Prologue | Cursed
⚠️Warning before you read⚠️
My characters don’t always make perfect decisions. They will frustrate, annoy, and maybe anger you. The consequences that follow could probably be predicted from a mile away.
I know you all might make different decisions if you were in their shoes, but have you ever been a werewolf with a pack to run and a stubborn mate to run from?
If you choose to continue reading, please keep this in mind before you give up and throw your phone at the wall ☺️
“Good morning, beautiful.”
Vixen unburied her face from a pillow that was as soft as heaven. By the time she realised it wasn’t actually a pillow, but a hard and warm chest, a hand was already brushing back the hair that had fallen in her eyes. She shot to a sitting position, blinking and rubbing her face to shake off the vagueness of slumber. “Where am I, what time is it, and who are you?”
A low chuckle greeted her in response. A low masculine chuckle that wasn’t at all familiar.
“It’s about eight o’clock, you’re in my holiday apartment, and I am Alpha Darryn, your mate.”
The word slapped against her ears, deafening her, trying to wriggle past the mental barrier she had firmly kept in place since childhood. “What am I doing here? Did you abduct me? Did you drug me and tie me up and—”
“Nothing like that,” Darryn chuckled again, his large hand wrapping around her waist and dragging her back towards himself.
After falling on his body, sparks lit up like a million tiny fireworks over her skin, and her vision finally cleared enough to see just how much skin was now in contact with his.
She stumbled from the bed. “Did we.. did you…”
“Don’t you remember?” he sat up and tilted his head, amused at her reaction to him. “Don’t tell me the mind-blowing night we just shared is completely forgotten.”
“No, I…” She didn’t forget. How could she? Yesterday had been her birthday, and a bunch of her friends had dragged her to a human bar where they proceeded to get drunk and very boisterous to celebrate. She had counted on having a good night and partying like tomorrow didn’t exist. She had lived like this for a long time, hopping from place to place, enjoying herself and not having a care in the world to worry about. Rogues like her didn’t need packs or boundaries or rules to cage them in. She had counted on continuing on like this forever.
What she hadn’t counted on were the glowing green eyes that had arrested her in place on the dance floor, nor the warm hands that had encased her hips and sent sparks of desire spiralling through her body. She also hadn’t counted on the wave of dominance that exuded from the most delicious male she had ever laid eyes on. When he had introduced himself as Alpha, she contemplated running. But he had other ideas, whispering against her ear that her being a rogue meant nothing to him, that he would love her just as much and ensure she remained free for life. It hadn’t taken her long to cave, to fall under his spell of strong yet sweet caresses, hot kisses and the insistent desire that swallowed them both whole. “Consider my mind blown,” she finally replied.
He smirked and got up off the bed, unashamed, but she couldn’t bring herself to look anywhere but his handsome face framed by tousled blond hair. Then the scar on his neck caught her attention, causing her entire body to lock with unease. Dashing to the bathroom, she pushed back her hair and stared at her reflection. Amidst the blooming blues and purple love bites on her neck was a very pronounced white scar. A mark, to be exact.
The very thing she had been avoiding her whole life.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Darryn’s husky voice purred in her ear, causing her to flinch and prepare to flee, but she didn’t get far when his long arms wrapped around her. His broad and toned frame completely eclipsed hers, and she stared at their differences in the mirror. She was healthy for a rogue--skinny but not malnourished; lean and strong with the fiery strength of a wildcat.
But he was burly, dominant, and basking in natural confidence that rogues could only fake.
“We marked each other?” her voice came out a harsh squeak.
“Hmm,” he hummed in response, placing small kisses on top of her head, her cheek, behind her ear, then down to her neck. When his lips met the mark just above her collarbone, she spun in his arms and placed a finger over his lips.
“So tell me, Alpha,” she subtly took a deep breath, hoping he couldn’t hear the erratic pounding of her heart, and cocked an eyebrow. “What’s the plan now? You going to arrest me? I am a rogue, after all.” She winked saucily, making up for the nervous insecurity that engulfed her chest. If he placed her in chains and dragged her to his dungeon, her life would be over. Her sweet, carefree, indulgent lifestyle would be dead in the grave like her pitiful parents.
“I promised I wouldn’t. You are far more deserving of an honoured position in my pack than rogue. You, my dear Vixen, are fit to be Luna. My Luna.”
