The Alpha's Surrogate [The Alpha's #1]

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Chapter Forty

ANASTASIA MULBERRY

She bit her lip and glanced down at her phone, genuinely considering faking an excuse and cancelling last minute. Despite how excited she had initially been when they had set up the plans for tonight, as the hour now loomed over her head, Anastasia couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t right.

Even though her mate was such a dick and definitely deserved this and so much more for what he had done, she couldn’t help to think that this was cruel; seeing someone else when she already had a mate.

But just as Justas had hinted, she would no longer have to worry about such a thing if she simply rejected him however, thinking like that just made her feel sick to the stomach.

Even though his horrid behaviour warranted such a despicable response, Anastasia just couldn’t bring herself to even think about it. Despite everything, they were still mates – something which she had scarcely hoped she would be blessed with but never thought it to be actually possible – and it would be a slap in face that was the sanctity of mates and the Moon Goddess’ pairing; something which she held high respect for. However, that didn’t mean that she was ready forgive him. Far from it, actually.

No, if he truly wanted to be forgiven then he would simply have to earn it.

When her phone chimed in her hands, Anastasia blinked out of her daze and glanced down at the notification that now highlighted her screen.

I’m really looking forward to tonight.

What kind of wine do you like?

She chewed her bottom lip, mulling over the prospect of texting him back now and cancelling their stay-in dinner plans but the longer she stared down at the words, the more determined she became that she was in fact doing the right thing.

If he didn’t deem her worthy enough of being his mate, then he wasn’t worthy enough to be hers.

Champagne would be great.

Or red.

Whichever one you prefer.

A small laugh sounded from her as her phone pinged instantly.

Champagne it is!

I’ll see you at 7.

Anastasia hummed quietly as she dropped her phone on the sofa and rose to her feet, needing to get ready before Harvey came over since there was only about a half hour left until she was expecting him.

While they had both agreed that this was nothing more than two friends catching up over dinner – albeit, Harvey more begrudgingly than her – she didn’t want to come off as a slob, especially since in the short amount of time that she had known and seen Harvey, she had been dressed in rather comfortable clothes that were far from flattering or attractive.

As she had already showered that morning, Anastasia simply washed her face, applied a light layer of some concealer, bronzer, lip gloss, mascara and brushed some gel through her naturally full eyebrows before slipping a full-sleeved turquoise ruched dress that stopped about mid-thigh. Since they were nearing the end of fall and the beginning of winter, she thought it best to slip on a pair of low count denier tights, forgoing any footwear as they wouldn’t be leaving the house.

Just as she finished smoothing her hands down her dress, the sound of the doorbell ringing filled her house.

Not wanting to leave him waiting out in the cold, she rushed down the stairs, through the living and down the hallway to reach the door, only stopping for a few seconds to catch her breath and further compose herself before she reached for the door handle.

“I had a terrible feeling you were going to cancel last minute, so I thought I’d show up early.” Harvey grinned at her in greeting as she opened the door, a large bouquet of red roses, a tall bottle of champagne and their takeaway dinner in his arms.

“I was just about to text you.” Anastasia grinned cheekily as she opened the door further to invite him in.

When Harvey handed her the flowers as well as a box of chocolates she hadn’t noticed earlier, her expression softened and she thanked him graciously with a kiss on the cheek before leading him down the hallway and into the kitchen where they would be enjoying their meal.

“Well, with the way you look tonight, I can only assume that you have a hot date planned.”

“I was keeping you around as a second option, you see.” She shot him a cheeky grin over her shoulder as she reached for a vase in one of the kitchen cabinets before moving to fill it with water for the roses. “If he cancelled on me, at least I would still have you to fall back on and tonight wouldn’t be a complete waste.”

“I’m glad to be of service then.” Harvey chuckled as he placed the champagne and bag of food down on the dining table, shooting her a grin as she grabbed some plates and wine glasses for the both of them.

“I have to admit,” Anastasia began as she pulled out a chair for herself and took a seat, allowing him to unbox all the food since he had been kind enough to pick up dinner for the both of them; opting for a mix of Asian and Italian cuisine since neither of them could decide. While he did that, she decided to pop the champagne and pour both of them a glass. “I never thought we’d actually go through with this.”

“With dinner?” He asked as he took a seat, helping himself to some rice while Anastasia decided to start off with some tomato pasta.

She nodded her head in confirmation.

“I’m not going to lie. I didn’t think it would actually happen either. Not with the way you’ve been brushing me off since the first time I tried to get you to agree to go out on a date with me.” Harvey chuckled. “What made you change your mind?”

“I don’t know.” Anastasia shrugged as the lie passed her lips, expertly covering it up as she took a generous sip of the champagne, trying to buy herself some time to think of a valid and believable excuse. “I kind of felt bad for turning you down all the time.”

“Ah, don’t tell me this is a pity date.” Harvey chuckled even though she could tell that he was genuinely worried that, that was exactly what this was.

“It can’t be a date since we agreed that we’re just friends.” She sent him a pointed look, her lips curling up into a small smile.

“For now.” He replied unabashed, his lips stretching into a wide grin as she didn’t deny him.

“We’ll see about that.” She hummed aloud. “How was your day? How was work?”

“Work’s good. There’s been more cars than usual come in this week so that’s been keeping me busy, but it’s all good fun. I love spending time under the hood.” Harvey grinned.

