She listened as he talked to someone on the other end of the phone in hushed tones, only able to pick up bits and pieces of the conversation. When he ended the call, she stepped out of the shadows to face him.
“What’s going on, Dad?”
“Nothing for you to worry about, sweetheart.”
“I heard you saying something about cars in the lake. Why are there cars in the lake, and what does it have to do with you?”
“Like I said, Vivianne, it’s better that you don’t know.”
“This family is the most important thing in the world to me, and if there is something that will affect one of us, then it affects all of us.”
“Fine. Back before your Uncle Mike became a real estate agent, he had a few problems. The Diamondbacks kidnapped him, and my pack had to go in and get him back. It got ugly, and some bears ended up at the bottom of that lake in their SUVs. They’ve been there a long time, and no one has ever thought twice about them.”
“They were bad seeds, and the Diamondbacks weren’t even upset that they were gone. It was them or Mike, and possibly your mother and grandparents. As long as the Diamondbacks owned that property, we never needed to worry about them, but now people will be working to clean the place up and get it ready for a resort. The lake is deep, but not that deep. They’ll find those vehicles, and it could be bad for a lot of people, including your Uncle Mike and me.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. I’ve called some members of the pack who were there to discuss it.”
“We can handle it, Dad.”
“What do you mean, ‘we?’”
“Us. The family. We’ll deal with it together.”
“No. This has nothing to do with you kids, and you have no need to be involved.”
“Too late. It’s done,” Vivianne replied, walking away.
The following day, Mike received a phone call saying that the deal was off and another buyer would be purchasing the property. He was surprised when he turned up for the signing and found Vivianne seated at the table with her lawyer.
“What’s going on here?” he asked.
“I’m buying myself a resort. Just call it a family business,” she replied.
Several days later, under the cover of night, two SUVs were pulled from the lake and placed in what appeared to be a covered racing trailer. Where they were taken was unclear, but Viviane Demonte Porter assured her father that they’d never be seen again, along with their contents.
He was surprised that she had taken charge and was now employing half of their family to run a resort, but why it surprised him was unclear. She was simply living up to her namesake.
“Thank you for what you’ve done, Vivianne, though I’m not sure why you’ve done it.”
“Simple, Dad. You and Mom worked hard to build this family, and I’ve been busy off on my own trying to make a name for myself. What I’ve realized is that it’s great that everyone knows my name, but I’ve missed my family. I’m not about to give up my career, but this resort gives me a reason to come home and work side by side with my siblings.”
“And you decided to do that just because you heard I put some bodies in a lake, so it seemed like a great idea to buy it and start a family business?”
“You are something else,” he laughed.
“You’re right. Underneath this porcelain complexion and beyond these perfectly straight white teeth I’ve been blessed with—thanks to you and Mom for being such attractive people, by the way—beats the heart of a wolf. I might have the infamous Vivianne Demonte’s name, but I have the blood of an Alpha coursing through my veins.”
“Fair enough but take a word of advice from your old man.”
“Do not ever let your mother know what you’ve done with the bears in the lake. She will be livid if she finds out you’ve gone to such lengths to protect your old man.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Am I sure about what? That she’ll be upset?”
“Of course I am. She’s no angel. She’s always known about them, but it was a necessary evil at the time. She wouldn’t want to know you ended up involved in it twenty-five years later.”
“I think you underestimate Mom. She might be the only Omega in this family, but she raised twenty-three Alphas, male and female. She taught us not to take any shit from anyone, and she taught us to protect one another. You were always the one who showed us how to defend ourselves and helped us achieve our physical potential, but Mom is the one that taught us that not everything is black and white.”
“She is an uncommon woman, isn’t she?”