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The Seven Clans Book 4

Alpha Bound
An Omegaverse Romance

by M.S. Volny

Kromar saves Vala from the jaws of death.
Can she swallow her pride and return the favour?

The Tar'trn have crossed the Southern Peaks. The drums of war are beating.
Kromar and Vala race against time to reach Brakn before the invading army.
She is his from the moment they meet.
Will he win her heart?

Alpha Bound is the final (for now) installment of the Seven Clans series. A steamy omegaverse romance of approximately 19,000 words.

Chapter One
The thundering of distant drums made Vala sneer. Though she’d never heard the sound before it was as ominous as an approaching storm in summer. It seemed to shake the ground itself. The forest had gone silent for it, trees bending away from it as if cowering in fear.
Fear did not come easily to her then, nor had it ever.
Instead, the rumbling caused a hardening of her spirit. The same resistance that the insipid clenching brought. That wicked twisting feeling that three times a day would curl through her and make her want to scream.
But screaming would have been too easy. Screaming would have brought some release, a respite, however brief, from the gut-wrenching pain. No. Screaming would not do for Vala. As much as it might have helped, mastering the damn thing was far more satisfying.
Owning it. Living through it and breaking out the other end gasping for air with a fist clenched toward the heavens. To hell and back with whatever had brought it on. To hell and back with life itself. She would sooner die than give in and admit she couldn’t take it anymore.
She closed her eyes, clenched the muscles in her jaw and listened.
It was coming closer. The ghostly thumping wandering up over the Southern Peaks was moving toward her urging her to run, to get away, crawl into some hole and hide until it passed. This was not something Vala did easily, either. As the last rays of sunlight disappeared over the horizon the forest seemed to close in around her, too. A spasm of pain ripped through her, settling between her legs and squeezing her there.
She fell to her knees, fingers drawing claw-marks in the dirt as she sucked in a deep breath to help herself move through it. She counted to five as waves of pain wormed through her, eyes closed but not squeezed. That would have been an admission of sorts as well. An acknowledgement that it held her in it’s grip.
She’d sooner go to hell and not return than admit that, too.
The pain eased. It didn’t let her go completely but, like an unclenching fist, released her from the tightest part. The rest was easy. Another count to five and it was almost gone.
She could breathe again. Vala let the air out of her lungs and slumped sideways onto the ground. She looked up at the stars glimmering overhead. She’d waited too long this time. Perhaps because the drumming had started at noon and set her moving. She hadn’t paid attention to the light. By now she should have had a shelter built. Now she’d spend the night with her back against a tree waiting for the morning light to come.
Her ears pricked. Through the thudding another noise had made it’s way to her. Low and rolling and constant. Purring?
Lifting herself up slowly, her eyes narrowed as she scanned the darkness. It was nearly hopeless. The woods were dense. There was no moon. She was forced to rely on other senses.
Closing her eyes, she twisted her head from side to side, trying to locate the source of the sound. There. Her eyes snapped open again. Now instead of inky black she saw two points of the faintest light. Two round, yellow orbs staring at her through the brush. Biding their time and waiting until the moment was just right.
Panic flooded through her. She swept it away as she locked eyes with the creature and held it’s stare.
She’d seen them before. There were three gardens in Corona that had kept them. Many times she’d walked up to the fences to watch the animals play. Those animals had been nothing like this one. They’d rolled and fought, their ears already slouching towards their heads in submission. Their growls had been playful as they tumbled and yipped. But as soon as the keeper would come with scraps of meat they’d run up to the bars of their cage, tails tucked between their legs and sit politely waiting for their meal.
This animal had almost nothing in common with them. This was a hunter. A killer. A sharp-eyed beast with razor teeth who had it’s sights set on it’s meal. A meal that it had just seen weak with pain.
Not taking her eyes off the wolf, Vala set her jaw and reached out to sweep a hand across the ground around her. If this was to be her end, it wouldn’t be a quiet one.
Her hand found a gnarly branch. Not long enough to be a spear, or thick enough to be a cudgel but it would have to do. She wrapped a fist around it and dragged herself to her feet.
The wolf growled again.
Vala did her best to snarl. She shook her head. “You’re going to regret this,” she growled back. Spreading her feet apart and hunching her shoulders she became as big as she could be.
The wolf seemed to reconsider. Still staring, it’s head cocked slightly to one side it appeared to ponder the situation.
It pained Vala to think of hurting any living thing. The thought of taking a life, even to preserve her own, wrenched through her, the pain almost worse than what she’d been enduring. This was a creature, after all, that didn’t understand what it was about to do. It didn’t know it would be ending something precious so it could live. It didn’t know greed, or malice. It only understood one thing: survival.
And that was what made this different. In Corona animals were pets or livestock. Kept behind fences, in cages, stared at and cooed about. Out here they were animals. Wild and feral things that suffered and hunted and killed.
The thought crossed her mind that out here she had entered their world. Out here she, too, was a creature.
In the split-second it took her to think it the wolf made it’s decision. Haunches flexing it bared it’s teeth and hurled itself at her through the trees.
This time the panic came ice cold and froze her. Even as her mind screamed at her body to move, it wouldn’t. With her feet rooted to the ground she could only watch the blur of fur and fangs come barrelling forward, it’s mind fixed on what it was about to eat.
Even though she’d rarely attended temple and wasn’t even sure if gods were real, Vala said a quiet prayer. A quiet offering to a quarter life well-lived, even if the last few moons had been spent in wretched misery. She was grateful for every moment. Even the darkest ones. She closed her eyes in what she expected would be the final time.
The blow she’d been expecting never came. No claws scratching at her skin. No teeth clamping on her neck. Nothing but a quiet whimper.
Vala wondered if she was already dead? Surely she would have felt some pain? She dared herself to try and see the world again. As her eyes opened her breath caught in her chest.
The wolf was suspended in mid air, pawing at the darkness as it hung by the scruff of it’s neck. Against it’s fur the glint of steel. Behind it the contours of a human shape. Barely human because of it’s enormity, and definitely very male. Thick strands of muscle twisted together under tight skin, flexing as they fought the wolf’s resistance.
A hand gripped a blade and made to draw it across the creatures throat.
“No!” A scream tore through her hurtling into the open air. “Don’t kill it.” This was spoken in more of a whimper, of which she was slightly ashamed.