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
Whilst this book is at its best when you go into it blind, with no knowledge of whats to come, I understand that this isn’t for everyone, and I don’t want to trigger anybody.
Potential spoilers, but triggers include:
- Abuse: physical, mental, emotional and sexual
- Mentions of rape
- Toxic relationships
- child abuse
Please understand that whilst I’ve done my best to include all possible triggers, I don’t know what affects you on an individual basis. If you see something and it has triggered you, let me know and I can add it to this list to warn other people. However please understand that I cannot possibly list everything, as that will ruin the story for some people.
I hope you can understand and you enjoy the story I’m telling - not every character is good, and I don’t always agree or condone their actions. But these people exist. Also remember that whilst they are human, they are led by an animal that can often be brutal.
“Run, Violet!” My wolf urged, the adrenaline surging through our body with the clear danger closing the distance behind us. My heart pounded in my chest, beads of sweat beading on my forehead. If I allowed them to catch me, it was all over, I knew it!
I had been an idiot to go running in these woods, I should have staked it out long before now and made sure it was safe! I was never this reckless. Never this stupid. I always, always made sure that I was safe. There was more than just me to protect now.
I alone knew how dangerous the world really was. I alone knew just who and what was out there, watching us… waiting for us.
I pushed myself harder, my thighs burning with the strain. The wolf behind us roared out his annoyance, and I sent a warning growl back, pleased that it came out as threatening as I wanted it to, and not as scared as I felt inside. I was letting him know that despite my wolf being small, we were still more than capable of defending ourselves.
We had to be. There were too many predators out there. There was a target on my back, and they would stop at nothing until they found me. And him.
I had to protect him. He was the most important thing in my life.
Besides, I was being silly. I might have rejected my parents, but my heritage was still there, screaming loud and proud. It was a warning to anyone who dared to come near me.
I came from a long line of Alphas - the power and dominance oozed off me. This should be enough to ward anyone off. They weren’t to know the truth of what had happened.
“Too cocky. Dangerous.” My wolf warned, and my mind flashed back to that long-ago day with my father. He warned me then that wolves would seek to take me, to own me. The thought of being mated to a wolf as pure bred as mine was an alluring thought. Once they realised I was without a pack, I would be hounded mercilessly.
Well, I had one secret up my sleeve.
I wasn’t without a pack.
The only way I had been able to prevent myself from going rogue and losing my sanity was to become not just a mother, but an Alpha to my young son. It was unorthodox, but Eros and I had made it work well enough for the past six years.
It was because of him I had to ensure our safety. Because of him I had to survive. He needed me as much as I needed him. We were our own special team of two.
The only reason I had been running in the forest in the first place was because of my wolf. We were approaching the anniversary, and time hadn’t healed a thing. Six years on, it still hurt as much as it did at the time. We couldn’t heal. We needed him back. And so I had given in, allowing her to run free, giving her the freedom she craved. And it was clear that she would only choose one place to run.
I understood her need to be in the forest, though. Ever since we had lost our mate, she would spend hours roaming the woods, remembering all the times we spent with him and how close it had brought us. Those memories brought so much heartbreak, and yet at the same time, they were so comforting and familiar. Our time with Khaos had been short, but we shared so much, overcame so much. We wouldn’t ever forget him.
Another howl behind me had me snapping back into reality. I was fast losing momentum and if I weren’t careful, this wolf behind me would easily catch up, and then Goddess help Eros if anything were to happen to me. He was strong, just like his father. But he was still a child. He needed me to protect him until he was ready to face the world as the Alpha he was meant to be.
I decided to change tactics, remembering all Khaos and my brother had taught me about disguising my scent and hiding in plain sight. My wolf was small enough that we barely made a noise as we flew over the ground, it was always our scent that gave us away.
It took me mere minutes to form a trail that should confuse the thing chasing me, and I hid in the thick bushes, my heart beating wildly as I waited. The leaves constricted my view as I waited for them to pass, but I didn’t dare poke out any further. The little view I had was sufficient enough to enable me to determine whether I was to run from them or if I was capable of attacking – and more importantly, winning.
Because this wouldn’t be a challenge that could be left. The minute I showed any sign of aggression, it would be a fight to the death. Male wolves didn’t take kindly to being challenged by someone they thought was weaker than them. Hadn’t the bastards that made up the warriors in Khaos’ pack taught me that well?
As the minutes passed, my nerves began to grow. Where were they, and why could I no longer hear their approach? I strained my ears as I desperately tried to pick up any sound, but only the sounds of nature living in the forest came back to me.
