Chapter 10 - Accidental Surrogate for Alpha

3rd Person

Sinclair glared down at the tiny human in front of him. It seemed every time he saw Ella she grew more beautiful, especially since he learned she was carrying his pup. She’d been an enchanting distraction before, now she was almost irresistible. With fair skin, rose gold hair and eyes so amber they almost seemed metallic, he found it hard to believe she was not a wolf herself. However, as delectable as her scent was, she was clearly nothing extraordinary.

“Why did you leave?” Sinclair demanded, scanning his sharp eyes over her body to make sure she was unharmed. His attention lingered on her flat tummy, where his pup safely rested. He could still smell it, hear its tiny heartbeat and feel an inexplicable connection to the miniscule bundle of cells.

“Because I’m not a dog. I don’t sit and stay just because you tell me to.” Ella announced, crossing her arms over her chest.

“I didn’t order you to do anything.” Sinclair argued, baffled by the way his wolf purred in response to her sass.

“And yet you seem displeased that I didn’t sit by and obediently wait for you to come home and dictate more decisions about my future.” Ella quipped, leaning against the doorframe.

“I didn’t dictate anything.” Sinclair argued. “We negotiated fair and square.”

“If that’s what you call fair it’s no wonder you earned your ruthless reputation.” Ella remarked slyly, “I wasn’t in any state to have such an important conversation, let alone make such a momentous decision.”

Sinclair didn’t seem to hear her, instead he’d slipped past her into the apartment. “Is this where you live?”

“Obviously.” Ella rolled her eyes.

He shook his head, “This won’t due.”

“Excuse me?” Ella gaped, “you’ve got some nerve you know –

“I won’t have the mother of my pup staying in such poor conditions.” Sinclair decided, “You’ll move into my estate as soon as possible.”

Ella clenched her fists at her sides and took a deep breath. “I make my own decisions.”

“Not since you agreed to our deal.” Sinclair countered. “The moment you said yes, you handed over authority to me.”

“I didn’t sign anything!” Ella reminded him.

“A verbal agreement is enough in werewolf law – the contract was really for you.” Sinclair announced, smirking like the cat who ate the canary.

“Then why did your note say we needed to finish our conversation, what was there to finish if not signing the deal?” Ella demanded hotly.

“Everything, including you moving in with me, your prenatal regimen, birth plan, financial arrangements.” Sinclair explained, striding into Ella’s bedroom and pulling open the closet doors. By the time Ella reached him, he was already pulling a suitcase from the top shelf.

“Stop that!” Ella insisted, vigorously attempting to wrest the suitcase from his hand. She tugged the large bag so forcefully she almost lost her balance. In fact she was pulling with all her strength and weight, if Sinclair had chosen to release his end of the bag she would certainly topple to the ground. “I never agreed to move in with you!”

The next thing Ella knew, the huge shifter’s hand was circling her nape, applying just enough pressure to freeze her in her tracks, but not enough to hurt. “Listen closely, little human.” He rumbled authoritatively, radiating power. “I appreciate your spirit, but as long as you’re carrying my pup, you will be careful, and wrestling with wolves twice your size over heavy luggage is not allowed.”

Ella narrowed her eyes at the attractive Alpha. Her instincts were going a bit haywire at the moment. Her insides were in puddles over being so near him, her knees were weak in the face of his stern scolding, and her heart was in full revolt. No one had ever cared about her enough when she was young to set rules and discipline, so she’d been running wild for as long as she could remember. And she did not take kindly to being told what to do now. With a fiery flash in her amber eyes, she stomped her small foot right onto his, sending pain vibrating up through her own bones, and not even phasing him.

Ella couldn’t smother her whimper, “What are you made of, steel?”

“That’s what tussling with a wolf will get you.” He responded unsympathetically, releasing her and stalking to the bed, where he neatly unfolded the suitcase. “Now be a good girl, and pack your bags.”

“I would sooner set everything I own on fire.” Ella replied coolly, resisting the urge to rub her aching foot.

“That might not be the worst idea.” Sinclair muttered, glancing at her wardrobe. “If you’re going to live with me, you might as well look the part too. Should I fetch a lighter?”

