A Servant for a Mate - Book #1 (Completed)

Chapter 1~

POV: Claudia

I watched him from the shadows. My drool worthy mate stands strong in the crowded room of hungry female piranhas. The beautifully tailored clothes secure his strongly built frame. Dark green eyes pierce the soul of his female dance partners. Chiseled sturdy jaw proves to all men and woman he speaks business.

My eyes follow the female's hands down his sturdy appendages, and a boiling rage surges inside my heart. He if could scent me I'd show that female who's ass her fingers are gripping belongs too.

I shake my head at the ridiculous thought of me actually confronting another female. It'd never happen. At least not until after my 18th birthday that is. I'm hoping things change by then.

An appalling mistake nearly eight agonizing years ago, not only turned my life upside down but the whole kingdom as well.

The coldness of the brick wall cools my body down from the burning heat of jealousy. How I crave to feel his callused fingers gracing my smooth skin. At the age of seventeen, my body yearns to feel the warm touch of a males caress. This particular man is dancing and laughing away with a beautiful woman in front of my own eyes.

A single tear escapes, sliding down my cheek before a hand swipes out to catch it. "Go to him Claudia. Tell Caden who you are and how unbelievably remorseful you feel for running off." My brother Taylor whispers into my ear. He has been my rock these wretched years. "He will forgive you in time, and you have to know that." Squeezing my shoulder he gives my head a kiss before turning away, leaving me to my miserable thoughts.

Two years older than I, Taylor protects me from the harshness of our lives. Being born a servant isn't harsh nowadays, but it has its demands.  A kingdom fails if its servants disobey and disrupt the daily routine. 

My family has never felt the harshness of the Kings penalty, but I've seen it happen to others. The criminals get what's coming to them, eye for an eye sort of speaking. It's usually for the wolves who destroy property, steal, harm or disregard any and all orders given by the Royal family. 

We do not have to be servants to the royal family. It's more of a honor. My family has been under the ideal care of the royal family for centuries. Not knowing other jobs, we have no need to leave the castle and seek employment elsewhere.

For the past year, I've had the honor as everyone calls it, of cleaning the Royal wing with my mother and three other women. My mom, I are in charge of cleaning four bedrooms; Prince Caden's, and his three guest rooms. Cleaning Caden's room is the easiest out of all four. He sleeps, showers and changes clothes. No sneaking off with a woman to have a quickie in his room. No that takes place in one of his guest rooms. Breaching those doors, I force myself to become impersonal. If I don't, I break down crying.

The devastation of the rooms tells a story of the heated night two lovers spent touching, kissing and caressing in the throes of passion.

The first time I walked into a room, I broke down sobbing in my mother's arms. We sat for an ungodly amount of time as she coo'd to me. I had heard he spent his nights with women of high ranking, but to see the aftermath of that lovemaking is nothing I could have prepared myself for. My mother had to call upon my father and brother to help with the rooms. Otherwise, we would never have finished them by nightfall.

After that first encounter, I shoved all emotion out the window. A blank slate became my work life. No laughing or telling jokes with my mother. I walked in, cleaned the room, prepared it for the night ahead and left.

That is what my mornings have consisted of. Emptiness.

My afternoons are a bit livelier as I get to hang out with my best friend, Nikolai. Ten wonderful years of friendship has solidified our souls together. There isn't a reason in the world where we will lie to each other. He knows my deadly secret, and I fear for the day he has to stand in front of his Prince and explain his betrayal. I for one am not looking forward to that.

Nikolai forced the truth out of me one year to the date of that horrible night. I can still remember the fright in my tiny ten-year-old body as I raced out of the ballroom.

Closing my eyes, I take myself back to that one night. The night everything changed.

I twirl around my mother in the exquisite ball gown she had placed me in moments before. My dark brown hair placed magnificently on top of my head. Little ringlets dangle around my heart shaped face makes me feel as if I'm a princess.

