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A Queen Among Alphas

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Book 1 in the Queen Among Series Amelia Dolivo has known her whole life that she would one day be the Alpha of her pack; thus making her the first female Alpha in history. The journey to get there has been long and full of hardships, but a true Alpha never backs down from a fight; a true Alpha never accepts defeat. Whether it be enemies plotting in the shadows to bring her down, or her own soulmate who questions her very capabilities as a woman; Amelia will take them all head-on. She will show them all why you should never underestimate a woman. This is a deeply interconnected series and this book sets up much to come in future books. Books in the Queen Among Series so far: Book 1 - A Queen Among Alphas (available on paperback) Book 2 - A Queen Among Snakes Book 3 - A Queen Among Blood Book 4 - A Queen Among Darkness Book 5 - A Queen Among Tides Book 6 - A Queen Among Gods Book 7 - A Queen Among Tempests Bite Size Luna - A Queen Among Alphas Prequel Whole Again - A Queen Among Alphas Spin-off Runaway Empress - A Queen Among Snakes Prequel Dark Invocation - A Queen Among Darkness Spin-off Valor, Virtue, And Verve - A Queen Among Tides Spin-off This will then be followed by the Royal Shadows series, which is the next generation companion to this series.

Chapter 1: Morning Training pt 1 - Amelia

~ Amelia

I’m awoken to the dreadful sound of my alarm. Well, technically it’s my phone playing ‘Kokomo’ by The Beach Boys, but since I’ve selected it as my alarm I’ve begun to hate the song with a passion. I used to love that song, but if I keep using it to wake me up in the morning, I may never want to hear it ever again.

I reach over to turn off my alarm and roll onto my back, taking a moment to relax and enjoy the peaceful silence and darkness of my room. This is the only time of the day when I can feel calm before I step out into the chaos that is my life.

“So, what’s on the schedule today?” Asks Zara in my head. Zara is my wolf spirit. Now before you go jumping to conclusions and calling me a ‘werewolf’, allow me to explain some things.

By a human’s definition I am a werewolf, but please don’t ever call us that. We really hate it. What I, and the rest of my kind, am actually called is mutolupus, but we’re happy to just call ourselves wolves. It’s kind of shocking how much myths and stories got right about our kind, but there’s also plenty they get wrong.

Hello! Earth to Amelia, I know you can hear me,” huffs Zara.

Sorry Zara, I guess I spaced out; what’s up?”

Let’s go for a run, I want to get my paws dirty,” she says excitedly. I chuckle. I love how full of life she is.

You want to go for a run before training? Won’t you be too tired?” I ask and she growls at me.

I could run around the whole pack and still take on every warrior on the field, don’t insult me, woman,” she says smugly, sticking her snout up at me and making me laugh. It probably sounds weird to think that I can see a wolf in my head, but this is normal for us and has been normal since I was born.

For the most part, I look human. The only differences are I’m stronger, faster and have superior senses to that of a human and I can heal faster, as well as a couple of other things.

Oh and the whole shifting into a wolf thing.

Zara is my best friend; I don’t think anyone is as in sync as we are. We never fight or argue – unless playfully. We are the dynamic duo. Like most wolves, she has been with me since birth, but I didn’t shift into my wolf form until I was sixteen, as most wolves shift at sunrise on their sixteenth birthday. The worst way to wake let me tell you that.

I don’t know what I’d do without my wolf, she’s as vital to me as breathing. Zara and I aren’t your average wolf though: we are of Alpha blood and are soon going to be the Alpha of our pack. But today, I’m just Amelia.

Getting up I stretch out my limbs and walk across the room to open my thick purple curtains. It’s 5 am so there’s no sun out yet, which is a relief for my eyes. I strip down and make my way to my walk-in closet and change into a black sports bra, black shorts, put on socks and sneakers then quickly tie my shoulder-length blonde hair up in a high ponytail.

Time to get my training on.

