#Chapter 4 Marry Bastien
I jerk awake, jolting to a sitting position in an unfamiliar bed. It takes a moment for my nerves to catch up with my head, sending shouts of protest and pain once they do; every inch of my body aches.
One of my eyes is swollen shut, but the other blinks rapidly against the light. The room – a large bedroom suite decorated in muted colors – is far too bright.
The silken fabric of my nightgown scratches my overly-sensitized skin despite its softness. How long has it been since I’ve worn clothing?
Someone has washed and braided my hair, and bandages have been wrapped around my feet and arms. Muffled voices reach my ears, and my attention swings to a closed door on my left. The fine hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I slip from the bed as gracefully as I can.
I cross the small space, settling with my back against the door and pressing my ear to the cool wood.
“Selene Moreau.” I don’t recognize the voice speaking my name. “She’s supposed to be dead.”
“Well clearly she isn’t.” A second voice answers. “Has anyone found Garrick yet?”
A growl drowns out the final word, followed by a familiar bass. Aiden is leading the hunt, he has instructions to check in the moment they catch his trail.” A heavy pause punctuates Bastien’s words. “I don’t understand how we didn’t know.”
“Garrick put on a good show.” The first speaker remarks, “No one ever suspected he could do anything like this.”
“It’s a failure on all our parts.” The second man states gravely. “We should have asked more questions. Volana wolves are not easy to kill – two going at once should have been a red flag.”
“We couldn’t have known.” The first man placates.
“No we should have known.” This has to be the Alpha. As heir Bastien is second in command in the pack; no one else would be speaking with him this way. “Instead an innocent pup was left to suffer for almost a decade.”
I was so busy trying to sort out all the implications of their words that I didn’t notice the approaching footsteps. I heard the k**b turn half a second before I felt the door pressing into my spine, sliding my body towards the wall.
Suddenly Bastien is peering down at me, an amused look on his handsome face. “Eavesdropping, little wolf?”
I clamber to my feet, leaning on the wall and ignoring the pain shooting up my legs. He holds out one arm to block his companions from entering, and I take the opportunity to dart past him into the main part of the suite.
Bastien follows me with predatory eyes, but makes no move to block my path. Too late I realize running is a sure fire way to spark a wolf’s prey drive. I watch him warily as the other men enter, so focused on the potential threat I almost forget we aren’t alone.
Gabriel Durand, the very image of Bastien were he a few decades older, steps forward. “Hello Selene.”
Without thinking I slink behind Bastien, using his large body to hide myself from view. I cannot explain it. I do not want any of them to be in this room with me, and Bastien is the one who brought me here against my will in the first place – he’s the last person I should seek for protection
He reaches back, circling his arm around my body and catching me up before I can contemplate fleeing. “Come here, you.” Bastien deposits me back into the plush bedding, taking a seat by my side so that his large form remains as a barrier between me and the strangers. “We need to talk.”
I watch Selene closely as my father explains everything that has happened since she escaped Garrick. She’s huddled among the pillows, leaning as far away from us as possible. My wolf is clawing at the surface, demanding to move closer.
There is a disturbing vacancy in her expression, and my hatred for the man who imprisoned her spikes, I’ve promised Father that
#Chapter 4 Marry Bastien
my men will return Garrick to the pack house to stand trial once he’s found, but in truth I have no intention of letting the b*****d back into the city. Outside of Nova jurisdiction I can do with him as I please, and sitting by Selene’s bedside these past few days has given me ample time to plan his punishment.
“Your mother was very dear to me,” Father was saying, prompting Selene to meet his gaze for the first time. She hasn’t been able to look at any of us directly, not even my father’s Beta, Donovan.
“Yes I knew her.” Father continues, smiling sadly, “She helped me at a time when I could not help myself. I feel I owe it to Corrine to do the same for you now. You have my word that Garrick will be caught; he will account for his crimes.”
“And in the meantime?” Her voice is stronger than it had been in the forest. “What do you intend to do with me?”
Claim you. Axel suggests, triggering my instinct to scent mark the sweet creature in front of me. I leash in the desire, gritting my teeth against the pain denying it creates.
Not helpful, Axel. I think with frustration.
Not trying to be helpful. He quips in return.