"Claudia sweetheart, you must remember this is a ball, not an afternoon with your brother." Spinning me around, she stares into my bright blue eyes. I had my mother's beautiful eyes and I couldn't be prouder. "This is Prince Caden's birthday ball, you must be a perfect Princess. Do you hear me? No running around, laughing out loud or speaking out of turn. Remember the reason you are allowed to attend this ball."

The love shining in her eyes brings me up straight. I won't disappoint my mother or father tonight. Not in front of the royal family and their friends. Tonight's ball is important as Prince Caden is old enough to recognize his future Princess.

Being a mythical creature has its benefits. All werewolf males have the ability to scent out his soul mate at the tender age of fourteen. Female werewolves, unfortunately, have to wait until their eighteenth birthday. Unlike males who can sniff out or gaze into his mate eyes to recognize his other half, females go into heat. She is forced to stay in bed to prevent unwanted male attention.

At least that's what my mother has told me on countless occasions. I'm not too sure what attention she is speaking off. She never goes into detail. My father informs me that I'm too young at the age of ten to know what male attention means. Nikolai gives me attention, though he educated me that his attention is entirely different from a mates attention.

"Hurry Claudia, it's time to go. We do not want you to be late to your first ball." Ushering me out of our small family apartment in the servant's quarters we rush down dimly light hallways until we reach the entrance to the magnificent ballroom. "Remember to keep your head up straight, my love. Show no fear. We have taught you well to dance as a high born lady." Her eyes sparkle with excitement for me.

"I will, Momma. I promise to make you proud." Smiling at her, I stand up straight, preparing myself for the night ahead.

"We are proud of you already Claudia. Your father and I couldn't have asked for a better daughter than you. Remember that, my love." Wiping a lone tear from her eyes, I lean up and kiss her cheek. I love my momma deeply and wish she could be with me inside the ballroom. Instead, she has to return to the kitchen and finish prepping tonight's dinner.

"Now, go Claudia. I do not want you to miss out on a single moment of this exciting night." Kissing my forehead she pushes me towards the two gigantic wooden doors.

Taking a deep breath, I keep my head high as I walk through the open double doors. I try not to look down as I pass by the guards standing at attention by the doors. They carry such power it frightens me.

This ball is for all the young available girls. Glancing around I notice girls as young as four all the way up to seventeen years of age. My family didn't have enough money to buy me a dress for this ball. Most servants didn't. The King ruled five months before the ball that any young lady who didn't have enough money to buy her dress was to borrow one from a sow shop. My dress may be used, but I think I look like a princess.

Walking on the outside of the dance floor, I keep my eyes open for Prince Caden. I've seen him twice in my life, and he is quite cute. Taylor teases me on my little crush on the older boy. He believes it to be funny when I think he is a big meanie to his little sister. I try to get him back, by teasing him. I'm not good at it at all.

Glancing towards the thrones sitting high up for everyone to see, I notice the King and Queen taking their seats. "Ladies, if I can have your attention!" Instantly the crowd becomes silent as all eyes are on the King. "It's time for the dancing to begin." At his words, four doors to his right open up, and boys of all ages regally saunter into the ballroom to take their position on the dance floor.

Sighing happily, I walk towards the middle of the line to stand in front of a boy slightly taller than me. All the males in this room are fourteen and older. Tonight they are here in hopes of finding their soul mate as well.

"My lady." Bowing slightly in front of me, we take each other's hands as the music begins its beautiful melody and the dancing starts.

I've heard from other servant girls how romantic it is to meet your soul mate. The warm feeling of his soft fingers on yours sends your body into complete bliss. If I find my mate today, I wonder if I will feel it. My father looks at my mother with love in his eyes. Will mine?

We dance from partner to partner for the next hour until the music stops for a small break. Dying of thirst I slowly walk towards the punch bowl table. Taking a small glass, I slide into a chair hidden by a few potted trees.

"What do you plan on doing once you have found her Caden?" A boy's voice whispers to my ears. Peeking through a potted tree, I see Prince Caden casually standing around with two other youths.

