Copyright © 2020 by J. M. Johnson
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any manner without written permission of the copyright owner except for the use of quotations in a book review
First book - You Wouldn't Dare
Second book - I Dare You
Third book - Our Final Dare
Continuing the saga:
The Alpha's Beta Mate
Ryssa gasped as the sharp claws that penetrated her mate’s chest inflicted the same pain on her own body. She fell to her knees, screaming out as her heart was pierced and ripped from her chest.
Her handmaidens looked on helplessly as Ryssa screamed in pain, her eyes pleading with them to help her, to put an end to the burning fire that was licking its way through her veins.
No one knew how to help their Luna. There were no wounds on her body and her mate, Alpha Drake, was perfectly safe in his bed. Guards were posted outside his door - as they had been ever since the warning had been announced.
Ryssa knew better.
She knew her son had finally made good on his threat that he had roared at them all those years ago. She had always known he would come. It was just a matter of how, and when.
Now she had her answers.
He had entered the packhouse unseen. So many years of abuse had taught him well how to live his life in the shadows, never being seen, never being heard.
He would leave as silent as he came, but the devastation of this night would resound throughout the pack for years to come.
They would notice the utter carnage and devastation in the bedroom, Alpha Drake laying in a pool of his own blood – that is if they could find enough remaining pieces of him to identify him.
Then they would find the Luna, her face forever frozen in fear, her last moments one of terror as she anticipated her death at the hands of her son.
With a painful gasp, she ordered her maids out of the room. They would not be able to help her anyway.
It was too late now.
For the first time in her life, she would own up to her mistakes and take the punishment that was coming her way.
She knew she would be next; he would not let her live - despite the small amount of help she had offered him; it would not outweigh the evil she had committed.
Abandoned as a tiny pup, Ryssa and Drake had named their adopted son Khaos. A terrible accident had left Ryssa barren with no heir to speak of. Years of fertility treatment had all but destroyed the once loving relationship the two mates had shared. Too many heartbreaks and tragedies as one by one, the last of Ryssa’s eggs failed to take.
Until finally, it forced them to face up to the truth.
The Moon Goddess had not permitted them to be parents. She had seen into their hearts and declared them unfit for the job.
But free will could not be tampered with.
Defying the Gods, Ryssa and Drake had gotten their way. A babe was abandoned and Ryssa had snatched him up, seeing him as her new beginning.
They had named their new child Khaos, and had sworn in front of the pack that he belonged to them – a successful surrogacy that they had kept under wraps.
When translated, Khaos meant emptiness. A black void which they hoped to fill with love and laughter, mending poor Ryssa’s heart with the adoration of her adopted child.
They placed all her hopes and dreams on this innocent babe. She would become the mother that she was always supposed to be, winning back her mate’s affection as she lovingly raised his next heir.
It hadn’t worked.
Ryssa soon realised that Khaos was a poor substitute for the children she had lost. It wasn’t long before her resentment grew to hatred, until her arms ached for her babies, her own flesh and blood. Every time she looked at Khaos, she added another brick to the wall of hatred that had grown higher than anyone had foreseen.
From a young age, Khaos had been... difficult. As he grew older, he was death personified.
Living up to his namesake, he had the strength to rival that of the fabled primordial God himself.
No matter the vast richness and splendour he was surrounded with, he was always an unhappy child, a sullen teenager, eventually paving way to the arrogant, cold, unfeeling killer he had become today.
Ryssa would sob to anyone who would listen. Creating a fictional world of a mother who had been wronged, rejected by the child who she had selfishly given a happy home to. No one would dare call their Luna a liar, and they certainly wouldn’t question Alpha Drake, especially regarding their parenting.
Although, if anyone had bothered to ask their son, he would have a different tale to tell, and only too happily would he have shown them exactly what he had been through.
Some people were not meant to be parents, and he had the scars to prove it.
However, now the time for sharing was over.
He would have welcomed a friendly ear during those dark days, for someone to show him that there was kindness in this world, a light at the end of the tunnel, but no one came forward.
The pack he had once thought of as family turned a blind eye to the abuse he received daily, and now the time for repenting was long gone.
They had ruined Khaos completely.
Incapable of feeling anything other than hate, he welcomed the blackness that surrounded his heart and devoured his soul.
Ryssa both prayed for, and feared, the day he met his mate. Her life would not be one of adoration and happiness. She would be in a constant fight to save Khaos from himself, a battle to keep the beast that controlled him at bay.
