This can’t be happening.
Two minutes ago I was being engulfed by my mother-in-law’s warmth and affirmations of love, now the rug has been pulled out from under me so abruptly I think I might actually collapse.
Certainly Bastien’s words on the ferry had startled me, frightened me even. I suspected he intended to do something like this, the way he kept muttering ‘we’ll see.” But I never imagined it had already been done. I thought I had time to counteract him, to come up with a plan.
What do you mean?” I ask hoarsely, “I already told you, she isn’t yours.”
‘You did.” Bastien acknowledges with a razor sharp tongue. “But I had a DNA sample sent back to Ely sium just to be sure.”
Odette looks back and forth between us, doubt marring her features. “You didn’t know he took a sam ple from your pup?”
“No.” I growl, “I did not.”
My former mother-in-law swats her son’s arm. “Bastien, how could you?”
“You didn’t have any right to do that.” Drake adds coldly, glancing towards the door where Hugo disap peared with Lila.
“I had every right.” My mate combats, “An Alpha’s pup is not just any child, my mate doesn’t have the right to keep her from me.”
“Maybe not.” Odette agrees calmly, “but you don’t know that she is yours. Selene is her mother, it’s her decision whether or not someone takes her child’s DNA.”
“Is that why you sent her away when I shifted?” I demand thickly, “not to protect her but so you could steal her hair or nails or whatever else you used?”
Bastien has the grace to look offended. “Of course not.” He denies, “I sent her away with nothing but her own best interest in mind – not to mention yours.”
He’s glaring daggers at me, and I try to remember the last time Bastien was truly angry with me.
He’s been stern, disapproving certainly, even annoyed. But before we reunited in Asphodel I can’t ever remember him looking at me the way he is now; with such unmitigated fury I want to crawl under the desk and hide.
He didn’t even seem this livid when he found out I was alive.
Luna is whimpering in my head, tucking her tail between her legs and rolling submissively onto her back. I know his fury is hurting her, that she hates feeling as if she’s failed him. Once upon a time I would have reacted exactly the same way – however Bastien isn’t the only one who’s angry.
My maternal instincts are raging a battle of their own, outraged beyond comprehension that Bastien vi olated my pup this way. Not only did he steal her DNA, he violated my trust. He took advantage of my weak ness and her vulnerability.
But he’s right. Luna moans, she’s his pup. He has a right to know.
Not this way. I insist. Not if it isn’t what’s best for her.
He was always going to find out. Luna insists, and you can’t deny how wonderful he is with her.
Chapter 60 Shes Not Mine
People don’t change. I argue, he’s the same overbearing bully he’s always been. He doesn’t listen to. what I want, he doesn’t care about us – only himself.
You love him. Luna exclaims, and I need him! Our internal argument has grown so fierce I have to stop myself from physically shaking my head. It’s torture to be near him, yet so far-apart. Luna continues, I don’t know how much longer I can take it.
I know. Honestly, I do. I pronounce. But this is for the best. Being apart from him isn’t what hurts most, it’s being with him while he breaks your heart over and over again. I can feel every eye in the room survey ing me now, but I can’t continue the external fight before resolving my battle with my wolf. One day you’ll thank me for not letting him destroy you completely.
As Luna curls up in a defeated heap, I glower up at Bastien. “One of these days, you’re going to have to admit that the only person whose interests you act in, are your own.” | assert, far more confidently than I feel. “If you really cared about me or Lila, you would respect my wishes. You would trust me when I tell you she isn’t yours.”
Odette reaches for my hand, squeezing softly, “I’ve never known Selene to lie, you may want the pup to be yours, but that doesn’t mean she is.”
“You haven’t met her.” Bastien turns to Drake with a black look. “Call your man back in.”
“Under no circumstances,” Drake snarls, “you’ve crossed a line this time, Durand. This isn’t your territo ry. Neither I, nor my men, are yours to command.” He rounds his desk, standing up as tall as he can before my massive mate, “And Selene and Lila are not yours either. Not anymore.”
