Bound by rogue magic to the wolf king, for better or for worse...
When omega Stephen Silva saves the life of wolf prince Malcolm Dacian on the night of his coronation, he has no idea how drastically his life will change. As a lycanastri mage, Stephen's research into a strange rip in the fabric of the universe is everything to him. But when he rushes in to protect Malcolm from a magical attack, the magic goes haywire, binding his soul to the prince's forever, allowing them to feel each other's most intimate emotions. But worse, it severs him from his magic, ripping away the one thing that ever gave his life meaning.
Crown Prince Malcolm Dacian has too many problems to worry about a nobody omega mage. He hasn't had time to mourn his father's death, the kingdom is plagued with problems, and the attempt on his life nearly loosed an otherworldly threat on the world. But when his head becomes filled with the distracting emotions of a smart, brave, and anxious omega wolf, he learns the depth of the omega's loss—the young man lost his magic saving Malcolm's life. Grateful for the omega's heroism, he does the only honorable thing. He proposes marriage. It's the obvious solution: they're both gay, the omega can bear him an heir, and as king, Malcolm can repay Stephen by making sure he wants for nothing. There's only one problem. Stephen has no desire to compound his misery with a marriage of convenience to someone who doesn't love him.
Yet Malcolm can't go on living with their bond, feeling all the devastated mage's feelings as if they're his own. When the high priestess tells him she knows of a way to break their bond, Malcolm is all for it. But when he learns it involves taking the omega to his bed, Malcolm knows his problems have only just begun…
Reader note: contains M/M Mpreg romance, pregnant omega mates, wolf shifters, alpha wolf kings, and male male love
Stephen’s attention shifted to the four powerful horses drawing the carriage. He watched them with so much appreciation that his delicate spell faltered and his flame went out. He barely noticed. The draft horses were stunning, so massive and pretty with their fancy harnesses and blinders. Someday, he’d love to own a horse of his own. Something far smaller, though. He would ride it all over the island every day—
A man appeared below them, stepping out from the palace’s main entrance and moving beyond the balcony so they could look down on him. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with dark hair cut short. Even though Stephen couldn’t see the man’s face, he knew it was Crown Prince Malcolm Dacian…and the omega wolf inside him abruptly stirred. The prince wore formal royal attire, a black dress coat with sewn silver detailing that came to mid-thigh and black breeches with silver piping on the sides, and he escorted a woman along the red and gold carpet.
Queen Cassandra Gerard Dacian, now queen dowager after the death of her mate. She wore a formal black, long-sleeved, high-necked gown and a black, wide-brimmed hat with a veil. The carriage was there to take Crown Prince Malcolm Dacian and Queen Cassandra Dacian to the king’s funeral, and it sank in again how grim and gloomy a day this was and how solemn an occasion.
He suddenly felt as if something slammed into him, moving right through his body and impacting his spirit, his aura, his soul. He couldn’t breathe. He stood there as rigid as one of the granite wolf statues. At the sight of the crown prince, the omega wolf inside Stephen fixated on him with an intensity that left Stephen paralyzed and, for the first time ever, left him wondering if he might be forced to shift into his wolf form against his will.
Stop. Breathe. Focus. You’re in control, damn it, not the wolf!
But now, the omega wolf seemed to dominate him completely, on the verge of forcing Stephen to change into his four-legged form. He struggled against the urge to shift and fought to control his wolf, which seemed determined to throw itself over the railing to reach the prince.
It had to be the heir to the throne’s alpha aura. That power would be coming into the fullness of its strength now that Malcolm Dacian’s father was dead and the mantle of pack leadership shifted to the prince. The bindings to the kingdom and to all the wolves loyal to Polaris would intensify with a power close to magic. Those in the Church of Mediena called it holy, comparing it to the light of a full moon shining upon the faces of the pack. It bound them together, and its power was intense. Right now, it felt like it had Stephen by the throat.
Inside his head, his omega wolf began to howl wildly. He stood next to Brian, gripping the railing so hard his knuckles were white, and slowly managed to get himself under some semblance of control. He watched the prince, fascinated, strangely excited, and daunted but not understanding why he felt any of those things. His heart was pounding fast, but his anxiety was fading. He couldn’t help but feel a spark of eagerness, even excitement, that was totally out of character for him for this kind of thing.
The footman bowed to the crown prince and queen as they reached the carriage. The prince helped his mother inside but paused before following her. He stood with military straightness and scanned the balcony bracketing the courtyard. Even from this distance, Stephen could appreciate what a handsome man Malcolm Dacian was. He’d seen him on television, of course, and on the internet and in newspapers. Even looking somber and grave, the man was striking. Unforgettable. Intimidating, even. He had the Dacian high cheekbones, blue eyes, hair so dark it was nearly black, and a beard trimmed short and perfectly precise. The prince was in his early thirties, with the broad shoulders and narrow waist of a man in his prime.
Stephen felt a strange, conflicting mix of relief and disappointment when the king-to-be didn’t look his way, didn’t notice him. Instead, Malcolm Dacian turned and climbed into the carriage. The footman shut the door, and Stephen finally felt like he could breathe again. He no longer felt drawn to the alpha like iron to a magnet. He rubbed the bridge of his nose with his free hand, wondering what that had been about.
The lead SUV rolled across the paving stones, heading back for the courtyard’s entryway arch. The carriage driver cracked the whip over the heads of the horses, and the carriage started forward. The horse hooves began their staccato rhythm on the flagstones again. Everyone watched as the royal carriage pulled away through the swirling mist, heading off to the crypts where the crown prince and his mother would see the king laid to rest.
When Malcolm Dacian returned later this evening, the ceremony would begin, and Polaris would crown a new king. The world would go on. Tomorrow would bring a new day for every wolf in the kingdom, and better yet, Stephen could return to the Citadel, forget everything about today, and research magic again in peace.
But his omega wolf startled him by loosing a howl in his mind, as if mourning the crown prince’s departure. The sound echoed in his head with such force that, for a moment, he wasn’t sure if those around him could hear it too.
Stephen moved his hand to his forehead, wondering if he had some kind of fever. He felt completely out of sorts, at odds with both his wolf and his magic. He also felt a little dizzy, and anxiety began to creep back into his mind like a fast-spreading mold. His instincts had nearly overwhelmed his human side, and that had never happened before. It was disturbing.