Broken Queen by Danni D is now available to read on Galatea, a reading app recognized by BBC, Forbes and The Guardian for being the go-to place for explosive new romance novels. Keep scrolling to read the first chapters or download the app for the full uncensored version.
Ariel is a twenty-year-old werewolf with dreams of becoming a pack warrior. At least, that was until she was kidnapped by Hunters two years ago and used as the test subject of horrible experiments. With the help of the Moon Goddess, Ariel finally gains her freedom. But finding her mate and picking up life where she left off may be even harder than she imagined.
Scroll down for a sample chapter, or read the full uncensored book on the Galatea app!
Chapter 5 - Can't Go Home Again
As dad pulls the car up to the house, I hear loud music and laughter coming from the backyard.
It sounds like a party is in full swing, but despite my homecoming, I know it’s not for me.
“It’s New Year’s Eve,” dad says, squeezing my shoulder. “And what better way to start the new year than with you returning home.”
It feels strange to be celebrating a holiday again. The past two years, they didn’t even register with me.
I smile and nod. “It’s good to be back.”
I’m trying to put on a brave face, but inside I’m a nervous wreck.
I already ran out of one party because it was too much to handle…what if it happens again?
Sensing my anxiety, Amy wraps her arms around me from the back seat.
“We’ll walk in together,” she says, comforting me. “If it gets to be too much, just say the word, and I’ll cover for you while you escape.”
We get out of the car and walk around the house to the backyard, where a blazing bonfire is the centerpiece of a rowdy, open-air party.
The entire pack is gathered here, drinking and celebrating.
Boys are wrestling in the grass, pups are running wild, and couples are dancing under the moonlight.
As terrified as I was to return, I feel so much better from seeing that things haven’t really changed at all.
“I’ve missed this,” I say, suddenly feeling sentimental. “I…I never thought I’d see this place again.”
“Well, you’re home now. And no one will ever take you away from us again,” my dad says, giving me a hug.
“I’ll go find your mother and your sister. They’ll be so happy to see you.”
As he disappears into the crowded party, I shoot Amy a look.
“I somehow doubt they’ll be all that happy to see me,” I say, starting to feel nervous again.
“I know you’ve had your differences with them, but they’re your family,” Amy responds, reproachfully.
“When you were taken, it wasn’t just your dad who was devastated. Your mom was a wreck too.”
I want to believe Amy, but if my mom was so distraught, why didn’t she come with my dad to see me?
If she felt so much concern for me, why wasn’t she waiting for me when I got here?
No, my mother has always despised me, deep down. She had me at a very young age, when my father got her pregnant.
I think she resents me for ruining her chances at finding her destined mate.
I think she resents dad too, but he’s better than any destined mate.
Of course, when Natalia was born, mom finally had someone who she could live vicariously through. So popular, pretty, and perfect.
Meanwhile, I’ve been nothing but a disappointment.
The girl who got in fights.
Who played in the mud.
Who wanted to be a warrior.
Well, now that Nat is mated to the Alpha, with a pup on the way, my mom’s living her dream.
What did I do? I got fxxxxng kidnapped.
“Ariel, you have that look in your eye,” Amy says sternly. “Promise me that you’ll at least give them a chance.”
“Fine, but I’m only doing it for my dad’s sake,” I say with a sigh.
The truth is, I really would like to reconnect with my mom and sister. I just don’t know if they’ll feel the same.
“ARIEL, IS THAT FXXXIN’ YOU!?”
I’m tackled out of nowhere by a giant of a man. My wolf starts to get defensive until I see who it is.
“James, get off me, you oversized pup,” I say, laughing as he pins me to the ground.
“I just can’t believe you’re really here,” he says, actually looking a little misty-eyed. “We all thought you were gone for good.”
The rest of my old squad comes running up, and they dogpile me as Amy steps out of the way.
I’m really feeling the love. I can’t believe how much I missed all of these goons.
“The squad is reunited!” James yells, howling. He helps me to my feet, and I suddenly realize that something is different.
They all have mating marks.
“You’re all mated?” I ask in disbelief. Then I see James’s mark.
“Hey, I take offense to that tone,” he says, smirking. “I’m total mating material.”
I can’t believe how many of my friends are mated now. My life may have been put on hold for the past two years, but everyone else’s kept going on without me.
“Well, I’m still single as fxxk, so don’t feel too bad about it,” Amy says, exasperated.
