Home > Brutal Beast (Planet of Kings #4)

Brutal Beast (Planet of Kings #4)
Author: Lee Savino

 

DEDICATION

 

 

For Judy.

We can’t thank you enough.

 

 

ONE

 

 

Bestian


I dream of an Omega. She is tiny compared to me, as Omegas are. She’s fragile and elegant, with dark skin and eyes, her hair, a soft brown halo around her head. Hidden fire gleams in the tight curls—there are bright jewels set at her ears and threaded through her hair. Her perfume twines around me, pulling me closer, awakening my Alpha need. It’s been years since I last scented an Omega. There are none left in my kingdom.

Except for her. My queen. I draw her into my arms. It’s the work of a moment to nudge her thighs apart and sink into her. She shudders, opening to me slowly, accepting my cock.

For the first time ever, I'm balls-deep in an Omega, relishing her perfect moonflower scent. Her perfume brings my dominance to the fore. My muscles strain as I thrust deep. She moans, spreads her legs wider, and takes it all. Her slick gushes between us, its heady scent intoxicating me even more.

My knot swells. Soon, I will fill her with my seed to the point where it will overflow around my cock. My canines sharpen to dagger points in my mouth. It’s time to mark my precious Omega. She will belong to me, our souls bonded forever. My power will be hers, and she will always be mine. She arches her neck for my bite, ready for me to claim her, and that's when I see it: The Red Death.

The rash rolls up her skin, scarlet blisters ravaging her beauty, like red fire crackling up a lush hillside, leaving ash and destruction in its wake. Her lips crack and her eyes grow hollow. She's dying right in front of me, succumbing to the same curse that took my parents.

And I am impotent to stop it.

My roar rings out, shaking my ruined castle on its foundations. Dust rains down from the rafters. How long was I asleep? When was the last time I had the whisps, my magical wind servants, clean in here?

It's time, something whispers inside of me. Make ready.

I scrub my face, my fingers tracing the harsh ridges of my scarred skin. Once, I was handsome. Once, I was beloved by my kingdom and parents alike. When I was much younger, I had hope for my future, for finding a mate. My perfect Omega, the one I was born to claim.

Now I have nothing. There are no Omegas left on Ulfaria. And if the curse has come again…

I cannot stop it. I have no hope, only an empty castle and a ravaged face, and the memory of a dream.

 

 

Rose


I’m startled awake with a roar echoing in my ears. I peer through the gloom but see nothing. The only sounds are the creaking of the trees outside my window and the tentative trills of the lizard-like creatures that sit on the branches and sing like birds.

It must have been my dream. I dreamt I was in a ruined castle filled with vines and flowers blooming in the darkness all around. A breeze tugged at my skirts, pulling me forward towards… something? Someone? A great shape in the center of a dusty ballroom. A statue—or a figure standing so still, he might as well have been one. He was humanoid, but huge. On Earth, he’d be a giant. Here on Ulfaria, he’d be an Alpha, bigger than any other I’ve seen.

My skin tingles with the memory and I rub my face. It was just a dream.

A cool wind blows over my bed, ruffling the quilt. Somehow, in the night, my window cracked open. I jump up to close it but it catches on a vine. Overnight, a silvery-green tendril grew up the side of Ma’s cottage and snaked inside.

That’s some fast growing weed. I like plants—back home, they’d say I have a green thumb—but Ulfarri flora takes some getting used to.

I push the vine out and shut the window. It looks like more creeping plants grew over this side of the cottage. I’ll make time to trim them back later today. Ma will know why it grows so fast.

Just another weird alien plant on this weird alien planet. Same old, same old.

I unwrap my hair and shake out my braids, then dress in my blouse and loose skirts. Everything is boho peasant chic around here. At least I have good sturdy boots. I wait to put those on until I’ve slipped out of my room and tiptoed down the hall past Ma’s bedroom. Her door is shut. Usually she’s awake earlier than I am. I lift my skirts, easing down the creaky stairs. Ma wasn’t feeling well last night. I want to let her sleep.

Ma’s cottage is small by Ulfarri standards, barely more than a hut. But to me it’s nice and roomy, especially after my cramped NYC apartment. Everything is supersized on this planet. Ma—the Ulfarri who took me in—is considered small, and she’s taller than I am. And I’m five ten. I worked as a model back home.

I set about packing up the vials and herbal packets we’ve spent all week making. Ma’s potions are considered medicine around here. There’s enough to fill two baskets, which will be awkward to carry, but I can deal. I can handle one morning at the market and let Ma sleep in. It’s the least I can do, after all she’s done for me.

I owe her so much more.

The front door of the cottage sticks when I try to open it. I set down the baskets and throw all my weight against it to force it open.

Thick, black vines have grown all over the stoop. They weren’t here yesterday. They must have sprouted up overnight. I prod them with my boot. First the tendril at my window, now these.

I kick a few out of the way until I can open the door further, and scrape the rest of them off. I’m as quiet as I can be, but a wheezing cough echoes down the stairs.

“Rose?” Ma calls from her bedroom. Her scratchy voice makes me wince.

So much for sneaking out. I move back toward the stairs and call up to her. “Sorry about the racket, Ma.” She’s not my mother but when she took me in, her full name—Matron Marphel—somehow got shortened to Ma in my head. “Go back to sleep.”

“You’re going to market?”

“I told you I would. Since you weren’t feeling well last night, I had hoped you’d sleep in this morning. I’ll be back soon.”

“Very well.” She sounds so weak, I hesitate, suddenly worried about leaving her.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to make you some tea before I go?” I turn too quickly and knock a bundle of dry dola leaves to the floor. I hang the fallen bundle back up beside the others. We harvested the dola last week, and they fill the cottage with their rich herbal scent, a cross between sage and oregano.

“No, child. I’m sure I’ll be up in no time. I can make my own tea.”

“You’re supposed to be resting.”

“I’ll be fine. Don’t forget your cloak.”

“I won’t.” Going over to the rack, I stick my tongue out at my heavy cloak and grab it off the hook. It was too much to hope Ma would forget, and I could leave it behind. The morning air is cool and still, but once the suns rise, it will be hot, and I’ll be stuck sweating with my hood up.

“Remember, if you see any Alphas—”

“If I see any Alphas, I’ll keep my head down. I won’t look them in the eye. I won't talk to them,” I promise. Alphas never buy anything from our booth anyway.

“And did you take your medicine?”

“Of course,” I say before remembering that I forgot this morning. Oh well. I took it yesterday. And I'll take it before I get back. Taking a dose a few hours late won’t hurt.

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