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Forced to Marry the Wicked Werewolf Prince

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"I, Alec Tawr of Lunar Crest pack, reject you, Elara Wildewood, of Lunar Crest pack," he utters, his voice cutting through the silence. The words sear into my soul, and my heart shatters, broken pieces scattering within me. The pain consumes me, wrapping its icy tendrils around my spirit. “Why?” I ask, letting out a painful cry as my knees give away and I collapse to the floor. Does he think that I agreed to marry Prince Magnus willingly? That I don’t wish to be with him? “Why?” I repeat. He blinks and I see him shiver as he clenches his jaw. “Just accept the rejection, El. Make it stop,” he says, his voice sharp and hard. I allow myself to cry, letting the tears cascade down my cheeks until I’m a sobbing mess. “I can’t. I want you.” He clutches his chest and I hate to see him hurting. “It’s not possible. Please accept the reception.” And so I do it. “I, Elara Wildewood of Lunar Crest pack, accept your rejection.” ---- Elara Wildewood knows her life is doomed when she is forced to step in as the substitute bride for Magnus Blackwell, the disabled and cruel Prince of Caelondor. After she is rejected by her mate, she has no choice but to accept her fate. However, after she's wed, she finds out that the truth is not as it seems and the grand palace of Caelondor holds a lot more intrigue and secrecy than she anticipated earlier. Trapped in a web or lies and deception, Elara decides to take control of her life and trains to become stronger. As she gains the admiration of her court, she also attracts the Prince attention's who will stop at nothing to keep her safe.

Prologue: Shattered Bonds

The wind whispers through the open window, carrying a faint scent of jasmine that mingles with the pounding of my heart. 

“Alina can’t marry him, Alpha. She’s weak,” my father begins, his trembling voice resounding in the pack’s courtroom. 

Beta Collis smirks at him from where he stands beside Alpha Zander before he comments, “A weakling for a weakling. What can be a better match for the twisted Prince of Caelondor?” 

I grit my teeth, suppressing a curse. Beta Collis has never been kind towards my family but his remark was unnecessary. 

"Alpha Zander," my father continues, ignoring his fellow Beta's words. His shoulders are slumped and he looks older than his years. "The pack healer says she might not live long." 

My stepmother stifles a sob as she clutches the sides of her robe. 

A rush of whispers arise from the pack members bearing witness to this meeting. 

I nervously glance around and hear people talk sympathetically about my stepsister, Alina. It's unfortunate what happened to her. She was always healthy and happy but recently she fell sick and now she stands at the door of death. 

Alpha Zander stands from his regal chair and the whispers die in an instant. "I agree with you, Beta Reginald. We can't let Alina marry Prince Magnus anymore. King Eldric won't like it. We don't want to mock him more than the world already does. I want to make myself clear : this alliance is important to me. So we need to find a substitute."

A moment of silence lingers as the Alpha looks around—likely searching for potential candidates—before his eyes finally settle on me. 

“Elara Wildewood,” he begins, my name clear in his voice. My heart stops beating for a moment. “You’ll marry Prince Magnus Blackwell in place of your stepsister, Alina. That is my command. I understand that you’ll not disobey me.”

‘But I already have a mate!’ I want to scream at him, but I’m kept down by the Alpha’s power over me. I’m forced to oblige his command being a beta, even though my heart is already starting to break. All I manage to mumble is, “Yes, Alpha.”

***

Elara Wildewood, that's who I am. My carefree and headstrong life is about to be shattered as I am forced to step into the role of the substitute bride for my stepsister, Alina, to appease our pack and promise our fealty to King Eldric of Caelondor.

It all started with a fateful meeting beneath the silver moonlight. I met him, my mate, within the dense forest that surrounds our pack territory. I had sneaked out of the packhouse on one of my explorations, and that's when my wolf, Lila, had sniffed him out. She called him 'our mate'. The air sparked with an electric connection and an unbreakable bond formed between us. His eyes are the most magnificent things I have ever held. His name is Alec, a powerful beta werewolf just like me, and a member of our pack. Together, we dreamed of a life filled with love and endless possibilities.

We took the blessings of my father and stepmother and were soon to be married...

But fate, cruel and unyielding, has other plans.

Alina's health deteriorated recently, rendering her unfit to fulfill her duty as the chosen bride. The responsibility, like an anchor weighing heavy on my shoulders, fell upon me.

The alpha of our pack, Alpha Zander, couldn't bear the thought of losing this alliance. He needed to prove to the king that he had the support and loyalty of our pack. So, he demanded that I marry Magnus Blackwell, the infamous werewolf Prince of Caelondor. His reputation is tarnished by rumors of his wickedness. Despite my protests, and my pleas for an alternative, the pack saw no other option but to offer me as the substitute.

Since then, the news of it has spread like wildfire through our territory. I'm offered condolences by some as I'm to spend the rest of my life with a disabled, wicked man—they pity me, giving me sympathetic glances. And the others offer me congratulations as I'm to become a part of royalty. All of this is happening while my stepsister toils in the other room, fighting against death.

