Ruthless King (Ruthless Warlords #1) by Alison Aimes



1





“P-please, Alpha Lord. Why am I here?”

“Quiet!” His meaty hand tight around her forearm, Dahlia hurried to keep up with her father, Olan Lundin, her bare feet slapping against the cool tiles.

She was still in her silk dressing gown, one that covered very little. Less than an hour ago, she’d been preparing for her prime omega bridal contract to the eldest son of the Verish crime syndicate. The pretense of dutiful acceptance the only alternative since her father, head of the Lundin Syndicate, had wanted the merger, and crossing one of the most brutal crime lords in the galaxy came at a price.

She’d learned that lesson many times.

Except now she was here, on this sleek, rumbling space shuttle, breathing air outside the compound where she’d been under lock and key since her first estrus began. Twenty-four years old and finally seeing beyond the restricted walls of her quarters as she’d always dreamed of doing.

Only this was a nightmare, and she was far from free.

“Keep up.” Olan jerked her arm, sending her stumbling into his side as they hurried down the hallway. The walls of the space shuttle were so black and glossy she could see more than she wanted reflecting back at her. Her white robe and unbound white-gold hair were stained blood red from the crimson track lights, while her small omega frame was dwarfed by her father and his handful of bodyguards.

Like all male Lundins, Olan’s soldiers were eerily beautiful with long flowing white-blond hair, pointed ears, and snow-colored horns that twisted upward to a proud point. But their gazes were predatory rather than protective as they honed in on her father’s bruising grip, his show of aggression triggering their own.

The stink of testosterone thickened the air—sending slick pearling on her own folds; the omega in her responding to the dominance even as her soul cried out in horror.

“Fuck.” One of them sniffed the air. “She smells good.”

“Keep it together,” Olan barked at his men. “Or I’ll rip your throats out.”

Normally, she would have hidden from her father and his bodyguards as fast as she could. Except there was nowhere to run.

Olan had brought her to the secret gathering place of the Brotherhood, the elite organization of the most powerful crime families in the galaxy. Her father was one of its twelve members and attended its secret, closely guarded meetings often. Lowly omega daughters usually did not.

So why was she here?

The sight of the Brotherhood creed carved into the dark corridor in blood-red ink only added to her fear.

Death comes to all. Sooner to those who betray us.

Did they somehow know about her plan to escape? The money and jewels she’d stolen over the years when her father grew careless and left his contraband lying around?

Tearing her gaze away from the ominous words, she tried once more. “Alpha Lord, please. If you could tell me what has happened. What—”

“Enough!”

The back of her head slammed into metal, pain streaking down her spine as the massive Alpha pinned her to the shuttle wall, his bulk crushing her.

He shoved his face into hers and bared his fangs, his wild, unkempt beard scraping her chin, his breath hot against her cheek. “There is only one good use for an omega’s mouth and if you don’t shut yours, I will forget you are my first daughter and allow these guards to shove it full of Alpha cock here and now.”

As always, her body shook and went pliant, her gaze sliding downward as her omega instinct kicked in and the compulsion to submit overrode everything else.

She hated it. Herself most of all.

She’d wished all her life to rip the biological imperative to obey from her cells and get rid of the omega taint, but it could not be done.

The alpha, beta, omega dynamic was as inescapable as her fate.

Alphas dominated while betas served, and omegas submitted.

Each role was an innate compulsion programmed into the genes of every inhabitant in their galaxy. The interplay did not require affection, caring, respect, or consent. Like breathing, it simply was. Its essence primal. Irresistible. Immutable.

No matter how hard she tried to resist.

“You have caused me enough fucking problems, omega.” Her father slammed her head into the wall once more.

She fought to stay silent. Noise only triggered further aggression in Alphas. Already, his men snapped and snarled at his back, their frenzy for violence growing.

“The contract with the Verish family is null and void. You will no longer be given the honor of prime omega to their family.”