My Defender (Bewitched and Bewildered Book 8)(3)

By: Alanea Alder

"Meeting still going?" Grant asked.

"Just started actually, so you haven't missed much."

Micah floated them down and dropped them off at Level One before heading back up to start his own patrols. Grant had only been to the Royal level a few times with Adriel, and he was just as nervous now as he had been then. He knocked on the door and waited. Moments later, the door opened and Sebastian, Prince Magnus' squire, stood smiling at them. "And who is this little gentleman?" he asked, reaching out a hand for Benji to grasp.

"This is Benji. I'm kinda babysitting," Grant replied.

Sebastian held out his arms, practically vibrating with excitement. Grant handed the toddler over to Sebastian, who cooed and generally made a big fuss over the tiny child as he carried him to the dining room.

Grant collapsed into a chair and blinked down at the table, willing his mind to function. He hated mornings. He looked around for some coffee.

"Are you our own Mary Poppins?" Bethy teased.

He grunted, still looking for the coffee. "Allow me," a voice said from behind him. Ryuu, Meryn's squire, turned the white coffee cup right side up on the saucer and poured him a cup of steaming fresh coffee.

"Thank you," Grant said and picked up the cup. He sipped it slowly, feeling his reality realign after having been out of sync from the odd night.

"No cream or sugar?" Meryn asked.

Grant shook his head. "No need."

"Have you tried it?"


"Then how do you know there's no need?"

Grant thought about it for a moment. "Good point. I'll try some in my next cup. I usually drink it black because it's easy."

"Not everyone drinks cream and sugar with a bit of coffee like you do, love," Aiden said, kissing the top of his mate's head.

"Sugar plus coffee equals brain fuel." Meryn yawned and sipped her own cup.

"Grant, what can I get you for breakfast?" Sebastian asked, rocking back and forth with Benji on his hip.

"Whatever is the quickest," Grant replied, rubbing his stomach.

"Of course. I will get something for this little one while we are back there," Sebastian said. But when he went to walk into the kitchen, Benji began to cry. Everyone looked at Benji. Sebastian's face revealed a hurt expression.

Grant spoke up. "It isn't you. Trust me. He wouldn't even quiet for his foster mother last night."

Sebastian's smile returned. "In that case, I think it best he wait with you." He placed Benji on Grant's lap, and instantly, the child brightened. Sebastian's eyebrows rose. "How peculiar." Shaking his head, he made his way back to the kitchen to start Grant's breakfast.

To his left, Magnus began sticking out his tongue and making faces at Benji, who, in return, was blowing raspberries back at Magnus, making the Prince of the Vampires laugh. Bethy watched the interaction with a smile on her face.

Magnus looked up from playing with Benji. "How are the children?"

"Clara and Benji are both doing better, though Clara was starting to get fussy when we left."

Dr. St. John cleared his throat. "I can't make heads or tails of it. They weren't running much of a fever, low-grade if anything. I can't find or determine a reason why they would be acting this way. Unlike the other three, Benji isn't glassy eyed or sluggish. I think he was reacting to the tension around him and just wanted Grant."

Sebastian walked out of the kitchen and set a tiny bowl of dry Cheerios on the table in front of them for Benji and a plate of toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon for Grant. Benji's tiny hands immediately attacked the bowl, and he was stuffing dry cereal into his mouth faster than Grant could keep track of. Dr. St. John watched the entire interaction, tapping his lips with his finger. "You have no idea why they'd ask for you?"

Grant shook his head. "Maybe it's because I'm a wolf."

Eva turned in her chair toward him. "Are you Mexican gray wolf?" she asked.

"No, a timber wolf. I was born into a pack whose territory sits on the border between Montana and Wyoming."

"I didn't know that." Declan frowned.

Grant shrugged. "No need to know."

"He's quiet, like me." Meryn piped up from across the table. Grant shared a knowing smile with the small human. Out of everyone at the table, he identified with Meryn the most. Neither of them really liked people but did the best they could. Benji turned on his charm and flashed Meryn a little one-tooth grin.

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