The safest option would be to wait it out. I had infinite patience. Having a six-year-old will do that to a person. Yet it was the same six-year-old that prevented me from staying too long. If I didn’t return soon, he would come looking for me. As much as I scolded him for leaving the house without me, he was inquisitive by nature and it wouldn’t be long until the forest called to him. He knew I was here, and he wouldn’t be able to resist the opportunity to let his own wolf free, to hunt me down. Hide and seek was a favourite of his, appealing to both the child within him and his growing wolf companion.
My mind made up, I slowly poked my nose out of the bush, careful to keep my belly low to the ground and my tail tucked in.
I didn’t see anything, couldn’t smell anything. Almost believing I was completely safe and had managed to outrun him, I left the safety of my hiding place and quickly scanned the forest before heading back to my house. I wanted to run through the forest but knew that if I were to make too much noise, I would easily be detected again.
I probably should have gone somewhere else. I should have led him away from my home. But I couldn’t. Eros was there. This was truly one of those occasions where I was between a rock and a hard place. But, at least at home, it limited the wolf with how they could attack. Out here in the open, the possibilities were endless.
I hadn’t gone more than a few metres when it became clear I had made a mistake. I heard him before I saw him. His victorious yelp as he jumped on my back knocked the air out of my lungs as I hit the ground with a loud thump.
Before he could secure me to the ground with his body, I flipped underneath him so I was lying on my back, my stomach protected by his body so he couldn’t strike it and went to use my claws on his face. I couldn’t fight him and hope to win, but I had been through enough girlish scraps as a teenager to know that I could scratch and pull hair with the best of them.
Claws drawn; I went for his face.
That’s when the smell hit me.
No! It wasn’t possible!
My wolf went giddy, unable to hold back her elation at smelling the one scent that was forever imprinted on her soul. Well, on both of us really.
I shifted immediately, no longer caring that as a human I would be more vulnerable. I had to see this for myself. The wolf got off me and gave me the same goofy wolf grin that I had pictured for so many years, his tongue flopping out of the side of his mouth as his head cocked to the left.
I rushed to my feet, holding on to the tree for support, fearing my shaking legs wouldn’t be able to support me.
“Hello, little one,” he murmured in that same voice that had my toes curling all those years ago. Feeling like a teenager again, I stood mesmerized as he closed the distance between us and wrapped me up in his arms.
“Khaos,” I breathed. “How is this possible? How are you here?” I said, stroking the face of the man I had thought I had lost forever.
He turned his face into my hand and planted kisses along my palm. “Violet, how could I possibly leave you forever?”
It broke me.
I immediately began sobbing, clinging to his shoulders as I tried to press myself against him as close as possible.
“I’ve missed you so much!” I cried into his neck, my head spinning.
“I’ve missed you too, little one, but listen to me,” he said urgently, gently pushing me back and looked deep into my eyes. “Nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Remember that always and keep our son safe.”
“I don’t understand! How can we not be safe now that you’re back?”
He smiled sadly and shook his head at me, planting a kiss to my forehead before he opened his mouth to reply.
What? No, that wasn’t right.
I looked at Khaos and saw him fading away, my body rocking from side to side as though I were at sea. I tried to reach out for him, but my hands grabbed into thin air, Khaos shimmering away into a fine mist.
“Mummmyyyyyy!” Another hard shake and I was pulled from my dream, blinking away the images that had seemed so real, so lifelike.
I often dreamt of Khaos, but this one had felt different. It was as though he was really there, protecting me as he had promised he would always do. I closed my eyes and tried to put myself back in the dream with him, needing another moment with my lost mate. But it didn’t work. Just as I knew it wouldn’t.
I heard an impatient grunt next to me, and I opened my eyes to find my young son shaking me, a huge grin on his face as he readied himself to start his day. “Come on mummy! You promised to take me hunting today, you promised!”
I gave a big yawn and stretched out under the covers. I patted the space next to me, and that was all the encouragement Eros needed to climb in with me and snuggle close to my side. “When I said we’d go hunting today, Eros, I meant more like lunchtime,” I glanced at the clock on the bedside table, “not five AM!”
“Tomayto, tomahto” he replied cheekily, giving me his toothy grin. “Let’s go!” He jumped off the bed and ran out the door at speed, spinning back around straight away to run back to me and hurled himself into my arms.
“I love you, mummy. You look really beautiful today!”
I laughed as I ruffled his hair. “You are your father’s son. Go on, get the breakfast bowls ready and I’ll be there in a moment.” Eros always started the day with a hug. It has been just the two of us for so long that we had a well-established routine. It scared me sometimes, thinking that I was isolating him from the world. Wolves were very sociable creatures, and a child his age should have dozens of friends to play with and be surrounded by people who loved him.
