Pregnant and Rejected by My Alpha Mate By Caroline Above Chapter 24 by NovelsYou

#Chapter 24 The Funeral

Selene’s POV

“What is this?” I choke, my heart racing as I stare down at the reward flier.

“Nothing.” Bastien reaches for the paper, but I lean back over the armrest until I’m on the verge of falling. I may not be able to extend my arms past his reach, but I trust he’ll choose catching me over reclaiming the page.

Luckily he does exactly that, clamping his hands on my hips to keep me anchored while I twist my body away from him. “It’s clearly something.”

“Selene, stop that.” He admonishes, pulling me back into the chair, “You’re going to hurt yourself.”

With a huff I obey, waving the flier in front of his nose. “How long have you known about this? Where did you find it, how long has this been going on?”

Bastien sighs, “Sweetheart this is why I didn’t tell you. I didn’t want you to worry for nothing. I’m handling it.”

“If it were nothing you wouldn’t need to handle it.” I reason sharply, squirming to escape his lap and failing. “And what exactly does that mean? How in the Goddess’s name are you planning to contain this? It already made it this far, how do you know someone hasn’t already reported me?”

Bastien is wrapped around me like a blanket, using the pressure of his limbs to soothe me despite the fact that I very much do not want to be soothed, “We didn’t find this here. It was in the far East outside of Calypso territory.” He explains, not letting up. “I promise no one has reported you and we’re setting up a shadow system so that we can intercept any reports from this part of the continent.”

“How did you find it if it was so far away?” I question sulkily.

Bastien clears his throat evasively, “We have spies.”

“Spies?” I repeat, “We have spies on the Calypso pack?”

“Yes.” Bastien confesses. “I sent them before we got married.”

My heart feels like it’s imploding. All of a sudden Bastien’s request to postpone the rejection ceremony and Arabella’s distance makes a lot more sense. Moving forward with the ceremony wouldn’t have been appropriate amidst the murder, and I do believe Bastien was too overwhelmed to focus on it, but would we be delaying it indefinitely if it were not for this threat?

No matter what he says, I know Bastien considers this a serious danger – the fact that he hid it speaks volumes and it provides an extremely strong motive to keep me close. Bastien considers everyone in the pack his responsibility, but especially me. Me – the mate the pack failed to protect as a child and ended up permanently disabled as a result.

“How long have you known about this?” I croak.

A few days.” Bastien confesses grimly.

Gabriel died a few days ago too. Would we have made it to the altar if he hadn’t been murdered? I want to ask him this very question, but I’m too afraid to hear the answer. What difference would it make? None of this changes the fact that he doesn’t want me, that this entire marriage has been a sham.

“What about the others?” I inquire instead, “The other Volanas?”

Bastien frowns, “There are precious few Volanas left.”

“But every one of those precious few are in danger.” I insist. “Blaise only needs one.”

He assents with a single, firm nod. “Perhaps, but you are the one I’m concerned with protecting.”

“So what, if they aren’t your responsibility they don’t matter?” I exclaim, looking up into my husband’s molten eyes. His jaw twitches, a hard edge in his expression I’ve rarely seen directed at me. His cozy embrace feels suddenly cold, and I’m at a loss to understand what’s going on inside his head.

“If that’s the way you want to look at it.” Bastien growls, “Yes.”

#Chapter 24 The Funeral

I lurch out of his lap, and he doesn’t try to stop me. I stalk from the room without retrieving the dinner tray, tossing a curt acknowledgement to the Betas hovering outside the office like mother hens. “He’s fed.”

“Is everything alright?” Aiden calls after me.

I don’t bother answering, I continue up to the apartment awhirl with hurt and confusion. I lock myself in for the rest of the night, hoping Bastien will come to bed but unsurprised when I wake up as I went to sleep – alone.

Bastien’s POV

The morning of my father’s memorial service begins with a storm. Apparently answering my complaints about sunshine, the Goddess sends a gale through Elysium, dropping the temperature by ten degrees and dumping buckets of rain over the city.

Thankfully there is no thunder or lightning to frighten Selene, only fat gray clouds and cascading water. My little wolf stands on my right, beautiful and somber in a simple mourning gown. My mother frames my other side, a dark veil over her face. We all wear the deep bottle green of the Nova pack, the same color donned by nearly every member of the pack.

They are all spread out around us, decked out head to toe in grim formal wear and clutching umbrellas. Tonight we will shed it all and take to the forest, but for the time being we pay our respects with all the pomp and ceremony the Alpha deserves.

Beyond the pack members, visitors from near and far gather. The Eros and Vega Pack leaders, as well as dignitaries and representatives from other shifter communities across the continent.

The funeral pyre is shielded by a vaulted tent which will only be lifted when the fire is lit and the flames strong enough to withstand the rain. My father’s body lays peacefully at its apex, lovingly shrouded in flags bearing the crests of the Nova Pack, Elysium, and the Durand family.

Selene’s tiny hand squeezes mine just as I fear I might begin to cry again, and I pull strength from my sweet wife. We haven’t yet settled our argument about the reward flier, but her support hasn’t waned.

I couldn’t tell Selene the horrible thoughts that ran through my head when she mentioned the possibility of other Volana wolves being turned in to Blaise. They were too horrible.

I didn’t truly mean them, I know in my heart I would never sacrifice one innocent life for another. But logic is cruel, and I’m ashamed to admit that I did consider the advantage another wolf being caught would give Selene. Denizen wouldn’t need to keep looking after he found what he wanted.

I shove the unforgivable thoughts away, focusing on the present.

