Pregnant and Rejected by My Alpha Mate By Caroline Above Chapter 96 by NovelsYou


#Chapter 96 Headlines

Selene

The day after we arrive home, Bastien is stuck in meetings from dawn to dusk. He barely made it home in time to read Lila her bedtime story, and when he emerges from her room half an hour later, he looks absolutely exhausted.

I’m waiting in the kitchen with a tumbler of scotch, but Bastien bypasses the alcohol completely and wraps his big body around me like a blanket. Burying his head in the curve of my neck, he pulls my hair out of its pins so that it falls around him in a chocolate cascade.

“What happened?” I murmur, brushing my fingers through his thick hair.

He inhales deeply, breathing in my scent and sighing with relief, before raising his head. There are dark circles under his eyes, but those molten irises are as sharp as ever when he studies my lips and moves in for a long, luxurious kiss.

When he’s had his fill, he tucks my head under his chin and clutches me to his chest. “Nothing bad.” He shares, though in this position I can’t see his face. “It was just a really long day.”

“What did the elder council say?” I inquire, not wanting to bombard him with questions but incredibly anxious after what happened yesterday. It seemed bad enough that the city was rallying against me, the last thing we need is for them to turn

against Bastien – and somehow I imagine strangling the Chief Elder isn’t going to earn him any brownie points.

“Believe it or not, Grigore wasn’t exactly popular with his colleagues or the people.” Bastien explains, referring to the man by his given name now that he’s been stripped of his position.

“Oh I believe it,” I snort.

Finally setting me away from him, Bastien retrieves the glass of scotch, as well as the freshly microwaved plate of leftovers ! prepared for him while he was reading to Lila.

“Apparently Arabella was working her charms on him for a while before she left, and our little welcoming committee yesterday was the result of his outrage over her exile.” He continues, moving to the dining room table.

“Working her charms?” I repeat, following him with a glass of wine in hand.

“I don’t know the extent and frankly I don’t want to.” Bastien remarks, sounding fairly revolted. “But I’d put nothing past her.”

Now I understand why he seems so put off. Grigore is about as old as dirt, the idea of anyone as young as Arabella “charming” him is disturbing – to say the least.

“Anyway, it seems Grigore’s been very busy trying to turn the pack against you ever since.” My mate goes on. “but luckily he’s so vile that most people actually sided with you because he told them not to.”

“What are you talking about?” I scoff, “it didn’t look like anyone was on my side yesterday.”

To my surprise Bastien grins, rising from his chair to collect the newspapers stacked by the door. I didn’t go anywhere near them this morning because I was convinced they would be nothing but horrid. Now my husband drops three different daily chronicles in front of me, all boasting headlines that shock me to the core.

Alpha Returns, Rids Elder Council of Chronic Plague

Attempted Murderess Arabella Winters Exposed, Alpha’s Pup Rescued by Mother’s Sacrifice

Selene Durand Alive and Well, Gifts Alpha with a Daughter

“The pack came out to watch our arrival because they were curious after all the gossip. It wasn’t an angry mob, just an interested one.” Bastien declares.

“I don’t understand,” I breathe, staring at the newspapers, “Was this you?”

“No.” He smiles, “A few of the elders got chatty with the press, but I didn’t plant or leak anything.”

“But this doesn’t make sense.” I insist. “People hated me when I lived here.”

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“A few jealous she-wolves might have, and many didn’t trust you were strong enough to lead without your wolf – but that wasn’t dislike. In fact, I’d say the majority of people had great sympathy for you.”

Bastien reclaims his chair, taking a big bite of pork. “Unfortunately the most powerful people in the city are also the most entitled and shallow, and they’re the ones we have to deal with most often. But Selene, they don’t represent average Elysians, you had much more support among the general populace than you ever knew.”

I sit back in my chair, struggling to take in this information. In all honesty, I’m starting to feel like a crazy person. It’s like everywhere I turn i’m met with some new revelation that contradicts everything I thought I knew. It’s confusing and overwhelming – and I don’t know how to handle it.

