Updated: May 13
Chapter 1 - Fabulous Holiday
If I have learned anything in a year of being mated to André, it is always to expect the unexpected. Not in the same way I had to be prepared for anything while in the SEALs. My mate is spontaneous and always over the top, or as he would call it, always fabulous. And even more when a holiday is involved.
So why am I surprised right now? Probably because it’s three in the morning, and our bedroom has been lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Because André is kneeling over me, leaning toward the headboard to hang more decorations, his erect penis bobbing in my face wearing only a mistletoe cock ring.
Welcome to my life, people.
“What are you even doing awake?” I questioned as I turned my head to confirm the time.
Yep, three am. Two hours before my alarm would go off and at minimum four before André would wake up. So, his being awake is abnormal. I don’t count when he wakes up in the night horny. I looked back up at him to find him grinning down at me.
“It’s L’Immacolata Concezione,” André answered as if that explained everything.
“What does celebrating the Virgin Mary, a being as a werewolf we don’t pay homage to, have to do with you hovering naked near my face wearing a mistletoe cock ring?” I arched my brow.
“Nothing. It just kicks off the holidays in Sicily, and you know it.” He answered, ignoring the second part of my question.
“Uh-huh. And the cock in my face, complete with mistletoe?” I reiterated, unable to stop my eyes from homing in on his cock.
“Well, we all know the meaning of mistletoe.” He smirked, cock twitching under my gaze.
“If I give you a blow job, will you turn off the lights and go back to sleep?” I asked.
If you had told me when I came to Sicily for the war that I would enjoy a sexual relationship with a man, I would have called you crazy. I still don’t think I would call myself gay or bisexual, as I’m not attracted to other men. As he says, I am André-sexual. The term fits because I don’t find anyone else sexually attractive. I suppose that is expected of a mated couple.
“I never say no to a blow job from you. And I think I could be talked into going back to sleep in a post-orgasm glow.” André licked his lips.
If I were a betting man, I would say he planned for this. Goddess knows she paired me with a sexual deviant. Becoming fathers to Lando only modified that. Now he is even more sneaky in getting frisky. At least he keeps his antics to times and places that wouldn’t result in Lando catching us.
“If I must…” I teased him, licking the tip of his cock. “Wouldn’t want you cranky later from lack of sleep.”
“Sí…Cazzo… Darren.” André growled, his eyes half closed as he gripped my hair.
Damn him and wearing a cock ring. It’s not like he needs one to get, let alone stay hard. He did this to stay hard longer than normal. I bartered a blow job, so I knew what I was getting myself into. So I can’t put the full blame on him that my jaw hurts. I should have just bartered sex. Then it would be my ass that was sore from him lasting longer than normal.
The blow job did the job. Sure, it left me hard, but what can you do? I can jerk off later or something. Not everything requires reciprocation. Or that’s what I told myself as I wiped a drop of cum from the corner of my mouth. I had assumed that when André moved, it was to get back on his side of the bed. Oh, how wrong I was. He smirked at me as he slipped under the covers.
‘You didn’t believe I’d leave you like this.’ André taunted me in our link as his lips wrapped around my cock.
I growled and reached under the blanket to tug at his hair. He chuckled around my dick, obviously pleased with my reaction. He’s good at that. I shouldn’t compare him to past lovers, but André is a better lover than every woman I’ve been with combined. I would say it’s because of the bond, but something tells me that’s not all there is to it. André, not that I like to think about how he honed such skills, is a talented fucker.
“Now I can go back to sleep,” André smirked after swallowing my orgasm.
I could’ve and should’ve had a witty comeback, but my brain was checked out. I remained silent as I rolled to my side and wrapped my arm over André as we spooned. He leaned toward his nightstand and hit something that shut off all the Christmas lights in our room, plunging us back into darkness. Cardinal purred in my head as André snuggled back against me, pressing his ass against my cock as if to entice it for another round. It wasn’t having it.
“I love you but stop trying to wake my cock up for seconds,” I grumbled against his mark.
“Can’t blame me for trying. And I love you too.” André snickered softly before his breathing evened out, and I knew he’d fallen asleep.
I fell asleep not long after, but as always woke up just before my alarm. Carefully I dislodged myself from André as I climbed out of bed and quietly dressed for my morning run. To my surprise, as I was heading for the door, Lando was hurrying down the spiral stairs dressed like he planned to run too.
“Lando?” I arched my eyebrow.
“Buongiorno, Dad. Can I go with you for your run?” He asked as he zipped his hoodie.
I cocked my head because this was the first time that he’s asked to go on my morning run. He’s nine, so I wouldn’t expect him to want to go for a run when he could be sleeping.
“Are you sure? You do know I go for a ten-kilometer run.” I asked as I folded my arms.
“Si, Dad. I know.” He nodded.
“I want to go with you. I need to work on my stamina and cardio. I’ll be starting my pre-wolf training next year. I don’t want to slack off or for people to think I’m some weakling getting a pass because of who adopted me.” He explained.
“You’re nine. You’re in the shape of a nine-year-old. And no one should treat you differently because you’re our son.” I held back a growl at the idea that anyone would treat Lando differently because we adopted him.
“Still, I want to prove myself. So, can I go with you? I’ll do my best to keep up and not slow you down.” He pleaded with those puppy eyes.
I sighed because how could I say no to those eyes? Lando grinned, knowing he’d won.
“Let’s go then.” I conceded as I opened the door and let him go first.
I shook my head as I realized he was wearing a custom ‘Always Fabulous’ hoodie André got him. I still don’t know why he wanted to come with me. Maybe it is because he wants to be better prepared for the training that starts when Madonie children turn ten. But something in my gut says that’s not the real reason.
We had ten kilometers for him to tell me the truth. The run took longer because there was no way Lando was keeping my usual pace. As we returned to our villa, it became clear why Lando came with me. He was a delay tactic for André’s plans.
I love holidays. I love any reason to celebrate. Some might say I go ‘overboard.’ These people wouldn’t know a good time if it bit them in the ass—speaking of good times. Fuck was that blow job Darren gave me good.
Did I need to decorate our bedroom so early in the morning? Probably not.
Did I need to do it naked? Again, probably not.
Did I need to be wearing the new cock ring I ordered while doing it? Maybe not.
Do I regret any of it? Who would regret a mind-blowing, oh puns, blow job? Not this man, that’s for damn sure.
I know what you are all wondering, why am I getting out of bed? I generally would sleep until Darren got home. He goes on his run then we fuck before we start the day. Today I’m breaking away from routine because I need to do things. I trust Lando to keep his dad out long enough for me to do everything I need.
I quickly dressed in my red tracksuit with a white sparkling Christmas tree on the jacket and plants. I couldn’t resist buying them, especially when I saw that the start on the tree would be perfectly placed over my crotch in the front and my asshole. I couldn’t pass that up. I’m only wearing it while I work on decorating the villa.
Have you ever seen the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie? Remember that scene where Martha May Whovier is doing an over-the-top yet elegant lighting decoration of her house? Yeah, that’s me. Plus, Alexander and some other pack members came out to help.
“Tell me again why we are doing this so early in the morning?” Alexander asked with a yawn from his perch on the roof where he was securing lights.
“Because I want to do this while Darren and Lando are out of the house,” I explained like it was perfectly logical.
“And we couldn’t do this while Darren was in his office and Lando was at school?” He countered, frowning.
“Stop questioning me, cousin.” I waved a hammer at him.
“Decorating our villa is only the beginning. Every home and business in Madonie will get the D’Amore holiday treatment. Especially the pack house. I want the pack house to shame almost every other display.” I explained, waving my arms around as I spoke, a pack member ducking to avoid getting hit.
