A gust of wind carries a familiar scent as I walk back to the house, the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end.
Grayson growls loudly when I finally recognize the scent and I turn on my heel in time to see the same French Alpha who touched Kota last week now threatening my mate.
“Looks like someone needs to teach this b***h some manners,” he snickers, his large build towering over my small mate and our pup.
“I’ll gladly volunteer.”
The scene is enough to send Grayson into a frenzy, my wolf taking over and shoving me back to watch him carry out his punishment.He shifts mid-run, rushing past our mate and pouncing on the stupid Alpha.
The Alpha is taken by surprise as Grayson pins him to the ground but quickly composes himself, wrapping his arms around my neck.
Grayson retaliates by dropping his weight on him and rolling, both of us wrestling each other around while Talia picks up Kota and steps away to safety.
I manage to pin the Alpha to the ground again, Grayson displaying his canines and snapping his jaws at him.
Kota’s whimpers remind me that a child is watching and I reign in Grayson’s anger, not wanting to traumatize our pup any further.
Annoyed, Grayson snarls menacingly at the Alpha and The Alpha scrambles to his feet, a deadly glare in his eyes.
“You again,” He mutters, Grayson snarling in response and taking a protective stance in front of Kota and Talia.
“Step aside. My problem is with the b***h behind you, not you.”
A wicked smirk curls on Grayson’s lips as an idea pops into his head.
I warn him but he’s already made up his mind, dropping our walls and building a telepathic connection between us and the Alpha.
“Unless you want me to rip out your tongue, you should watch what you say around my mate and our pup .” Grayson snarls.
He glances over at Talia, his eyes scanning her up and down before he looks over at us again and snickers.
“She’s not much to look at-“
Grayson commands, a black film glazing over the Alpha’s eyes as he obeys Grayson’s order.
The Alpha wordlessly kneels before me, sticking out his neck in surrender.
Before I can say anything else, Grayson turns to his side and lifts his leg, a stream of urine showering over the Alpha’s head.
A shocked gasp escapes from Talia, little Kota giggling behind her.
Oh Dear Moon Goddess ,I groan, Grayson giving his leg a little unbelievable!
“Who’s the b***h now 2?”
Grayson sneers, kicking the Alpha in the chest with his hind paw.
“NOW SIT and WAIT.”
Grayson turns to face our shocked mate, nuzzling his head against her chest.
At first, Talia stares blankly at us but when Kota begins to stroke my fur, she finally snaps out of her trance and buries her head in my neck.
“Thank you,” she murmurs, her fingers gripping my fur.
We hear footsteps approaching, Queen Aurora and her Gamma walking towards us.
Gamma Evan immediately bursts into laughter upon seeing the urine drenched Alpha but Aurora looks anything but amused.She swallows back her words, however, and sighs tiredly as she forms a connection.
“Assume there is a good reason for what you’ve done to Benoit,” She says, her voice a bit strained as she nods towards the livid Alpha.
“He threatened my mate, “Grayson snaps.”
And since your guards failed to do their job and patrol the area, I had to take matters into my own hands!”
“Not that I owe you any explanations, but ! gave Benoit permission to patrol River Moon grounds “
Aurora hisses, her fists clenched tightly at her sides.
She pauses for a moment to take a deep breath and calm herself down but I still see a flicker of anger lingering in her eyes.
“We’ll talk about this later, She shakes her head disapprovingly at me.done now!”
Benoit, the young Alpha, snarls.
“When my father finds out about this, he’ll-“
“That’s enough out of you, Benoit,”
Aurora silences him, turning over to us, a stern look on her face.
“Go home,” She says, Benoit growling with anger.
“You’re just going to let him go?” He shouts.
“Are you stupid?”
Gamma Evan is in his face within a second, punching Benoit in the jaw and forcing him to the ground.
“You better calm your pissy ass down before I piss on you too,” He growls, Benoit shouting back something in French as he spits blood from his mouth.
“Go,” Aurora says quietly, her face eerily calm.
“I’ll take care of this.”
There’s a faint hint of worry in her voice and it scares me, but I don’t question her, nudging Talia and Kota back to the guest house.
