The Alpha Hidden Mate
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Ariel 's parents died in a car accident when she was 10 years old. She and her sister Esther lived with each other all these years. But they were often bullied by their pack members. Their peels said Ariel and her sister were jinxes and caused their parents’ death. When someone bullied them, Ariel would block all attacks for her sister. Esther quit school early to work for Ariel , and she found her mate at the age of 24. After Esther and her mate Cole Gray got married, Ariel lived in Cole ’s home with Esther. With the help of Esther, Ariel was able to finish college, so Ariel was grateful to her. But because of her existence, Esther often quarreled with Cole . Ariel sometimes had been sexually harassed when Esther was not at home. She dared not to tell Esther and didn’t want Esther sad. She always hoped that Esther could live a happy life, so she wanted to leave. But according to new werewolf laws, before she found a mate, she couldn't leave Esther and her pack, otherwise she would be disconnected from the pack and become a rogue. She would also affect Esther, because the rogue's family and pack would be spurned, so Ariel had to find someone to mark her and be her mate, even if the one was not her true mate. Then she could leave Esther and Cole ’s home. But Cole was going to send her to the Alpha King, so Ariel couldn't wait for her mate. Ariel was afraid of Alpha King, she heard some rumors about Alpha King, he was mysterious and cruel, even killed his own mate Ariel moves in with Xavier who is actually the Alpha king in pretense as she gets intertwined in the Royal life of the Alpha king
It was high time I left.
The signs were everywhere. I had reached that point in my unlucky life.
I, Ariel Brent, despite living for twenty-two werewolf years, still wasn't capable of doing a lot of things. A lot. I didn't even own my freedom.
Maybe my heart would have ached a little if I wasn't staring at the screen of a withdrawing machine that boldly displayed my life savings.
I was proud of myself and even if no one else would feel the same, Esther would. My sister would never fail to celebrate my small wins and the amount of money that was being displayed on the screen of the withdrawal machine wasn't so small.
The sum of money was earned through hard work and when I eventually achieved my long-time dream of owning a diner, it became less hard to earn money. That was how I have been able to support my sister through the years since I owed my existence to Esther.
Half of my monthly earnings always went to her to show my gratitude and also support her in my little way.
The rest of the money; my savings; should be more than enough to get the life that I needed. A life that screamed independence and “far away from Esther’s home!”
Don't get me wrong, I loved my sister. Who else would I have loved? Esther was the only living family I had left… Maybe they would be two if I considered Esther’s child if he wasn't also the child of the man that disgusted the shit out of me.
Alpha Cole, the Alpha of our pack. He was the father of Kairo, my sister’s four years old son. That prick was also my sister's mate which naturally made my sister the Luna Of the Shadow moon pack.
Maybe I should rephrase what I said earlier. It should have been “a life that screamed far away from the shadow moon pack”.
If my plan runs smoothly, I would snatch Esther from the pack without thinking twice because she had suffered at the hands of Alpha Cole, who she loved dearly and adored.
Esther might hold the title of Luna in the pack but to her mate, she was more or less a housewife. He never ceases to scold her. I was certain Alpha Cole wasn't worthy of Esther and her kind of love.
I would persuade Esther to leave Alpha Cole when I have a good life and the ability to keep her safe. This could be achieved sooner than later if my plan falls through. But my so-called plan had a very low success rate due to a lot of factors.
The best way was to find a man… any man would do.
I just needed a man.
Mate or not.
The new rule of werewolves specifically restricted single female wolves. A law that stated that “no unmated female wolf is allowed to live alone without a man”.
Yes, the plan would have been to move out of my twenty-eight-year-old sister's matrimonial home but I couldn't not if I wanted to remain a bonafide member of a pack and not if I valued my sanity. Breaking that law would make me a rogue and Esther would suffer with me because the werewolf law wasn't exactly kind to rogues and their families.
That’s why I needed a man to mark me… as soon as possible… or should I say before the banquet.
My life might take a fast detour this evening at the banquet that Alpha Cole was holding.
“Make yourself beautiful for the unmated females’ banquet tonight, Ariel, and don't be late. If you win the Alpha king’s favor, then the pack won’t have to pay that huge fine. Ariel, you know how to get the Alpha King's favor. Don't let me and your sister down.”