“Almost? Let me guess the villa will be the most over-the-top in Madonie. And watch it. Don’t go knocking out helpers.” Alexander rolled his eyes but continued to secure the lights.
“Sorry!” I called out to the pack member I almost hit with a hammer.
“It’s okay, Alpha. I ducked. We all know how much you love holidays. Your exuberant joy and how wholeheartedly you take on celebrations lift the spirits of us all.” He smiled as he helped light a massive star to be hung above our door.
“Aw, thank you.” I smiled. “See… Some people appreciate my love of celebrations.” I stuck my tongue out at my cousin as I returned to work.
“As long as this is the only time I have to help decorate.” Alexander sighed.
I laughed at his assumption.
“And if I had plans?” Alexander narrowed his eyes.
“You can cancel on whomever you are fucking this week,” I scoffed.
“Rude. So, what do you have planned for me then?” Alexander sighed.
“I want you to be at the pack house when Persephone and Delilah arrive this afternoon.” I started to explain.
“Why are they coming? They are Incubi.” Alexander furrowed his brow.
“They volunteered-ish to help decorate since we will be hosting the family celebration this year. And it must be perfect. This is Gwen and Christina’s first Christmas.” I explained.
“Fine. I can’t argue with that.” He conceded.
By the time the loves of my life jogged up the driveway, everything was complete, and it was just me standing under red and white candy cane-ish arches that spanned the sidewalk to our front door. My poor baby, Lando, looked like he would drop from exhaustion. Maybe asking him to keep Darren busy on the run was too much. I’ll make it up to him.
“Welcome back, my loves.” I greeted as I tapped a button on my phone, and all the lights and animatronics used to decorate the house and front law came to life in the soft morning glow.
It was all worth it as I saw the exhaustion in Lando’s face fade as he looked in awe at all the lights. I’d done similar last year but maybe just not this much. There was still so much going on last Christmas. While it was our first as a family and leaders of Madonie, it was a quickly pulled-together event.
This year I have from today through Epiphany on January 6th planned out. I know, shocker! I have a month of events all planned and budgeted. Though I don’t think it should be a surprise. This is a holiday! These are parties. And no one, I repeat, NO ONE throws a better party than me. I even have Katrina and her coven onboard for a midnight broomstick ride for Lady Befana.
I know witches don’t ACTUALLY ride broomsticks. But Katrina assured me the coven has the magic to make it happen, so long as I’m not offended that they will do this in all three packs. It’s only fair that all three packs get to have great parties.
“It’s amazing, papa,” Lando exclaimed as his eyes didn’t even know where to look.
“This is why Lando came on my run. He was supposed to slow me down so you could get this done.” Darren sighed, shaking his head.
“Well…” Lando shrugged.
“Don’t give our son a hard time. I asked him to distract you. By all means, give me a hard time.” I winked.
“Can you keep the innuendos to our link when our kid is around?” Darren groaned and rubbed his forehead. “And what are you wearing?” He gestured to my outfit.
‘Don’t worry. I keep all the dirtiest offers private. And I hope you give me a very hard time when we shower.’ I taunted him in our link.
“Isn’t it just great? I love this outfit. I got you a matching one. Don’t worry. You won’t have to wear it outside the house.” I gushed over my outfit as I did a spin, shaking my ass a little.
“Did I get a new outfit too, papa?” Lando asked.
“As if I’d forget you, my darling boy,” I assured as I ruffled his sweaty curls. “Now go shower and get ready for school.”
“Thanks, papa.” Lando hugged me and then hugged Darren. “Thanks for letting me come on your run, Dad.”
I smiled as I watched Lando run inside, followed by a squeal.
“You didn’t stop at decorating outside, did you.” Darren sighed as he went in to see what our son squealed about.
“Why would I stop outside? We all know being beautiful on the inside is just if not more important than the outside.” I chuckled as I followed them inside.
Yes, I decorated the fuck out of our villa. The only thing I didn’t do was trim the tree in our family room. The ten-foot tree in the parlor that greets you when you first walk in that’s another story. It was a beacon of holiday cheer.
“You already decorated the tree?” Darren arched his brow.
“Only this one. Our family tree is set up in the family room and waiting for us to decorate together tonight.” I assured him.
I know how important it is to him to decorate the tree as a family. He told me about Christmas growing up in America. How his dad would cut down their tree, and even when he and his brothers were babies, there were pictures of their parents helping them hang decorations. And each year, they would make a new ornament to celebrate each of them. We made ornaments last year to celebrate us being mates, being leaders of Madonie, moving into the house, and of course, adopting Lando.
“I also have the materials for making this year’s ornaments. We are going to have a Delaney Christmas tree trimming party tonight.” I assured him and kissed his cheek.
‘And after Lando is in bed, we can have a naked tree trimming party.’ I teased in our link.
“I know what kind of ornament I want to make this year. Did you get enough glue and glitter, papa?” Lando asked as he rushed back to our side.
Darren cleared his throat, and I knew he was still thinking about my plans for tonight.
“Lando, if there is anything your papa has an abundance of, it is glitter.” Darren chuckled.
“Okay, that’s true. I’m going to go get ready for school.” Lando laughed as he hurried upstairs.
“Now then. Let’s go see about you giving me a hard time.” I winked as I grabbed Darren’s hand and led him to our master suite on the first floor. Oh, how I love the holidays. And this is going to be a Fabulous Holiday.
Chapter 2 Innocent Holiday
Last year celebrating the holidays was hard. My sisters and I wanted to be happy and enjoy the season. Especially as Crista had been pregnant, but it was the first holiday without Papa and Mama. And even the pending additions of Crista and Alec’s twins could make us forget what was missing. Alec and his family had done their best to try and make the holiday special for us. And we were grateful for it, but it still couldn’t distract us from our loss.
This year, things are different. Or a little different, better, as Gwen and Christina have joined the family. While no one could replace our parents and the hole in our hearts their sudden deaths left behind, it is hard not to smile and feel joy when I look at my nieces. This will be their first holiday, and I want it to be perfect. I want them to experience all the Fayte traditions.
André wants the same thing as my sisters, to give Gwen and Christina the best first Christmas. As he and Darren will be hosting Christmas this year, Persephone and I have agreed to come to Madonie to help with decorations. Alec assured us that he and his ranked wolves had everything under control for getting Incubi ready for the holidays. So, they didn’t need us.
“Persephone…maybe you should slow down,” I suggested, gripping the door handle tighter.
“Oh please, don’t be such a baby. It’s not like I’m Katrina or Chesed.” Persephone rolled her eyes as she accelerated faster.
I don’t think she realizes how much like them she is when it comes to driving. I would argue further, but I know my sister. This is not the hill I want to die on. I would also not like to die in the used 2018 Maserati Ghibli that Alec and Crista gave her for her sixteenth birthday. I’d probably have felt safer if she hadn’t decided to modify it. I love my sister and am very proud of her intelligence and many inventions, but I wouldn’t say I like riding in one of her prototypes.
I was thankful when we reached the Madonie packhouse. It was organized chaos as we pulled up. Several Madonie pack members had already begun hanging decorations while others were bringing out more boxes of decorations. I recognized most of the decorations they were carrying out, but plenty were new. André is certainly going all in on this year’s decorations.
“Not even a little surprised André is going even bigger this year.” Persephone sighed as she parked.
“My cousin never does anything small.” Zoe chuckled as she climbed out of her car, parking behind us.
“He roped you into helping too?” Persephone chuckled. “Shouldn’t you ensure Nebrodi is ready for the holidays?”
“Of course, he did. And I’m not worried. Whereas André believes in going big or home, Katrina believes in ultra organization. She may be our Luna, but Tie lets her have her way regarding holiday celebrations.” Zoe laughed.