“I’m glad to hear that.” Her lips twitched at the corners slightly as she caught the underlying meaning of his last statement, not sure if he had intentionally made an innuendo or not. Either way, she laughed softly and chose to ignore it, not looking to encourage him since she was still unsure of whether she was looking to purse something more with him or not.

“What about you? How has maternity leave been treating you?” Harvey sent her a pointed look, his eyes travelling down to glance at the top of her stomach which was nothing compared to the size it had been the last time that he had the pleasure of running into her.

“Well, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m no longer pregnant.” She laughed softly as he feigned confusion even though it was apparent that she had already given birth. While she was still carrying around some pregnancy weight – the swell of her stomach was curvier than it had been before the surrogacy – it was no longer evidently protruding.

“Really? I didn’t even notice.”

Anastasia threw her head back and laughed, once again reminded of the fact that they shared a very similar sense of humour.

“I’m not sure if I should be offended or not.” A mock frown played on her lips, unable to contain the amused twinkle in her eyes.

Harvey chuckled and held his hands up in surrender.

“How are you doing?”

“What exactly do you mean by that?” She cocked a questioning brow.

“Now that you’ve given birth, how do you feel?”

Anastasia took in a deep breath before exhaling slowly, having been asked this question a few times now by a few wolves around the pack and even a few humans around town that had been aware that she had been acting as surrogate for her friends.

“I feel a mix of things.” She found herself admitting honestly. “While I’m really happy and ecstatic about the fact that I was able to help my friends like that and I knew from the very beginning that I wouldn’t be keeping the baby, it feels strange coming home without him.” She murmured quietly. “But that’s expected and it’s actually easier now than it was in the lead-up to labour.”

Harvey nodded in understanding, a soft look in his eyes as he watched her attentively, hanging off her every word as she spoke quietly.

“I know that it was far from easy, even if you knew it would be this way coming into this, so if you ever need to talk, I’m more than happy to lend a listening ear. Even if you need something to distract you, I’m still your man for that.”

“Thank you.” Anastasia whispered, genuinely grateful for the kind and thoughtful gesture.

The moment he reached a hand across the table and placed it down on hers, squeezing gently, her whole body tensed up and a grimace played on her lips. As much as she wanted to brush off his hand and wipe away the feeling on her thigh, Anastasia forced a smile on her face.

Logically, there was no reason as to why this was wrong, or why she shouldn’t let Harvey, a man who was clearly interested in her and believed herself to be worthy of his time and affection, hold her hand. Just because her own mate didn’t want her didn’t mean that no one else ever would.

As the seconds passed, she found herself relaxing under his touch and the tight, forced smile on her face soon began to relax, but before she could squeeze his hand back in signal that it was fine and she was returning the sentiment, a loud bang sounded from the front door, sounding almost as if someone was trying to break in.

Anastasia flinched while Harvey’s body froze and he jumped to his feet, but before either of them could investigate further, another loud bang sounded against the door but this time, it was followed up with a voice, too.

“Anastasia!”

Harvey turned his head sharply to glance at her. “Do you know who that is?”

“Unfortunately, I do.” She sighed and nodded her head, before wiping her mouth on a napkin, dropping it carelessly down on the table and marching out of the kitchen and toward the front door.

As she yanked it open with a deep scowl on her face, Anastasia was met with the glorious sight of her mate, the last person that she had expected to see tonight.

Even though she was still angry at him, she couldn’t help but exhale at the mere sight of him, her body relaxing, not even realising that she had been tense or carrying around a heavy weight these past two weeks. As she was met with the dark gold of his eyes, glistening green flecks in them, she couldn’t control her eyes as they travelled down over his broad shoulders, muscular chest that moved up and down quickly as he breathed heavily. The more her eyes travelled down, the longer she held her breath until finally, a high-pitched squeak passed her lips and she was quick to avert her eyes, having not expected to make direct eye contact with his cock that was currently saluting her despite the evident anger and rage that was pulsing through his body.

“Why the fuck are you naked?” She questioned him a quiet whisper, very aware of the fact that her very much naked, hot and angry mate was standing in front of her while she was enjoying dinner with a wolf that was a little more than just a mate. “And why the fuck are you hard right now?”

“What? No hello?” Marcellus chuckled darkly as he slipped past her into the house, not bothering to wait for her to invite him. Or give her the chance to slam the door in his face, for that matter.

“You can’t be here right now. You need to leave” Anastasia murmured in a desperate plea as she rushed after his naked ass down the hallway, reaching out to clasp her fingers around his wrist, trying to tug him back even though there was no doubt in her mind that he possessed far more strength than he did.

When she tugged on his wrist again, he decided to humour her by coming to a stop at the end of the hallway, only a short distance away from stepping into the living room and being able to spot Harvey whom she had left at the dining table in the kitchen.

“Marcellus? Did you hear me?”

Ignoring her question, Marcellus turned his head to glance at her from over his shoulder with hooded eyes which were still that deep gold which both scared and enthralled her at the same time. “Why don’t you call me Mars?”

“Because I don’t know you like that.” She huffed and rolled her eyes, hating the fact that he had purposely avoided her question. “Did you hear what I said earlier? You can’t be here right now. You need to leave.”

“Why do you want me to leave, my little spitfire?” He chuckled darkly, turning around so she was now greeted with the sight of both his heads, giving her his utmost attention. “Have you got something to hide?”

Anastasia barely had time to gulp and think of a lie as Harvey ventured out of the kitchen to come to a stop behind Marcellus, glancing at her with a puzzled expression on his face from over Marcellus’ shoulder.

-

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Layla Knight

09.11.2020

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