Today I am so pleased to welcome Victoria Sue to Joyfully Jay. Victoria Sue has come to do an exclusive cover reveal for her upcoming release, The Alpha Heir. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Warwick turned to look at Caleb and smiled. “I am granting my nephew the right of first blood in final penance for his father’s sins.”
Caleb started in shock; whatever he had been expecting, it wasn’t this. He glanced at the second prisoner. His height, his muscles obvious beneath the blood and dirt. The choking collar had been used, which meant the werewolves considered him a risk to them.
Caleb stood ignoring the frequent “hear, hear” and murmured approval from the wolves and wondered if he had it in him to kill a human, to kill any living being. The thought of taking a life left a sick taste in his belly, but he was fighting for his own. Was his uncle finally giving him the chance to belong to the pack once more? And if he was, did he really want that?
Warwick turned to the gamma holding the prisoner’s chains. “Remove the collar and chains.” Gasps rose from the crowd. Even the prisoner looked stunned. He clearly hadn’t been expecting any sort of fair fight. Then Caleb caught the half-smile on his uncle’s face and he knew. Caleb would be lucky to take the human out chained, but free and with no collar? It would be a blood-bath, but not one the human was expecting. It would be Caleb’s own blood that would be lost. The human was expecting a wolf. A fully shifted carnivore that would rip him to shreds with his claws and fangs. Caleb almost laughed. He would escape today, finally, just not in the manner he had once hoped.
Cheers rose again, feet were stamped and tankards banged against the wooden tables. Caleb stared at his uncle in complete shock. Why go to all this trouble when both he and the human would both be dead soon anyway? Why the spectacle? Humiliation? The Alphas were still cheering and Caleb suddenly understood. It was all for show. And the Alphas would applaud his uncle. His uncle would have honored the tradition of being responsible for his dead brother’s son. There would be no blame attached to him when Caleb died, as Caleb had been given the chance to regain his honor. The honor his father had taken from him. There would be no blood on his uncle’s hands at all.
He had tried to escape once when he was twenty, a year after his father’s death. He had gotten nearly to the border before the gammas had caught him. His weak and useless body had let him down again and the wolves had easily outrun him. Then he had been punished in the most unimaginable, horrific way. He had been dragged back to the pack circle to see ten human children assembled, two teenagers and some much younger. Some he had been almost friends with as much as he dared; the ones too young to question why he never seemed to be in the company of the wolves. He remembered looking at his uncle in confusion and then horror as the gammas had slaughtered each of the children in front of him. As Mason had hauled the first child to his feet and he had been made to watch for the first time how easily Mason could snap a human’s neck, he had sunk to his knees begging and pleading to spare their lives, promising anything… but Mason and his uncle had just laughed. The slave who had helped him escape had been tortured for five solid days before he too had been murdered and Caleb had been forced to watch.
And Caleb had learned his lesson. He could make no further attempts to escape. He had spent another five years trying to survive every shame, every beating, pinning his hopes on Mason not being as bad as his father as well as a chance of escape, but with every new act of cruelty he heard about, his hope slid further and further away.
He watched the prisoner’s eyes focus on him as he walked into the ring and heard the titters from the wolves. Caleb took a breath and let his eyes rove over the man who was going to kill him; who would end his torment and finally bring him peace. He was even bigger up close. His arms stretched wider than Caleb’s thighs. Even when he was fit and fed he wasn’t sure his lean muscles would have measured up. The human’s chest was covered in thick black hair and his wide neck was corded with tension. Finally, Caleb stared into smoky deep blue eyes. Eyes full of hatred, of disgust, but that was something he was used to. People had looked at him with hatred and disgust for many years. It was ironic that the man that would crush him was probably the most beautiful one he had ever seen. Maybe in another life Caleb would be attractive. His skin smooth. His body muscular. All this one had ever given him was muscles so wasted he struggled to stand and scars so deep he could feel them in his heart.
