We’re so pleased to have author Victoria Sue joining us today on the tour for her newest novel, The Alpha Heir, book two in the Kingdom of Askara series. We have an exclusive peek at a scene from the book to share with you, as well as the opportunity to win an e-book from Victoria’s backlist, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below for details.
About the Book
Man and wolf. Sworn enemies in the battle for Askara. Can hate and betrayal ever lead to love?
Caleb Harken has spent six years wrongfully imprisoned for his father’s treachery. Tortured and reviled by the very wolf pack he should have been leading as Alpha, he is not surprised to learn he’s finally to meet his death at the hands of the human rebel leader, Taegan Callan.
Taegan gave up his dreams of a life-mate and a family after seeing too many humans butchered at the hands of the wolves—even if Caleb doesn’t seem to be the bloodthirsty savage he expects, and even if he starts to long for a different kind of future with the wolf.
Can Caleb become the Alpha he was always meant to be and lead his pack, or will he finally realize that winning his freedom means nothing when he has already lost his heart?
“We have an outhouse of sorts at the back. Follow me.” Caleb pushed off the blanket, relieved to see he was in loose cotton pants and rushed to stand. It was a bad idea. If Taegan hadn’t been close he would have been sprawled on the floor and the man caught him around the waist easily. He hissed in pain as the rebel touched his left arm. His legs refused to hold him up. He closed his eyes in despair, shame heating him.
“Whoa there,” Taegan said mildly and gently tucked Caleb’s arm into his side so it was protected. Caleb listened for the censure in his voice but there didn’t seem to be any. “Let’s take it slow.” Caleb stumbled down the tunnel to the entrance, ducked his head as he saw other humans watching him curiously, and gratefully relieved himself behind the screen while Taegan stood guard. He felt grubby but there was nothing to rinse his hands so he turned and stepped out from behind the screen. Caleb’s legs shook with the effort of holding him up, and Taegan reached out a steadying arm. Neither of them spoke as they walked back to the cave and Caleb sank gratefully back on the pallet bed. He was shivering again and reached for the blanket.
Taegan beat him to it just as his hand touched the soft wool, and Caleb shrank back, his heart pounding thinking he was in trouble. Taegan just looked at him steadily. “Cy?” Taegan called and Caleb winced. “Go get him some warm clothes,” he ordered the man who ducked into the room. Taegan briskly shook the blanket out and then quickly draped it over his shoulders. Caleb stilled in shock as the big man tucked the blanket around him, and turned to the woman. “He’s freezing, mom.”
Renee clucked again and then appeared holding a warm bowl of water and a cloth. “Give me your hands,” she asked gently and Caleb’s jaw dropped in astonishment as she took each of his hands and wiped them clean with the warm water and the cloth. He couldn’t help the hiss as the water touched his wrists and Renee made a sound of distress and stilled.
He lifted his head after a minute. “Why?” he whispered, and in another instant would have happily cut his own tongue out to take back the word. “I mean,” he tried hurriedly. “I understand if you need to put me back in the cage.”
Renee lifted her hand slowly and cupped his cheek again. She was warm, soft. Exactly like every dream of a mother he had ever had, and he wished with everything in him at that second she was his. “Taegan will help you get clean properly after and will look at these wrists. I want to get some broth into you first.” Her hand dropped. Caleb ducked his head and belatedly remembered his manners.
“Thank you,” he whispered, feeling the loss as she tucked his hands back in the blanket. He had felt the tiny pulse beat in her wrist, and ached for her hand back, for the touch. He shrank back onto the pallet.
“Taegan.” Renee said the name almost as if it were an instruction and pushed a cup of the broth into his hands. Taegan sighed and sat down on the pallet and Caleb froze, his heart threatening to escape his chest. They were nearly touching. Caleb inhaled. The soup smelled wonderful, but underneath there was another scent. He’d smelled it in the clearing when those large hands were around his throat and he remembered it from his crazy dream. Smoky but not cloying. He took another breath and his heart settled. It reminded him of his childhood when his father would come back from the hunt and roast the meat on the fire. It was always a celebration, and even the servants would eat well. Of course, that was before his uncle took over. The only humans in Warwick’s pack now were slaves. His nose flared again.
“I can hold the cup, but it will warm your hands if you can manage it.” Caleb jerked and Taegan huffed. “Here,” he said almost crossly thrusting it at him and Caleb curled his fingers around the cup hardly daring to believe it was for him. He paused. Was it a trick? Would it be snatched away?
“I’m just going to see the children are up,” Renee murmured and Caleb looked up in surprise. He had forgotten she was there. She walked out of the cave.