“So, no worries, your birth pack is already in full swing of decorating with many events planned for all ages. Katrina has some big surprises planned.” She smirked, and something about how she smiled and said ‘big surprises’ left me wondering what was happening.
“Is there something we should know?” I asked.
“Of course not. It is the holidays, and it’s a time for great cheer. Katrina will just be spreading that cheer across Sicily.” Zoe assured me with a wink.
“Yeah, that sounds super reassuring. But fine, keep your secrets with Katrina.” Persephone rolled her eyes.
“As long as it’s nothing to be worried about.” I nodded.
“So, did André give any set instructions? Where he wanted or needed us to help?” I asked as I looked around.
“Beta Zoe. Signora Persephone. Signora Delilah.” Nicolao greeted us with a bow.
“We have been expecting you. Alpha has asked that I give you these instructions and assist in any way you require.” He explained, offering us each a piece of paper.
I looked down at mine. It was a list of instructions for decorating the inside of the pack house. I almost wondered if Darren outlined it with how detailed it was, even including sketches of what things should look like and the instructions. But the verbiage and use of exclamation points told me André truly designed these.
“It looks like I shall be inside decorating.” I shrugged and looked at my sister and Zoe.
“I’m out here, which explains why he asked me to bring some of my stronger drones. He’s hoping I can use them to handle some outdoor decorations to prevent people from getting hurt.” Persephone said as she went to the trunk to get her drones.
“And I’m out here with Persephone,” Zoe answered as she went to help Persephone with the drones.
“Beta Alexander will be assisting you inside, Signora Delilah. Once he has finished with decorations at the Alpha villa, he will join you.” Nicolao explained.
“Ooo… careful not to get caught under the mistletoe.” Zoe and Persephone laughed as I blushed.
I tried to glare at them. I don’t think it’s working because they started to laugh louder.
“It’s okay, Delilah. I think the only person that doesn’t know you have a crush on the slut is him.” Persephone was still snickering as she hugged me.
“Don’t call him that. He doesn’t have a mate, so he is still allowed to have temporary relationships with others.” I sighed.
I dislike her shaming Alexander for not waiting for his mate. It’s a personal choice, and no one should be shamed for it. We know plenty of people that didn’t wait. Tie, Katrina, André, Zoe, and Darren didn’t wait. So why should only Alexander get shamed for it?
“As his sister, I can call him one. I know I’m one. I have no shame in my game.” Zoe smiled.
“I’m not trying to shame him. I want to remind you that he is a player, so please don’t get too attached.” Persephone sighed. “Now go get to work.”
I sighed and took my instructions, and headed inside. I greeted the workers that were already getting boxes of decorations out. Taking charge, I reviewed the instructions and sent people to different floors to get to work. I know this isn’t my pack, and I have even less authority here than I do in Incubi, but as part of André’s family, I felt I should take charge to see his vision achieved.
I was on the first floor with a few others. While I handled the details, I’d instructed some Madonie wolves to get the fifteen-foot Christmas tree in place. Specifically, I had taken on the large ballroom, which would be the centerpiece of the pack celebrations.
As I balanced on tiptoe to hanging mistletoe, I felt the stepladder shake. I’d all but prepared myself to fall on my ass. But instead of hitting the floor, I landed in familiar strong arms. I blushed as I looked up to confirm who my rescuer was.
“A…Alexander…” I gasped softly, my heart beating faster than a hummingbird at how close our faces were.
I understand why my cousin is the way he is. I’m used to it, or at least I should be. He’s been like this since we were pups. If it was a party, he was all for it. He would plan parties in detail, and Goddess help those who didn’t fall into line and did things his way that included adults. It’s honestly one of the things that he gets serious about.
I remember when Gamma Ezio questioned one of his instructions when my Mama turned over planning the pack Christmas when he was fifteen. If looks could kill, Ezio would have been dead on the spot. Unless it was to defend his family, seeing André angry was unheard of. So it shocked everyone when he chewed Ezio a new asshole, for complaining that he had to listen to some pup. Ezio never questioned my cousin after that.
I sometimes want to question my cousin, but asking him while he’s holding a hammer is not a good idea. Even if I’m out of reach, he could throw it or accidentally hit someone like he almost hit Anton. And when he explained that he was going so big for Princesses Gwen and Christina, I couldn’t argue. My new cousins should get to have memorable childhoods full of love and laughter.
I don’t know why Crista’s sisters coming has me on edge. I have nothing against either of the girls. Sure, Persephone is annoying. I already have an annoying, sassy older sister. I don’t need a younger version. And Delilah… well, Delilah is another story. A story I’m not sure what to do about.
‘You’ll do nothing. That’s what you’ll do.’ Lucius so ‘helpfully’ commented as I drove back to the packhouse.
‘Helpful as always.’ I rolled my eyes.
‘What kind of help did you think I’d be? There are still two years till she awakens her wolf. And even then, you only can do something if she’s our mate. If she’s not, you lay a finger on her. I won’t put up a fight when her sisters and Alec turn you into dust.’ He scoffed.
I rolled my shoulders to suppress a shudder at the image he painted. He’s right that Zio Alec would eviscerate me. The whole D’Amore-Fayte family would, including my best friend and Alpha. There isn’t a member of that family who is protective of Delilah. I don’t blame them. I’m protective of her too. I wouldn’t want to see her hurt by anyone, me included.
I’ve been protective of that girl since we met. She has an innocence about her that reminds me of Regina, but that’s not it. My little sister is innocent, or she better be unless Valter wants to be neutered. However, her innocence is different. Regina has an obnoxiousness to her that one can only find in a sibling. And Delilah…she is NOT my sister.
Delilah’s innocence is genuine and not because she’s untouched like the Virgin Mary Italy celebrates today. She’s pure-hearted even after everything she’s suffered. I doubt many in this world could retain that warm and loving outlook on life and the people around her if they lived through all she has.
‘Delilah Fayte is a sunflower, always growing and finding the light.’ Lucius nodded as I headed into the packhouse, ready to check off more boxes on my cousin’s to-do list.
‘She’s…’ I started to comment when I stopped short when I saw her.
She was balancing on tiptoes at the top of a step ladder. A step ladder that was wobbling.
‘About to fall. Catch her, dumbass.’ Lucius scoffed.
As if I needed to tell me that. I was already three steps ahead of him. I’d covered the distance between us and easily caught her as she tumbled backward. I smiled as she gasped my name as she realized I’d caught her.
“How about I handle hanging anything high enough that you need a step ladder.” I offered, smiling as she blushed brighter.
I really shouldn’t embarrass her. She makes it so easy with how quick she is to blush.
“I… okay.” She agreed in that delicate voice of hers.
“Kiss!” Someone shouted.
Delilah’s face turned the same shade of red as her Christmas sweater. I glared to see who shouted it and saw it was Alissa with a smirk. She knows who Delilah is and why what she just said is the stupidest thing on the planet.
“Mistletoe. It’s holiday law.” She teased as she pointed above us, and I drew my attention.
“Alissa…” I sighed, shaking my head.
“You can ignore her, Delilah. I plan to.” I assured Delilah.
“We… we are under the mistletoe.” Delilah stammered softly, turning redder. “You don’t have to kiss me. I mean, how weird would that be? I’m like a little sister to you.” Her words were coming out in a rush as she backpedaled.
‘It’s the holidays, and you are under the mistletoe. Her family won’t kill you…. This time.’ Lucius shrugged his approval.
He makes a valid point. And it’s not like it means something. It’s just a mistletoe kiss. So, I kissed her, I shouldn’t have, or at least I shouldn’t have kissed her on the lips, even if it felt right on some level.
