Chapter 10 - Alpha's Surrogate

Kiara began sweating profusely. She turned to stare at Xavier in disbelief. He must have gone insane. Instead of refusing, he was making commitments. Why? Xavier's emotions were erratic. This was not what he had hoped for. The mention of marking made him want to vomit, but he realized that his Grandpa was in mind-linked with the other elders.

Fuck! Kiara's surrogacy would have been revealed if he had refused. All the elders were spiteful and would go to any length to obtain a Luna for the pack. It had been fine for a while, but not anymore. Because she was Sawyer's daughter, her life was in grave danger if she revealed herself as a surrogate. The Alpha's main ambition now was to slit the throats of all the elders at once. Zander, Kaiden, and Tyler had been watching his subjugation with bated breath. The old wolf had forgotten about his grandson with the unexpected good news.

"That's great!" their grandpa exclaimed with delight, finally glancing at his other grandson, whom he had purposefully ignored until he had forced Xavier to say yes.

"See. Finally, your brother made the right decision and got a beautiful Luna," Stephen taunted Zander with a smirk. Only those close to them, like the Beta and Gamma, could decode the true significance of the grandfather's words.

"Good for him, but I don't believe marking is required. I believe we should stop wasting time on superfluous ceremonies and instead concentrate on more important issues," Zander countered with a bored expression. He couldn't pontificate how much he wanted to put an end to this marking ceremony. It was an unfortunate circumstance. They needed a Luna and an heir, which Xavier was trying to provide, so why was marking fucking necessary?

Kiara was not going to be marked by Xavier. Zander knew his brother better than he knew himself. The more they forced him, the more violent and obstinate he became. This old man had done nothing but pressure them to find their mates and have children. Zander was irritated by Xavier's cleverly concealed anger. Stephen clenched his teeth and grimaced. Instead of pressuring Xavier into mating and marking, he should have encouraged him and claimed it was unnecessary.

"You brat! Mating and marking rituals are as essential as breathing! Suppose Xavier does not follow the traditions of the werewolf community at large. In that case, his Alpha status would be jeopardized," their grandfather lectured. They were gathering as a family, not as Alpha and elder, so he had decided to use his grandfatherly tone to reprimand them. Stephen's every statement was accurate, as the twin brothers knew.

An Alpha without a mate or heir could be ousted from his position by someone who could provide the pack with these things. There was a lot of pressure on Xavier after the rejection, so he selected the option of having an heir through surrogacy. His grandfather totally flipped the script on that idea. Zander remained silent after his comment, observing that Xavier was barely managing to keep the molten rage building inside contained. Kiara, on the other hand, appeared to be even more disturbed.

"You are correct, my boy. We should absolutely concentrate on other issues, such as the fact that you haven't found your soul mate yet! What happened to her? How is it that the chair next to you is still empty?" Stephen had hurled a few poisoned daggers at his rebellious grandchild. How could he suggest such a thing when he had been mateless? He never seemed eager to meet his fated mate, which irritated Stephen more with each passing day.

"I don't know. Perhaps she forgot to be born," Zander gave his grandfather the cold shoulder as soon as his mate had been mentioned, but the Beta and Gamma, along with their mates, broke out in laughter. That Alpha, in particular, was always saying something unexpected, causing the old male endless stress and frustration. Their grandpa growled at them all, causing everyone to become solemn once more. The Beta and Gamma couples were unbearable.

"Zander, you should find your mate as soon as possible. Xavier is not the pack's sole Alpha. You two share that responsibility. So both of you must find your mates and have an heir." Observing Zander's volatile expression, Stephen spoke gently. Zander despised being reminded that he was also the Alpha of the pack. He remained silent, allowing this time to pass without a dispute. Grandfather sighed wearily as he watched his dissatisfied facial expression, then returned his gaze to his other grandson and his chosen mate. While everyone was chatting and laughing at Zander’s statements, Xavier and Kiara sat deafeningly silent. "Luna Kiara, what's wrong?" He asked. She was staring vacantly at her meal and not saying a word to anyone.

