Check out the first chapter in my next release!
Ashlyn hastily threw his meager belongings in his sack, running around his rented room above the bar he was staying in.
He needed to get the hell out of town before Vandal Dingle found him. The man had become a pain in his arse in a matter of days when they bumped into each other accidentally. It grated on his every last nerve how the man kept following him around town, like a stray dog begging for scraps.
Vandal Dingle wasn't good looking to say the least. But even if he was, Ashlyn was not interested in the man. Vandal was tall, with a large stomach that took up every part of his frame. He was bald with a scar on the left side of his face that went from his ear to his lips, down to his chin. He was missing a few of his teeth and he had the worst body odor known to man.
For goodness’ sake that’s why the bloody sea exists for a reason. He cannot be an alpha like he claims.
He froze when he heard the loud pounding on his door.
“Fuck,” he cursed and pressed his back against the wall and held his breath praying to the sea god the alpha would leave him alone.
I can’t believe the man fancies himself a pirate. He gets seasick at the sound of a bucket being filled.
“Come on out, little love, I can smell you hiding in there. I just want to make you mine.”
How can you smell anything over your own body odor?
“Not on your bleeding life,” he whispered, knowing the man on the other side of the door couldn’t hear him.
Slowly he reached into his pocket and pulled out his potion, downing the entire thing. He had just returned back from the local town’s witch, Talia, or that’s what they called her. Yet, she was the one they went to when they have an ailment. Talia fancied herself a doctor of witchcraft but makes an elixir that seemed to slow down his omega heat.
I hate I was born an omega. I wish I was born an alpha instead and didn’t have to deal with all this heat shite.
Ashlyn was a loner and had no place to call home. As an omega, he felt he was cursed in life by the deities. Each month his body went into an omega heat and he would need to find an alpha to calm his raging hormones. He was born into a lower-class, large family and was the third oldest out of a brood of twelve.
Both of his parents were born in Britain but traveled to the islands when Ashlyn was but a newborn. His family was poor, and it seemed they had more kids than food. When he was thirteen, he left with only the clothes on his back and never looked back. He doubted his parents even realized that he was gone.
It didn’t help that one reason they were poor was because his sire, Keaton, kept incurring gambling debts. They kept getting kicked out of every hovel they found to live in. Ashlyn hated that Abel, his bearer, never argued about being moved from one home to another, or never having food on their table. But always seemed to turn up pregnant and was happy about it.
Ashlyn despised the loyalty his bearer showed. He saw Able Tuesday as a doormat, making a vow to himself that he’d never be like his bearer. He wanted much more out of life. He didn’t want to struggle for his next meal. As much as he hated being an omega, he realized there were both advantages to his status and disadvantages. He was told often that his exotic beauty was unlike any other omega’s. His bright blue eyes, light brown skin, and dark twisted locks made most men and women weak in their knees.
After leaving home and realizing that men wanted him for being an omega and his beauty, he used it to his advantage. It didn’t happen right away. It took time for him to understand what his scent, beauty, and body did to not only alphas, but betas and maybe some gammas. Before that he would hide away and prayed no one would find him. After leaving, he stole, and in some cases begged, for food; depending on the kindness of strangers to feed him.
Ashlyn made it a point not to stay in one place too long. When he was eighteen he had gone through his first heat phase. He had no clue what was wrong with his body, when all he wanted was to rip his clothes off and jump in the sea just to cool off. He was thankful that no alpha was around when it’d happened. When it happened every month, he knew something was wrong, but he wasn’t sure who to ask.
He’d never seen his sire go through a heat cycle. It also didn’t help he and Able never talked about the facts of life. He never seemed to have the time with all the babies he kept having. Then one day Calista came into his life. She was an omega like him and explained that each month on or around the same time his body went through a heat cycle. Even knowing what to expect Ashlyn hated that his inside hurt so badly he wanted to die. He did not know what was happening.
