When I reach the address Cora supplied, it’s all I can do to keep my temper in check. She hadn’t
explained what happened, only that she and Ella needed to be picked up from a nightclub. I was able
to stay calm while I got the details from her, but I found my anger growing exponentially the closer I
drew to my disobedient little human. After everything that happened when she snuck out to see my
father, I can’t believe she defied me again. However as soon as I round the corner of the alley behind
the venue, my fury evaporates.
I’m not even sure of what I’m seeing at first. Roger is standing near the back door, naked, disheveled
and bruised. The scent of strange wolves reeks to high heaven, and blood is splattered over the ground
leading away from the club, along with numerous large pawprints. Cora is standing between me and
Ella, her taller frame shielding my pup’s mother from view. She looks unharmed but a bit shaken,
dressed in a tight red frock.
Roger stiffens at the sight of me, and Cora turns to face me, finally revealing Ella. Her arms are
wrapped around her body, and she’s wearing a glittery black mini dress and heels. She’s staring at the
ground, her energy agitated and withdrawn at once. There’s a huge black and blue bruise on her high
cheekbone, and a cut on her lip, dried blood congealed around the wound.
I rush forward, surprised when Cora intercepts me, a pleading expression on her face. “Please be
gentle – she’s in shock.”
I immediately skirt around her, reaching for Ella. Roger and Cora both raise their hands to stop me,
“No!” It’s as if they think my touch might frighten Ella, but as soon as our bodies connect the tension
seeps out of Ella like a dam bursting. She comes to me instinctively, letting me gather her to my chest
and nestling close to my body. Her small hands cling to my shirt as her nose presses to my chest,
breathing in my scent.
Roger and Cora look on with confusion, and I wonder if Ella had been afraid of their touch. The obvious
implications of why she would feel that way pour over me, and I hold her tighter. “What happened?” I
ask, glaring at Roger. If it weren’t for Ella’s obvious need of comfort, I might have already attacked him.
Seeing any man this close to her when she’s injured was a violent trigger.
“Rogues.” Roger answers simply. “I caught their scent near my house and followed them. When I
arrived they had Ella cornered. They were talking about…” He trails off, glancing nervously at the
woman in my arms. “They were sent to kill her, but they obviously wanted to have a bit of fun with her
I can’t hold back the growl which tears through my chest, and I’m not sure what enrages me more – the
fact that anyone wanted to hurt Ella, the way she trembles at Roger’s description, or the fact that he
brought up their intentions in front of her. Ella burrows closer to me, and I wrap my coat around her
shivering body, buttoning it around the small of her back so we’re both snug inside. “I fought them off
and they ran for it.” Roger continues. “But she was already hurt before I arrived… it didn’t look like they
did anything, but I don’t know.”
Leaning my lips to Ella’s ear, I can’t help the ragged huskiness of my voice. My wolf is going berserk in
my head, and I want nothing more than to hunt down the men responsible and rip them to shreds. “Did
they touch you?” I demand, stroking her hair. She shakes her head against my chest, and I catch the
sound of a hiccup – as if she’s holding back sobs. She still won’t look at me, and I realize she’s
probably afraid she’s in trouble even though she needs my comfort.
“I think one of them hit her.” Cora supplies, no doubt referring to her sister’s battered face. “But she
wouldn’t really talk about it. She just kept saying she’s fine and she wanted to go home.” I can picture it
as if I was there, and I feel a rush of warmth knowing Ella sought me for safety when she shied away
from the others.
Cora frowns, continuing. “I don’t even know how they found her. We were inside dancing and then… I
don’t know, I think she got overheated or something and came outside. But… it’s like they were waiting
I nod, “However it happened, it sounds like we both owe Roger our thanks.” I hate saying these words,
and I find all of these circumstances incredibly suspicious. Cora has hit the nail on the head, and the
red flags are only compounded by the fact that my brother managed to find Ella just in time to leap to
her rescue. Still, I don’t want to let him on to my suspicions. If it happens the way he says, then I do
owe him my thanks, and if it didn’t, I need to play my cards close to my chest in order to uncover the
truth. “Brother, can you escort Cora home?”
Cora looks very reluctant to leave Ella, but eventually she departs with Roger, giving me another
imploring look as they walk away. If I had to guess I’d presume she’s asking me not to be too harsh
with her sister, but she needn’t be worried. I have no intention of scolding or punishing Ella – not tonight
“Come on little one.” I encourage, unbuttoning my coat and scooping her up. She slides her arms
around my neck and leans her uninjured cheek against my shoulder, still as quiet as a mouse. The car
ride home passes much the same way, and when we reach the mansionI take her straight upstairs to
Setting her on the counter, I rummage through the cabinets for a first aid kit. Ella leans back against the
mirror, her face devoid of all emotion. “Come here, let me look at you.” I instruct when I’ve retrieved the
Catching Ella’s face between my hands, I tilt her head from right to left, studying her injuries and trying
to stay calm. The bruise on her cheek is swelling quickly, it’s bright red center showing just how close
the blow came to breaking her skin. The cut on her lip seems minor, but the amount of dried blood
makes me worry it’s deeper than it looks.
I wet a washcloth and begin cleaning the cut, causing Ella hiss and wince, “I’m sorry, sweetheart.” I
croon. “It has to be done.” Ella sniffles and clamps her eyes shut as I continue working, determined to
suffer through it without complaint. Of course, when I switch out the water for alcohol, she practically
leaps off the counter, whimpering so pitifully my heart aches. “Shh baby, I know. I’m almost done.” I
promise, holding her tightly in place.
“Do you want to tell me what happened?” I ask a little later, pressing a cloth wrapped ice pack to her
cheek. She flinches, but replaces my hand with her own, keeping up the cool pressure.
“They already told you.” She murmurs, silently submitting as I strip off her dress to check for other
I’m relieved not to find any other wounds, and when I press my hand to her belly the pup seems
perfectly well. It’s heartbeat is steady and strong, and though I sense earlier flashes of unease – no
doubt caused by Jane’s fear – it now seems relieved to be safely home with us both. “I want to hear it
from you.” I press gently. “Roger and Cora don’t know what happened when you were alone with
Ella blinks up at me, and I’m surprised by the lack of emotion on her lovely face. “It was nothing. I went
outside for some air. Then I heard movement in the alley and they appeared. I tried to go back in but
the door was locked –”
“It was locked?” I question, more sharply than I intended.
“Yes, but it was probably just an automatic door.” She reasons. “Anyway I offered them money, I told
them I was your mate and you’d kill them if you harmed me, then one hit me… and I made the mistake
of provoking him…” She trails off. “Roger turned up soon after that.”
“Provoked him how?” I ask, pleased that she’s talking but not liking the hollow look in her eyes, or
emptiness in her words.
Ella stares at her lap, “it’s not important, he probably planned on… raping me even before that.”
Sighing, I pull her into my arms, “I’m sure he did.” I confirm, knowing how strange a comfort this must
seem. Still, Ella clearly knows exactly what they intended, and I’d rather her understand that she didn’t
cause them to think that way, than deny that the danger was always present.
“You really don’t have to fuss over me this way.” Ella says after a moment of cuddling. “I’m fine.”
“You don’t have to be fine, Ella.” I inform her sternly.
She squirms in my hold, and I reluctantly release her. I’m not sure what I expected her to say, but her
next question takes me by surprise. “Why didn’t you tell me about the other rogue attacks?”
Accidental Surrogate by Caroline Above Story
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