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Born to be Bound (Alpha’s Claim #1)
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She never had a choice.
Shepherd vows he will hunt Claire down, ready to burn her city to ash to retrieve his wayward Omega. She may be terrified of him, she may resent the pair-bond he forced, but like it or not, she is his.
Claire is desperate. The Alpha male who conquered her city, who calls her his mate, is every bit as ruthless as his reputation suggests. Wanted flyers bearing her picture litter the streets, the reward offered outrageous.
Her people are starving; there is no safe place for her to hide. It doesn’t matter. Claire has one mission: to protect the last, dwindling enclave of frightened Omega women left alive in the city. Shepherd wants them too. He wants them for his men.
Claire cannot allow that to happen.
The first book in Addison Cain’s exciting, raw, and suspense-filled Omegaverse trilogy is a dark tale with explicit sexual themes and complete power exchange. If such material offends you, please do not purchase.
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She had made it this far… wide eyes peered through the narrow slit between wool cap and layer upon layer of dingy muffler wrapped around the lower half of her face. No one seemed to be paying much attention as she passed, ignoring the creature in the stinking, oversized coat when it hesitated at the bottom of broad stairs and looked up at Thólos Citadel. Clutching tighter to the bottle of pills in her pocket, madly gripping her lifeline, she took the first step.
For two days, she had taken one of those priceless pills every four hours like clockwork. Walking into what had once been a restricted area, she should have been saturated in the medication, her metabolism and hormones deceived into complacency. A week’s worth of food had been traded so she could make the climb up those steps without being torn to pieces.
She was still mortally afraid.
The roar of the monsters inside—the cheers and heckling as her people were stripped of their dignity, then stripped of their lives—turned her stomach, though the acid feeling may have been a side-effect of the drugs. Already sweating, grateful others had covered her in so many layers to hide what she was, Claire took the smallest breaths, tried not to gag from the stink of rotting corpse that had seasoned her clothes, and walked into madness.
Crossing the entrance was almost too easy. There was no hand gripping her shoulder to cease her movement, no barking Follower demanding she state her business. In fact, the black hole seemed only too willing to suck her in. Over the threshold, the air was ripe with the scent of men; a pungent mixture of aggressive Alpha and some of the more violent Betas who had come to snarl and yip at whoever was that day’s entertainment.
Birth titles littered the ground, parchment showing the tread where uncaring boots had trampled what had once signified a life; a tally of names that had been stricken from the books. The scraps of paper were tossed away to mix with discarded flyers, wanted signs, and garbage.
The deeper she went, the more packed each chamber grew, filled by a horde borne of citizens and the castoff Undercroft scum set free the day terror breached Thólos. They were thugs who had taken up the banner of the Dome’s conqueror, men with the power to do as they pleased. Men encouraged to do whatever they pleased. Evil men.
She had to be quick, knowing that if the jostling mob discovered what she was under the stinking filth wrapped around her, she’d die horribly, and all the others would be left to starve. One foot after another, back pressed against the wall, eyes darting to and fro, Claire skirted the crowd and prayed to remain unnoticed.
The male Claire sought had a reputation for standing where any could reach him; where all could see who held power, so challengers could be killed—if rumors held true—with his bare hands.
One could not have missed him if they tried.
The villain who had the audacity to call himself the ‘Shepherd’ was massive, the largest Alpha she had ever seen. And not only that… the Da’rin markings. Whatever they were, they swirled over sun-darkened skin as if an extension of his wrongness—animalistic, unnatural; the intricacy of the patterns drawing the eye straight to muscled arms, warning all who looked that the bearer was treacherous—not to be trusted.
Before her city had fallen, to bear those shifting black marks above ground had been highly illegal—the punishment: execution. He was a convict of the Undercroft, the one who’d liberated the castoffs, and he was the monster responsible for the suffering of her people and for the corpses piling in the streets of Thólos.
Claire swallowed, creeping nearer, choosing to look instead at the armored Follower Shepherd nodded at; a Da’rin marked Beta, from the look of him. It was that man whose sharp blue eyes caught her creeping nearer. Though diminutive was a gentle way to describe Claire, from his expression, the Beta found her to be nothing… less than nothing. He looked away, dismissing her approach.
Gripping those pills, her talisman against evil, Claire walked straight up to the two conversing conquerors. Seeking the giant Alpha’s attention, she fought for the words. “I need to speak with you, please.”
Shepherd didn’t even look at her, blatantly ignoring the swathed female in her stinking clothes.
“It’s very important,” she tried a little louder, the sincerity of her eyes, the desperation and overwhelming fear apparent.
How many times had this happened in her life? The total disregard, the blatant rejection…
Claire released a frustrated sigh and clutched her pills even tighter. Standing like a tree, a small sapling in a forest of redwoods, she waited and watched him. There was no way she was leaving until she’d spoken with the only person who might be able to save them. He wanted to be leader, he wanted to rule… well, they needed food. Pride had only lasted so long; deep down she knew it would not keep them alive, so she’d come to Shepherd to ask for help.