Chapter 1: Looking For A Mate
Being king …
It is fun, I tell you that!
All the money, parties, expensive cars and clothes, the way people both find you scary and intriguing, it is all so intoxicating!
Sadly, the fun times always end. And it had ended for me. I might not be the literal king, like Valerio on the other side of the water was, but I certainly held power on this side, even a little on the other side as well. You could never be too careful, and especially not when a rumor had started that I was on the lookout for a mate.
I never saw myself as someone to settle down. I laughed when people talked about finding a mate. A queen. No, no, no, that was not for me, but now that had all changed. I wanted to find a mate, so I could have an heir. Who else would all this go to? My own little kingdom. I couldn’t give a crap if it was a girl or a boy, I just wanted one to inherit this, and … and maybe a part of me wanted to experience a little of what I saw others have.
I wasn’t surrounded by the best people, I knew that. Most of them were far from being suited as parents, but once in a while, there would be these couples, either on the streets, I watched from a balcony attending a party, or these rare sights of upper-class people, who had actually found happiness, and I would see the way they looked at their children. The smiles on their faces, as they watched them. It made me feel … lonely. Like something was missing. Maybe it was children or maybe it was love, or an entire third thing. I never cared much about figuring it out. I just went out to f*ck some female to forget or drink it away, but then things changed and suddenly I realized, I could explore this feeling. I could figure out if what I truly was missing was this family bond.
I didn’t think of myself as someone suited to be a parent really. My father was … he was an arsehole to be exact, and that was putting it nicely. He once chained me to a tree far into the woods of his territory and left me there, telling me if I could get free, I would not be punished, otherwise … to end the story without any unpleasant details, I wasn’t able to get free. I was a f*cking kid, and that was f*cking metal around my neck.
Ah yes … fathers …
Good thing I found myself someone who had an arsehole for a father as well, but then he abandoned me too, to live the happy little American life he spoke of. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, nor did I care about his plans. No, but I had changed my plans a little after seeing Elijah, and as long as he continued to stay unmated, I could make sure that plan went smoothly.
There was a knock on the door to my office. I had been standing by the window at the far end, just looking out on the road leading back to London. My family’s castle stood not that far out from the city and was surrounded by lots of forest.
“Enter,” I said, still looking outside while leaning on the cane in my hand.
I looked back, as the door finally opened and in came my beta Archer. He was a tall and broad male, with these auburn-colored eyes and black hair, and he was very deadly. He was the kind of person who shot first, and asked questions later. And I liked that about him.
“Yes?” I asked.
“We have a plane to catch, remember?”
“Ah yes …”
The plane … I was going to visit the king again. It was time I cashed in that favor from him. I was starting to have a little problem with another powerful alpha who not just wanted to get me mated to his daughter, but also be part of my little business, that he was threatening to expose and even destroy, only because I had f*cked his daughter … and his mate … and his other daughter … She was beautiful though. The first one that is. Carina was her name. I was proud I could remember it, or maybe it was just the constant reminder from her father, that had me not forgetting it, and while I was looking for a mate, I didn’t take kindly to anyone threatening me. Besides, while Carina had the looks, she was as boring as they came. Her younger sister was more fun. There was only three years between them, but even still, her father had threatened me, and now I wanted him gone, but I couldn’t be the one to do it. So, enter King Valerio, coming to my rescue to fix this little mess, so I could continue supplying the upper-class with a little … let us call it magic, in order for them to cope with their depressing lives, and they then continued to support my way of life which required money. I had lots of it anyway, but there was also something very fun about seeing people needing these drugs... I mean magic, in order to survive, and how did they get it? By coming to me, granting me even more power.
I know. I was the devil, as the humans would say. Except they were also buying from me.
Not directly. Barely any knew the true face behind my little business. I had a reputation to think about after all, but somehow, Alpha Cross had figured it out. I still didn’t know who the snitch was, or if he was just that good at poking his fat nose into where it didn’t belong, but now I had to fix the little mess.
“Let us go,” I said.
I slowly followed Archer, my legs feeling extra stiff today. I knew what that meant, but I tried ignoring it, and thank the Goddess, Archer didn’t try to help me. He knew I wanted no help, and all my pack members had quickly learned that as well. I was fine … really.
I was sitting in front of yet another female. Luna born, of course, just twirling the wine in my glass around, as I listened to … actually, I had drifted off long ago. I knew it was rude. I truly tried my best to engage, but it wasn’t always so easy. Not as easy as it had been with Selene. She certainly made the dinners go fast in her company. She was interesting and beautiful and smart, and she was most likely the best candidate there had been. But she had chosen someone else. I respected that. Really. She was happy with her mate and her kids, but I also thought sometimes how easy it would have been could it just have been her.
I wouldn’t have to go to these boring dates anymore, having to listen to the latest gossip, or watch my date not able to control her intake of alcohol, because it was how she had learned to cope, or hear about how rich they were, and what a good match they would be for me.
It really was awful to listen to, and I really just wanted to pull out a gun and end it now!
No, I might try to live the life my father wanted for me, but I was not about to follow in his footsteps. These dates were just getting to me. I wanted a mate and to settle down, but by the Goddess, I was starting to reconsider if these were my only options.
Either I got a drunk, a narcissist, or someone who had so little in life, gossip was the only thing to fill the void. We definitely would be two people living side by side, but not interacting. While that had originally been in my plan, just to have a mate because … because that was the plan, I realized after meeting Selene, I didn’t have to have a mate who I didn’t also care about or could have fun with. It could be different.
“ … isn’t that just the most crazy thing you have heard?”
The voice of my date suddenly broke me from my thoughts, and I looked at her, seeing her waiting for my answer.
“Yes, it is,” I said, smiling a little and sipping from the wine.
“You didn’t even listen,” she said, leaning back and crossing her arms with an annoyed smile on her lips.
“I did,” I lied.
“No, you didn’t, but why would you care about Michael Wilson being killed by his very own daughter,” Mischa said.
“Selene?” I asked.
Mischa was actually an old “friend” of Selene’s, I had learned earlier in the night. I had not tried to target one of her friends, but I could see as the night went on, why they no longer … eh … kept in contact.
“No! Lara! The younger one, the not so beautiful one. She sits on the council now,” she said.
“Ah … her,” I said.
I had heard a little about what was going on, but I barely paid any attention, so focused on my own life. Besides, Michael gone was not a bad thing. He was just trouble, simple as that. Nobody would cry about him being gone. Maybe only the council would be sad about the fact. Now no one could replace Lara. Not that he would ever get the chance if he was still alive.
“Yes, can you believe it? And the king is not even going to punish her for it.”
“Why would he?” I asked, bored, hoping to end this evening fast.
“She killed him!”
“Most likely in self-defense. I don’t see Selene’s sister as a murderer and if she was, the king would punish her,” I said.
“Not likely,” she said, smiling a bit smug, like she held some kind of insider knowledge.
“Her sister is mated to the king’s brother, and aunt to their kids. It practically makes them family! He is holding his hand over her!” she snarled, like she thought it to be so unfair that the young luna was being treated this way.
I sighed, downing the last of my wine.
“I think it is time we went home. It is getting late,” I said.
Mischa just shrugged, most likely thinking me to be boring that I wanted to end the night instead of going to some party afterwards, like she had suggested, but I wasn’t in the mood to spend one more minute with her. So, I called out for a waitress and paid before driving her home and then going back myself, going to sleep the minute I came home, just feeling so exhausted.