"Lock her up in our room until she goes into heat. I do not want another male near her until I can mark and claim her as mine," Prince Caden harshly growls to his friends. I can't see his face, but his fists clench into tight balls. 

Why is he angry? Won't his mate feel hurt if she isn't allowed to see anyone until she is eighteen? I would miss my momma and daddy if my future mate did that to me. Though with the hidden tunnels, I might be able to escape with Taylor and Nikolai. Hopefully, I will never have to deal with that. 

"What will you do if she is younger than you? We can't believe you will stay a virgin for her once you have her locked up. It's not like she would know if you fooled around." The same boy voiced with laughter.

Fool around? Does that mean he will play with other girls?

"What do you think? Of course, I will. I'm not a pedophile! Do you think I'm stupid Jason?" Power radiates off Prince Caden's body in rivulets. "My mate will stay in our room being schooled on her Princess duties. She will take her meals in our room unless my parents request her at the table. Remember she was born to please me and serve me not the other way around. Once she is in heat, I will mate with her until she is round with my heir."

"You plan on playing the field?" My heart aches at Jason's words. Doesn't that mean cheat? Will Prince Caden cheat on his mate?

"If she is good in bed, I will continue to go to her after she gives birth to my son. I will be stupid to reject any female who comes to me wanting to pleasure me in bed. It's the reason I have three guest rooms, Jason. My mistresses will sleep in the rooms across from mine in case I need them in the middle of the night."

Shivers run down my spine at the offensive words Prince Caden spoke. Mistress? How can he be so cruel to his mate? My father would never dream of having a mistress. I've heard horrible things about those women. They offer themselves up to men in exchange for money and standing.

I will pray for the future Princess tonight before going to bed. I may not know what happens in the bedroom at night, but I do know a male is supposed to love and protect his female soul mate not lock her up and keep mistresses. 

"Don't you think she will speak out against you if she finds out?" Nikolai says. He knows what it feels like to lose a mate. The only reason he is here tonight is that he is Caden's best friend. "She won't be happy that you put her second."

"If she thinks to confront me, I will show her what the dungeons look like for a few nights. I'm the Prince by birth, and she is the Princess by mating. Her status means nothing without me," he growls lowly before downing the drink in his hand. "If she goes to my parents, I will flog her in our bedroom until she is submissive to me and only me. There will be no disobeying allowed in this union." (I'm tired of seeing young girls think they will love to be flogged. Caden means he will use a whip to tear the flesh off her back. Scaring her. Nearly killing her. This isn't some 50 shades of grey shit. This is meant for pure and utter torture.)

Flog? Will he physically harm his mate? Oh no! I must inform her before it's too late. I've heard the stories of men being flogged, seen the pictures in books in the library. It's a horrifying act to do, let alone to your soul mate.

Shivering, I stand up on unsteady legs. Taking my glass into both hands to keep them steady, I rush past the evil Prince and his cohorts to drop my glass off. Sighing once I'm out of their eye path and the table, I turn to the dance floor as the music begin to start back up.

"Taylor!" I whisper to my brother through our family mink link.

"Why are you whispering?" I haven't seen him all night as he is only twelve years old and not allowed to be here until he is fourteen. 

"I heard Prince Caden speaking to his friends about flogging his mate and locking her in the dungeon if she speaks her mind! What should I do?" Sticking my fingers in my mouth, I start to bite my nails. It's a nasty habit my mother scolds me about regularly. 

"Nothing, it will only get you into trouble Claudia. We can only hope she runs from him. I've heard he is an evil prince. One that doesn't care if he hurts others." The disgust is evident in his voice. "I'm happy to be a servant. It means I don't have to be friends with that evil boy. I fear for our future. He needs to change. Otherwise, this kingdom will go up in flames. Claudia, don't worry about it. Go back to dancing before you draw attention to yourself."

Taylor may be twelve, but his mind is advanced in years. I believe his words to be true. May the future Princess run and hide from her evil mate.

