Fated Surrender by Alanea Alder


  “Madison, weren’t you going to call someone to arrange for your things to be sent here?” he asked. He had a feeling that in order to keep his mate out of trouble, she would have to stay busy. She looked up at him and beamed.

  “Yes. Thanks for the reminder. It’s late enough in the afternoon Giddey will be up.” She reached into her purse and pulled out her phone.

  “Good morning, sunshine,” she said.

  “I hate you. You left me,” a male voice replied. Connor’s ears perked up.

  “Now, baby, don’t be like that, I had to make sure my brother was okay and guess what. I’ve met my mate and will be moving to Arkadia,” she said brightly.

  Silence.

  Silence.

  Madison frowned and looked down at her phone.

  “Giddey, you still there?” she asked.

  “How could you do this to me? To us?” Giddey wailed through the phone.

  “Now, honey, don’t be like that. You will do well without me. I know of at least three other women who have begged to have you in their lives,” Madison said soothingly.

  “I don’t want them! I want you. Please come home! I’m lonely,” Giddey sniffled.

  “Oh, baby, don’t cry. You are perfection at what you do, I’ve never had better. Someone else will appreciate that,” she assured the man on the phone. Connor felt his nostrils flare.

  “You taught me everything I know, and if I can’t be with you I will just die, alone, in my apartment, alone, surrounded by pizza boxes and takeout containers. Alone,” Giddey yelled dramatically.

  “No you… Wait. Giddey, why are you surrounded by takeout containers? Have you left your apartment since I left?” she demanded. There was a tiny sniffle on the phone.

  “You haven’t, have you. Giddey, I left New York nearly a week ago.” She said sounding concerned.

  “Miss you,” he mumbled. Madison’s eyes narrowed.

  “You’re on your house phone aren’t you?” she asked. There was a gasp.

  “How did you know?

  “You were mugged again weren’t you! You set it up to have your cell calls forwarded to your house line.” She palmed her face with her free hand.

  “Listen, Giddey baby, you can’t live like this. Did you file a police report?” she asked.

  “Yes, Officer Craig even kept the laughter to a minimum. He said I was a walking New York record for the number of experienced muggings,” Giddey said.

  “For fuck’s sake! He better have processed that report or I’m going to have his captain’s ass,” she grumbled.

  “Can’t I come live with you? I know you, Madison. You will find something to sink your teeth into and you’ll need me,” Giddey asked in a small voice.

  “Baby, you know I love you…” Madison started. Connor growled and snapped the handle off his frying pan. Madison looked up and her eyes widened.

  “One second, Giddey.” She hit a button on the phone.

  “Oh, Connor, he’s so lost without me. Can he move in with us?” she asked, her eyes filled with tears. Connor felt his mouth drop.

  “You want to move your lover into our house?” he demanded. She blinked.

  “What?” she asked, looking shocked.

  “Giddey. Your lover. You want to move him into our house, after last night?” he roared.

  “Oh Connor. No! Giddey is my personal assistant, he’s gay down to his DNA and not my lover. He is the most amazing assistant, organized, efficient. But he’s totally inept when it comes to taking care of himself. Can he please stay with us? I’m scared of what might happen if I’m not there to watch out for him. He’s already been mugged again,” she said, biting her lower lip.

  “Not your lover?” he asked again, feeling his anger washing away.

  “Not even close. More like an adorable little brother. Like Maddox.” She pointed to Claybourne, who rolled his eyes.

  “Give up, Connor. Once she puts you in the family category it’s a wrap. She’d move heaven and earth for her family,” Claybourne said.

  “I know, it’s just one of the things I love about my mate,” he said innocently. He watched a blush creep up her neck, and she went back to her phone.

  “Okay, Giddey, pack up your stuff and head to Arkadia. Book a flight to Raleigh and someone will pick you up.” Madison smiled happily up at Connor.

  Silence.

  Silence.

  “Giddey?”

  “You’re trying to kill me! People die in airplanes. If you don’t want me there just say, ‘Giddey, go slit your wrists.’ It would be more humane. I don’t want to go down in a firey blaze!” Giddey screamed.