"Nothing," Kiara forced a smile, but everything in her mind was a jumbled-up mess. Stephen's next comment utterly shattered it.

"According to a long-standing custom, the marking ceremony will take place the day after tomorrow, on the full moon of this month," Stephen declared triumphantly. As the pack's elder, it was his right and responsibility to announce the date of the marking ceremony, yet this statement surprised Kiara.

Jennifer and Lena squealed in delight. Finally, the Luna will be properly welcomed into the pack. Both women smiled while they congratulated Kiara. She couldn't fake her smile any longer. She looked as though she had forgotten how to breathe. When their mates stared at them, Kaiden and Tyler wore apprehensive smiles. Their hearts were heavy with the new storm descending. It was obvious from Xavier's expression.

Kiara couldn't believe that everything was being chosen for her without her consent. The full moon would change her life forever, which also happened to be her birthday. She couldn't take sitting there idly like a doll any longer, so she decided to leave. Xavier's hand reached beneath the table to grab her hand just as she was ready to stand up. He gripped her hand tighter than she had expected. If she left the dining room in front of the grandfather, he would figure everything out.

"Then, if you'll allow me, I'd like to go and share this wonderful news with the rest of the pack," Stephen smiled at Kiara, who swiftly hid her true feelings. Before exiting the dining room, Grandpa tenderly placed his hand on her head.

After Stephen left, there was a few seconds of terrifying stillness in the dining room before Kiara quickly released her hand from Xavier's grip and left. Everyone turned to stare at Xavier's devilish expression. Zander continued to watch him; everyone bowed their heads as their Alpha's anger affected their wolves.

Kiara walked quickly until she was out of the dining room, then she sprinted up the stairs, where she was free to release her pent-up feelings. She wanted to run as deep into the woods as she could then let out all her emotions. Even though there would be no one to hear her, she wanted to vent all of her sadness and suffering.

When she realized it was happening again, tears welled up in her eyes. Her entire life, she had never been asked for her opinion. Everyone around her kept making all of her important life decisions for her without her consent. She had never been able to express herself since her mouth had been glued shut before she could open it. First, it had been her father and the pack, and now it was Xavier. He was doing the same thing to her.

“Wait,” Xavier grabbed her hand and drew her to a halt in the hallway. He had exited the dining room a few seconds after she had.

"Let me go!" Kiara attempted to shove his hand away from her. No matter how often others had treated her unfairly, Xavier was the last person she anticipated this from. Even though they had only met twenty-four hours earlier, she was deeply hurt.

“Listen to me,” he grasped both of her arms, angering her further. Although she was tiny and less powerful than him, her rage reached a boiling point.

“Let me go!” She demanded, successfully pulling away from him and escaping. She needed to be alone. She wanted to get away from him. Xavier's arm wrapped around her waist from behind, then he turned her, pinning her against the nearest wall just as she had been about to enter their room and lock herself inside. She was surprised for a second, and she tried to flee again. He leaned his body further into her, completely controlling her movement. “Don't touch me!” She growled.

“SHHH,” he pinned her hands above her head, squeezing her until she stopped wiggling. When she lifted her gaze, she was met with calm eyes; a large tear of rage slid down her cheek. Her Alpha blood was heated and angry, while his was as calm as a pond. It was the first time Xavier had seen someone else's rebellious eyes and remained silent. When he saw her tears he forgot to blink; her aura was usually so sweet and appealing. Even though she wasn't eighteen, her wolf was unsuccessfully attempting to break free before the full moon. “Calm down,” he advised as he peered deep into her eyes. Dean appeared in Xavier's eyes as if answering the call of her rebellious wolf. “I am not going to mark you,” his voice was barely a whisper, but Kiara had obviously heard him. Finally, she blinked, her eyes clearing, comprehending his words. Had he truly meant what he said? “No one is going to mark you against your will. Do you hear me?” He clarified for her. Kiara's gaze was been drawn to the man speaking unbelievable words. Had he implied that he lied to his grandfather? His solemn yet seductive gaze caused her to blink slowly. He exerted control over her emotions, causing her to loosen her body. Kiara gave a slight nod, allowing her final tear to fall. He gradually let go of her hands, but his body remained pressed against hers. “There is no way I would mark any woman in this lifetime. All that formal mating stuff makes me sick, but now the situation has changed. The elders will do anything to make me mark you, and I will do anything for an heir. So I will have to mark you,” Xavier declared and Kiara frowned. What did he mean?