As the pyre ignites color flashes in the corner of my eye, and not the ombre yellow, orange and red of fire. Instead the bright blue hues of the Gemini Pack fills my periphery, sending ice through my veins.

The Gemini Pack have been our enemies since before I was born. Under different circumstances, their presence might be understandable, but we haven’t had any contact with them in years. The last time we met, they were aiding and abetting my uncle s coup attempt.

I swear under my breath, squeezing my mother’s shoulders as she weeps. The Gemini leaders circle the perimeter of the crowd, the unmistakable scent of strange wolves permeating through the masses. One by one heads turn towards the interlopers, and disgruntled mutters begin sweeping through the assembly. My hackles raise, but I refuse to give them the response they’re so clearly seeking.

Flames consume my father’s body, transforming him for the last time – not between man and wolf, but being and spirit – the final transition between this world and the next. As I watch his physical form splinter and dissolve, the last vestiges of my family around me, I’m struck once again of all the unwelcome changes in my life.

The first threads of discord unfurl while I’m still caught up in my thoughts, rolling through the sea of wolves like savage ripples. Muted growls gradually evolve into vicious snaps and barks, before silk and wool rend and tear as formal clothing is replaced with

fur and claws.

Within moments half the attendees have shifted, the remainder scattering away from the quickly boiling conflict. I look helplessly between Mom and Selene, before shoving them both into Aiden’s waiting arms, “get them back to the pack house.” I order, gesturing to my father’s number two, “Donavon, with me.”

smell the first blood before it hits the ground, charging into the unfolding fight without pausing to shift. I refuse to lend any credibility to this chaos. Instead I storm through the battling factions on two legs, ripping wolves off of one another by the scruffs

of their necks and throwing them across the rain soaked lawn.

Together with Donovan and the Nova enforcers, I pull the sweat and blood stained fighters apart, clearing a wide path through the crowd until I’ve reached the heart of the brawl. In the center of it all, a trio of navy-clad men wait, chests heaving with barely disguised rage.

The Gemini Alpha, Rafe Everhart, is twice my age, gray haired and grisled as an old boot. He looks as if he’s been to hell and back, and I have to respect his imposing stature. When we near, damp smoke clogging the air at our backs, he roars, “What is the meaning of this, Durand?”

“Funny, I came to ask you that exact question.” I snarl.

“I should think that would be obvious.” The Alpha hisses. “After all, you invited us.

Bastien’s POV

“What the hell are you talking about?” i hiss,

“Hey, I was surprised myself,” Rafe answers snidely. “I thought you were finally ready to bury the hatchet, but from the looks of it you Novas are every bit as inbred and backward as I always thought. Can’t even throw a funeral without things devolving to bedlam.”

I brush off his insults, “No one invited you, Everhart.” I announce, mentally tracking my enforcers as they covertly move in, surrounding our assailants on all sides.

“I beg to differ.” Rafe quips, pulling an embossed parchment from his jacket and extending toward me.

Keeping one eye on the goading Alpha, I accept the paper, unrolling it swiftly and scanning the contents within. Sure enough, it contains an exact copy of the official invitations sent around to various packs and allies over the last few days, complete with my signature.

I pass the parchment to Donavon. “Unfortunately I must tell you that this invitation is not genuine.” I force the words out between clenched teeth. It’s true I did not sign any invitations to the Gemini pack, but someone has clearly been at work sowing the seeds of chaos.

“It has your signature Durand.” Rafe reminds me coolly.

“A forgery.” I clarify, I needn’t remind you that my father was murdered. It can’t come as any surprise that there are players at large seeking to harm the Nova Pack. Unfortunately it seems you are a p**n in their schemes.”

Or an accomplice. Axel interjects, thoroughly put out not to be in the driver’s seat.

“Tsk, tsk. Rafe chides, “It sounds to me like you don’t have control of your pack.” He adopts a theatrical pout, “I suppose that’s what happens when you leave a pup in charge.”

Enough with the diplomacy, Axel grumbles, let me take a bite out of this b*****d,

I do that and I give him exactly what he wants. I argue back,

“You have my word we’ll get to the bottom of this.” I vow ominously, “All those responsible will pay. You and your men are free to leave – for the time being.”

Rafe narrows his eyes at my patronizing tone, belatedly scanning the group around us and discovering the counter moves deployed while we spoke. Understanding sours his expression. He could order an attack now, if he had a death wish. We have them surrounded, a man within throat-ripping distance of his every last envoy.

The Gemini Alpha offers me a deferential nod, though his eyes are full of malice. “Until we meet again, Durand.”

I do not offer him the same courtesy, simply acknowledging his name as he turns away. “Everhart.”

When I’m certain the Gemini wolves are out of hearing distance, I turn to Donavon. “Send sentries to follow them out of the territory. Make sure they’re out, and keep tails on them. I want to know if they’re meeting with anyone from the pack.” I growl. * And find out where on the Goddess’s green earth that invitation came from.”

Donavon takes his marching orders proudly, showing me the same esteem he always afforded my father. “Yes Alpha.”

Selene’s POV

“That’s ridiculous.” I object, “They can’t blame you for what happened. The council knows Gabriel’s death was foul play, they must know this was malicious too – not incompetence.”

Bastien is pacing around his office, slowly wearing a hole in the carpet. “The fact is I didn’t see the Gemini’s coming.” He grouses, dragging a hand through his hair. “They’re right to question me. I f****d up.”

Indignance floods me on behalf of my husband. It isn’t fair for the elder council to judge him so harshly. “You were grieving.”

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