CLAIMING HIS ALPHA
Scent of a Mate 7
Reece Marshall isn't happy about being pulled away from his undercover assignment for the Feline Council, but one doesn't argue with a summons from an elder. Discovering he's been brought before the elder as a potential guardian to a new alpha makes him wish he was back on his mission.
Šílené Bolond never wanted to be an alpha, but forces greater than him seem to think he should lead the Blackthorn Pride. When five enforcers are presented to him as possible guardians, one stands out. Šílené's heart breaks when his offer of submission is rejected, and he realizes his dream of having a mate will never be realized.
But the forces that made an omega an alpha have other plans. When Reece's undercover assignment becomes too dangerous, the only safe place to go is to the pride of the one man Reece craves, but can't have. With danger and betrayal around every corner, Reece and Šílené have to turn to each other if they want to survive, and they just might find love if they can survive that long.
“I am sure you have heard of the challenge against Randal Cresson by now.”
Again, Elder Hamilton received five nods.
“From what we have been able to gather, Alpha Cresson was involved in some rather archaic practices where his pride was concerned. Word has reached us that he has been systematically executing those he felt weren’t feline enough, and abusing others. Those he went after were given no choice but to comply with his orders or offer reparations for whatever offense he felt they had perpetrated.”
“That’s against pride law,” Boston Elliot said with a curl of his upper lip that was pure disgust at Alpha Cresson’s actions. “How was this discovered?”
Hamilton paused to consider his words and their effects on the men he had brought to his office. “It would seem that he chose to pick on the wrong pride member, and he paid for it with his life.”
Alarm settled on more than one face.
“At first, we thought it was a fluke.” Hamilton tugged on his goatee, rubbing the dark, bristled hairs between his fingers. It was a nervous gesture he’d tried to quit more times than he could count. “But then, the new alpha was challenged by two separate competitors within minutes of winning the challenge against Cresson. He fought them both, back to back, killing his opponents without a break or even time in between challenges.”
Hamilton could see that the five men were impressed by the lifting of their eyebrows and the widening of their eyes. He had to admit he was as well. The law required at least three days between challenges because it was nearly impossible for a combatant to fight two fights to the death without some time to recuperate in between.
For someone to fight two challenges back-to-back without even a few minutes’ break between fights was unheard of. For those two fights to come within minutes of another was not only unheard of, it was nearly impossible to imagine.
It took unnatural strength.
“Those that witnessed the fight said they had never seen anything like it. I’ve been told that Šílené Bolond fought with such skill and determination that it was like the hand of Bastet herself guided his movements.”
In mythology, Bastet was reported to be the goddess of cats, protection, joy, dance, music, family, and love. If people were saying Šílené fought like the goddess Bastet seemed to be guiding his movements, then not only had he fought like a true enforcer, but Alpha Cresson deserved to lose. The gods only favored those with true hearts, and everyone knew it.
“If this man truly won the challenge…” Tre Marshall said, a bit of indignation in his voice, but only a bit. He was speaking to an elder after all. Respect must be shown. “Then why have you called us here? I’m not going to fight a challenge rightfully won.”
A couple of the other men nodded their agreement.
Reece flicked his toothpick.
“No, no.” Hamilton waved his hand to dismiss that thought from their minds. “I would not ask that of you. The challenge was won fairly and has been acknowledged by the Feline Council. That is not why you have been called here.”
Hamilton stood and walked over to his liquor cabinet. This might require just a bit more than liquid courage. He pulled out six small crystal glasses and his best scotch, pouring some in each glass.
Grabbing his own glass, he turned and gestured to the others to grab a glass as he took his seat again. “Gentlemen.”
The five powerful enforcers stood and walked over to each get a glass. Hamilton could easily admit to himself that he was a little intimidated by the large men. They all stood inches above him. He just wouldn’t admit it to them and he had enough control to be able to hide it from everyone.
“I find myself in an unusual position, gentlemen,” Hamilton said once everyone had a drink in their hands. He stared down at the amber-colored liquid for a moment, choosing his words carefully. “This new alpha is obviously a very powerful one. He has proven that. He’s just—”
The office door opened with a bang and everyone turned to toward their visitor. Hamilton watched as each enforcer stared at the newcomer with complete and utter shock. Hamilton pressed his lips together to keep from laughing as the man danced around to music only he could hear. It was quite a spectacle. He hummed an off-key tune, his hips swaying back and forth as he waltzed across the room toward Hamilton.
A smiled curved Hamilton’s lips when a flower was tucked into the pocket of his dress shirt and an affectionate kiss was pressed to the top of his head. He couldn’t think of a single person in the world that would dare kiss him on the top of his head, not even his mother. Yet, this man did it like it was something he did every day, and it was. Hamilton had received such a kiss every day since the young man arrived at the manor house.
When the unusual man danced out from behind the desk and began heading in the direction of the five powerful enforcers, Hamilton saw something he never thought he would see in the eyes of such powerful and legendary enforcers.
Pure unadulterated fear.
They were terrified of a slip of a man with platinum blond hair that was spiked and frosted at the tips, fingernails painted every color under the sun, and a pink tutu over his black skinny jeans. Hamilton doubted they had even noticed the eyebrow piercings yet. He wondered how scared they would be if they knew about the piercings under the man’s clothing.
The young man danced up to Boston and slid a pink flower into the pocket of his black dress shirt. He skipped past Clint Harper, but placed a yellow flower in the pocket of Tre’s shirt and a red flower in Boone Marshall’s pocket.
When he stopped in front of Reece, he stared up at him for the longest time. The air itself seemed to be holding its breath as the two men stared at each other.
Even Hamilton’s eyebrows shot up when the colorful man stuck his tongue out at Reece and then danced right out the patio doors as if he had never been there, leaving five very confused enforcers in his wake.
Hamilton stood and walked over to the double doors that led from his office to the stone patio on the side of the house and pulled them closed. Amusement flickered through Hamilton when he saw the young man dancing around on the green grass just beyond the edge of the patio. Laughter bubble out of him when he turned and found the bravest enforcers in the territory staring past him as if they weren’t certain what they had just seen, but they were afraid to see it again.
He clasped his hands together in front of him as he met the confused—and shocked—eyes of the enforcers he hoped were brave enough to take on the task he was about to set before them. “And that, gentlemen, is the new alpha of the Blackthorn Pride.”