All I want to do is tell them off, but my stepmother would love to use that as an excuse to strike me. So I don't give her the chance.

The thought of running away with Alec crosses my mind. If we succeed to get past the border, we can make a life together, away from the responsibilities of our pack. We will become rogues, but with Alec by my side, I believe I can be happy regardless.

But he's an honorable man. He will never go against the Alpha's choices. And it will be treason. If we're caught, we'll be shamed and executed.

And I? How can I betray my father? He has loved me and cared for me all my life. And this is the only thing he has asked for in return. Cruel as it may seem, he asked me to give up Alec and marry the Prince.

I denied. I pleaded. I argued. That's when Celeste, my stepmother, struck me. A tight slap across my cheek for denying to give up my love. My father scolded her but she did not apologize. Instead, she said, "Do your duty to your pack."

Ever since that day, I cry myself to sleep every night. Even now, the tears fall down as I look at my reflection helplessly.

A sudden knock on the door startles me. I get to my feet and mumble, "Come inside."

My stepmother enters, draped in a long turquoise gown, her favorite color. Her dark hair is tousled down her back and she has a habit of running her fingers through it repeatedly. A maid is by her side, a frightened look plastered on her face. "Your lover is here to meet you," she tells me.

I scowl at the bitterness in her voice, but my voice is composed when I reply, "Let him inside."

She fixes a stern look on me and then crossing the distance between us, she holds my face in her hand, her fingernails digging in my cheeks. "Don't even try anything foolish, girl. I have all of my eyes and ears on you."

"Yes, Mother," I speak through gritted teeth, bearing the pain of her tortuous grip. She lets go of me and I growl, creating distance between us.

"I pity you. Everyone wants to marry a prince. But a weak and deformed one? How unfortunate you are," she mocks me, a sinister smile growing on her pale face.

With that she leaves me, the maid trails behind her but not before giving me another sympathetic look.

I hold my breath as the door opens again and my wolf, Lila picks my mate's scent. She gets excited, ignoring the misery I feel upon seeing him again.

Alec stands before me, his gaze distant and devoid of the warmth that had once consumed his eyes. I want to wrap my arms around him and drown myself in the familiar warmth of his body. I want to pull him into a mind numbing kiss so I can forget the truth for at least some time. I move closer to touch his face, but with every step I take toward him, he takes one back until he's at the door. Before I can say a word, he speaks, his words are unexpected and disastrous.

"I, Alec Tawr of Lunar Crest pack, reject you, Elara Wildewood, of Lunar Crest pack," he utters, his voice cutting through the silence. The words sear into my soul, and my heart shatters, broken pieces scattering within me.

"No!" I yell. How could he reject me? The one he claimed to love, the one we believed to be inseparable. The pain consumes me, wrapping its icy tendrils around my spirit. "Why?" I ask, letting out a painful cry as my knees give away and I collapse to the floor.

Does he think that I agreed to marry Prince Magnus willingly? That I don't wish to be with him? I know he can read my thoughts or at least he could before he rejected me.

"Why?" I repeat, groaning due to the pain of the broken mate bond.

He blinks and I see him shiver as he clenches his jaw. I watch him struggle to stand still. "Just accept the rejection, El. Make it stop," he says, his voice sharp and hard.

I allow myself to cry, letting the tears cascade down my cheeks until I'm a sobbing mess. "I can't. I want you."

He clutches his chest and I hate to see him hurting. "It's not possible. Please accept the rejection. It hurts. Make it stop."

And so I do it. "I, Elara Wildewood of Lunar Crest pack, accept your rejection."

Something is s*ck*d out of me and I'm convinced it's my soul because once the words are out, I feel empty. Absolutely and utterly hollow on the inside.

Alec takes in a shaky breath and stumbles right where he's standing. He's likely feeling the same. His eyes are lowered to the ground as he says in a whisper dismissively, "It was good knowing you, El. Thank you for loving me." 

1. The Masked Truth

[MAGNUS]

I recline in the bathtub, the warmth of the water enveloping me as the palace servants go about their tasks. Steam swirls in the opulent chamber, the scent of chamomile lingering in the air and my mind wanders through the labyrinth of lies spun by my detested uncle, the king.

As the palace servants meticulously wash me, their eyes averted, I stare at my own half-naked reflection in the mirror. I'm not disabled; it's a fabrication concocted by my uncle's twisted mind, fueled by his hatred and fear. The king seeks to undermine me, to strip away any sense of power or influence I might possess. He's afraid of what I could do to him. But it's time to reclaim my power, turn the tables on my enemies, and catch them off guard.

Alistair, my loyal beta werewolf, stands guard outside the chamber, a silent guardian of my secrets.

As I rise from the bathtub, the servants hastily rush to cover my body with linen. Alistair makes his way tow

Heroes

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