Chapter 1: Blackened Blood
People walked around the streets of New York completely unaware that the supernatural existed. Over hundreds of centuries, werewolves have wandered these lands without being discovered. They hid in plain sight as regular business employees, lawyers, doctors, cops and even drug dealers. In this secret society of werewolves there’s also a hierarchy, and no matter where one went on this planet, a hierarchy always called for trouble. The shifter world is ruled by the strongest alphas, and their packs have been following them since beginning of their creation.
However, for this system to run smoothly, all the alphas must follow a code which was created by their ancestors. And no one knew that better than the Centauri pack. They were the last original family that has the pure blood from the first werewolf ever created by their moon goddess, Maya. She is the deity all werewolves’ evil or good worshipped. If someone ever wondered why a wolf howled towards a lonesome moon? It’s because that beautiful beast knows that Maya would always listen to his prayers.
The Centauri family has been a strong threshold for all werewolves to follow as an example. Gabriel Centauri was the eldest son and the most ruthless alpha known today. He, alone raised his siblings to not only be honourable warriors and righteous protectors, but also great leaders themselves. Their territory was the safest and largest; women could walk alone at night and kids could freely play without having to look over their shoulder. Since the beginning, these five siblings stood united and that’s because they always trusted each other, and more importantly, they loved each other… even more then their own father had.
Still, behind that prestigious name hid many secrets and violence.
The outside world admired the Centauri’s for staying strong and for supporting each other no matter what came their way. Everyone praised Lord Robert Centauri for raising remarkable children who were not only the fiercest pack leaders, but also billionaire entrepreneurs, philanthropists and practically the golden children of this age. However, what everyone didn’t know was that their time was running out. They have a ticking clock that forces them to find a mate soon. Although, that was easier said than done. Finding mates was nearly impossible for these siblings, since everyone had their eyes on them and not entirely for the best of reasons.
The five heirs of the Centauri pack better find the mate that the moon goddess destined for them, otherwise saying goodbye to this prestigious bloodline, they so proudly protect will just be a matter of time.
A chilling breeze carried the piles of crisp golden leaves, that had fallen off from the trees onto the dark pavement of Manhattan. King Vitiello strolled down the street with his cigarette trailing a thin line of smoke behind him. The bite of autumn slithered up his coat and he craved a warm cup of coffee, or even better, a glass of scotch would warm him up in no time. King made his way back to his car that was parked on the side of the road when his keen sight caught a glint of light in the murky alleyway beside him. Normally, he would’ve ignored the scalding burn in his gut that warned him of danger, but when the imperturbable breeze carried a rather sensual scent of pine over to him, his body stirred with a flaming hunger.
Out of pure marvel, King sauntered into the alley without making a sound even though he was a very large man. But his size never hindered King from skilfully concealing his body or scent when he needed to hunt, hide or both. The deeper King went through the alley, the louder the sound of struggle grew. The end of the backstreet opened up into the space between the rear of multiple buildings, which was shut off from the eyes of the public.
King crushed his cigarette bud under the heel of his Italian boot, when his sharp blue eyes caught the one they strangely seeked. In the midst of a tussle, there was a young man dressed in layers of black, his hair looked softer than silk and was golden all the way to the roots. King observed the man maneuver in the fight with nimble skills. From just the moves King assessed that this man was highly trained in the art of combat, like himself frankly. The fight escalated when more men showed up from the behind the other building. King’s frown deepened, but the man with the golden hair didn’t even seem to waver. Except even King understood that the man was outnumbered.
King stepped out from under the shadow. “Need help?” he asked.
The stranger’s head whipped around. A pair of beautiful blazing eyes that were as green as emeralds sank into King’s memory leaving an impression that was never worth forgetting. King cursed under his hot breath when his heart skipped a beat.
“You need to leave,” the stranger’s voice was alarmed and sexy as hell. “You can get hurt.”