The comforting words should have shone hope into her heart. Instead, she scrambled for a reply while her mind screamed at her to run. Being forced into a high ranked position and looked to as leader and role model was the last thing she wanted. She may be the unofficial leader of her rag-tag group of friends, but robbing banks, stealing classified intel from corporations, and organizing militant takeovers of weak packs was a far cry from the matronly duties of a luna.
“I can’t see myself being everything you need,” she dropped her head, blushing.
“I do,” came the gentle reply. “My mate, Vixen,” he kissed her on the lips, long and hard and dizzying. She clung to him for support even as she plotted escape. “Is that even your name? Tell me your parents didn’t name you after a fox. They’re cute, to be sure, but wolves are much more powerful than those weasley creatures,” he chuckled.
“It’s Vivien, but Vixen suits me better, don’t you think?” She’d shed her good girl act the moment her parents were snatched and imprisoned for weapons trading. Instead of cooperating with the authorities to receive care in the foster system, she turned and ran to make her own way, defiant of everything she once believed to be good and true.
“I don’t know about that. You’re quite good, for a rogue,” Darryn kissed her lips again, his fingers caressing her skin and making her shiver.
“And you’re quite bad for an Alpha.” Sliding her hands up around his neck, she tapped his mark. “Isn’t there supposed to be a ceremony or something before we did… this?” she motioned between them.
“Or something,” he smirked. “I am Alpha. I make my own rules."
“Hmm sounds good to me,” she melted into his embrace, her heart and mind warring for victory. A part of her just wanted to forget everything she valued and instead cherish the man in her arms, while another wanted to rebel against everything he stood for.
“Let’s get some breakfast, then we’ll discuss plans,” he proposed.
“Good idea. I can’t think straight on an empty stomach.”
After disentangling themselves, they got ready and headed out, Darryn telling her about his pack in the forest, and this home away from home in the city. He enjoyed the quiet life, but the buzz of city life and the promise of escape lured him in once in a while. This time, he happened to meet her, the best moment of his life.
Her gut twisted, unsure how she should feel about the dramatic way her life had flipped on itself in the past twelve hours.
“Wow, girl, you really were serious when you said you’d found your mate!” Margaret, Vixen’s best friend, slinked out from behind a street corner and linked arms with her. “But he’s an Alpha!” she whispered harshly in her ear.
“Don’t remind me, Margo,” she whispered back, smiling at Darryn who certainly heard everything.
“Well, let me remind you of this. It’s Alphas’ prerogative to kill rogues like us. Or is that something you no longer care about?” Margo pulled away and grilled her friend with a heavy stare. She was keeping her distance from the Alpha male, her wary eyes flickering to him every few seconds.
“Don’t worry. He’s not going to kill me or even imprison me.” Vixen wasn’t sure why she was defending him, but the mark on her neck tingled with awareness.
“Rogues aren’t the only wolves who lie,” Willis, another of her tight friends, approached from the other side, glaring darkly at the Alpha. “What sweet promises did he give you, Vixen, to be so enchanted by him? Don’t tell me you fell for them.” The dark-haired rogue came up and inspected her closely, his face screwing up in disgust when he saw her mark and smelled her changed scent.
Darryn gripped her hand and tucked her behind himself, a natural protective stance as more rogues filled the street and surrounded them.
“Darryn, it’s okay. These are my friends,” she yanked her hand free.
“Friends? They’re rogues, and I recognise this one as attempting to cross my border last week. He killed one of my best warriors,” the Alpha bristled, baring his teeth and growling lowly at Willis.
Willis growled back, ignoring the frightened look from Vixen. “You have my little girl. I want her back,” he spat at the Alpha, causing Vixen to remember the little pup that Willis’ girlfriend had birthed a few years ago. The girl was cute, but more trouble than she was worth. Vixen never wanted to have children.
“Your little girl’s mother came to me asking for protection. From you,” Darren responded with reason tracing his voice. “You should be happy I granted them asylum instead of ripping them apart. Is that what you wanted me to do instead?”
“Isn’t that what you’re going to do anyway? Same for Vixen here once you’ve lured her into your trap and used her as you please.” Willis shot her a warning glare. “He hates rogues, Vix. We need to get out of here before he calls for backup. The city is probably already crawling with his cockroaches, waiting to catch us all.”
He made a grab for her arm, but Darryn pulled her back to his side.