I squeezed him that little bit tighter, savouring every moment of his short childhood, and sent him off to get ready.
With a happy shout, he raced back out of the room and straight to the kitchen. I shook my head as I climbed out of my bed, hearing the clatter and bangs as he busied himself in the kitchen. He was like this from the word go – always so full of life. He would dart from room to room, never once slowing. I had no idea where the boy got his energy from.
With my dream still lingering over me like a huge black cloud, I jumped in the shower and prepared my son for his big day, wishing more than anything that Khaos was here to do this with me.
“Amazing!” I called out, clapping my hands as Eros came back with his first catch. He beamed a wolf smile back at me, dropping the rabbit at my feet and sat back thumping his tail. “You’ll be a better hunter than me before we know it! Although this rabbit won’t feed the both of us...”
He spun around, racing back into the woods behind our property as he accepted my challenge. I had spent all morning showing him how to stalk and hunt and was now sat back as he put the lessons into action.
Waiting for him to return, I glanced at my surroundings, thinking how lucky we were to have found this place.
The house was nothing special, just a simple little cottage that wouldn’t draw any attention, but to me and Eros it may as well have been a castle for all the love we poured into it to make it our own forever home. In its own way it reminded me of the cabin I had shared with Khaos, and that had been the first thing that drew me to it. The estate agent had seen my eyes glow when I took in the wooden porch, the slightly sagging stairs, and the little potted plants on the windowsills, and knew she had made a sale.
The keys were signed over to us within days, and I hadn’t regretted a moment. Through no fault of his own, Eros had been forced to spend most of his life on the run, flitting from one house to another, leaving behind the few friends he had managed to make. He knew the dangers, but not the story.
I had told him about Fang and Grey, but I hadn’t told him the story behind it. He knew that Grey sought us out, but not the reason why. He remembered the visit from Fang, remembered that he claimed to have known Khaos. He didn’t understand it, but he sensed my fear, and that was enough to have him following me without question. I planned to tell him the full story as soon as he was old enough.
I heard a noise to my left and turned towards it, a big grin on my face, ready to congratulate my son on his hard work. Instead, I saw the last man on Earth I wanted trespassing on my lands. He stood tall and proud, a small dusting of white sprinkling through his hair being the only indicator that old age was setting in. His face was completely smooth, his eyes as sharp as a man half his age.
I shot to my feet, taking up a warrior’s stance. I wasn’t the same girl I was when Khaos was alive. I was trained, my skills honed. I would fight my way out of here, there was no doubt about that.
“Hello, Violet. Oh, come now. Relax. I’m not here to cause you harm. I’m just enjoying a stroll in the sun, much like yourself. Lovely day for a hunt, isn’t it? Eros sure is enthusiastic about his kills, so like his father was.” The mention of my son’s name on his lips had me seeing red.
“You don’t have the slightest idea what Khaos was like. Where is my son, Grey?” I demanded through gritted teeth, my heart pounding as a million possibilities ran through my mind.
Grey dismissed my question with a swipe of his hand. “He’s safe. Last I saw he was sat on the knee of one of my warriors, almost screaming with excitement as he was told of his new home, and all the friends he was going to make in his new pack. In fact, I promised the little tyke I would be gone but a moment as I went to collect his mum. Seeing as you and I are old friends, I felt it deserved a personal visit on my part.”
“You’re lying. Eros knows better than to leave with strangers.”
“Oh, but we’re not strangers, are we?”
“As far as Eros is concerned, you will always be a stranger.”
“That’s funny because he was only too keen to come with me. Are you sure you raised him right, Violet?”
“Fuck you!” I spat, my hatred rising with every word he spoke.
Grey’s eyes darkened. “Think wisely before you open that smart mouth of yours. Remember, it’s your son I have in my possession, remember what I’m capable of. Now, are you coming, or shall I tell Eros you’re leaving his life in my hands?”
“What do you want with him? He’s a child! He has nothing to offer to your pack! If you want me to bring him to visit, I’m sure we can work something out, but we will not be living amongst you!” I was getting desperate, ready to do almost anything to get Eros back to my side. I didn’t doubt for a moment that Grey was speaking the truth. He wouldn’t be stood before me so calm and collected if he didn’t know Eros’ exact whereabouts. All I could do was play along, arrange some stupid visitation schedule, and then get the hell out of here. This time, I would not be staying in the country. I needed to put an entire ocean between Grey and I.