According to Calista being an omega was a passage through life that distinguished alphas, betas, gammas, and omegas. Omegas were the beautiful humans in the world and pirates considered them to be sea sirens who beguiled them with their beauty. Betas were everyday people who did not have to worry about finding a mate or heats.
Gammas were one level below betas in status, they could also mate with and get pregnant by betas. Calista told him that omegas were given a gift thanks to the deities to bear children. Then how would the gods explain gammas? To Ashlyn, gammas were lucky with the fact that they did not go through a heat cycle as omegas did.
However, society dwelled little on the beta and gamma dynamics the way they did with alphas and omegas. Gammas also bear one child every five years whereas an omega could get pregnant each heat cycle.
A gamma and beta pairing or mating was not as structured, or loyalty based as an alpha and omega. If they so choose, a gamma could have more than one beta mate. Alphas and omegas are mated for life. Society believes that an omega is fragile and needed the protection of a strong alpha to take care of them.
Who comes up with this shit?
Ashlyn had been taking care of himself since he was thirteen and needed an alpha to rescue him. He knew well that Calista was looking for a mate. No one liked being lonely, and admittedly he got lonely sometimes. But each time he thought of finding a mate, he broke out in a cold sweat, and got nauseated. To Ashlyn having a mate sounded like a life sentence. The desire to be loved by an alpha mate sounded great, but the part about bearing the alpha’s child did not sound all that great for him.
He wanted to choose his own path in life. I need no man or child to hold me back from my goals. And why would I want to ruin my beautiful figure?
Since discovering that he was an omega he stayed away from people out of fear that an alpha would pick up his scent. During the other times, he pretended that he was a gamma most days. And since he loved women’s clothing no one questioned Ashlyn on his beauty or his true status in society.
With Vandal still beating down his room door, he was glad at that moment that he’d changed into leather trousers when he went to visit Talia for his one-year supply of elixirs. The bottles were small enough he could shove most in his pockets and wouldn’t weigh him down while he traveled.
He’d traveled a lot since he left home. Mostly by horse and carriages. But no matter wherever he went, he always seemed to come back to the town of Duns Fall. It was because Talia lived there, but, it used to be a quiet little town he saw himself one day settling down in. That was until pirates found his sweet little haven. The pirates were loud and brash, who believed that everything they touched belonged to them on land and sea.
Ashlyn made it a point not to get close to anyone, especially pirates. He also never stayed in one place too long even his beloved little town of Duns Fall. Talia and Calista were the exception, they pushed their way into his life even when he kept pushing them back. If an alpha or anyone else suspected that he was an omega he would leave town before they could catch up to him. Except for Vandal “The Stubborn” Dingle who didn’t know how to take no for an answer.
If Vandal was really a pirate, he was definitely a crappy one who seemed to have given up chasing booty for Ashlyn’s arse. The banging on his door became insistent. What the bloody hell is this fucker’s problem? There were many other beautiful men on the island, but it seemed he had only eyes for Ashlyn.
He didn’t understand the other man’s fascination when they’d bumped into each other at the local market. Ashlyn was looking at a white silk scarf that would have looked charming with his midnight blue gown he’d bought the previous day. After saying their apologies, Ashlyn went on about his business, apparently, Vandal took a liking to him.
They’d run into each other the entire week. Vandal tried buying him drinks and dinner for the past few nights and each time he declined the man’s offer. It was his way of courting the omega into his arms, Ashlyn heard him tell another pirate who told him it wouldn’t work. Ashlyn had gone so far as to tell Vandal he was already mated and was simply waiting for his mate to join him in two days. Rightfully so, the other man didn’t believe him.
He’d have left Duns Fall days ago, but he had to wait for his elixir to be finished. If only Talia was really a witch.
“Come on, pretty, open the door and let me in so that we can talk,” Vandal said on the other side of the door.
“Fuck no,” Ashlyn whispered.
