Amelia bounced her legs in the car she and Daniel were driving out to the town of Horton to see the orphanage she’d spent her six years at. Alex sat silent in the back seat, scrolling through his phone. In another car behind them were seven other men to protect them. When Amelia objected Daniel reminded her there had been a threat to her safety. He wasn’t taking any chances with her life. Daniel parked the car at a pristine building with lush green lawns. Outside were dozens of children running around. Amelia didn’t recognize the place.
“This is it?” she asked, leaning forward to get a better look. They painted the home a bright yellow with white trim. The yard was full of plants and what looked to be a vegetable garden.
“They gave the orphanage a grant two years back when a new couple took over the place,” he explained, turning off the car. They waited for Alex to exit and station his men before receiving the nod from him to exit the car. Daniel squeezed her hand and stepped out of the car, Amelia waited for him to come around to her side. He opened the door and helped her out, keeping her hand tucked in his arm as they walked up to the door. Standing at the door was a young couple, both with bright red heads of hair, the man looked familiar to her.
“Welcome to Horton Orphanage. I am Lucy and this is my husband Finn.” Lucy bowed her head, Finn did too. It finally clicked, Finn had been one of the younger boys at the orphanage.
“You wouldn’t be Finn O’Malley?” Amelia asked softly. Finn opened his eyes wide and nodded.
“Do I know you?”
“I am Amelia Byrne, I lived here when you were adopted,” she explained, Finn was four years younger than her and adopted when she was sent to her foster home.
“It is good to see you again. What can Lucy and I do for you?”
“I want to look at my file. Do you have the old files from when we were here?” she asked, Daniel stood at her side silent and observed everything.
“We have the files if you will follow me.” Finn walked into the orphanage. Amelia felt all the stares of the young children playing outside as she followed Finn into the building. Daniel kept her hand in his, but let her lead the way. Finn kept looking over his shoulder at her and she knew he was wondering what she was doing with the alpha prince.
“Here is our file room. All files on children who have left the orphanage are in the back filed by the year they left. Lucy and I have had to do a lot of reorganizing after the last owner left,” Finn explained opening the door to a dusty backroom.
“Thank you, Finn. We will let you know if we need your help,” she dismissed the younger man, surprised he nodded and left.
“You look shocked he left,” Daniel commented once Finn left and closed the door.
“I’m not used to people listening to me. Here is my year,” she commented, pointing to a filing cabinet. Opening the top drawer, she assumed she would be there with her last name being Byrne.
“Here I am,” she announced, pulling out an old file, the folder partially ripped.
“The information wasn’t well taken care of,” Daniel commented, taking the file from her. There was no space or light for them to look through the file.
“Do you mind if we take this?” Daniel asked Finn once they found him and Lucy setting the table for lunch.
“It is Amelia’s file, she can have it,” Finn replied, putting out the salad. Amelia smiled at the family seating. The place felt safe.
“You and Lucy are doing a wonderful job here. I didn’t recognize this place when we pulled up.” Amelia took Daniel’s hand again, he pulled her close.
“I am thrilled to hear that from you. I don’t remember too much of my time here, except how gray the walls were. When Lucy mentioned wanting to take over the orphanage two years ago I was all for making the place more inviting. I didn’t want those who lived here multiple years to hate it,” Finn explained. Amelia gave him a soft smile and laughed when Lucy rang the bell for lunch. Twelve children came flying through the doors, careful not to bump into Daniel or her. Amelia watched everyone settle at the table talking and having fun.
“Would you like to join us?” Lucy asked, Amelia shook her head.
“No, we should get out of your way. Thank you for your help,” Daniel answered for both of them.
“Another time perhaps,” Amelia added, she didn’t want to seem ungrateful for their help. Finn nodded and walked them to the door.
“I hope you find what you are looking for. You will make a wonderful luna queen,” Finn commented once they were outside again.
“We are keeping Amelia’s identity a secret for the moment. We will make a formal announcement in the coming weeks,” Daniel explained, and Finn nodded. Amelia climbed into the car, her file clutched to her chest. Alex slipped into the back seat. She hadn’t seen him or the other men but knew they had been protecting them.