  Connor looked around the diner, and everyone was staring at Madison as if she were giving a performance. Her conversation with her personal assistant had everyone’s undivided attention.

  “Why can’t he just drive down?” Kaden asked. Madison’s eyes widened.

  “I could do that,” Giddey said, sounding excited.

  “Like hell you can! You can’t even go from one subway stop to another without getting distracted. There’s no freaking way you’re getting in a car and driving over five hundred miles. I’d never see you again!” Madison yelled into the phone.

  “I don’t want to go to Arkadia. It’s in the middle of nowhere!” Giddey whined.

  “Giddey.”

  “There are bugs!! Don’t try to lie. I read about it in a magazine once, country places have bugs!” he continued.

  “Giddey,” Madison said, louder this time.

  “There is nothing there that will entice me to move to the boonies!” Giddey declared dramatically.

  “There is an entire lion pride of hot, single, gay men looking for fresh meat,” Madison said with a sigh.

  Silence.

  “I’ll book my flight now and send you the details. Love you Mad-da-sin!” Giddey sang her name and ended the call.

  “I can’t wait to meet him. He sounds fun.” Rian chuckled.

  Madison set her phone down on the table and took a deep breath. She looked up at Connor.

  “He may take some getting used to.”

  Kaden and Beau burst out laughing.

  “You think?” Kaden asked.

  “Because my mate is so amazing and understanding, he will get blow jobs on demand while Giddey stays with us,” Madison announced.

  Connor looked over to his mate and leered. He wasn’t paying attention and accidently grazed his arm on the top of the oven. He slammed the oven door shut, cussing. She winked at him.

  “Lucky bastard,” Kaden grumbled.

  Connor gave Kaden a shit-eating grin before heading to the freezer for something for his arm. He used a dishtowel and held a pack of peas to his arm.

  “Swing by the clinic later for some ointment,” Claybourne offered.

  “Thanks, Doc.” Connor winked at Madison and leaned against the counter as the frozen peas drew the heat from his arm.

  “It’s been years since you’ve done that,” Ma said with laughter twinkling in her eyes.

  “I have the best mate ever.” Connor laughed.

  The diner door opened, and Duncan and Emmett walked in. Duncan was holding a large manila folder.

  “Here, man, this was under your windshield wiper on your truck,” Duncan said, handing the envelope to Connor. He and Emmett sat down on their usual barstools.

  “Thanks.” He put the pack of peas down and took the envelope.

  “What happened to your arm?” Emmett asked.

  “Nothing,” Connor said quickly. He opened the envelope and glanced at the first couple of pictures. They were additional photographs from the different crime scenes. Griffin must have dropped them off. Gritting his teeth, he closed the envelope and stuffed it in his jacket pocket where it hung on the coat rack.

  “Connor?” Madison asked, worried.

  “Updates from Griffin,” he said, and she nodded before turning to Rebecca.

  “So when are you due?” she asked.

  “Around Christmas. I’m hopin
g he will come early, I’m really ready to start having sex again.” Rebecca sighed.

  “Becca!” Aleks exclaimed, flushed.

  “Just saying.” Rebecca shrugged.

  “It must be hard planning a Thanksgiving meal so late in your pregnancy.” Madison sipped her coffee.

  Connor watched as Rebecca froze. Connor started to get an uneasy feeling.

  “Thanksgiving?” Rebecca asked, staring at Madison.

  “You don’t celebrate?” Madison asked, setting her coffee cup down. Connor, behind Rebecca’s back, began to wave his arms and shake his head. He met Madison’s eyes and saw the dawning realization that she may have just messed up.

  “Oh my god! I forgot about Thanksgiving. Aleks, what are we going to do? It’s our first Thanksgiving together, and I don’t even have the ingredients to make anything! How could I have forgotten one of my favorite holidays!” Rebecca burst into tears.

  Madison looked over to Aleks and mouthed, I’m so sorry.

  Aleks waved her off and scooped up his mate as her meltdown escalated.

  “I’m the worst wife ever! Our children are going to starve!” Rebecca cried.

  “Rebecca, it will be okay. Ma and I will help,” Connor said. Rebecca shook her head.

  “I wanted to do it. It’s my first Thanksgiving as a married woman. I should have been prepared for this.” She wept. Rebecca’s phone rang and she answered.

