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Authors: Vivian Cove

Tags: #Paranormal Romance, #Werewolves

Alpha Prince

BOOK: Alpha Prince
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Alpha Prince

The Shapeshifters' BBW Mate #1

by Vivian Cove

***

So I followed my mom up a mountain to meet the man I’ve been promised to since I was 6 or 7 years old.

He wasn’t there. This didn’t surprise me. I’d long suspected that my fiancé didn’t actually exist. I mean, I’m 25 and I’ve never met the guy, seen a photograph, or even received a letter. So when my family carries on with the marriage ceremony even though no one is there, it’s a little weird.

And then it gets weirder.

My “beloved family” drugs me and leaves me in a cave on top of the mountain. When I wake up, they’re gone but I’m not alone.

I should be afraid of the man who’s with me. He’s strong, powerful and wild. But, damn, he’s also the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen and he’s looking at me like I’m the answer to all his prayers. There’s some serious animal magnetism going on between us.

Yes, ANIMAL magnetism. There’s a good reason for that.

And once I discover exactly what that reason is, my life will never be the same.

***

This is the first story in a serial. Each story in the series will bring a new shapeshifting prince into the reverse harem. Thanks for your interest in my stories!

For more information about me and my books, check out my website: 
http://www.viviancove.com

To get an email when I release my next book, sign-up for my mailing list:
 
http://bit.ly/10OHfEF

Chapter 1

There’s nothing quite like hiking up a freaking mountain after eating German pancakes for breakfast.

Yes, pancake
s
. Plural.

With lots of maple syrup, powdered sugar, and a heaping side of bacon for good measure.

Personally, I’d been expecting granola or eggs. Something light. Maybe even a vanilla protein shake and one of those tasteless protein bars. But mom, unsurprisingly, had other plans.

“This is the day you’ll meet him,” she beamed, her smile as radiant as the ray of sunlight beaming into my eye, making me wince and hiss as I stuck my hand in front of my face like a vampire.

I’d had a few too many congratulatory drinks last night. Damn, the Sisters of the Order of the Crystal sure could hold their liquor. Anyways, I’d plummeted into my seat at the breakfast table. This made my head pound even harder. “Right. Can’t wait…to meet him.

My mom slapped a plate down in front of me. And then another. And another. “I want you to be your best, so I made you your favorite for breakfast.”

She’d not only made it once, but at least six times. That should have been my first clue that she was planning on torturing me today.

And, oh boy, is she succeeding.

My generously curvy body is not made for carving my own path through the wilderness. A hike around a lake? Oh sure, I can do that. And I’ll take a dip in that lake, too. But please, please,
please
, do not make me
conquer the freaking mountain
. There’s a rock in my left shoe, but I’m too tired to bend over and fix it. There isn’t a cloud in the blue sky. Cheery sunlight beats down on me, making all those ringlets my mother had so painstakingly made with the curling iron at breakfast while I stuffed my face stick to my sweaty forehead.

In other words, I no longer look my best.

“Don’t make such a grump face, we’re almost there!” my mom sings.

I want to yell something at her, but I’m too tired, so I groan like a zombie.

She shakes her head. “Oh, come on Rainbow!”

I wish that was her pet name for me, but no, my name is actually Rainbow. Why? Because my mom was flyin’ high on pain meds when I came out, and said that I was like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. So why hadn’t I been called Goldie? Because “life’s about the journey,” though this made even less sense to me because wasn’t childbirth about the baby and not the painful birthing part? Anyways, yeah, I’m Rainbow, which I thought was the coolest thing ever until I reached the age of eleven. Come to think of it, that was
also
the year I’d stopped thinking having an arranged marriage was the most romantic thing ever.

“Come on, Rainbow. The sisters are waiting for you.”

This does not surprise me. The sisters of the Order of the Crystal were like a small army of grandmothers. Very, very intense grandmothers. Waking up at 4am was not a big deal for them since it was the time they woke up every day. They then bathed in the ice melt river at the edge of the property, gathered fallen twigs, tended to the chickens and the goats and the garden, and caught up on some “light” reading (like Hildegard of Bingen’s
Scivias)
.

All this was completed before breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, I have a killer side-ache. I clutch my stomach as my mother calls out, “Oh look, you can see the sisters!”

I glance up to see the dotted outline of the sisters around a big ass fire. My first thought is,
Thank God.
My second thought,
Still too far.
My third,
Oh no, they’re cooking something!
The Sisters of the Order of the Crystal are famous throughout the land for their cooking, and not in a good way. Many have wondered how I’ve reached the ripe old age of 25. I’ve wondered, too.

“So close, Rainbow! Are you excited?”

I make more zombie noises.

My mom takes this as a good thing. “Great! I’m so happy for you.”

At least one of us was happy.

“Do you have the ring?” my mom asks.

Oh, like I’d ever climb up this mountain without it! If I didn’t have it with me, mom and the Sisters would totally make me go back down to get it…and then they’d make me come right back up again. This is a trip I’m only making once.

The ring she’s talking about is an ugly black, crackly band that looks it’d been consumed by fire and feels like a noose. It’s currently on my middle finger. Panting, I grab my left knee with my left hand, raise my right hand, and flip her the bird.

Mom beams. “Great!”

I squint. Yeah, not seeing even a trace of sarcasm there. Well, good for her.

Mom’s smile gets so bright that her eyes start to sparkle. “I bet you can’t wait to meet your future husband!”

Actually, I could wait. I could wait forever to meet him, because the asshole insisted that I meet him
on the top of a freaking mountain
. For a second, I actually wish this husband were real and not some metaphorical “husband,” because it’s a lot harder to kick a metaphor’s ass.

