Accidental Surrogate For Alpha Novel Chapter 34
I wake up alone in bed, and promptly rush to the restroom to empty the contents of my stomach. When
I finally emerge, I find Aileen waiting for me, a breakfast tray in her hands and a kind smile on her face.
“How are you doing, my love?”
“I am thankful my baby is growing big and strong.” I recite, clutching my belly and repeating the same
mantra I keep employing whenever the morning sickness or mood swings act up.
Aileen chuckles, “but you feel like hell?” She guesses.
I nod pitifully, and Aileen offers me a steaming cup of tea. “Here, have some of this. When I was
carrying my pips nothing banished the sickness better.” I take a sip of the herbal brew, sighing happily
as warmth fills me up from the inside out. “That’s it.” Aileen encourages. “I can already see some color
coming back into your cheeks.”
“More Luna lessons today?” I guess, thanking her kindness with a wide smile and a squeeze of her soft
“And not a moment too soon.” She reports, “We shouldn’t have put it off this long with the holidays
coming up so soon, but Dominic wanted to give you time to rest.”
“The holidays?” I repeat, the wheels slowly turning over in my mind. Her words take a moment to sink
in, I’m so ravenous after going to bed without supper that it’s all I can do not to shove my face full of the
cream scones and raspberry jam laid out on the breakfast tray. “Of course,” I eventually murmur, “It
hadn’t even occurred to me that if you have your own gods you’d have your own holidays and
Aileen smiles kindly. “It’s alright, this is all a lot to take in, but we don’t have much time to waste either.
The Winter Solstice is next week, and you are going to be very busy, my dear.”
I know enough about ancient pagan traditions to know that the Winter Solstice is the longest night of
the year, but beyond that I’m fairly clueless about how werewolves might celebrate the occasion. “What
happens at the Winter Solstice?”
“Well, it’s all about honoring nature and the goddess, rebirth, transformations and new beginnings –
finding light in the dark half of the year. It’s really beautiful. The week before the solstice day is seven
days straight of different festivals and activities, I’ve got a calendar around her somewhere.” She adds,
moving back towards the breakfast tray and searching through the contents. “It’s all wonderful:
bonfires, drinking and dancing, parading through the streets and decorating the city, lighting candles,
giving gifts. Then there’s feasts and rituals, and it all culminates in a grand ball at the Royal Palace.”
Her words ring a few bells in my mind. I’ve always known there are exclusive parties and festivals in
the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, but I always assumed they were for the human holiday
celebrations, not anything supernatural. I’ve never attended because I’ve never had the money or
access to such entertainment, but it also sounds like Aileen is talking about events far more extensive
than the few of which I’m aware.
“A ball?” I repeat, latching onto her last comment. “Like… an actual ball?”
“I take it you’ve never been to one?” Aileen surmises, arching a brow.
I simply laugh, “When would i have ever had the opportunity? The only humans who have them are rich
“I see,” Aileen muses. “Well, I knew I was going to have to teach you our dances, but I suppose we’ll
have to be a bit more thorough regarding etiquette and the like.”
I remember the dances Sinclair showed me at the shifter club, and my heart begins to pound. “What
kind of dances?
“Nothing like what you’re thinking.” Aileen assures me. “I swear they’re all perfectly tasteful.”
“And the festivals and rituals?” I gulp, remembering Sinclair’s teasing about humans being prudish and
“Now they can get a bit scandalous, but I promise Sinclair will be with you every step of the way.” She
Sure, I think, a bitter taste in my mouth. I’ve heard that before. Before I can say anything of the sort or
ask any additional questions, Aileen abruptly stops rustling through the tray, “Aha! Here it is!” She
offers me a sheet of parchment, and I look down at the page with trepidation and awe.
Moon Valley Solstice Festival Schedule of Events
Night 1: Bonfire Night – Wulver Hill
Night 2: Solstice Procession – Old Town
Night 3: Yuletide Feast – Midwinter’s Fair
Night 4: Wassailing – Central Canal
Night 5: Moon Bathing – Moon Valley Stone Circle
Night 6: The Wild Hunt – the King’s Forest
Night 7: Masquerade Ball – the Royal Palace
“Aileen, I don’t know what half these things are! More than half!” I exclaim, feeling suddenly and
profoundly out of my depth.
“It’s okay.” She croons, “you’ll take it one day at a time, and you’ll be an expert in shifter solstice
traditions by the time the week is out.”
I scan the parchment over and over again, my eyes repeatedly catching on the ball and whatever moon
bathing is. However only one event sends true fear slicing through my body. “What is the Wild Hunt?”
“Ah,” Aileen purses her lips, looking as if she wants to smile. “That’s when things get especially fun for
mated couples. Some people find a partner just for the night, but it’s more powerful when you’re
bonded to the one hunting you.”
“Hunting you?” I squeak.
“Yes, she wolves take off into the woods, and then their mates must hunt them down and claim them. It
goes back to our origin myths, when the Moon Goddess would lead her celestial army into the forest, in
pursuit of souls to create new wolves. Nowadays “making new wolves” takes on a more literal meaning.
I can’t tell you how many babies are conceived on the night of the wild hunt.”
“But I can’t shift.” I remind her nervously. Would I even have to participate? Is it required? I’m already
pregnant, that must be enough to get permission to sit it out.
“That’s alright. As future Luna you’ll lead the way into the forest wearing a special ceremonial dress
and carrying a torch. You won’t be expected to shift until you’re out of sight, and then Dominic will set
out after you long before anyone else joins – he’s the only one who will know you didn’t shift.”
That doesn’t make me feel much better. The idea of having the entire pack watching me lead a
ceremony I’ve never heard of before sounds more frightening than comforting, especially since it will all
be a fraud!
“Did Dominic used to do this with Lydia?” I ask, not entirely sure why that thought entered my brain.
“Why, of course.” Aileen confirms. “Why do you ask?”
I shrug, “Roger told me that she was his mate first. I suppose I’m just curious about their relationship.”
Aileen gives me an appraising look, and I try not to squirm beneath her scrutiny. She sighs. “And so
she was, but fated mates… there are some forces so strong nothing can combat them.”
“You both make it sound much more loving than Dominic did.” I confess, remembering how
disenchanted the Alpha had seemed with his former mate. He never described how they met or the
early days, he never mentioned any love between them, only her hunger for status and power.
“It’s easy to be bitter and cynical when your heart is broken.” Aileen confides, patting my shoulder.
“Right.” I murmur, and I have to admit this makes sense. Who hasn’t been bitter in the wake of a lost
love – especially when things didn’t end amicably. Is that what’s happening with Sinclair? Is his
pessimistic description of his marriage simply the wounds of a broken heart making themselves
And what about Lydia? I can’t even fathom what it would be like to be in love with one man, then feel
so uncontrollably compelled to be with another that I’d leave him, but from what everyone says, it
doesn’t sound like there was any fighting it. On the other hand, I know how devastating it can be to
struggle with fertility – I may not understand the mystical forces behind fated mates, but I have to have
some sympathy for her on this front at least.
If I’d believed Mike was sterile and that I might have a chance with another man, would I have left him?
I think about it for a long moment, but I don’t think I would, and we were far from fated. Maybe I’m
after all I’ve seen the damage her disloyalty did to Sinclair,
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