King raised a brow. “Do I look like someone who can get hurt easily?” he bemused.
Those green eyes drifted away from King’s gaze and trailed down his body. The man examined King’s six-foot seven towering stature, wide shoulders and muscles roped with steel. King lips quirked into a grin when he realized that those eyes effected his body more than he liked to admit to himself.
Through the cold air, the stranger’s pine scent wafted near King. His own deep scent flooded the alley and latched onto this dark forest-pine, like it was a remedy to the fire growing inside of King’s body.
King stepped closer to the man, but their moment was cut short when the alley flooded with more thugs. King blocked the lanky fighters that never stood a chance against him because his whole life he had spent training and fighting, but he gave them credit for trying despite the inevitable defeat for them. Although before King could land any attack, the man with the green eyes stayed beside King and protected him. King was wholeheartedly amused that this man tried everything to shield him, which was strange. Knives and punches were all blocked by King’s stranger too. However, when the numbers grew again, King’s amusement fell and he geared up to fight now.
The three men that charged towards King had made the biggest mistake of their life because unlike other fighters who showed mercy, King always went for the kill and he didn’t give a fuck about it. Like he did any target, King snapped the heads in half and the bodies of his prey flopped onto the pavement. In matter of minutes, they defeated the thugs and the man with the green eyes stood over the dead bodies with a blank expression.
King’s stranger squatted to the ground, he lifted the one of the man’s arm and shoved the sleeve up. There was a clear three-striped black tattoo, that King recognized as the symbol for a drug cartel, that sold narcotics to wolves.
“Target’s been eliminated. Send the cleaners,” said the green-eyed stranger. It didn’t feel like he was talking to King, and his doubts were answered, when the stranger took out the black piece in his ear. The man turned around, but those fiery eyes were replaced with gentleness. A tender warmth filled inside King. “Thanks for the help,” he smiled charmingly.
King raked his dark hair back. “You’re welcome,” he smiled. King was fascinated by the sudden change in this stranger. At one moment this stranger looked as dangerous as King, and in the next heartbeat, he was a completely different creature. King’s nose even noted that the man’s dark pine scent had softened tremendously too; it was like it became sweeter than honey-syrup.
“I’m Klaus,” the man told King openly.
King was taken aback that this complete stranger trusted King with his name, even though they had just met. King may have helped him in this fight, but even King wasn’t that careless to give out his identity that easily.
Although, King wanted this man to know who he was and remember this night. “King,” he stuck his hand out. King didn’t hesitate to give this green-eyed stranger his name either and he wondered why he had done that. King’s stranger accepted the firm hand, that turned to flames when they touched. But apparently King was the only one that felt the inferno heat between them.
A buzz interrupted them. Klaus reached inside his pocket and pulled out his cellphone. He turned away with the phone against his ear.
King stood, amused more than anything, that this stranger was so striking. That scent, those eyes and that body was what King desired to consume. The need inside King was growing to the point that King didn’t know how he’d sate this desire without being…forceful.
Klaus turned back. “Hey, thanks again for helping,” he said. “I have to get back now. Will you be alright out here alone?”
King bit his grin, he was being treated like he was a new-born pup. “I’m not one to get hurt easily.”
“Still, I don’t like sending someone home alone,” said Klaus. “Do you have a ride?”
“Yes, I do,” answered King.
Klaus smiled kindly. “Okay.” He started to walk off.
“Wait,” King called out.
Klaus turned again but King couldn’t find his voice because what was he hoping to accomplish even if he stopped Klaus from leaving. King didn’t react on the dangerous urge that wished for him to seize Klaus and take him away.
“Is something wrong?” asked Klaus. His frown was clear and strangely King didn’t like it that his kind smile was gone.
King fisted his hands and jabbed his nails into his palms trying to control himself. “It’s nothing,” King eased himself back.
