Hayden wanted to thank Austin for all he’d done to help, but he was afraid that speaking would break the witches’ concentration. But he felt like a distracting burden just sitting in that lab, hovering and watching the coven’s every move. He thought he saw the incantation go out of sync and he nearly jumped out of the chair and howled in frustrated angst.
He swore if anything happened to Kenzie, he’d never forgive himself. Despite what she said, he still blamed himself for this happening to her. He prayed to the creator that she’d be all right. He’d asked the witches if there was some sort of potion they could brew up instead of taking blood out of Kenzie’s body, but they knew of nothing that could turn someone into a supernatural creature, though some witches and scientists elsewhere were working on it. But that wouldn’t help them today, and this had to be taken care of now.
The rhythmic beeping sound of the heart monitor was torturous to Hayden’s eardrums. The monotonous chanting of the witches was putting him on edge. How long was this going to take? As he scrutinized the witches again, he saw blood begin to drain from the IV in Kenzie’s arm and into a blood bag hanging on a pole. It was a good thing no vampires were around, even though Kenzie’s blood tasted putrid to them due to the werewolf blood.
He clasped and unclasped his hands. He shifted positions in the chair. He toyed with his shoelaces. He fiddled with his bracelet. He tugged at his hair. This was pure agony. Waiting was one of the worst feelings in the world.
He wanted to get up and leave the room, but he had to be present in case his blood was needed. Thankfully, Austin had already drawn it as a precaution.
Suddenly, the beeping noise stopped and became a solid, sharp hum.
“She’s lost too much blood,” Miranda declared hastily. “Austin, we need Hayden’s blood, now!”
Hayden nearly threw Austin across the room, he was moving so damn slow. His supernatural speed would have gotten to Kenzie’s side in half the time.
But Austin did finally make it, and Miranda took the reins by injecting Hayden’s blood into a transparent tube that led to Kenzie’s arm. Hayden couldn’t remember the last time his heart had pounded so rapidly.
The witches resumed their spell after the monitor began beeping normally once more. In another five minutes, they ceased their chanting and stepped away from Kenzie. When he got the okay, Hayden shuffled over to her side and rested his hands over hers, not even bothering to pull up the chair.
“When will she wake up?” he whispered to the others in the room.
“There’s no guarantee,” Miranda replied. “It takes time for someone to wake up after a blood transfusion, plus we have to wait for the anesthesia to wear off. It could be a few minutes or several hours. There’s really no way to tell. Everyone’s different.”
Hayden squeezed his mate’s hand. He knew she was stronger than any normal human, even now with only one supernatural blood type pumping through her veins instead of two. He just had to keep believing it when he inwardly convinced himself that she would come out of this unscathed.
As if she were reading his thoughts, Kenzie stirred. It was a slight stir, one that would have easily been missed had someone not been staring so intently at the figure in the bed. But Hayden saw it, and he sensed it before Kenzie’s eyes slowly opened.
“Kenzie?” Hayden asked quietly. “Are you okay?”
Kenzie looked around the room, momentarily forgetting where she was. But then she saw the blood bag and it dawned on her. She turned her gaze toward Hayden and smiled as Austin wheeled the blood bag away.
“I think so,” she said, though she felt and sounded weak. She tried to sit up, but her head started spinning.
“Best not do that yet,” Miranda instructed. “Just rest until you get your strength back up.”
Kenzie acceded and returned to her supine position. Hayden continued to hold her hand as he finally sat in the far more comfortable chair.
As she waited to regain her strength, Kenzie made idle talk with Hayden. She informed him, and everyone else in the room, that while she’d been under during the process, she hadn’t had a dream at all. Miranda concluded that the anesthesia wore off sooner because of the supernatural blood in Kenzie’s body. Austin told her that they’d had to do the emergency blood transfusion during the span of the incantation, which caused Hayden to glare at him with a stink eye.
As soon as he mentioned this, Kenzie noticed something – she was feeling, sensing, something, but couldn’t determine what it was.
“What’s that smell?” she asked.
“What smell?” Paige replied, furrowing her brow and putting her own nasal cavity to use.
“I don’t smell anything,” Austin added as he also began to sniff out whatever Kenzie was talking about.
“I do,” Hayden affirmed. “It’s some of the chemicals in here. I’ve been smelling it since we came in, but I didn’t say anything.”
“I didn’t smell it before…but now I can.”
“That means it must have worked,” Sasha determined. “You didn’t have any supernatural abilities before, but now you have the werewolf senses.”
“Not all of them,” Erika corrected. “She’s still wearing her glasses.”
“What about your hearing?” Austin asked Kenzie.
Everyone stopped talking to allow Kenzie to listen. She was going to squeeze her eyes shut and concentrate, but she found that she didn’t need to. She could hear doors opening and closing from other portions of the lab, and someone slyly dropped a pin from the opposite end of the room as she wasn’t looking.
“Werewolf hearing ability confirmed,” she declared. “But I definitely can’t see without my glasses.”
“So it seems you only got part of the werewolf abilities,” Hayden surmised. “I wonder if you’ll get the transforming part.”
“I guess we’ll find out soon enough. When’s the next full moon?”
Austin checked a nearby calendar. “Next week.”
“Then that’s when we’ll find out if I get to experience that part of being a werewolf, too.”
Paige handed Kenzie a wand like she’d done before, but the wand didn’t emit any signs of magic this time around. Her witch blood was officially gone, drained from her vein and into a plastic bag that would be properly disposed of by the witches.
