Craved by an Alpha, the fifth book in New York Times best-seller Felicity Heaton’s hot paranormal romance series, Eternal Mates, is now available in ebook and paperback. To celebrate the release, she’s holding a FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY at her website and sharing sneak peeks of the book.
Here’s more about Craved by an Alpha, including an excerpt from this paranormal romance novel.
“I travelled two years to find you… to bring you back to the pride.”
Cavanaugh wished she had stopped at the first part, where she had only travelled two years to find him.
The pain in her eyes increased, her fear a palpable thing now that hung in the air between them, and it forced him to listen. What had happened at the pride? Concern for his village grew in his heart but concern for Eloise overshadowed it, pulling the focus of his thoughts back to her.
She must have searched for him across Bhutan, India and Europe, no doubt flashing his photograph to any fae or demon she came across. What terrible thing had happened to drive her to such a desperate and dangerous act?
Had she gained her scars during her search for him? Had some of the fae or demons captured her and held her for some nefarious reason?
He growled again, unable to contain it as he pictured her bound and afraid. His claws grew, emerging as he thought about hunting down whoever had hurt her and tearing into them. He wanted their blood on his hands. The scent of Eloise’s fear grew stronger and he pulled down a deep breath to steady himself, not wanting to frighten her with his anger.
Cavanaugh looked her over again, self-reproach burning through him as her voice ran around his head, taunting him.
Her journey would have been a difficult one, and not only because she had never left their homeland and had no experience of the world. Her position in the pride meant she had very little money, only a small allowance that he knew she had been saving her entire life. It wouldn’t have been enough to cover luxuries like flights and hotels or even restaurants.
Her tattered clothing, her fatigue and how much weight she had lost since the last time he had seen her all confirmed his worst fears. She had spent two years living rough, sleeping on the streets or in hostels and travelling by foot, by hitchhiking or by jumping trains.
The thought of his little female living in such a fashion, day-to-day, probably stealing food and fearing for her safety, cut him right down to his soul and had his heart burning with a need to gather her into his arms and somehow take away every terrible experience she must have had.
It was his fault.
He had ventured far from the mountains and the pride village. If he hadn’t left Bhutan, she could have easily found him. She wouldn’t have been forced to spend years travelling and tracking him down.
If he had gone back for her—no, he couldn’t think like that. He had warred with himself at the time about it and it had played on his mind ever since.
It had been too dangerous.
He had fought Stellan countless times and had always driven the male back into submission.
Except the last time.
That time he had allowed the male to defeat him.
It had only taken a passing thought during their fight, a split-second in which Cavanaugh had realised that he could be free of his position as alpha and could change the course of his life for the better, towards how he wanted it to be, by using the five year rule if he lost the fight but survived.
In that moment, Stellan had dealt what would have been a killing blow if the male hadn’t slipped on the icy ground. The pain had been so intense that it had blinded Cavanaugh, forcing him to shift back from his snow leopard form. When he had seen all the blood on him and the deep wounds on his chest, he had feared he wouldn’t survive to claim Eloise and the future he wanted with her.
His snow leopard side had still been partially in control, muddled in with his human mind because of the pain, and it had responded to that deep need. It had seized control and forced him to flee the village and venture high into the mountains to lick his wounds.
Days had passed before his deeper animal instincts had receded and he had realised with dismay what he had done.
He hadn’t intended to lose the fight. He hadn’t intended to leave Eloise behind. But both of those things had happened and there had been nothing he could do to change them.
Stellan had locked down the village and would have killed him if he had tried to return for Eloise.
Cavanaugh had waited almost a week to see whether she might leave, straying far enough from the village boundaries for him to reach her. She hadn’t and he had been growing weaker, the cold slowing his healing and stealing his strength. He had been forced to head down the mountain.
Once there, he had come to the hard decision to leave Bhutan and wait for the five years to pass so he could give Eloise the life that she deserved.
To give her that life, he needed to be free of his position.
So he had convinced himself that she was better off at the pride, safe there until the five years were up and he could return to her and try to win her heart.
