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Chapter 14: Mothers

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As expected, Theo is out of the house before I wake up. I lie in bed a little longer than usual—today is a full day of entertaining Alexa—so I take my time, knowing I won't have much of it to myself.

Once I'm ready for the day, I go downstairs to look for Alexa, and I find her in the dining room. She's sitting in the same seat she did last night and drinking coffee while reading from a small book with a worn, white cover. Her conversation with Elise replays in my head as it has many times this morning, but I walk into the room like I never heard any of it, and she turns to me while simultaneously closing the book.

"I thought I heard you coming." She gives me a small, taut smile and then draws her mug closer to her. "Don't mind my pajamas."

"What are you reading?"

"Oh, just some book about conceiving that my mate's mother gave me." Alexa sips her coffee. "It's kind of dated and very spiritual, but I like the small pictures."

"I'm sure my mother has the same one," I kid.

"Anyway, look at you all dressed and pretty—I should go get changed."

"Oh, there's no rush. Please, finish your coffee." I sit across from her to prove my point. "My mother didn't like me to lounge in my pajamas, so it's become a habit."

"My mother was the same—so many rules to be a good Alpha's daughter. When I left home after I was mated, I decided to throw all her rules out the window rather than bring them with me. Then the Goddess did what she does, meddling in our business, and now my mother lives at my pack. Thankfully she has her own house." Alexa drinks her coffee. "But I'm stuck with two mothers who are previous Lunas; I'm sure you can imagine how fun that is."

Maude comes through the butler's pantry. "Morning, Celeste. I have a letter for you."

"From who?"

"Your sister. The Alpha left it with me this morning," she says, then turns to Alexa, "More coffee or anything else?"

"Oh, no, thank you."

"Then I'll grab you that letter," Maude says and returns to the kitchen.

"That's sweet that your sister and you write letters. It's good to keep in touch—you two sound close."

"We were very close before I left."

Maude comes back with the letter in hand, and she places it in front of me. "Do you want breakfast with that?"

"No," I peer up at her. "I'm sure I'll lose my appetite after I read this."

"I'll be in the kitchen if you change your mind."

Alexa watches Maude leave, and then she asks, "Do you miss her that much?"

"Yes, but, well... Last night when I spoke about my family, I left out the fact that they're from Rowan, and they aren't too happy I'm mated to Theo. This letter is probably begging me to come home, just as her last letter did."

"Oh." She fiddles with her mug. "I'm sorry, that must be really difficult."

I pick up the envelope. "Hopefully I can prove to them that I'm safe and happy here—I just don't know how to do it yet. My mother has selective hearing."

"But your sister's against it too?"

"She's mated to Rowan's Beta, so..."

Alexa frowns. "Oh no. Goddess, Celeste, I couldn't imagine my family rejecting my matehood. Why don't I go get ready and we can spend all day leaving reality behind?"

I cover the letter with my hands. "That sounds good."

She grins and stands up. "Then I'll get to it. You wait right there, and I'll be right back."

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