I make my way out of my room and down the three flights of stairs of the packhouse. It’s basically a big mansion and is where the ranked wolves of the pack live. Alpha and Beta suites and offices are on the fourth floor, and Gamma and Delta suites and offices are on the third floor. The second floor is exclusively for pack guests, so this is where people from neighbouring packs stay when they visit. Then you have the first floor which has the dining hall, conference room, gym, pool, entertainment room, living areas and kitchen.

Pack members are always in and out of here for various reasons and the warriors always have breakfast here after training. Actually, a lot of pack members like to have their meals here because it’s where everyone can come and congregate. The packhouse staff also live here, but they have their own wing on the first floor. The staff are a mixture of non-ranked wolves and Omega wolves.

Omega wolves are wolves who are – for whatever reason – unable to shift. They have heightened senses and can even speak to their wolf spirit, but because they can’t shift a lot of packs mistreat Omegas or treat them as less than everyone else, but we don’t believe in that. We don’t enslave anyone and being staff here is a paid job like any other. It’s offered to anyone who wants it, and we offer them free room and board if they wish.

Rank is important, as it keeps order, but ultimately we believe respect is something you earn. At least that’s what my father taught me and how he runs this pack. We even have some Omega warriors. We don’t focus on what they lack, we look at what they have and how they can better the pack.

I have one foot out the back door when the scent of oranges and pine hits my nose. I quickly duck just as a body comes flying over my head and tumbles along the ground before jumping to his feet.

“One of these days I’m going to get you; mark my words,” he says wagging a finger at me.

I grin, “You’ve been saying that for years and I’m still waiting.” He smiles back and wraps his arm around my shoulders.

Vitali Hughes is one of my best friends; we’ve been thick as thieves our whole lives, and we train together all the time. I know, no matter what, he has my back.

He’s 6’1” and ripped all over with sun-kissed skin, shaggy chin-length brown hair and hazel eyes. He’s twenty-two and, he doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to make him my Beta. Traditionally the Beta title is passed down to the next family member, same with Gammas and Deltas – sorry I should clarify, next MALE family member – but ultimately it’s a position bestowed upon you by the Alpha, and I need people around me I can trust.

I’m about to become the first female Alpha, or at least the first in North America. Let’s just say people didn’t take it too well when my father declared that when the time came, he’d pass the title to me. Some pack members were excited. Others, not so much.

Vitali was happy for me and I always knew I’d make him my Beta. I sure as hell wasn’t going to appoint the current Beta’s son, Ryker Mathers. The moron barely has two brain cells to rub together and doesn’t give a crap about the pack or training. He thinks he’s Goddess’s gift to women and, somehow, thinks he’s going to be a Beta just because his daddy was.

Over my furry butt, he will.

Vitali and I walk down to the training field, which is only a five-minute walk from the packhouse. The field is surrounded by a dense forest of trees and consists of a running track, a combat area in the centre of the track and an obstacle course with bleachers around the perimeter of the track.

“How are you feeling? Just one more week and not only will you be twenty-one, but you’ll officially be our Alpha,” Vitali says excitedly.

“I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been preparing for this for as long as I can remember. I can’t believe it’s finally here,” I tell him enthusiastically.

“I’ve heard people talking about challenging you on the night of your elevation,” he grits angrily.

“Let them,” I shrug. “I’ll take on every last one of them. The last thing I want is to kill my own pack members, but if they’re not willing to submit and accept me as their Alpha, even though it is my blood rite, then they have to accept the consequences,” I say flatly.

The Invictus Pack is the second largest pack in the United States and is based in Oregon with around two thousand pack members. My pack is my family and I’d do anything for them, but if they’re not willing to show me respect just because I’m a woman then screw ‘em. Neither I nor my wolf is going to just roll over and take it. So if they want to challenge me, they better have dug their graves already.

Vitali lets out a groan. “Woman, you’re killing me. You know it gets me going when you’re in badass mode,” he teases.

“Don’t go blaming me for your high libido,” I laugh.

We make it to the training field and slowly more pack members start making their appearance. Pack members eighteen and over begin training at 5:30 am for two hours five days a week. Warriors train for an additional two hours after that, perfecting more advanced techniques. Pack members aged between ten and eighteen train at 7:30 am and only train three times a week. We want them to stay sharp and be prepared and know how to defend themselves, but we also have to think of their schooling. This is why the pack schools don’t start till 10 am. Education is still important, but Pythagoras Theorem won’t save you if the pack is under attack.