Hayden migrated to sit on the bed and grasped Kenzie’s hand. They’d done it. They’d succeeded in saving Kenzie, and she’d come out of it just fine. He had to admit that he’d had his doubts, but seeing his mate’s blue eyes shine back up at him lifted a great weight from his shoulders.
Now all that was left to do was wait until the next full moon to see what would happen. And after that, the surprise.
Kenzie was back home now in Moonlight Falls with Hayden and Sage. The latter didn’t treat Kenzie any differently, just like when she’d discovered she was a “tribrid.” The night of the full moon was imminent, due to show itself that night.
Kenzie was still learning to adapt to life as a hybrid with limited werewolf abilities. Werewolves were able to shift into their wolf form whenever they chose, except during the full moon, when their bodies couldn’t control themselves. Hayden had shown this to Kenzie a few times, and she’d seen herself as a werewolf in her dreams, but when she tried to do exactly as Hayden had done, it was in vain.
However, she’d inadvertently sliced her finger open on a knife while preparing dinner one evening, and the cut had healed itself quickly. It seemed that she’d also retained her superior healing ability. And of course, when she and Hayden had seen her finger heal, they were both ecstatic. It was hard for Kenzie to finish cooking anything after that.
The nausea hadn’t returned, either, and nothing abnormal happened when Kenzie had an emotion spike. She seemed to be completely cured and she felt refreshed and more relieved than she had in a long time.
At last, the moon began to climb into the sky. Stars studded the thick blanket that hovered above them, and they both prepared themselves for the inevitable transformation.
Hayden transformed when the moon was at its peak, just as he always did. Kenzie remembered the last time she’d waited for this – she’d been petrified, having been bitten by a werewolf with no way to stop the impending shift. But she’d waited all night and nothing had happened, apart from the bite mark healing itself on her arm. This time, she was anxious for not knowing what was about to transpire, but she was no longer afraid.
And she had to admit, when a couple of hours passed and she still hadn’t transformed, just like last time, she felt vastly relieved.
“So you get some of the superior senses, but you don’t have to transform,” Hayden avowed. “That’s great news!”
“Even better news is that now I can definitely keep being a detective, since I’ll have the superior senses people want when they hire one.”
Hayden smiled and bent down to kiss Kenzie on the forehead, who didn’t mind at all even though he was transformed. It was one of the many reasons he loved her.
He only had one more thing to do to make everything perfect.
Kenzie was sitting on the couch watching TV one day when Hayden approached, a look of seriousness on his face.
“What’s up?” she asked him as she turned the TV off.
“I need to talk to you about something.”
Hayden sat next to her on the couch and pulled her legs across his lap as he cradled her in his arms.
“I didn’t tell you how worried I really was,” he began, “when that werewolf bit you. And then you kept getting sick, and then the aftermath of all that…I had never been so scared in my life. Not when I first transformed, not when my parents died, not even when Jillian was turned into a vampire. Kenzie, you are my life. I couldn’t begin to imagine living without you, and I was petrified beyond belief that I was going to lose you during this whole blood transplant thing. I’ve told you before that wolves are monogamous; they have only one mate for life. I believe that applies to werewolves, too, or at least most of them. I genuinely believe that I’ve found my mate, and the one I want to be with forever. And that mate is you.”
Before Kenzie could say anything, Hayden got down on the floor and held her hand in his. Her heart rate sped up, fully audible to the both of them, like a pounding drum. Was he…?
“I didn’t tell you the full truth when you asked what I was going to say in the doctor’s office,” he went on. “When you thought you were pregnant, and I said it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you were. What I was actually going to say was, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we were going to have a baby, because I want to have a family with you. I want to marry you.”
With that, Hayden reached his hand into his pocket and pulled a box out of it. “I have to say,” he continued, “It’s hard keeping a secret when you’re living in the same house as a detective. But I guess you’ve been a little preoccupied lately. Which is great, because I wanted this to be a surprise. I talked to your father a few months ago, and got his blessing, as well as your mother’s.”
He presented the box to Kenzie, who was sure her heart stopped beating for the second time in two weeks. Hayden opened the small velvet square to reveal a beautiful ring with a large stone the color of the moon framed with diamonds.
He took a deep breath as Kenzie gaped at the ring. “Kenzie Howell, will you marry me?”
Kenzie was completely taken aback. She wasn’t expecting this. As a child, she’d envisioned how a handsome man would one day propose to her, but those fantasies could never compare to the real thing.
She felt like she was grinning like an idiot, but she was just that happy. She finally said, “Hayden, yes, of course I’ll marry you!”
Hayden jumped back up and planted a huge kiss on Kenzie’s lips.
Kenzie couldn’t suppress the grin that continued to grow on her face. When Hayden slid the ring onto her finger, she held it out in front of her, allowing the diamonds to catch the light and send tiny rainbows throughout the room.
“It’s a moonstone,” Hayden explained. “It’s surrounded by diamonds, but the main stone is a moonstone. I thought it was appropriate, considering, you know, werewolves.”
Kenzie just grinned wider. It was perfect. She wasn’t one of those girls who had to have a huge diamond to be satisfied. Just knowing that Hayden loved her enough to spend the rest of his life with her was enough.
She pulled him down on top of her and tried to devour his mouth with hers. He laughed and accepted the challenge, and eventually they started their honeymoon a little early.
Kenzie felt so blessed and so lucky. She’d survived countless perilous situations, saved friends (some more than once), found the perfect man for her, who just proposed to her, and she’d overcome a werewolf bite and inherited and embraced enough of her werewolf nature to be fitting for the life she wanted to live.
All that was left to do now was live happily ever after.