“But you said you will not…” Her voice was stuck in her throat. Had he deceived her? or he played her?

“Yes, I need to tell you something about this marking business,” Xavier pulled away from her slightly, allowing her to breathe properly.

“What?” Kiara kept her gaze fixed on his, waiting impatiently for him to speak. The word marking was already frightening since she had come to his pack thinking she would be his surrogate. When he saw her terror, Xavier clenched his fist and then placed his hand on her cheek. She could lose control again.

“Even if we mark each other, we will not be bound as long as we are not fated mates. We would be mates merely in name after marking, but there would be no mate connection or pull between us. I have a friend who chose a female as his mate, but they never had any feelings for one another. We can do the same thing. We can mark each other to display to the pack and then reject each other when we choose to. Neither our agreement nor my mind has changed. You will give birth to my pup, then leave the pack whenever you want. Not being fated mates means no feelings, no emotions, and no pain,” Xavier explained, whipping away her tears that had bothered him this entire conversation. Her eyes and nose were red.

Fuck the elders! He would make no changes in his plans. He would never accept or believe another woman. But, while marking was an unexpected turn of events, as long as he could have a pup, he would mark Kiara. He already needed to spend the next few months with her as a fake chosen mate, so marking her wouldn't harm either of them.

After listening to him, Kiara stared at his chest. Should she trust Xavier? She read Adira's messages revealing that Xavier had forced Sawyer to sign a document stating that he may attack the Ardara Moon Pack whenever he wished if they broke their agreement. The treaty also stated that no Ardara Moon Pack member could ever meet with Kiara, or they would perish. It implied that she wouldn't be able to visit her mother or Adira until after she gave birth.

He said they were not fated mates, so marking would have no effect on them, but his touch made her heart race. She was scared of what would happen if they marked each other. What if he refused to reject her after she had given birth just so he could make her pack suffer? If he deceived her, she would lose any chance she had of ever seeing her mother and sister again.

“Say something, Kiara,” Kiara lifted her eyes up to take in Xavier while he touched her lips softly. This was the second time he had called her by name, and it sounded like music to her ears. “Do you agree?” He asked. Kiara had her dress clasped tightly to her sides. She couldn't take the risk of saying no. When she thought about marking, too many consequences sprang to her mind.

“Would you kill my family if I denied you?” While questioning him, she clutched her dress even more. His eyes changed colors so swiftly that it frightened her. He was offended by her question. He had a predatory glint in his eyes.

“No, I'm not going to kill them." When he spoke to her with an expressionless face, his voice was heavy and deep. Kiara finally let out the breath that she had been holding. Her family would remain unharmed. He would not hurt them.

“Then what will you do if I refuse?” She asked, knowing that every coin has two sides. If he didn't want to murder them, he had to have another strategy if she didn't agree to his terms. She had a choice, but she had to bear the consequences.

“I would let you run away from me.” His announcement surprised Kiara. What did he say? Did she hear him wrong? Would he truly let her go? Could she escape the surrogacy, this pack, and him? But why his words, touch, and gaze did not match?

“But,” Xavier halted, sliding his hand around her waist, pulling her closer to him

“But what?” Kiara took a deep breath and placed a panicked hand on his chest as if to push him away. Her breasts were pressed against his chest and she was certain he could feel her stiff nipples.

His finger ran like a promise over her skin. He leaned his head closer. With a breathy low tone, “You would need to run as far away from me as you possibly could. Hide wherever you could. You could never let me catch you. Because the day you run away, I shall set out to find you no matter how much I have to lose."

His ominous words widened Kiara's gaze. This implied that he was letting her flee but he had plans to catch her. “Why?” She worried.

Her eyes closed as his finger playfully caressed her delicate lips before declaring, "Because only this virgin will give birth to my pup. If it's not you, then it's no one."