Stuffing the small bottle into his pocket he picked up his sack from the bed and walked over to the open window. He froze when the floorboards squeaked and held his breath, wondering if Vandal had gotten smart and left. The pounding on the door stopped, and he prayed he was right about Vandal leaving. The man was large enough he could break the door down without breaking a sweat if he wanted to. When nothing happened, Ashlyn snuck over to the window and was about to open it when he saw Vandal standing on the terrace looking in the window.
How the fuck did he get out there so fast?
Turning, Ashlyn ran out of the room and down the stairs into the bar. It was packed with patrons, mostly pirates drinking their fill of grog. Some stopped to look at him as if he had lost his head for a few seconds before going back to what they were doing. Others paid him no attention. His heart was thundering in his chest, it was only a matter of time before Vandal burst in the room. Ashlyn scanned the room quickly, hoping someone could be a patsy for him in a pinch.
He spotted a group of pirates sitting in the back of the room. They were loud and rowdy, knowing it should be easy to spot the captain among them. He would be the only one with a large tanker of grog. Other than that, all the men sitting at the table with him would be vying for his attention. He looked out the window and saw Vandal about to push the pub doors open. Thinking quickly, he ran over to the group of pirates and sat in the man’s lap and smashed their lips together before the man could object. He ignored the pleasurable shiver that coursed down his back.
“Oi, get your hands off my mate. That’s my man,” Ashlyn heard Vandal roar.
Both Ashlyn and the pirate, he assumed was the captain, stopped kissing and turned to look at Vandal. Their cheeks lovingly pressed against each other.
“Your man?” the sexy man asked. The man’s voice was a deep whisper that close to his ear.
“Aye,” Vandal responded.
The stranger laughed along with the other men at the table as if they were all in on the joke. Ashlyn’s body however, was responding in ways it never had before to anyone since their kiss. He prayed that the man whose lap he was sitting on didn’t notice. A finger touched his chin then lightly turned his head to meet light gray eyes connecting with his blue. He also didn’t miss the devilish smile causing his cock to respond even more in his trousers.
Fuck, I need to get away from this man, now.
“Are you his?” Ashlyn shook his head no. But I can be yours if you want me to. What the fuck? His eyes widened at his thoughts. Where the hell did that thought come from?
“Lies,” Vandal said loudly.
“Are you calling my beauty a liar?” He never took his eyes away from Ashlyn.
“You bet your bloody arse, I am,” Vandal roared.
“I told him I was waiting for you,” Ashlyn offered up.
“Always, my loyal beauty,” he said as the tips of his fingers brushed against Ashlyn’s lower lip that still burned from their kiss.
Ashlyn turned and looked at Vandal, he was boiling mad. His face was red, and it was as if he could see steam coming out of his ears. Vandal went to lunge forward but was stopped when the captain stood up instantly, putting Ashlyn behind him with one hand and a cutlass in the other.
“We don’t want any trouble now do we?” the other pirate asked.
“This is a proper establishment. So be a good gentilhomme and be on your way now.”
Ashlyn looked over the stranger’s shoulder and looked at Vandal, the tip of the sword was at his throat ready to strike if need be.
“This isn’t over, Ashlyn,” Vandal vowed.
He stepped in front of the other man to address Vandal. “Just give up. Just please stop following me. I’ve told you before that I’m not yours. I belong to someone else.”
He turned and looked at the handsome pirate whose arms circled his waist and pulled him tighter against him. He wasn’t looking at Ashlyn but at Vandal, but the smirk on his sexy lips made Ashlyn’s heart thump faster in his chest.
Vandal tsked then looked at Ashlyn’s savior. “Watch yourself, I never forget a face.”
“And I never back down from a challenge.”
Vandal nodded and backed away before Ashlyn released the breath he was holding. His body was finally under control and he wasn’t emitting any pheromones thanks to the potion. He wasn’t sure how it worked or what was in it, but Talia was a lifesaver.
“Now, my beauty, mind telling me what all that was about?”
