Broken Fate - Book cover

Broken Fate

Willow Winters

Chapter 1


I bear down and wince at another hard kick to my ribs. It’s only slight pain, but I can’t help the reaction. My little pup is so strong. His tiny foot pushes against my stomach and I gently place my hand against the print to feel him. The warmth and content that flow through me are all that keep me going. My lips curl up with a small smile as his foot disappears. Although it hurts, I love the feeling of him moving and stretching his legs. When I don’t feel him, I worry; he can kick me all day long if he’d like. I’ll take the pain and discomfort to know he’s well.

A rousing in the distance steals my attention and raises my hackles. I wish I could hum a song I vaguely remember from my mother so my pup can hear my voice, but I’m far too afraid. I don’t want them to hear me. It’s best when they just forget I’m here. That’s when it’s safest for me. Swallowing thickly, I try to keep my heart from racing. It takes every ounce of energy in me to stay calm during days like these. Days when the shipment comes in and the pack partakes. So long as I’m quiet and stay inside, they forget me, and that’s when I’m safest. I’ve learned to never try to run. The hut, although falling apart, is a sanctuary for me. No one wishes to be here.

The chill of the night creeps through the holes in the mud bricks and I huddle under the tattered blanket to protect myself from the breeze drifting through. I’m intent on simply surviving for the sake of my pup. The clay floor is bare and cold, yet it helps my swelling. I’ll take this if it means I can be left alone. I want to be as far from them as I can.

Right now, I’m safer than I was before I carried the Alpha’s child, but I know my days are numbered. I want to stay out of sight and out of mind for as long as I can. My mate has ruined me and the proud wolf I once was. I’m thankful that fate sent him another to bear the brunt of who he is. She was made for him, enjoying him and his dark ways. It offers me a reprieve.

I don’t belong here, and I wish I didn’t belong to him. The only good he’s ever given me is to let me be alone in this cramped shelter. He made me watch as his new mate pleased him, made me sleep on the floor of the same room while he gave her attention and care he’d never given me. I’m grateful she convinced him to leave me alone here, but I’m terrified to sleep. She’s come multiple times in the night while I’ve been pretending to sleep. Each time he’s come up behind her and told her to leave me alone. I suppose that means I owe him a bit of gratitude.

She doesn’t want me to carry his pup. I know she wishes me dead.

It’s only a matter of time. She’ll either defy Shadow and come to kill me in my sleep, or once my baby is born she’ll end my life and no one will bother to stop her. I know this is true, yet I no longer fear it. There’s a challenge buried inside of me. It does bring me grave sadness, knowing my child will be born into this. I have a plan though. Once I’ve delivered my pup, I’ll run. I won’t stop. I need to get my baby out of here. I will. That’s the last hope I have. I’ll do my best to fight them off and run as fast as I can. It may be the last chance I ever get, but I cling to the hope that I can try to free us one more time before I take my last breath.

I’ll save my child in a way my parents couldn’t save me.

Suppressing the hum of an almost forgotten lullaby, I rub my belly and remember how I used to dream of the day my mate would come and take me from my pack. The seers told me my mate would be an Alpha. They told me he would need me to create a worthy pack and to maintain strong ties with his previous pack so that they would join together and be an unstoppable force. They said a war was coming and I would bring a way for victory and peace. They told me lies. They filled my head with a fantasy that I was compelled to agree to. For the best of everyone else.

I remember the first time I saw Shadow. I remember my heart swelling with hope. The hope that my Alpha would take me away, make me his, and together we would do good in this world. I anticipated feeling a pull to my mate. The pull my pack always told me I’d feel. Like gravity didn’t exist and your soul was meant to merge with the other. The heat that would come and the need to be held by my mate. My sister told me it was like an electric spark and magnetic force that got stronger as you got closer to your mate. Like you were so physically drawn to that person that air no longer existed.

Shadow said he felt it. Felt the need to give me everything, to make me happy, and give me all his love. It’s not what I felt. There was something there, but it wasn’t what they told me it would be.

