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Lupine: Trick or Treat

The kids want to go trick or treating... What could possibly go wrong?

Lupine's life is as close to perfect as she can imagine it being... She's got a beautiful baby daughter, five mates who would do absolutely anything for her and an orphanage full of excited supes to look after.

The kids are hellbent on making baby Luna's first Halloween one to remember.

Lupine would much rather have a quiet night in with her wolves but the miscreants she looks after are having none of it.

Laws are broken. Spells are cast. And shenanigans ensure that the children get their wish... This Halloween will be one for the history books... But not just for the inhabitants of the orphanage. This time the havoc is spreading all throughout the small town of Silver Springs.

Lupine: Trick or Treat is a Lupine bonus story from USA Today Bestselling Author, Hanleigh Bradley.

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Halloween is ages away, and yet the children are talking about nothing else. It’s as if the holiday is in only a day or two instead of several weeks. To say that they’re excited would be the understatement of the century.

And what’s more, apparently their enthusiasm is catching because they’ve managed to get both Jacqueline and Lewis onboard. We have exactly two weeks to go and yet they have Lewis carving pumpkins with them at the kitchen table while Jacqueline sits in the next room sewing costumes.

The last thing I want to do this year is go trick or treating, but the children are pretty insistent.

I had been hoping for a quiet night in, alone with my mates but apparently that isn’t an option. Even though technically October 31st will be my day off, it would seem that everyone—and I do mean everyone—seems intent on dragging me out into the cold.

I even have a costume. Though I wish I didn’t. It’s awful. Not that I’ve told the children that.

I’m currently hiding away upstairs, watching my sleeping daughter. I do this more often than I probably should, but I can still hardly believe she exists. My little wolf. She’s so perfectly peaceful, but I know all too well that it won’t last. A door will bang or one of the children will shout from somewhere else in the orphanage and her sensitive little wolf’s ears will pick up the sound and she’ll be wide awake.

And probably hungry too.

Turning my head so I can see her better, I smile down at her. She really is incredible. She makes a small sound in her sleep, perhaps dreaming, and then the crash comes, a bang no louder than the dropping of a carving knife, and yet to her ears and mine it’s as loud as the crashing of a firework above our heads. The only downside of being a wolf is that you rarely get a good night’s sleep, not when the sound of every creaking floorboard and dripping tap is intensified.

Her eyes open immediately, finding my own.

“Hello little Luna,” I whisper, stroking a finger along her cheek.

She gurgles up at me, a small smile on her face as she reaches her tiny arms towards me. I pull her up into my arms, cradling her against my chest as I sing under my breath for her. It probably sounds dreadfully off key, but she seems to like it all the same.

Sitting on the bed, I unbutton my shirt so I can feed her. As she suckles, I tell her all about the small stretch of time that she was asleep. I tell her how beautiful she is and how perfectly she had slept. It’s strange because my whole world feels like it’s centered around her little face.

“Your daddies will be home soon,” I tell her quietly as I glance at the alarm clock beside the bed.

The other five faces that make up the center of my world feel too far away. For the most part, the guys are at the gym they run in town, the one that acts as a front for their mafia enterprises. I’ve been meaning to find out more about the family business for a while now, but I keep putting it off, not feeling completely sure that I want to know.

They’ve said countless times that they’ve done things that they’re not proud of, even committed the occasional crime, but I’m not sure I want to know to what extent their criminal activities run.

And not just because of my five mates, but because I fear what I might end up learning about my dead parents. It’s one thing to know that your parents were criminal mob bosses and another to fully comprehend the choices they made and the lives those choices cost.

For I know without doubt, that there was a cost.

Things are different now. There’s peace between the three largest wolf mafia families; Cortesse, Rossi and Lee. All because of a mating bond and a tiny bit of magic. When I took Enzo Rossi and Kalen Lee as my mates, it ensured that peace. Not that I knew it at the time. I only knew that I was drawn to them, in the exact same way as I was Rehan, Camden and Wren.

My five gloriously handsome mates…

I hear the car before it even turns onto the street. I’m still surprised that Enzo went with them this morning. He doesn’t exactly get on with the others, though he’s certainly trying. The engine turns off directly outside and my heart skips slightly at the idea of seeing them again.

Getting to my feet, I recover myself and wrap Luna in an extra blanket—downstairs can get a little cold this time of year—and then I’m heading out of the bedroom and down the stairs to greet them at the door.

I reach the bottom step just as the handle turns and the door opening wide, I’m engulfed in Wren’s arms.

“Hello Loops,” he murmurs into my hair, as he reaches down between us to offer his finger to little Luna. The others make their way into the house just as a pig dressed all in pink trudges mud onto the rug, the children chasing it through from the garden.

With a sigh, I call to Evangeline, “No pigs inside!”

I only feel slightly guilty for insisting that the pig lives in the shed. I feel worse for Mrs Mackney’s ancient rug.

“But he’s not a pig, Piney!” Evangeline retorts.

She’s right, but it changes nothing. Until Castalia manages to work out how to turn him back into a human, he’s sleeping in the shed. I really can’t understand why she’s not figured it out yet. It’s not like this is the first time she’s turned someone into a pig, but the poor man has been a pig for about a year now. I’m beginning to think Castalia might just like having a pet pig.

“CAMDEN!” Evangeline squeals with excitement. “Come see what we’re doing in the kitchen!”

Camden winks at me as Evangeline drags him in the direction of the kitchen, though not before she can glower at Enzo. As much as she’ll never admit it, Evangeline and the rest of the children absolutely adore Enzo. Though not for the reasons children usually love adults. Usually they love them for the sense of security they inspire or their kindness—but with Enzo, the children love how easily riled he is. They absolutely love to tease him. And they do it ruthlessly.

At first, I thought it might last a few weeks, then I thought months, but now I’m pretty sure it might never end.

“Have you had a good day, love?” Wren asks, stealing my attention back to himself.

Wren is probably the least willing to share of all my mates. If he could, he’d keep all my attention for himself.

“Can’t complain,” I tell him easily. “The children have been planning for Halloween.”

His eyes sparkle as he hears the way I say the word Halloween, more like it’s a curse than a holiday. It’s not that I don’t usually enjoy the holiday; normally I’d be just as excited as the children. But as a new mom—a very sleep deprived mom—I would like just one year where I don’t have to deal with the crazy shenanigans that are bound to erupt. Every day at the Silver Springs orphanage is hectic at best, sometimes utterly catastrophic. So when the holidays come around, all hell breaks loose and not usually in a good way.

Of course, my mates think I’m overreacting. They think it will be great fun to go trick or treating for our little Luna’s first Halloween. But boy, do they have a shock in store…

Because Halloween at the Silver Springs orphanage is anything but ordinary.