“Not really,” Ashlyn said bending down to pick up his sack. “But I must thank you ever so much for your gracious help.”
He went to step by the man but was stopped with a hand around his waist. He gasped when a muscular chest was pressed against his back. His body was reacting in ways it shouldn’t have, especially since he’d drunk the entire bottle of potion.
“Now, petit, where do you think you’re running off to? I can take you back to my ship for a bit of fun.” The pirate’s deep voice whispered in his ear. His warm breath ghosting over his ear, and the scent of rum on his breath made him hold back his whimper.
When the man’s hand slowly drifted down the front of his trousers Ashlyn stepped away, his hand held out, touching the other man’s chest.
Fuck, I shouldn’t have done this.
The man’s skin was warm even through his shirt, and Ashlyn could feel the muscles under the tips of his fingertips. He might be an omega, but he wasn’t interested in sleeping with just anyone. Hell, he’d never slept with anyone but his hands on a lonely night.
“Look, I appreciate your help, but I cannot stay.”
“No need to rush off after I just helped you.”
He stepped closer to Ashlyn and was about to wrap an arm around him, but he stepped much further back. He could hear snickers coming from the men with the captain.
“I would love to stay, but I have things I must attend to.” He wasn’t lying. He was running low on funds and he knew the perfect patsy to con a few coins from to hold him off for a few days. Talia might be his friend, but she still charged him an arm and a leg for the elixirs.
“You are a proper little thing. I like you already. So, what do you say, petit, be a member of my ship?”
“Sorry, the pirate’s life isn’t for me,” Ashlyn said and was off before his savior could say another word.
Ashlyn was running out of the pub, hoping his body would calm down the further he got away from the pirate. He prayed never to run into the man again but knowing his bad luck, it was bound to happen.
Coming October 13th
Where You Can Find Me
“Fatima, my own, you must take our child and run.”
“No, I will not leave you here to deal with this on your own.” Fatima turned and looked at her son. “You must run, Blayze,” Fatima told her son.
Six-year-old Blayze Elashor Drakenfire stared at his mother not understanding what was going on. He watched as his parents were running around their little home throwing things into a bag.
“You must run, my little Blayze,” Fatima told her son.
“But, Mama, where are we going?” Blayze asked.
“Fatima, you must go with the boy!” Sergei yelled. “I will rest easy knowing that you and the little ones are safe.”
“I cannot, my love, I refuse to leave you alone. I will fight with you,” Fatima said to her husband.
“We cannot leave the boy alone,” his father, Sergei, argued. “He will need his mother to protect and guide him,” he continued, resting a hand on her stomach. “And this one needs to see life.”
Fatima shook her head and touched one of his cheeks. “I don’t want to leave you, my draco corde.”
“You must, for the sake of our children.” Fatima opened her mouth to argue. “Please, amica mia, don’t argue with me on this.”
She closed her eyes, leaning forward, resting her head on his muscular chest. “Promise me, you will find us.”
Sergei didn’t respond, and Blayze could see that his father was fighting back his emotions, he lifted her head, brushing her long dark tresses behind her pointed ear. “Te amo,” he whispered then kissed her. Blayze did not understand what was going on, but he knew something was wrong. His father said that the bad people were coming to their home, they lived far from the main town in the snow-covered mountains.
“Mama,” Blayze said getting his mother’s attention.
She turned and looked at him, with worry in her clear gray-white eyes, they were the same color as his own. Her lips were trembling, and tears pooled in the corner of her eyes. Fatima knelt in front of him and pulled him to her chest.
“Listen to me, my little one.” Her voice cracked when she spoke. “If anything happens to your father or me, you must grow up to be a good boy just like your papa.” He nodded. “Respect your elders, and whatever you do, do not under any circumstances shift where humans can see you. They will fear you because of what you are. They will not understand and will act differently toward you. More importantly, do not tell anyone who and what you are, my little nymph arum draco. Trust no one, not even if they are your own kind, my son.” She pulled back and held him by the shoulders. “Tell me you understand, Blayze.” He nodded again. “Let me hear you say the words, my child.”
