Sinclair whips his face up to mine, relief in every line of it. “It’s fine,” he says, his body shaking with his
unused adrenaline, “he’s…he’s here…he’s still asleep…”
A sob breaks from my throat as I press my eyes closed and sink to the floor, still clutching the door
frame, unable to stop the tremors that run through my body. The past minute – the past thirty seconds,
even – were some of the most horrible of my life
The idea the bare idea that someone had come for my baby – my brand–new child, who I love so
much, who I worked so hard to bring into this world –
I’m sobbing freely now, unable to catch my breath, panic overtaking me at the thought. I lean my head
against the wood, pressing my face against it, unable to contain myself – to even think
to do anything but cry my heart out in fear, and panic, and grief and, relief at what I thought happened –
but actually didn’t happen at all
I barely feel Sinclair as he crouches next to me, his hand warm on my back, and it’s only when I hear
Rafe’s little mew of unhappiness that I snap my face towards him. Sinclair is kneeling next to me, tears
streaking down his own face, holding my baby out towards me – Rafe so small and precious that he
almost fits in his father’s huge hand.
Desperate, I grab for Rafe, needing the corporeal reality of him against me. I cry harder then, but am
able to take deep breaths as I hold my baby in my arms, pressing him against my chest, and running a
shaking hand over his hair. He’s crying a little now too, his sleep interrupted –
“You” I say, my voice trembling as I look up at Sinclair, “you sh–shouldn’t have – woken – him up – ”
Sinclair shakes his head at me, his own lip trembling as he works to hold himself together. ” You
needed him more than he needed the sleep – we need him
Sinclair lowers himself fully to the floor then, drawing me and the baby into his lap, wrapping his arms
around us. I can feel his breath deepening behind me as I stare down at my child, shushing him,
helping him to fall back asleep. It’s a long time before he does, but when he finally does, I take a deep
breath and look back up at my mate.
“What are we going to do?” I ask, bewildered, desperate.
“What we were always going to do,” Sinclair answers, his voice iron. “Protect our family.” He meets my
eyes then, his green gaze glowing with ferocity. “No one will touch our son, Ella,” he promises. “You
have my word on that. I’ll die before I let anyone touch him.”
Slowly, I nod, believing every word.
Then, new resolve building in me, I take a deep breath and lift myself off of Sinclair’s lap,
standing up on shaky legs.
“Where is the note?” I ask, surprised by the solidity of my voice.
“Here,” Sinclair says, unfolding his fist which I think he’s probably had clenched since he folded the
note the first time.
“Do we,” I say, sniffing a little and looking around the room. “Do we have enough security for this?”
“No,” Sinclair growls, standing up as well and striding across the room to where his phone is on the
bedstand. “I’ll set that up now. Until then, Ella?” he says seriously. “None of us leave this room. Not
once. We are all going to stay within each others‘ line of view until the security is in place. Is that
I nod, feeling a little better to hear the Alpha command taking root in my mate’s voice. Then, I head
back to Rafe’s bassinet, moving slowly and deliberately. When I get there, I calmly lay my baby back
down so he can get his rest, exhaling a deep breath as I stand up and smooth my hands over my
I feel control return to me more and more as every moment passes. This person they are – they scared
me, I’ll admit it. But as I stare down at my child and hear my mate issuing commands into my phone, I
reassure myself that whoever this is?
They’ve taken on the wrong people.
My child is the most precious thing to me in this world.
My mate is the most powerful Alpha in the world, perhaps that’s ever been born.
Well. Let’s just say they’d better be prepared to face the wrath of a goddess, if they ever want to take
And this baby is mine.
Fifteen minutes later, the house is swarming with guards.
I don’t speak with any of them, letting Sinclair handle it. Instead, I sit in the armchair next to Rafe’s
bassinet, the basket pulled close to me, not letting anyone near us. My wolf inside me has her hackles
raised, eyeing every person who passes the door to the room with her teeth bared, suspicious.
That one, she says to me, it’s him –
it’s him I know it is
I know it is – didn’t you see his shifty eyes?
I shush her, my teeth clenched, telling myself that Sinclar has clearly vetted our security team
that he wouldn’t let anyone in this house unless he had secured their loyalties years before.
Still – my wolf growls – someone got close enough to use to leave a note on our doorstep. How good
could his security have been? Or, even if his security is as good as we think, what are the holes?
I nod, my wolf’s anxiety feeding my own. Was it someone we knew, someone leaving the party? Was it
a friend, someone we hold dear?
My mind spins in many different directions, all of them dark and twisted. Still, though my wolf claws
inside of me, urging me to chase them all down, to lock the doors, I wait, patiently, for my mate to come
into the room. My trust is in him – he will protect us.
This, I know, in my bones.
Soon, my patience pays off, and Sinclair strides back into the room. “Ella,” he says softly, looking me
from head to toe, and then glancing at Rafe, still asleep in his bed. “Are you all right? Is he?”
“We’re fine,” I say simply, looking into his face and letting him know that even though I am not fine – far,
far from it, in fact – that we’re well enough that we don’t need his direct concern. Sinclair reads this on
my face and gives me a sharp nod. “Well?” I ask, all the joy and love that this day raised in me tamped
deep down inside my heart. There is nothing left in me, right now, except grim determination. “What did
you find out?”
“An old lead,” Sinclair says, sighing and crouching down at my side. “An investigation we started
months ago – that got lost in the war.”
I cock my head to the side, curious. “Ella,” he says, taking my hand, “do you remember? Back, in the
early stages of your pregnancy, the investigation that I started into who switched the sperm samples in
the first place?”
I blink, my mind instantly thrown back to what feels like another life. “We – we weren’t even mated
then. We weren’t even…together. I was your…accidental surrogate…”
He nods, signing and looking down at the floor, clearly frustrated. “My team discovered that someone
powerful was behind the switch – that it wasn’t Cora, and it wasn’t you, obviously, but that someone did
switch the samples. Someone wanted you to get pregnant with this child. With Rafe.”
I gasp, my hand going to my mouth as I suddenly remember. I can’t believe that we let this slip.
“It’s my fault,” Sinclair utters, grief and sorrow and self–ridicule in his voice as he raises his eyes to me
and takes my hand. “I…I let it drop. I got distracted. And now…whoever it is that
“They’re coming to collect…” I breathe, clenching his fingers tightly in mine.
someone who knew my lineage, who knew me more than I knew myself – wanted me pregnant with
this child, with Dominic Sinclair’s child. And now that he’s born?
They want him.
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