This is completely unedited so please ignore spelling and grammatical errors. This is subject to change in the final book.
I thought we had every reason to fight before.
But now, with the baby, fighting takes on a whole new meaning.
Fighting and winning, assures the baby’s safety.
And I’ll do anything to keep my baby safe.
Don’t mess with a mama wolf.
“We’re having a baby,” Caeden repeated softly under his breath. He looked up at me and his eyes shimmered with tears. “I’m going to be a dad.” Caeden put his hand to my stomach, “There’s really a baby in there?”
I giggled at his words. “Yes, there’s really a baby in there.”
“My baby,” he whispered as his fingers caressed me through the thin fabric of my shirt.
“I’m going to be a grandma!” Both our mom’s exclaimed at the same time.
I looked at Caeden and laughed.
“Sweeeeet!” Bryce said, “I’m going to be the coolest Uncle in the history of Uncles!”
“You’re not going anywhere near my kid,” Caeden warned Bryce.
“Oh, come on!” Bryce threw his hands in the air. “Do you have to suck the fun out of everything?”
“When it involves my son or daughter, yeah.”
Bryce rolled his eyes and looked at me. “I guess you’ll have to play good cop with the kid. The poor baby isn’t even here yet and Mr. Controlling is already dictating who the kid plays with.”
I laughed. “That’s probably because you’d drop the baby on its head,” I joked.
“I would never!” Bryce feigned shock.
Amy chuckled and looked at her youngest son. “Well, there was that one time when you dropped Jake.”
Charlotte smacked Bryce’s arm. “You dropped my brother?”
“It was one time! One time! Why does everybody hold dumb stuff over my head!? I can be responsible…if I want to be.”
The couch dipped down beside me and I looked over to see Gram. I gulped.
“A baby?” She looked at me, tears shimmering in her brown eyes.
I nodded, tearing up as well.
“I told ya’ll no babies for at least five years,” her lower lip trembled. I don’t think I had ever seen Gram so worked up before.
Caeden squeezed my hand. “I know, Gram, it just happened,” I explained.
I expected a lengthy lecture on condoms and birth control, but she surprised me by wrapping her arms around me and rocking me back and forth.
“This is a blessing, Sophie. I know I said y’all should wait, and I meant that, but this will be the most loved baby on the planet. I’m going to shower it with gifts and love and kisses—I think I should move in!” She exclaimed, pulling away.
“I don’t think so, Gram. Moving in won’t be necessary. Caeden and I can handle this,” I put my hand against my flat stomach.
It still hadn’t sunk in yet that I was actually having a baby.
When I had missed my period I had chalked it up to everything going on with the pack, Travis getting away—yet again, and Logan dying. I had been under so much stress. But when it still didn’t come, I knew. I don’t know how, a mother’s intuition maybe? Whatever it was, I was suddenly very aware that Caeden’s child was growing inside me.
“You’re so young,” she said sadly, patting my cheek, “you haven’t even lived yet.”
“This is living, Gram,” I smiled.
She patted my cheek and studied me. She shook her head and said, “It doesn’t seem like you should be married with a baby on the way, Sophie. Just yesterday you were a little girl coming to visit me for the summer, begging for my cupcakes.”
“I know,” my voice cracked.
Suddenly, a sound like a honking horn filled the room. I turned in the direction of my dad, knowing that was the sound of him blowing his nose. “Dad?” I questioned.
“I’m fine,” he said and his voice shook. “You’re pregnant?”
Was I going to keep getting asked that question? I mean, come on people, I didn’t know how much more blunt I could be.
“Yeah, dad, I’m really pregnant,” I said quietly.
“My baby’s having a baby,” he cried and blew his nose again.
I had never, ever, in my eighteen years of life, seen my dad this emotional. My mom walked towards him and wrapped her arm around his shoulders. “He’ll be fine,” she mouthed at me before leading him from the family room.
I took a shaky breath and looked at the rest of the room. They all appeared to still be in shock.
Chris shook her head and seemed to come out of her stupor, letting out a high-pitched squeal that left my ears ringing. “You bitch! That’s what you wouldn’t tell me!”
“Guilty,” I shrugged. Did she really think I’d tell her something like this before Caeden knew? She might have been my best friend, but Caeden deserved to know before everyone else.
“A baby! Do you know what this means?!” She cried.
“Uh—no?” I asked, a bit afraid of what her reply would be.