“We’ll just see about that won’t we?” Bastien rumbles, brandishing the envelope.
“And how do we know that you haven’t doctored that paper to show the results you want?!” Drake de mands, cunningly offering me an argument for the fight which will inevitably follow the test results.
‘Then you admit they’ll say I’m the father?” Bastien strikes, “Not because of any doctoring, but because that pup is mine as surely as Selene is my mate. You need to get over whatever little fantasy you’ve built up in your head, Cavanaugh. It’s over.”
“That’s not your decision.” Drake counters. “Selene can choose her own mate, and Lila will stay here where she belongs.”
“Would you two stop fighting over her like she’s a piece of meat!” | all but shout, surprising both men so much they fall silent. “I don’t care what those results say.” | profess passionately, “Lila is mine. I bore her, I birthed her, and I raised her.” As much as I appreciate Drake’s help, I can’t help but feeling like a pup pet dangling on their strings.
“She’s not an Eros, and she’s not a Nova. She’s a Volana.” I remind them. “And in case you hadn’t no ticed, that puts her on an endangered species list that should concern you a hell of a lot more than whose sperm was faster.”
The entire world feels like it’s spinning out of control, and I cannot bear being apart from Lila any more than I can bear being trapped in this room. I look to Drake, undoubtedly appearing quite mad. “Bring her back.” I demand, “I want my pup.”
Drake complies almost immediately, recalling Hugo to the study with Lila in tow. I cross the hard wood floors to meet him in the doorway, collecting my daughter and turning on the assemblage. “This isn’t about you.” I hiss. “It’s about her.” I jostle Lila on my hip, and she wraps her arms around my neck.
“Mommy, seem mad.” She chirps.
“I am mad, my love.” I confess, cuddling her close and kissing her hair, “But not at you. Never at you.”
The Alphas, Betas and various guards stand stationary, watching and waiting for my next move. Only Odette reacts to Lila’s appearance, her lovely face filling with light as she crosses the room to meet us. She grins widely when she meets my eyes, sharing a look only mothers can understand. “She’s beautiful, Se
“Thank you.” I murmur, unable to keep my own lips from twitching upward, “I tried.”
“I think you succeeded.” Odette laughs, reaching her hand up to shake Lila’s. “Hello, my darling.” She greets my pup with the same overabundance of love she showed me when I first arrived on their doorstep, and I feel a rush of appreciation for this woman unlike any I‘ve felt before. “I‘m Odette.”
Unusually shy, Lila buries her face in my neck, hiding despite Odette’s warmth. I sway on the spot, crooning as I rub her back, “It’s alright, angel.” I promise. “I know there have been a lot of changes today.”
Odette tucks a strand of dark hair behind Lila’s ear. “Poor baby, we‘re not giving you any time to adjust
Lila humphs sulkily, her warm breath fluttering against my collar bone as her arms tighten around my neck, “Mm sleepy.” …
I’m still rocking her on my feet, making soft shushing sounds and coaxing her to rest when the sound of rending paper fills the air.
I’ve been so distracted reclaiming my pup I’d almost forgotten about Bastien and the envelope ensur ing my demise. Odette and I turn to stare as one, and the bottom falls out of my stomach.
This is it. The moment l’ve been dreading since Bastien appeared in Asphodel. All my hard work, all the sacrifices I made, and for what? A few years of peace, only to be stolen away by a single sheet of paper.
I won’t let him take her. I won’t go back to Elysium. I think desperately.
Bastien’s eyes flit over the results page, his body winding up like a spring, more tense with every mo ment. His silver eyes jump to mine, filled with disbelief and betrayal. At first I think his reaction is simply born out of the confirmation of my lies, proof that everything I’ve said since we reunited is false.
Then he begins to speak, and everything I thought I knew disappears.