Caleb looked at the soup again. “It’s not poisoned,” Taegan said and Caleb heard the mild annoyance in his tone and he sipped quickly before he thought better of it. He groaned loudly as he felt the heat in his belly from it trickling down. Taegan chuckled and leaned back seeming quite relaxed. Caleb ducked his head and gobbled the soup before anyone changed their mind and took it off him.
He raised his eyes when the cup was empty and looked longingly at the pot. Taegan stood up without saying a word and took his cup away, refilled it and handed it back. Caleb stared in shock but said “Thank you,” and this time sipped it slowly, wary of his belly objecting to more food than it was used to.
Taegan sat down again, but on the chair this time. Caleb tried not to be too disappointed. “I need to ask you some questions,” he started and cleared his throat. Caleb tilted his head in concentration and remembered what he had asked him before.
“You asked me about some missing children?” Caleb paused before Taegan had the chance to answer and smelled a wolf’s scent immediately. He gasped, nearly dropping the cup and struggled to his feet. “Quick,” he begged. “They’ve found you, run. Get your mom.”
“What?” Taegan stood in confusion glancing around just before Silas stepped into the room. Caleb snarled and without a thought for what he was doing leaped in front of the human shielding him. He would die, but he may give Taegan seconds to get away. He snarled again and put his back to Taegan, not thinking how odd the sound was coming from a human throat.
“Caleb.” Caleb jumped as Taegan’s large hand rested on his shoulder. “This is Silas. He’s a friend.” Caleb felt even more foolish and glanced warily at the wolf. Silas? He didn’t smell of any pack he recognized, but that wasn’t surprising. The wolf took a step closer and Caleb was just going to arch his neck to show submission when the wolf astounded him.
He took a sharp inhale and then sank to his knee baring his throat in exactly the submissive pose Caleb was just going to offer. “Alpha,” he said deferentially, and Caleb looked behind him, half expecting there to be another wolf.
“W-what are you doing?” Caleb stuttered and then a chill ran over him as he realized the wolf must be offering deference to the human. It was unusual, but if they were friends, and Teagan was in charge he had shown an incredible lack of respect. The human Alpha had cared for him.
“What are you doing?” Taegan repeated Caleb’s question but he wasn’t looking at Caleb, he was looking at Silas. Silas rose and gazed at Caleb.
“Forgive me, Alpha,” he said again and it was completely clear this time he was addressing Caleb. Caleb took a confused step back right against Taegan’s chest and Taegan’s hands immediately steadied him. Silas looked at them both.
“Renee told me you had just woken up. Perhaps we should all sit and talk,” Silas said mildly. Utterly bewildered, Caleb nodded but sat on the edge of the pallet.
“Silas, what’s going on? You called him Alpha,” Taegan asked immediately.
Caleb’s eyes flew to the other wolf brown ones gazing at him. “He is an Alpha. The scent is unmistakable,” Silas confirmed.
Caleb nearly laughed. Perhaps the wolf was old. It was ridiculous and Caleb tried to shrug off the hurt. He would have been the Alpha, once. “I am sorry,” he said quietly. “I am not an Alpha.”
Silas grinned showing a lot of teeth. “I have known a lot of Alphas in my time. Their scent is unmistakable and I had an overwhelming urge to submit. I have not felt that in a lot of years.”
Caleb took a breath and felt the shame curl deep in his belly. “You are mistaken, friend. I am not an Alpha. I do not have—”
“A wolf?” Silas interrupted. Caleb nodded, suddenly annoyed at the pointless question. “Let me guess. You felt his presence as a child, but as you grew and still didn’t shift, you began to ignore your wolf’s voice thinking it was merely your imagination?”
Caleb swallowed down his tight throat. “Exactly, and that is why you are mistaken.”
Silas smiled. “That is a natural assumption. Wolves like you have been chased into obscurity. Your very existence threatened by those terrified of what you represent.”
“What he represents?” Taegan repeated slowly sounding as confused as Caleb was.
Silas smiled and added. “But you are mistaken. You have a wolf, and he is responsible for your sense of smell at least, but you will never likely take that form. Your human side must be stronger, I’m afraid.”
“That’s impossible,” Taegan interrupted before Caleb got a chance to. “He’s the Alpha’s nephew. We know that. He’s a wolf, not a human.”
“He’s both,” Silas said calmly. “A hybrid. Your mother, I assume because you were raised in a pack, was human or may have been a hybrid herself. You were never meant to shift and you represent what every wolf fears the most.
About the Author
Victoria Sue Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby three years ago. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail.
Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.
Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook. Sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha