Accidental Surrogate

Chapter 247 – Kieran Shares Something Unexpected


Dinner is a tense affair.

I wish I could say it’s clear whether or not our efforts with this summit are paying off, but all of these
Alphas play their cards so close to their chests – well, all except Kieran. The Storm Forest Alpha
spends the evening glaring at everyone around him, even his own men. I’m beginning to think that
there isn’t any way for us to win him over and that we should focus our attention elsewhere – on the
Alpha’s we can form alliances with. Still, I understand that excluding him might make his animosity
towards our cause even greater.

I ponder my conversation with Sinclair, wondering if Kieran is actively betraying us. Has he told Damon
that my mate still lives? Is he planning on helping him attempt another assassination? I don’t believe he
cares about people beyond his pack or perhaps beyond Vanara, but I didn’t believe he was stupid. It’s
one thing to refuse to join forces with us, and another entirely to make a suicide pact with a madman –
for that’s surely what joining Damon would mean.

Of course, I’ve been wrong before. Sinclair believes he’s hiding something, and I have to admit the
Alpha’s behavior is suspect. So my only mission tonight is to persuade Kieran to come clean, and I
know exactly how I’m going to do it.

I start with simple observation, knowing just how uncomfortable persistent and unwanted attention can
be to one with a guilty conscience. I don’t hide the fact that I’m watching him. Every time Kieran looks
up and finds my eyes on him, I stare with the same expression I’ve always used for misbehaving
children. It’s not threatening or cold, rather deliberate and dismayed. It says: I know what you’ve done
and I’m already disappointed, don’t make things worse by lying to me.

I begin sprinkling bait into my conversations as well, which isn’t difficult when all the delegates want to
debrief about their excursion today. “It was absolutely sickening.” The Black Alder is saying next to me.

“I’ve never seen so many people in so much pain.” He’s looking at me with wide eyed sincerity, eager
to hear my perspective. They all are – being a child of the Goddess has its benefits.

“And to think the person inflicting all that horror is the one who is meant to protect them.” I sigh, shaking
my head sadly. “It’s the worst kind of betrayal. What kind of Alpha could possibly stomach harming so
many shifters, let alone those in his care?”

“But it wasn’t only shifters!” The Silver Dawn Alpha pipes up. “The human settlements were even

I pretend like this is news to me, though my pain and outrage over the details they share are
completely genuine. “You see, this is why we have to stop thinking about our peoples as separate.
Damon doesn’t care who he hurts, and if some of us suffer then we all do. If we only help the shifters
and leave the humans behind, then those settlements you saw today will only grow. The people will see
that we only care for our own kind – they will see us prosper while they languish, and they will hate us
for it.” I scan the faces around me, taking my attention off of Kieran only long enough to argue my case.

“When I first learned about shifters, Dominic explained to me that he doesn’t lead because he wants to.
He does it because his power is a grave responsibility – he has the strength to spare, so he’s obligated
to lend it to those in need. This is the same principle. Vanara has the power and strength that all those
beings fleeing the war, and everyone who remains trapped under Damon’s thumb, lack.” Sinclair has
one arm slung over the back of my chair, and his fingers trace circles on my upper arm, encouraging
me to continue.

“It is an incredible privilege to be able to choose whether or not to enter this conflict. And it would be
easy to say it’s not your problem, but if your life is easy and prosperous while the rest of the world
wages war…” I trail off, sounding forlorn. “Well I just can’t find any honor in that.” I return my full focus
to my true target, pleased to see the Storm Forest Alpha listening intently. “And what good is an Alpha
without honor? Without loyalty to a higher cause than his own self-interest?”

Kieran, who has been turning increasingly red while I make my speech, surges up from the table. “Fine
damn you!” He bursts, throwing down his napkin. His movement is so abrupt that his chair falls back
and clatters against the marble floor, adding violent emphasis to his outburst.. A hush falls over the
room, and I’m infinitely pleased this is a private dinner rather than a public feast. Sinclair glowers at the
other wolf, a deep growl rumbling in his chest.

I rest a steadying hand on his leg, keeping my posture relaxed. “It’s okay.” I soothe, trying to gentle his
worth. “I’d like to hear anything Alpha Kieran has to say… or confess.”

The man in question narrows his eyes at me, outrage and indignance pouring off of him in waves. “Ohh
you’re too clever for your own good, you know that?” He grumbles – it does not sound like a

“I’ve been told.” I tell him, smiling serenely.

Kieran shakes his head, clenching his fists. “I wasn’t going to share this,” He begins furiously. “But now
I see I have no alternative.” He’s silent for almost half a minute, and the quiet drags on interminably.
Eventually Kieran seems to find the right words, “Yesterday I returned to my rooms to find an
anonymous electronic message waiting, including a video link and a note advising me to follow it if I
cared about the future of Vanara. When I did so, I discovered that Damon was waiting on the other

The other Alphas begin muttering amongst each other, and Kieran huffs in frustration. “I didn’t
announce this for precisely this reason. You’re all already preparing to condemn me!”

I raise my hand, urging the other wolves to quiet. “No one is condemning you. Please tell us what

Kieran scowls, and I’m sure he’s cursing my name in his head. “He offered me an alternative alliance.”
He explains fiercely, not taking his eyes from me. “He said that he needed someone to help ensure
Sinclair’s bloodline ended once and for all, and that he could use ground support to thwart the humans
and the resistance fighters on the royal continent. He was confident that once these challenges were
overcome, We would be primed to turn our attention to Sevka and Vanara.”

Now the hush in the dining rooms is completely voluntary, as many of the delegates gape in surprise.
“Dominic was right. Damon isn’t going to be satisfied with controlling one land, his appetite for power is
infinite. He spoke of a worldwide empire, and he tried to bribe me by offering your crown, Gabriel.”
Kieran confesses, looking suddenly ill. “He said he would reward my loyalty to his cause by putting me
in charge of Vanara – that this was the only way I would ever sit upon the throne.”

We’re all waiting with baited breath, beyond curious to hear how Kieran responded to this offer. “I
questioned his strategy. You see, I thought he might tell me some of his plans to prove he could fulfill
the promises he was making. I wanted to know what his vision of the future was, and how he was going
to achieve it. In return he lashed out. He called me a coward and a… little bitch. He said I was as bad
as a she-wolf, nagging and questioning his ability when he’d just offered me the world on a platter.”

Kieran is growing visibly more irate with every word, his cheeks positively crimson now. “He called me
every insulting name he could think of and he ended the meeting when I refused to commit to an
alliance.” The Alpha averts his gaze to the ground. “Then today… this afternoon my chief of staff called
to inform me that I’d received an express package by special courier. Apparently it was full of dresses,
diapers and self help books on how to be a real man.” It’s a good thing that Kieran can’t seem to look
us in the eye, because I slap my hand over my mouth to smother the shocked laugh attempting to
bubble up inside of me. I glance at Roger, whose lips are visibly twitching as he fights his own humor.

“I know it was from Damon.” Kieran announces angrily, and I’m certain only the grace of the Goddess
keeps my face straight. “He’s trying to bully me into betraying you all. But I will never join such a wolf.”
He turns his gaze on Sinclair now, looking contrite. “I did not reveal to him that you are still alive,

Dominic. I did not share any of the progress we’ve made here.” He sucks in a deep breath. “I should
have told you about the offer as soon as I received it. But after seeing those camps today, after
learning just how dishonorable our enemy is… I’ve made my decision. My allegiance is yours.”

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