The Unwanted Hybrid Luna
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Many years before, Vinicius of the Midnight Pack had only two choices: hand his hybrid family over to the ruthless Lycan King, or death. He chose to keep his family hidden from the tyrant and hid them deep in the forest, in a place he never thought the Lycan King would find them. But he did. Paloma, his eldest daughter—now eighteen—was snatched by the cruel Lycan King’s soldiers. Her family got away, but she didn’t. Her execution for being a hybrid—half-human and half-werewolf—would be a public one to show the entire kingdom that matings between humans and werewolves were forbidden. Everything changed when the Lycan King’s son, Maximus, realized that Paloma was his mate. Paloma soon discovered that Maximus was just as cruel as his father. Yet, there was a protective side of him that she didn’t understand, and whenever it presented itself, it perplexed her. He appeared to hate her but protected her from all harm, especially from his father. When an enemy of the kingdom presented itself, Paloma was once again taken hostage and used as a pawn in a dangerous game. The price for her life was the crown. At first, she was terrified by the enemy, but afterward, she discovered that not everything was as it seemed and that the Lycan Kingdom had terrible secrets. Would Maximus save her or would she have to save herself? Most importantly, would the secrets revealed to her change the way she felt about Maximus forever, or would they emerge from the war stronger than ever?
Vinicius of the Midnight Pack only had two choices.
Die or hand his family over to the Lycan King.
He wouldn't give them up. That was something he was never going to do. They were his blood; his kin. He was their sole protector. He didn't mind risking his life when he mated to his lovely Sylvana, so he wouldn't start caring now. What was done was done. They'd had three beautiful children and he swore to himself on the days they were born that he would protect them regardless of the risk.
And that was what he was going to do until the very end.
The blade was right above his neck. They were taunting him with it, hoping that he would weaken his resolve and tell them where his family was. That wouldn't happen. They had already taken everything from him. His life was meaningless compared to what he had already lost. He was fully prepared to die.
"Don't be a fool, Vinicius," the Beta of the Kingdom said to him through his teeth. "We'll find them either way. You're going to spare yourself a whole lot of pain, not only to you but to them. The King is willing to be merciful with them. Their deaths will be painless."
Vinicius smiled a little. He said nothing. There was no negotiating with their sort. He knew how they were. They were only trying to trick him into believing them. He would never let them lay a finger on his family.
"You're a stubborn fool," said a voice in the dark. He recognized it as the King's.
"At least I'll die knowing that I protected what was mine," he answered, looking up.
The cold steel of the blade was pressed against his neck. Shivers ran down his spine, which he ignored. He wouldn't allow fear to creep into his heart, not now when he was on the brink of death. The King was lurking in the shadows, but his eyes glowed in the dark. It was a characteristic trait of the entire royal family. It was the indication that they were meant to reign over the Kingdom. Vinicius disagreed. He didn't think that any of them were fit to rule.
"You think protecting your pack of hybrid mutts is honorable?" the King asked.
Vinicius looked daggers at him. "It's more than what you did for your own, Allistor."
A growl left the King's lips. He rushed forward and bared his teeth at him. "I am the Lycan King. I am known for no other name. You have insulted the ruler of this Kingdom once again! I will ensure that your mutts pay dearly. I will drain their filthy blood and rip them limb from limb. The whole Kingdom will witness the purging. Your headless body will twist in your grave."
Despite the iciness in his voice, Vinicius felt no fear. He knew that Sylvana would hide them well. He knew that the goddess would be on their side. They weren't impure. The Lycans feared them because they were different. Stronger. More versatile.
The Lycans feared anything that threatened their position on the throne.
He saw that first-hand.
"I won't ask you if you have any last words," the King said viciously. "You don't deserve the honor. Beta, off with his head!"
Vinicius only had a few moments to think. They were far from enough. The blade was lifted. He closed his eyes. He recalled the last time he saw his family. He didn't know that it would be the last time. Tears sprung to his eyes. He had promised Sylvana that he would bring fresh herbs from the citadel. He had them in his pocket. He held his eight-year-old daughter on the night he left their home--their hiding place--and promised her that he would teach her how to hunt and gather nuts from the bushes near their home. She stared back at him with sparkling green eyes, uncommon in a werewolf, and nodded her small head.
He would never fulfil his promise.
There would be no goodbyes. They would never find out what happened to him, not unless they left their hiding place. That would mean the end for them. He knew Allistor well; he wouldn't stop until he crushed them beneath his boot. But he had to believe that they would be safe. He had to believe his death wasn't in vain. That his sacrifice would be worth it.
Allistor did not allow him to say any last words as was customary in their Kingdom, but he muttered the words under his breath. It was only a sentence long, and they were the last words that he ever spoke. He said them with all his heart. He said them with a faith he had never known before.
"Goddess, keep them safe."
Chapter 1: The Broken Padlock
Paloma stood up and wiped her brow with the back of her hand.
Tonight was the night of a full moon and that was always an important day for her family. They celebrated it like a holiday, and so preparations had to be made.
She was responsible for the food, so collecting wild berries and nuts for the pudding was her duty. Krystal was back at the house milking the cow and Kaleb was getting what they called the backyard ready for the party. Their mother was in her room. She fell ill again, so she was prohibited from lifting a finger to help. She needed to rest.
Paloma stared at her basket for a long time, then nodded. She was satisfied with what she had gathered. It would be enough. She turned on her heel and sprinted back to the house. She didn’t like to spend too much time deep in the woods, alone nonetheless. Unfortunately, the best berries were far from their little house. She would have to cross the border they made with large stones to find them. S
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