Home > My Champion (Bewitched and Bewildered #7)(8)

My Champion (Bewitched and Bewildered #7)(8)
Author: Alanea Alder

"Brat." Kari ruffled his hair.

"Don't worry, Ms. Delaney, Vin and I will watch over him," Keegan offered holding up a first-aid kit.

She nodded at him. "My thanks."

Seconds later, Adriel and Gavriel arrived with two men she didn't recognize. Straightening her back, she joined them in Magnus' conference room, unsure of what she was walking into.

 

 

*****

 

 

Kari sat between Bethy and the huge bear shifter that had been introduced as Aiden McKenzie, the Unit Commander. She had heard rumors that he and his mate were in the city visiting but hadn't believed them. Shifters, much less a future Elder, hardly ever came to Noctem Falls.

The unit leader, Adriel Aristaios, sat on the other side of Aiden. He was officially introduced when he walked in shortly after they sat down. He told them he had dropped Micah off at the Unit Level before returning to give his report. According to him, Declan would be out of surgery soon, and the doctor hadn't found any issues and was expecting him to recover fully by the next day.

On the other side of Adriel was Stefan Bolivar, the acting Alpha to the wolf pack that had taken refuge here in the city. He reminded her a bit of Avery, in that he was young, but where Avery still had the shine of innocence, Stefan's eyes held a bit of jaded skepticism.

"So, wait. What you are telling me is that Gerald DuBois admitted his mating to Rachelle was arranged?" Magnus asked after Adriel filled them in on the circumstances surrounding Declan's attack.

Adriel nodded. "Yes, for the entire Level to hear. Evidently it is a common practice among the Founding Families to keep bloodlines pure."

Magnus sat back, looking stunned. "But that is not what a mate is."

"Uncle, this concerns me. I grew up here and never heard of such a thing," Bethy admitted.

Gavriel gave an undignified snort. "Because they knew that if Magnus learned of it, he would abolish the practice immediately."

Aiden paled. "Please tell me these women were willing."

Bethy inhaled sharply, looking ill. She stood, placing a hand over her stomach. "Please excuse me." She darted toward Magnus' private bathroom. Gavriel was at her side before Kari could blink. He closed the door as sounds of Bethy retching reached them.

Magnus let out a string of curse words as he stood and began pacing nervously. "She should not be hearing such distressing things in her condition."

Her condition?

It dawned on her what he meant. "She is pregnant?"

Magnus stopped his pacing and turned to her with a smile on his face. "Yes. We found out after she arrived. I am going to be a great uncle." He puffed his chest out proudly.

"A thousand blessings on her and her child; this is wondrous news!" Kari exclaimed, making a mental note to order proper gifts.

Magnus sat back down but stared at his bathroom door. "Maybe she and Meryn should return to Lycaonia. This is not the best environment for them."

Aiden sighed loudly. "I think you know them both well enough by now to know that they wouldn't leave you in the lurch."

"He's right," Bethy said, patting her face with a damp paper towel. She smiled up at her mate. "I'm fine. It was just the idea of being trapped like that with someone who wasn't your mate for years, decades even." Her eyes began to tear up.

Gavriel quickly helped her back to her seat. "So, do we kill Gerald DuBois?" he asked in a calm tone.

Stefan Bolivar nodded. "Sounds good to me."

Kari choked on the sip of water she had just taken. Bethy shook her head and patted her on the back. "No, my love, we don't kill Gerald DuBois." Gavriel simply shrugged.

Kari could understand his line of reasoning. In his mind, Gerald had done wrong, but the most grievous offense, even if it had been indirectly, had been upsetting his pregnant mate. "I like you," she said, nodding her approval.

Gavriel's mouth twitched. "I believe I like you as well Kari Delaney. You were surprised at my suggestion, but you actually agree with it, do you not?"

Kari thought about it for a moment, then slowly nodded. "You are forgetting it was my mate he almost killed. Something tells me that Gerald DuBois is no stranger to violence. He may not have intended Declan to be his victim, but he clearly wanted to kill someone."

Gavriel's eyes darkened. "Forgive me, I had forgotten Declan nearly died. You are right, a man like that carries a taint of evil. He should be dealt with sooner rather than later."

"He is currently a guest in our detention cells. He will have a chance to plead his case, but I cannot see what he could possibly say to defend himself," Magnus said.

Kari thought it over. "He is losing his 'mate'; that is a powerful argument."

Aiden cursed. "I had not thought of it like that. She is right; that could sway people."

"Wonderful," Magnus groused. "We have the dinner with the DeLaFontaines this week. It was already going to be awkward, this will just make it painful."

Stefan groaned. "You can leave me off the invite list. I'm not too proud to admit that sort of dinner is over my head. I stick my foot in my mouth in the best of situations. With a dinner like that, I'd start World War Three."

Kari leaned forward. "Why would it be awkward?"

Bethy chortled, and Gavriel grinned openly. Adriel, on the other hand, was rubbing the back of his neck. Aiden looked resigned. "Well?"

Aiden cleared his throat. "My mate, Meryn, and Adriel's mate, Eva, reenacted the scene from 300 with Ivan DeLaFontaine in the transport tunnel."

Kari frowned, then realized the significance of the tunnel. Eyes wide, she looked from the unit leader to the Unit Commander. "They did not," she whispered.

Adriel nodded. "My Eva delivered a picture-perfect roundhouse kick to the chest, Meryn's squire electrified him with some sort of blue flame so he could not fly. His son had to fish him out of the safety net, tearing it in the process. We still need to get it fixed."

Kari turned to Aiden and Adriel. "I have got to meet your mates." Both men winced.

Bethy cleared her throat. "I'll be happy to introduce you to my newest friend, Eva Mae Miller, and my adopted baby sister, Meryn McKenzie."

"You adopted his mate?" Kari asked, pointing at Aiden.

Bethy nodded slowly. "You'll understand after you meet her."

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