“Well, first and foremost we need to get you better.” Father says reasonably. “The doctor is quite concerned that your injuries have not healed yet.” He glances at me reluctantly. “There was an inordinate amount of Wolfsbane in your system when Bastien brought you in.”
Selene just blinks. “He’s been dosing me with it every day for 8 years.” Her statement is met with horrified silence, and she turns her eyes to me. I fall into bottomless pools of sapphire and violet, sensing a profound hopelessness I do not understand until she speaks again. “My wolf didn’t survive it.”
Fury consumes me in a conflagration so sudden and violent that I know I need to get out of the room before Axel forces his way out of my body. I stand as he roars in my head, trembling with the effort of restraining him.
There’s nothing to be done for it, I can make apologies for my rudeness later, but right now I’ve got to get to a safe distance. I storm from the room without another word, making for the forest.
Bastien’s sudden exit startles me, and for some inexplicable reason I feel tears well in my eyes. I don’t know why I told him about Luna. I certainly hadn’t planned on doing so, but when I looked at him some force deep inside pushed the words to the surface.
Perhaps I expected to find some comfort in sharing the secret; instead I found rejection.
“Donovan, could you leave us for a moment.” Gabriel’s gravelly voice pulls my attention to the present.
“It seems I’ve failed your mother even more hideously than I knew.” He says once we’re alone.
“I don’t understand.” I murmur softly.
“I promised your mother I would care for you if anything ever happened to her. She saved my life and I’ve repaid her by letting her only daughter suffer unspeakable abuse.” Disgust laces every word. Before I can ask the questions waiting on my tongue, the Alpha pins me with a fierce stare. “I know the Volana secret. I know why Corinne brought you here.” He admits, “If I’d known you survived the car crash I would have made arrangements long before now, but I can’t undo the past.”
“Arrangements?” I repeat dumbly.
“To keep you safe.” Gabriel clarifies.
I still don’t understand. “But Garrick-”
“Garrick isn’t the one you need protection from, Selene.” The Alpha informs me gently. “He is an insect, the Calypso Alpha is a dragon, and he’s been out for your blood from the day you were born.”
“What are you talking about?” I sputter, staring wide-eyed at Gabriel and trying desperately to make sense of his words. “What does the Calypso pack have to do with me?”
The Alpha sighs. “What do you know about your mother, Selene?”
“Garrick told me she belonged to another pack and she became pregnant after an affair with a married man. She fled in disgrace and he took her in.” The story is still fresh in my mind; Garrick’s leering face flashes across my vision but I force it away, focusing on Gabriel.
The Alpha shook his head sadly, “Your parents were both members of the Calypso pack, until their Alpha – Blaise – learned the secret of your bloodline.” He explains, “I have no idea how he discovered that Volana blood can grant eternal life, but he did, and he’s been hunting it ever since.”
“Your father sacrificed himself so you and your mother could escape.” Gabriel jaw twitches with anger, “Corinne was so heartbroken over her mate’s death that she’d all but given up when Garrick found her.”
“Their marriage was always a sham.” His brow furrows deeply, “Garrick was hopelessly in love with her, so much so he agreed to adopt you. For a woman in her position… well it was the best of a lot of bad options.”
“How do you know all this?”
“She told me.” Gabriel answers, “You’re probably too young to remember the uprising. My brother wanted to be Pack Alpha our entire lives, and though he was an alpha by nature, he wasn’t strong enough to challenge me.”
“Instead he mounted an uprising, hiring mercenaries without pack allegiances to help stage a coup. He planned to kill me, Bastien and my mate. Your mother was out for a run when she came across the mercenaries gathering at the border. She overheard their plans and ran straight to the pack house.”
“Her warning saved us all.” The Alpha’s countenance became painfully haunted, “I killed my brother, and when it was all over, Corinne told me the truth. She knew if anything ever happened to her, Garrick would not be able to protect you.”
A dull pain sets in behind my temples as my brain tries to process the information overload, “So now that you know I’m alive, you plan on protecting me?”
“Of course.” The Alpha vows.
I frown, trying to piece the puzzle together. “How?”
The Alpha considers me for a long moment. “Bastien.”
“Bastien?” I repeat in utter bafflement.
Gabriel’s eyes, the same silver as his son’s, slice through me. “He’s going to be your husband.”