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Star Cursed (Zodiac Wolves #2)
Author:Elizabeth Briggs

Star Cursed (Zodiac Wolves #2)

Elizabeth Briggs

Chapter One

When I was a child, my father told me I'd been born under cursed stars. As I sat in my new prison, I worried he might be right.

Every time I closed my eyes, I prayed I would open them to somewhere else. I wanted this to all be a dream, for the last few days to have never happened, but I could see the walls of my cell imprinted on the backs of my eyelids. When I opened them again, the bars were still there, reminding me I was really trapped here, inside of yet another cage. Only this time I was being held by my worst enemy.

Jordan had left me alone hours ago, and I'd spent that time studying my surroundings and trying to find a way to escape. So far, I'd come up empty. I'd shifted to wolf form in an attempt to communicate with my pack, but they were too far away. I'd found some plain clothes on my hard cot and donned them, then I'd searched for some weakness in the iron bars holding me or some crack in the cell's defenses I could exploit, but no such luck. Unlike the Ophiuchus prison, this one didn't have any windows and the air was musty, making me think I was underground. At least there weren’t any visible cameras or microphones, and no slight electrical hum that would have indicated I was being watched electronically. Two male shifter guards were stationed outside of my cell, and they never even bothered to look at me. If I focused I could hear their heartbeats, slow and measured, obviously not worried about my presence one bit. I was inside of a prison, after all, a caged little wolf, and they didn't consider me a threat.

They had no idea how wrong they were.

Kaden had taught me to fight, and Stella had taught me how to be a wolf. Somewhere along the way, I'd taught myself how to use my Moon Touched gift too. I was getting out of this place and returning to my true pack, one way or another. I just needed to wait for the right moment.

At the thought of Kaden, a pang of sadness and longing went through me, so strong I could hardly breathe around it. It caught me off guard how much I missed him, and it was even worse because I knew he must hate me now. Kaden’s face as I'd driven away with Jordan was emblazoned in my mind, clear as day. He believed I'd gone willingly, that I'd been unable to resist the mate bond tying me to Jordan, that I'd chosen the Leo over him. I desperately wished I could explain to Kaden I'd only done it to save the Ophiuchus pack from the Leos and their allies, the Sun Witches. If I hadn't made a deal with Jordan, the entire forest would have been burned to ashes, and my pack with it. It hurt to leave them behind, especially knowing they believed I was a traitor, but at least they were alive.

I rubbed the Ophiuchus symbol on my arm, hoping my sacrifice hadn't been in vain. I'd seen the Sun Witches leave, and Jordan had sworn my pack wouldn't be harmed further. Even though I didn't trust my mate, I could only hope he'd kept that promise. But for how long? And what was Jordan's next move? He'd said he had big plans for me, but he'd left before he'd told me what they were. All I could do was wait for him to return.

As if my very thoughts had summoned him, the mate bond flared to life, so quick and sudden it made me gasp. A terrible longing filled me as I heard the scuff of footsteps outside my door, and my breath caught while I anticipated Jordan's entry. When the door opened, it took everything in my power not to jump up and run toward the new alpha of the Leo pack.

Jordan stood there in the doorway in all his handsome, muscular glory. He was too damn hot for his own good and had the cocky look of someone who knew it. I desperately wanted to slide my fingers into that windswept blond hair and run my lips across his sun-kissed skin, while he wrapped those strong arms around me and—

No! I shook my head to try and clear my thoughts, while Jordan gestured for the two guards to leave us. Once alone, he strode toward me with the confidence of a true alpha, and I clenched my fists and held myself still, though my body trembled with the effort. Kaden is the one you want, not Jordan. Kaden, Kaden, Kaden...

As Jordan stopped outside the bars of my cell, I noticed he was holding a plate of food and a bottle of water. Almost instantly, the smell hit me and I began salivating, my stomach growling. I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten. The only thing worse than my hunger was my thirst.

"I thought you could use some refreshments," Jordan said, sounding magnanimous, as if he hadn't left me alone without food or water for hours and hours.

He stuck the water bottle through the bars first, and I tentatively got to my feet to take it from his hand. I was careful not to touch him since I knew that would only make the pull toward him stronger. He obviously wanted something from me, and I had to keep a level head around him.

“I haven’t tampered with it,” he said, mistaking the reason for my hesitation.

I raised my eyebrows as I opened the water, and I did hear the snap of the cap showing it was brand new. I chugged the cool liquid down, desperate to ease my thirst, but after a few long sips, I made myself stop so I wouldn't be sick.

Jordan passed the food through to me next. I couldn’t help but stare at the bacon and cheese omelet with sausages and toast arranged neatly on the paper plate. I had to physically stop myself from shoving it into my mouth, and instead, I inhaled deeply, using my wolf’s senses to check if there was anything out of place. Spices, meat, cheese, egg, and bread. Nothing else.

“I didn’t poison the food either if that’s what you’re trying to figure out,” Jordan said, and he sounded almost amused. “I'm not going to hurt you, Ayla."

"No? You had no problem hurting me before." I went to sit back on my cot with my meal. I might as well take advantage of the food to get my strength back up. Jordan watched me silently as I used the knife and fork—plastic, just like the plate—to cut into the omelet and take a bite. Delicious, although anything would be delicious at this point. I forced myself to take small, slow bites instead of devouring it.

Jordan leaned against the cell bars as he watched me eat. “Have you reconsidered my offer to be my alpha queen?”

I chewed my bite and stared at him, not breaking eye contact even as my emotions warred between hatred and desire. “You killed my brother and stole me from my new pack. I'll never be your mate, let alone your queen."

“You’re already my mate." The arrogance of his assertion rubbed me the wrong way, even if it was correct. “The stars have decreed it, and now that my father is dead and I’m alpha, things are going to be different.”

“You don’t sound very sad about that loss,” I muttered around a mouthful of toast.

“Killing your family was my father's decision, not mine," he continued. "I don’t want any more bloodshed.”