Desired by the Bear Book 2(10)By: V. Vaughn
“I never stopped thinking about you, wondering if you were okay. I---” Henri’s voice cracks, and he pulls her back into an embrace that’s so tight I think neither of them dares to let each other go.
I realize tears are falling for me too when I need to sniff, and a tissue is soft in my fingers when Grace hands it to me. Jean Luc comes into the kitchen and says, “You two, come with me.” He takes us by our hands and leads us down the hall to his study.
When we get there, my throat is thick with the need to cry more, and I shake my head at Jean Luc’s cool demeanor. “Aren’t you the least bit affected by true mates being reunited after so long?”
He sighs, and his grip is gentle as he pulls me into an embrace. “Of course I am, ma chérie. But this is a private matter between Henri and Rachel.”
I gaze up at my true mate and try to imagine what it would be like to be separated. “Do you think Henri will be angry?”
He asks, “Would you be angry with me if I had kept a child from you?”
I step away. I would be furious, but I also know true mate love is strong, and it overpowers all other emotions. “Yes,” I say. “But I wouldn’t be able to let it take over.”
Grace says, “Henri won’t be able to either. I think the person who’s going to feel the brunt of his rage will be Julie.”
I ask, “What’s going to happen here? Do you think Henri would divorce Julie to be with Rachel?”
Jean Luc says, “Before I found you, I would have said no. He’s a family man first and wouldn’t do anything to hurt his children. But now I understand how Rachel makes him feel, and I honestly don’t know what he’ll do.” The desk creaks as he leans against it and crosses his arms. “But more importantly, Henri’s daughter is a hunter. I need to figure out what we’re going to do about that, especially since it will devastate him in a different way.”
“Wow. So we have a mother who just found out one of her twin babies didn’t die and grew up with the father. A father who found out he has another daughter who grew up with her mother. Twins who are halves and don’t know about each other. One is a hunter and one is in love with a werebear. A pair of true mates who are reuniting in the living room. And there is an evil wife in the mix. Did I leave anything out?”
“That about covers it,” says Jean Luc as he bursts into laughter that makes his eyes twinkle.
I reach for my husband’s hand, and he squeezes my fingers tight as I say, “Fortunately they have a wise alpha to sort it all out.”
He shakes his head. “Fortunately I have a wise prima,” he glances at Grace, “and the wisdom of a former one to help.”
A knock sounds on the door, and Henri says, “It’s me.”
Grace is closest and opens up to him. His gaze is on Jean Luc, and he looks as if he’s aged ten years in the last hour. I think the men speak to each other in their heads, because Jean Luc glances at me and asks, “Could you give Rachel a ride back to the apartments? We’re going for a run.”
My heart aches for Henri, and I’m sure he needs his best friend right now, so I nod in reply. My husband and Henri leave through the garage where we go when we shift, and Grace and I return to the living room to find Rachel.
Her eyes are swollen and her face is blotchy. She takes a shaky breath when she sees us, and dabs at her eyes with a tissue. I don’t want to pry so I say, “I’ll take you back to Kelsey’s.”
When we get outside, Rachel takes a moment to gaze up at the sky. The rush of waves crashing on our beach is methodic as she gulps loudly. She says, “When Henri and I were together I knew he was my soul mate. I had no idea then we were actually true mates.” She whimpers before she manages to get out. “God I’ve made a mess of things.”
The leather seat of my Hummer is cold under my thighs when I climb in, and once I start the engine, Rachel swipes at her cheeks with her sleeve. “I almost came here to find Henri once when Kelsey was a newborn. Before I told my parents about her.” She lets out a dry chuckle. “I got to the Canadian border, but didn’t have a birth certificate to get my daughter across. I took it as a sign that I should leave things alone.”
Lights of an oncoming car flash as it goes by us, and Rachel says, “I imagine life would have gone differently if I had.”
“What would have happened, though?” I ask. “You didn’t know you were a half. And once Henri found out you had his child he would have lived among humans and hide what he was.”
“I know. And you guys need to shift every once in a while, don’t you?”
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