“That’s where you’re wrong. Eros has everything to offer! He will be the next Alpha of the Blood Moon pack, as is his birth-right. You may have forgotten what it means to be in a pack, but I certainly have not - and neither will he, not anymore. Now, I won’t ask again. Are you coming or staying? Eros leaves either way.”
“Eros knows exactly what it means to be in a pack. I know you can smell me. You know I’m not rogue.”
He scoffed at me. “Please. You think the two of you constitutes as a pack? Have you registered this pack? You know rogues cannot hold territory – and that’s what you are, Violet. Rogue. I would hate to have to report your whereabouts to the council… that could prove difficult for the two of you. What was the punishment for this particular offense? Can you remember? Ahh, yes… Death to the Alpha. And since I’m already sensing that Eros’ wolf is stronger than your own, it’s a tossup as to who they would deem to be Alpha…”
I knew I was defeated. There was no way I could risk any harm coming to my precious child. “Of course I’m coming.”
“Sensible decision. You have five minutes, Violet. Pack up what you need and only the essentials. You shouldn’t need any longer, anyway, you’re a pro at running away! Why, you must have packed these bags at least a dozen times over the years.” He smiled cruelly at me and held up his hand, his fingers spread out. “Five minutes. My Beta will be waiting outside for you. Do not make me come back here looking for you. I’ve given you enough allowances already. Don’t make me regret this.” He turned on his heel and walked back into the forest, whistling happily to himself over his little victory.
I ran back into my house and frantically threw our clothes into suitcases, making sure Eros had his favourite teddy and comfort blanket or else we were in for a rough ride when he screamed himself to sleep. I doubted Grey would tolerate that for long. I already knew what he had in store for Eros, and it wasn’t to be anything he deemed childish or weak. He was going to expect Eros to grow up and grow up fast! The disdain in his eyes was clear – as far as he was concerned, I had coddled Eros.
I held the small wolf teddy to my chest and inhaled deeply, catching my son’s scent so clear and strong. I had found this teddy in Khaos suitcase – the one he had shoved at me on that fateful night. I had gone to sleep with it every night, and as soon as Eros had been born, he couldn’t be separated from the stuffed toy.
He was so full of surprises. He adored his child from the moment we found out about the pregnancy. I had been terrified to tell him, so scared that his reaction would be one of extreme anger. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We were separated at the time, but as soon as I told him the news, he raced back to the pack. From that moment on, he was a changed man. He never lashed out at me in anger. He never hurt me with his words or left me feeling used and cheap. He was making up for all of his sins. My Khaos was not a bad man. He was a man who did bad things. A man who was caught up in his past and the terrible things he had been through. But the love he had for his child changed everything – from that moment on, it was as though he knew nothing would ever be the same again. He wouldn’t let his son grow up in the same sort of environment he had grown up in. He broke the cycle before the cycle broke him. It was a cruel twist of fate that he had never gotten to meet Eros. Our lives would be so different.
I couldn’t help my melancholy thoughts. What was going to happen to us? I knew that the Blood Moon pack went against everything we stood for and I had tried so hard to raise Eros completely different to the values they instilled in every member. I knew there would come a time when I would have to leave Eros to live his own life and hope my lessons had been enough to keep him on the right track, but I had hoped for so many more years! He was still so young, so influential. It wouldn’t be his fault if Grey’s poison managed to take root in his mind.
I sighed heavily as I heard the crunching of gravel indicating someone was marching down my driveway. This could only mean one thing! It was time to say goodbye to the home I loved so much and start the next chapter of my life.
I made my way back outside, reluctantly slamming the door behind me, keeping my eyes on the ground, and refusing to look at the Beta who would be my escort. I wasn’t going to make this easy for him! I bit back a smile as a memory flashed through my mind of Khaos and I in a similar position. I had written “fuck you” on the window of the car and showed him exactly what it meant to be a brat.
“Here, give that to me.” My heart stopped.
I knew that voice.
My head shot up and my eyes widened as I took in the man in front of me.
Only he wasn’t just any man - He was the Beta to Alpha Grey, a fierce warrior and, more importantly, he was my mine.
My breath hitched in my throat as I took in his figure, the mating mark I had given him still clear on his neck, despite the scarring that covered it.
He appeared unchanged, as though frozen in time, even down to the scar near his ear courtesy of his mother.
He raised his eyebrows at me as I continued to clutch my suitcase tightly. “Violet? The suitcase?” He demanded, clearly puzzled by my reaction to him.
“Khaos?!” I gasped for the second time that day. “What the fuck is going on here?”
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