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Mated in the Shadow of My Sister Chapter 54

Chapter 0054

(James POV)

Have you ever watched an explosion occur in slow-motion? It can be quite interesting. Contrary to popular belief, most explosions do not occur at one time or in a single blast. Rather, most explosions are a series of smaller blasts that trigger other smaller blasts that in turn trigger larger and larger blasts.

Because they are connected and occur close in time to one another, the combination of blasts are

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perceived as being one large and overwhelming occurrence.

Firework displays are perhaps the most visual and beautiful version of this. Firework shows usually start with the lighting of a single fuse or set of fuses, which trigger a coordinating series of explosions. Small

explosions will start the show, sometimes fizzling out and creating the impression that nothing more will

come. But then, as more fuses are lit and the show really gets going, the fireworks will become bigger,

brighter, faster, and more jaw-dropping. 2

This, for lack of a better description, is essentially what happened when I began looking at Lily’s pack file.

This, for a lack of a better description, is how it felt when the life and world I thought I knew imploded.

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Indeed, once my personal fireworks show began, all of the questions and memories that I had not been

willing or ready to confront suddenly attacked me all at once. They were vicious and unrelenting,

unwilling to let me take time to process or breathe. It was almost as though they were playing a childish

game of hide-and-seek and wanted to taunt me: “Ready or not, here we come!”

I

The firework display began even before I opened Lily’s pack file, with my mother’s story about Tyler. In retrospect, I should have known that Tyler’s story was merely a warm-up for what was to come. However, surviving the past 26 years has required that I master the skill of denial, so perhaps I should not fault.

myself too much for missing it.

Either way, the second round of fireworks had a much slower start than the first round, but its resulting show was much, much grander. My mother lit the fuse for this second round unintentionally, when her eyes expressed relief that Nick could not remember Lily’s birthday. My mother probably thought I missed the look in her eyes, but I did not.

tl

Ironically, had it not been for my mother’s bizarre look, I may not have realized that Lily’s birthday held so much significance. In fact, had it not been for Dr. Hyder’s warning and my mother’s look, I may have. missed the firework show all together.

My mother’s subsequent attempt to discourage me from looking at Lily’s file only confirmed my suspicions. By discouraging me, she effectively lit the second fuse.

Given my mindsight, it only took me a few moments to realize that the contents of this file were going to

My mother must have seen the look in my eyes when I opened the file, because she immediately tried to take the file from me so that she could “help me” find what I needed in it. That, of course, was Clue #3. 2

I was tired of dealing with my mother. Over her protests about “pack protocol” and what my father would say, I decided to take Lily’s file and retreat to my room. I did not care about pack protocols; I needed.

bace to go through the file and process what it all meant.

Once in my room, I locked the door and began to study the file. At first glance, it seemed completely normal. It had the typical contents: statistical information; medical records; school records; and photographs of Lily taken at key points in her life. It even had a section that noted her mating with me

and the date of the rejection.

One of the first things that jumped out at me about the file was that there far too many medical records for someone Lily’s age. The only medical records that are supposed go into a pack file are those

documenting unusual birthmarks, severe or unusual injuries, and hospitalizations.

I quickly flipped through the records and noticed that Lily had been regularly treated for all sorts of

serious injuries after she turned ten years old. There were a variety of explanations given for the injuries,

but what was really unusual was that Lily was usually by herself seeking treatment. As far as I could tell,

her parents never took her to the hospital and never picked her up. I would have to remember to ask Dr.

Miller about why that was later.

As I flipped through the medical records, a date on one of the records vaguely stood out to me, but I did not think much of it at first. I knew that the first date that I needed to pay attention to was Lily’s birthday.

Once I found it, I was taken aback. It sort of saddened me to learn that Stephanie died on Lily’s birthday. No wonder Lily’s family had stopped celebrating Lily’s birthday; they along with me and everyone else in the pack- had been far too busy honoring Stephanie every year to even think about Lily.

Was that the reason that Dr. Hyder told me that I should think about celebrating Lily’s birthday? Because

he felt bad that we had all focused on Stephanie instead of Lily every year? No… I knew Dr. Hyder’s words meant more than that. He was not the sort of guy to care that much about a birthday.

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Mated in the Shadow of My Sister Novel by Lady Gwen

Mated in the Shadow of My Sister Novel by Lady Gwen

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James Anderson lost his future mate and luna, Stephanie, during a rogue attack. Stephanie’s death left his entire pack in mourning; her death anniversary was even declared a pack holiday. Five years later, James discovers that Stephanie’s younger sister Lily is his mate. But how can that be? Wasn’t Stephanie supposed to be his mate? And would his pack even accept Lily as his mate and Luna—many have always blamed Lily for Stephanie’s death, because Stephanie died trying to save Lily. For her part, Lily has lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister for years. She knows very well that pack members and her parents wish that it was Lily that died that day instead of Stephanie. Lily had looked forward to the day that she would meet her mate and finally feel important to someone. Discovering that her mate is James is Lily’s worst nightmare, especially when James reacts poorly to the discovery. Lily decides that she is unwilling to live in Stephanie’s shadow any longer. She will not spend the rest of her life with a mate who wishes she was someone else. She rejects James, who all too quickly accepts the rejection. Soon afterwards, horrifying truths come out and James immediately regrets letting Lily go. He sets out to get Lily back and right the wrongs that have been done. But is it too late? Will Lily find love with James, or with someone else?

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