“OH MY GODDESS!” Persephone yelled, making me quickly end the kiss and put Delilah down.
“I fell, and Alexander caught me. And we were under the mistletoe.” Delilah quickly explained the situation as she hurried from me to her sister.
“Uh-huh.” Persephone eyed me like she was contemplating dissecting me.
“Honest. Perfectly innocent holiday kiss.” I concurred with both hands up.
“So, are you saying you’re just handing out kisses while under the mistletoe?” Persephone arched her eyebrow.
“With some exceptions.” I shrugged.
“Oh, so you suddenly have a standard.” Persephone scoffed.
“Well, you and blood relatives would be the exceptions.” I taunted, folding my arms.
“Okay, that’s enough. Back to your corners. It’s the holidays, and we are supposed to be decorating.” Delilah sighed.
“Yeah, it looks like you were doing a lot of work.” Persephone rolled her eyes.
“Back outside, Persephone.” Delilah pointed to the door, taking a stern stance.
It’s rare when Delilah gets authoritative, and it’s generally to keep her older sister in line. Persephone pointed her fingers at her eyes and then at me in a silent ‘I’m watching you’ before she walked out.
“Please ignore her. The holidays are a touchy time of year for us.” Delilah explained.
I sighed, shoulders sinking at her reminder of the suffering they’d been through. That reminder made me feel bad for being snarky with her. I don’t think I could imagine spending holidays without my parents.
“I don’t hold any hard feelings. And I’ll try to be nicer to her.” I promised. “But you did make a good point. We are supposed to be decorating. Let’s get back to it.”
“Thank you, Alexander. I appreciate it.” Delilah rewarded me with a smile. “Yes, let’s make this ballroom look even better than André pictured it.”
“We can try, but knowing my cousin, I’m not sure we can exceed his expectations.” I chuckled.
The tension slowly faded, and I could focus on my tasks. However, the thought of the kiss was still lodged in my memory. Innocent holiday kiss… yeah, I’ll keep telling myself that.
Chapter 3 - Single Holiday
I CANNOT unsee what I just saw! I was NOT mentally prepared to see Delilah in Alexander’s arms KISSING! I’d gone inside to see if Delilah needed any help. We had plenty of helpers outside, and my drones handled most of the tasks. So I thought maybe they’d help with indoor decorations as some areas have rather high ceilings.
They both said it was innocent because of the mistletoe. I want to believe that. I know my sister, so I know she wouldn’t have initiated a kiss. And I could only hope Alexander likes living enough to know better than to mess with my sister. So, I could only take their word on it as I walked back outside.
“Was everything okay inside? Did Delilah need help?” Zoe asked when she noticed me.
“I…” I frowned, unsure what to tell her.
“What happened? You look… well, somewhere between sick and murderous.” Zoe furrowed her brow as she handed a drone controller off to someone else.
“That…that is pretty accurate.” I half-heartedly laughed.
“So, want to tell me what made you murderous and nauseous?” Zoe asked, putting her arm around my shoulder to lead me further from others to be less likely to be overheard.
“I… I went inside to check on Delilah. I walked in to find her in your brother’s arms.” I started to explain.
“Like in his arms, how? Bridal style? Fireman’s carry? Or fucking against the wall?” Zoe asked.
I shuddered at her previous description. I know she was asking if Alexander was holding her chest to chest, but she just had to phrase it dirty. I don’t need that imagery. It’s bad enough that I’ve seen Crista and Alec in a quasi-state of undress in that exact position. So gross.
“Can we never use words that evoke imagery of your brother fucking my baby sister? I am liable to throw up and then throw him off a cliff.” I pulled a disgusted face.
“Maybe when Delilah’s older.” Zoe laughed. “Now, back to my question. In what way was my brother holding her?”
I narrowed my eyes at the idea of my baby sister and her brother being together. “Not going to happen. Delilah won’t entertain being with anyone that’s not her mate.”
“Just answer the question.” Zoe rolled her eyes.
“Bridal style. Which I guess lines up with their story. Delilah said she fell from her step ladder, and Alexander caught her.” I sighed.
“Okay, so nothing to get worked up over. Alexander saved Delilah from falling. So why are you angry, let alone nauseous, about that?” Zoe furrowed her brow.
“They…they were…” I don’t even know if I can say it.
‘Oh, just say it. They were standing under the mistletoe. So what if your sister’s first kiss went to Alexander under the ruse of an innocent holiday kiss under the mistletoe? Who cares that he’s probably made out with half the single females in Incubi and Madonie and not just on the lips?’ Sara taunted.
‘Great, now I need to get my baby sister tested for STDS.’ I rolled my eyes.
“Out with it.” Zoe huffed, putting her hands on her hips.
“They were kissing,” I whispered.
While I was trying to be discreet and not have a bunch of Madonie wolves looking at us and knowing what was happening, Zoe laughed like I’d just said the funniest thing on the planet. Several workers paused to look over. I waved dismissively at them and tugged Zoe further away as she doubled over in laughter.
“This is not funny. My sister deserves a far better first kiss than your brother. I doubt his healing powers make him immune to STDs from the various skanks he’s hooked up with.” I hissed quietly.
“I…I’m sorry…I… I can’t…oh wow.” Zoe apologized through laughter.
“It’s not funny. How would you feel if it was Regina getting her first kiss from a guy who’s screwed half the single females in two packs?” I countered as I folded my arms.
That got her to stop laughing. The laughter became a growl.
“See.” I snorted with a nod in validation.
“Okay, fair. But I’m laughing because, come on, this is Alexander. My brother may enjoy the single life, which I won’t hold against him because I’m enjoying mine.” Zoe sighed.
“Alexander would never do anything to hurt Delilah. I’m sure there is a perfectly logical reason why that happened. Like it was an accident or something.” Zoe shook her head.
“Well, they said it was because of the mistletoe they were standing under. That it was an ‘innocent’ holiday kiss.” I sighed.
“See. It was just mistletoe. Kissing under it is what you’re supposed to do.” Zoe laughed softly.
“Still not funny,” I grumbled.
“It isn’t something to get all bent out of shape. Kissing under the mistletoe is a holiday tradition. Unless the kiss is unwanted, it’s always innocent. Or it’s innocent till someone makes it not.” Zoe shrugged.
“Were you looking for mistletoe?” Someone questioned, holding mistletoe over her head as if he was about to kiss her.
His lips stopped inches from her as he was turned to stone. Before the mistletoe he held also turned to stone, she snatched it away.
“Now see, that is what we call an unwanted kiss using this holiday tradition in a twisted manner,” Zoe smirked, waving the mistletoe.
“You should probably turn him back. It’s probably not good for André’s reputation if you go around making people statues.” I sighed and took the mistletoe from her.
“If I must.” Zoe rolled her eyes, and soon the guy reverted.
The look of horror in his eyes was kind of funny. He should have known better than to try and steal a kiss, least of all from Zoe Petridis. Though I suppose her reputation isn’t as well known in Madonie as in Incubi and now in Nebrodi. While I love my gift, the power Zoe and her mother share is truly something.
Zoe may not be saving herself for her mate, but she still always calls the shots. I hope the kiss between Delilah and Alexander wasn’t him stealing a kiss. Then again, I know Delilah has a crush on him. Either way, if he ever does something to hurt my sister, I will help kill him.
I told Persephone to chill about seeing Alexander kissing Delilah under the mistletoe. I’ve already made a mental note to yank him by the ear as I give him a lecture via our family link. Some lines can be crossed, some that can be blurred, and others that you do not fuck with. And messing with a Fayte sister is one of the do not fuck with lines. Silvano and Santi learned that shit the hard way.
“Wh…” The Madonie wolf blinked as he toppled forward and kissed my boot, as I’d not stepped far enough back.
