A Fang in the Sass: BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance (Sassy Ever After Book 6) (6 page)

BOOK: A Fang in the Sass: BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance (Sassy Ever After Book 6)
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FOURTEEN

 

Aria shoved away from the man she was starting to fall for. The sheets on the bed tangled her legs, making her more irate. “How dare you accuse my grandpa of something so horrible. He was a kind soul and great leader until the day he died. I miss him still.”

Trevan raised his hands in his defense. “I’m sure what you knew of him was rosy and good—”

“Everything about him
was
rosy and good. He never would have done anything like you say. I don’t even know how you can say that. What proof do you have?”

He remained quiet for a moment. “There was little or no blood in or on the bodies. Several had the sides of their necks torn up. Nothing on the earth at that time was powerful enough to take out an entire pack, Aria.”

“Granted, there’s always been a general dislike between vampires and wolves, but not enough to just slaughter a pack, unless the wolves did something to them first.” That was probably closer to the truth. What was he not telling her?

“Look, Aria—”

“No, tell me. Why would he have done that?” The thought of so much senseless death was making her ill.

“The only reason I could figure was to get us out of the direct path to the humans in the city on the far side of our territory.”

She had him on this. “That would never be the case. My grandfather and father, like me, didn’t allow drinking from humans. It has always been forbidden.” Something Trevan said clicked in her mind. Her heart ramped. Fangs dropped. “So, you spent your life looking for me? To take your revenge? To kill me?” She slid off her side of the bed, preparing for fight or flight, she wasn’t sure. She had fallen for this wolf. Let him take her heart as he took her body.

He threw off the covers and stood on his side. His wolf flashed in his eyes. Was he ready to fight now?

“Chill the fuck out, woman. If I wanted you dead, you would have been hours ago and not here in a friend’s home.” He had a point. So what was his game?

“You’re the reason my parents and I had to go into hiding, aren’t you?” By the shock on his face, he wasn’t aware of that tidbit. “My father took Mom and me to Spain after we found out my grandfather was killed. We were told whoever killed him was looking for us. If we didn’t keep low, we could be killed, too.”

“I don’t know anything about you going into hiding, but that would be why I never found your family. Well, until I saw your parents die.”

Before she realized she moved, Trevan flew through the air and wall into the other room. Mason and Emma had a new doorway in their guesthouse. She dove at him intending to wrap her hands around his neck and break it. As he lay on his back, he snapped his arms straight up in time to keep her hands from reaching him.

Unfortunately, or not, depending who you were, he held her with each hand covering one naked breast. His tongue slithered over his lips. Aria would’ve been a bit embarrassed if she wasn’t so pissed. “You fucking killed my parents?”

His eyes raised from her tits under his hands to her eyes. “Did I fucking say that? No. I said I saw them die. I saw who killed them.” Her head spun from the confession. She’d been hunting for their killer, had investigators scouring for clues for years.

“Who was it? Tell me and I won’t kill you.”

“You won’t kill me anyway. I fucked you too well to waste me.” The shock of his highly egotistical words caught her off guard. That he was right surprised her mostly. With her attention diverted, he squeezed his hands slightly, heaved her up, then grabbed her waist and hauled her back to bed.

She slapped at his hands around her, but didn’t try hard. Breathing heavily with Trevan spooned against her back once again, his arm slung over her ribs, she asked, “Who did it and why were you there?”

He placed a soft kiss on her shoulder. “I’ll tell you everything, just relax with me for a minute. Bring your heart rate down so you hear logic and not emotions.” He pressed his soft lips to the side of her neck. She closed her eyes and release a deep breath. “That’s it, baby.”

Much calmer, she said, “Tell me everything.” She’d been waiting for this moment far too long. She would kill, slowly, whoever hurt her parents and took them from her.

“I guess you were in hiding since I didn’t know where you were before one of my contacts heard some Valderis were on a boat on a lake up north. My guys and I hauled ass—”

Anger jerked her body. “Just so you could kill them first?”

He yanked her back against him, hard. “No. I—” He stayed quiet, but she scented confusion and lust mixed together. “I needed to find you, see you again.”

Again?
She’d seen him the first time a couple months ago. No. Something told her that wasn’t right. Her heart felt heavy with sadness. Tears burned her eyes. She fought them as he continued.

