Gannon had told me that Damian was back, and we would have two new additions to the castle. Looking out of our window, I could see the cars. Beta Damian stepped out and was arguing with someone, yet the angle I was at was blocking my view of them.
“Bl**dy hell, woman! How many times do I gotta tell you I am the King’s beta! I live here! What do you think? I would bring you here if I didn’t?” Damian snaps when I hear a child start crying.
“Great! Now you woke him,” Damian says, standing upright, and I notice the toddler in his arms.
“Give him here! Give me my son!”
“No! Do you want him? Then get out of the d*mn car!”
“Man, they have done nothing but b*tch and fight the entire way back,” Liam groans.
“Fine! But if your King ab**uses me for trespassing, you can bet your d**mn as I will wh!p his!” the feisty woman snaps.
“Good! Wh*p his as! He is right behind you. Let’s see what you got, short stuff!” Damian shouts. “I would love to see it!” Damian snaps at her. The woman turned around so fast I heard Azalea gasp and rocked back on my heels.
“What is going on?” The King growls. Damian scrubs a hand down his face, looking exhausted, probably more defeated. I wasn’t sure.
“Kyson, this Tandi. Tandi, his royal highness King Kyson, you know the one you want to beat?” Damian mocks. Yet Azalea’s eyes were pinned to the woman, and her eyes were also on Azalea, her mouth opening and closing like a fish.
“Taylor?” she choked.
“Ivy?” Taylor stammers, looking just as shocked to see her. I thought she was dead; I could never have imagined seeing her again. Though I had always hoped she was alright I just believed that was wishful thinking, AS “Taylor?” Damian says, taken aback, but my feet were already moving as I raced to her.
“Taylor?” No, I couldn’t have possibly heard that right. The Taylor we knew was dead, killed by Alpha Brock and Alpha Dean for being a rogue. We were forbidden from going with her and received lashes that day.
“Oh, my gosh, it’s really you!” Azalea shrieked, throwing her arms around her.
“What are you doing here?” Taylor cries, clutching A*zy. She started crying, and I couldn’t contain my tears either.
“Wait! What about A*bie?” she says, holding her at arm’s length, and I bounce on my heels, wanting to rush down to see if it truly was her. Maybe I was having one of my moments. I had them before, and I knew if I could just touch and feel her, I would be certain.
I wondered if I was dreaming. I sometimes suffered from differentiating between fantasy and reality, though I truly hoped I wasn’t having some psychotic break.
“She is here I can’t believe you’re alive!” I cried, clutching her face in my hands.
“Hang on, what is going on? Who is Taylor?” Damian says, and Azalea looks at Taylor.
Before I even realized what I was doing. I was on autopilot, looking for my shoes. Gannon asked me what was wrong several times before I even registered his voice speaking to me. “A**ie, what’s going on?”
“Taylor is alive!” I gush, needing to see for myself “Whose Taylor?” Gannon asks me, Gannon stared at me in confusion as I stared at him. What did he mean? Who was Taylor? I had no time to explain; I just needed to get to her, touch her to make sure she was real and not a figment of my imagination. But I knew he wasn’t going to let me run down until I gave even a brief explanation.
“Taylor was one of the rogue girls we were with at the orphanage. Ms. Daley hated how close we were and constantly tried to separate us. She said we were plotting against her anyway. Mrs. Daley’s friend broke a vase and blamed us, rogues.
Taylor stood up for us, and it got her beat and kicked out. One day Azalea and I woke up to her gone. We looked everywhere surrounding that hell hole before we had gotten up the courage to ask Ms. Daley. She whipped us good for even asking.”
Gannon furrowed his brow, “We never saw any other girls close to your age in the documents we had taken from the Silver Shadow pack. This is just more confirmation of what we already suspected.”
I had no time for semantics; I needed to get down there; I took the stairs two at a time in my rush and rushed out the front doors. Just as I all but bolted through the door, I nearly knocked Trey over.
“Hello, can someone tell me what the f**ck is going on? Did you give me your wh**re name?” I heard Damian demand, and I gasped at what he called her. Yet Taylor snarled, spinning on her heel to glare at him.
“It’s a long story and A*ie?” A**zy glanced over her shoulder at me moments before my hurried footsteps caught everyone’s attention. The moment Taylor turned to look at me, I stopped in my tracks before I stumbled out of the door and down the steps.
In a state of shock, Trey gripped my arm to keep me steady as my mouth opened and closed in shock. As I look at Azalea with the same shock that she clearly felt upon seeing Taylor, I find myself looking at Azalea, needing that confirmation from her.
