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Accidental Surrogate for Alpha novel Chapter 35


“I swear, Cora.” I groan, burying my head in my hands. “I’m in so far over my head it’s ridiculous.”

“You’re doing fine!” Cora insists, despite the fact that she doesn’t have any idea how things are actually going. “I mean a month ago you didn’t even know this world existed.”

“How did you keep it quiet for so long?” I inquire.

“I didn’t have a choice.” Cora admits, “I didn’t even believe it at first. It took me a lot longer to come to terms with it than it took you, believe me. I mean I could see it through my microscope, I could see the molecular evidence, but…” She trails off, shaking her head about just how deep her denial had run. “I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I always thought magic was nonsense – it actually shook my belief in science for a minute there.”

I appreciate her consolation more than I can express. I’ve felt so alone in all this, it’s wonderful to know I’m not the only one who struggled this way. “I think it helps that I’ve been completely immersed in it.” I reason. “You have no idea how much better I feel just being out with you – away from all that. I mean honestly, it feels as though I’ve been living underwater or something. Like I’m learning how to survive without air because there’s no other option, and I don’t even realize how odd it is until I surface again and remember what breathing is.” I explain. “Not to mention Sinclair. He’s confusing me so much. It’s like I’m a teenager again and he’s my first crush.”

“Maybe it’s just the baby,” Cora suggests, “it wants to be near him.”

“I suppose.” I concede, “but I still don’t understand how any of this is possible. I mean the shifters are one thing – but how can I be pregnant by one?”

“I don’t know.” Cora sighs, “I mean their society has always been hidden for their own protection. A few humans like me are allowed to know, and I expect a few have fallen in love at some point or another, but I’ve never heard of anyone cross breeding. It shouldn’t be possible.” She shakes her head. “Your baby really is a miracle, Elle.”

“Don’t I know it.” I grin. “I have to focus on that. I have to focus on the baby, rather than him.”

“Is it really that bad?” Cora presses.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m losing it, and I can’t figure out if he reciprocates the feelings, or if it’s all in my head. And then there’s all this stuff with his former mate. It’s all such a mess.”

“Do you trust him?” Cora probes gently, squeezing my hand across the table.

I feel like there’s a rock sitting in the bottom of my stomach as I consider this question. “I made the mistake of trusting one man – after everything that happened to us when we were growing up, I actually fell for Mike’s lies. I knew better and I let my guard down. I’ll never forgive myself for putting myself in that situation, and it’s not a mistake I plan on making again.”

Cora looks at me with so much undiluted pity that I pull my hand away. “Please don’t look at me that way.”

“Mike wasn’t your fault, Ella.” She declares firmly. “Mike was Mike’s fault.”

“It takes two to pull off a con.” I remind her, “It can’t succeed without an easy mark – and that’s obviously what I was. I’m at least partly responsible for not seeing through his bullshit. There were red flags and I just buried my head in the sand rather than confront them.”

She’s shaking her head determinedly, “You know, the older we get, the more I realize just how much you shielded me from when we were kids. You let yourself be hurt so that I and the other little ones wouldn’t be, and now you carry the weight of that trauma while we get off scot free. It isn’t fair. And I hate to see you blaming yourself this way when none of it has been your fault.”

I stare intently at my surrogate sister, feeling a rush of warmth for her. “You know I wouldn’t change that for the world, Cora. I would so much rather suffer myself, than let you be harmed, than fail to protect you.”

“That’s why you’re going to make such a wonderful mother.” She smiles tenderly.

“I just hope this baby is safe.” I relate. “The campaign ends just before I’m due, and once Sinclair is King I’ll be able to relax. But I’m terrified of him losing. If the Prince wins I really think he might come after my baby… maybe it and Sinclair both.”

“I can’t imagine anyone being strong enough to lay a hand on Sinclair.” Cora observes doubtfully.

“On their own maybe not.” I agree, “but with an army behind him?”

“Then you’ll just have to make sure he wins.” Cora encourages. “The word around the office is that you’ve already made an incredible splash.”

“Yeah, so much of one that I can barely go anywhere without camera crews following me around everywhere I go.” I complain.

“Well it definitely sounds like you need a night off.” Cora declared mischievously. “We should go out! Just the two of us – before your whole life gets consumed by the holidays.”

“I’d love to,” I sigh, “but if we want to go out without an entire entourage we’ll have to be sneaky about it.”

She arches her brows. “Sinclair is being that overprotective?”


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