The Alpha King's Curse
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Book 1 of the Bloodlines Series. It started with a curse. For five years, Jackson ‘Jax’ King has known exactly when he is going to die. With nothing to lose, he has earned his reputation as the most ruthless Alpha King. Though his enemies are circling, there is one thing he must do before he dies: save his bloodline. But even the Moon Goddess has cursed him because she has given him a half-blood as his only hope. Layla Carlisle. A disrespectful, greedy, wolfless human. Layla seizes the chance to save her sister from a life on the streets, but at what cost? Why has Jax chosen her when he and his friends clearly dislike her? Can she fulfil her end of the bargain? Or will she become like her mother? As Layla spends more time in Jax's bed, she realises nothing is as it seems. Who is Jackson King, and why does he know more about her mother than she does? In a world of werewolf politics and dark desires, Layla and Jax must navigate dangerous terrain to unravel the truth behind the curse and the fate of Jax's bloodline.
“I’ll get straight to the point. I need you to have my baby.”
Jackson King watched the girl’s eyes widen as she looked from him to his Beta, Dylan.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. I thought you said you needed me to have your baby,” she chuckled.
He could sense her unease the same way he could smell her arousal. She was drenched. Even without a wolf telling her she was his, her body knew it, and he hated that. He hated that he had to fight so hard with his beast to stop it from claiming what was rightfully his. He hated the fact that he had to resort to this. She was half-human! Why would the Moon-Goddess curse him like this on top of everything else?
He’d caught her scent even before he had walked into the hotel days before, and now it filled the entire suite, taunting him, reminding him how fucked up everything was.
“I did,” he answered. “I need a surrogate, and I will pay you handsomely.”
“Um... I’ve just walked into this room to clean. You don’t know me; you don't even know my name,” she said.
Layla looked down at the name tag on her uniform. She covered it briefly before she probably realised it was useless and lowered her hand. But he didn’t need her name tag to know who she was.
“Twenty-one years old. High school dropout. You live in a trailer with your father and sister.”
Layla’s eyes widened, and for a moment, he sensed her anger.
“Have you been stalking me?” she hissed.
Dylan snickered. He gave his Beta a look that shut him up before he returned his attention to the human.
“No, I haven’t been stalking you,” he said, but he could tell he had already lost the momentum. Layla's anger had grown at an alarming rate, eclipsing even the sweet scent of her arousal.
The human stood and smoothed her uniform before she lifted her head and looked him directly in the eye. His beast unfurled, his excitement rippling through him at the thought of accepting his mate’s challenge.
“I don’t know why you two need to ask a stranger to have your baby, but I don’t think I will be right for the job. I wish you all the best, though,” Layla said.
It took him a moment to realise what she meant as she walked over to her cleaning cart and started pulling it out of the room.
This was the problem with humans. Feeling the pull of their bond wouldn't have been an issue if she’d had a wolf. He would have marked her the moment he had found her, and she would have been carrying his pup already.
“Miss Carlisle, can we talk about this? You haven’t even heard what I’m willing to pay.”
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be your surrogate,” she answered firmly. “I’ll return later to clean your suite.”
When she closed the door, he heard her mutter, “It’s always the handsome ones.”
She thought he was crazy. And she was right—he lost more of his mind the longer he went without a child and the shorter his time on this earth got.
“She thinks we’re gay, Jax,” Dylan pointed out as he sat in the spot she had vacated.
“I got that,” he growled.
“I don’t think she will change her mind,” Dylan said. “I don’t understand why you can’t pick someone from the pack and be done with it.”
He would have had many children already if it had been that easy. Goddess knew how much he had tried. But Fate had messed that up for him, too, and made sure only one woman could carry his children. Only one woman could save them all—his mate.
“I told you why.”
At least as much as he could. Dylan was not only his Beta; he was also his only friend. Keeping the truth from him was essential. Keeping it from everyone was crucial. It was bad enough that they would have to accept his heir from a woman who was as useless as a human, but he could deal with that better than the panic that the truth would cause. He had no time to soothe anyone or deal with the packs that would circle his territory when they realised he was about to die.