“And on that note, I see that they’re opening a new bottle of wine by the fire, so if you’ll excuse me for a minute…”
James and I laugh as Amy runs off toward the bonfire. “She definitely hasn’t changed. You can always count on that,” James says, shaking his head.
“Thank the Goddess for that,” I say in agreement.
Though my reunion with James and the others is a happy one, I realize there’s one member of our old squad that I still haven’t seen.
“Where’s Xavier?” I ask, craning my neck to look around the party. Saying his name gives me butterflies for some reason.
“I’m sure he’s around here somewhere. Probably with your sister,” James says.
“He may be the Alpha now, but she’s got him on a short leash,” he adds, placing his hands around his neck like a collar and pretending to choke himself.
My butterflies disappear in an instant. I almost forgot that Natalia is mated to Xavier. I might need to join Amy for that bottle of wine.
“I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to see you though,” James says.
“You were the only one who could ever keep up with him during training. I’m sure if you talk to him, he’d let you rejoin the squad and become a pack warrior.”
Become a pack warrior…
For the first time since getting home, I’m actually thinking about what the future holds for me, and it’s exciting.
Read the full uncensored version on the Galatea app!
I’ve lost so much, but maybe I haven’t lost this—my dream of becoming a pack warrior.
As I stare into the flames of the dancing bonfire and think about getting back to training, something ice-cold cuts through the warmth I’m feeling—my mother, walking toward me with dad.
She’s rigid and reserved when she approaches me.
No hug. No tears. No emotion.
This is the reunion I expected, but not the one I hoped for.
“You’re looking well,” mom says, without a hint of sentiment. “I’m glad the Goddess brought you back to us safely.”
My wolf starts pacing around inside me as my anxiety kicks in.
Why do I always let mom have this effect on me?
Dad looks nervous, too, scratching the back of his hand as he waits to see how I’ll respond.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Goddess. Truthfully, I should be dead,” I say, staring her straight in the eyes.
“I prayed for death every day that the hunters had me in captivity. Death would’ve been a sweet release. But I guess the Goddess has other plans for me.”
My blunt words rattle my mother out of her stiff posture.
“Must we discuss this at the party?” she asks uncomfortably.
“Of course, wouldn’t want my kidnapping to inconvenience you,” I say bitterly.
“You couldn’t even be bothered to come to see me with dad when you found out I was alive.”
“Ariel, please…” my dad says, trying to intervene, but it’s too late.
A lot has changed in two years, but the rift between my mother and me is exactly the same.
“That isn’t fair, Ariel,” my mom replies, her tone shifting defensively. “Your sister needs me. I couldn’t just leave her here alone.”
“Nat has a mate, mom. I needed you. Not just yesterday. Not just today.
“I’ve always needed you, but you’ve only ever been there for her. Why is that?” I say, feeling heated.
Years of unresolved feelings are bubbling to the surface, and I can’t stop them from boiling over.
Other pack members are starting to gather around to watch the show as I confront my mother.
“Why are you always so cold with me?” I shout.
“So I’m a bad mother now? Is that it?” she shouts back. “I gave up everything for you, and you’re nothing but ungrateful!”
There it is. The real reason she can’t stand me.
“Ariel, I command you to stop this at once!” A very pregnant Natalia pushes through the crowd and stands next to mom. “You will not speak to our mother this way!”
My sister hasn’t seen me for two years. She wasn’t even sure if I was still alive. And yet these are her first words to me…
“You command me?” Nat has always thought that the world revolves around her, but who the hxxl does she think she is?
“Yes, as your Luna, I command you to stop making a scene,” she says smugly.
“I’m your sister, not your subject,” I say in disbelief.
“What’s going on over here?” asks a gruff voice.
My body stiffens as Xavier’s scent hits me. Firewood and clover. It’s oddly intoxicating.
As the crowd parts for the Alpha, I find myself staring directly into his eyes and him into mine.
“Mate.” The word escapes my lips before I can even process it.
Oh my Goddess. He can’t be. This isn’t happening.
My wolf suddenly starts clawing at my mind, ripping it to pieces—it wants out.
NO! I DON’T WANT TO SHIFT.
It’s not just my wolf that’s taking over…it’s something else. Pure rage.
I hold my head in my hands, panting heavily. I want to scream. I want to erupt with anger.
What’s happening to me?
My gaze turns to Natalia and her eyes grow wide.
All I see is red.
Read the full uncensored version on the Galatea app!