“Please, Beth. Just listen to me. Let me explain what’s going on?” Wrath said from the wrong side of the chamber door he shared with his mate. She’d locked herself in there right after he’d told her he had a daughter. She refused to let him in, let alone talk to him. It was killing Wrath.
“Did you love her?” Beth yelled through the door.
“Your daughter’s mother. Did you love her?” The door stayed shut and Wrath wished she’d let him in. The whole house was going to hear them if they kept yelling like this.
“No, leelan. You’re the only female I’ve ever loved. Please let me in.” Wrath begged her. It was true. Wrath hadn’t loved Anghela’s mother. He’d cared for her because she’d given him a young but his heart was Beth’s. And it always would be.
Silence dragged on as Wrath waited in exile. It made him extremely nervous and was about to knock again when the door finally opened. Beth had her arms crossed and a stony look he could barely see on her face. But she stepped aside and allowed him to enter.
“Get in here. Explain how you have a daughter you never bothered to mention. When I asked you if you had kids you said you didn’t.” Beth was crying, mostly because she thought he’d intentionally kept it from him. He could tell that she wondered what else he’d lied to her about and was determined to set her straight. Wrath closed their door behind him but let Beth have her space. Crowding her was not going to win him any points.
“When I told you that, I thought it was true. As far as I knew, up until a few weeks ago I thought she was dead. And her existence is a case of bad circumstances. Her mother and I should have never met.” Wrath tried to explain. He still couldn’t believe his young was alive and probably under this roof now.
“Do better than that. How did you meet the mother? And why did you think she was dead?” Beth asked, pacing around their suite of royal rooms.
“Her name was Carrshela and I was never attached to her. I rescued her from lessers about thirty years ago.” Wrath began the story, one he’d have to tell Anghela later.
“So you had sex with her as her repayment to you?” Beth wasn’t being rational right now but Wrath understood.
“No, vampires don’t conceive like that, remember? When I found her, she was hurt and about to be killed so I killed the lessers. Dawn was about to come and it was closer to one of my hideouts than to Havers’ clinic so I took her there. If she had been conscious, Carrshela would have been able to tell me that she was on her way to the clinic anyway to get drugs to control her needing. I patched up her wounds and was planning to drop her off at the clinic at nightfall but she went into her needing before the sun set.” Wrath remembered it vividly and the events that followed.
“And obviously you serviced her.” Beth interjected.
“I did. It was only to ease her pain and I couldn’t escape it. When we separated after it was over, I didn’t expect to hear from her again. A month or so after, she found me and told me she was pregnant. She needed my help because the male she was intended to mate wanted to tell everyone that I was the father and call off the mating. Carrshela begged me for help and though I offered to take care of her and the young she refused. I arranged it so no one knew that her young was mine. The male she was in love with was...persuaded to zip his lip and mate her. After Anghela was born, I marked her as my young and Carrshela disappeared with her mate and the young. Tonight will be the first time I’ve seen my daughter since she was two months old.” Wrath stopped, consumed with emotion. He’d always wished he’d fought harder to keep his young around even though he would have made a piss poor dad.
“So what happened to her mom?” Beth asked, seeming to believe the truth about Anghela’s origins. That was a very good thing.
“Carrshela and her mate were murdered four years ago by lessers. Their home in South Carolina was attacked and Darius and I went down there after I found out it was them. Anghela’s body was never recovered and after a year of searching, I faced the fact that she was dead. Apparently she’d survived and kept herself hidden.” Wrath said, taking a photo out of his back pocket. It was the last one Carrshela had sent of their daughter and it was almost fifteen years old.
“Oh my god. That poor girl. She was all alone.” Beth said putting one hand over her mouth and taking the picture with the other. She knew exactly what it was like to lose a parent and be left alone. They both did.
“If Carrshela hadn’t cut contact with me, she wouldn’t have been alone. It’s my fault and I wouldn’t blame her if she felt abandoned by me. But now that I’ve finally found her, she’s not going to be by herself anymore. I hope you’re ok with her moving in. I can’t let her be out from under my protection again.” Wrath truly blamed himself for failing his daughter. He needed to keep her safe now.
“I wouldn’t have her anywhere else. But how did she survive the attack and why did she never try to find you?” his shellan genuinely sounded concerned for his daughter. He loved her so much for it and maybe she’d like being a stepmother. Relief that she understood and accepted the situation flooded him.
“I don’t know. She might have assumed I didn’t want her. What bothers me more is how the lessers found her home. It was very secluded and she only kept a post office box in town so no letters came to the house. I didn’t even know where it was until a civilian called the Brotherhood and reported the lesser attack.” Wrath was mulling the problem over in his head and could only think of one horrible explanation. And it covered why Carrshela had suddenly stopped sending him letters too.
“But why would they attack random civilians? I mean, the lessers couldn’t have found out where or who they were. Could they?” Beth queried. Distress seeped out of her in a sickening fog.
Wrath didn’t want to voice his theory. Made his skin crawl just thinking about it.
“I would have to ask Anghela about it but I think they knew exactly who they killed. And who got away.” Wrath said, rubbing his eyes. He did an ass plant on the sofa across the room from the bed. The weight of the truth was heavy on him.
“But Anghela doesn’t even know you’re her father. Why would they want to kill her?” Beth hadn’t clued into what Wrath knew was the why of all of it.
Wrath looked at his shellan sadly. “Don’t you see, leelan? You were kidnapped over the summer as bait. To get to me. Kill me, throw the race into leaderless chaos. You have only been with me a few months and she would have made good bait. That’s why they wanted her.”
“Good lord. They wanted to use her to make you come to them. And kill you.” Beth clutched at Wrath’s arm, trying to protect him as fiercely as she’d done over the summer.
“Worse. To kill both of us. And they’re still after her.”