As the Alpha King, the repercussions would be astronomical.
“I doubt any of our pack would assume they are the Queen just because they have your child. They can do a blood oath—”
“Dylan, please,” he sighed as he stood and walked towards the drinks cabinet.
It was still morning, but fuck it. He needed something to calm and stop himself from going after the human. To prevent himself from pinning her down and marking her while he buried himself deep inside her body.
He closed his eyes as he tried not to imagine what that would feel like, but it was all his wolf wanted and all he could see.
Every wolf he’d ever come across dreamed of being lucky enough to one day meet their mate, but he couldn’t understand why anyone would think this was a blessing. It was torture!
“Okay. Pick another one if that girl doesn’t want to do it.”
Cain growled in his head, ready to attack Dylan for even suggesting that, but he shoved his wolf back and focused on his drink.
And just like that, his mind returned to a place he didn’t want to be. He didn’t want to think of touching Layla or tasting her. He didn’t want to remember the scent of her arousal.
Four days since he first caught Layla’s sweet scent, he was already acting like a lunatic.
The first day felt like a gift from the Goddess. He was almost out of time, so finding his mate had given him hope. And then he had seen her. A half-blood. Half-human and cleaning up after everyone else. It felt like a punch in the nuts; he’d wanted to kill someone for this cruel joke. She was not worthy to carry his child; she was not worthy to be the one who saved them all.
But there they were.
There was no other choice.
“Get more information on her. She’s human. You’ll find many weaknesses I can use,” he ordered. “She’s the one I’ve picked, so she’s the one I’ll have.”
Layla would have his child one way or another, and then he could finally have some peace.
Dylan felt the command in his words and stood up to do as he had ordered. When he sensed his Beta was far enough away from their suite, he picked up his glass and threw it against the wall, smashing it into pieces.
If he told Dylan the truth, he would tie the girl up and offer her to him on a silver platter. But then his child would be a product of rape; that was the last thing he wanted. The child would be his legacy, the only thing left of him on this earth, and would carry his blood. He couldn’t taint the child before he had even conceived them. He was a bastard, but not that much. His child would be the best part of him.
Layla would change her mind. Humans loved money, and this one, in particular, was drowning in debt. Why hadn’t she wanted to know how much he was offering her? He could solve all her problems in a day if she took his offer. That meant Dylan had to find something else he could use.
Something she couldn’t refuse.
The growl came louder in his head as his beast showed his displeasure. But he was in charge here, not Cain. They would do things his way, and at the end of it all, Layla could go back to her life because there was no future for them, even if she wasn’t a half-blood.
‘Find her. Mark her,’ Cain growled.
‘Be patient! She hasn’t got a wolf; she doesn’t even know we exist,’ he snapped as he picked up an entire bottle of alcohol and walked towards his bedroom.
And marking her was out of the question.
He didn’t stay at the Royal Hotel often even though he owned it and it was in his territory, but he was sure Layla hadn’t been around the last time he had been there. Her scent was all over the hotel as if she had marked it. Could anyone else smell it? Did they have that sweet, intoxicating scent turning them inside out? Making them drool? Making them think of nothing else except to claim her?
One thing was certain now. If—no, when—Layla agreed to this, he would get her pregnant and then stay the hell away from her. He’d been hard for days, and her scent had made Cain unstable. He didn’t need that complication on top of everything else. Not when he had less than a year left to live.
Did she have some sign on her head that said she was a pushover or desperate?
Layla pushed the cart with more force than necessary until she was far enough away from the penthouse suite and then leaned against the wall. Her knees were still shaking, and she wasn’t entirely sure if it was because of the man’s words had said or the man himself. It surprised her she hadn’t fallen flat on her face when she’d made her righteous exit.
The men were in the most expensive suite in the exclusive hotel; they didn’t need to ask a stranger to help them out. He might have somehow got a hold of some of her personal information, but everyone in Wolfdale knew about her. The kid abandoned by her mother. The kid who’d had to drop out of school so she could work and take care of her little sister because their father was an alcoholic and a gambling addict.
That didn’t mean she had no dignity left. She wouldn’t give up a child! Those men thought they could throw their money around like
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