Today I am so pleased to welcome Victoria Sue to Joyfully Jay. Victoria has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, The Alpha King (which I reviewed here). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Kit didn’t think he had eaten so much for a month, and every mouthful was wonderful. He had never seen so much food so beautifully arranged. Luca wiped his mouth after clearing his plate for the second time and eyed Kit. “You might have to carry me back upstairs.”
Everyone at the table chuckled. Petro was one of the nicest men Kit had ever met, and his son Sascha was fascinated with him. Petro, Gabriel, and Luca started talking pack politics, particularly about the rebel group of humans causing problems in some of the outlying pack areas closer to Niandes.
“Have you heard of The Human Alliance?” Petro asked.
Luca frowned. “No, not at all, but I’m afraid we are quite sheltered having the most northern territory, and communication between territories isn’t something that has happened much.”
Petro snorted inelegantly at the understatement and put down his wine glass. “The Human Alliance is the latest group of rebels to emerge to challenge the wolves.”
“There have been plenty of others over the years, though,” Luca said.
Petro nodded and sighed. “They were responsible for the village massacre.”
Kit pricked his ears up.
“No, Father,” Sascha interrupted, “the wolves were responsible for the deaths.”
“Really?” Luca asked.
“The humans attacked a shipment of goods destined for the capital. There were fabrics, silk,” Petro continued.
“Silk?” Luca said, confused.
“Unlicensed children are often bonded to work the boiling pits,” Kit put in. That much he knew.
Luca turned a horrified look to him. “What the hell are boiling pits?”
“The only way of releasing the protein holding the strands of silk together in a cocoon is boiling them,” Sascha explained. “Because the cocoons may get damaged by anything too harsh, a stick—a spoon, for example—it is thought better if hands test the softness.”
“You’re saying,” Luca said slowly, “that <em>children</em> are forced to put their hands in boiling water?”
“The silk trade is one of the wealthiest in Niandes and Solonara,” Daniel, Petro’s beta-commander, added. “I am not surprised you are unaware of it in the north. Only mild temperatures are conducive to long term production and the winters in Caedra are simply too cold.”
“As they are here, but to a lesser extent,” Sascha added. “The shipment was finished silk on its way to be sold.”
Sam leaned forward. “So why was the village attacked up here, then?”
“Because the leader of The Human Alliance was born in the village. Torren is a small settlement just over the border into Niandes. It is barely a day’s ride from here,” Daniel replied.
“So it was revenge,” Luca said flatly. Kit saw him rub his head. It was one of Luca’s ways of showing he was unhappy.
“Ninety-seven men, women, and children. The youngest was eleven months,” Sascha said. Kit couldn’t help the small distressed sound that escaped his lips. He wrapped his arms around his belly protectively.
“And the trouble is that it has now started an all-out war. One of the humans’ main objections was that in the poorest villages surrounding the silk farms, the betas have been told to overlook the births of unlicensed humans, even encourage it.”
Luca growled. “Are you telling me what I think you’re telling me?”
Petro nodded. “Yes, bluntly, that it isn’t just the silk-worms that are being farmed, the humans to work them are also being produced.”
Kit put down his glass shakily, suddenly regretting having eaten anything at all.
“The leader of the rebel group is named Christoph Tor. I was told he lost his son in the massacre and he has vowed to kill any and all werewolves he encounters.”
Luca blew out a long breath. “Things are worse than I feared.”
Kit listened, took a sip of water, and glanced at Sascha. Sascha was staring again.
Kit smiled. “You’re gonna give me a complex.”
Sascha blushed and eyed his father, but Kit didn’t think they were listening. Daniel was describing the safest route to cut through to get to the capital.
“Are you going to tell me what’s up or am I gonna have to guess?” Kit whispered.
“Father, do you mind if I take Kit to show him the gardens?” Petro shook his head and Luca nodded his approval. Kit knew full well the gardens were an excuse. Sascha helped Kit stand. He was glad to stretch his legs and he wasn’t sure how much more of the conversation he could listen to without being physically sick. Kit followed Sascha out of the large dining room and down a corridor. Sascha didn’t speak until they got to a small recessed door. He paused. “Can I trust you?”
“I think you already made that decision bringing me here,” Kit pointed out.
“I kind of did, didn’t I?” He opened the door out into a small terrace garden. Kit jumped slightly as he saw a shadow move to his left.
“It’s okay,” Sascha said encouragingly out into the darkness, and out of the shadows stepped a young man. Sascha held out his hand and the young man ran to him, clasping the hand as if his life depended on it.
Kit smiled in understanding. He would guess that the man was human. Sascha wasn’t anywhere near as big as Luca but he was still a tall and powerfully built werewolf. The man currently tucked into his side was anything but.
“Kit, I would like you to meet Darrin. He is my mate.”
Kit smiled and held out his hand. Darrin eyed Kit cautiously. Kit would have put both him and Darrin at around the same age, but Darrin was taller than Kit with pale skin and fair hair. Darrin put his head to one side and extended his own arm. Kit understood all the envious looks Sascha had been giving him, and decided to jump right in. “Your dad seems reasonable, Sascha. He knows I’m male and human. I’m not even licensed. Why can’t you tell him?”
Sascha sighed and waved to some chairs. Kit sank into one gratefully, peering at his feet. He’d only been half joking when he’d told Luca they were swollen. His little toe looked a bit puffy…
“My dad isn’t the problem,” Sascha finally responded.
“It’s mine,” Darrin said quietly and took a breath. My name is Darrin Tor and my dad is leader of The Human Alliance.”
Luca had been right, Kit thought. Things were definitely worse than he feared.
The Kingdom of Askara has been torn apart by conflict for centuries, where humans exist as subservient beings to their werewolf masters. Legend says it will only be able to heal itself when an Alpha King and a pure omega are mated and crowned together, but a pure omega hasn’t been born in over a thousand years.
Luca is an Alpha-heir eagerly awaiting the choosing ceremony on his twenty-fifth birthday and the gifts granted by whichever omega he mates. His small pack is destitute due to the decisions of its ruling council, but being only an Alpha-heir, he has no authority to challenge them. Not until now—this moment he has waited a long time for.
Kit grew up as a street-rat, an unlicensed human who would never be more than a slave for whichever master owns him. Then one day he came across a young Alpha-heir, attacked and dying of poison, and found out their fates were suddenly entwined.
Luca needs to take over his pack and save his people. He cannot afford to be distracted. But when he meets Kit, he develops abilities indicating he is not just a pack Alpha, but the King his world has needed for a thousand years.
Is Kit really the cause of Luca’s newfound power, the true mate he needs? How is it possible when the young man isn’t even a werewolf, and as merely a human, a mating is not only forbidden, but for Kit, a sentence of death?
Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail. Loves her wolves!
Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.
Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/victoriasueauthor/– sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha
Victoria has brought a copy of a backlist book to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, February 4th at 11:59 pm EST.
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