#Chapter 99 Halfling No More
Whoever invented stilettos was a s****t.
There are a lot of things I remember disliking about these wretched pack events, but until now I forgot how agonizing it is to stand in high heels for hours on end. Of course the Alpha’s mate has to look the part, so I don’t have much of a choice. I have to cram myself into consticting, uncomfortable designer clothes and strap torture devices to my feet in order to be taken seriously.
Granted, I suppose I do look good – but at what cost?
Bastien has it easy, he’s standing next to me in the same black suit he always wears to these things. Meanwhile I’m over here gasping for air in a skin tight cocktail dress with so many straps and cutouts that I needed a map just to get into it.
Lila’s silver and black party dress matches mine in color, if nothing else. She looks absolutely adorable, and she’s already stolen the spotlight from both Bastien and I-rightly so. It seems like every elder councilor, ranking pack member and aristocrat in Elysium has already come to pay their respects, and the evening has barely begun.
Everyone who meets Lila has done nothing but sing her praises: saying how lucky she is to have inherited her mother’s beauty and her father’s spirit. They’ve congratulated Bastien and I on our reunion, but it’s fairly clear that everyone really came out to get a peek at my pup.
Lila really has borne it all well, acting on her best behavior and patiently enduring the endless mingling. She’s been delightful and sweet, not the least bit cranky – despite the fact that it’s already past her bedtime and we haven’t even eaten dinner yet. In short, she already has the pack wrapped around her little finger, and I couldn’t be prouder.
By the time we actually get around to the banquet portion of the evening, I’ve relaxed more than I ever imagined possible. I’ve seen enough people faking nice over the years to recognize when someone is only pretending to be friendly, and most of the guests in attendance really do seem pleased for us.
Of course there are exceptions.
In between courses Bastien takes Lila for a breath of fresh air in the garden, and I take a much needed bathroom break. After relieving myself and washing my hands, I pause to check my makeup in the mirror. As I reapply my lipstick, the door swings open, and a trio of she-wolves appear in my periphery.
With a knot of dread already forming in my belly, I see a flash of silky red hair – one I recognize all too well. Trying to harden myself for the inevitable confrontation, I glance at the women in the mirror, greeting them coolly, “Ladies.”
Three and a half years ago the beautiful redhead now blocking the door almost killed me, pushing me into the pool during Gabriel s birthday party after saying a rash of horrendous things about my marriage. The last time I saw her, Bastien was publicly punishing her for those actions, a fact I’m sure she hasn’t forgotten.
“Well if it isn’t the halfling.” She drawls cruelly, prompting titters from the two minions at her side. “Back from the grave and trying to pass off some other wolf’s b*****d as our Alpha’s pup.” Her lip curls, “honestly if you had any decency you would have stayed dead.”
Luna surges forward the moment she calls Lila a b*****d, and I half to forcibly restrain the urge to shift. Dropping my lipstick I turn to face the she-wolf head on. “You mutt, is your head really so empty that you’ve forgotten what happened the last time you disrespected me?” I question harshly. “Or did you simply not learn your lesson?”
Her blue eyes burn with fury at my insult, “Careful Selene, Bastien’s not here to protect you now.”
I let Luna shine through my eyes, feeling power surge through my veins and relishing the startled expressions on the women’s faces. “I don’t need Bastien to protect me anymore.” I growl, “And if you say one more word about my daughter, I guarantee you will see just how much I’ve changed since we met last.”
I’ve shifted many times now, but I’ve never felt this strange flood of electricity, it feels like sparks might fly from my fingers any moment. Then again, I suppose I’ve never shifted amidst a threat.
She snorts, “Oh, so you think you’re tough now that you somehow found your wolf?” Sneering, she steps forward and lets her own wolf rise to the surface, “I’ve been shifting since I was thirteen years old. At best you have what – three years of experience? | could trounce you in my sleep.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” I snarl, “I’m also a mother, and you just insulted my pup. But then I suppose a spinster like you
#Chapter 99 Halfling No More
wouldn’t know anything about maternal instincts.” Pointedly eyeing her up and down, I match her sneering expression, though you may have a point, you are at least twice my size.”
“You b***h!” The redhead lunges for me, her hands reaching for my throat with claws extended.
I don’t know where it came from, I don’t even know how I did it, but one moment the furious she-wolf was charging towards me and the next she and her friends were flat on their backs on the grimy floor.