“Yes, Mama, I understand,” he told her. Even though he really didn’t.
His papa had left earlier that morning, and when he got home, he started packing up their things saying that people were coming, and they needed to get away. Blayze didn’t know who the people were; he wasn’t allowed to talk to any of the humans that lived in town which made him sad.
He would sometimes hear the other kids his age running around playing in the snow, and he would hide and watch them play, wishing he could join them. They always looked as if they were having a lot of fun. Blayze looked at his father who was standing at the entrance to the kitchen and living room. Their cottage wasn’t big, but it was just right for the three of them.
“Come to me, my little fire child.” He opened his arms and Blayze ran and jumped into them.
His father caught him easily holding him close and squeezing him tightly, almost taking his breath away. Papa was whispering words in his ear, some he understood and some he didn’t. The older dracomen had been teaching him the native language of dracomens, but there were still words he didn’t understand or pronounce correctly. He raised his head and looked into gray eyes and they looked sad and were not sparkling like they usually did when his father would hold him. Blayze cupped his papa’s red-bearded cheeks.
Blayze had often wondered why they didn’t live in the world with the other dracomens. He’d asked his papa why they lived so far from everyone else, and his father would only smile and gently pat him on the head and suggest they go practice flying, knowing how much he loved seeing his father’s large beast. He would be safely tucked between one of his large claws as they soared through the clouds, forgetting he’d even asked a question in the first place.
“Are we going to meet the other dracomens now, Papa?” Blayze asked.
“No, multi est,” Sergei answered.
“Then where are we going?” he asked.
His papa smiled. “You were always a curious child, even as a whelp. Don’t ever lose that spark.” Blayze smiled. “Promise me that you will be good for your matar. Grow up to be a respectable dracomen and change the world and how others see us. We are not as scary as they believe nor to be used as toys in an army.” His papa kissed him on the forehead before pulling back. “Let them see your strength, my little whelp. Accept love when it is given, fight for what you believe in, and regret nothing,” his father advised him while looking Blayze in his eyes. “You are a Drakenfire don’t forget that, we are a proud circle with noble blood.”
Blayze nodded. “Papa, te amo,” he told his father. As young as he was, Blayze knew that his father was worried about something and he hoped saying that he loved his father would make things better, and they could go back to having fun flying around the snowy mountains again. Blayze was still too young to shift, but his papa was always telling him what he needed to do when the time came.
Sergei's cheeks were wet with tears, and that surprised Blayze. He’d never seen his father cry even when he got hurt. He would say bad words and his mama would wag her finger at him telling him not to teach Blayze those kinds of words so young. His papa would smile and pull her into his arms and kiss her making her giggle. And Blayze knew everything was fine and would leave the room when they started to get all mushy. Looking at his father now, Blayze saw nothing but sadness in the older man's eyes.
Blayze knew that his father was strong and powerful. The larger dracomen would sometimes lift him in the air with just one hand, never breaking a sweat. His father was also caring. Not only with Blayze and his mother, but also with the people who would make their way up the mountains to see him. Sergei was also a doctor or Blayze thought he was.
Sometimes people came to their house and went into the room that Blayze was never allowed in because, to his mother and father, he was too small. There were times his mama would help by giving them the medicine she made in the big pot she always used on the stove. He’d heard people call her a witch.
But Blayze didn’t believe it. Blayze didn’t think his mama was ugly or have a hooked nose and warts on her face. She was beautiful with long jet-black hair that it sometimes looked blue. His mama also didn’t have a wand or fly on a broom, and she didn’t like to fly like him and his papa. Humans were foolish.
“Te amo, multi est,” he whispered and smiled. But again, Blayze noticed the smile was strained, and his eyes didn’t light up like they usually would. He wanted to hear his father’s boisterous laughter, and it would make him giggle for no reason.