“Mistletoe is not a toy, little boy,” I growled down at him with my hands on my hips.
“As I told Persephone, a kiss under the mistletoe is innocent unless unwanted. I didn’t ask anyone for mistletoe. I didn’t stand willingly under the mistletoe for a kiss.” I outlined as I crouched down and lifted his face by the chin with a claw.
‘We should have left him as a statue.’ Viatrix growled.
She has never liked that I play the field. She wants me to take finding our mate more seriously than I already do. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve attended many gatherings, but I haven’t found him. That’s not my fault. So, I decided to have fun while I waited for the Goddess to put me on the correct path.
The Madonie wolf gulped as he looked at me. He’s not unattractive, but not my type. They say there are many fish in the sea. I want to catch a great white. This one is a sardine. I wouldn’t waste my time with someone so scrawny. I know I’m probably coming off as a bitch. I have a standard when it comes to the appearance of a man. I also have standards for their intelligence too. Always know your worth and never settle for less.
“Never do that again, or I’ll explain to my cousin, your Alpha, why he has a new statue for his garden.” I smiled menacingly as I let Viatrix come forward a little.
“I… my apologies….” He scrambled to his feet with wide eyes.
“Zoe, stop scaring Claudio.” André laughed as he approached us, placing a hand on Claudio’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry if my cousin scared you. She has that effect on men.” He smiled brightly.
“I’m fine, Alpha. Thank you.” Claudio nodded.
“Excellent. Now you can apologize for whatever you did to piss her off and get back to work.” My cousin’s smile started to morph into that Cheshire smile Zio Alec does when Chesed is in control.
“Y…yes, Alpha.” Claudio stammered, scared of André as my cousin’s grip on his shoulder tightened.
“M…My…my apologies… Signorina…” He winced as André applied more pressure.
“That’s Beta Zoe Petridis. We should always respect those of rank even if that rank is not within our pack.” André stressed my title.
I saw Claudio turn white as fresh snow as it all clicked in his mind. I’m not only his Alpha’s cousin. I’m his Beta’s sister and a Beta in my own right. This has taken such an entertaining turn.
“I…I am truly sorry, Beta Zoe. It was offensive and uncalled for. My behavior was out of line and will never happen again.” He stammered a little as he apologized.
“Of course, it won’t.” I nodded. “Because if I hear you pull that mistletoe stunt again, you’ll spend the rest of your life in stone.”
“You may carry on with your tasks, Claudio.” André smiled, releasing him.
We held it together all four seconds as Claudio rushed to join the others in setting up. Four seconds before, the three of us broke into laughter. Oh Goddess, how I’ve missed André. Don’t get me wrong, I love it in Nebrodi and getting to be Beta to Katrina. But Katrina is no André, and even as outrageous as Tie can get, he is no match for André.
“Do I want to know why you three are laughing, and Claudio looks like he needs to change his underwear?” Darren asked, looking sternly at us as he folded those muscular arms.
Seriously, why did my cousin have to get the hot American? I only got a hot American for a night during the war last year. And even then, it wasn’t anything super noteworthy. The better-looking ones were either assholes, Clement, or taken like Kurt, Darren, Stephen, Collin, and even Tanner. My night with Scott wasn’t bad. It was just, eh. Cillian wasn’t biting. I can respect that because he wanted to save himself for his mate.
“He tried to steal a kiss from Zoe using this,” Persephone explained, holding up the mistletoe.
“Oh… mistletoe. Darren’s very familiar with that plant. Aren’t you, Tesoro Mio?” André winked.
Darren rolled his eyes, and I’m sure there’s a juicy story there. But I doubt André will tell me with Darren and Persephone standing here. Darren doesn’t like openly discussing their sex life. And Persephone doesn’t want to hear about theirs or anyone’s sex life. Someday when she either finds her mate or someone she wants to fuck she’ll realize sex is fun. Until then, she can carry on enjoying her single bubble.
“It might be a good idea not to hang mistletoe around. We don’t want to cause issues with people kissing the wrong person simply because they are under it.” Darren suggested.
“Excellent idea!” Persephone agreed. “I’ll go inside and tell Delilah and Alexander not to hang any more mistletoe.”
“Why are you so eager about it?” André arched his brow.
“She caught my brother and her sister under the mistletoe.” I shrugged.
“Yea, take it all down.” Darren nodded.
“I would like to keep our Beta alive. I’d also like not to have to budget for the damages Crista could and would cause while killing him for touching her baby sister.” He shuddered, probably thinking about the carter that was Silvano in the Incubi hospital parking lot.
“You’re no fun.” André pouted.
“You can hang as much mistletoe at our villa as you want. But none should be in public spaces to avoid conflict.” Darren compromised.
“Fine. You do have a point. I don’t want anyone thinking they can steal a kiss from you because you’re under mistletoe.” André conceded.
“I’m off to take down some mistletoe.” Persephone grinned as she hurried back inside.
“And I’m off to talk to my little brother about whom he can and can’t kiss before Zia Crista does it more violently.” I smiled. “You can tell me what you did with mistletoe later,” I whispered to my cousin.
I laughed on my way inside as I heard Darren telling André he better not tell me details of their personal life. Poor Darren hasn’t realized he’s mated to someone who kisses and tells, but only a select few. I happen to be one of those few. And I’m good at keeping secrets. I’m already keeping one for Katrina.
I winked at one of the cuter Madonie wolves as I went inside. If he’s unmated and single, I may have just found my stocking stuffer for the holiday. Oh, the fun that comes with enjoying my single holiday life.
Chapter 4 - Family Holiday
Life after having Gwen and Christina is different. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s different. And it should be different, especially when I think back twenty-one years ago when I struggled to cope with Lilian’s death and raising Katrina and André without her. I would probably have drowned in it all if Izzy wasn’t there.
Everything this time around is different. For starters, Crista is with me and my mate. So I’m not alone in raising them or coping with grief. And our circle of support is larger. We still have Izzy. To a lesser extent, we had my children to help, but they had packs to run. And then we have Persephone and Delilah living with us.
Having her sisters living with us is a catch-22. Delilah is a joy to have in my home and is always eager to help us with the girls. I know she will make an excellent mother when she becomes one. Persephone… well, I don’t doubt she loves her nieces. She is, however, more likely to hand them over if they start to fuss and especially need a diaper change.
For example, my office doors opened while I was in my home office reviewing some last-minute details for holiday celebrations. I arched my eyebrow as I saw Persephone walking in with Gwen held at arm’s length. My seven-month-old daughter was red in the face as she wailed, kicking her legs the white of the candy cane striped leggings stained brown.
'Oh, that is foul. What did they feed this pup? Chickpeas? It's like Katrina all over again.' Chesed wrinkled his nose.
“Your daughter needs an emergency bath, and I’m supposed to be at an IT meeting at the patrol office. Crista is overseeing things at the town square, and Delilah is getting Christina ready.” Persephone explained as she went to plop Gwen on my desk.
I quickly took my daughter before her seeping diaper butt could get shit on my papers and my antique desk, possibly where she was conceived. Though I’m certain the girls were conceived in the shower when Crista and I first had sex. But that’s not a thought I can let myself linger on as my ears are ringing. Gwen developed the strong lungs for screaming that her big brother had and still has.
“As always, you’re such a help.” I rolled my eyes as I got up.
“Silenzio, mia piccola principessa. Papà ti ha.” I gently cooed, not fearing my clothes, as I brought her to my chest.
“Glad you have this handled. See you later.” Persephone waved as she quickly about-faced and left me with a justifiably upset baby.
“Your Zia Persephone will be in for such a wake-up call when or if she ever becomes a mama.” I sighed as I pressed a kiss to Gwen’s hair.
