Tessa found herself captivated once again by the beauty of the sunrise. The first snow of the season seemed to have fallen overnight and has now covered the landscape in a flawless blanket of glistening white. The new addition had changed the scenery from its usual luscious atmosphere to a new wonderland. A smile played on Tessa’s lips as she continued to admire the beauty outside. Winter always made her feel refreshed. It reminded her that a new year was fast approaching, and everything could start with a clean slate.
After the year she had, Tessa was looking forward to a fresh start, especially with all the positive changes coming her way. Her hand mindlessly caressed her now prominent stomach when a creak from the bed behind her caught her attention. “Everything okay, love,” Dainin’s deep voice filled the room, causing Tessa’s breath to hitch. She turned to find her glorious mate propped on his elbow while his dark eyes scanned her body.
A blush immediately flooded her cheeks because, although she was wearing her robe, she may as well have been naked under his darkened gaze. Tessa cleared her throat to try and compose herself as she walked back to the bed. “I’m fine. The baby was restless before and woke me from a sound sleep,” she explained, smiling at Dainin when he lifted the blanket to invite her underneath.
He waited patiently for her to position herself beside his large frame before pulling her impossibly closer to his warm body. Tessa jumped when his large hand entered her robe to rest on her stomach. “I know what you were hoping for,” her wolf teased, but then retreated from her mind. She was never a morning person.
Tessa couldn’t help but close her eyes while Dainin gently ran his palm over her lightly clothed skin. The baby had gone from being rambunctious in her womb to only sending an occasional gentle bump to let them know it was still there. “I honestly think we’re having a girl,” Tessa sighed while memorizing her mate’s love-filled eyes. This man had so much love to give that it never ceased to amaze her.
“That would be amazing,” Dainin said before pulling the blanket down to place a kiss over their growing child. “I’m happy with whatever you are, little one,” he said, and Tessa had to fight her tears of happiness, but of course she failed. “Damn hormones,” she sniffled while wiping the stray tears away.
A smirk formed on Dainin’s lips while a deep chuckle resonated within his chest. “I really do enjoy this sensitive side of you,” he admitted, moving back to lay beside her. “I’m glad I’m the only one that gets to really see you be so vulnerable,” he expressed while kissing away another fallen tear.
“Well, you did this to me. It’s only right that you take responsibility,” Tessa softly laughed as her hand caressed the back of his neck, moving his forehead to rest against hers. “You’re the only one that will ever get to see it,” she said, bringing his lips to her own in a loving kiss.
Their lips moved at a sensual pace, each trying to memorize the way the other felt against their skin, and eventually, the kiss deepened as the thralls of passion became too much to bear. The heat from their bodies consumed them and soon they found themselves entangled in a pleasurable and hungry embrace, neither one stopping until they could barely speak.
There was no concept of time when Tessa was with Dainin. As she lay naked beside him, she enjoyed the way his fingertips gently ran along her spine, sending blissful sparks throughout her body. Her overwhelming emotions had her mind reminiscing about the first few days they had met. She never imagined she could love someone so easily, especially after all the years of denying such a wonderful gift. Dainin had simply been a stranger to her when they met and yet he understood her better than anyone. He was patient, devoted, and made her feel like she was the most precious thing in the world. She didn’t know where they’d be if her wolf and Cadence hadn’t gotten through to her about giving him a chance. “You’re welcome,” her wolf sighed. She never missed a chance to say I told you so. “I’ll give you this one,” Tessa said plainly. She didn’t have the energy to argue with her.
Dainin’s fingers stopped moving along her back, earning a strong nudge in Tessa’s stomach which had her shifting uncomfortably beside him. “We’re definitely having a strong Daddy’s girl,” Tessa groaned, gently pressing her hand over the small protruding lump from under her skin.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Dainin said, kissing the top of Tessa’s head before rising from the bed. She couldn’t help but feel disappointed that he had left her, but she certainly enjoyed the view of his perfectly sculpted body.
“You are so lucky we have a meeting to attend; otherwise, you’d never be leaving this bed,” Tessa growled while standing beside him. “We still have to shower. Let’s kill two birds with one stone,” Dainin suggested with excitement as he effortlessly picked Tessa up and carried her to the bathroom. The water wasn’t going to be the only thing hot and steamy in the shower, and she couldn’t wait.
It was a good thing they had gotten up so early, otherwise, they would have been late for the meeting. Tessa had to fight against the urge to daydream about their morning together, but she shook the lewd thoughts away when she noticed the cocky smirk on Dainin’s face. “Can you stop? Cadence told me they’re all on their way. This is a big decision, so we need to focus,” she said, narrowing her eyes at her mate who was now leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed over his chest.
“Look, I understand your apprehension about joining our packs, but it just makes sense to me. I don’t understand why we had to wait this long to decide. It’s ridiculous that we live separately during the week and have to plan which nights we can be together,” Dainin grumbled.
Tessa couldn’t help but roll her eyes. She didn’t like their arrangement either, but they presently had no other options. They couldn’t forgo their Alpha responsibilities to be together. “A pack having two Alphas is unheard of. How do you think everyone is going to react, let alone adjust? It was only right to have Cadence and Alan interview each member so we can make a fair decision,” Tessa explained like she had many times before.
Ever since Milo’s situation had been rectified, this topic had always turned into an argument. The option of keeping their packs separate had been the only thing Dainin wouldn’t accept. Tessa had been more than willing to compromise, but they had all been so distracted with Milo that they’d forgotten all about it. However, once Milo was back to his human form, he had been avoiding Tessa and any other social gathering besides training. She couldn’t really blame him for reacting this way. The psychiatrist explained he had a lot of emotional baggage and was still barely sharing anything at their meetings.
When Milo woke from the sedative, he had asked to see their parents. Tessa failed to hide her surprise as she watched her brother shatter from the news. She never imagined he would think they were alive. Now, she was watching her brother go through the same grief she had all those years ago, and he didn’t even want her to be there for him. “He’ll come around. Everyone is keeping their eyes on him, especially Leah,” Tessa’s wolf assured her, and it was true. Tessa wasn’t completely sure of where Leah and Milo’s relationship stood, but the she-wolf made it clear that Milo wasn’t going to just slack off and mope. For that, she was grateful.
Dainin’s voice pulled Tessa from her thoughts. “I’m just going to say this, and I’m not changing my mind. We will become one pack whether they decide they want to come together or not. We’re a family and are practically sharing pack lands already,” he stated, and Tessa knew he was serious, but she also had faith in their packs. He hadn’t been the only one observing everyone’s behavior over the last six months. It was plain to see that everyone was meshing exceptionally well.
White Sand had adopted the dedication and high expectations her Blue Ridge members were so proud of, but they also brought a different sense of camaraderie beyond the training fields. There had been bonfires and dinners to celebrate milestones at any stage of a member’s life, whether it was their first shift, birthday, or a newly mated pair. These events gave everyone plenty of opportunities to mingle and get to know one another.
Tessa had quickly realized it was a key component missing in their day to day life, and it had only brought everyone closer. She even felt a new sense of kinship with the White Sand members, and after being addressed as their Luna over the last few months, it was beginning to grow on her.
Dainin had explained his pack respected her Alpha position, but they were simply honored to have such a strong Luna. No one was expecting her to fall into the stereotypical role she despised so much, and that made it easier for her to accept.
Now, today was the day where all their lives could change, and as the conference room doors opened, Tessa couldn’t help but feel excited about the news which Cadence looked so happy to share. “Looks like we’re about to find out,” Tessa said, glancing anxiously at Dainin as everyone entered.