I didn’t even touch them. I raised my arms to defend myself, but before our bodies could connect some sort of shockwave pulsed out of me. I felt the strange swell of power rising deep inside me, and must have unintentionally pushed it outwards. It slammed into the she-wolves and knocked them out in one go, while I was left standing there in confusion.
“What the hell?” I say aloud, staring at my hands in bafflement. Whatever just happened was not normal. Shifters cannot hurt each other without touching one another, at least, not normal shifters. People always talk about Volana wolves being powerful, having special abilities, but I’m suddenly realizing I have no idea what they include. The only Volana I ever knew was my mother and she died before she could tell me about my powers.
Clearly I have some research to do.
Stepping over the womens’ unconscious bodies, I stroll out of the restroom feeling rather triumphant. It might not have been on purpose and I might not have the first clue how I did it, but I’d be willing to bet those she-wolves will think twice before messing with me again.
When I get back to the banquet dessert is being served, and true to Bastien’s promise, Lila has two pastries on her plate instead of one. I’ve already opened my mouth to tell my mate about what happened in the bathroom when I glance at my own plate and realize my daughter isn’t the only one with two desserts.
My lip quirks, “Am I being rewarded too?”
The Alpha leans over Lila’s head to give me a searing kiss, showing no concern for our audience. When he finally drags his mouth from mine, he shifts his lips to my ear and his heated voice answers, “After the way you helped me get ready for the banquet? Hell yes you’re being rewarded.”
It’s almost one in the morning by the time we get back to the apartment, and Bastien has been holding Lila ever since she passed out at ten. We’re exhausted both mentally and physically, and I want nothing more than to climb into bed and go to sleep.
Unfortunately we’ve barely set foot in the apartment when Bastien’s phone starts ringing. He glances at the screen and grimaces, before looking over at me. “Can you take her, baby?” He asks, offering me Lila.
I gather the sleeping bundle into my arms, “What is it?”
He simply shakes his head,” nothing good.”
I can tell he doesn’t want to take the call in front of me, especially when he bends down to kiss Lila goodnight, then also kisses me. “Don’t wait up.”
Uneasy but needing to get Lila to bed (not to mention out of these d**n shoes), 1 retreat, only catching Bastien’s tense greeting as he steps back out the door, “Tell me.”
Lila doesn’t even stir as I remove her shoes and party dress, before tucking her into bed with a quick kiss. Slipping off my heels, contemplate simply going to bed as I so dearly want to, but it makes me nervous that Bastien wouldn’t talk in front of me.
I’m certain he’s gone to his study, and it’s late enough that I doubt he’s got anyone guarding the door. Making a split second decision, I tiptoe out the door and slip downstairs, moving as silently as I can through the sleeping house.
My heart sinks as I near the study door, I can already hear Bastien’s voice, and he’s not happy. “Destroy them, destroy every last file and don’t let anyone watch them first.”
To my shock, I hear Drake’s voice reply. “Are you sure? It’s possible this a*****e is on one of them.”
My mind reels. What on earth are they talking about? What files? And why is Drake calling Bastien instead of me? Why is he calling so late?
This has to be about the safe house. Luna surmises. They were going out there tonight, they must have found something bad.
Bastien’s gruff reply pulls my attention back to the conversation in the study. “They’re too smart for that.”
Chapter 99 Halfling No More
“You never know, they weren’t smart enough to put a failsafe on the drive. Maybe that wasn’t their only mistake.” Drake reasons.
*Fine, check the footage before and after,” My mate concedes. “but I don’t want anyone going near the recordings from when they were actually there.”
Footage? Recordings? What the hell is going on?
“I understand where you’re coming from, but you should consider reviewing those files yourself.” Drake encourages, “Trust me, you want to know if anyone but Selene and Lila were there. You did say the perimeter alarms went off.”
Igasp out loud, understanding finally clicking. There must have been security cameras at the house, but why wouldn’t Bastien want the footage to be reviewed? Wouldn’t that be important?
“Hold on, Drake.” Bastien murmurs, and the study goes oddly silent. I press my ear more tightly to the door, straining to hear what’ s going on inside. Bastien’s scent permeates the heavy wood, and for one glorious second I feel soothed.
Of course, that was before I realized the scent was not coming through the door at all.
It was coming from behind me.
“Hear anything good?” Bastien growls over my shoulder.