“You should have-”
“Oh, my God!” Izzy snapped, cutting off her mate. “He never tells us anything! Either get me a Coke or let it go! You know this was just a job to him!”
Kale didn’t say anything, just continued to hold CJ in his arms. He didn’t bother telling them that this was anything but a job to him, that after he saw what that piece of shit had done to Cloe that he’d decided to give her the one thing that he’d swore he’d never give to another woman.
For the rest of his life, Cloe and her children would be his to protect and watch over. Her children, God help him, would make it to their immortality. As much as it pained him to protect more Pytes, he didn’t have a choice. He couldn’t protect the mother and not the children, couldn’t let Cloe experience the pain of losing a child. As far as the rest of the shifter population was concerned, Cloe belonged to him.
“Is no one getting me a Coke?” Izzy demanded when the silence in the room thickened to the point of danger.
As one, both men turned their glares at the small woman breastfeeding her newborn baby daughter and snapped, “No!”
Izzy looked pointedly away with her little nose in the air. “Then I hate you both,” she said with an uppity sniffle that had them both rolling their eyes and their lips twitching despite the tension in the room.
She was just so damn cute sometimes.
“If you want our help then you’re going to start sharing,” Chris announced, ruining his, semi, good mood.
“No,” he said immediately, because he didn’t need their help.
“How exactly do you plan on finding the other Pytes without our help?” Chris asked, sounding genuinely curious as he carefully sat down on the chair by the large bed.
“The same way that I handle any other job,” he said, pressing a baby kiss against CJ’s head before he carefully laid the sleeping baby on the bed as he stood up, making sure to put a pillow on either side of him to keep him safe.
“And how’s that?”
“Sorry,” he said, leaning over the babies and pressing a kiss against Izzy’s head, ignoring the little grumble she muttered in response, “but that’s a trade secret.”
“How is she?”
Christofer looked up from his quickly cooling glass of blood and shrugged. “As good as can be expected I guess.”
Which wasn’t saying much.
For the past few hours he’d held her in his arms while she’d laid there, staring off into space, appearing lost to the world. She hadn’t moved or spoken since she’d broken down. He’d dried her off, dressed her and tucked her into bed after he coaxed her into taking a little blood from him. Once she was done, she’d closed her eyes and drifted off, all the fight in her gone.
She was lost and he had no idea how to bring her back.
Ephraim nodded as he grabbed a glass and poured blood into it. He took a sip, cringing at the cold metallic taste as he sat down across from Christofer at the kitchen table.
“What’s your plan now?” he asked, taking another sip before he pushed the glass away with a disgusted shake of his head.
“You mean now that my mate is no longer being hunted by some sick, psychotic piece of shit?” Christofer asked with a humorless laugh. “I have no idea what we’re going to do now.”
“You know that you’re welcome to stay here as long as you want,” Ephraim reminded him.
“I know and I appreciate that but-”
“But, you want a home of your own,” Ephraim finished for him with an easy smile. “That’s understandable.”
“I just have no idea how we’re going to manage that,” he admitted, dropping his gaze back down to the cup of blood he’d been toying with for the past two hours.
“Because of the bounty?”
He sighed heavily as he sat back in his chair. “I’d actually forgotten about that.”
“No matter where you go, Christofer, you need to be careful. They can’t kill you, but they can bring you to your knees.”
By hurting Cloe was left unsaid, but they both knew that she was his greatest weakness now. That is until their son came. Then there would be two people with the power to destroy him.
“Do you want to stay here until after the baby is born?” Ephraim offered and he knew that he should take him up on his offer, but he couldn’t.
Staying here would just be a constant reminder of the world they lived in, the dangers and everything that had happened to Cloe. She deserved a home of her own, some peace. He owed her a chance to be happy, a chance to raise their child away from all of this.
“No,” he said, shaking his head as he swirled the blood in his cup, “I think it would be better to get her out of here before the baby is born.”
Ephraim opened his mouth, no doubt to argue, but in the end he simply nodded. “At least let me ask the Council to set you both up somewhere safe.”
“Thank you,” he said, looking up and meeting Ephraim’s kind gaze. It went against what his father had taught him, leaving it up to someone else to take care of what was his, but he knew when he was over his head. He didn’t have the first clue about finding a home that would be safe from demons, shifters and vampires. This man did and he’d be foolish to refuse his help.
Ephraim nodded as he got up to get a fresh glass of blood. “We’ll find you something in the morning.”
One Week Later……..
“How are you feeling?”
“Good,” she mumbled, watching as the small town’s busy road disappeared and was quickly replaced by a winding country road.
“Are you okay with this?” he asked, caressing the back of her hand with his thumb as he continued to drive towards what would be their home.
“Yes,” she said, although she wasn’t so sure that she was.
Only a few months ago she was on her own, living life on the go with no one and nothing holding her back and now…..
Now she no longer had a reason to run. Her nightmares were a thing of the past. She was in love, expecting a baby, heading towards her new future, one that had been chosen for her, would live forever and she felt oddly…disappointed. Everything had been decided for her. There had been no planning, no agonizing over the details, researching, getting excited about planning her future, nothing. The same could be said for her relationship with Christofer.
There’d been some excitement, but she’d found herself falling in love with him without him having to romance her. Not that she was a hopeless romantic or anything, but shouldn’t they have experienced the anxiety of dating and falling in love? Of not knowing what the future held? The blood exchange had ruined all of that.
There would be no romance.
No chance of experiencing the ups and downs of falling in love, because it was simply impossible to love him anymore than she already did. He was her rock, her heart and soul and that should make her happy that she’d found the one person meant for her, and she was, it was just that….
She inwardly sighed as she admitted to herself that she wanted it all. She wanted him to sweep her off her feet, to bring her flowers, chocolate, to see really horrible romance movies, to go for walks on the beach, enjoy candlelit baths with him after a romantic dinner. She wanted the dream, her Prince Charming trying to win her hand. Instead, her Prince Charming had captured her heart by being everything that she needed. She loved him so much and couldn’t imagine life without him. She had no problems with spending the rest of her life with him, she just wanted…….