“When my friends and I got to the harbor, it was nighttime. We asked around to find the Valderis, saying we were meeting them to go out on the lake. No one knew who they were or ever heard the name.”

“That’s because we never traveled under our real name. I didn’t take it back until moving into the house with the North clan,” she commented.

He nodded. “Makes sense. About to give up, I was outside the dockside shop watching a houseboat slowly make its way in. I stood next to a guy doing the same. Figured he was waiting for his wife in the small store.

“I asked him the same question we’d asked everyone else. Only he didn’t answer right away. He stared at the incoming boat, then gave a nod toward it, making me look at the floating house with a slide on the back.

“Suddenly, the boat exploded with a massive concussion. It knocked me off my feet, but the stranger hadn’t moved. He’d been prepared for it. Then he said, ‘Those were the Valderi. One more to go.’ Then he walked away.

“I was so stunned by everything, I was momentarily stupefied. People barged from the store and dock. I hadn’t gotten off the ground yet and many stumbled over me in the dark. The fire was intense, just on the inside of the No Wake zone. There was no way anyone, human, wolf, or vamp could’ve lived through it. I’m sorry.”

That was the story in a nutshell that she read in the newspaper the next day. She’d been living on her own for a while at that point, wanting her independence. Since there hadn’t been any threats against them for several decades, they partially came out of hiding.

From where they had been under protection in Spain, they moved to the house where the northern clan her father started after her grandfather’s death were living—the Blue Creek mansion. It had been a mistake.

She’d gone back into hiding until she tired of living in fear. She had nothing to lose, so she came back to the house and pumped security to keep all within safe. She hadn’t been there very long when a younger Emma dropped by.

She found words through her pain. “This man, was he human?”

“No, he smelled like a vampire. Regular looking. We searched for him for years. But it was like he fell off the face of the earth.”

Oh my god. One of her own had hunted her family and killed everyone. Her time would come. He would come for her.

The protection and safeness she felt lying in Trevan’s arm was like no other. Not even the safe house in Spain where she spent many years hiding.

He said, “I won’t let anyone hurt you, my love. I will die keeping you safe. They think you’re dead anyway. Let’s keep it that way.”

She agreed with that for the moment. Never in her life had she had someone to lean on for comfort or help. Her advisors advised her on clan stuff, but there had been no one to share her life with. No one who brought the comfort a loved companion provided. She could have that now. She felt that with Trevan. Did she want to give it up just because he was a fucking wolf?

She rolled in his arms and looked into his eyes. As she stared, the gold around his irises flared. His wolf wanted her again. Her mate would always want her and only her. Who gave a shit if he was a wolf? She’d never been accused of following the norm. She wanted him. He was hers.

She kissed him with the love a mate has for the other, because what she was about to do would call her decision into question with her mate. She pulled away slowly. “I want you to leave, right now, and never come back.”

 

 

FIFTEEN

 

Aria flinched when Traven slammed the Central Wolfe pack’s guesthouse’s front door behind him. They had argued until he was close to shifting with anger. She would not back down. He was alive. If he hung around her, he wouldn’t be.

Knowing he was living, breathing, someplace in the world was better than him being dead at her side. She’d be dead, also. She couldn’t live without him, now that she’d given her heart him. Scooting onto his side of the bed and burying her face in his pillow, she took a deep breath.

How could he survive someone powerful enough to get to her grandfather and parents? Answer was he couldn’t. They were the strongest people she ever knew. She’d never forget the day she found out her grandfather was dead. The pain from all those years ago still lingered.

Aria had been with her mother in their Victorian house, learning how to embroider like all fine ladies did in the day. She hated it. She’d rather be out doing something constructive than sitting around with a needle poking material.

Her father rushed into the room and told them to pack an overnight bag. They were going to the South clan. In a whirlwind of motion and time, they were in the South clan’s underground town.

She didn’t like being there. It was cold and smelled bad. The adults had been arguing back and forth over things that didn’t concern her. All she needed to know was that her grandfather was dead. She would never see him again. In the buzzing background, she heard her last name and perked up. It seemed several of the South vampires didn’t want her father to be their leader. Their pack no longer belonged to the Valderis.