“You will not live, human,” his uncle pronounced. “But you may earn mercy.”
The human glanced at Warwick. “What do you mean?” he rasped, having difficulty talking around the collar.
“He means,” Caleb interrupted, “that if you give me a good fight you will be rewarded with the life of the other prisoner.”
Caleb heard the hiss of the crowd as they collectively took a sharp breath. His uncle hadn’t meant that at all. He had just meant to say the human would earn a quick death but now that Caleb had made the promise in front of the other wolves, Warwick had no choice.
Caleb leaned forward, wanting to bait him. “I will think of your dead friend when I claw out your heart.” The prisoner jerked and fisted his hands in temper. Caleb didn’t have claws but the prisoner didn’t know that, and as brave as he was being Caleb just wanted the whole thing done with. He was going to die. He didn’t want the time to turn into the coward he was always accused of being, and the more the human was riled up, the faster it would be over with. The human narrowed his eyes calculatingly, looking at him almost puzzled, and Caleb understood why. He looked nothing like a wolf. He was thin, barely five feet ten. His head didn’t reach the prisoner’s chin. He was calculating how fast Caleb would shift. He didn’t know he was unable to.
A gamma stepped forward. The collar and chains were removed and the man held a disbelieving hand to his neck and rubbed the sore skin as the gamma left the ring.
He took a breath and seemed to center himself. Caleb knew what he was doing: preparing for Caleb’s attack. Caleb took a baiting step and rose up for all intents and purposes like he was going to shift. Everyone knew the seconds between one form and another were the time wolves were at their most vulnerable. If Caleb had been a betting man he would have smiled because at the instant the prisoner moved, he knew he would have won. Caleb just stilled and closed his eyes. He might want to die but he had no wish to see death come for him. A sudden bloodcurdling scream rent the otherwise silent air, far away, and Caleb had a second to wonder why the man would be so foolish as to voice his intention. If Caleb had the intention of defending himself, it would have been all the warning he would have needed. He didn’t have time to finish the thought as a huge body slammed into his and they both fell, even as he felt hands at his throat. He hadn’t meant to open his eyes. Hadn’t meant to look into the eyes of the person that like so many others wanted him dead, but he couldn’t help it and he opened them, even as the fingers cut off his air supply.
For a second, time seemed to stand still. He never had a chance to wonder why there were more screams, shouting, sounds of furniture breaking, and the metallic shriek of swords clashing. Mesmerized, he stared at the deep blue of the eyes in front of him even as the edges of his vision grew dark. Caleb didn’t fight. He didn’t struggle. He had a second to gasp a warm smoky smell that seemed to invade his lungs, so much so he didn’t miss the lack of oxygen. Caleb had expected panic, terror. He wanted a quick death so his final moments weren’t filled with the suffering that had been his constant, but he wasn’t expecting calmness. He didn’t expect a death to be… soothing. The smell seemed to bathe his skin; he just relaxed, and didn’t even feel the fingers around his throat loosen as he fell into the darkness that surrounded him.
Man and wolf. Sworn enemies in the battle for Askara. Can hate and betrayal ever lead to love?
Caleb Harken has spent six years wrongfully imprisoned for his father’s treachery. Tortured and reviled by the very wolf pack he should have been leading as Alpha, he is not surprised to learn he’s finally to meet his death at the hands of the human rebel leader, Taegan Callan.
Taegan gave up his dreams of a life-mate and a family after seeing too many humans butchered at the hands of the wolves—even if Caleb doesn’t seem to be the bloodthirsty savage he expects, and even if he starts to long for a different kind of future with the wolf.
Can Caleb become the Alpha he was always meant to be and lead his pack, or will he finally realize that winning his freedom means nothing when he has already lost his heart?
The Alpha King is now in KU and The Alpha Heir is available for pre-order and also in KU
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.
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.
Victoria Sue has brought a copy of any e-book from her back list to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, August 5th at 11:59 pm ET.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.