The dude does not exist. I’ve never met him, or his family, or even received a letter from him or his family.
They don’t use email
, my mom told me, to which I asked,
He doesn’t use email? Just how old is he?!?
In response, my mother did that horrifying slow laugh. Panic set in until I realized she was laughing because there was no creepy old man waiting for me. You see, I’ve never never seen a picture of my future husband. In fact, no one would even
tell me his name,
which is pretty damn sketchy.

So why am I going along with this charade?

Because I love my mother, and the crazy sisters who raised me, and this obviously means something to them so I’m willing to be convinced that it means something to me, too.

I’m just really hoping that something isn’t my death.

We finally reach the top of the mountain. I’m not dead, but it’s hot as hell. I’m so worn out that whatever nasty potion Sister Nova and Sister Neptune (who I fondly refer to as N and N) are brewing up in that cauldron smells almost edible.

“Rainbow!” Sister Katerina (Kiki) smiles, coming over to pat my shoulder. And then, because it must look like I’m about to keel over, she grabs me. “My, you must be tired.”

I no longer have enough strength to make a zombie moan, so I do a little zombie whimper. She leads me to a log and we both sit. Well, alright,
she
sits. I collapse and almost break the log. Sister Xia (Agent X) stands in her default position—feet shoulder-width apart, arms crossed over her chest, glaring at me.

I take another look around. Surprise, surprise, there’s no man in sight. I raise my eyebrows. “So, where is he?”

Kiki stops rubbing my back. N and N drop their wooden spoons into the cauldron. Agent X keeps glaring.

“You know,” I continue, “the guy I’m supposed to marry.”

My mom coughs. “Um, about that…” She gulps. Shoves her hands into her pockets.

Yeah, she’s got nothing. I sigh. “Look, it’s alright. I know the truth already.”

The sisters frown. Or rather, N and N and Kiki frown. Agent X is already frowning. “You do?”

“Yeah. You think you could have hidden something like this from me?”

The sisters glance at each other again.

M starts, “It’s just, I mean…”

“Were we really
that
obvious?” other M finishes.

“Well, the truth is actually a lot easier to grasp than this lie. I mean, it’s just ridiculous. Meeting my future husband all the way up here? No normal dude would require all this.”

Kiki nods thoughtfully. “Well, you are right. Your future beau is no normal man—or normal
dude
? Is that what the kids are saying these days?”

The kids probably hadn’t used that word for the past few decades, but Kiki looks so happy I don’t have the heart to correct her.

Agent X’s frown deepens. “
Man.
Xavier Benedict Amethyst Spiral the IV is
not
a ‘dude’.”

Ah yes. Crystal Jesus. I grin, shouting, “Called it!”

“You truly knew it was our Crystal savior?” N and N clutch each other, cooing.

“Yeah.” Like I said, it wasn’t hard to figure out. In the Order of the Crystal, everything led back to Crystal Jesus. Thousands or hundreds or at least a long-ass time ago, Xavier Bernard Amethyst Spiral the IV, the only human with a more unfortunate name than mine, ruled this land. He, like his father before him, was the head of the Knights of the Light Crystal.

(I am just going to let those ridiculous words sink in for a moment, because more of them are coming. A lot more.)

But Xavier’s brother, Julius Malefic Obsidian the III, wanted the throne from his brother because why not? He was a dick, and that’s what dicks do. So he stomped out of one of the meetings of the Knights of the Light Crystal, packed up his shit, and ventured North, to the land of Mages and Dragons. There, he faced-off against the leader of a barbarian hoard, and stole the Crystal of Darkness.

Yes. You heard me right.
The Crystal of Darkness
.

Anyways, the Crystal of Darkness was the strongest thing ever. When it came out, shit went down. So bad boy Julius whipped it out and there was basically a deadly laser light show and a lot of crystals got shattered. (Tragic, I know). Just when all hope was lost, Xavier discovered a way to seal his brother away for good. Only problem? He’d have to seal himself off, too.

And so the “Great Unity” was “severed,” and the “crystals wept,” and Xavier became Crystal Jesus—or at least that’s what I call him because it seems to fit.

So yeah.
This
was the guy they wanted me to marry. A guy who obviously does not actually exist. Which, I guess, would explain why he didn’t have email.

I sigh. “Well, let’s get this marriage over with.”
I want to get back to binge watching
Sword Art Online
.

Kiki’s eyes gleam with a freakishly happy light. “She’s ready. Sister Mercy and Sister Mercury, it is time to start the ceremony.”

Oh yay! A creepy celebration centered around marrying me off to an imaginary man! Just what every single woman who’s nursing a broken heart wants for her 25th birthday!

Well, I knew from the beginning this part was unavoidable. I roll my head back and forth, cracking my neck, as N and N carry over the cauldron. The potion/brew/poison smells rank and it looks like the ooze left over from when the Wicked Witch of the West melted. I decide to shut my eyes.

Kiki grabs my hands. “I, Rainbow, devote my life to thee, our Crystal savior, and shall devote my body to your body of light.”

“Okay, cool,” I tell them.

My mother elbows my side. “Rainbow!”

Uh, did they really expect me to repeat this nonsense?

I glance around at the expectant sisters.

Yes. They did really expect me to repeat all that. I sigh. “I, Rainbow, devote my life to thee, our Crystal savior, and shall devote my body to your body of light.”

“I shall lay in the cave of darkness and offer myself to thee.”

I shiver as I repeat the words.
Ugh. Sounds creepy and cold.

“So I may be purified and travel to the Crystal world.”

What the hell? Crystal world? Was that like Crystal heaven?
Did they bring me up the mountain to kill me?

I glance at my mother. She’s tearing up right now as if I really were getting married. Tension leaves my shoulders. Alright, I’m just being stupid. These women raised me and they are my family. They just want to make sure my soul crystal or whatever goes to the right place when I croak.

BOOK: Alpha Prince
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