Accidental Surrogate

Chapter 159



“What do you mean, you might not take me with you?” I demand, barely processing Sinclair’s words.
“We’re mated, where you go I go.”

“Baby, I don’t want to be away from you.” Sinclair sighs, sending a wave of genuine regret through our
bond. This isn’t the first time he’s done this – let me feel his emotions to confirm their veracity, but this
is the strongest I’ve ever experienced them.

With the help of our connection, I can sense how terribly Sinclair hates the idea of leaving me behind
when he travels. It’s making his wolf positively rabid with anger, worry, and sadness. Even as the
emotions are filtering in, I can already see a way to use them to my advantage. If he feels this strongly,
surely it won’t be too difficult to convince him to take me with him.

“The problem is that I have no idea what I’m walking into with a lot of these meetings.” Sinclair
explains. “I’ve been to Vanara before, and know a few of the Alphas, but most of the packs I’m visiting
are complete unknowns. I don’t know the territories or threats, I don’t know how rough the conditions
will be or how well we’ll be received when we arrive.”

“How much time are we talking about?” I question, needing to get a handle on the scope of this
potential separation.

“Weeks, maybe a month.” He shakes his head, and I can feel his frustration. “I’ve been trying to figure
out which terrifies me more, taking you with me and putting you in danger as a result, or leaving you
behind where I can’t get to you if something happens.”

“It’s definitely safer to have me with you.” I inform my mate confidently. “You’re the one who said the
only time I’m truly safe is when I’m in your arms.”

Sinclair laughs warmly, squeezing me closer. “Why do I feel like you’re not the most objective opinion
on this?”

“Because you’re so blinded by your love for me that you assume I’m in the same boat, but don’t worry
because I am completely unbiased.” I declare, shifting to straddle his lap.

“Oh, so you aren’t blinded by your love for me?” Sinclair teases, stroking my sides.

“It’s different.” I hedge, “I’m not exactly sure how at this moment, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it

“You do know that being adorable won’t make me change my mind, don’t you?” Sinclair asks gently,
grazing his knuckles over my cheek.

“That makes it sound as if you’ve already decided.” I murmur, my insides tangling into knots. My wolf
whimpers in my head, and before I can think about whether or not I’d shared the sound with my mate,
he responds in a way that guarantees he did. He begins to purr, gathering me to his chest and tucking
my head under his chin.

“I haven’t decided anything yet. I’m honestly very conflicted, Ella.” Sinclair admits. “I’m leaning towards
leaving you here with Gabriel, Roger and Dad. I trust them and I trust the security here. I want you with
me, I just can’t help but feeling it would be irresponsible… honestly it feels selfish, like I’m choosing my
own comfort and happiness over your safety.”

“But I want to be with you too. So if it’s selfish, let’s be selfish together.” I beg. Pushing away from him, I
make my eyes wide and push my lower lip out into a dramatic pout.

“Please don’t leave me behind, Dominic.” I continue, trailing my hands down his chest as inspiration
strikes. “My wolf won’t obey anyone else, you know I’ll just get into more trouble without you… and
when I do there certainly won’t be anyone to bring me back in line.

A growl vibrates in Sinclair’s chest, so fierce the hair on the back of my neck stands on end. His hand
closes over my nape a second later, applying just enough pressure to make me quiver with the instinct
to submit. “I have news for you, trouble. If I do go without you, I’ll have the others keep track of all your
mischief so that I can hold you accountable when I get back.”

I fight back a shiver as his authority washes over me, so I change track. “Fine, but if you’re not here
then who will give me pleasure when I wake up in the middle of the night… aching for you?”

Sinclair laughs aloud, dragging my mouth to his. I gasp as our lips collide, and Sinclair takes the
opportunity to slip his tongue inside, tangling it with my own. Only when my mouth is red and swollen,
and I’ve forgotten our conversation entirely, does he release me. He keeps our eyes level, massaging
my head through my thick rose gold tresses. I loll my head into his hand, and he takes the opportunity
to dip his tongue into the hollow of my throat. “When that happens you’ll call me to your dreams, and
tell me exactly what you need. And then I’ll happily ravish you to my heart’s content.”

“You mean my heart’s content?” I clarify.

“No. I meant exactly what I said.” He answers with a smirk. I laugh anddrop my head to his shoulder.
“Alright, big bad wolf.” I concede, even as he continues to run his fingers through my long hair. “Just
promise me you’ll think about this. We’ll both be happier together. We’ll both be less anxious. I’ll always
be in your sight or reach. That’s worth a lot.”

“I’ll think about it.” Sinclair agrees. “There are a lot of advantages, I just need to make sure it’s right.”

“Thank you.” I exhale, so comfortable and cozy that I already feel as though I might doze off again.
Maybe I’m being a wild optimist, but I truly think I’ve gotten through to my mate. I can feel how strongly

he wants to take me with him, and I think this conversation went a long way to convincing him to trust
those impulses.

The next day I go to visit some of the refugees arriving at the port. Sinclair stayed at the Palace to plan,
but Henry, Roger, Cora and I set out with a contingent of Gabriel’s royal guards. The refugees are
arriving in much the same way we did, cramming into small passenger planes carrying all their earthly
belongings, arriving lost and depleted at the air base outside the city. Gabriel is trying to figure out
where to send them all and has thus far been relying on local Vanarans who are willing to open their
homes as shelter, but I’m determined to help – to find the best solutions possible for our people.

As we cross the Vanarium bridge spanning the crystalline waters of the lake, I can’t help but feel a
renewed sense of awe at our stunning surroundings. However my admiration quickly fades when our
cars pull up outside a group of large white tents erected to triage the incoming shifters. As I understand
it, some of the refugees are arriving injured and in need of urgent medical care, others have been
separated from their families, while others still are grieving the loss of their home and loved ones.

I try to brace myself for the harrowing experience ahead, only to become distracted by Cora’s incessant
fidgeting beside me. It hasn’t escaped my notice that my sister is behaving very oddly today, she keeps
shooting Roger wary looks, then pretending like he doesn’t exist if he returns the gesture. This morning
she would fall silent or walk away if Roger came near us, and though my instincts aren’t sending up red
flags about the interaction, I’d have to be blind to miss them.

So when we exit the car I sidle up to my brother-in-law, “Would you like to tell me why my sister keeps
taking off like a startled hare every time you glance her way?” I mutter under my breath.

“I don’t think she’s a very big fan of mine.” He concedes.

“Why not? What did you do?” I inquire, unable to keep a note of accusation from my voice.

“Why do you assume I’m the one at fault?” Roger jokes, pretending to look affronted.

“Because I know my sister and I know you.” I snort, only partly serious. The truth is that my sister is as
flawed as anyone, but I’m predisposed to take her side.

Roger shrugs. “We got to talking the other day, and I have the feeling she thought my questions were
too personal.” I pause, surveying him closely. There’s an odd note in his voice, one I haven’t heard
before. For the first time it strikes me that Roger’s interest in Cora might not be entirely innocent. “What
kind of questions?”

Roger laughs. “Nothing bad, I asked about her dreams and ambitions. I think she might be having a
hard time with all this.” He says, gesturing around us. “Leaving her job and life in Moon Valley.”

A stab of guilt pierces me. Some sister I’ve been. I haven’t even checked in with Cora about how she’s
doing. I’ve been so preoccupied with my own life and the war that I forgot that this transition won’t have
been any easier for her. I make a note to talk to her as soon as possible – about fleeing and Roger’s
interest. Still there’s no time for that now. There are dozens of wolves waiting to see us, and though I’m
more than a little apprehensive about the sorrows and abuses to which I’m about to bear witness, I
know my people deserve to have their stories heard. I have to be strong – I have to make my mate
proud and do right by the pack, no matter what.

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