Home>>read Born to be Broken (Alpha's Claim #2) free online

Born to be Broken (Alpha's Claim #2)(3)

By:Addison Cain

She had.

She had fucked the Premier, thrown what they had aside for some distorted ploy, as the final undiscussed crux in her plan. As Shepherd heard her speak on the matter, as she convincingly painted a grand scenario, he could not bring himself to question what she'd never mentioned. Svana had planned her seduction all along. Though she held Shepherd and spoke of her love, he was attuned to her; he could smell what was wrong in her scent. What had been done was even worse than he'd originally believed; Svana had chemically forced an unlikely ovulation. She wanted to bear the child of her enemy …  to have a traitor's lineage continue the line-a man who wasn't infected with Da'rin, who was born with superior bloodlines-a man who might even be the carrier of the alleged antibody to the Red Consumption in his veins.



Not like Shepherd, who didn't know which of the countless prisoners who'd raped his mother had fathered him. His blood had not been fostered through generations with access to secret science and inoculations against disease. Instead, he was disfigured by Da'rin that burned in the sun and would always mark him as a castoff.

She had not voiced it, but Shepherd interpreted the truth. Svana found him wanting in the most primal of ways.

All those years, Shepherd's fidelity had been one sided. Svana did not hesitate to admit she'd taken other lovers. Hadn't he? After all, were they not Alphas? Was it not their right? She had stroked his chest and smiled so perfectly, reminding him that what they shared was beyond the physical. They shared a great destiny, an eternal spiritual bond of love.

Gutted, Shepherd had fulfilled his duty to his loyal Followers, to the dead mother he hardly remembered. Thólos fell, everyone playing their part to perfection; yet he was less for it. The world had shifted, he had achieved greatness, but what was he left with? Nothing. A big black hole where the light had gone out. He was incomplete.

But then he smelled something untainted hiding under the poignant stink of decay. Like a gift from the Gods, Claire was delivered; unlikely virtue born out of the filth of Thólos. A lotus. Claire, with her convictions and her timid bravery, walked up to a man like him-stubbornly waited for hours, a lamb amongst the wolves-to beg for help from the very villain inflicting suffering on the friends she would save.

One breath of her and he would have taken her, heat or no. The Gods had simplified his spiritual culmination by delivering her in estrous.

As he'd rutted the willful, strange thing, Shepherd found she wriggled so wonderfully, felt so perfectly snug encasing his cock, that he had to ensure she could never leave. As Svana had claimed their devotion was beyond the physical, their love divine, Shepherd felt perfectly justified in taking Claire, in creating a corporeal mate-an attachment that would only benefit the unruly Omega. He bonded to keep Claire for himself, his reward for service to the greater good of mankind reborn. The green-eyed little one's purity was now his own, her nearness succor. In Claire, Shepherd had regained that missing piece, the covetous need to possess something innocent, achieved.

Yet, now his bonded mate was gone with his child in her belly, wandering a city that was destined for plague.

The Omega would never come back to him willingly, not while the pair-bond was so damaged. Shepherd would have to return Claire by force.

He could almost hear the echo of her words in the air: do not give me cause to hate you more.

What had gone through the mind of the Omega he'd found unconscious on the bathroom floor? He'd anticipated anger, but found something impaired far beyond his reasoning. His coupling with Svana had left Claire unresponsive and empty-left the cord so fractured, all Shepherd could feel from her was an echo of desolation. 

It was not a sensation he enjoyed.

No amount of attention or space had made a difference. Glassy eyes looked at him with judgment and hatred no matter how he tended her, touched her, or purred. All her favorite foods had been prepared, new dresses put in her drawer …  she had not even noticed.

Claire O'Donnell belonged to him. Shepherd would find her, drag her back …  and force feed her if he fucking had to. He would make her adore him like she was supposed to. Because she was his, only his, and he did not share his things. Ever.

He had even prevented the sharing of her body with his beloved. Was that not something?

Corday had rushed to carry out his mission for the resistance, eager to return to Claire. It wasn't because he didn't trust her to stay put, it was because he didn't trust her at all. The look in her eyes when Senator Kantor had arrived to guard her had been nothing but calculating. There was none of her former fear or skittishness, her reaction numbed as she sized up the Alpha.

