Story Excerpt
Alpha Born

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"Alpha Redding and his contingent have arrived."

Alpha Grayson Cane looked up from the map he was going over to see his second in command, Taylor Cane, who was also his brother, standing off to one side of him.

"Very good," Grayson answered. "Please remind everyone that this is a peaceful gathering. I want no aggressive moves from anyone." Taylor nodded and started to turn away. "Taylor, has the coven leader arrived yet?"

Taylor looked back, shaking his head. "No, alpha, there's been no word from his contingent yet."

"I want to be informed the moment he's spotted." Grayson curled his upper a lip, a small growl escaping before he could stop it. "I don't trust those bloodsuckers any farther than I can throw them."

Taylor nodded. "Understood."

Grayson shook his head. "I can't believe the council is sending in a vampire to mediate a peace agreement between werewolf clans. They must be out of their fucking minds."

"They are the council, alpha," Taylor said. "I imagine they can do just about anything they want."

"They're trying to make peace between the clans. Bringing in a vampire is more likely to start a war between us all." Grayson's lip curled again, this time in distaste. "I can't stand the little suckers. They'll stab you in the back while smiling at you. Sick little freaks."

Taylor chuckled slightly. "Better not let the peace mediator hear you say that."

Grayson rolled his eyes as he folded up the map he had been looking at. "I'd better go greet Alpha Redding before he throws a temper tantrum. No telling what he's likely to do if he isn't greeted properly."

"Grayson, you really need to keep your comments under control. You know as well as I do that Alpha Redding has excellent hearing."

Grayson chuckled. He knew that. He was counting on it. The quickest way to piss Alpha Caleb Redding off was to poke at his pride. It was also the quickest way to piss Grayson off but he wasn't about to admit that.

Grayson and Caleb had been rivals for several years. Getting the two of them in one place without a fight was practically a miracle. Brokering peace between their two clans would be an act of God.

Once upon a time, Grayson and Caleb used to be friends, best friends. Hell, they were more than best friends. Grayson received his first kiss from Caleb, his first blow job. He had his first sexual experience with Caleb.

That all ended when their fathers both died in a challenge to the death, thrusting Grayson and Caleb into the mantle of leadership. Their clans had always had a tentative relationship anyway. The death of both alphas led to a long standing feud that the Council of Elders was now trying to end.

Grayson waited until Taylor walked away before drawing in several deep, calming breathes. He had seen Caleb several times over the years but always from a safe distance. He was about to see the man close up for the first time in what seemed like forever.

Grayson knew he needed to calm down his racing heartbeat before Caleb heard it. Taylor wasn't lying. Caleb Redding had better hearing than anyone Grayson had ever met. He'd know immediately that Grayson was unsettled by this meeting.

Once Grayson felt he had himself under control, he started toward the middle of the small clearing they were meeting in. He could see a small group of people moving about just on the other side, out of the light cast from the small torches lit in the field.

The plan was for each clan to be on either side of the field and meet in a small circle of light the middle, neutral ground. Only the two alphas and the mediator could enter the circle. All others had to stay outside the circle and on their own side. Any breach of this plan would be met by strong sanctions by the council.

Grayson could see a tall figure break away from the group across the field as he entered the circle. The closer the man walked, the more of his features were revealed until he stood in the light just inside of the circle.

"Hello, Grayson."

Grayson swallowed hard before answering. "Hello, Caleb."

"It's been awhile, hasn't it?" Caleb asked.

Caleb folded his hands behind his back and started slowly walking around the circle. Grayson caught just a hint of tension in the man's shoulders as he walked past a torch. He wondered if this meeting was as hard for Caleb as it was for him?

"A few years at least," Grayson replied, hoping that his voice didn't convey the trembling he could feel in his body. To be this close to Caleb and not able to touch him, smell him. It was hell.

"I've seen you at the yearly Lyken Gatherings," Caleb continued. "You're looking good. Alpha life must be treating you right."

"It's okay."

"Just okay?" The slight lift of Caleb's eyebrow shot right to Grayson's cock. He remembered that mysterious way Caleb had of looking at him as if his answer was the most important thing in the world. It used to drive Grayson crazy.

"It is what it is." Grayson shrugged, trying not to let Caleb know how effected he was by the man's mere presence. They were on different sides of warring factions. They were enemies. What they had before they could never have again. It was too late for that. It had been too late the moment their fathers died in battle.

"Do you think this will work?" Caleb asked as he waved his hand around the circle.

"Do I want it to work? Yes," Grayson answered. "Do I think peace is possible between our two clans? Honestly, no I don't. There's too much history between our clans for them to settle this peacefully."

Under any normal circumstances, Grayson never would have been so honest with his thoughts but this was Caleb. Grayson had to believe that some of the man he cared about all of those years ago was still inside of the hard man he saw standing before him.

Caleb clasped his hands behind his back again, nodding his head as he started walking. "I'm tired of fighting, Grayson. I'm tired of watching my clan die little by little over something none of us had anything to do with. The fight was between our fathers, not us."

Grayson's breath caught in his throat at the misery he saw in Caleb's green eyes when the man looked over at him. "We need to end this."

"How?" Grayson asked. "A mediator is not going to be able to end the animosity between our clans, no matter how fucking good he is supposed to be. There's been too much damage, Caleb."

"We need to make a mate covenant between our clans."

Grayson gapped, his mouth dropping open in shock. "You want us to marry members of our clans together to insure peace? Have you lost your mind since I last saw you?"

"Not at all," Caleb said. "I believe it is the perfect resolution to our problem. If we bring our clans together through a mate covenant then we would essentially be one clan."

"One fighting clan," Grayson snapped. "And who do you think is stupid enough to go along with this plan of yours? What two idiots would even agree to it?"

The potent look Caleb gave Grayson made him start shaking his head before the man even spoke. It was his greatest wish and his biggest nightmare.