“Hi, Dad,” said Kraig. He looked down at his hands and then slipped them under the blanket over his lap.
“How are you doing this morning, honey?" asked his mom. Lydia hurried over, so I moved out of her way and stood off to the side of the couch. She ran her hand over Kraig’s forehead. “Do you sleep well?”
“I’m fine. The alpha helped me take a shower last night.”
I put my hand on Kraig’s shoulder and squeeze gently. “Deke.”
Kraig leaned his head back and looked up at me. “What?”
“I’m not just your alpha. We’ve known each other forever and…” I looked up at Kraig’s dad. He’d entered the room but he still stood several feet away from the couch. “I didn’t have a chance to speak with you first, but I blooded Kraig. I should have had more control but I didn’t. I hope you can forgive me.”
Henry shook his head. “Lydia told me about that last night. You’ve always been like another son to us, and everyone knew how you felt about Kraig.”
My face flamed. Once my hormones had settled and I’ve gotten past the obnoxious stage of being attracted to everyone with a firm chest and tight ass, I’d been very fixated on Kraig. No one had taken it seriously; an alpha heir just did not have a future with a human werekin. I couldn’t have cared less what everybody else thought, but Kraig was just as insistent on ignoring the heat between us. Once he turned eighteen he’d left.
At just twenty, he insisted I didn’t know what I really wanted. That he was familiar to me and that was the only reason I was so attracted to him. He calmly packed a suitcase—not even looking at me when he shot me down. No matter what I said or did he’d been determined to leave.
Look how that turned out.
Who knew what people would say once they saw him? In our streak Kraig was loved. No matter what had been done to him our family would accept him. But what about the other groups? Had the doctor experimented on any other werekin? I really needed to go over his files again. There was so much I didn’t know, but Kraig came first. He needed a lot of care both physically and emotionally. I wasn’t going to let him down again.
Linda had grabbed Kraig’s hand and had let go and she sat down beside him. Henry had yet to close the gap between them, and I could see the pain in Kraig’s eyes. He closed his eyes, but his lip trembled.
His mom squeezed his hand. “He is still our son, Henry.” She narrowed her eyes and stared at her husband with a look. Experience made me wince in sympathy for him. “If you can’t look past—”
“No, Mom. It’s too much to expect. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror.”
Kraig’s dad crossed the space between them into big steps. He squatted next to the couch and clamped his hand on Kraig’s thigh when Kraig inched away. I tense but held my place. Henry’s voice shook as he said, “You could look like the damned hippopotamus, and I wouldn’t care. I thought you were dead. To get you back… I don’t know what to say right now, but I love you. You are my son no matter what you look like on the outside."
“But I’m not the same on the inside either. I have a werekin soul.” Kraig took a breath and met his dad’s gaze. “Two of them.”
“That was obvious.” Henry reached up and traced the black lines outlining Kraig’s elongated cheek bones, the rosettes on his neck, then dropped a hand down to cover the stripes on Kraig’s arm with his fingers. “You have beautiful markings.”
“No one has two souls. It’s abomination,” Kraig whispered.
“Says who?” I barked.
Kraig craned his head back to look at me. “The werekin who were working with the doctor. For him? Or maybe he was working for them. I don’t know. They wanted me dead, though.”
This was all information I didn’t know. “Who are these werekin? Bonded or human? I need names.”
Kraig closed his eyes and sighed. “I don’t know. It’s all so hazy, and it’s hard to remember the details. There were others though, werekin and not human.” Kraig rubbed his forehead with a shaky hand.
“That’s enough,” Linda said. “You need to eat and rest so you can recover your strength.” She straightened up. “Questions can wait.”
I might be the alpha, but I was not about to gainsay my blooded mate’s mother. Especially not since she’d tanned my hide more than a few times growing up so I knew her bark was not even close to her bite. Not even my position would save me if she thought I wasn’t treating her baby with all the care he deserved.
Good thing I agreed with her. “Why don’t we eat? There’s plenty for everyone.”
Having Linda in the house was like inviting in a hurricane. We were seated around the table in my sitting room, food piled high on every plate, in what felt like the space of a blink. Kraig stared at the mound of eggs in front of him.
The fork he grabbed rattled against the plate and the eggs slid off. Kraig made a small sound and tried again, but there was next to nothing on the fork by the time it got to his mouth. Everyone tried to avoid staring, but I couldn’t watch his struggle and do nothing. I grabbed a sausage off my plate and wrapped it in a syrup-soaked pancake. “Here.”
Silence blanketed the dining room as everyone froze.
“That’s yours,” he said.
“You’re mine.” I held it out, chuffing. “Take it.”
Kraig took the food and a low purr filled the silence. “Thanks.”
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