“YOU LOOK awfully chipper this morning,” Jason Traverse said to his twin when she strolled through the front door.
“Why shouldn’t I be?” Sarina asked. She quirked an eyebrow at him as if to emphasize her point.
“Being pregnant, I’d think you’d be miserable,” Jason smirked. “At least I sort of hoped you would be.”
“Jerk,” she said, teasing. Rounding the corner, Sarina greeted her mother, who was already up preparing breakfast.
“All grown up and still the bickering never stops,” Amanda Walker-Traverse said, grinning at her daughter. “You do look lovely Sarina.”
“At least someone in the family knows beauty when they see it.”
“You get it from me, so it’s only natural that I would,” her mom said, laughing. “How’s Brody?”
“Running around like a mad wolf. He seems to think these two will grow fast like Jason and I did.”
“Well, werewolves do tend to grow much faster than their human counterparts,” Amanda said, giving Sarina a gentle reminder.
“I know,” she agreed. “I just don’t think we need to baby proof the house today, or have a nursery ready yesterday. Brody insists on it so I just stay out of his way.”
“I’m happy to know that he cares so much for you,” Amanda said with a smile. “I have to admit there was a time, not so long ago, that we all worried that you’d made a mistake. Then, when you went through that period of forgetting when none of us knew who Brody was, it was just odd. Now that everything’s back to normal, I can take a step back and tell you that you chose wisely. It was brash to say the least, but you knew your mate and never faltered from that decision.”
“Thanks, Mama. Now if only Jason here could find himself a mate.”
“Who says I haven’t?” Jason said defensively. “I have a woman in mind. It just so happens not all of us are ready to jump on the matrimonial bandwagon as of yet.”
“Oh please,” Sarina scoffed. “I’ll take my dying breath before you ever take a mate. You’d much rather just take a woman to your bed without all the trappings of a relationship. I know.”
“I’m not denying that having a woman in my bed is nice, but lately I’ve come to realize that there’s more to life than a couple of hours of passion in the night.”
“Welcome to reality little brother,” Sarina smiled.
“Can you two please talk about something other than sex at eight in the morning?” Amanda said.
Sarina took a seat close to her brother and thanked her mother for the French toast she’d been served. “This is amazing.”
“You always say that,” Amanda chuckled.
“That’s because I’m always right,” Sarina winked. “These two want more.” She gestured to her belly.
“I was ravenous when I was carrying you two,” Amanda said. Sarina watched her mother with a smile on her face. She’d taken her mother for granted, that much she knew. Still stunning at almost fifty in human years, Amanda was a picture of beauty. The way she moved showed strength and grace. Her hair still lustrous and dark as mahogany. Her eyes still sparkled when she smiled, which she did often, especially if the children’s father was close by. “I’m surprised your father didn’t kick me out when I got pregnant with Wade.”
“Please,” Sarina laughed. “Daddy’s been crazy about you since day one. I’ve never seen any signs of that changing. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you two are still on your honeymoon.”
“We are darling,” Amanda laughed. “Well, maybe not, but we’re still over the moon about each other and we both know it. When you choose a mate there is no other who can turn your head.”
“You’re getting awfully sentimental on us in your old age, Mother,” Jason teased. One look from her had him clearing his throat and stuffing his mouth with French toast.
“Careful now, pup,” Romeo said with a grin as he entered the kitchen. “Old age or not, I’d still lay money on your mother to give you a good ass whoopin’.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jason said with a wary smile.
Sarina loved these moments. It was one of the many things she’d miss now that she and Brody had finally finished moving everything into the home he’d been given when he’d conceded his leader status. Brody, Sarina’s mate, had killed Reggie, the former alpha of his pack and taken over, all with the sensible intentions of bringing his pack under the tutelage and ruling right of Romeo and Amanda. As King and Queen of the Delta packs, it was only right that his pack join them. Since doing so, his pack had wanted for little and seemed even more settled than he’d ever seen them. Instead of living in caves like dogs, he was happy to report to Sarina and everyone else that his former pack was elated with how things turned out. They’d been given homes, food, necessities of everyday life and overall, they’d been well taken care of.
Brody, in exchange for his submission, had been given prominent status within the pack as a general. He helped Romeo keep the pack together and content, working as a liaison for those who lived further away from New Delta, making sure everyone had the necessities they needed. For her part, Sarina was happy to be pampered as her unborn twins continued to grow strong and rather quickly. She wasn’t sure they were developing as fast as she and Jason had, but she was already showing and they’d only found out about the babies a month ago. At the rate she was going, it’d be well under half of the normal human pregnancy term when she would be ready to deliver. No wonder werewolves multiplied so quickly.
Finding her mother after breakfast, Sarina voiced her concerns. “I’m thinking about asking Brody if we should stay near the hospital from April on until the babies arrive.”
“That’s not a bad idea, although having them at home isn’t a bad option either. I learned a lot about myself when I was having you. I found a confidence and reliance on myself and the ones I love. I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not been able to deliver you as I did.”
“It’s scary this first time.”