  “Hello,” she said sullenly.

  “Rebecca, what’s wrong?” Connor heard Kate ask. He’d give it five minutes before the rest of the Inner Court called.

  “I forgot about Thanksgiving!” Rebecca cried. Kate inhaled sharply.

  “Shit! I forgot, too! We haven’t ordered anything for the pack! What in the hell are we going to do!” Kate yelled. In the background Connor could hear Caleb and Bran trying to calm Kate down.

  Nic, Ashby, and Gabriel walked in. Ashby and Nic were holding frappe cups.

  “It was just you, now it’s you and Kate. What’s going on?” Nic asked Rebecca.

  “We forgot about Thanksgiving!” Rebecca cried. Ashby went pale and turned to Gabriel.

  “I’ve been introducing the coven to new foods, how could I forget this holiday! They’ll be crushed. Now I know why David and Daniel asked if we were getting pumpkins.” Ashby and Nic sat at the table with Madison and Rebecca.

  “I’ve been so busy at the shop I forgot to remind you,” Nic whispered.

  Emmett and Duncan tried to cheer Rebecca up by offering to go shoot turkeys.

  Connor watched Gabriel sit next to his mate. He whispered reassurances that the coven had gone hundreds of years without Thanksgiving, what was one more year. Which, of course, sent Ashby into a shame spiral. Madison looked up at Connor tears in her eyes. He knew she felt terrible for even bringing Thanksgiving up.

  Aleks phone began to ring. Aleks reached into his top pocket and answered it with one hand, soothing Rebecca with the other.

  “Hey, asshole,” he said.

  “Why is my mate hyperventilating? What’s going on?” Liam demanded.

  “Rebecca is freaking out because she forgot to plan Thanksgiving,” Aleks said.

  “What!” A loud screech came from the phone, causing Aleks to pull it away from his ear. Shaking his head, he put it on speaker and put it on the table.

  “Ohmygod! Ohmygod! I completely forgot, too! There’s no way we’ll get enough food in time. Do you know how much these lions can eat?” Sebastian yelled.

  “I know! Aleks and his brothers could take out a grocery store. You factor in that this is a holiday, which is all about eating, and we should have been trucking in food months ago.” Rebecca wiped her nose with a napkin.

  “I have an entire pack to shop for!” Kate added. Connor looked at his brother who looked at Kaden, Beau and Gabriel. Things were heading south fast.

  “Hey people,” Rex said, walking in with Talon.

  “What’s for lunch? We’re starved,” Talon asked.

  Sebastian screeched wordlessly and Rebecca groaned.

  Rex and Talon froze.

  “We’re sorry?” Rex took in Rebecca and Ashby’s expressions.

  “Bad time?” he asked, sitting at their usual table along the wall.

  Rebecca, Ashby, and Nic nodded.

  “We forgot about Thanksgiving,” Nic said.

  “Anything we can do to help?” Talon offered.

  “You two burned your cereal last week, there is no way I’m letting you cook for Thanksgiving.” Sebastian’s voice yelled over the phone. Rex winced and looked to his friend.

  “I told you he was still pissed about that.” Connor walked around the counter and placed a hand on Rebecca’s shoulder. He had an idea.

  “Okay everyone, I have an idea…” Connor paused and looked over to Rex.

  “What the fuck did you do to cereal?” he asked. Talon shook his head.

  “Later,” Rex said. Connor shook his head and turned back to the group.

  “Rebecca, Kate, Sebastian. Y’all are pregnant and due in the next couple weeks. You’ve had a lot on your plates worrying about your babies, especially after the virus. I doubt anyone here will hold this against you,” Connor said soothingly.

  “And if they do send them my way,” Rex said, cracking his knuckles.

  “So hot,” Connor heard Kate say from Rebecca’s phone.

  “Anyway,” Connor continued, ignoring the growls coming from Kate’s line.

  “How about instead of three large groups going out and buying all the ingredients and cooking everything, we divide up the menu and each group will make a lot of certain items. We could have Thanksgiving at the school,” Connor suggested.

  “I think that’s a great idea. Apartment buildings in New York do that, sometimes dividing up the cooking by floor,” she said encouragingly.

