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Alpha’s Strength

By:Rebecca Royce

op a silver base, it caught and reflected the sunlight on the table. Wolves didn’t give rings to their mates. It was a human tradition that they saw no need for. But, by all that mattered to him, he wanted to rip that thing off her finger, throw it out the window, and go buy her the biggest, most expensive piece of jewelry he could find to replace the one she wore. Something that screamed she belonged to him, not to whoever had infringed on his territory.

Cyrus sat back in his seat. Protecting borders from outside invaders was actually something he did really well. He hadn’t gotten to be Alpha of Manhattan by not knowing how to wage war. In this case, he’d have to take something that had already been claimed by someone else. This didn’t bother Cyrus in the least. She was his mate, and she’d been placed right outside of his office building in the nick of time. There was still time to set this right. She wasn’t married yet.

The fiancé could be dealt with. He’d yet to find a human male that couldn’t be, and no wolf was going to challenge his claim in Manhattan. Cyrus took a deep breath. There was a faint hint of another non-wolf male on her, but not enough to indicate true, long-term intimacy.

Even better.

“Why do you want me to look at you?” She dropped her eyes again.

“Because your brown eyes are gorgeous.” By asking that question she’d shown him she had no idea she was a wolf. Was latency a genetic trait? Did it run in families? He was going to have to ask Lake. Twin sisters and neither could shift. He’d never heard of such a thing.

“Thank you. I guess. You really shouldn’t be speaking to me like this. It’s not appropriate.”

“Right. Do me a favor, beautiful. Tell me what I smell like to you.”

“What?” Her voice sounded breathy.

“Take a deep sniff and tell me. What do I smell like to you?”

She obeyed him. Of course she did. Even though she clearly thought herself human, she had no choice but to obey him. The dormant werewolf inside of her knew better. As his mate, she’d learn to tell him to shove it when appropriate. But not yet.

“You smell like…”

He raised an eyebrow when her voice trailed off. “Go on.”

“Like power.”

“Betsy,” a voice hollered from the doorway. “What do you think you’re doing?”

His mate jumped to her feet. “Nathan. Nothing.” Her pupils dilated, and she looked left. Simultaneously, her scent took on the pungent aroma of fear. It irritated his nose, and he suppressed a growl. His mate should never smell like that.

Betsy, the name he’d now finally learned, shoved his card in her pocket and jumped forward on the tips of her feet. “I’m sorry, Nathan. This man sat down. I don’t know what he wanted.” She grabbed at Nathan’s arm. “This is such a strange city.”

“Well, it won’t do to have you talking to other men. You know I don’t like that.”

“Yes.” She nodded frantically. “I do understand. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”

Nathan, who was tall for a human but not a werewolf, shot Cyrus a look from the door. His dark-brown gaze started out hostile, but the quick intake of the other man’s breath told Cyrus that Nathan quickly picked up on which one of them was actually dominant. Most of the time, Cyrus didn’t bother with humans like this one. They were a waste of his time. But these were extenuating circumstances.

Nathan grabbed Betsy’s arm. She flinched, and Cyrus stood up. It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to dart across the Starbucks and pound the other man to the floor. How dare he manhandle Betsy?

His mate was hauled onto the sidewalk and down the street. Cyrus took a deep breath. Nathan was a dead man if he left a mark on her. For now, he’d follow them from a distance. Find out where they went and plan his next move. His latent mate had to be handled with care, but he’d throw that all away if he saw anything else he didn’t like from Nathan. Forget keeping their existence a secret. Cyrus would shift into a wolf and eat the man alive.

He smiled. The idea sounded better and better.

Chapter Two

Betsy Webber scurried along the sidewalk next to Nathan. If she kept her feet moving as fast as his maybe she would return home without bruises. His fingers dug deeper into her skin, and she sighed. She knew she should have made Cyrus leave—except she hadn’t been able to do it.

What was wrong with her? The second he’d approached her she’d become a tongue-tied, spineless wimp who hadn’t been able to look at him, never mind make him get up and go. Why? Sure he was handsome, but New York teemed with good-looking men. But Cyrus had been different. Sure, he was tall with blond hair, blue eyes, and a long scar down the side of his face that made him look…tough even though he wore tailored clothes that didn’t give the impression of violence, but rather tempered restraint.

“So is this what you do now? Flirt with random men in coffee shops? Have you returned to your slut ways?”

She cringed at his coarse language and bit her tongue. Defending herself would not do her parents any good. She’d agreed to marry Nathan to save them, and that was exactly what she would do. Even if she wanted to claw his eyes out. And it wasn’t as though he was wrong. Unfortunately, she had, in the past, been unable to control herself when it came to the opposite sex.

“No, sir. I promise I’ve not done that.” I haven’t. No one understood how long she’d fought to overcome that quirk of her nature. She wouldn’t be punished for it now—she’d done enough of that herself.

“Good.” Nathan yanked her out of the car, and half-dragged her through the front door of their rented house. “Because I’m not going to put up with any of your nonsense. You’re going to be my wife. Don’t forget that. Unless you want the worst-case scenario to happen.”

She shuddered. Betsy didn’t want that.

At least he only called her quirk nonsense—other times he used more foul language. It didn’t matter that she had her own theories about why