Klaus’s smile reappeared and it pierced through King’s heart. “Alright. Have a goodnight.” And he walked off without turning back. Maybe that was for the better, thought King, because he had a feeling that Klaus wouldn’t do one-night stands with strangers, even if it was an irresistible offer as King Vitiello.
Klaus was out of King’s reach and there was no convincing here. There would be no heartless sex and using of bodies for mere sexual release and gratification. Klaus was the type to want a heartfelt confession, probably soulmates forever and flower meadows kind of thing, which King couldn’t do or give, not with the heart he had.
Agitated and annoyed, King went to the one place that drowned out the empty pit in his gut. The Underworld was his haven when he felt like shit.
Through the private entrance, he entered the extravagant nightclub that never slept. The black marble enclave boomed with music, the smell of alcohol and people drowned out the mixture of scents from wolf shifters that regularly came here.
King ignored all the eyes that stared at him as he made his way through the crowd. Some woman and men approached him, but his cold glare was petrifying enough the stop them dead in their tracks. Usually he wouldn’t have inclined, but right now, he couldn’t even stare at someone straight. He was revolted by anyone and he had no desire to trouble himself. And he knew what the cause of this attitude was too, which irked him even further that he was hung up on someone out of his league.
King didn’t even bother knocking. “I’m coming in,” he announced loudly. “So, if you’re doing anything dirty you better stop.” King pushed the door open, and as always, standing alone and looking terribly grim was his friend Trez Luciano, the owner of this notorious nightclub.
Trez wasn’t fazed by King’s jokes. The man was a stoic beast who was probably the only one that could handle King’s moods without getting offended. Trez was in the same cage fights as King, that’s where they met. They fought each other but it was always a truce since they both never lost any fight or gamble put against them. Trez was the same height as King, but not as muscular as King liked to keep himself. King to this day still wondered how he couldn’t beat Trez, but the answer was clear because Trez Luciano was one hell-of-a fighter.
“No guests,” jested King. “You should bring some company up here and relax a little.”
Trez glared at him, his flaming blue eyes were cold as ice. “Can I help you?” he asked curtly.
“Oh, how cold,” remarked King.
Trez pressed the bridge of his nose and he closed his eyes. “Sorry, I’m not in a good mood,” said Trez, his lithe muscular body crossed the room.
“How about a drink?” offered King.
Trez opened a scotch bottle and they both sat on the black leather couches. “So, what are you sulking about now?” Trez asked him.
King was stumped. “I’m not sulking,” he didn’t sound very convincing.
“You always come to me when you’re sulking,” remarked Trez.
King titled his head. “And you always agree to drink with me when you’re sulking too.”
Trez blinked. “Touché.” They clinked their glasses together.
“Gabriel Centauri visited me,” said King. Another subject he’d been avoiding like the plague.
“I heard,” replied Trez.
“He wants to meet,” said King.
Trez combed his fingers through his tousled dark hair. “You sound nervous.”
“Is there a reason not to be,” remarked King.
“True,” said Trez. “That alpha is something else…It was the same for me when I met him for the first time.”
“At least you didn’t try to kill him,” bemused King.
“There’s that,” Trez smirked. “But I wasn’t any less hostile than you and Gabriel was nothing but polite.”
“Yeah, what’s up with that?” asked King. “He’s the most feared alpha around the world, but when I talked to him, he sounds like a complete gentleman and has the perfect smile.”
Trez raised a brow. “And that doesn’t scare you more,” he professed. “Alpha Gabriel has controlled every single part of himself. He’s not like us, who lose their temper with one insult.”
King straightened in his seat. “That is why I didn’t want to get in bed with him,” he shared. “I don’t know what he’s thinking.”
“I think you should meet him,” suggested Trez. “See what he wants and if you hate it then walk away.”
“That’s not easy to do,” astounded King. “Have you seen his pack?”
Trez understood right away what King spoke of. “The man has quite the wolves around him,” Trez gulped the scotch in his glass.
