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Published by EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING ® at Smashwords


www.evernightpublishing.com




Copyright© 2017 Angelique Voisen



ISBN: 978-1-77339-349-0


Cover Artist: Jay Aheer


Editor: Amanda Jean



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.


This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



DEDICATION


To my amazing readers, thank you for your support. I hope you enjoy Prodigal Alpha as much as I loved writing it.



PRODIGAL ALPHA



Angelique Voisen


Copyright © 2017


Chapter One


Ten years ago


Fang tugged at his tie, loosening it so he could breathe easier. Christ, it felt like a fucking noose.

When that didn’t help, he rolled the window down. Icy mountain air blew at his face like a slap. Judging by the vehicles crowding the parking lot, everyone was already here.

He shut his eyes and imagined all the people gathered at the pack house right a couple of feet from him. His lungs constricted. Fang started to hyperventilate.

Shit. This wouldn’t do. Every predator in there would smell the sweat and fear off him and arrive at the same conclusion—Fang was walking dead meat. What would he give to drive the hell out here, destination unknown, away from his obligations and responsibilities?

Freedom tasted sweet on his tongue, except invisible chains dragged him down. An Alpha’s son didn’t run, especially not a Red Mane, even if Fang was a broken wolf.

A knock on the car door jerked him from his day dreams. Drake waved at him, a stupid grin on his face. His four other best friends hung back, giving Fang and Drake their moment.

Talon, Joker, and Claw looked genuinely glad to glimpse him, as if they hadn’t seen each other in years, not days. Fang had always been a good judge of character, though. Underneath their smiles was worry and fear. Only Razor looked grim, but then Fang would too, if he could see ghosts.

Fang grew up with these guys and knew each one of these loyal bastards inside out. They stuck by him, fended off bullies who thought he was easy pickings.

Are you going to sit in your car all night long?” yelled Drake.

No more delaying this then. He straightened the invisible ceases on his suit jacket and got out. His sneakers crunched on dead grass and dirt.

Dread coiled inside of him. Like always, his inner beast remained silent, never there when Fang could use a boost of courage.

I’ve got something for you,” Drake said, slipping a hand into his jacket and pulling out a flask.

Drake always knew exactly what he needed­—not scripted words of condolences or fake smiles, but liquid courage.

Drake, you got any more for the rest of us?” Joker called.

Having his friends helped eased the knot in his belly somehow. Fang accepted the flask and murmured a “Thanks.” After uncapping the flask, he took a long pull, savoring the burn of alcohol down his throat.

Jesus, slow the fuck down. Take small sips or your dad’s going to smell it on your breath,” Drake complained.

He’s going to scent it anyway,” Fang answered. Ignoring Drake’s glare, he downed the entire thing and wiped his lips with the back of his hand. “Any more?”

Get it together, Fang,” Drake hissed under his breath.

A car skidded to a halt behind Fang’s rusty Mustang. It was a pair of fellow pack members. They gave their group a withering glance before disappearing inside the house.

Dude, are we going to go in or not? They’re going to start talking,” Talon pointed out.

Fang only had his eye on Drake. All of them were childhood friends, but Drake was different. Drake always gave it to him straight, although Drake had his flaws too. His first best friend seemed to believe Fang was stronger than he really was.

Give it me straight,” he said, hearing the plea in his voice and hating it at the same time.

A future Alpha didn’t allow any ounce of weakness to show. Future Alpha. That was a laugh, a cruel joke. As his father’s first born, they expected him to take up that mantle. Fang’s inability to shift into the deadly Red Mane wolf had snuffed out that candle of hope a long time ago.

They’ve been making bets,” Drake ventured.

Fang was afraid to ask about what. His death by his father’s hands, maybe. Fang stared at the pack house and what lay beyond.

A couple of cabins, this mountain, the surrounding woods, and the town at the foot of it made up the Red Mane’s territory.

It all belonged to his father. These lands and the leadership of the pack would have passed to his younger brother Clay, but Clay had died, bled to death by the vampire coven that had taken up residence in town.

Fang felt the others approach. “What should I do?”

Only Razor had an answer. “Go see your brother.”

Do you—” Fang hesitated. Razor saw his ability to see the dead as a curse and that made Razor seem older than the rest of them.

Razor shook his head. “I don’t see Clay’s ghost hanging around.”

There was nothing left to say. He had his friends. If shit went down, they had his back, except what could six teenagers do against an entire pack made up of powerful, veteran wolves?

Let’s get this over with,” Fang decided.

Best-case scenario, his father would ignore him and pretend Fang wasn’t his son. At the very worst, his father would curse his existence and use him as a punching bag. It wouldn’t be the first time. At least his mother was no longer around to see how her sons turned out—one dead and another soon to follow.

He headed for the house but was stopped once more by Drake near the front door.

Fang, I need to warn you. Shane’s in there.”

Fang’s snarl died in his throat when someone from the inside opened the door. Conversations halted. Not all, but some. Most pack mates regarded him a mixture of amusement and disdain.

Grateful for his group, Fang navigated the poisoned waters, ignoring stares, sniggers, and hateful looks. Only one man didn’t look up at his arrival. Oh, his father knew Fang had arrived, but the bastard wouldn’t acknowledge his presence.