But the pain in her haunted eyes said that he had been wrong. He had left her at the pride and she had paid for it in ways she didn’t want to speak about, ones that had broken her spirit. His instincts as her fated male and his heart pressed him to make her tell him what had happened to her. He needed to know.
“Eloise…” He wasn’t sure what he could say to make everything better. There was nothing he could say. She had braved the world, and every danger imaginable, in order to find him. Whatever had happened at the pride, it had been bad to drive her to leave and seek him out. He looked at her wrists again and couldn’t stop himself from pressing her, because he suddenly felt sure those scars hadn’t happened during her journey and it left him sick to his stomach. “What happened?”
“It doesn’t matter. Please. You must return to the pride.”
It damn well did matter. He could order her to tell him, but he didn’t want things to be that way between them. She wasn’t beneath him. She was above him, deserved to be worshipped by him as her fated male.
“Please come back. The pride needs you.”
He didn’t like the restrained way she argued with him. There was a time when she would have playfully hit him and given him a piece of her mind. Maybe she would in eight days.
In eight days, things could begin to return to how he had liked them and he could forget the last five years, and the five that had come before them.
Could he convince her to wait? Could he delay her long enough for those days to pass? Gods, he wished that he could, even when the steely edge to her gaze said that he couldn’t.
She had a reason for hunting him down and asking him to come back, and the piece of his heart that still cared about his pride said to listen to it, even when the rest warned it would end in misery for him. He would be throwing away the five years he had spent living with his regrets, looking forward to the day he could finally correct all his mistakes and make something good come out of them.
What if he told her that she was his fated female?
As soon as he thought that, he shoved it away. He couldn’t. Not yet. At this point, it would only hurt her, just as it would have hurt her if he had told her after he had assumed the role of alpha all those years ago. They couldn’t be together as mates yet and that meant he had to wait. Once he was free of his position, he would break the news to her somehow.
But for that to happen, he needed to stay away from the village until the five years were up.
“Stay a while and we’ll talk about everything. You need to rest and eat. You’re worn out and I can see it,” he said and he swore her eyes had flashed fire at him.
She was on to him. She knew he was out to stall her.
Her eyes darkened.
“We don’t have time. The pride doesn’t have time. I have to take you back to the village now,” she said, her voice gaining confidence and fire at last. “I have to go back.”
It seemed she had been counting the days since he had left just as he had.
“Why?” He frowned at the resolve that burned in her words. This was important to her, perhaps more so than he had thought, and he began to get the sinking feeling that something had gone terribly wrong back at the pride, something he wouldn’t be able to ignore, not even for eight days. “Eloise… if you really want me to go back, you need to tell me why you left.”
“I did it because I knew I could find you… because I had hoped that I could convince you to do the right thing,” she snapped and glared at him, anger lacing her scent, frustration and disappointment that he could feel in her. “Your kin are living in a dictatorship… Stellan is a tyrant… many of us have been killed and the rest of us…”
Her voice faded and she wrapped her arms around herself, lowered her head and clutched the sleeves of her grey coat, bunching the material into her trembling fists.
“I am sorry. I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that,” she whispered.
He wasn’t sorry. She had given him hope that the woman he had known a decade ago still existed inside her and that he could have that woman back in his life. Everything could return to how it had been.
But it couldn’t at the same time.
The thought of his pride being mistreated, abused, and murdered sat like a block of ice in his chest. He couldn’t ignore what had happened. He had to do something about it. Before becoming their alpha, he had been their strongest male. Eloise knew that and she had risked her life to travel across the world in search of him, to bring him back to the pride and restore peace at the village.
She wanted him to free them from the tyranny of the male he had left as their leader. He could see how important it was to her and that made it even more important to him.
He would do something about it, but he was damned if he was going to set foot in the village until the eight days were up. Once he was free of his status, Stellan would be the alpha and he would be just a challenger for that title. He could take down Stellan and pass on the position, remaining free of the pride rules.
He needed to find a way to stall her.
Eight days were all that stood between him and claiming the mate he craved with all of his heart.
Those eight days suddenly felt like forever.
He had the dreadful feeling that the woman he loved was about to be snatched from his grasp again.