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Alpha’s Blood (Bad Boy Alphas #12)
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I BOUGHT HER. I OWN HER. BUT SHE’LL NEVER BE MINE…
A captured queen…
This stand-alone romance is the twelfth in the bestselling Bad Boy Alpha series. HEA guaranteed, no cheating. This enemies-to-lovers story contains a cool, collected vampire and the she-wolf sent to bring him down. If such material offends you, do not buy this book.
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The stage is an old battered platform, transformed by lush red curtains and glaring spotlights. How many Macbeths have died here? How many Hamlets? I wait in the wings, listening to the murmur of the audience. Goosebumps rise up and down my arms.
Relax, my mentor’s voice whispered to me. You’re going to perform splendidly.
I certainly hope so. I’ve trained for this moment my whole life. I’m wearing a strappy silky dress that drapes over my breasts and hips, molding to them with a nod to modesty while leaving my legs bare below mid thigh. The revealing attire doesn’t bother me, but without weapons I’m naked. Since the age of sixteen, I’ve always had weapons on me. I used to fall asleep cradling my favorite: a wooden stake.
This is your greatest role. Your ultimate performance, my mentor said. If you fail, you pay the ultimate price. His voice deepened. Do not fail me.
I will not fail. After tonight, my life will hang in the balance, but that is nothing new. It always has. I’ve waited, and cried and sweated and fought and lived and breathed and died for this moment. The training demanded all of me, and I have given it my all. Whatever happens after tonight was plotted long ago, my part in the plot custom-made for me. I was born to play this role. Everything in my life has led to this moment.
“Ten minute warning,” a black clad backstage hand calls. His gaze drifts over me like I’m a part of the set. I raise my chin and meet his gaze, staring until he drops it and scuttles away. I smooth my see-through garment and uncurl my lip. Tonight I pay a submissive part, but not until the curtains rise. I won’t cringe before these cockroaches. I don’t even bow to my mentor. It amuses him, my show of dominance. Or perhaps he thinks my alpha strength will protect me in my final mission. Either way, he allows my cheek. I’d be dead if he didn’t.
Two shadows move in the depths of the stage. I don’t bother glancing back. The guards are there for my protection, and to herd me onto the stage if I get cold feet. Unnecessary. I can’t wait to play this role.
This old theater is long past its use. The air is dusty, stale. The green room holds another, sour scent that only grows worse when you descend the stairs into the basement filled with cages. My mentor hustled me past them, ordering me to focus on the endgame. A part of me wanted to turn and face the cages, find the ones that were full and break the bars. Free the frightened shifters. In another life, that would be my mission. Maybe it still can be—if I survive.
Will they end up on stage? I asked as we climbed the stairs, escaping those glittering eyes.
Some of them, my mentor answered. Some of them are awaiting pickup. He caught my anger and disgust and leaned close. This is the perversion that Lucius Frangelico allows. When he is gone, we will right this wrong.
It was the perfect thing to say. When I step on stage, all I will think about is the king sitting in the audience. The end of his reign will send shockwaves through his corrupt kingdom.
But first, Lucius Frangelico has to die.
He is here? Right now? I asked Xavier.
On his way, my mentor answered. My spies report he will arrive in time. Once he is seated, we give the signal, and your part will begin.
My fists clench at my sides and I force them to straighten. Time to get into my role. I must perform perfectly or I won’t survive.
Another figure appears. An older woman emerges from the green room to give me a critical once over. I stand straight and let her study me. I even drop my eyes to the floor, acting like the submissive I’m supposed to be.
My hair is braided and pinned onto my head in a crown. I’m wearing minimal makeup: a hint of eye shadow, mascara, blush. Enough so the lights don’t wash me out, with a bold touch around my mouth: the red, red lipstick. The color of blood and vampire dreams.
You will catch his attention immediately, my mentor purred. He will be pleased. Xavier’s eyes swept up and down my half naked form. I told myself his attention was impersonal, clinical, but couldn’t help enjoying the approval glittering in his single eye.
And if he doesn’t take the bait? I asked.
He will. If not tonight, one of my colleagues will purchase you and show you off. Wave you under Frangelico’s nose. It is up to you to catch his attention. Xavier’s large hands closed around my arms, his grip cruel and painful. His fingers left bruises, marks I accepted gratefully. My training didn’t allow for comfort or friendly contact, but it left plenty of marks. I welcomed them like kisses or hugs. Pain became pleasure, and each bruise made me stronger, a honed weapon.