My Defender (Bewitched and Bewildered Book 8)(10)

By: Alanea Alder

Ellie hurried to catch up to Tobias, following him through the house and out the back door. Where the four houses met, an open courtyard was filled with anxious looking people. Six small beds were laid out in the center and worried parents looked on helplessly from the perimeter.

Three men and a woman walked between the beds, trying to soothe the children. Ellie frowned.

Why just them?

"Are you Dr. Kimball?"

Ellie nodded to the man walking toward her. "Yes, I'm Dr. Eleanor Kimball, and this is my grandmother, Marjoram Johanson, and you are?" She extended her hand. The man took it and gave her a firm handshake.

"I'm Dr. Nathaniel St. John, and I'm very glad to see you. Did you have a chance to go over the symptoms I sent you?"

Ellie nodded. "Besides additional patients, have there been any changes?" she asked.

Dr. St. John nodded. "Yesterday, they barely had a low-grade fever. It was about hundred and one, which even for human children isn't that high. Today, all of the children have fevers over a hundred and three. For a human child that would be concerning, for a shifter child it's not that bad since we run around one hundred degrees. They are even more restless today and are complaining of stiff legs and hurting backs. They seem to have little to no appetite, and dehydration is becoming a concern since they are adamantly refusing food and water. They are extremely cranky for lack of better term. Like wounded little animals."

"Like wounded animals?" she asked.

He nodded. "Exactly. A wounded animal doesn't know you're trying to help them--" He was about to continue when one of the children began to shriek behind them, screaming, 'No! No! No!'. The child's small fists beat at the woman's chest as she tried to comfort him. Beside the struggling pair, a harried looking man whom Ellie assumed was the father knelt down, trying help his mate.

Ellie walked quickly toward them, Dr. St. John at her side. Just before they got there, an older man plucked the child from the mother's arms, and surprisingly, the child began to calm. The man whispered quietly into the child's ear and rubbed his back soothingly. Bouncing him gently, he began to walk the courtyard as the child laid his head on the older man's shoulder and began sucking his thumb.

"What just happened?" she asked, looking around the room.

Dr. St. John stared at the pair. "That's Demetrio Bolivar, he is the Wolftown's old alpha." He pointed two cots down toward another man who looked to be a younger version of the one who'd just walked away. Like the old alpha, this man spoke in gentle tones as he sat with another child, rubbing his hand over the girl's brown curls. "That's their current Alpha, Stefan Bolivar."

Ellie looked at the doctor. "I don't understand."

Dr. St. John snorted. "Welcome to the club. The children are reacting more to the alphas than their own parents. They won't calm down unless one of the alphas steps in." He pointed to a beautiful older woman. "That is Stefan's mother, Adora Bolivar. Between the three of them, they haven't gotten much sleep. They keep trying to get the children to rest, but it's a losing battle, just as one child calms down another starts a fit. The only other person who has been able to help is Grant Douglas. He's a wolf shifter with the Eta Unit."

"And where is this Grant?" she asked.

"Just over there." Dr. St. John pointed across the courtyard.

Ellie watched a very tall, lean muscled man walk back and forth with a toddler in his arms. His stoic features looked so severe that his scowl seemed to be his normal expression. She was concerned for the small boy until she watched him dip his nose into the child's neck and nuzzle him gently. Her breath caught as she watched the unguarded moment between man and child. It had to be one of the most beautiful things she'd ever seen.

"Is that his son?" she asked.

"No, that's Benji Wolfrun. Susan and Tobias are his foster parents. Benji isn't showing any symptoms; he's just fussy without Grant. So Grant has been helping with Benji. When the baby goes down for his nap, Grant relieves either Stefan or Demetrio to let them get some rest."

"Is Grant part of their pack?"

The doctor shook his head. "No, which makes his involvement even more of a mystery. From what I've been told, his birth pack is from a completely different part of the country."

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