“That’s why it’s better off for me stay alone,” said King. “Joining Gabriel won’t get me what I want.”
“What do you want that you don’t already have?” asked Trez.
“I do have everything,” said King. “But it’s the fear in people when they see me that I want to maintain.”
“Because that’s all you want in life,” remarked Trez. “You want people to fear you?”
King’s gaze lifted off his glass. “It’s the only sure way not to get yourself killed in my business,” he said softly.
Trez shook his head. “Must get pretty lonely,” he remarked.
“It’s only lonely for people who don’t enjoy their own company,” King amused.
“Of course, you’d say that,” Trez leaned back. “Look, I joined Gabriel so my nightclub wouldn’t be targeted by anyone,” he said. “I suggest that you see what he wants and then give him an answer.”
King threw the last sip of scotch down, it cooled his burning stomach. “And if he doesn’t like my answer?” he asked.
“Gabriel’s not going to kill you, if that’s what you’re thinking,” retorted Trez.
King’s mind reeled back. “For a man like that, he wouldn’t want me for some virtuous reason,” he said. “I’ve done some dark shit in my life. Gabriel Centauri’s probably looking for someone to help him with some shady shit.”
Trez shook his head. “You’ll only know after you talk to him.”
King looked into his friend’s earnest eyes. “Maybe I will,” he mumbled. “End this cat and mouse game we’ve got going on.”
Trez rubbed his head. “Good idea,” he sighed heavily. “Now, go home. I have work to do.”
King’s glass froze midair. “You’re no fun, Trez.”
“Like you’re a real sport,” remarked Trez. He got up and closed the buttons to his expensive black jacket. “I need to see what Axe is up to.”
King chuckled. “Where is your baby brother?” he asked. Axe Luciano was a terrible force, that could kill anyone without any regret and this predator only listened to his older brother. No one else. Period. Trez’s younger brother was always glued to Trez’s side, even when they were all in the cage fights together, the Luciano brothers were inseparable and over time people loved seeing the two brothers fight opponents together.
King had to admit that Axe was more his type than Trez, even though both brothers were hot as sin. Except King never risked his friendship for sex, he’d never want to hurt Trez’s baby brother like that. King ignored these thoughts and enjoyed the last drink that burned more than the urge to go find Klaus again.
“Axe’s probably beating the crap out of some random dealer who thought it was a good idea to sell drugs in my club,” Trez said idly like he was already used to his brother’s troubles.
King grimaced. “The poor guy that’s going through that beating right now,” he remarked. “You should tell that brother to chill.”
Trez refilled their glasses. “Be my guest,” he said.
King scoffed and downed the drink in one shot. “Yeah, no thanks. I like my pretty head attached to my neck.”
A phone rang interrupting them.
Trez’s expression turned stone hard. The dark demeanour that ruled this club resurfaced when he looked at the caller ID and answered. “What is it?” he asked strictly. “Okay…That’s fine…I’ll come myself-” Trez’s blue gaze regarded King- “He’s here with me…No…He was just leaving.”
King put the empty glass down on the counter and got to his feet. “Thanks for the drink,” he said softly.
Trez moved his head away from the phone. “Meet Gabriel,” he said firmly. “He’s not what everyone says about him.” King bit back his tongue and didn’t argue back to his friend. “Goodnight, King,” said Trez. Even though this man was in the same ruthless cage fights with King, he was strangely polite, which was very unsettling since he was trained to kill just like King.
“Goodnight,” King replied.
King left the club and got into his car, that had frosted up because of the cold October night. He turned the ignition of the car, it roared alive and the heaters blasted on. However, King didn’t need to the heaters, since his body was already on fire; it felt as if lava poured through his veins and his bones trembled with anguish, the fiery sensation twisted inside his gut and he craved release but found none.
King pressed on the gas and raced home to end this antagonizing night, that had turned upside down the moment he encountered his green-eyed male named Klaus.