“When we get home, we will look through the file. I know you want to look at it now, but if it brings up questions, I want Nick around to help us answer them. He is amazing at digging up information,” Daniel told her, turning the car on and driving the four-hour drive home. Amelia didn’t know if she could wait four hours to look.
“Why can’t I look now? Then we have a list of questions ready to go as soon as we get home,” she countered and saw his lips flatten into a thin line.
“I’d like to look at the information with you. If anything upsets you, I can’t comfort you while driving the car,” he explained. Amelia understood his concern, but she was twenty-eight, nothing could hurt her anymore.
“I think I’ll be fine,” she remarked, giving him a determined look. Daniel reached over and patted her thigh.
“Baby,” he whispered, Amelia didn’t want to wait, but Daniel was her mate, he wanted to help.
“Fine. Alex, you hold the file so I am not tempted to peek,” she relented, handing the file to Alex. He took it silently, setting it on the seat beside him. Amelia crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her foot impatiently. Four hours felt too long to wait. Her patience would not last that long.
“How is Kylie? Maybe you can get in touch with her about an outfit for the party we will host to introduce you to the kingdom,” Daniel suggested. Amelia knew he was trying to distract her.
“Okay,” she replied with a smirk. Amelia pulled her phone out, sending a text to Kylie.
Hey girl. Daniel is hosting a party to introduce me to the kingdom. I need one of your amazing dresses.
What kind of dress?
“Daniel, is the party in the afternoon or evening?”
“Evening, it will be a cocktail style party,” he answered, pulling onto the major highway and flooring it down the road.
Cocktail party. She sent it to Kylie and sat back to wait for ideas to be sent to her. Knowing Kylie, she was digging through her sketches to give her ideas.
“Tell her blue would be nice,” Daniel suggested, making Amelia laugh.
Daniel says blue would be a pleasant color.
“There I sent a follow-up text to Kylie. I know she is digging through her sketches.”
Tell him blue is nice, but you are meeting the kingdom. I think we should put you in cream or light pink.
“Kylie is thinking cream or light pink.” Daniel grimaced and shook his head.
“Too light. You need something jewel-toned.” His answer made her laugh.
“I had no idea you had such firm opinions on my clothing choices.”
“I want you to look spectacular.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek, then sent a text to Kylie.
Daniel suggested jewel tones. It took no time at all to receive another response.
Deep purple or emerald to match your eyes might be nice. I want to see a few choices near your face before deciding.
“Kylie agreed with your jewel tone suggestion. We need to schedule a time for her to come over or me go to her,” she announced, tucking her phone away.
“We can go to her, that way I can talk with Nick and Alex in private. Nick’s apartment is more private than any place we would use in the palace.”
“Including our rooms?”
“Especially our rooms. Too many servants come in and out. How do you think Floyd got in without you knowing?”
“True. It unnerved me a little.”
“I can see that. I’m used to it, I’ve lived with it all my life,” he answered, squeezing her hand in assurance.
“True. After we look through my file, I need to make a batch of cookies. I have an order due in two days,” she replied when her phone dinged with a reminder.
“Mmm cookies,” Alex murmured in the back seat. Amelia looked over her shoulder at their gamma.
“Do you like cookies?” she asked, Alex nodded and Amelia smirked.
“Look under your seat.” She pointed to a tin of cookies she’d brought along as a snack in case they needed something to pick them up. Alex reached under and pulled it out. Opening the tin, he smiled.
“How did you know these are my favorite?” he asked, biting into a shortbread cookie with toffee bits.
“I have a knack for knowing what people like,” she responded, grabbing a chocolate cutout cookie for Daniel. He took it and bit it in half. She grabbed a raspberry jam thumbprint cookie for herself. The rest of the ride they ate cookies and talked about what flavors they liked. Alex added his comments every so often. Amelia liked their guard, he was slowly opening up to her. She wondered if he had a mate, but sensed the subject was something he didn’t like to talk about. She would ask Daniel later in private.