The fact was, for whatever the reason, he hadn’t revealed my secret yet. If I played his game, maybe he’d
continue to keep it.
I pressed my hand to his elbow and nudged him closer to the door, further from Elva. I didn’t want her to know the truth yet. We’d have our own conversation in time, when she was old enough to understand.
voice low, just in case, I confessed, “Elva isn’t mine.”
Julian’s perfect veneer finally cracked. His eyes widened for a few solid seconds before he recovered
“She’s the daughter of my twin sister,” I said. The memories burned through my brain, painful and hot.”
sold my wolf to pay off Elva’s ransom.”
“She was being held for ransom?”
“My sister owed too much to so many people. They’d taken Elva as payment. They only gave me so
many days… I did what I had to do.”
Julian’s smile dimmed marginally, but that made his expression no more readable. I could practically see the cogs turning in his brain as he sorted through this new information, but I hadn’t a clue yet what he
was planning to do with it.
“Piper,” he said, when he had reached a conclusion. “Have you ever considered that your departure from
school and your wolf being taken weren’t mere coincidences?”
I hadn’t. “What do you mean?”
“What if someone exploited your sister with the implicit purpose of obtaining your abilities?”
He’d surprised me into silence once more. My wolf had been strong, but to purposefully target my sister
just to steal my wolf and my power? That seemed so farfetched.
Julian hummed to himself, then nodded. “Alright. I won’t share this information with anyone for now.”
I exhaled in relief.
But I can’t guarantee for how long I’ll keep it secret.”
With the next inhale, my anxiety returned. He’d hold this over my head then, for who knew how long. For:
who knew what purpose.
I was now indebted to Julian, and that knowledge brought me absolutely zero comfort.
encourage you to investigate for yourself,” Julian said. “You might find there is some truth in my
supposition. If you can find out more truth, perhaps it might ease the burden of this secret.”
As I turned the words over in my mind, trying to decide if they were a threat or not, Julian slid his gaze to
“Since she’s part of your family line, the child’s future abilities would likely be formidable. If they are
anything like yours were, she might become the next target.”
He’d said the words so casually, as if he’d been talking about the weather.
But I heard clearly the danger referenced. Weak as I was, I wouldn’t be able to protect Elva if those same people from the underground came for her, as they did for me.
If I could become Luna… maybe I could change her destiny.
I had to protect her, no matter what..
At the very least, I had to stay and find out more. Maybe Julian’s hunch was wrong. Maybe everything that had happened to me was coincidence and not meant to repeat itself.
But with Elva potentially in danger, I couldn’t rest until I was sure.
“Thank you, Julian,” I said. I had no idea his true intentions, but for now, he was protecting my secret and
giving me some information to go on.
His smile stretched wide. Lightly, he corrected, “Prince Julian.”
I blanched. I had forgotten again. Julian was so unchanged since I had first known him, that I forgot too
easily he wasn’t that boy from the Academy anymore, but a prince.
He laughed, “I’ll let it slide this time.” He leaned in closer to me. “Just for you, Piper.”
His closeness startled me
He stepped away before I could recover. He walked toward the door, but stopped near another figure standing in the doorway
Had someone been about to come inside?
Hello, brother, Julian said Fancy seeing you here.”