“I don’t hate her. But I can’t promise the same about you if you continue to touch my mate like that,” Darryn glared at the rogue’s hand that was still clasped around Vixen’s arm.
“She was my girl before she ever became yours! Isn’t that right, Vix? Are you going to forget everything we had just to be with this pathetic excuse of a wolf?” Willis softened his voice, but couldn’t hide the censure in his tone as he spoke of Darryn.
“Is it true? You’re with this dirty rogue?” her mate asked, undisguised pain in his voice.
Vixen looked between the two, hating the way each was gazing at her so intently. “He isn’t dirty,” she settled on Darryn. “Willis has saved my life a number of times. I owe him everything.” She hated admitting it, but she was grateful to him. She loved him more than a brother.
“So get your grimy paws off my girl and leave before we rip your throat out.” Willis tugged her to his side and she went willingly.
She watched the way Darryn’s face fell but she didn’t regret it. Who was he anyway? Just an Alpha, the type of strict and controlling wolf she’d been running from all her life. Sure, he made her feel like her whole world was exploding in pleasure and delight, but what was a moment like that worth? Not her soul or freedom, for sure.
“Come on, let’s go,” Margo said, flanking her other side. Her other friends, all cunning and devious rogues with malice in their eyes, aligned themselves in a defensive position.
“I can care for you,” Darryn said, looking at her so unbelievably softly that her heart jerked at the sight. But after snapping her eyes shut and squeezing Willis’ hand for reassurance, she remembered all the things she hated about packs and their leaders. Pack wolves were weak, pathetic, and brainwashed like mindless sheep. Alphas were stern, controlling, arrogant, and self-entitled jerks. “I’m not going with you.”
Funny how quickly she’d changed from standing by his side to standing against him.
“But Vivien, you could be Luna.”
“And you could be dead. Just walk away, Darryn, before this turns ugly,” she advised, noticing the tremor in Willis’ fingers. She felt her own blood heating up with the instinct to fight, despite her mated status to Darryn. It wasn’t often a group of rogues had a beautiful little Alpha right in their grasp.
But there was nothing little about the way Darryn stood taller, his broad chest seeming to expand and his biceps flexing as he, too, prepared for a fight. “Are you rejecting me?”
“If that’s what this is, then yes.” Vixen jutted her chin, her mind focusing with clarity. “There’s no way we could work. We are opposites, in everything along with the law. We’re on different sides of right and wrong.”
“You’d always be fighting with each other,” Willis added with a feral grin.
“And you’d never be able to run a pack together. Just think what Vixen would do if in charge of a hundred warriors,” Margo smirked, and Vixen joined in with her own nod of agreement.
Darryn faltered, his jaw tightening, his fists clenching and his eyes darkening. “But we’ve already marked and mated.”
“Big mistake.” Vixen waved her hand airily. “But that’s what a rogue’s life is all about. Making mistakes and not regretting them. Living free and enjoying what we can. No responsibility, no rules, no fear. Mating with you, an Alpha, was fun but I don’t leave any strings attached. I reject you, Alpha Darryn of Snow River Pack.”
As soon as she said the cold words, Darryn sank to his knees, clutching his chest as if she’d shot an arrow into it.
She felt the pain herself, a sudden sting that pierced her heart and down to her very core. Something shifted inside, something tender shriveled and withered as if a desert had suddenly engulfed the oasis of her heart. A parched thirst rose in her throat, setting her mouth on fire as if poison had spilled from it. She coughed, grinding her teeth and clenching her fists against the pain. She knew it wouldn’t last long, but it was almost more than she could bear.
A painful howl echoed around them as the Alpha doubled over in agony, then it stopped. Suddenly, his head snapped up and green glowing eyes focused on her. “You’ll regret this, Vivien. You underestimate the power of an Alpha, a scorned one at that. I offered you freedom, power, rank...and my heart. And you tear it out and throw it away like it means nothing. The very air you breathe is a mercy, and you spit it out like filthy trash.
You think you’re so good at being bad, but wait till you see how bad I am at being good.”
He’d stalked closer, his body locked taut in preparation for an attack, and she cowered for a moment under the weight of his darkening eyes.
Two of her friends stepped between them. “Let it go, Alpha. She’s made her decision. Unless you want to be torn limb from--”
They didn’t get far before Darryn lunged at them and tore out their hearts in a matter of seconds. Vixen was shocked, sickened, and slightly amazed at his strength.