  “Where can we get enough food?” Rebecca asked, looking at Connor hopefully.

  “You kids leave that to me. I’ve been ordering food for years, we can get the food here,” Ma said, smiling at Connor.

  “All right so, Caleb, you and Bran handle the turkeys. Ashby, take salads. Sebastian, side dishes. Rebecca, desserts. Nic, coffee. Ma and I will handle everything else,” Connor suggested.

  “Connor saved Thanksgiving!!” Rebecca cheered.

  “Saved? Was it in trouble?” David asked, walking in with Daniel and Mojo.

  “Yup. We forgot the food,” Ashby admitted sheepishly.

  “But we have food now right? I haven’t had turkey in forever,” Daniel said, smacking his lips. Ashby glared at Gabriel.

  “We will. I will also arrange for a selection of wines to be delivered,” Gabriel offered. Ashby smiled at his mate.

  “I can’t wait to have Thanksgiving with everyone,” Sebastian said.

  “Damian and I can do decorations,” Rian offered.

  “A town Thanksgiving? Sounds fun. Maybe we can get Johnny, David, and Daniel to hook up some big screen TVs in the gym for football. I can order some kegs,” Mojo said.

  Emmett and Duncan pounded fists.

  “Now you’re talking our language.” They laughed.

  “It was under your windshield wiper on your truck,” Mojo said, handing another envelope to Connor. He turned and high-fived Duncan and Emmett for sitting down with Rex and Talon. Connor frowned down at the envelope.

  “They must be sending me the stuff the Agency had,” he said to himself.

  “Hey, Connor, we went over that footage like you asked,” David said, holding up a thumb drive.

  “And?” Connor asked.

  “Your killer is a twerp. A small guy. We don’t have a clear picture of his face, but this will give you his height, weight, and build.” David handed over the thumb drive to Connor before he and Daniel took a seat next to Ashby.

  “Thanks, guys. I need to get this to Griffin,” he said, removing his apron.

  “We also forwarded a copy to your email,” Daniel offered.

  “Perfect.” Connor took out his p
hone and scrolled through his recent emails and forwarded the email to his commander. It wasn’t even twenty seconds later his phone rang.

  “Good job getting the video, it isn’t much, but it’s more than we have been able to get in the past four months,” Griffin said.

  “It was Gabriel’s men, sir. David and Daniel processed this for me. They do great work,” he said, winking at the twins.

  “We’re at a standstill until this psycho finds his next target,” Griffin said grimly.

  “The guys didn’t find anything going through the Agency photos?” Connor asked.

  “What Agency photos?” Griffin asked.

  “The ones you had someone drop off at my truck,” Connor said.

  “Arkadion, listen carefully. I didn’t send anyone to Arkadia with pictures, and if I did they would have been hand delivered,” Griffin said lowly.

  Connor put the phone down on the counter and put it on speaker. He took the envelope Mojo handed him and rushed behind the counter to his jacket to get the other envelope. He pulled out the first set of pictures. Initially he had only looked at the first couple of photographs, which had shown the bodies at the crime scene. He kept flipping and what he saw sent chills down his spine. The last picture was of Stanton, alive, beaten, and looking at the camera, terrified. With shaking hands, he opened the second envelope and pulled out the pictures. They were of Rebecca, Kate and Sebastian with red Xs scrawled out over their midsections. The next pictures had dead babies and the last picture had him seeing red. It was a picture of Madison sitting in the diner last night. Exactly where she sat now, looking at him with worry in her eyes.

  “Son?” Ma asked. Connor shook his head and took deep breaths, unable to speak. Claws ripped through his fingertips and he dug into the counter. When he looked up he could hear gasps from around the diner. He opened his mouth and roared.

  “Arkadion? Report!” Griffin barked. It was enough to break him free from his frozen moment of rage and terror. He forced his claws to retract and reached into his jacket to pull out his gun. He loaded the chamber and cocked it. He jumped the counter and went to the table that had the phones that were connected to Kate and Sebastian at them.

  “Rex, Talon, Kaden, Beau. Head back to the pride house,” he yelled. All four men jumped up and without question left the diner at a run.

 
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