will mate under the Mother’s Veil.”

The Mother’s Veil was a gigantic waterfall, higher, more powerful than the one nearby. Legend was that the first Icthyuman emerged from her waters. This was a ritual he wasn’t familiar with.

“Why there? If you want a waterfall, we’ve got one.”

“This is something special. You will mate with me there. Only the Mother’s magic can give me your child.”


“It is nearly my fertile time, Jase. I want your child inside me. We will walk to the Mother’s Veil two days and a night away. When we arrive, we will mate beneath it. You will give me a child.”

“And you’ll eat me….”

She laughed, holding his face in her hands. “No, foolish Human! A Queen doesn’t eat her life mate! Only the animals she breeds with to make more of the tribe.”

“So I’d be your life mate?”

“Of course. Why? Do you not want to be?” Her eyes hardened, her face a cold mask of growing fury.

“Sure, I do! Nothing I want more!” He put as much enthusiasm into it as he could. “Are you sure, Shardana, my Queen?”

“I am sure. Come now,” she demanded, tugging on his arm.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes


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