At least her cries had grown softer in my arms. My paperwork will have to wait. Cleaning her up is more important. I hurried up the stairs to the nursery. Delilah was at one of the changing tables attempting to get Christina into her outfit. Despite how much Christina kicked and wiggled, Delilah kept speaking sweetly to her. She eeped when she noticed me and frowned when she saw I had Gwen.
“I told Persephone to bathe her. What happened?” Delilah sighed as she scooped Christina off the table, one candy cane legging on her chunky leg.
“She brought her to me and then left for a meeting at the patrol office,” I explained as I headed for the girls’ attached bathroom.
“I can do that, Alec. If you don’t mind getting Christina dressed.” Delilah offered.
“It’s fine, Delilah. I’m already covered in poop. No sense in you ruining your outfit too.” I assured her as I continued into the bathroom.
“Okay. I’ll put Gwen’s backup outfit out for you and switch Christina to her backup so they can still match.” Delilah offered.
“You have her half-dressed. They don’t need to match. Being twins doesn’t mean being a matching set. It’s not like we are doing the family holiday picture today.” I called over the water as I filled the baby bathtub inside the actual bathtub.
“Um… Alec. Today is the family picture. Or part of them. Crista wanted photos of the four of you in the town square amongst all the decorations.” I could hear Delilah wince as she reminded me.
“Thanks for that reminder. Okay, change Christina into the backup outfit, and is there a third and maybe fourth backup that we can put in their diaper bag?” I grimaced as I peeled the soiled outfit off my daughter to see the full extent of her diarrhea explosion.
“Not that I knew of, but I’ll pack extra outfits. Do you think Gwen will have a blowout again?” She asked over the giggles of both girls.
I’m unsure why Christina is giggling, but I knew why Gwen was giggling. She found my wrinkled nose funny and is glad to be free of the dirty o and diaper, even with the hives on her arms and belly.
“It’s always a possibility. What did you give them for lunch?” I asked as I carefully cleaned off as much of the shit as I could from my daughter before putting her into the warm water.
“Today’s lunch was pureed chickpeas, bananas, and sweet potatoes. Christina seemed fine.” Delilah explained.
“Well, that explains that. Chickpeas, don’t give them to Gwen anymore.” I sighed. Chesed's nose was right. She's having the same reaction to chickpeas as Katrina at nearly the same age.
“How are you sure it’s the chickpeas?” Delilah asked as she entered the room, holding Christina on her hip.
Christina was now dressed in a long sleeve onesie that said ‘My 1st Christmas’ with a red and gold snowflake tutu with red and white striped leg warmers and a matching headband keeping her dark hair out of her face. I don’t remember that one, so my son bought it for the girls. He does love filling their closet with new clothes.
“Well, I can see the hives on her arms. Add that to the diarrhea, and it’s Katrina all over again. Gwen and Katrina are allergic to chickpeas, and my Nonna was allergic too.” I explained as I carefully washed Gwen.
“Oh no. What should we do? Will she be okay?” Delilah started to worry.
“If we don’t have infant Benadryl here, I’ll stop by the pharmacy to get some. She’ll be fine. The Benadryl will help with the hives, and the diarrhea should have passed.” I assured her as I gently lifted Gwen out of the water and wrapped her in a towel.
“Yes, you’ll be fine, my little one. Like your big sister, you’ll avoid chickpeas the rest of your life.” I spoke sweetly to Gwen and kissed her nose.
“You’re a good papa.” Delilah smiled.
“I had plenty of practice before these two came along.” I shrugged as I got up.
“Let me put Christina in her crib, and I’ll get Gwen ready.” Delilah offered.
“I can handle it,” I assured her, but she had already hurried to put Christina down.
“Yes, but you need to change too.” Delilah nodded to my dress shirt, which was stained and wet.
“Fair point. Thank you, Delilah.” I conceded as I passed Gwen to Delilah.
Once showered and changed, I helped Delilah get the girls into my car and drove to the town square to meet Crista. We went to the pharmacy to get Gwen some Benadryl, but she was in good spirits despite it all.
‘Is everything okay? I thought you’d be here by now?’ Crista questioned in our link.
‘Pulling into the parking lot now. Gwen reacted to chickpeas and needed a bath and Benadryl. But it’s all handled. See you shortly, Cara Mia.’ I assured Crista as I parked.
My heart was stuck in my throat when Alec said Gwen had a reaction to chickpeas and needed Benadryl. I didn’t acknowledge the people who tried to greet me as I hurried toward the parking lot at the pack house. I easily spotted Alec as he was putting Gwen into the double stroller.
Yes, I knew which daughter was which. I hurried over and took her before he could strap her in. They may be identical to the untrained eye, but I’m their mother, so I would know them blindfolded.
“Are you okay, Gwen?” I asked sweetly as I kissed her forehead.
She felt warm, but I couldn’t see anything else wrong. She was smiling, happy as can be. And looked adorable in the green, white, and gold My First Christmas onesie, tutu, leg warmers, and headband outfit André and Darren gifted them on L’Immacolata Concezione. I included Darren as his name was on the gift bag tag, but I know André picked them out.
“She’s fine, Cara Mia,” Alec assured me as he kissed my temple.
“She’s like her sister Katrina and my Nonna, allergic to chickpeas. It was a minor reaction. I gave her a dose of Benadryl to help the hives, and Delilah used the rash cream to soothe them after her bath.” He explained as he took Christina from my sister.
“Alec handled it like a pro. Which I guess is expected since he went through it with Katrina.” Delilah smiled as she put the diaper bag under the stroller.
“Are you sure she’ll be okay? Do we need to get her an EpiPen? Should I make an appointment with her pediatrician?” I asked, still worried as I pushed her sleeve and saw the little red bumps from the hives.
Alec assured me as he strapped Christina into the stroller. “She’ll be fine. I’ll have an appointment when the pediatrician is available next, so it’s on her medical history. I don’t think she’ll need an EpiPen. Katrina doesn’t.”
I sighed in relief. Of course, Alec has this handled. I kissed Gwen’s temple before putting her into the stroller beside her sister. These girls are my world. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to them.
“Come, Cara Mia. Let’s head over to the festivities. We are supposed to kick this event off after all.” He smiled, slipping one arm around my waist while taking the stroller handlebar with his other.
“If you two are set, I will meet up with Regina and Valter.” Delilah pointed to the square.
“Of course. Go enjoy yourself.” I smiled, happy that my sister had made friends.
“Even if it’s as a third wheel on their date so her dad doesn’t rip his throat out.” Alec chuckled.
“Enjoy your family time. I’ll see you later when it’s time to head home.” Delilah sighed and shook her head as she hurried to find her friends.
I sighed and leaned against Alec as we walked over to the square. Now that I had him and our pups at my side, I felt calmer and took the time to greet everyone we passed. Everyone, of course, fawned over the girls. The twin heirs who changed Incubi law, and someday I am sure they will change Incubi even more when one or both take over.
The event was a success, and we got some great pictures of the four of us as we enjoyed the festivities. And at sunset, Alec and I held one of our girls as we flipped the switch that lit the tall Christmas tree and all the holiday lights strung around the square. The smile on our girls’ faces and the wonder in their blue eyes, as they stared at all the lights was priceless. I hope the photograph captured that perfect moment to mark our first family holiday.
The photographer caught a picture when Alec and I were under the mistletoe. I think he missed the memo on what kind of kissing you do under the mistletoe because that kiss... wow. I felt that kiss in my core. I will say that having the girls hasn't slowed down our sex life, only modified it. As he pulled back from the kiss, he pressed his forehead to time, another click of a camera telling me the photographer had taken another picture of us.
