Book: The Alpha Heir
Series: Kingdom of Askara #2
Publication date: September 4, 2017
Length: 191 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Man and wolf. Sworn enemies in the battle for Askara. Can hate and betrayal ever lead to love?
Caleb Harken has spent six years wrongfully imprisoned for his father’s treachery. Tortured and reviled by the very wolf pack he should have been leading as Alpha, he is not surprised to learn he’s finally to meet his death at the hands of the human rebel leader, Taegan Callan.
Taegan gave up his dreams of a life-mate and a family after seeing too many humans butchered at the hands of the wolves—even if Caleb doesn’t seem to be the bloodthirsty savage he expects, and even if he starts to long for a different kind of future with the wolf.
Can Caleb become the Alpha he was always meant to be and lead his pack, or will he finally realize that winning his freedom means nothing when he has already lost his heart?
It’s hard to say that The Alpha Heir is a sequel to Victoria Sue’s The Alpha King because it’s truly a standalone in its own right. You do not need to read the Alpha King to read this. However, you should. The Alpha King does make an appearance in this and it’s cool if you understand his story. But you can start here if you’d like.
So, let’s talk about this book. I thought book one shred my heart. It was nothing compared to this one. Caleb’s life, or should I say Caleb’s torture had me in tears. I genuinely ached for him. I can’t imagine the pain and torment he’s been through. I’m shocked his heart didn’t just give up. And doesn’t that just show you his strength. I mean this guy suffers to the bitter end. Victoria Sue is NOT nice to him. But great rulers… TRULY great ones are born from the ashes. They suffer, they struggle, they learn, and they flourish. And that is our Caleb. Brave and beautiful.
Then there’s Taegan. I knew when he was introduced that he was important. Funny enough, when we first meet him he had no name. Caleb describes him and I was all, “Yup, he’s someone we need to know.” And I was right. He’s vital to Caleb’s journey. And even though they are on different sides of a brutal war, they fight for the same thing.
Victoria Sue does not hold back even a little bit with this book. It’s brutal in parts. I cringed and had to remind myself to breathe and tell myself it’s not real life. But she really pulls you in and you can’t help but scream at the characters. Yell at the injustice. Cheer the victories. This book took my breath away quite a few times. It’s as dark and gritty as the first but it’s all worth it in the end.
I absolutely recommend this book!
“You worried a lot of people when you didn’t come home yesterday.”
Taegan started. He’d been so lost in his thoughts, he hadn’t realized Silas had been staring at him for a good few minutes. “I brought something back with me.”
“I heard,” Silas said dryly. Taegan grinned. Of course, he had. “Try this.” Silas passed him a glass and Taegan sniffed suspiciously. It was white. When Taegan drank wine, it was always red. Silas chuckled. “It won’t hurt you.”
Taegan took a sip. A burst of fruit spread over his tongue. “Is that … pears?”
Silas chuckled again. “Very good. Dashel would be proud of you.”
Dashel was one of the master blenders responsible for giving the wolves what they loved even though it wasn’t something the wolves ever wanted to learn. They wanted someone else to make it, they just wanted to drink it. Taegan sighed and put the glass down.
“There is no sign of them?” Silas said.
“No, and we have no idea where to look next.”
“And that’s why you have the Alpha’s nephew? Information?”
“It was the only thing I could think of, but I’m not sure if he’s going to be any help.”
Silas frowned. “Is he refusing to talk? I assume he is in the cage.”
Taegan huffed. “It’s not that. He’s just … not like any wolf I have ever seen. If I didn’t know better, I would swear he is human. He’s small, thin. Looks half-starved; it’s rumored he’s crazy. I had convinced myself it was all an act to get us to lower our guard, but…” He would never forget the look in his eyes as he had choked him. It was as if he had given up.
“You’re not convinced?”
“His injuries aren’t all recent. Some look weeks old. I thought them self-inflicted, but I don’t know. I know you hate the caves, but would you come and see what you think? We would take the usual precautions.” The prisoner would be hooded and tied so he couldn’t ever identify Silas. Silas drained his glass and stood.
“I will come immediately. Anything to help find Neal and Rayne.”