“It’s always a little bit of an anxious time, although I will say the first time there is always the unknown. I will support you in whatever you decide, Sarina.”
“I’ll see what Brody says and let you know from there.”
“You do that, sweetheart. Meanwhile, I’ve got some major craft projects to get started if we’re going to have these babies taken care of when the time comes. Never let anyone tell you twins don’t run in families.”
Fenris sat back and contemplated his next move. Sending the young buck, Brandt, to seduce and impregnate Romeo’s eldest had been a stroke of genius on his part. Now to wait and see if the seed she carried belong to Brandt or her worthless wolf of a mate. Fenris was already smiling, just thinking about it. It wouldn’t truly matter of course. He’d rip them apart no matter whose seed she carried.
He’d thought long and hard over the last several weeks about how to go about his first strike. He wanted it to hurt… a lot. Romeo needed to know and understand that he was not the alpha in charge. It wouldn’t be easy, as taking down any alpha never was, but Fenris knew that given the alternative, Romeo would bow his knee to him.
He could almost see that moment and could admit that it turned him on. Having the play of any female he wished, including Romeo’s sweet wife, or even one of his succulent daughters. Brandt had howled for days about the one called Sarina and how beautiful she was. Fenris couldn’t blame him for getting hooked on her. An alpha’s daughter was no small prize and if she was beautiful and put out as hotly as Brandt proclaimed, Fenris himself might even give her some enviable attention.
At any rate, Fenris knew that his first strike had to be the hardest and most elusive. If he did it right, and he damn well would, Romeo Traverse and his family would have no choice but to submit to his ruling. The thought of ruling the entire Delta area sent a ripple of fire through his blood as he thought about making the Traverse family pay. They’d been a thorn in his side ever since they’d split from his line. Now he’d finally worked out a plan that would set things right. He could hardly wait to get started.
“Dankar!” Fenris shouted. His patience, he could admit, wore thin during times when he was thinking about what was coming.
“You called for me sir?”
“I need you to do whatever it is you did to Brandt again. It needs to be perfect and if you can manage a longer time, that’d be in your best interest as well.”
“I’ll get right on it, sir.”
“See that you do.”
Brandt met Dankar in his quarters. “You wanted to see me, Dankar?”
“Yes, yes,” the small man said. “Come, sit.”
Brandt did as he was bade and sat in the chair where Dankar had worked on him the last time. “I presume that Fenris wanted you to make me like Brody again?”
“Yes,” Dankar replied, his tone short.
“Remember, Dankar, you may be Fenris’ right hand man, but it is I who watches your back. Show some damn respect.”
“Yes, Brandt,” said Danker, but guardedly this time.
Brandt watched the little man mix potions and concoctions of who-knew-what brew. The noxious fumes were almost enough to make him pass out. He hoped that whatever it was that Dankar was doing, that it worked well and fast, because the last thing he wanted was to have to drink some nasty shit.
“This may not feel nice,” Dankar said to him as he injected him with a large dose of some neon fluid. “But it should let you have an uninterrupted two weeks with Sarina and her family. Don’t screw it up”
Brandt went back to his room and awaited the change he knew was coming. The first time had been less than pleasant as his body shifted into that of the alpha’s daughter’s mate. He’d had twenty-four hours last time. If he had to account for fourteen days, this was going to royally suck. Like most synthetic drugs it took nearly twenty minutes to feel the effects, but once they started, Brandt could hardly breathe. Even going from man to wolf, his change always started in his eyes.
Pain shot through his irises and into his optic nerves as brown turned to blue and his pupils dilated. With his pupils the size of dimes, he was thankful his room had no windows. The light he had forgotten to shut off streamed into his vision, making Brandt curse as he swiped a hand down the wall, desperately trying to find the switch. “Shit!” he growled as his body, relentless under the pressure of the drug’s interference, continued its change. His shoulders widened and his torso and legs lengthened. The muscles in his arms, thighs and abdomen stretched and added new tissue as his body grew from a modest five foot eleven, to the taller Brody, who easily stood six foot, three inches. His jaw cracked and widened, giving him the strong jawline Brody sported. The hair on his head grew thicker, sprouting thousands of new hairs to add the lush texture of Brody’s dark locks.
Two hours after it had all begun, Brandt was finally able to look in the mirror and see Brody standing there. His eyes, now crystal blue, smiled when he did. The facial hair, dark in texture and color, much like his hair, was easy to shave. He knew from watching, that Brody rarely wore a beard or let his facial hair grow much past a five o’clock shadow. He scowled, smiled, frowned and made every facial expression he could think of to make sure the process had changed his physical appearance in every way.
“It looks as if all went well,” Dankar said, standing in Brandt’s doorway.
“Screw you,” Brandt said, glaring at Dankar. “The only solace I have is that I have two weeks to forget the pain. I may want to kill you when I change back. Be mindful to keep your distance from me when I do.”
“I won’t forget,” Dankar said. Brandt could have sworn a grin crossed the man’s face. If he didn’t know better, he’d lay money on the pain being the most enjoyable part for Dankar when he concocted his potions. He had yet to use one that didn’t have some sort of pain with it.