“Everyone line up!” Yells Gamma James.

Gamma James Grey – or uncle as I often call him – is my father’s third in command. He’s forty-four and is responsible for training the pack and our warriors. He has skin that reminds me of dark chocolate, pale blue eyes, and black hair in a marine’s buzz cut. He’s 6’5” and built like a heavyweight champion. As usual, he is wearing nothing but workout shorts and sneakers. He loves showing off his muscles, mostly because they are pretty imposing. I’ve been body-slammed by this guy and I’m here to tell you that it is not a fun experience. He also loves showing off his tribal tattoos that cover his chest and arms.

Tattoos aren’t fun at the best of times, but they’re more painful for us wolves. We heal too fast and don’t scar easily enough to use the traditional method. The only way to get a tattoo is to use a tattoo gun made with pure silver. Any injury caused us by silver, once healed, leaves a scar. Gamma James’ tattoos are basically a giant warning sign screaming, ‘I’m dangerous and pain means nothing to me.’

“Just once I wish my old man would wear a shirt,” whispers a voice beside me. I have to stifle a chuckle. Gamma James is now shooting daggers with his eyes at his son, Tyson. Whispering doesn’t do much good around wolves.

Tyson is the spitting image of his father, just a couple inches shorter, no tattoos and not as bulky. But he’s working on it. Tyson is twenty and one of my other besties and for that reason, he’ll be taking on the Gamma position after his father.

“I think you just like annoying your dad,” I say to Tyson through the pack-link.

Not my fault he makes it so easy. But seriously, he really needs to learn to wear a shirt. I mean, why have them, if you refuse to wear them?” Tyson replies. He’s got a fair point.

“This morning we will begin with fifty laps, followed by a blind obstacle course I have prepared in the woods followed by sparring,” Gamma James announces, making several people groan.

Vitali, Tyson, and I put our game faces on.

We love training. To keep ourselves in the zone and make sure we’re always doing our best, we make every training session a contest.. Though it’s mostly a competition between the two of them since they have yet to beat me in anything.

“What did I miss?” Comes the voice of Evalyn, one of my other best friends.

I love her to death, but the woman is late to everything. She never had an interest in training, but after she was badly injured in a cur attack two years ago, she’s since started taking training more seriously.

Curs are packless wolves. Commonly, they’ve been exiled from their pack for committing a crime. Or, on the rare occasion, they renounce their pack. Not all curs are bad, some even try to find new packs, but most packs turn them away, sadly. The ones exiled for serious crimes, however, tend to take exile as an opportunity to be as feral as they please, and they are the ones that pose a threat.

I’d honestly hoped to name Evalyn as my Delta, but she’s nowhere near where she needs to be for me to give her that kind of title, and I can’t just pick people because they’re my best friend. I need people who are strong and smart and are good choices for the pack. People I can trust who will also challenge me and give me different perspectives on a situation so we can come to the best solution. This is why the position will go to her brother, Chris. Their dad is Delta Xander and Chris has worked hard to earn the position of Delta. It would be foolhardy for me not to choose him. Though looking around I notice he’s not at training this morning, but I have a feeling I know why.

“You’re late, Miss Melgren,” says Gamma James tersely.

“I’m sorry, Gamma James, I slept through my alarm,” she explains sheepishly. I feel bad for my girl because I know she’s in for a brutal training session now.

Evalyn is twenty years old, 5’5”, just a little shorter than my 5’8”. She has wavy light brown hair down to her waist – which is currently up in a ponytail – and sky-blue eyes with ivory skin, and not a muscle on her. She’s pretty slender, but she’s still beautiful and has one of the most infectious smiles on the planet.

I notice Tyson has a guilty look on his face as he looks at Evalyn and I realise why she was late. Tyson must have kept her up all night and that’s why she overslept.

“That’s your problem, not mine. A hundred push-ups,” Gamma James orders, making me cringe.