The Senator could see the change in her as well, Kantor reacting with cautious courtesy. They exchanged pleasantries, Corday made them coffee, and then he left to meet Brigadier Dane. Corday's duties kept him out past dark, and the Enforcer was utterly unprepared for the sight that met his eyes when he returned home.

Claire was asleep, curled up on the couch next to Senator Kantor, who was boldly purring in the dark.

A stab of something unwelcome drew Corday to frown. "Did she ask you to do that?"

"No. I knew what would lull her to sleep," Senator Kantor answered in a hushed tone. "Rebecca struggled to fall asleep too. I learned a lot tending my wife in the years the Gods blessed me with my Omega."

It was taboo to speak of deceased mates; Corday was surprised to hear the Alpha mention Rebecca-especially considering the sad circumstances of her long ago murder by Kantor's political adversary. It had been a sensation and had led to Senator Bergie, several of his staff, and even Bergie's son being incarcerated in the Undercroft.

Unsure what to say in response, Corday lit a few candles, and dragged a seat over from the kitchen, his face grim as he looked at the sleeping girl. "How was she today?"

"Better once she ate-less catatonic, more cognizant." Senator Kantor studied the wasted thing. "Miss O'Donnell's physical reaction after having parted from the father will be complicated. The pair-bond and the pregnancy will make her ill."

Corday had faith things might turn out better. "She told me the pair-bond was broken. As for the pregnancy, I will take care of her."

Senator Kantor shook his head "It doesn't work that way, son."

Shooting a look at the Alpha, Corday ground his teeth. "We'll see."

"Now that you are back, the three of us need to have a discussion." Senator Kantor sat straighter, smoothing his sleeve. "Get dinner in her first; afterward the two of us will explain."

It was unsettling to be ordered around in his own home, but Corday nodded and went to the kitchen. Simple fare was prepared. There was some fresh fruit for Claire, an apple he'd bartered for a handful of batteries.

When all was ready, Corday carefully took Claire's limp hand, stroking her fingers until her bleary green eyes popped open. It was obvious she was confused. For just a moment she jerked from his nearness, ready to run. Then it began. The rich rumble of an Alpha purr took Claire from startled to angry.

The glare she gave Senator Kantor would have been funny had her scent not turned so rancid with fear. "You can stop now."



The old man conceded.

Over dinner, the men chose silence. Claire did not. "Is there another bounty?"

Corday was not going to lie to her. "Yes."

She forced down another salty bite. "And?"

"When we observed the Citadel, there was a line of citizens dragging in women of your description."

Claire cringed. "That's disgusting … "

"From what I could see, the Followers were letting them go, but citizens are starving." This was Corday's chance to explain why Senator Kantor was really there. "The bounty on your head could keep a family fed for a year. We have to keep you hidden."

The old Alpha broached the greater issue. "And not just from Thólos."

Claire cocked her head. "What do you mean?"

"I need you to understand that what is said cannot leave this room."

He'd insulted her. "I never told Shepherd a thing. Never," she said.

"Dissention could be our greater enemy." Ruffling his grey hair, elbows on his knees, Kantor sighed. "Many of our people believe that unification under the Follower's governance would satisfy Shepherd. The fact is, these citizens are numerous and growing more loyal to the dictator's regime than we could have imagined. Our own ranks, even some of our brothers and sisters in arms, have been tempted to the other side. Once ensconced, they cannot be reasoned with. Your appearance within the resistance might offer too great a temptation for any straddling the line. Corday and I both believe they will vie to give you back."

"We would never let that happen, Claire," Corday interjected, desperate to explain once he saw the look on her face. "Ever. Do you understand?"

Senator Kantor dared to squeeze her hand. "We need our troops focused. We must find the contagion. To do that, you must stay hidden. No one can know you're here."

Claire sat silent, processing such information. When she finally spoke, her words were not gentle. "You seem to be a wise man, Senator Kantor, but can't you see that time and further suffering will corrode those loyal to you no matter what? My pregnancy is the key to your success. So long as I am running wild in Thólos with his baby as my hostage, he won't infect the population-not at the risk of infecting me. Now is your chance to strike. Use me and rebel immediately."