Several steps behind me, Gannon and Tyson emerge from the castle. My bottom lip quivered when Az*y nodded to me, telling me what I was seeing was real before my feet were moving quickly, and I collided with Taylor. There was barely enough time for Taylor to catch me as my legs and arms wrapped around her.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It couldn’t be Taylor, but it was. She was alive! Ms. Daley had gotten tired of us asking for her. She spun on her heels, almost snarling at Azalea and me. Mrs. Daley screamed in our faces, telling us she was dead and that she couldn’t wait until the day it was our turn so she didn’t have to look at our faces ever again.
“I thought you were dead,” I gushed, squeezing her tight. Taylor, who apparently is now named Tandi, reaches over and grabs Azalea, squishing us together as she embraces us. “How, how?” A**ie says, placing her feet down as tears stream down her face.
Kyson, Gannon, and Damian all just stood there gawking at us while we fussed over each other when Tandi turned to Damian and pinned him with her glare.
“My son, now. I did what you asked,” she said, and Damian looked at her, but it was Gannon who nudged Damian to hand her son back “Give her son back. She looks like she bites, like an angry gremlin,” Gannon mumbles, and I press my lips together to stop from laughing.
“She f**king does. She bit me already, twice actually, while pitching a fit,” Damian growls in annoyance as he reluctantly hands her son to her.
“You have a child?” I asked, making sure I heard right, and I pulled back the blankets to take a closer look at the toddler in Tandi’s arms. Turning back to Gannon, I hold out my arms for Tyson, who flails in Gannon’s arms, wanting to come to me.
“Who is this little one?” Tandi asks while reaching out and gripping Tyson’s little fingers as I hold him. I had so many questions, like where she had been all this time when she had a baby. I didn’t have a chance to ask before Damian was asking us to take Tandi inside.
“Gannon, A**ie, take Tandi to my quarters and help her settle in, please. I need a word with the King and Queen,” Damian says, and Tandi’s head whips to the side to stare at Azalea. I guess Azalea hadn’t had a chance to tell her yet. Tandi’s eyes widen when recognition hits her at Damian calling her Queen.
“Azalea, Queen Azalea Landeena, I knew I heard that name,” she exclaimed.
“Have you heard of the Landeena’s?” A**y asked her, shocked because I knew she couldn’t read like us unless she had since learned, maybe she had.
“Yes, of course,” Tandi says. When the King speaks, “Everyone has. It is in every history book, love. You and Abbie were the only ones oblivious to who they were, who you are,” he purrs at Azzy when Tandi speaks up while shaking her head, answering one of the many questions I had for her.
“No, I can’t read. No, I heard about it at the b**thel when the hunters come in sometimes. Amazing the things you hear when you aren’t supposed to be listening,” she says, blowing out a breath.
“Hunters?” Kyson asks her, lifting his head to look at her.
“Yeah, the ones that work for the council, Larkin, introduced me to a couple of them. They creeped me out,”
“You know Larkin?” Kyson asks her.
“Yes, she does, and that is what I need to speak with you both about. Because I just stole his son,” Damian says, and I gasp at his words. JH kidnapped a council member’s son? Surely that would have consequences. Kyson straightens, and I look at Tandi’s son in her arms.
I wondered what sort of discussions this would have. But I also wondered why the hunters would be working with the council, aren’t they supposed to care and preserve the Lycan and werewolf way of life?
“You said the hunters work with the council?” Kyson asks Tandi. She nods her head and shrugs as if this was something we should already know.
“Yeah, I have seen them a few times. Larkin and Crux seem, pretty buddy, buddy with them. They hold meetings at the b**thel. They all wear patches and call themselves the rebels.” her brows furrow as if she is thinking hard, trying to remember some detail.
“Mr. Crux holds the meetings. He has worked with them for years, and they have meetings yearly for some blood ceremony or some cr*p. Bl**dy freaks always drinking each other’s blood from a cup, and they call me diseased since I am rogue, those f**kers sitting around drinking blood as if they think they are bloodsuckers,” she says with a swift shake of her head.
“Did you say blood?” Azalea asks her, looking a little shocked by her words. Why would the hunters be drinking blood? Tandi nods. “Yep, like clockwork. Every February, on the 1st day of the month, is the annual meeting.
They talk sh**t and spout changes within the council. Dawning their st*pid insignia’s about how Crux will take over once the royals are dead.” she says with a shrug as if we should know this already
Turning my head, I see the worry on Azalea’s face. She had enough going on, and I didn’t want this to be another added worry for her.
“Dustin has some documents you will want to see, too. We got Alpha Brock and Dean. They have been trafficking rogues for years,” Damian says before turning to look at Gannon and give him a subtle nod. Gannon walks over to escort Tandi and me inside the castle.