That was how Alpha Cole started.
“If you fail, don't blame me for being cruel!”
Alpha Cole had gruffly and sternly snapped as he added that to his statement with red eyes. He quarreled with Esther again through the night and I was the reason for all the controversy.
I have been staying with him ever since Esther got mated to him and she had been taking care of me ever since we lost our parents.
Alpha Cole had zero tolerance for me and thought I was a burden who wasted his money. Although I have been paying my maintenance fee to Esther. Anyways, he was supposed to be family but had become one of my nightmares. But now… He believed he had found my worth.
He was planning to send me to the ruthless Alpha King because he had been fined to pay for his negligence towards the pack members that were attacked, killed, or taken away by aggressive rogues.
Esther wanted to keep me but I was fully aware that she would fail. I wouldn't sit still and let Alpha Cole send me to the Alpha King that had many dark rumors about him spreading through the moon howlers territory.
As I pocketed the cash I withdrew, fear gripped my heart and despite my positive nature, I worry about how I would find a man and how I would cope with any man I get. I needed a man but getting mated to a stranger wasn't pleasing or assuring.
“You just have to escape Alpha Cole’s plans, Ariel. That's important.”
I said to myself again and began strolling to my diner that was located on the neutral grounds. It wasn't the most famous on the neutral ground; some acres of land in between the six packs of The Moon Howlers Territory; but it was doing well… so much better than other aspects of my life if I must say.
“You can make the best of the day regardless of-”
“Are you speaking to yourself like always?”
A smile spread across my round face because I recognized the voice and its owner even before I sighted the affectionate face of the one that interrupted my soliloquizing moment. Talking to myself had become my solace since I haven’t been able to wolf out like every other adult. Rather than feeling lonely, I speak to myself often to fill the gap.
I didn't sense the affectionate woman before she spoke to me because my werewolf senses were still at the average level… since I haven't wolfed out and gotten my wolf beast.
Not having my wolf beast meant, I wouldn't be able to find my mate. So whatever I had to do today, might not be fated. I could no longer wait for my wolf nor could I wait for my mate to come for me.
Mating a stranger was my best option.
“Regina! Good to see you!” I exclaimed and closed the distance between the old werewolf female and me.
Regina and I had a history and even though she was old enough to be my grandmother, she and I have been buddies since the incident that connected us. She had been sitting on one of the chairs outside my diner, waiting for me.
“It's been like forever since I saw your bright face, Child.” Regina commented and embraced me warmly.
“You saw me five days ago, Regina and we spoke over the phone some-”
My amused voice got stuck in my throat when my eyes shifted from the floor to a manly figure that was sitting in a corner. Regina tightened her hold on me but that wasn't what took my breath away, it was the appearance of the stranger in front of my diner that made me breathless.
He was dreamy with his black hair that was too long for a male. He was dreamy with his skin and the way he stared at me before and while he walked over to Regina and me, he could have set me ablaze and I wouldn't have noticed.
“Since you arrived later than scheduled, I had to—”
Regina stopped talking when she noticed that I wasn't responsive. She and I had arranged to meet today and we spoke on the phone some hours ago which was an avenue to tell her about my plans to get married.
“Oh. That's my grandson. Come closer, will you?”
The first part of her statement was directed to me while the second was to the man she referred to as her grandson. She didn't mention that she would be bringing her grandson to my diner when we spoke earlier.
“After we discussed, the perfect solution came to mind and I thought I should surprise you with him.”
Regina uttered. Although I haven't been completely open to this sweet woman, not because I didn't trust her but because I didn't want to bother her with the sad details of my life, she still found a way for me.
She found me a man. An attractive man at that. Although he was still a stranger and from his silence, he couldn't be my mate, he was Regina’s grandson. That should assure me that he would be nothing like Alpha Cole but I was still nervous and a bit terrified.
However, I lectured myself to not mess things up.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Ariel.”
I said to the grandson of the woman that would do anything for me after the incident that brought us together. I seized the initiative to introduce myself however, Regina's grandson simply stared at me with indifference, or did I see something in his eyes?
I couldn't tell. His gaze was making me uncomfortable even more than his silence does. Regina came to my rescue by patting her grandson’s upper arm and urged him to also introduce himself.
“Act like the gentle male wolf that you are. Introduce yourself to the lady.”