We were alone in the woods with the full moon hanging above us, as it is supposed to be. Merida arranged our meeting. My sister was full of hopes and dreams back then. She was ecstatic that we were going to be in the same pack. That together we would raise a family of wolves that could rival any other pack. I followed her into the darkness. I trusted that Shadow’s pull to me was enough, even if I didn’t feel a great pull to him. I let him claim me that night while Rayne claimed my sister.

The memory of that night brings a chill over my body, and my breath comes up short. Another holler from outside brings me back to the present. My fingers brush against his mark and my eyes close tightly remembering how much it hurt. My legs tremble, remembering the burn that scorched my entire body. It took hours to go away.

If I could go back, I’d never be claimed. I’d run from my mate and hide away where no one could ever find me.

I tried to be resilient for him. He told me it was shameful that I would react to the pain. That I wasn’t strong enough to take his mark. He said I didn’t deserve the honor of being an Alpha mate even though it was already done. I wish I’d let him leave me rather than promising to be better. I think, that very first night, I broke a promise with fate by not loving him as a mate should. Even if he had made his claim, I shouldn’t have clung to him and promised to be stronger and a worthy mate. I believed the words of the seers and tried to be better for him.

I was a fool.

Because of that, because of me, my family and old pack are dead, all but my niece and nephew, and they aren’t far behind. They don’t deserve this life. They’re so young and innocent. They didn’t choose this. I wish I could save them. I wish I could protect them. Most of all, I wish I could go back and not listen to a word from the seers. I should have trusted my instincts, but all the wishes can’t take a damn thing back.

For now I protect the pups as best I can. I don’t understand why their father keeps me away when he doesn’t care about them. Rayne lets them starve, but I’m beaten and chained for trying to give them my food. He won’t let them see me. He keeps them away only to hurt them further. Or to hurt me. My body shakes with agony, and my hollow chest tightens in pain. I hate Rayne. My shoulders hunch in anger and defeat as I bring my knees further into my belly. I hate my mate. My lungs heave with a harsh intake of air. I hate this pack.

The spiral haunts me daily as does the guilt of what I’ve done.

This isn’t a strong pack as the seers foretold and as far as ties with his previous pack, he’s tried to kill them, tried to cause them pain. I heard what they were planning to do to the pack mates. I’m so thankful they failed. I have no remorse that the members of my own pack are dead. Their hearts have turned black with greed and they delight in harming others. They thrive from one another’s resentment and brutality. Tears brim in my eyes as my throat dries, making it difficult to swallow. It got worse and worse, and I couldn’t stop it from happening.

There’s a sting of pain and then a small push against my belly reminds me of my reason for living. My baby. I let out a hush of a staggered sigh and rub my swollen belly. I close my eyes and imagine a future better than this. My little one apparently has the hiccups, bumping against my pelvic bone with each little jolt of his body. A small, sad laugh escapes me as my whole body warms with the tiniest hint of happiness.

Sleep begs to take me, but with these contractions I know the time is soon. I pray it is. I have to stay alert, and as soon as I’m given the chance, I’ll run. I have to believe it’s possible. Without it, without that small scrap of hope, there’s no reason to take another breath of this dirty air.

I wish I was stronger. I wish I was faster, but with this extra weight and exhaustion, there’s no way I could outrun Shadow’s pack. I tried once. Before I was pregnant. Once I realized what kind of wolf Shadow really was. The seers had told me lies, great and horrid lies. Once I opened my eyes and realized what hell I’d been given, I tried to run. It was late and the pack was asleep. I thought if I’d get a good head start then I could reach my family. I delivered death to my old pack. When he found me just a mile from them, he decided I deserved to be punished. He made me watch, bound and gagged, while his pack crept through the night and murdered every wolf. They hid in the shadows and ambushed my family. I could do nothing to save them. I was as weak then as I am now.

I lay on the cold floor and feel my heavy eyelids fall and brush the threatening tears away. My baby’s little hiccups have stopped, and my exhaustion weighs me down. I need to rest, so I give into the need. Another day has gone. I breathe deep, repeating my mantra. Just one day at a time. I can survive just one day at a time.

Just as I feel my body lighten and my breath slow, a large hand wraps around my mouth trapping the scream that rises in my dry throat.

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