Accidental Surrogate

Chapter 157

Cora Confides in Roger

3rd Person

As Sinclair and Ella raced away through the winding streets of the Vanaran capital, Roger found his
gaze lingering on Cora. The human was staring after her sister in amazement, as if she couldn’t believe
her own eyes. The wind fluttered through her black hair, carrying her now-familiar scent to the rugged

Roger had been sticking close to Cora ever since they fled Moon Valley. When he first turned up on her
doorstep telling her they had to flee the territory, she’d been too stunned to respond. He’d ended up
packing a bag for her while she looked on in shocked silence, only speaking in response to direct
questions. In the car he and Henry had explained the situation to her in as much depth as they could
manage, but he could feel her fear as if it was his own. It called to his protective instincts, and he felt a
strange affinity for this woman – like him, she was watching her younger sibling take the world by
storm, and though she never expressed any dissatisfaction with her lot in life, Roger did wonder

Moving beside her, Roger watched as the frolicking pair became no more than tiny dots in the distance,
“Amazing, isn’t it?” He remarked, startling the preoccupied woman. “A month ago we didn’t even think
she had a wolf – and now this.”

Cora shook her head, “I can’t even wrap my head around it. I’ve known Ella my whole life… and she’s
always been different, but I thought that was just… Ella being Ella.”

“What do you mean?” Roger inquired curious now.

Her mouth stretches into a wry smile. “I don’t need to tell you what it’s like growing up in someone’s
shadow.” She murmured after a thoughtful beat. “And don’t get me wrong, Ella made incredible
sacrifices for me, she cared for me through thick and thin. But I’d be lying if I said I never resented her
for being so much better at everything, for being strong or brave enough to face the things I couldn’t.”
Cora paused, clamping her eyes shut for a moment with obvious regret. “I’m not proud of it but
sometimes I even blamed her for protecting me rather than letting me suffer – how’s that for

Roger shrugged. “It’s natural to want to fight your own battles.” He empathized, catching her gaze, “and
just because you aren’t proud of a feeling doesn’t make it invalid.”

Cora’s eyes widened slightly as Roger’s eyes bored into her own, and she felt a slight flutter of
excitement in her tummy. When had anyone ever watched her so intently? As if they were looking
straight through her to the very core of her being? Roger’s wolf perked up when he sensed a spark of
interest in Cora’s chocolate eyes, and he shifted closer as she forged on. “Well either way it makes
sense now.” She continued. “Why Ella always seemed to draw people to her like a magnet, why she
was always the smartest, strongest and fastest even though she’s the size of a doll.”

“I get that.” Roger nodded, looking after Sinclair and Ella one more time before turning away and
encouraging Cora to do the same. “But making sense doesn’t make seeing it any less surreal.”

“You can say that again.” Cora chuckled, wondering why she’d followed the man’s movements so
naturally. “And the funny thing is that the wolf isn’t even the strangest part – it’s how different she is with

“How so?” Roger asked, leading Cora towards an ice cream parlor with a firm hand on the small of her

“In the best way.” Cora smiled, though it didn’t entirely reach her eyes. Roger didn’t know Ella and
Cora’s full story, but he knew enough to realize there were some skeletons in their closets. He was
sure he was seeing some now, some past darkness that hung over the sisters even in their happiest
moments. “I always knew our lives… the way we grew up… took a toll on Ella, but she’s always kept it
bottled up. She’s never trusted anyone enough to rely on them and she’s never known how to open up
or be vulnerable.”

As they stepped into the shop, Roger processed this information with dawning understanding. If there
was one thing he knew about his baby brother, it’s that Sinclair would never stand for his mate keeping
him at a distance or facing her troubles alone. “I knew all that, but I didn’t realize how it weighed her
down… trapped her. The Ella I grew up with wasn’t playful or free-spirited. She was brave, defiant and
darkly funny at times, but this Ella? The one who throws off her humanity in the street and goes running
off into the sunset to play, even though the world around us is on fire?” Cora shakes her head. “No one
deserves such happiness more than Ella, and I hate that I’ve never seen this side of her before now.”

They hovered in the doorway of the parlor, and Roger studied Cora closely, trying to read between the
lines of her words. “Do you feel guilty? That you weren’t able to bring out this side of her?”

Cora huffed a sardonic laugh. “I feel guilty for a lot of things,” she confessed ominously. “But not this.
She needed to find her mate in order to feel safe coming out of her shell. That’s not something I was
ever going to be able to do for her.”

“And you?” Roger asked slyly, guiding her to the service counter. “What would it take to make you
come out of your shell?”

Cora blinked at him in surprise. “What makes you think I haven’t already?”

Roger chuckled, taking notice when Cora blushed bright pink at the sound. “A lifetime of experience.”
He finally answered vaguely.

“Well it’s not exactly easy.” Cora hedged. “I’m on the run in a country I didn’t even know existed until

Roger flashed his fangs, “So? That’s not stopping your sister.”

“My sister is drunk on love.” Cora reminded him. “Dreams she never even knew she had are coming
true left and right.”

“And your dreams?” Roger pressed, his demeanor growing more and more predatory by the moment.
He wasn’t sure what it was about this human, but the more she spoke the more intriguing he found her.
The more he wanted to push her buttons, just to see how she’d react.

“What can I get you?” The teenager behind the ice cream counter was smiling at them, completely
oblivious that he was interrupting a conversation Roger was finding increasingly fascinating. Cora, on
the other hand, was more than happy to jump at the distraction. They ordered, and Roger followed
Cora to a table out front, keeping his father and Gabriel in his periphery. The old Alpha and the King
were in deep conversation, and though Roger felt he might be slacking off his pack duties, he simply
couldn’t drag his wolf’s focus from the human.

“So what do you think of all this?” Cora asked when he sat down, gesturing to the glittering city
surrounding them.

Roger chucked, “You can’t throw me off the scent that easily, Cora.” He liked the feel of her name on
his tongue, and he rolled it this way and that – almost experimentally – before finally releasing the final
syllable. The sound seemed to surprise Cora too, who smothered a shiver.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Cora lied, earning a low rumble from the wolf seated across her. Her jaw
dropped in outrage. “Are you growling at me?”

“That’s what happens when people lie to me.” Roger informed her coolly, arching a brow.

“Oh like you’re so perfect?” Cora accused, crossing her arms over her chest. “I know you were working
with the Prince against your own family. You expect me to believe you never lied to further your political

“And now you’re shifting the focus onto me,” He observed. “I won’t deny the wrongs of my past, but if
you expect me to talk about them then I expect your honesty in exchange.”

Cora, thoroughly frazzled and both affronted and excited by the shifter’s behavior, pushed back from
her chair. “Look I don’t know why you think you have the right to speak to me this way, but as far as I’m
concerned, I don’t owe you anything – least of all my honesty.”

“No? I did save your life just a few days ago.” Roger reminded her, a spark of mischief in his dark eyes.

“Only because Dominic asked you to.” Cora argued, “don’t pretend you would have thought about me

Roger dipped his head in acknowledgement. “You may have a point.” He acceded, but as he continued
his eyes flashed with his wolf “but make no mistake, little human, that’s the last time I’ll ever fail to think
of you again.”

Cora, unsure what to do or how to interpret this, turned on her heel, and fled.

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