'You aren't going to be getting much sleep tonight, kitten.' Chesed taunted.
'Why because of Gwen's chickpea reaction?' I answered, knowing it was not what he meant but wanting to fuck with him anyway.
'Oh, I can't wait to see what shades of red your ass will be when we're done with you.' Chesed growled.
'Promises promises.' I smiled as I stepped out of Alec's arms.
We stayed at the event for maybe thirty minutes before using the girls as an excuse to leave. As soon as they were sleeping peacefully in their cribs, I had to cover my mouth to stifle my yelp as I was suddenly thrown over Alec's shoulder and carried to the darkroom for some 'punishment.'
Chapter 5 - Surprise Holiday
I don’t like keeping secrets from Tiberius. It’s draining. I must be on guard so he doesn’t pick up on my secret. And I don’t just mean through the bond. He’s a werewolf. He’d probably hear the baby’s heartbeat if I weren’t using magic, especially when he goes down on me. It’s not easy to enjoy foreplay and sex, let alone get off when I must focus on keeping him from finding out.
I know I could just tell him and save the surprise for my family. But I already had it all planned in my head, and I also don’t want the news to derail him from all the Alpha duties he has to handle during the holiday season, which we have in common. I have double the workload as I have Luna duties related to the holiday on top of my Crone duties.
“Is your stomach bothering you, Luna? Or are you hungry?” Ilario asked from the driver’s seat.
I hate being a passenger, but it is his truck, and I needed help hauling all this crap to the coven. My brother may have gone overboard helping me get decorations for the week-long celebration. Ilario owned a truck and had the availability to haul the trailer full of decorations for me. I was weary of having him do it because we were so close to the start of the Yule celebration. I don’t want coven members throwing themselves at the poor guy.
“Huh? Yes. I’m fine.” I furrowed my brow, knowing neither of my hands were on or near my stomach.
“Why do you ask?” I asked.
“I thought I heard something coming from your stomach. I wasn’t sure if it was because you were hungry or your stomach was upset. If you were hungry, I would say I have protein bars in the glove compartment. If it was because your stomach is upset, some antacids in there too.” He shrugged.
“Oh. Well, no, I’m fine. Thank you.” I assured him, now worried, that I had let my guard down too much and my magic wasn’t keeping my unborn pup’s heartbeat silent.
“Why do you have all that in your glove compartment? What else is in there?” I asked, opening it and blinking in awe at the mom-purse of glove compartments.
I have never seen a glove compartment used like this. In mine, I keep sunglasses and my insurance and registration information. Ilario has that but so much more and is so neatly organized. He had a mini flashlight, portable phone charger, travel wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, snacks, pen, notepad, escape tool, and a mini first aid kit. I should take a page from his book for when this baby arrives. I’ll need stuff like this on hand.
“I… I like to be prepared.” He shrugged, blushing.
“I’m not trying to embarrass you. I just… I’m impressed. I like to think of myself as an organized person, but all I keep in mine is sunglasses, my registration, and insurance info.” I quickly assured him, not wanting him to feel uncomfortable.
“It’s okay. Not many people are impressed. Most think it’s weird that I like to keep things organized. But they’d understand better if they knew anything about my home life before I was old enough to move out.” He shrugged.
“Right. I still find it impressive.” I frowned, remembering something Tiberius had told me about our Delta and more so about his family.
Ilario’s mother was a hoarder. Because of the poor conditions, his mother developed respiratory problems. Their home had to be condemned due to how bad the mold became. She had been receiving care to try and help curb her hoarding tendencies when the attack happened. She and her mate were among those that passed away. It makes sense that Ilario is so organized.
“Thank you, Luna.” He said as he parked the truck in the heart of the pentagram that makes up the coven’s village.
“Now allow me to put those organizational skills to use to help decorate the coven.” He smiled, getting out of the truck.
I nodded and followed him to open the trailer, several coven members coming over to help or at least inspect Ilario. I sighed and shook my head at the horny bitches. We aren’t even at Yule yet.
“Back off. Ilario is not here for anyone’s pleasure. He is my Delta and is helping with decorations and nothing else. The first person to try and touch him without his consent deals with me,” I warned the crowd of witches.
“It’s fine, Luna Katrina. I can hand….” Ilario started to reassure me when he trailed off.
I turned my head quickly, thinking he had trailed off because someone had done something. No one was near him, and he was staring off into the distance. I walked around the trailer to see what he was staring at and saw Celestina walking in our direction carrying a crate of what I assume is potions to be handed out. I raised my eyebrow and looked at Ilario again, snapping my finger in his face.
“Ilario, why are you staring at Celestina like… oh sweet Goddess, are you being serious.” I gasped as it clicked.
Now I know human and werewolf mating is rare, but as the Crone of the coven, I also know that Celestina isn’t strictly a witch. Her mother is a hybrid. She never developed a wolf as her magical heritage was stronger. So, Celestina is a quarter werewolf, but like her mother never had a wolf spirit. I never imagined anyone in the coven would be mated to someone in my new pack.
“Hello, Katrina.” Celestina smiled in greeting.
As she got closer, the more intense Ilario’s aura was getting. And I think if he gripped the handle to the trailer door any tighter, he was going to… never mind. He just snapped the handle off. I’ll have to find a bungee cord or some rope to close the trailer now. I give him credit for staying put and not rushing to her growling mate.
“Hello, I don’t think we’ve met.” Celestina eye fucked Ilario as she set the crate down. “Are you one of the men Katrina and her brother rounded up for Yule?”
I took a half step back as I saw his nostrils flare. I know I could take him down if needed, but I saw his wolf coming forward at the reminder that his mate was supposed to be part of a week-long orgy to get pregnant tomorrow night. I don’t think any male werewolf would be okay with that idea.
“No…. I won’t be part of that.” He growled, struggling to keep his wolf in check.
It didn’t work. I give Ilario credit for keeping his wolf in line that long.
“And neither will you if I have anything to say about it,” Ermes growled as he stepped into Celestina’s personal space.
“Excuse me? Are you looking to go home with your balls in a jar? What gives you the right to say such a thing to me, wolf boy?” Celestina demanded, getting in his face.
“This,” Ermes answered her with a hard kiss.
While Ilario is the sweet, even-tempered man who’d never be forward with anyone, his wolf is another story. As Ermes just proved. He could have touched her hand to initiate the mate bond spark. But that would be too tame for him. He had to kiss her to make the sparks fly. And fly, they did as the kiss took on a new life and made out against the trailer.
“AHEM!” I cleared my throat loudly.
“Ermes, you will stand down and give Ilario control,” I commanded. “Do not make me swat your nose. Trust me, I know how to put an unruly wolf in his place, asked my papa’s wolf.”
“I…my apologies, Luna Katrina. And to you, mate. My wolf…he tends to be more…” Ilario apologized as he stepped back.
“Forward? I like it.” Celestina smiled, licking her lips with a dreamy look in her eyes.
“Ilario, meet Celestina Marchesi. Celestina meets Ilario Somma, Delta of Nebrodi.” I introduced them.
“Ilario and Ermes,” Celestina repeated their names.
“It’s a pleasure, and if you want to change my mind about being in the orgy. I suggest we go to my place.” Celestina grinned as she reached into the crate and took out a potion.
“I…it’s a pleasure to meet you too. I’m supposed to… I’m supposed to be helping Luna Katrina.” Ilario frowned, torn between going with his mate and fulfilling his duty to me.
“Just go. I’m the last person that should tell anyone not to go fuck their mate.” I waved a dismissive hand at them.
“Thank you, Luna.” Ilario sighed in relief as he took Celestina’s hand and let her lead him away.
