Chapter 5

Malcolm awoke that morning with a smile on his face for the first time in years. Samantha was slowly warming up to him. After experiencing her wariness of him, he knew that he had to earn her trust. He would have to earn it in both forms if she would ever believe who and what she really was. Last night’s dream contact proved to be the most promising one yet. It had been progressing nicely until that blasted seagull interrupted them. His smile faded at the memory of the interloper. The second appearance of the gull in the dream proved that it was not a random manifestation. Someone was intentionally trying to keep them apart, but who would do that and why? There was no Seagull Clan.

Malcolm needed to go for a run and clear his mind. Flight was always better, but he needed to conserve all of his powers for later that evening. He quickly dressed for his run and went down to the beach. He loved running on the beach. It was as close to nature as he could get in his human form. Malcolm kept playing the dream from last night over and over again in his mind. The second appearance from that seagull nagged him. He needed another opinion and the one man he knew could help him, the Prince and leader of their race, Richard Muldavi.

Richard and his wife, Salinda, led their people with regal grace and extraordinary compassion. They found each other over a century ago. Their unity and their age gave them great strength. They desperately needed it to lead their dwindling race into the next generation.

Richard was a member of the Lion Clan, descendent of the fated couple from so long ago. He had been trained to protect their people and worked closely with the Vasullus family leaders to keep them all hidden from the Caedo hunters. Richard led their people with the help of the Council. It consisted of one representative from each of the ten clans and two Vasullus family members. Malcolm’s uncle, Brendan Drew, represented the Eagle Clan. Together they all worked to protect their people and monitor any possible Caedo activity. They hadn’t lost anyone since the murder of Samantha’s parents all those years ago.

Their murderers had never been found and still walked free to hunt and kill again. The human authorities, of course, had assumed it was a faulty fuel pump that had caused the explosion. The Amoveo knew the Caedo family was behind it. They just hadn’t found out whom. That unsolved murder haunted all of their people, especially the leaders of their race. The Caedo had become as elusive and invisible to the Amoveos as the Amoveos were to the humans. Malcolm knew that Samantha was unaware her parents were murdered. He was curious, however, that she never recognized any of her own powers.

His mind flooded with beautiful images of her. She seemed completely unaware of her beauty and that made her even more desirable. He remembered how sexy she looked last night, her skin damp from her artistic exertions, the long soft tendrils of hair that framed her beautifully sculpted face and her determined jaw. Even with the charcoal smudged in various places, she glowed, from the inside out. He had felt how self-conscious she was, and it only endeared her to him further. Desire simmered in his blood as his body tightened from the mere thought of her. He knew he was lost to her already.


Samantha took her morning coffee out to her studio. She only had one full day before getting back to work at the diner. She didn’t want to waste a minute. As she prepared her canvas and materials, her eye was caught by movement on the beach below. She stepped closer to the large picture window and looked down to the sandy shore. Her breath stopped as she got a glorious eyeful of Malcolm Drew. His incredibly muscled chest glistened with sweat. He slowed to a walk just below her window. She took a small step back, not wanting to get caught ogling him, but who could blame her? This guy was built like something out of her fantasies.

Watching him, she couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to run her hands up those arms and back down again. She shook her head, trying to erase the spicy images from her mind. After all, she had a date with him tonight, and that reality was enough to leave her breathless. She was still a little shell shocked that this beautiful man would want to go out with her. “He must really be desperate,” she said under her breath. She stopped herself. Negative thinking had been her downfall in the past. “Just go with it. Just go with it.”

Samantha spent the entire day working on the portrait for Nonie. It would be a watercolor eventually. She took her time, penciling every shingle on the little Cape Cod and each blade of tall grass that surrounded it on the dune. Around midday, she stopped and stretched out her sore muscles that were stiff from being perched at the canvas for hours.

With both arms stretched up over her head, she studied the portrait of the eagle from yesterday. She couldn’t get away from the sense of familiarity. Those eyes—she knew that she’d seen them somewhere else. She stood lost in the eyes of the eagle. The two yellow orbs focused on her, returning her gaze. Curiously, her mind wandered to Malcolm and that sexy little smile. Sam shook herself from the trance. “Focus, Sam. Focus,” she mumbled. She shifted her attention back to the portrait. “What did I get myself into?”


Malcolm spent the rest of his day working on family business. Drew Shipping imported and exported various Italian-made products. His parents retired to their villa in Milan, and now Malcolm was overseeing the day-to-day activities. They had previously run the business from Milan and New York. Malcolm’s situation with Samantha prompted a move to Rhode Island.

He couldn’t get Samantha’s portrait of his eagle form out of his head. She’d drawn him. All the details were there, but she’d especially captured his eyes. It gave him a glimmer of hope to see this portrait. She had seen his true self. Their connection was growing stronger by the minute.

The shrill of the phone on his desk tore him from his memories.

“Malcolm Drew,” he answered with more irritation than he intended.

“Yes, Mr. Drew. It’s Barkley,” he said. His voice wavered nervously. “I wanted to inform you that we acquired the additional paintings you requested.”

Malcolm sat up straight in his chair and smiled broadly. Samantha’s paintings were his.

Once he discovered where her artwork was being shown, he went to the gallery to see them for himself. The moment Malcolm stepped foot into that gallery he knew which piece was hers, and he had to have it. As soon as he’d brought Woman and the Wolf into his home, he knew he had to have the rest of them. Malcolm immediately put Barkley to work on it, since he handled all of the family’s art acquisitions.

“That’s outstanding, Barkley. When will they arrive here?”

“They should be at your home tomorrow morning, sir. I am having all of the pieces framed appropriately for your Rhode Island home as you requested.”

“Thank you. I’ll be sure to inform my parents of what an outstanding job you did for me.”

“Good day, sir.”

“Good day indeed.”

Malcolm hung up the phone and swiveled his chair to look out the window at Samantha’s house. He sighed and rubbed his unshaven jaw, so close and yet so far.

He relished the idea of incorporating such a personal part of Sam right here in his home. He wanted to be close to her on every level possible. Having her artwork in his home was crucial. She didn’t know it, but part of her Amoveo heritage was directly reflected in her art. Every piece of her artwork carried her specific energy signature and having it brought into his home would help their connection grow at a faster rate. He needed all the help he could get. The call of seagulls outside interrupted his thoughts, and he was immediately reminded of the interloper. His gut told him that the seagull in the dream plane was much more than a coincidence. As much as he wanted to resolve his mating with Samantha on his own, he knew that he needed help. He knew that his best bet for help was their Prince.

Amoveos had very strong psychic abilities, telepathy among them. Connecting with Sam had thankfully given him most of his strength back. He went out to his balcony to contact his friend and leader. He closed his eyes, concentrating on creating a mental path to Richard.

Richard, I have connected with my life mate, but I’m encountering an interloper in the dream plane. It’s a seagull. I need your help, old friend. Can you—

In moments, a tall man with long raven hair and enormous dark eyes materialized next to him. Amoveos could travel at the speed of thought when they were at full strength. He was over two centuries old, one of the strongest among their people, and an exceptionally gifted shifter. As leader of their people, he was ready to lend his help to any who asked. However, their two families were quite close. They were more like family than mere friends.

“How can I help you, my brother?” Richard delivered a small but regal bow.

“Thank you for coming. You didn’t even let me finish my sentence. Now that’s what I call service,” Malcolm said jokingly. He grasped him in a strong, friendly handshake and a pat on the shoulder.

“Only for you, my friend.” Richard smiled. Then his face grew serious. “Now, tell me about your mate and this dream interloper.”

They went into the study, and Malcolm relayed the events as they’d happened. Richard listened intently to the difficulty he’d been having connecting with Samantha, as well as the disturbing appearances of the seagull.

“You seem to be giving Samantha ample time to connect with you. You’ve given her much more freedom to choose than is necessary.”

“You don’t know the half of it. Did I fail to mention that I’m taking her out on a date this evening?” Malcolm ran his hands through his tousled hair.

“A date? Like a human,” Richard said with some disgust.

“I don’t have much of a choice, Richard.”

“It seems to me if you simply explain who she really is and explain the mating ritual and our ways…”

“She’ll think I’m crazy.”

“She’ll think you’re crazy,” Richard somberly agreed.

“I’m more concerned about this seagull that keeps manifesting during our dream contacts. I know we have no Seagull Clan in our race, but it’s clearly an intentional interruption.”

“Given her parents’ untimely death, I can understand your concern. You’re quite certain this is another individual in the dream realm and not a manifestation from her subconscious? She is a powerful psychic, whether or not she knows it,” Richard said. “Between her Amoveo blood and the psychic powers from her mother’s side, it’s quite possible she’s sabotaging your meetings herself.”

“No. It’s definitely not her. I’m gaining her trust. Slowly to be sure, but it’s happening. No,” he insisted. “Someone else is intruding.”

Both men sat in silence for a few moments, contemplating the various possibilities. Neither one of them wanted to admit the most dangerous possibility of all.

“I’ve heard rumors…that the Caedo have developed psychic abilities over the years,” Malcolm began slowly. “To be honest, I dismissed it as paranoid fantasy, but now I’m afraid it’s more than that. What if the seagull in the dream plane is a Caedo?”

“I know we don’t want to think about this, but is it possible they have found you? Clearly they’ve left Samantha alone all these years, probably because she’s shown no signs of shifting. She’s done nothing out of the human norm that would raise any red flags. However, you can be sure they’ve been watching her,” Richard said, his mouth set in a grim line. His voice held a seriousness Malcolm hadn’t heard in some time. “If they realize that Samantha has any abilities and that she has an Amoveo mate who has found her, then they’ll stop at nothing to kill you both. If you are successful in joining with her, it will only be the second human and Amoveo mating in our history. The Caedo already see us as a threat to human existence. You know how quickly they hunted down and killed her parents. You and Samantha would be seen as an equal threat. They hate us and hate the idea of us mating with humans even more. They feel as though we’re trying to breed them out or some such nonsense.” He waved.

“It’s ridiculous, Richard. Our people have never harmed another, other than to defend ourselves or our clan members. We haven’t even had fighting between the clans for over a thousand years. Ironically enough we have the Caedo to thank for that. We have a much more peaceful history than the humans. They have shed far more blood, and yet we’re the monsters,” Malcolm said with frustration.

“True,” Richard said quietly. “Malcolm, you do realize how extraordinary this is, don’t you? We have been hunted to the brink of extinction. They kill one of us, and it eliminates our mate and any possibility of offspring. If there are more women, or men for that matter, with psychic abilities like Samantha, then they could be mates for our people as well. It could mean saving our race. Your uncle Brendan has been researching this very fact for us. As you can imagine, the Council is very interested in finding out as much as we can. Obviously if we can identify these individuals early, then we can help make their transition that much easier.”

Malcolm sat in silence with his head in his hands. He couldn’t think about the benefits of his mating for his people or the wider implications it had. All he could focus on was keeping Samantha safe. The idea that the Caedo would attempt to harm her sent a fiery rage through his blood. Even worse, her destiny as his mate was putting her in grave danger. He stood quickly and stalked out to the balcony. It was a feeble attempt to hide his fury from Richard. He grasped the railing as though it might absorb some of his anger. His friend came up behind him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

“I understand your anger, Malcolm,” he said with quiet confidence. “When the Caedo came after Salinda, I was almost paralyzed with rage, but we banded together as a people and stopped them. I promise you, we will work together to protect your mate.”

Malcolm stood tall, collecting himself, and grasped his friend in the handshake of a warrior. “Thank you, my Prince, and please give my best to my uncle.”

“I will go to the members of the council and inform them of your situation. Please contact me right away if there are any more appearances from your seagull interloper.” Richard turned to go, but stopped quickly and said, “Oh, and Malcolm. Good luck on your date tonight.” Then with a teasing smile, he bowed quickly and vanished in the ocean breeze.

Malcolm shook his head, smiling, but it quickly faded when he saw Samantha. She stood in the doorway of her studio, a look of complete horror on her face.

Malcolm ducked inside, leaving his balcony empty. He knew she’d seen Richard vanish. If she asked about it, he was going to have to tell her something. He’d have to. He couldn’t lie to her. She’d been lied to for her entire life, and he was determined not to perpetuate that problem. He was her mate, and he needed her to trust him. He had to earn it, and time was running out.

He went upstairs to get ready for his first real date, preoccupied with what Richard had said. Her mother had been the only human killed by the Caedo, a casualty of their war against his people. Gratefully, they hadn’t come after Sam…yet. She showed no outward signs of Amoveo traits, except for the eyes. He would have to be very careful and more alert than ever. If Samantha was harmed because of him, he would never forgive himself.


Samantha had totally lost track of time out in the studio. When she finally did look at her watch, it was a quarter past six. Seeing how late it had gotten, the inevitable panic set in. She had less than an hour to get ready for her date with Malcolm, let alone find something to wear that didn’t make her feel like a whale. Finding the right outfit was all about the state of mind. A bad mood could make a woman feel twenty pounds heavier. Sam pushed sweaty strands of hair off her face as she packed up her tools.

Somehow, this man made her more aware of her appearance than anyone else in her entire life. Not necessarily in a bad way, just more. She finished putting away her supplies and closed up her studio. She gave a quick glance over to Malcolm’s house. She saw a very tall man with long dark hair standing on the balcony speaking with Malcolm. She shielded her eyes from the brilliant sunlight and watched them for a moment, wondering if they were related. Even at this distance, she could sense a similarity between the two men. Then the next minute, he was gone. Vanished. Poof.

“What the hell.” She blinked and rubbed her eyes furiously. She stood there, motionless. Did I really just see that? “No. No way. It was just a reflection or something from the ocean.”

Samantha closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She steadied herself with her hands, as though smoothing out the air around her. When she opened her eyes, the balcony was empty. No Malcolm. No long-haired guy. Nothing.

“See…nothing. You’re just tired,” she said, not really convincing herself. “Now, stop talking to yourself, and go get ready for your date with the weird, arrogant, gorgeous neighbor. What the hell am I going to wear?” Sam walked into the house. She gave one last glance over her shoulder to the empty balcony next door. “I’m definitely wearing my cross.”