As we walk, Kota taps on my snout, giving me a timid smile through his chattering teeth.
“Can I have a ride?” he asks, his large eyes twinkling with hope.
“Not today, Kota,” Talia answers for me.
“First, you need a bath.”
Talia holds Kota a little closer to her chest to keep him warm until we reach the house.
Zane remains outside for a bit, not wanting to shift in front of me, and takes a shower downstairs while I take Kota up for a bath.
My heart pounds in my chest as I gather Kota’s things, the adrenaline still pumping in my veins from the scary encounter with the visiting Alpha.
Butterflies fill my stomach, however, when I think about how quickly Grayson and Zane responded.
They didn’t hesitate to take charge and put that Alpha in his place for disrespecting me.
It’s been a long time since I had anyone but Gwen protect me and it was amazing to know I’m not as alone as I thought I was.
Grayson was so fierce with the Alpha but gentle as soon as he was done, nuzzling and licking me to make sure Kota and I were unharmed I let out a little chuckle as I prepare Kota’s bath, still unable to believe he actually had the guts to pee on Benoit.
In all my years as Luna, no wolf had ever peed on another on my behalf! I find it hard to focus on my task, a bit giddy from the warm feeling spreading across my body.
Finally finishing, I dry and dress Kota in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.
“Mommy, are you a wolf too?” Kota asks as I comb his hair.
“No, I’m not” I whisper, brushing some hair away from his face.
“I’m just … me,” I shrug.
Seeing no reason to keep this from him, I decide to come clean.
“You, mi amor my lovei, are a wolf just like your father.And when you grow up, you will be a big, strong wolf who can protect me.”
“Just like Zane protects us!” He smiles cheekily at me.
I continue to comb his hair but his face contorts as another thought enters his mind.
“Mommy, what is my daddy?”
My heart nearly skips a beat as my brain stops functioning properly for a second.I sit down on the bed beside Kota, trying my best to make sense of my jumbled thoughts.
Where do I even begin? Hey, you’re dad’s a low life piece of st who f“d your aunt while Iwas pregnant with you and he’s now probably looking for you to either kill you or make you his heir!
“Mommy, how come I don’t have a daddy?” He ories, crawling onto my lap.
“I want a daddy.”
I struggle to string together any words, feeling as though I have failed my son.I have done everything in my power to provide Kota with everything he would ever need to compensate for what is missing in his life, a father.
A bitter anger fills my heart.
Christian and Vanessa have ruined any chance of us ever being a family again and in the process, have destroyed my confidence in ever building. I could hear the doubts in my head every time Zane smiled at me, picking at the scabs of my still healing heart to remind me how painful falling for lies can be.
Even now, the butterflies that flutter in my stomach scare me…because it means that he’s slowly worming his way into my heart and that one day he’ll have the power to hurt me too.I tilt Kota’s chin up towards me, forcing him to look me in the eyes.
“Dakota…” I sigh, blinking my eyes to keep them from getting misty.
“I onced loved your father.I loved him very much…” I murmur, tucking his hair behind his ears.
“But he met someone he thought was …better…and he stopped loving me.So we had to go our separate ways and I got to keep you all to myself,” I smile, tickling his tummy.
“And you have been the best gift your father ever gave me.”
He grins up at me, wrapping his arms around my neck.
“I am? “Well, sometimes you are a little stinky,” I laugh, Kota grinning from ear to ear.
“But I love your stinky butt very much.”
“I love your stinky butt too!” Kota giggles, pressing his lips against my cheek in a sloppy kiss.
His large eyes suddenly grow very serious.
“Mommy, can Zane be my daddy?” My cheeks flush at the question and I shake my head.
“Kota, “But he kisses you,” Kota argues, his face furrowing in confusion.
“Only Daddies kiss Mommies.”
“Kota,” I sigh, rubbing my temple to soothe the headache I feel coming on.
“It’s a lot more complicated than just kissing.”
“But he really likes you!” He persists, cupping both of my cheeks in his tiny hands.
“And I really like him.” I really like him too…but liking is not enough.
Not for Kota.
Not for me.
I fight back my tears and shake my head at him.
“I’m sorry Kota, but Zane is just a friend.”
