What makes a man an alpha? Is it his standing in the pack of other men? Or his yumminess with the women? His strength? Personality?
As I sat down to my computer to work on my next novel in the Sisters of the Moon series, I was plagued with all kinds of doubts over my main character, Aeros. Was he alpha enough? He's captain of the Spartans —a band of immortal warriors brought back from the dead by Ares to serve him for eternity – or so it would seem. He's tough, rough around the edges, but also cultured, well-spoken --except for when he curses-- and he has a tendency to order everyone about. He's a leader though, so well, ordering everyone about comes naturally. So, isn't that alpha enough?
Well, I had my doubts, so I hopped on over to the Lykae compound to toss around some questions, all innocent like, with the boys while they were busy working out. My thinking was sorta like, well, they'll be so busy, they won't notice me ….
When I arrived, I struck gold. As in, wow. Derrick, Ranger, and Markee were there tossing out some moves, lifting weights, and just causing my heart to flutter at all the sweaty muscles being flexed all over the place. But wow, also side by side with the pack, I spotted the Fire demon Agni a wicked panty dropper and with him the mysterious Torment, a demon that makes a girl think some very naughty thoughts indeed!
Bingo. I hit pay dirt. I hoped. Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed having some female support, but an all guy gym, full of what I think of as alphas? Wow. I could kiss my writing block good-bye!
So, I pick a spot where I'm not too obvious, wave to Agni – the flirt! – and settle in to watch them before I start tossing out questions.
Derrick and Markee, his nephew, are on the mats in front of me in a hand to hand contest. They look pretty evenly matched, I think. I don't know much about hand to hand combat, but Markee and Derrick seem to be trading punches. Ranger is punching a bag with enough force to knock Agni back a bit each time Ranger hits his mark. Torment is working alone with some kind of wooden dummy the martial arts use to spare with. Ouchie looking on the hands!
I focus on Markee and Derrick because of the two, I think of Derrick as a firm alpha and Markee I'm not so sure of.
Markee is younger, but he's quick. Both have that lovely brown shot with gold hair, but I like Derrick's more. His looks like he's run his hands through it several times and now it's in need of a comb. Markee's hair is almost too short to look disheveled. But I love the way he has his sideburns cut so they frame his square jaw. Both really look alpha to me, until Derrick topples Markee in a move so quick I thought I'd blinked and missed something. One minute Markee was up and fighting, the next, wow, he's down and shaking his head, flat on his back.
Okay. So. Maybe Markee is a beta, still a hot number, but when he grins and shakes his head again before accepting Derrick's hand to get up, I think of Markee as that fun loving kinda guy who really doesn't have to be the leader, and is pretty happy with simply following along. Or, watching Derrick show Markee how he toppled him so easily, and how Markee nods and concentrates on Derrick's advice, I wonder if Markee isn't just young compared to Derrick. Markee stands just over six foot, an inch or maybe two under Derrick's height. But Markee is also younger by a few hundred years. He's just out of what the immortal bands call, 'youngling' which is anyone under a hundred years. And as I watch the two, I also realize anyone would look beta next to all these ancient guys.
Markee's doing well simply hanging out with them, so he might be alpha, too. Confusing!
"Hey, Billi Jean, what's up? Why aren't you tapping away at that key board?" Ranger calls. He flashes me a big grin before he rubs a towel over his face and saunters over to park himself nearby. He and Star make such a wonderful couple. Ranger just seems so at ease now with himself and life now that he's mated. But Ranger is hands down an alpha. Black haired, blue eyed, he's strong, confident, and can make a mistake big time and take the blame before he tries his hardest to fix it. His mating to Star is a fine example of that!
"Well, you know how it is. I can't always write. I have to think a bit about things first and then try and make them work." He should know, since he and Star offered to dish their story even though Derrick and Samantha's story came first. Derrick and Samantha were reluctant to call their honey moon short to fill me in on every detail of their battle, cough, cough, I mean flirting, while Ranger, the wonderful alpha he is, wanted everyone to know Star was his!
"Ah….writer's block huh? Aeros not talking? Tabithia being difficult?"
I twist my fingers before spilling the beans. Ranger can be hard to handle, if he even is 'handle-able' that is. "Uh, not exactly. I was wondering about alpha males."
Ranger froze in the middle of taking a swig from his water bottle to shoot me one of his incredulous looks before he grinned again. The man was too funny. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head.
"Ah…" Taking his swig of aqua, he swallowed before he went on. "And why did you think coming here would help with that?"
I rolled my eyes. Like he didn’t know.
Markee heard us from over on the mats and laughed. Derrick grinned over at me, too. The boys did not lack modesty. Agni hit Torment on the back and said something that had the darker demon giving me a rare smile.
"Well, come on. It's not like my love life has produced any alpha males. I mean come on. Cut me some slack here. Obviously, Aeros is an alpha, but can an alpha not always lead? Can he follow? I mean, look at you, Derrick," I paused and swallowed when all five guys turned serious. Oh boy. "I mean, well, you sorta followed Samantha, right? I mean…."
"Yeah, he did pussy up over the pinning, didn't he? I mean, what the hell kind of alpha lets a woman pin him to a wall?" Ranger demanded, pointing his water bottle at Derrick.
I tried to look very small. And I checked out the exits. Derrick had a temper.
Instead of a fight ensuing, Derrick grinned and shrugged.
Agni twisted the cap off an Aquafina and handed it to me, all gentlemanly like before he opened his own bottle and said, "True, and he let Samantha go to the damn Death Stalker Stronghold. I mean, what the f___, man? She's tough, I'll give you that." Agni rubbed his throat.