“Even if that hadn’t been the case, Arabella made herself a villain and you a martyr.” Bastien relates, “Nothing earns people’s forgiveness faster than self-sacrifice.”


“How can you be so certain of all this?” My hands are fidgeting in my lap, and Luna is becoming increasingly agitated. “I mean it’s easy for you to say all that, but I know how I was treated when we started out. It’s not like it was all in my head: I got pushed into pools and stalked, it wasn’t just mean girls calling me a halfling.”

Bastien pushes back his chair and opens his arms to me in invitation, but I stay seated with my arms crossed over my chest. “No. I’m not going to let you soothe this away or distract me, Bastien. If I’m going to raise my daughter here, I need to know she’s not going to go through what I did.”

His eyes sparked dangerously when I refused him, but I know I’ve made a mistake when I said “If I’m going to raise her.

My mate growls low in his chest, “I’m going to count to three, little wolf.”

“Or what?” I bite, “You’ll s***k me again?”

Bastien arches a brow that tells me he absolutely would, and he’d enjoy doing it. Even so, I don’t actually get out of my chair until he says “three.”

When I stalk around the table and sulkily settle in his lap, Bastien purrs and rubs his huge hand deliberately over the curve of my hip. “Careful baby, or I’m going to think you want to be punished.”

My mate’s words send delicious shivers through my body, and I’m praying that for once in my life he won’t be able to smell my arousal. But then his nostrils flare and a predatory glint appears in his eye.

Nonetheless, he’s perfectly solemn when he addresses my comment. “I’m not trying to soothe this away or contradict what you experienced. I’m trying to tell you that I think you were right when you said you lived in a bubble here, and unfortunately that bubble wasn’t just my protection, it was a bubble of spoiled, materialistic aristocrats.”

Bastien reaches for the nearest paper, his long arm easily closing the distance across the table. And I know because the proof is right here in black and white.” He affirms gently, “I also know because when we thought you died, Mom and I weren’t the only ones mourning. Yes a subset of young she-wolves saw it as an opportunity to replace you, but most of the pack was devastated.”

I’m staring down at the page in his hand, scanning the article beneath the huge boldface font. Selene Durand, forced to go into hiding to protect herself and her unborn pup, has finally returned to Elysium to reclaim her rightful place at Alpha Bastien’s side.

Shaking my head, I exclaim, “All of these articles and headlines make it sound like I was doing some great, noble thing by leaving. When really I was a scared, stupid girl who got manipulated by a deranged sociopath.”

“Don’t call me mate stupid.” Bastien admonishes, petting me to take the sting out of his stern rebuke. “And trust me, that’s the angle we want them to take. It might not feel authentic or be entirely accurate-but it’s not false either, and the more people who run with this storyline, the better.”

“I hear you, but I still don’t trust this,” I confess. “It feels too good to be true.”

“Oh we’re not out of the water yet.” Bastien sighs, “The Council is throwing us a Banquet tomorrow, to welcome you home and introduce Lila to the pack.”

My heart sinks. Not another overly formal event full of two-faced rich people. And Lila’s expected to go? What is a toddler going to do at a banquet, how is she supposed to be introduced, it’s not like she can make a speech.

“Do we have a choice?” I moan.

“Not if we want to keep them on our side.” Bastien informs me.

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I huff with disappointment, then look up at my husband with sudden skepticism. “Wait, if the worst part of the day was being invited to a banquet, why was it so long and difficult?”

Bastien drops his head in exasperation, “See, this is why I get angry when you call yourself stupid.” He declares ruefully, nibbling my ear. “My little wolf doesn’t miss a thing.”

“What is it?” I press.

“I sat through about ten different council debriefings, and every one was about some crisis that Grigore buried so I wouldn’t rush back to deal with the problem. Right now I think I’m less popular than you are, because a lot of issues popped up and I wasn’t here doing my job.”

He takes a deep breath, glancing at me in a way that bodes nothing good. “And it particularly concerns me, because the more time that passes, the more likely it seems I’m going to have to leave again.”

“What do you mean?” I ask sharply, “Leave again where?”

Bastien looks like he’d rather do anything than answer my question. “To the Calypso pack.”


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