Walking into the crowd of dancers, I weave between bodies to get to the dance floor. Right before I take my position I accidently bump into two boys. Instantly a hand shoots out and snatches my hand in his. Small tingles warm my smooth skin. Is this what I think it means?

Peeking out of the corner of my eyes, I notice the boy Jason standing next to the boy I bumped into seconds ago. Small growls sound behind me. What is happening? 

"Caden is she?"

Caden? The hand scorching mine belongs to the Prince? The female flogging Prince? I don't want to be flogged and sleep in the dungeon. Tears reach my eyes as the hand begins to tug me around. Keeping my head down, I force myself to look at the floor.

"She is Jason," he softly purrs. "Inform my parents, will you?" Tugging me against his chest harshly, I stumble losing my footing and grabbing onto a nearby arm. The fear in my body at being flogged dims the warm tingles. Yanking harshly on the unknown arm, I pull the unsuspecting person into the Prince behind me.

In the commotion of the bodies falling to the floor, Prince Caden's hand loosens its grip on mine long enough for me to rip it away. Without thought to my actions, I sprint out of the ballroom to my secret hiding spot within the castle walls.

"Taylor!" I scream out frantically. What have I done?

"Claudia, what's wrong?" He asks worriedly.

"It's me!" Brushing past a few guards, I run down circular stairs to come to a dead end.

"What's you?" Looking behind me to make sure no one followed, I hurriedly push in the solid bricks in the wall in the correct pattern. Within moments a hidden door pops open wide enough for my tiny body to slide past. "Claudia, answer me! You're scaring me, mom and dad."

Pulling the lever, the door slams shut in my face, causing dust to fly up around me. I've only used this entrance to the underground tunnels twice in the past year since Taylor and I found the hidden doorway in our room.

"I'm Prince Caden's mate!" Reaching my hand out I grab the flash light to help guide me through the dark and dirty tunnels. It will take me nearly fifteen minutes to reach my room.

"Claudia, please tell me you didn't run?" My mother's worried voice slithers into my mind.

"Of course I did. I don't want to be flogged momma. He said he would flog and send his mate to the dungeons. I don't want to sleep in the dungeon momma. I'm scared. Please don't make me go back." I cry to her. Tears were now slipping down my cheeks at the thought of my back being torn into.

"Sweet, where are you?" My dad's soothing voice eases my aching mind. I'm a daddy's girl. He loves me and will help me, I know it.

"In the tunnels," I whisper softly. "I don't know what to do, daddy. I'm scared."

"We are sending Taylor, sweetheart. Head to the center room and stay there. Until we find out what is happening you do not leave that room, you hear me?"

"Yes daddy. I promise." Brushing the tears from my eyes, I take the steps in front of me to the center room. It's the one room that connects to each tunnel. Over the past year, my family has moved items down here to create a small getaway. Slumping against the couch, I sigh in confusion.

Did I do what I should have done? Am I going to get punished for leaving? I don't want to be punished.

Picking up my dolly, I hold her tightly to my chest.

"I brought you a change of clothes. Why don't I help you out of that dress?" Taylor asks me softly. "That way you can go to sleep." Nodding my head, I stand up as he comes behind me and undoes the strings. Slipping the dress down I step out of the poof ball of fabric. "Here you go." Handing me my pajamas, he turns around. Once I'm done I lay down on the couch.

"What do you think is going to happen to me? Do you think he is going to flog me?" Coming towards me he cuddles up against my back, holding me strongly in his thin arms. My protector.

"I have no idea Claudia. Mom and dad will take care of it." Brushing his hand through my hair he sooths me to sleep. "The three of us will do whatever it takes to keep you safe Claudia. He will die before he lays a harsh hand on your soft skin."

I fell asleep soon after Taylor's words. After that night, the kingdom was in complete chaos. Caden threw a fit nearly killing the boy I made tumble into him. Jason had to step in and pull Caden off Nikolai before he killed him. Nikolai informed me years later Caden actually hunted him down for a second beating later that night.

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Authors Note: Hope you liked this chapter.

Question: Do you think Caden would actually flog Claudia for stepping out of line?

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