So much for gentlemanly language to go with the gentlemanly manners. Agni had a mouth on him! I tried to keep my face as straight as possible remembering how Samantha didn’t pin Agni down with her witch power as much as she actually pinned him down with two knives at his throat.
"The woman is alpha to the extreme. Not sure if both can be, you dig?" Agni downed his water in one big, long swig. I had to savor the way his tanned throat worked before I could let his words make sense. What can I say? Agni is one big powerful punch of magnetism.
Derrick snorted next to me. I watched him but otherwise he looked cool with everything. He simply rubbed a towel through his hair and winked at me.
"Maybe one can be alpha some times, and sometimes let the other." Markee, usually pretty quiet, said. I tipped my head and re-evaluated my opinion of him. He was strong, and young, so maybe more an alpha than a beta. Sipping my water, I stayed silent.
"Ah, hell, sure, sure, sometimes you have to make it seem like they're in charge, but a true alpha is always the leader, always making the decisions and doesn't allow anyone else to say shit." Agni pointed a finger like a gun at me and narrowed his black eyes.
I tried really hard not to smile, but I must have let me amusement show because he shook his head.
I tried to speak, but really, what to say? "Okay, so you'd say that when a guy lets a woman have her way, he's –"
Ranger interrupted with a snorted 'hell no' under his breath. "Hell, that's not right, Agni. A man has to know when his woman is right and be flexible enough to change his own path to meet with hers." Ranger sighed and shook his head. "Hell, if you think you're always right, all you ever do is shove your foot so far down your throat it comes out your ass. Grow up, demon. You're going to have to learn that if you ever meet your mate."
"Ha! I'll train my female to always follow my lead. Sh** if I'll let her do the leading like I'm some boy-toy on a leash." Agni tossed a grin over at Derrick but none of the lykae looked amused.
I stayed silent. I knew Agni's mate and boy was he in for a big, big surprise with her.
"Agni, you're an idiot." Torment grumbled. He'd taken a seat not far from where I sat on a pile of mats and gave me one of his serious looks. "Look, if a man is an alpha, it's simply because he's lived long enough to know he knows nothing. Nothing is set in stone, there are no right answers, no wrong answers, there is simply navigating your way while you try to do what you think is right. If someone follows you because of this, than they do, but if they don't it doesn't mean you're less of a man. It simply means they don't agree."
Mmm. That was pretty….well, clear but vague. "You're an alpha, Torment. You're a leader in the Immortal Council." I waited until he nodded reluctantly before going on. "But you don't say much, I mean, not really. You simply make decisions, state what you think about things, and don't demand people to follow your lead or advice. Sorta like Aeros."
Torment settled his elbows on his knees and grimaced before reluctantly nodding. "Aeros is ancient. If he weren't strong, he'd be dead. His men follow him not because he's this 'alpha male' but because he's a strong, intelligent man. Tabithia and Aeros will work out a way, if they are meant to be together because they want to, not because one is alpha."
I nodded. That made sense. I didn't have to decide if Aeros was an alpha, he was or he wasn't according to his own actions. It didn’t matter in their story, if Aeros was alpha. If Tabithia let him love her, and she loved him then…..that was all I really needed to worry about.
Next to me, Derrick laughed and shook his head again. "I'm not this alpha because I do this or that, Billi Jean, I'm simply wise enough, I hope, to let myself believe in the wisdom of my beautiful mate. If she wishes to pin me, and she enjoys it, who am I to say no?" Grinning he rubbed the back of his neck with a hand and said, "Besides, we both know when Samantha pins me, I dinna mind in the least what she does after, eh?"
I jerked both hands up in surrender and I just knew my face was blazing. "Okay, okay, TMI." It's one thing to write it, another to discuss sex when all of the guys are grinning at me.
Ranger chuckled and gave me a lykae pat on the back, nearly knocking me off my perch. "Don’t worry about it. Aeros is a man. He's an alpha because he's strong like Tor said, what ye should worry about is getting yourself a male. When are you going to get out from behind those keys and–"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!! That is so not part of the issue at hand!"
All the men started laughing at that, and I jumped up, quick enough to escape the match-making-by-immortal-males. Close call doesn't even come close! You have no idea what alpha males who happen to live for like EVER can do to a poor single author! Whew. Enough said. A man's an alpha if he's smart enough to let his woman lead the way! J
Ranger is a werewolf, a Lykae with a problem. He's found his one true mate, the only female who can complete him. Only trouble is, he's denied his instinct to claim her. Now his mate hates him as much as she believes he hates her. He will have to risk both their lives to finally prove to his stubborn vampire he loves her?
Star is a half-breed vampire with a past of not being accepted because of her mixed blood. Ranger is just one more example of how much she doesn't fit into the immortal world no matter how much she tries to fool herself into believing otherwise. She's a strong female, a fighter, but when it comes to the opinions of others, she has no defenses. Why fight what she knows is true? She is a half breed, less than those around her. She has a home, friends and females she loves like family. Only trouble is, her family is now related to the mangy wolf man who hates her.
When life throws Samantha a curve ball in the form of an ancient Lykae warlord bent on marking her as his - what's she going to do? Run like hell? Oh, yeah, that so worked the first time around. With Derrick hot after her tail, Samantha discovers being the hunted just might not be as bad as she thought.
Derrick is a warlord hardened by centuries of battle. Now that he's free from years of torment, he discovers his mate. Only his beautiful little half wolf is as determined to deny him, as he is to claim her.
As the battle to keep her safe intensifies, Derrick faces the biggest fight of his life: winning Samantha's heart and keeping alive long enough to claim her.
Together they just might tame each other.
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