Cut Scene (and unedited)
Christmas at Kaitlyn’s Place
There was peace and comfort in the warmth by a fire while a blanket of white snow covered the ground outside. With the baby content and asleep at my breast after topping her off for her afternoon nap, I knew I should get up and lay her down, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I sat there rocking her simply staring down at the beautiful tiny creature I’d brought into this world.
There were a million things to do as we prepared for our holiday arrivals and the Pack Christmas festivities, but none of that mattered in this moment.
The old hotel had been a bit of a disaster when I’d first discovered it, kind of like me at the time, if I were being honest.
Meeting my mate had changed me forever. Landon was the best. He loved and nurtured me first back to health and then mending the ghosts of my past. And together we’d done much of the same with the old hotel that sat just off the highway within Pack territory.
The name had been Landon’s idea, but it was perfect.
We’d spent months working tirelessly side-by-side to restore the place. Now it was a thriving investment and my passion to run a hotel with a chic bed and breakfast vibe. It was everything I’d always dreamed of and most days life seemed unbelievably perfect.
Ella was the best baby in the world and Landon was my everything. He supported me and protected me. He made my dreams come true. I never let a day go by without reminding him just how much I loved and appreciated him.
Our Pack wasn’t big, but with the travelers stopping through the resort, it was getting harder to remember that. Human or shifter if didn’t matter. When someone stayed here, they were temporarily a part of our lives, our Pack, and we treated them like family.
I didn’t have any family left, so this personal touch to the place was extra important to me.
“There’re my two favorite girls. Do you want me to take her and lay her down in the office?” Landon asked.
“Not a chance.”
“Are you sure? You have a couple of new guests that just arrived. I thought you’d want to check them in personally.”
I gave him a confused look noting the sparkle in his eyes.
“You’re up to something,” I challenged.
“No, you really do have guests. Would you like me to just book them in a room for you?”
“Are you being serious? I can’t tell. There’s no one on the calendar for arriving today. Wait, are they walk-ins?” I didn’t let him finish before panic set in and I quickly covered myself and sprang into action. “What am I saying? Here, take the baby.”
I shoved Ella into her father’s awaiting arms. My heart lightened seeing him light up as he looked at her. We were both fully enamored by our little miracle. Having kids right away wasn’t high on either of our lists of priorities. Heck we were still in the newly mated phase when I discovered I was pregnant, but we wouldn’t go back and change a thing even if we could.
I walked quickly back to the front desk feeling a little frazzled.
“I’m so sorry. I wasn’t aware we were expecting guests today. Please bear with me as I check the rooms.”
“Take your time. It’s not like we’re going anyway,” a deep voice I knew all too well said.
My head whipped up to actually look at my guests smiling back at me.
“Damon!” I squealed. “Karis! What are you two doing here?”
I ran around the desk and practically threw myself into his arms.
“I can’t believe you’re both here. How? Why? Is everything okay?”
“Everything’s fine, Kaitlyn. You know how crazy Alpha duties are around the holidays, so we thought we’d take an early vacation to see our goddaughter. I hate that we won’t be here for her first Christmas,” Karis said.
Tears pricked my eyes.
At first we had asked Landon’s best friend and Beta, Tobi to be her godmother along with her mate, Jackson for the role of godfather. It made sense, but in the end we also asked Damon and Karis to share the responsibility for them.
My daughter would someday be Alpha of our Pack, maybe even the first female Alpha of any Pack. I couldn’t be certain of that, but it was important to Landon and I to put strong role models in her life.
Damon was Alpha of the Alaskan Pack and had been a sort of protector of me for most of my life. He inherited his Alpha traits through his mating bond with Karis who should have been an Alpha in her own right. They would help guide and support Ella every step of the way while Tobi and Jackson would always be there to love and protect her.
I wanted everything I never had growing up for her starting with unconditional love and support.
My eyes started to burn with fresh tears.
Damon snorted and pulled me into his embrace. “None of that. There’s no way we were going to just miss Ella’s first Christmas.” He looked around and sneered. “But this place doesn’t exactly look festive enough for the holidays. Are you okay?”
I laughed and smacked him. “I’m fine. The Pack will be arriving soon to decorate.”
“So we’re just in time?” Karis asked.
“Everyone should be arriving in about a half hour.”
“So where’s our Goddaughter hiding anyway?” Damon asked.
“Just laid her down for a nap. She spent most of it in Kaitlyn’s arms, so I don’t think you’ll have to wait too long for her wake.”
“I can’t wait to see her. I’m sure she’s grown a ton in the last few months.”
“Oh my gosh, I swear she’s doubled in size. I had to pack all the newborn and 0-3 month closes away already.”
“I can’t wait to snuggle her,” Karis confessed.
“Are you two looking to start a family soon?” Landon asked.
I cringed knowing how badly I hated questions like that or right now it was more like, what will you make Ella Jade a big sister? I just got her, I’m not ready to share my time with another. I wanted to fully enjoy every second of every stage of her life and gift it my full attention right now.
Sure someday I hoped to have more kids, but not too soon.
“Don’t put that on us,” Damon said with a look of disgust on his face. “We’re happy to spoil your kid, but I think we both need some time to settle into our new roles without tackling baby duty twenty-four seven on top of it.”
“He’s right, but someday,” Karis agreed.
As people walked in, I looked over to see Abby and Cadence trying to sneak in. I checked the time and shook my head with a grin. They were early and that never happened. Abby, maybe, but Cadence, never.
“Hey you two, come on over and meet our guests,” Landon said.
“This is Damon and Karis, Alpha and Pack Mother of the Alaskan Pack and more importantly two of Ella Jade’s godparents,” I gushed.
“But I thought Tobi and Jackson were named her godparents,” Cadence blurted out.
“Oh, they are too. They’ll be more the hands-on godparents,” Damon explained. “But since she will someday be Alpha, they thought for some strange reason we could help guide her.”
Karis smacked him in the arm.
“What? I’m still trying to figure this Alpha stuff out myself.”
“Well, I know plenty,” she assured him.
“Wait you’re an Alpha she-wolf?” Cadence asked.
“No,” Karis was quick to assure her.
“But she should have been,” Damon said.
“And that would make you what then?”
“I don’t know. Pack Daddy? Okay, that sounds bad. Put it on the list. Ella’s going to ask that someday and we need to be ready with something cool to title her future mate,” he insisted.
I beamed as Karis whipped out her phone and started typing notes.
“They’re taking their new role very seriously,” Landon explained. “Too seriously,” he said in a lower voice that had me scowling at him. It wasn’t like it was a bad thing.
Cadence looked around the room uncomfortably.
“Are we not decorating today?” she asked
“We are,” I said looking at my watch again. “But not for another half hour. People should start arriving soon. You guys are just the first here.”
Cadence pursed my lips and cut her eyes towards Abby.
“What? I didn’t want to be late and you’re always late Cadence. Honestly, I’m surprised you made such great time today.”
“Because you told me I was already late.”
Karis looked up at Damon and grinned. “I should start doing that to you. She’s a genius.”
“What? I’m rarely ever late,” he protested.
We all knew better.
They were still arguing about it when the baby cried.
The whole room froze in anticipation.
I sighed when my daughter wailed again, but they excitedly ran towards the noise.
“She is?” Karis asked. “Can I hold her.”
“Come on,” I said as the four of us excused ourselves and headed for my office. “It’s time to show Ella a real Pack Christmas at Kaitlyn’s Place.”
If you enjoyed this cut scene, try reading Kaitlyn and Landon’s story, Protected Promise.
Also as an FYI: Hidden Promise is now available on AUDIO