His father had positioned himself at one corner of the room, beer in hand as he spoke in a low voice to Brody, one of his enforcers.

Fang knew them all. At some point in his life, all of his father’s enforcers had tried to make him a man, a brawler befitting the Alpha’s son. They had all failed. Fang had been at the receiving end of their fists and claws. His body still carried some of their scars, and tonight, he’d earn new ones.

Shane wasn’t far from his father Brody—five years his senior and already a pack soldier. Everyone always said Shane would follow in his father’s footsteps. No one doubted Shane the way they judged Fang.

Fang would have been content to live out his life away from the pack, to forget all his upbringing and pretend to be someone else. But his brother had died; pack law stated Fang avenge his brother and take his father’s place.

Fuck duty.

Fang wasn’t strong like his brother. He’d die fighting Shane.

He still very much wanted to live.

Drake and the others fell back, likely knowing he needed to do this on his own. His father often accused him of clinging to his friends and being unable to stand on his two feet. Fang’s gaze lingered on the urn on the table.

According to Drake, his father had decided to cremate Clay instead of resting Clay’s beside their mother’s grave in pack burial grounds. Naturally, his father hadn’t consulted Fang, had made that decision on his own.

Fang culled the anger that boiled inside him. Every predator could smell anger, arousal, or any intense emotion. Rage wouldn’t get him anywhere in a roomful of people who could beat him bloody.

I’m sorry,” he murmured to his brother.

Not that Clay could hear him. Fang’s chest tightened. He didn’t feel any better.

The hair on his arms rose, and he whirled, not wanting a predator by his back.

So, you came back,” his father said with flat eyes.

The Alpha of the Red Manes didn’t need to pitch his voice: everyone there heard. The room turned deathly silent.

I came to pay my respects to Clay and avenge him.”

Laughter, ugly and jarring, came from his father’s scarred throat. “You? What can a runt do? You can’t even shift.”

I’m taking self-defense classes,” he answered tersely.

Fang cursed himself a second later for taking the bait. His father always knew the words to trigger his anger.

So what? Even a submissive wolf in the pack could beat you once he shifts.” His father snorted. “Did you forget? Leadership in the Red Manes won’t pass to you automatically because you’re my son.”

I know. It passes through blood and dominance,” Fang said through gritted teeth. “You’ve reminded me thousands of times through my childhood.”

Fang knew the blow was coming. One moment, they were trading insults, and the next, his father slammed a fist right into his gut. Fang’s back hit the wall and he grunted, spitting out blood. The Alpha was on him in a quarter of a second.

Their wolves were different than most breeds—bigger, stronger, and harder to control. Too bad his father was the last of his bloodline to carry a monster inside him. Fang had a wolf; he could sense the animal clawing inside him all the time. But no matter how hard he tried, he could never change.

Fang recovered his breath and tried to shove his father away. It was no use. Fighting his father was like trading blows with a brick wall.

The hand in his shirt partially shifted to long, jagged ebony claws. He groaned when those lethal weapons shredded fabric and tore right through his skin. Any deeper and his father would reach bone. He ignored the pain, or tried to, anyway. Fuck, it hurt.

You little shit. You should have died, not Clay. Clay was going to be Alpha,” his father hissed in his ear.

The words stung worse than Fang had assumed they would. He knew his father had little love for him, but to tell everyone there he wished Fang had died instead…it shattered him. Whatever hope he held onto of redeeming himself and showing this pack he could be strong crumbled.

I don’t want to be Alpha. Let me avenge Clay,” Fang managed once he swallowed down the blood clogging his throat.

His father laughed at him, releasing him so Fang slid down the wall.

You say you’re better at fighting, that you’re strong? Prove it. Shane.” A crook of his finger, and Shane stood by the Alpha’s side, blazing green eyes already turning gold with bloodlust.

What the hell is this?” Fang demanded. Deep down, he knew what his father was making him do.

He would lose to an experienced fighter like Shane. Once upon a time, he had harbored a massive crush on Shane. That had died when Shane decided to make it his life’s mission to make him feel miserable all the time.

Alpha, your son can’t shift,” Brody pointed out. Any other protests Brody had ready died when his father let out a rumbling sound that echoed through the room.

Outside. Now,” his father said.

Power sung in the Alpha’s words. The pack didn’t bother to wait for Fang to pick himself back up. His friends lingered, though, worried expressions on their faces.

Drake began to help him, but Fang shoved his hand away. He stood on wobbly legs. Touching his shredded shirt, he saw the wound was beginning to heal.

Don’t do this, Fang. Walk away,” Drake said. “Shane would kill you.”


Chapter Two


Fang knew Shane wouldn’t hesitate to end his life. The fucker had bullied him in the past, and tonight, he saw his death reflected in Shane’s eyes. Even if he postponed this moment, it would eventually come.

It didn’t have to be Shane. Someone else could come after him another place and time. As long as Fang carried the title of Alpha’s defective son, he would always be targeted. No one would be safe around him.

They’ll brand me a coward forever,” he said with a shake of his head.

Who the fuck cares?”

All of them started at Talon’s outburst.

Talon’s silver-blue eyes blazed with barely suppressed anger. “Dude, you don’t have to prove anything to them.”


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