I slide him off my lap and wipe my eyes.
“I need to shower.Why don’t you go downstairs and play with Zane for a little bit? I can order a pizza if you’re hungry.I’ll be down in just a second.”
Kota sighs heavily, hanging his head low as he climbs off the bed.I grab him by the wrist and pull him back to me, tilting his head up.
“One day, Kota,”
I murmur, pushing back his hair from his forehead.
“When I’m stronger and my heart is not so broken, I will find you a daddy.”
“But I like Zane…” he pouts.
Ugh! Does this child have to be as hard headed as me?
“I will think about it,”
I give in, Kota unable to contain his excitement.
Squealing at the top of his lungs, Kota runs down the stairs to intrusive thoughts but they get the best of me and I hurry out, dressing in a t-shirt and pj bottoms.
Bracing myself for Kota’s 20 questions, I tiptoe down the hall, hearing Kota and Zane giggling.
Wanting to sneak up on them, I slow down my steps and get down on all fours, practically crawling down the stairs.As I get about midway down the steps, their voices become very clear.
“What does b***h mean?” Kota asks, my hand going to my mouth to stifle my own giggle.
Zane can’t answer you Kota…I want to say, but I hold my tongue when I hear a small groan.
“I-It’s a ba-ba-bad word, K-Kota,” a deep voice stutters, my entire body going stiff.
“I-It’s not ve-very nice and y-you should al-always be nice.”
ls someone else in the house? I wonder, looking down at my very frumpy t-shirt.
I crawl down the steps a little further until I reach the bottom, peaking around the wall into the living room.
There, I find Kota and Zane rearranging the chairs, pillows and sofa cushions to build a fort in front of the TV.I don’t see anyone else in sight, leaving me to wonder if I had really heard another person in the room.
“Why did that man call my mommy a bad word?” Kota asks, handing Zane another pillow beating erratically at the sound of his voice.
So he does talk! He just has a stutter…
Despite this, his voice is soft and gentle, like velvet, each syllable very soothing.
A bit of hurt spreads across my heart.
Why had he lied to me about his voice? How come he speaks to Kota but not to me, his mate? Were all of my mates just destined to not tell me the truth?
“I don’t like bullies,” Kota replies.
“Me-me neither,” Zane chuckles.
“Zane, will you be my friend forever and ever and ever?” Kota asks, spreading arms wide to demonstrate the length of time.
“y-yes, ” Zane whispers.
“And will you always like my mommy?”
Even from my hiding place, I can see the faint tint of red in Zane’s ears.
“Y-you and y-your mom-my will al-always be in my heart,” Zane murmurs.
“A-and I wi-will always prot-tec-tec protect you.”
My anger quickly dissolves the more I listen to him speak.
“Zane, do you like kissing my mommy?” Kota asks, crawling into the completed fort.
“Y-you ask too ma-many questions,”
Zane shakes his head, his ears bright red with embarrassment.
Kota only grins, bombarding Zane with many more through his words but trying nonetheless.
Dakota lies patiently in the fort, hanging onto every word Zane speaks as if it were the most important and I realize how completely relaxed Zane is in Kota’s company.
He’s always so nervous around me, always knocking things over and avoiding eye contact with me.
I think about the memory he once showed me, remembering how his father had towered over him like a stone wall, no compassion in his voice when he spoke to his trembling little boy.
“..lf he cannot say the words, then he doesn’t deserve to call me father…”
That was what his father said.
Did he think I would be the same? That I would be unable to see past his stutter and respect him as a mate? Did he think I would belittle him like his father and laugh in his face for struggling to say my name?
“Zane, why do you like my mommy?”
Kota whispers, making room beside him so that Zane can squeeze into the fort.
Zane goes quiet for a moment, my heart sinking as I realize perhaps his infatuation with me really only relies on our stupid mate bond.He silences my doubts, however, when he finally answers.
“Be-Because s-she is strong…”
Zane murmurs, closing the blanket door to the fort.
“An-and I w-want to be strong e-enough for her too.”belly as I replay his words.I’m not as strong as you think…I wantte tell him.I am still fixing all of my broken pieces…But I think I want to fix them with you…”