“Baby clothes and baby shoes! Aaaah!”
“Babe,” Bentley pulled her against his side. “Calm down, and don’t go getting any ideas,” he chuckled.
“Oh please,” she rolled her eyes, “I don’t want a baby yet, event though we would have the cutest kid ever. Just look at us,” she smirked, pointing at herself and Bentley.
Bentley shook his head, his lips quirking up at the corners as he fought a smile.
Nolan came over and sat down beside Caeden, clapping him on the shoulder. “Cay-berry, you must have some really powerful sperm.”
“I’m leaving,” Gram said, “when the topic of sperm gets brought up, my butt’s outta here,” she scurried from the room and towards the kitchen.
“I’ll talk to you two in a bit,” Amy said, following her.
“You really know how to clear a room,” I told Nolan.
He shrugged. “I can’t help it that people don’t like it when bodily fluids get brought up. It’s a fact of life.”
“Amen,” Bryce said. I was beginning to wonder if Nolan and Bryce weren’t related…or at least from the same planet.
Caeden blushed and shook his head. “I—uh—actually I think I know when it happened…”
“What?” I snapped my head in his direction.
Rubbing his cheeks to hide the embarrassing redness, he coughed, “Um—in the shower, we didn’t—”
My eyes widened as realization hit me. “Oh my god. You’re right.” I cradled my face in my hands, shaking my head. “We are so dumb.”
“Dude,” Bentley snickered, “always wrap it up.”
“Shut up,” Caeden glared at his best friend. He took one of my hands in his and used the other to cup my cheek. “I don’t regret this, though. Believe that. I’m so incredibly happy. This is…amazing,” he lowered his hand from my face and pressed it against my stomach, even now there was still awe on his face.
I knew we were young, newly married, and with the threat of Travis still looming over our heads, now certainly wasn’t the best time for a baby, but like Caeden I was happy.
I hated to disturb Caeden, since he still had a hand pressed against my stomach, but I knew I really needed to find my dad.
“I’ll be right back,” I kissed his cheek as I stood.
It didn’t take me long to find my mom and dad. They were sitting on the steps and my mom was talking to him in hushed tones.
“Dad?” I questioned hesitantly, wringing my hands together.
He looked up at me and although he wasn’t crying anymore, his eyes were red-rimmed.
“Hey, baby girl,” he swallowed thickly. “I’m sorry for how I acted. I’m just…really surprised.”
“Well, I am married.” I cringed at my own words. Bad joke.
He tried to smile but failed. “I know…but us dads like to pretend our daughters are completely innocent.”
I closed my eyes and winced. “Can we please change the subject?”
My mom laughed, patted my dad on the shoulder, and said, “I’ll leave you two alone to talk.”
I watched her disappear into the kitchen and sat down on the stairs beside my dad.
“So…the kid isn’t going to call me grandpa, right? I’m too young to be grandpa,” he bumped my shoulder.
“What do you want the baby to call you?” I asked, smiling.
“I don’t know,” he took a deep breath. “What about PapPap?”
“Whatever you want, daddy,” I laughed, shaking my head. “You have about eight months to figure it out.”
He stared at me for a moment and tears shimmered in his eyes once more. “You’re not my little girl anymore. You’re all grown up and that makes me sad. Don’t get me wrong, I love Caeden, but I miss the days when I was your favorite guy.”
“Daddy,” I laid my head on his shoulder, “you’re still my favorite guy, you’re just tied with someone else now. I have plenty of love for the both of you. No matter what, you’re always going to be my dad. I might not be the little girl playing dress up and asking you to be my prince, but I am still Sophie.”
“I know,” he kissed the top of my head. “It’s hard on us parents to accept the fact that our children have to grow up and become adults themselves. Now,” he glanced at my stomach, “you’re going to get to experience that.”
“You know,” I smiled, “I’m going to need a lot of advice. I’ve never even changed a diaper.”
He chuckled. “You know this baby will be the most loved baby in the whole world. You have nothing to worry about, Soph. Between me, your mom, Gram, and Caeden’s mom, this baby will be spoiled rotten.”
“Do you think I can do this?” I hated voicing my concerns aloud, but I knew my dad was the only person who wouldn’t judge me for my fears.
“I know so,” he assured me. “You have nothing to worry about.”
“Thanks, dad, I needed to hear that.”
“Anytime,” he stood, holding out a hand to pull me up. “Let’s get this place cleaned up.”