Anger grew in her young chest. This was her grandfather’s pack and always would be. The Valderi name should go on. At that point, her mother took her hand and went up the stairs to the cabin.

“You don’t need to be exposed to that, dear. That’s clan talk. Ladies don’t use certain words, nor do they hear them.”

She had no idea what words her mother meant. Apparently they were “men” words she couldn’t use. Being inside, she felt cramped and penned up. She opened the door and walked onto the front porch.

She saw three boys setting the storage houses on fire. Why would they do that? And who were they? They couldn’t be vampires since they were in the sun. They could be human, but smelled differently. She waited as they approached.

The big one in the middle made her stomach feel strange. Almost like a belly ache. His eyes were the bluest she’d ever seen.

She crossed her arms in defiance to these strangers. “You better get out of here before my father gets upstairs. He’ll be mad at you for burning the houses.”

The center guy shook his head. He asked, “Is your father the one in charge?”

She raised her chin. Even if those below didn’t think the clan belonged to her family, it did. “Yes, he is. The
only
leader.”

The same guy smiled at her. He was really cute, even though he smelled different. “What’s his last name?”

“Valderi. Don’t forget it,” she yelled. Hopefully those inside heard her. They should know not to go against her father.

The door to the cabin opened. Her mom said, “Darling, why are you yelling?”

She turned. “Because these men set the houses on fire.” She pointed a finger at them. When she looked back, they were halfway out of the area.

Her mother gasped. “Oh my goodness. Wolves. The sheds!”

Wolves? That’s how they smelled. And the center one scented especially good. Like her favorite warm chocolate chunk cookies.

Aria bolted upright in the bed. That boy in the middle was Trevan, her mate. This convinced her even more that making him go away was the best thing. He had to stay alive. Now she needed to focus on keeping herself alive.

A few minutes later, she knocked on the Central Wolfe pack’s alpha house back door. The pool looked very tempting, but she had other things to do first.

Emma came running and nearly flung the door open. “Why didn’t you tell me you were in trouble for helping me find my student’s sister? Good god, Aria. We have to prove your innocence.”

“How do you know? I only told Trevan a few hours ago.”

“Trevan blew through the house not too long ago, gathering his men, saying the vamp council was pinning murder charges on you for killing Filip. He was going to look for evidence or something.”

No, no, no. That’s not what she meant by him leaving. Dammit, Trevan. She sighed and rubbed her forehead. “Yeah, that’s why I’m here now. I was hoping you could help me.”

Emma grabbed her hand and dragged her inside to the kitchen. “Like there’s any other way. We are figuring this out now.” Emma pushed her toward the table while she headed toward the fridge. “This calls for the big guns.” She pulled out a tub of ice cream and Oreos.

Aria’s brows scrunched. “How is that different from last night’s guns?”

“Because,” Emma pointed to the word
Neapolitan
on the container. “It’s all three flavors for this.” Aria wondered if she’d have any weirdness when she was pregnant. Then she remembered, she sent her mate away.

“Okay,” Emma said on her way back to the fridge with a glass, “I already talked to Ellie about getting their official report regarding the whole alpha challenge between Rocco and Caleb. She’ll email it shortly.” Emma poured blood into the glass from the pitcher on the top shelf. “That has Filip’s arrangement with Rocco in it. But not all the details that didn’t pertain. You need to get those on paper.” She placed the cup in front of her.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Sure. Now, what else do we need?”

Aria gulped a swallow then set the cup down. “Penelope said we need to show a history of the wrongdoing. Show proof that it wasn’t more than a misunderstanding on a one-time thing.”

Emma scowled. “How do we do that? Embraced is burned down and most of the bad guys are dead.”

“Well,” she sat back in her chair, “if they were taking humans over all these years, then there might be a lot of missing persons’ reports.”

“Maybe strange death stats and obituaries,” Emma said. “We can find all the stats on the city at the library. Then we can go to the police to see if they can tell us anything. What else?”

“I didn’t even know about the stats at the library, so I have no idea where else to look.”

“Maybe someone at the library or police can give us an idea,” she said, stuffing a cookie in her mouth. She slammed the lid on the ice cream and tossed it back into the freezer. “Let’s get going.” Emma grabbed her purse and they were off.

BOOK: A Fang in the Sass: BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance (Sassy Ever After Book 6)
3.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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