They walked back slowly. It was dark outside but the first rays of light would be painting the sky in another few hours. Taegan always loved the dawn. Everything looked fresh and clean before the ugly could descend on the day and sully it once more. The caves were quiet. Jenner was on guard at the entrance and Rego was watching the prisoner after taking over from Cy, who had gone to bed. They walked down the tunnel and Taegan pulled his wool cloak tighter. It became freezing the further they got, and the wall sconces were the only light. They got to the big cave at the back with the cage and saw Rego holding a steaming mug of tea, warming his hands; a blanket wrapped around him. He also noticed the gun laid carefully on the table in front of him. “Rego,” he snapped. “I told you to get rid of that thing.”
Rego huffed and put it in his belt.
“I mean it, Rego. If I see it again, you will both go.”
He hated it. It was old and goddess only knew where Rego had even gotten it from, but guns were outlawed by all except Alpha Cain’s personal human guards. It was a death sentence for any human to be caught even having one in their house. The wolves had successfully outlawed them to the point at which not many even knew of their existence, and as far as he knew Cain had systematically destroyed all he found.
He appreciated what a weapon it was against the wolves. Once the wolves shifted, the gun would be lying around like clothes and useless to them, but the benefits didn’t outweigh the risks. He could kill a wolf from as equal a distance with a throwing knife, and that didn’t make as much noise.
He sighed, nodding towards the prisoner. “How’s he been?”
“Whining at his treatment when I took over from Cy, but then he fell asleep and has not stirred at all.”
Taegan frowned and peered into the cage. The man was lain on his side, eyes closed. “Has he made any attempt to shift?” Even with the collar, some of the wolves still tried.
“No,” Rego laughed. “He tried to tell me he was cold but I knew he was lying. Trying for sympathy like we all know wolves can’t keep themselves warm. Like I said, he hasn’t moved.”
Taegan glanced back at their prisoner. He was lain on the straw, unmoving. He eyed Rego. “Where’s the blanket from the cell?”
Rego grinned in answer and Taegan knew Rego was wearing it along with his own. “Open the cage,” Taegan said immediately as an unease he couldn’t put a name to skittered up his spine. He grabbed a hood off the hook and walked in, while Silas stayed just out of sight. Taegan bent down and nudged the wolf’s shoulders cautiously with his foot. He never stirred. Frowning, he bent and touched his arm. Goddess, the man was freezing. He wasn’t sure he was even alive. “Silas!” Taegan bellowed. He reached down and scooped him up. It was like holding a block of ice.
“Sorin’s heart,” Silas exclaimed, hurrying forward and touching him. “He’s human?”
“He’s the Alpha’s fucking nephew,” Taegan shouted, starting to run. “He can’t be.”
Had he died? He was warm, and Caleb was never warm. The room he was kept in never had a fire, and he was never given clothes. He had a thin blanket and straw to lay on, and that was it. He was dreaming, he must be. He couldn’t be dead because the same gnawing hunger rolled in his belly. The same dry throat scratched, and the same sense of futility wrapped him up. Caleb frowned, not wanting to open his eyes. What was that smell? Smoke, wood burning? It was odd. Caleb let his mind drift. He had been so cold before but the heat of whatever he lay on seemed to warm him right through. His heart beat loud and strong in his ears. The definite thump thump soothing as—
Panic catapulted him fully conscious even though his body whimpered to be left alone as the warm breath ghosted over his neck. It wasn’t his heartbeat slow and steady in his ears. It wasn’t his pallet he lay on but a living, breathing thing, and he wasn’t dreaming of the arms he was wrapped tight in. Caleb’s heart nearly exploded as he tried to move. He was pinned, trapped. He fought. He was drowning, suffocating. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, could barely see. Didn’t want to see. He dimly heard shouting, cries, and then his prison was gone and he was curled on a bare floor gulping air and choking on sobs.
“Caleb, Caleb.” It took a few times until the voice registered over the pounding of his heart and the blood rushing through his head. “Caleb.” He shrank back as the big hand settled on him. This was when they would beat him. This was when the pain would start and never stop until he lost consciousness. He curled up. Even as the cold floor leached into him he pressed closer as if he could just disappear into it. Please, goddess. Just let me die. He was sorry for his father’s sins, his betrayal. But hadn’t he paid enough? When would it stop? When would it just be over?
He whimpered again, not trusting the hands that touched him. Sure that their warmth was a lie. That their gentleness was merely to soften him so that the pain when it came would hurt even more. It would be so easy to pretend. He was so ready to simply give up, and as the hands that gently gathered him off the stone floor and cradled him to a warm chest, he hoped that it was the last time.
About the Author
Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby three years ago. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail.
Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.
Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.
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