For a wolf, a hundred push-ups are easy, but Evalyn isn’t very strong and her lack of training for most of her life hasn’t helped. She’ll be lucky if she can manage fifty. You’d think since she’s his daughter-in-law he’d go easy on her, but he’s not one for nepotism.

“Yes sir,” she gulps, dropping to the ground and starting her push-ups. One thing I respect about her; she doesn’t whine. She sucks it up and will complete any challenge even if it kills her.

“The rest of you! Fifty laps, now!” Gamma James yells and we all take off and start racing around the track.

Vitali and Tyson are ahead of me trying to outdo each other, but I’m keeping a steady pace. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There’s no prize for first place, but I still save my energy for the final lap, unlike these two. Running isn’t just about staying fit; it’s about understanding and increasing our stamina; learning how to preserve our energy and when to tap into it. Every exercise we do has a purpose, but most don’t seem to get that.

“Good morning, sweetheart,” comes my father’s voice through the pack-link.

Good morning, dad,” I say cheerfully.

How’s training this morning?”

“So far so good, I’m on my tenth lap,” I tell him.

Keep it up. After training, come to my office, we need to talk about your Alpha ceremony,” he tells me, and I detect an edge to his voice.

Is everything okay?”

Just some matters we need to be prepared for. Also, your mother wants to go over some party details with you.”

“Don’t you want to help her with that?” I ask slyly.

That’s not funny, Amelia. I still haven’t recovered from her Luna ceremony where I suggested the wrong type of flowers.” I can hear him cringe and it makes me laugh out loud.

Bad Alpha, picking the wrong flowers,” I tease. Dad can strategize a battle plan with his eyes closed but ask him to plan a mutolupus ball and he looks like a headless chicken.

How will I ever live with the shame? Anyway, shall I see you after training?”

With bells on!” I say and then close the link.

I’m coming up on my final lap, so I tap into my reserve energy and start sprinting at full speed. I take over Vitali and Tyson in seconds and leave them in the dust while I hear them shout behind me and just like that I’m passing the finish line.

I walk over and grab a water bottle and take a few sips as I catch my breath.

“Are you trying to beat your personal record, Amelia?” Asks Gamma James.

“Not this week. But maybe next week,” I grin, him giving me a smile in return.

“Are you nervous?” He asks.

“People keep asking me that. I’m not nervous, I’m excited.”

“I can honestly say it’s been an honour to train the first female Alpha. You’ve always pushed yourself to train better than anyone else and I’ve found myself having to push myself harder just so I could do justice to your training. A good Alpha pushes their pack to always strive to be better, that’s how I know you will make a terrific Alpha.” His words are full of sincerity and my heart swells.

“Thank you, Gamma James, that means everything to me,” I say, my voice thick with emotions.

D*mn, Gamma gonna make this wolf cry,” says Zara.

We’re all relaxing as we wait for the last few people to finish their laps, then we move onto the obstacle course. I love obstacle courses; I think they’re so much fun and this one has been set up further in the woods, so I know there’s something extra fun in store for us.

“Today you will be blindfolded,” Gamma James announces. “The object of this exercise is to rely on your other senses. Specifically hearing and smell. In battle the enemy may blind you or distract you, so you don’t see an attack coming. Honing your other senses is your best chance at survival. Amelia, you’re up first.”

I get up, walk over, grab a thick black piece of fabric, and step up on a large log stretching across a small lake that cuts through the woods. I tie the fabric around my eyes tight and take in a deep breath. I can hear the animals all around the forest, I can hear the breathing and heartbeats of my pack members and I can smell… well, everything. There’s something in the air that my nose doesn’t like, I’m not sure what it is though.

“Begin!” Yells Gamma James.

I take a careful step forward and hear a cracking sound from up in the trees. Multiple cracks - along with the sound of something moving with momentum. Just as I go to take another step, I can hear and feel something coming fast from my right, so I quickly drop my body down onto the log just in time to sense something whoosh over me. I suddenly notice lots of things whooshing over me back and forth. I turn my face to the side and inhale through my nose when I feel the object whiz past me again.