With everyone’s help, we had the house clean in no time.
I hugged my mom, dad, and Gram, close as I said goodbye.
Soon, it was just me, Caeden, and Nolan left.
Nolan leaned by the front door, eyeing us. “Um…I’m going to head out for a while. I’ll see you two later,” he chuckled and before either of us could reply he was opening the door and gone from our sight.
I shook my head at Nolan’s strange behavior.
“I’m so tired,” I told Caeden as I started up the steps.
“Maybe you should take a hot bath,” he suggested as the dogs ran up beside us.
“Whoa,” I started to lose my balance when Murphy’s tail slammed into me.
Caeden’s hand shot out to steady me and keep me from crashing to the ground. “Are you okay?” He asked, concern lacing his voice.
“Yeah, fine, just a bit dizzy,” I put a hand to my forehead and continued up the rest of the steps.
“Sophie,” he started, “we’re shifters…we have excelled balance you shouldn’t have fallen.”
“I’m tired,” I reasoned, opening our bedroom doors. Both dogs bound onto the bed.
“Still, that shouldn’t have been a factor.”
“What are you saying?” I turned to look at him with my hands on my hips.
“I don’t know,” he rubbed the back of his head. “Could the baby—”
I stopped him right there with a glare. “Don’t start, Caeden. I mean it. I love you, I do, but don’t you dare try to turn my pregnancy into an excuse to protect me from everything. I won’t let you do it.”
“I’m just concerned,” he followed me into the bathroom as I started a tub of hot water, adding bubble bath.
“And I understand that,” I turned around and took his face between my hands, “but you have to learn that you can’t worry about everything, and you can’t control me. I am my own person, Caeden.”
“I know,” he whispered.
“Then why is there still a wrinkle in your brow?”
“Because, you’re my mate, Soph. It’s my job to worry about you,” he explained.
“Every job has a vacation, let it go,” I kissed him.
“Nice try,” he smirked when I pulled away.
“It was worth a shot,” I laughed.
By the time I got in bed, I was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. But sleep was short lived. It wasn’t long until the nightmare consumed me…
My body slammed into the tree and I felt my insides breaking apart. The mutant stalked towards me and smiled triumphantly. This was it. He was going to kill me.
Just when I prepared to close my eyes, a wolf slammed into the mutant. The wolf took out the mutant’s leg. When the wolf turned his head to check on me, the not quite dead mutant used that to his advantage. The mutant grabbed the wolf by the neck and twisted. It happened so fast—I counted two of my heartbeats and the wolf was dead.
Horrified, I stared into the dead green eyes of Logan.
This couldn’t be happening. It was my fault he was dead. I would have to live with the knowledge that Logan died protecting me for the rest of my life.
I sat straight up, sobbing, my clothes drenched in sweat.
“Sophie?” Caeden sat up, rubbing his eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“My fault,” I gasped breathlessly. “It’s my fault.”
“What are you talking about?” His thick brows furrowed together in confusion.
“L-L-Logan is dead…because of me,” I cried.
“Oh, Soph,” Caeden took my face between his hands. “That’s so not true.”
“It is,” I sobbed, letting him wrap me in his arms. My tears soaked his bare skin but he didn’t seem to mind.
“We can’t blame ourselves for things that are out of our control,” his fingers tangled in my hair.
“If I hadn’t got hurt—”
He pulled me away from his chest and pressed a finger against my lips. “But you did get hurt, Soph. Logan saved you, baby. He gave up his life so you could live yours, don’t ruin his gift by dwelling on the past. What is, is.”
“Aren’t you sad he’s gone?” I choked.
“God, of course I am. He’s been my friend since we were little, even though we weren’t close, he was still always there. I’ll miss him for the rest of my life. But without his sacrifice, I wouldn’t have my wife or my child,” he swallowed thickly. “Missing him is one thing, but being angry and stuck in the past questioning everything is an entirely different thing.” He brushed my hair behind my ear with a sweep on his warm fingers.
“I want to rip Travis apart for causing this,” I growled, my fingernails digging into Caeden’s skin.
“Shhh, my she-wolf,” he whispered.
“What? You don’t feel the same way?” I questioned, gazing up at him with wide eyes.
“Oh, I do,” his eyes narrowed and his jaw clenched, “I plan on avenging the deaths of everyone in my pack. I can promise you, Travis will experience tenfold what he dished out. He won’t know what’s hit him.”