The Alpha - Joel Abernathy

Chapter 1

A man could accomplish a lot in three months. He could change careers, take up a new hobby, murder every member of a toxic regime and wrest control from the remaining sympathizers to establish his own tentative claim to power.

Or plant a garden. Just the usual.

Colt was still having trouble adjusting to the career change. The primary difference between being a foreman and the Alpha ghoul presiding over all of Rhode Island was that rather than building something from nothing, he was constantly struggling to hold together the crumbling framework of the Moreaus’ fallen regime. And pretty much everything else.

In the beginning, Colt had maintained some delusion of holding onto his old life, but between the meetings and trying to thwart Evelyn’s agenda at every turn, he’d quickly realized there was no time for his old job, his old friends, or much of anything else. He had seen Jason less and less, and after Evelyn had insisted on him moving into the Moreaus’ former estate, he’d scarcely had a moment’s privacy.

God, he missed being a nobody.

Hiding in the bathroom was the only way he could get any peace when Evelyn’s demands and all the minions she’d moved into the estate became a bit too much. At the moment, Colt was sitting on the edge of the bathroom sink, scrolling through his phone while he waited for his dinner guests to leave. If he had to hear one more question about what it was like to be “raised by food,” he would snap.

Someone pounded on the bathroom door and made Colt hit “like” scrolling past a bikini selfie posted by a girl he hadn’t even seen since high school. That was going to be fun to explain to Jason.

Not that he noticed much in those days. Jason had become even more obsessed with finding the “werewolf” they’d seen in the woods now that he was convinced Colt and his boss were hiding something from him after the events of WaterFire. Colt had hoped his tentative truce with the new District Attorney would allow him to breathe a little easier, but Jason’s investigation was proving even tougher to evade.

“What?” Colt bellowed through the door. “Can’t a guy take a piss in his own bathroom without getting harassed?”

“I saw you online, idiot. Open the door.”

Colt sighed, unlocking the door. Evelyn was standing on the other side with her arms folded, glaring at him like he was the one harassing her every waking moment.

“You know, if you were a ghost in a horror movie, this is the point where I’d just give up and let you kill me.”

“That can still be arranged,” she said sweetly. “If you’re done hiding in the plumbing like a rat, the Councilman from New Jersey and his wife are leaving, and you should say something.”

“Okay, I will. Hope the door don’t hit ‘em where the good Lord split ‘em. You can deliver the message,” he said, moving to shut the door in her face. “Make sure you get the intonations right.”

Evelyn’s hand shot out to grab the door, and her crimson nails lengthened until they cracked the wood. Her eyes turned black and slick like oil. “If you don’t get out here and act like a proper host, you will have fewer friends to distract you. And don’t think I can’t replace you like that,” she said, snapping her gray-tipped fingers.

“And don’t think I’ll hesitate to snap your neck if you threaten the people I care about again,” he snarled, standing toe-to-toe with her.

The female ghoul’s black eyes narrowed, but she was the first to back down. “You wouldn’t last a day without me,” she scoffed, propping a hand on her hip. “Between the loyalists, the sycophants who’ll turn on you the second they sense another shift in power, and the Council that’ll come down on you if anything happens to me, you’d be as helpless as a babe in the wilderness. Face it, darling,” she purred, running her hand down his chest as her nails returned to normal, along with her sultry blue gaze. “You need me.”

Colt hated to admit it, but she was right. He could bluff all he wanted, and she could torment him to overcompensate because she wasn’t an Alpha and never would be as long as she wanted to keep her comfy seat on the Council, but they both relied on each other.

Colt found himself at once overwhelmed and repulsed by the political nature of his new role, and Evelyn lived for that shit,