“It will be okay, Papa.” Blayze rested his forehead against Sergei’s strong chin like he’d done countless times in the way of comfort.
“Remember my words, my son,” his father whispered. “May the gods of fire and sun protect you from my enemies and theirs.” He set Blayze down on the floor, patting him on the head. “Now go and do your best to protect your mama.” He wanted to tell his papa to come with them, but he knew the older dracomen would say no.
Blayze nodded and walked over to his mother, standing beside her. She knelt in front of him and closed her eyes before opening them again. “I love you, my fire child. Never forget that.”
Fatima bent her head and took off the necklace and put it around his neck. She whispered a few words, and for a few seconds, Blayze was distracted by the bright light that was coming from his mama’s hand and then just like that it was gone.
“Keep this with you, and if we get separated, you only need to think of me and I . . .” She didn’t finish her sentence as tears streamed down her cheeks. Blayze didn’t like what he was feeling in the pit of his stomach or the thought that he wasn’t going to see his mama and papa again. “Keep it close to your heart, my son, and one day the gods will send someone to love and care for you. Someone who will be worthy to be your draco corde.”
Blayze looked down at the green jewel that was the color of his matar’s eyes, surrounded by platinum that always hung around his mother’s neck. He remembered playing with it as a child. The platinum dragon had its wings extended, and its mouth wide open with the green gemstone nestled in its stomach. The dragon looked fierce and ready to attack. He looked at his mother. “How will I know they are my draco corde?”
His mama smiled and touched the right side of his cheek. “You will know, my little fire child,” she said to him. She touched a hand to his heart. “You will know when you feel the urge to kill for them and protect them at the same time. You will know when you would want to sacrifice everything, even your life, for the one who will be your draco corde; your dracomen heart.” She wiped away her tears with her arm then stood. “Come, we must go now.”
Blayze nodded and took her hand as they walked through the kitchen. He was thinking about what his mama had just said, taking her advice to heart and putting it in the back of his mind as she opened the kitchen door. Blayze looked back to see if his father was following them, but he wasn’t. He turned around and looked at his mother, tears were still running down her cheeks, he squeezed her hand, hoping it would make her feel better.
They stopped just before they walked over the threshold, Fatima kneeling in front of him as she rested her hands on his shoulders, squeezing then gripping his chin in one hand. “Be good, my son. Now go, Blayze, run and whatever you do, don’t stop or look back. Remember that we love you always and we did this for you,” she started. “I cannot go with you,” she told him.
“But, Mama . . .”
“I know that you don’t understand, and you will hate me one day. But I must be at your father’s side. He is my life source, without him I am nothing. It is the curse of who I am, of who you are.” Her tears didn’t stop, in fact they started falling more. “You will understand one day, my little fire child, now go,” she told him.
He stood there for a few minutes afraid to move until his mama pushed him again and screamed at him to run. He ran as fast and as far as he could. Stopping only to see if his mama could see him, that he listened to her like a good boy and did what she told him. He knew she told him not to look back, but he also wanted to see if his mama had changed her mind and did what Papa had told her. What he saw shocked him. His mama on her knees and a man standing in front of her with a sword in his hand.
Blayze screamed, but his father’s loud roar drowned out his voice as the man used the sword to chop his mother’s head off. Blayze screamed for his mama and was about to run to her when their house blew up. The force of the backlash threw Blayze back, knocking him out.
* * *
Ryland's Inferno (Pryde Shifter Series Book 2)
“Are you sure that’s wise, the place might not be standing when we get back. He can be a big kid sometime.”
“Sure, anything you say, Ry.” Blayze wasn’t paying any attention to what Ryland was saying all he could think about was having his mate fuck him against the wall.
“You’re not listening to me are you?”
Blayze didn’t answer he grabbed Ryland by his T-shirt and pulled him down for a kiss that would keep their mouths busy for an hour or two. Why use words when he could simply use his body to get what he wanted.
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