Regina's words snapped her grandson out of whatever state he was and he cleared his throat before speaking coldly.
“Xavier. ” He started, “I am the Alpha King’s soldier.”
Although his voice was gruff, the undefined emotion I noticed in his eyes earlier was still present. I stared at him and thought of how agitated Alpha Cole would be if the warrior of the man he wanted to send me to marks me before the banquet.
A moment of silence fell on us as we stood before my diner but soon Regina announced that she needed to get a few things in the closet shopping mart. I understood that she was trying to give her grandson and me some privacy.
After all, she wanted me to be her grandson’s mate and despite my nervousness, I wouldn't want to lose him even if we weren't compatible. Compatibility wasn't my focus at the moment. Escaping Alpha Cole’s plan was. I wouldn't be one of the many females he had sent to neighboring packs to cover up for his incompetence.
“You can come into the diner.”
For some reason, I felt like I shouldn't call him by his name yet. His hazel eyes were still on me as he followed me into my diner, making it hard for me to steady my footsteps. The only cleaner I could afford had cleaned the diner so I offered Xavier a seat.
His name pleased me, weirdly.
I left him to get a glass of water for him behind the counter. By the time I returned, I met him clenching and unclenching his fist as he stared at me. Was there something on my face?
“Why would you want to marry a stranger rather than wait for your mate?” He raised a query as I placed the glass of water before him.
“I have no time. My mate hasn't shown up and-”
“So you will choose a stranger? What do you mean you don't have time?”
Xavier flared, confusing me. His hazel eyes changed to dark color all of a sudden. Showing that his wolf was surfacing. My fear of mating a stranger grew stronger and my hands began to shake so I placed the glass of water on the table.
“I might lose my identity soon if I don't get mated sooner. Why aren't you waiting for your mate?”
I did all I could to remain patient and calm with Xavier, tucking my fear in. Xavier didn't receive my response calmly and it was obvious that he was furious for reasons best known to him alone. While I waited for his reply and worked on hiding my uneasiness, Xavier’s hand mistakenly knocked the glass of water off balance.
I quickly saved the glass from breaking and when I noticed that the splattered water was trickling over Xavier’s trousers, my hand shot out instinctively to wipe his trouser and stop more water from wetting him.
My nice gesture was interrupted when Xavier suddenly rose from his seat and when my hand mistakenly touched his. I took back my hand as embarrassment coursed through me.
Xavier spoke authoritatively and truth be told, he reminded me of Alpha Cole for a split moment.
“You don't have to marry me if you’re not willing. Don't be influenced by Regina’s wants. I’ll find another man.”
I voiced to the male before me, expecting that he would take his leave, but his taller frame sauntered towards me slowly. He made me back away until my back pressed against a wall.
“I wouldn't want to marry a woman who isn't ready for me and who would marry just any man.”
Was he offended by my words? Before I could clarify the misunderstanding, he spoke up again.
“Why are you in a hurry to marry and mate, Ariel?”
He called my name! Oh, my. That sounded sweet but I cast him a speculative look. I thought he didn't like me. Again, he didn't wait for me to respond before chipping in a term.
“If you decide to marry me, once I mark you, there will be no going back.” His voice came out cool and calm when he added, “now, do you still want to marry me?”
With the term, Do I?
The answer was on the tip of my tongue but I choked when my gaze met his deep dark and dominant eyes.
Words didn't fail me, my tongue did.
ALPHA KING Xavier
My Grandma’s voice had been in the background but I ignored her calls for me to join her in the living room. She made use of the mind link but I placed a mental block between us.
I needed my sleep.
“What Alpha King sleeps till-”
“A responsible Alpha King that hardly gets to rest, Granny.”
I shouldn't have responded when she entered my room. Maybe I would still be sleeping in my room if I had turned a deaf ear to her.
“You are wrong, Xavier. It's only an Alpha King without a mate that will remain in bed even though the day has broken hours ago.”
My grandmother, Regina Roberts, a woman I loved so much and would do anything to please, muttered to me. Her face appeared before my tired eyes when she crouched before me to give me that signature smile of hers.
“It's just a matter of time before my mate shows up, Granny. Wait a bit more-”
“I can't wait any longer, Xavier. What if I die tomorrow or th
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