Ryssa had failed - and for that, she welcomed this painful death, knowing it was her punishment for having failed to save her son from the very thing that haunted him - himself.
It wasn’t lost on her that they had created this monster, that their death had a poetic justice. Khaos had not forgotten a single moment of his pitiful upbringing. She had been stupid to think once he left, he would never come back.
Revenge would always be his.
As she felt another stab rip through her body, she thought back to the treatment Khaos had endured, and she felt the first tingles of shame nag at her. She shook her head, refusing to accept her portion of the blame.
She would not have this laid at her feet. She had done what she thought was right.
“He was no worse off for it!” she told herself with gritted teeth, growing angry with the situation she found herself in. There were no lasting scars as far as she could see, no hidden ailments that haunted him! He was okay in the end, wasn’t he?
She gasped, feeling the bond between herself and her mate break as Khaos finally gave Drake some mercy and ended his life.
Her wolf kicked in, and with her heightened senses she smelled the blood, the scent travelling down the hallway, and she knew then that Khaos had shown no mercy at all.
Drake’s body had simply given up the fight - butchered and mutilated until he could no longer stand it and he finally left this world.
She was next.
She chewed her nails, knowing that he would find her, knowing there was nowhere to hide.
Her breath came in frantic gasps.
She scanned the room searching for anything she could use to defend herself and make her escape.
Why had she foolishly sent her handmaidens away?
She had thought she was ready to face up to her sins, but now that her ultimate fate was creeping closer by the second, her courage failed her.
She had heard the rumours of the man Khaos had become, knew that his size overpowered her tiny frame, and that his strength was one that had yet to be defeated.
She could run all she wanted, but she could never hide from him and she could never escape, not unless he wanted her to. Any attempt at running would only add fuel to the fire, appealing to the predator inside of him.
She looked at the tiny window and weighed up her options, a dozen frantic plans whirling through her mind until finally, with a sigh, she walked to the middle of the room; her legs shaking and unsteady.
It was too late for thoughts of escape.
Ryssa knew she would be fooling herself to pretend otherwise. Khaos was a master stalker, and now he had his prey cornered.
Her head snapped to the side as the door to her room smashed open, bouncing off the wall behind it.
He was here.
He stood still, an evil smirk on his face as his eyes raked over her terrified figure. She met his cold eyes and shrank back slightly from the formidable sight in front of her. The evil seeped from every pore on his body, his enormous frame dominating the room. Everything around her seemed to shrink, closing in on her until there was just her and him.
Mother and son.
Predator and prey.
The time had come.
He was no longer the small, skinny whipping boy. The man in front of her was everything he had promised he would become, and then some. He was breath-taking, his dark eyes glinting with hatred, the blood of her mate dripping from his clothes.
Ryssa made a mental list of all the reasons she hated Khaos, and was surprised to find that she couldn’t think of any. It was not his fault that she had been left barren, and it had not been his decision to be raised by two people incapable of love.
A small weight lifted from her chest. A selfish as she knew it was, she forgave herself. Her demons were nothing compared to the ones that haunted Khaos, but she had her reasons for doing what she did.
The past couldn’t be changed.
She lifted her chin, ignoring the tremors running through her. She still had her pride, and she refused to beg. If this were the way the Fates had written her death, she would not argue with it.
As he approached her with his sword drawn, she sent a prayer to the Moon Goddess to not judge her son based on his actions tonight. Give his soul one last chance and grant him his mate, let her be his redemption before the empty void became a dark abyss there would be no returning from, and he was damned to Hell for all eternity - as she and her mate were sure to be.
She smirked inwardly as she thought of Khaos with his mate, knowing that he would destroy her in his quest for love.
Who could willingly love such a creature? Who would be proud to stand at his side and declare to the world that they belonged to him?
History had a way of repeating itself, Just as Ryssa had been locked into a loveless mating, so would Khaos. He would finally understand some of the pain she had had to live with, to realise that it wasn’t only himself that was haunted by demons.
She locked eyes with her son as he lifted his sword, his eyes blazing with hatred. She would not beg and plead for her life; she had known all along it would come to this.
Instead, she closed her eyes and smiled softly, thinking soon she would be returned to the Kingdom of Paradise where she would be with her baby, the one who had been snatched away and not this murderous beast she had foolishly raised.
Surely the Moon Goddess would not deny her entry.
She had, after all, helped create one of the most fearsome warriors the world had ever known. That had to count for something, didn’t it?