I like Celestina. She’ll make a good Delta. If only Zoe would find her mate, I could have all my ranked members. I guess I won’t be the only one abstaining from the orgy or having a surprise dropped on them this holiday season.
While things have been great with Katrina these last few weeks, something feels off. Like she’s holding something back or hiding something from me. I’ve dismissed the concern assuming she’s just trying to keep me from discovering what she got me from Christmas. And that’s cool. We should still be able to surprise each other.
‘Except this feels less like she’s trying to keep a present from us and something bigger. She’s not just keeping something from us via the bond. There’s something off about her.’ August sighed as I glanced at Katrina as we drove to Madonie for the family Christmas bash.
‘She’s just been tired. She’s working so hard between her Luna and Crone duties. It’ll be fine after the holidays, and she can relax.’ I explained away his concerns.
‘That’s why we planned the trip to that resort in the Maldives as her gift. A week away from pack and coven responsibilities. Just the two of us with minimal to no clothes. It’ll be great.’ I assured him, confident all our mate needed was a vacation.
‘I hope you’re right.’ August sighed.
I want to be right, but I feel in my gut that maybe he’s right. And that worries me. If Katrina were unwell from more than just being overworked, she’d tell me. Right? She wouldn’t keep a health problem from me.
“I can’t wait for this party. I have the perfect gifts for everyone. I especially can’t wait for you to open yours. I hope you’re going to love it.” Katrina smiled and slipped her hand into mine.
“I would love anything from you, Kat. Well, as long as it’s not anything Alice in Wonderland related. It was so not cool of Darren’s brothers to send me that Queen of Hearts life-size cutout for my birthday.” I shuddered.
“While the initial freak out was bad, you had a wonderful time ripping it to shreds. Colby and Azriel may have sent it to be jokesters, but it was therapeutic.” Katrina squeezed my hand as she leaned over and kissed my cheek.
“Okay, that’s true.” I laughed as I pulled up to her brother’s villa.
The villa was on the verge of being an eyesore with how many lights and holiday displays were up. But what did I expect? This is André we are talking about. Judging by the cars parked in the driveway, we were the last to arrive. I don’t mind being the last to arrive, especially since we showed up late because we had shower sex.
“AT LAST!” André exclaimed as he flung open the doors. “My twin has arrived, and the party can begin!!”
Katrina chuckled and hugged her brother while Darren helped take gifts from my arms. “Thanks, bro.” I nodded to him as we headed through the villa.
The inside was just as over the top as the outside but slightly more tastefully, which tells me Darren may have had some say in the interior decor. The sounds of people talking and mostly cooing over Crista’s babies accompanied holiday music. And if the sounds of a happy family and holiday music weren’t enough to get you in the party mood, the aroma of delicious food was. That’s one thing a D’Amore party is never lacking, FOOD and super tasty food.
“We made it. Sorry, we took so long.” Katrina apologized as she hugged her father before going around the room to greet the Faytes and all the Petridis family in attendance.
“I even got here before you, and we live in the same pack.” Zoe rolled her eyes.
“True, but you don’t have someone to have shower sex with to delay you.” I countered with a wink before I took Gwen from her.
“Ouch. Low blow. It’s bad enough that I’m the only single ranked wolf in Nebrodi. Don’t go rubbing it.” Zoe pouted.
“How’s one of my favorite sisters-in-law?” I cooed, rubbing my nose with hers.
“Don’t go playing favorites.” Katrina teased as she swapped with me so I could greet Christina too. “And don’t feel blue, Zoe. Alexander is the only single ranked wolf in Madonie.” Katrina threw in a taunt to her cousin.
“Never. Both are my favorites.” I smiled, rubbing my nose with Christina.
“What about us?” Persephone tapped her foot with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, you aren’t my sisters-in-law.” I laughed and handed Christina to Crista.
“You’re the little sisters I never had, and some days, mostly in your case, never wanted.” I taunted as I pulled Persephone into a headlock and gave her a noogie.
“Get off me!” Persephone squealed, putting up her armor to make me stop before getting out of my grip.
“Oh, look at you, you got a wolf, and now use her powers to avoid getting taunted. Not very fair.” I stuck my tongue out before I hugged and kissed Delilah and Crista on their cheeks.
“Careful, Tie. You wouldn’t want my brother to get jealous.” Zoe snickered when I kissed Delilah’s cheek.
“What are you talking about?” I asked as Delilah turned red, and even Alexander was fighting a blush.
“Excellent question.” Alec agreed, folding his arms.
“It’s nothing. Zoe’s making a big deal out of nothing.” Alexander protested.
“Delilah’s first kiss is a big deal.” Regina scolded.
If Delilah could sink further into the couch and disappear, she would.
“Wait…hold up.” Katrina looked from Delilah to Alexander. “Alexander Damon Petridis…” She growled, pointing a finger at him.
“Will everyone just relax?” Alexander held his hands up in surrender.
“She was hanging mistletoe and slipped off the step ladder. I caught her, and then, because we were under the mistletoe, Alissa taunted us about being under it. I kissed her.” Alexander explained. “It was an INNOCENT holiday kiss. Right, Delilah?” He looked to Delilah for a lifeline.
“Y…yes. That’s all it was. Please, everyone, stop embarrassing us and making it into something it wasn’t.” Delilah sighed.
“Yes, everyone, leave my Beta and my darling Zia Delilah alone. Now that Katrina and Tie are here, we can open presents!!!” André clapped his hands, changing the subject.
“PRESENTS!” Lando exclaimed, obviously eager to open gifts.
We all found our seats as Darren and André passed out gifts to everyone. When they reached one of ours, Katrina stopped them.
“I want our gifts to be opened last.” She insisted.
“Suit yourself.” André shrugged and grabbed a different gift.
Soon there was wrapping paper everywhere. Gwen and Christina were content chewing on the crinkle Christmas books while Lando was playing with a fire truck Darren’s parents had sent for him. I got the biggest kiss when Katrina opened my gift to her, and she saw the tickets for our flight to the Maldives in mid-January. All that was left were the gifts Katrina brought for everyone.
“Okay, it’s time to open my gifts,” Katrina announced as she handed out the gifts, including one to me. “Well, open them.” She encouraged us.
I didn’t need to be told twice. I quickly ripped the wrapping paper from the gift and furrowed my brow when I saw it was a bottle of wine. I like wine. What red-blooded Italian doesn’t? But this was the gift she wanted to wait to last to give? I tried not to frown as I turned the wine, wondering if it was at least some rare vintage.
My eyes went wide as I read the label and nearly dropped it. “Pairs well with…becoming a papa?” I blinked and looked up at her.
“Surprise.” Katrina smiled.
“Bellomo heir coming August 2023.” Alec and others who received a bottle of wine read the rest of the label.
“Oh, how cute she gave the girls Zia Gwen and Zia Christina shirts,” Crista exclaimed.
“I got a Cugino Lando shirt!” Lando grinned, holding his shirt up.
“Are you… how… I mean, I know how. But how didn’t I know yet?” I asked as I pulled her closer and pressed my ear to her abdomen.
She laughed and touched my hair. “I’m a very powerful witch, Tiberius. I wanted to surprise you, so I used magic to hide it. But now I don’t have to.”
And despite all the commotion of everyone celebrating the big news, I heard it. I listened to the rhythm of the fast thumps of a heartbeat. Our pup’s heartbeat. This is now the best sound I’ve ever heard. This is the best gift anyone could ever give me. I’m sure I had tears in my eyes, and I looked up at Katrina.
“This is the best Christmas present ever.” I proclaimed.
As I stood, I pulled her into my arms and kissed her. Her present has outshined all the others anyone has received. This is amazing news, and I know what I want to name our heir should they be a boy. There’s only one name worthy of our first son: Thales.