Quercus garryana, also known as Oregon white oak.

Logs. I have to dodge freakin’ logs. Is this an obstacle course or an Indiana Jones booby trap?

If I stand up, I’m going to get knocked into the lake by one of these swinging logs, so I decide to combat crawl across the log.

As I move along the length of the log, the scent of paint wafts into my nose. It’s close, like really close, but there’s another scent the paint is masking. I take a long whiff and recoil as the smell burns my nostrils.

Silver.

I didn’t see any silver on the log… the paint. Sneaky b*st*rd. He put silver on the log and painted over it to disguise it. D*mn, he’s good.

Okay, so if I keep crawling, I’m going to burn myself with silver. If I stand up, I’m going to get hit by a flying log. I have no option but to stand and try to dodge the logs… blindfolded.

I shift to my hands and knees and tune everything out except the sounds of the swinging logs. I count how many seconds pass before the log passes over me.

Seven seconds.

I come up with a plan of attack. As I hear the log above me pass, I stand and step forward; I can feel the silver plate under my shoe; I try to keep my balance and not slip on it. I freeze as I hear the next log coming and feel as it just barely brushes by me. I take another step, freeze, and wait for the next log. I repeat this three more times, then finally sense I’m out of the path of danger. I go to jump off the log when another scent hits me… lupine. Lots of it.

Lupine is a beautiful flower that looks like a much larger version of lavender.

If I jump off this log, I’ll land in a lupine patch. Uncle J is not playing around. Silver and lupine are toxic and lethal to a mutolupus, but as long as nothing gets in the bloodstream I should be okay, so while this would be unpleasant we’re not in mortal danger. Uncle J wouldn’t endanger our lives for the sake of training. My best chance is jumping as far as I can and hoping I’m out of the danger zone.

I crouch down and coil my muscles ready to leap, forcing all my strength into my legs and push off the log hard to the point I feel the log splinter under me. I propel myself through the air and hopefully a safe distance over the lupine, landing on my hands and feet.

Everything sounds and smells clear, and I know I’m in the clear when I hear the sounds of cheering. I stand straight and take off my blindfold, turning around to see the rest of the group – well most of them – cheering excitedly. Vitali, Tyson, and Evalyn are going nuts, and I can’t help but smile and laugh. Uncle J claps his approval and gives me a proud nod. Warriors in the trees reset the logs and I join the rest of the group.

How did I miss them?

“That was badass, Amelia!” Tyson says pulling me into a tight hug as I hug him back.

“I was nearly having a heart attack,” says Evalyn clutching her heart.

“I wasn’t worried,” Vitali shrugs.

“Liar. You were gripping my arm so tight I thought it would break off,” scoffs Evalyn.

He rolls his eyes. “Oh please. It only felt tight because your arms are so scrawny,” Vitali says mockingly. Evalyn narrows her eyes and stomps on his foot with all her strength; Tyson and I start laughing while Vitali tends to his foot.

“How’s that for scrawny?” She says as she crosses her arms and juts out her hip. Tyson wraps his arms around her and pulls her close, making her instantly relax.

“Calm down, my Little Firecracker, he was just joking,” he says softly as he kisses her temple making her eyes close contentedly. I love how happy they are, but I can’t help but feel envious.

After we finish the obstacle course – with half the group not successfully completing it – we head back to the field to begin sparring. Just as we get to the sparring area I hear the most obnoxious sound hit my ears.

“I see I’m just in time for the best part,” says Ryker.

D*mn, and my morning was going so well.

I’d say he was good looking, but I’m so repulsed by his personality that I find him physically unattractive. He’s 6’1”, black hair that’s ear length in the middle but he keeps it slicked back with the sides of his head shaved. He has dark brown eyes, pale skin and is moderately toned. He has a few tattoos on his left arm, but even his tattoos seem obnoxious.

Ugh, I hate that guy,” says Zara.

Me too girl, me too.”

“Even his wolf isn’t a fan of him,” she says, nearly making me crack up laughing.

You’re kidding!”