“No!” Ella yelped, moving to protect her things. “They might not be up to your standards but I like my things, and I like my apartment.” In truth, this apartment reminded Ella too much of Mike, and she hadn’t picked out any of her furniture or appliances – they were all hand-me downs. Still, she didn’t appreciate the way Sinclair was trying to order her around. There might be an exchange of money or services in their arrangement, but she wasn’t one of his servants, and it was important they establish that if her plan was going to work.

Sinclair cocked his head to the side, eyeing her as if she were a profound curiosity. “And how are you going to pay your rent on this place?”

Ella’s mouth opened and closed helplessly. “That’s not the point.”

Sinclair wasn’t sure what to make of the beautiful human. The more time he spent around her, the more his wolf began to sit up and pay attention. His wolf had always perked up with interest when he saw Ella around the neighborhood, but he’d never allowed himself to explore those feelings because she was a human. Now however… now he had every excuse to figure out the puzzle that was Ella. “It’s part of the arrangement.” He dictated firmly, “you’ll be back on your feet faster if you don’t have to worry about living expenses, and I want you close – this baby is too important to me.”

It was true Sinclair didn’t want to let her out of his sight, but that was also because he’d been dreaming of becoming a father for years. He didn’t want to miss a moment of Ella’s pregnancy. The little human was beginning to squirm beneath the weight of his gaze, and he could see her working through the problem in her mind. She had to realize it made more sense for her to stay with him, she might be feisty, but she was far from stupid.

“Fine,” Ella finally conceded, shooting Sinclair a sulky pout. “But I want to talk to you about a few things first.”

“Are you going to keep glaring at me that way while you do?” Sinclair asked, his mischievous wolf egging him on. He wasn’t sure what it was about seeing Ella all riled up, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself from pushing her buttons.

“Ye–” Ella bit back her response, seeming to think better of losing her temper with him. She needed to convince him, to persuade him – not alienate him. “No.” She amended, taking a deep breath. “I want to talk to you about our arrangement. What’s going to happen to the baby in the early years? Who’s going to care for it?”

“I’ll pay someone.” Sinclair responded simply, “A nursemaid.”

“Why would you ever pay someone when the baby’s mother is there and dying to do all the things a servant would? It will need milk and lullabies and love, I can provide that better than anyone. Forgive me, but I know you aren’t married, and a child needs a mother.” Ella was hoping this would be an emotional subject for the man – it can’t have been easy to grow up without a mother. “It’s healthier for the baby to have me around, especially given how busy you are. You can’t exactly take a newborn to the office with you every day.”

Sinclair hesitated. He knew she was right, it was better for the pup to have Ella near, and he didn’t want his heir to grow up the way he did. Still, Ella didn’t belong in his world. She was human and she couldn’t be trusted – this was probably another scheme to swindle him somehow. She’d already proven what a good actress she was back at the sperm bank. It was a clever ploy, but he wasn’t going to let another conniving woman ruin his life. He’d learned his lesson with his ex-wife, Lydia.

Ella was watching him closely, reading his expression and scrambling for another argument. Her eyes lit up after a moment’s thought, and her pink lips parted for the battle. “It would help you politically as well. I’ve been doing some research, I know you’re campaigning to become Alpha King and you’ll appear stronger with a family by your side. How would it look, if you have to hire a human to carry your child? Wouldn’t you prefer to simply tell everyone I’m your girlfriend?”

So much cunning in such a small package – it was honestly impressive. “So you want to be a queen, is that it?” Sinclair growled suspiciously.

“No!” Ella exclaimed, “I’m not suggesting we actually become a couple, I can pretend to be a… a werewolf…” She couldn’t believe she was saying those words. “And we can put on a show in public so that you can say we’re in a relationship and you’re finally having a baby.” Ella shrugged, the idea still forming as she spoke. “It could be an extension in our contract – you get a family in public and the baby gets two parents.”

Sinclair considered her words carefully. “You’re serious?”

“Yes.” Ella insisted. “What do you think?”