Chapter 15

“Let me have Paulson,” Viv said, but Brig immediately cut her off, lifting his hand and pointing at her.  Her hackles rose, but she fought back, knowing she shouldn’t.  There was an opportunity presenting itself to her and it was Paulson.

“I just said no, Vivienne,” Brig said tersely.

“Brig he’s already marked him.  I can’t go after him.”

“Why would you want to?”

Simon turned away, looking at the crowd as she fought with Brig.  He’s not going to let you, Viv.

Shut up and be grateful. She heard him laugh in her head.

“The target is marked.  It’s just one Piper.  Just one.  Simon’s done us favors, let me repay a little of my debt this way.”

“You don’t owe him anything,” Brig snarled, looking at Simon.

He’s going to give himself a heart attack one of these days.

Shut up.

Testy.  Must be the hormones.

Viv flicked a glare at Simon and then looked back at her mate.  “Just Paulson, Brig.  Give me a couple days.”

“Days?” Brig said incredulously.

“I need maybe twenty four hours, ma’am.”

Brig shot his Piper a look, forcing JT to take several steps back and returned to scanning the crowd with the LT.  He looked back at Viv and glared at her.  Finally, after a painful twenty seconds, Brig yielded.

“Paulson can’t go alone.  He’s too young for that.  So that forces me to send another Piper, Vivienne.  That’s two Pipers pulled from detail…for you.  You can have Paulson and Red.  You will be watching from the Sit. Room and nowhere near them.  Then when you get what your…whatever Huntington needs, I want the complete story.  Understood?”

“Can I see the Sit. Room, too?” Simon asked with a smile.

Viv reached out and punched Simon in the arm, making him flinch and hold up his arms with hurt expression.

Brig pulled gently on Viv’s arm after dismissing the Pipers with a silent gesture.  They dispersed, some into DI, the others back to the property.  Simon winked at her as he slipped his hands into his pockets and walked back to his car.  Brig looked down at her as they stood on the sidewalk.

“I really hope this is worth it, Vivienne.”

“I know you’re angry with me when you use my full name.”

“I am not fucking around,” he snapped, surprising her.  He stood straight and took a deep breath.  Viv watched as Brig struggled with his position as Commander and her mate.  Reaching out, he laid his large hand on their constantly growing daughter.

“This is all that should matter, babe,” he said softly, looking down at her with his crisp blue eyes.

Viv smiled and put her hands over his.  “You know me by now, Brig.  Standing idly by isn’t what I am and I love a good mystery.  I’ll keep the Pipers safe, I’ll see to it with Simon.  We track the mark down, bring him back, then we’re done.  I’ll even cover any damages!”




Brig rolled his eyes and took his mate’s hand, tucking it into the crook of his arm.  “That is not funny,” he said with a small grin.

“You’re smiling.”

“No, I’m not,” he snorted as he pulled her closer.  “Hammer’s going to give me shit over this, you know.”

Viv was pensive and murmured, “I know, babe.  Twenty four hours, that’s all JT says he needs.”

Brig was curious about Piper Paulson now.  He had controlled himself fairly well around Huntington, better than Marthinus seemed to be able to.  “Paulson,” he said quietly.

Viv looked up at him as they walked back into Duibne.


Viv pursed her lips and her eyes unfocused for a moment.  “He’s pretty bad ass.”

Rolling his eyes, “That’s helpful.”

She laughed, hugging his arm.  “He’s ex-military.  American citizen.  Extremely smart and focused for his age.  Seems to get along exceptionally well Red.  Pairing them together will be the most effective, actually.”

“What do you see?”  Having Vivienne working close with the Pipers had been beneficial to their mental health – with her monitoring their behavior and checking on them often – but Brig saw the talents in her that no other Kadzait could provide.  Her ability to gauge the strengths of others went beyond what he and Hammer could manage with experience.  She called it her ‘jungle sense’, but whatever it was, it was pure Vyusher R’asa and he wasn’t above using his mate’s abilities to help his Pipers.

Viv’s humor faded, her voice becoming even and unemotional.  “I’ve only seen a little of Paulson’s sparring, but his ability to diffuse his Blood Memory rage and focus is unique.  I can’t explain that, but within the Pipers, he ranks just under Red in physical ability.  He’s too young to be able to do that, but that’s what I see.”

Brig opened the doors to DI and let Viv enter first.  They made their way to the elevators and rode down to Charlie’s floor.  Once they exited the elevator car, he stopped Viv and pulled her close.

“Charlie won’t be able to take his position immediately, you know that.”

“I know that.  Not sure Red does.”

“Red is handling the Sergeant position,” Brig said quietly, his mate looking up at him with her warm brown eyes, “Paulson is medically trained….”

“Oh, babe,” Viv started, “I understand, but you have to be careful how you delegate that to them.  This is Charlie.  It’s safe to say that whatever he feels, the others will, too.”

“Do I have a choice?”

Viv shook her head and gave him a sad smile, “Absolutely none.”




Brig was talking about promoting Red to Sergeant, maybe permanently, maybe just extending it indefinitely and bring Paulson up to fourth in command, taking Red’s old spot.  Charlie might return to the Pipers physically where he was prior to the explosion, maybe better with an almost complete regeneration of his body, but his mental state would still be unknown.  Viv took this opportunity to tell Brig what the doctor had told the LT and her earlier.

“LT tell you about today’s developments with Charlie?”

“His brain?”

So Lothias had told his uncle.  He did not waste time.  Nodding, Viv stepped closer, lowering her voice, “Charlie may not be Charlie and that might be your only recourse that the Pipers will accept if you demote him.  As far as Paulson, I’d wait.  If he continues to show leadership and physical ability, the men will see it and respond accordingly.  We’re wolves, the strongest lead and they’ll recognize that; none of them extreme hubris in that regard, and of course, whatever you and the Beta decree will be law.”

Brig made a face and looked down.

“Are you worried about your ability control the Pipers with Hammer?”

He shrugged.

“I don’t see a problem.  Might want to consider taking them out into the Reserve more to run maneuvers.”

“Yeah, Hammer and I have that planned already.”

“You two good now?”

Brig smiled down at her, making her toes curl.  “Yeah, I think so.”

Viv took his arm again and led Brig down the hall to Charlie’s room.  “Good, so the only thing on your plate is Charlie and that’s plenty.”

“Aside from our fathers?”

“Oh right, thanks for reminding me,” she sighed.

Slowly, or maybe cautiously, Brig asked, “Have you spoken to your father?”

Viv pushed her lips out.  Her father has been professional since he and Elder Jameson came out to Nachton.  They spoke about everything but the baby and Brig, much to his dismay and pain, but she had decided to let her father broach the subject instead of forcing him in a corner.  She wasn’t sure how else to deal with the situation.

“No.  It’s not come up,” she said simply.

Brig stopped her again, tugging on her hand.  “You’re six months pregnant, Viv.  When are you going to talk to him about us?”  Us meaning Brig and their daughter.  “After she’s born and we’re married?”

“I don’t know what to say to him.  What about you and your father?”

Brig exhaled with a grunt.

“Uh huh, see.  We’re grown adults.  This shit should not be that hard.”

Viv wrapped her arms around Brig’s waist, pressing her face up against his chest, inhaling deeply.  His scent filled her senses and with the extreme arousal was a sense of calm she felt with no other.  My god, she loved this man.  The pressure of her belly pushed up against him, reminding her of the proof of their love was evident.  He reached up and cupped her face, lifting her lips to his.  Kissing him deeply, she stood on her tip toes and smiled into their kiss.