Can be found in the Once upon midnight anthology
From the moment Oceanus von Stein, second-in-command to the Patchwork family, caught sight of Taegan Conner, daughter of the leader of the Wolves, he knew he would never love another. Only now, she has been promised in marriage to another, an arrangement to strengthen her family’s alliances–and she gets no say in the matter. Can they find a way to be together, or will they both always be two Broken Pieces?
Take place during Pieces.
As I watch my father sit, he doesn’t do so smoothly. His movements are jerky before he folds his old, leathery hands together and his eyes scan the room. The scars are very prominent on his face and hands. All the experiments he did on himself are visible, along with the scar tissue that is ancient and freakish on him. While his eyes are bright, from the new pair he just obtained, he looks like death. And tired. Very tired.
Clearing his throat, he lets his gaze fall on me, and I meet it head on.
“I had a meeting with Kurt Conner.”
The pack leader of the wolves.
My love’s father.
Clearing my throat, I sit up straighter as my forearms lay against the cool top of the old oak table. Before I can comment, though, he is going on. “He needed a loan for the wedding of Taegan.”
My world stops.
I feel all eyes on me. My father is staring at me, waiting for a response, but I don’t have one.
Because what the actual fuck is going on?
Did I hear him wrong?
“Yeah, she is marrying some other pack leader’s son—you know how those wolves are. Wanting to unite families with arranged marriage and all that wolfish nonsense, I don’t know. But I didn’t give him the money until—”
“Until?” I gasp, my heart in my throat, my stomach on the ground, and every piece of me feeling as if I am falling into the fiery depths of hell because surely I am hearing my father wrong.
Taegan is to marry me.
“He offered up some information on Frank Kelley—”
“He hasn’t died yet?” Jonas asks, and I know it’s to give me time. To let me think, to let me process, but I can’t. Taegan is to marry someone else? She didn’t even tell me. We were together last night! Had she known? Was she playing me? Damn it, what the hell? How could she allow me to find out this way? I mean, I knew my time was running out, but hell, did she keep this from me? I’ve never experienced heartache or true heartbreak, but I’m pretty sure this feeling of my chest caving in and blowing up is just that.
She’s marrying someone else?
She isn’t waiting for me?
Gasping for breath as I try to push the bile back down my throat, I watch as my father shakes his head. “Not yet. And apparently, they are wanting to attack us in one more attempt to get the formula for him. They think they can kidnap Rebekah and use her as leverage.”
I feel Rebekah move as she squeaks. “Me?”
“You. So we are on high alert. Keep your eyes open, and, Rebekah, I don’t want you working at the bar until this is taken care of. I have a meeting with Frank Kelley on Friday.”
“Father, I’m fine at the bar. It’s owned by our family, most of our family is there, along with JJ. The Kelleys don’t even come that much.”
“Yes, but other families come to the bar, and that makes me uncomfortable.”
“I’m fine, I can take care of myself.”
He leans on his desk, and I don’t care about their melodrama. I can’t. Even though I know I should intervene, calm both sides—because my father is right, we need to keep Rebekah underground while this goes on—I can’t help but think of the fact that my love is marrying another. Someone other than me. How in the world is this fair? Why didn’t she fight them? She told me she was mine, and I was hers. Why didn’t she wait for me?
And then it’s like I’m being slapped back into reality.
She didn’t wait for me because we can’t.
We can’t be selfish and love each other because we have commitments to our families. Yes, we love each other. Yes, she is my world, and I’ll love only her. But just like I have to, she has to protect her family. I’m sure there is something more to this, and while I wish she had told me, I know I can’t be upset. I have to respect the process of our families.
Being the eldest, we have no choice.
We don’t get to be greedy.
Wow, I don’t even believe I’m trying to convince myself.
How could she?
My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?