I’m serious, his wolf Kit argues with him all the time; wonders how he got saddled with such a sucky human. I feel bad for him.”

One thing I find cool is that wolves within a pack can communicate with each other, and we – their human counterparts – are completely oblivious to it. They just have their own little social circles, but Zara keeps me filled in most of the time. It’s pretty fascinating. Though they can’t say anything that betrays their human, even if they want to.

“Mr. Mathers, you’re over an hour late. Explain yourself,” says Gamma James in a menacing tone.

“I’m the Beta’s son, I don’t see why I have to do this,” he says flippantly. Several people roll their eyes. I told you he’s obnoxious.

“Amelia is the Alpha’s daughter and yet she manages to be here on time, so there’s no excuse for you.” The veins in Uncle J’s head are pulsating and I can tell he’s p*ss*d. He hates Ryker too. Ryker turns his attention to me and sneers, though I remain unfazed.

“She’s a girl, she needs all the help she can get,” he spits.

I snort. Though honestly, I hate when men call me a ‘girl,’ it’s so condescending.

“I have a question for you, Ryker. Next time we’re under attack, what will you do? Walk up to them; puff out your chest and say, ‘I’m the Beta’s son, don’t attack me’? Impressive strategy, I’m sure every supernatural being will flee with their tails between their legs when they hear that,” I say sarcastically while several pack members laugh, further pissing him off. Even Uncle J chuckles.

“F*ck*ng b*tch,” he grits as he takes a step towards me, but I remain rooted where I am. I could take him with both hands tied behind my back.

“MATHERS!” Gamma James shouts. “I won’t have you disrespecting me, this pack, or your future Alpha. Since you can’t show up on time like everyone else, you can do two hundred push-ups followed by two hundred laps of the track. Now go, and I can assure you I’ll be reporting this incident to your father and the Alpha,” he promises.

“You can’t be serious!” Ryker gasps in shock.

“Move! Now!” James orders with a growl. With that, Ryker angrily skulks off and starts doing push-ups.

And this, ladies, and gentlemen, is precisely why I will never pick him as my Beta.

If you’re wondering why he hates me so much, it’s because the idiot had it in his head that since my parents never had a son, the next viable option for Alpha was the Beta’s son, Ryker. My parents never hinted at such a thing. They had decided the moment I was born that I would be Alpha. But when they made it abundantly clear to a fourteen-year-old Ryker, he went absolutely ape sh*t. Even tried to pick a fight with me to “prove” I was too weak. All it proved was how easily I could break his face. I suspect Beta Declan put the idea in his son’s head, but I have no proof. Declan has always been loyal to my father, but he’s standoffish with me, and it only got worse when it was clear I would be made Alpha.

At just a week shy of twenty-one, I’m accustomed to people challenging my position. I’ve heard the rainbow of insults. ‘An Alpha is a man’s position’, ‘a woman can’t be an Alpha’, ‘women are weak’, ‘she’ll weaken the pack’, yadda, yadda, yadda. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t s*ck or hurt because it does. Especially when it comes from your own pack, but I won’t ever let them beat me down. I was born for this; I know I can be a great Alpha and I won’t let anyone stop me. Whatever it takes, I’m going to be the best Alpha the Invictus Pack has ever seen.

Chapter 2: Morning Training pt 2 - Amelia

~ Amelia

After training I run to the dining hall, fill up a plate with as much food from the buffet as I can, grab a bottle of apple juice and race to my father’s office. We wolves burn off calories super-fast thanks to fast metabolisms, so we need to eat a lot for energy and right now I’m desperate to get some food in me, but I need to talk to my dad. So, I decide I can snack on this while we have our meeting and then I’ll go back down for more later.

I reach dad’s office and I hit the buzzer next to the door. The majority of the rooms in the packhouse are soundproof. It’s hard to have private meetings or be intimate when people with super hearing are all over the place, so soundproofing is pretty necessary, but that also means me knocking is pointless and him yelling ‘come in’ is equally pointless. You have two options: use the pack-link for entry or use the buzzer that is installed in every room. The buzzer makes a knocking sound, so it at least has the illusion of so

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