Home > Alpha's Claim (Kingdom of Wolves #7)

Alpha's Claim (Kingdom of Wolves #7)
Author: Amelia Hutchins

 

Chapter One

 


People from different regions and packs gathered in our territory tonight, at the very top of our mountain, to celebrate and witness a mating. The Harold Haralson pack was uniting with the Carlson Jorgensen pack through my arranged mating, procured by my father. Carlson was known to be a cruel alpha, but that hadn’t stopped my father from gifting me to him like a prized pig. Tonight, I was supposed to walk out of this room, lie down, and let the brutish prick mount me in a pergola in front of our packs and guests.

I could think of a thousand other things I’d rather do, one of which was to swallow razor blades and shit them out. If everything unfolded correctly, by this time tomorrow, Carlson and my father would both be dead. They deserved what was coming to them. My concern was that I hadn’t been allowed outside of the room in the last twenty-four hours and could not ensure everything was happening according to plan.

My gaze slid to Toralei’s, meeting it briefly in the mirror where I sat preparing for the mating. The dress Carlson gave me to wear was flimsy with sheer material, allowing all the guests to see what would belong to Carlson tonight. The only comfort I had was the lace bralette he allowed me to wear, which, thankfully, covered both breasts. My panties had enough material barely to cover my rump, but at least my sex was shielded.

The mating ritual was an ancient rite that allowed those who had traveled to witness the mating couple, ensuring they had honored the age-old tradition between packs. I’d begged my father to prevent the public spectacle from occurring, but those pleas had fallen on deaf ears. I’d known he wouldn’t stop it, but it had been worth a shot.

“It’s time,” one of Carlson’s betas who had been left in charge of my care, informed.

I stood from the stool, stealing one last glance at myself in the mirror. My eyes were covered in smoky eyeshadow and dark eyeliner meant to make my soft blue eyes pop, yet it couldn't make them sparkle. My lips were slathered in a deep red lipstick that I wouldn't have ever chosen to wear on my own, and I fought the urge to wipe it from my mouth. It was more makeup than I preferred, but Carlson's harem was charged with preparing me for their alpha and appeared to take pleasure in my distress.

Tonight wasn’t a celebration. It was a tragedy. I already had a mate, one I’d pushed away and rejected to keep safe from my father and my demons. Saint Kingsley had been a shock to my senses and the last person I’d ever predicted the wolf god, Fenrir, to choose for my soul mate. The one summer we’d had together had been the first time I’d ever felt alive.

Saint was rough around the edges and older than me. His group of misfits had driven me crazy with their antics to fit in and become part of the pack, which my father had unfortunately noticed. Saint was an orphan, and I was considered untouchable since my father was our pack’s alpha. Saint was the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, yet I’d wanted him with every single part of my soul. Saint brought me to life, and in the same breath, he’d made me crave things I’d never wanted or even thought possible.

It was amazing, right until my father found us spending time together and threatened Saint’s life. The deal? Make Saint believe I hated him and force him to leave the pack or watch him die by my father’s hand. There had been no world where that boy didn’t exist, not for me. So I betrayed Saint in the worst way possible to save his life.

I’d stood in front of the entire pack and accused him of forcing me to believe that what we had was a true mating call instead of merely the lust between two teenagers. I’d rejected him, and that was the one thing you never did to your soul mate. After all, true soul mates were rare, and if you were lucky to have found one, it only happened once in a lifetime, and I had just banished mine from our pack.

A scream tore from beyond the door, forcing my mind back to the present. Everyone inside of the room went still, staring at the door as if it would burst open. My slipper-covered feet padded silently across the floor, a sinister smile playing on my lips as the idea of my coup starting earlier than planned entered my thoughts.

When I opened the door, the power went out, and whispers filled the room as Tora moved into position behind me. Her hand touched my shoulder, assuming it was likely our allies within the pack starting the coup, filling us both with relief and hope.

My sight adjusted, allowing me to see in the dark as we floated down the hallway. There was no way in hell I was missing out on the fighting that was undoubtedly unfolding. The scent of blood made my nostrils flare, and my chest tightened with the reality that everything was on the line for my pack and me. A body came into view, and my feet faltered as air refused to leave my lungs.

“Lars?” I whispered, kneeling beside him.

“Run, Braelyn,” he replied, blood trailing from his lips. “It isn’t us. Someone else is attacking. Run!” he choked out as veins of silver moved up his face.

I lifted my eyes toward the darkened room that lay ahead of us. My heart clenched while my mind spun at the thought of the silver rushing through Lars. Toralei grabbed my hand from him, knowing that silver would poison me, even from touch. Standing, I turned, watching Carlson’s betas rush toward the shadow-filled room we’d just left.

“Hunters?” I asked no one in particular as I turned and rose. “No, this can’t be happening. Not now. They’ve probably closed off all the mountain passes, preventing my crews and reinforcements from reaching us,” I muttered, moving toward where the sounds of fighting grew louder.

I paused before the enormous doors that led into the lodge, throwing them open to stand in the large courtyard. My eyes slid over the hunters fighting against the pack, and air escaped my lungs on a cry of disbelief as I watched men slaughtering the guards. Five more steps into the mayhem, and it was undeniable that my pack hadn’t begun the coup against my father and Carlson.

Hunters fought against mine and Carlson’s packs using guns and silver blades. Women were crouching on the ground, crying over dead men or trying to escape being trampled. My stomach churned, searching the crowd for anyone familiar. Tora’s hand yanked on my arm, but I couldn’t look away from the pandemonium unfolding.

Gunshots and blades hitting one another drowned out the screaming and cries of death filling the air. My attention slowly moved over my people as I noted the tang of blood painting the dead and flowing through the large courtyard.

I paused upon seeing the largest male with the hunters, covered in blood and tattoos, swinging his swords effortlessly. He fought in pants, with nothing else covering his flesh to prevent damage. I drank in the sight of him, watching the way he fought off three men at once with dual blades, easily taking down anyone stupid enough to cross his path.

He turned, and the air escaped my lungs as the world went silent. Greenish-blue eyes held mine prisoner, causing an array of emotions to slam into my chest. I whimpered, ignoring the burning tears that escaped as I stared into the last pair of eyes I’d ever thought to see again. His scent floated to me, washing away the copper of the blood, replaced by soothing sage and bergamot.

“Saint,” I whispered breathlessly.

The look in his eyes turned murderous, even as he started toward me. Men closed in around him, and reality came crushing back into me with the force of gale winds. The last words Saint had shouted at me ten years ago replayed through my mind.

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