“Run, Vivien. Run and never look back,” Darryn spoke slowly and in a deadly serious voice. “For if you do, you’ll regret the day you ever saw my face. It will be the last thing you see before I enact justice on the rogue filth that smears this planet. Your death will be long and sweet, like the pain I will feel every day from your rejection.”
Willis charged him, snarling and growling angrily. The Alpha was knocked down, clearly weakened from the rejection. After clawing at his face and ripping his chest open, Willis laughed. “Where’s the strong Alpha now? Not so great, after all.”
Vixen didn’t hear the reply for she’d turned, run down the street, and escaped the murderous Alpha who she had given her heart and body to. But never her soul. She had never intended to submit to him, nor feel guilty at the pain she’d cause when she finally decided her fun was over.
She did hear the brutal sounds of the fight, grunts and thuds as bodies fell, and she could only hope her friends had it in them to restrain a bloodthirsty Alpha male until she was far enough away.
Only when a lighting bolt of pain struck her head and sizzled down her spine, causing her to stumble and fall, did she realise the implications of her actions. A piece of her heart felt like it was on fire, burning with fierce intensity before it blackened and turned to ash. Numb, she got up and kept going, ignoring the emptiness engulfing her soul.
“Hey, Vix, wait up!” Willis shouted, feet pounding like drums in her ears as he caught up.
She ran faster than before, escaping into the forest by the city, far away from Darryn’s pack that was in need of a new Alpha. Though she loved Willis, the blood smears on his face now signified the sins that not even she could justify, and she couldn’t look at him.
A man stepped out from seemingly nowhere and struck his fist into her chest. She flipped over, tumbling, rolling, gasping for air, lungs winded and body bruised by the sudden deceleration.
“Where is your mate?” he leaned over her as she stared up at the forest canopy, black hair falling over his piercing blue eyes, collar of a trench coat turned up around his neck. The jacket did nothing to hide his powerful physique, and she shrank back from his intimidating glare.
“How--how should I know?”
“Because you bear his mark, yet his presence is lost to this world. Someone must pay.”
Her heart beat wildly, fear coiling around her like a paralysing snake. Where was Willis? “Who are you?” she asked instead, stalling for hell to open up and swallow her whole.
“I am Gabriel, and I come with a message from the King.” Surprisingly, his touch was soft as he gripped her hand and yanked her to her feet, only letting go when she was steady to remain standing.
“The King?” her confusion was genuine.
“King Yahweh, King of kings and Creator of all the world, including your soul. He saw what you have become, and He is disappointed by the hate in your heart.”
Vixen stepped back, wishing to shrink into the shadows of the trees. The undeniable trace of sorrow in Gabriel’s eyes bewildered her, and contrasted with his angry words.
“Because of your blatant rejection of Alpha Darryn and the love and freedom he so freely offered, you will be cursed among rogues, forever to feel the sting of rejection for generations to come.”
“Generations?” She felt lightheaded, dizzy, like the weight of his words was pressing down on her and draining any energy she had left.
“One daughter or son in every generation of your descendants will be rejected by their Alpha mate, cursed to a life of isolation and despair. You will suffer scorn, ridicule, and an emptiness in your heart that nothing can fill. The King’s curse is unbreakable, but by a love beyond what you deserve.”
A searing pain scorched her insides, turning them to razor sharp blades that grated on her skin and made her scream in agony. Once more dropping to the ground, she curled in a ball and wept silent tears for what could never be. A desolation as thick as tar filled her body and razed her mind.
Tears fell, but she didn’t feel them. Willis called her name, but she didn’t hear him. He lifted her gently and carried her home, but she didn’t understand why he would help her, a merciless traitor and cursed piece of trash.
Months later, she gave birth to a daughter, the offspring of her dead Alpha mate.
The girl was strong, bright, and vivacious--everything Vixen no longer was. She was raised a rogue, lawless and free. She was caught one ugly night and found to be the mate of the young Alpha William. She was rejected, imprisoned, and sentenced to a life worse than death.
Vixen, a shadow of her former self, lived long enough to see a grandson born of rogues and raised in the way she once worshipped.
And, despite the sliver of hope she maintained of the curse being erroneous, she watched the boy grow up and be summarily rejected by a female Alpha half his strength.
Could nothing break the curse her blackened heart created?