The Prince's Fated Mate

By: Alex Ashmore

Norvargen Wolves, Book 1




CHAPTER ONE





“Ma!”





Will’s mother, with her long black hair that reached her hips, appeared in stark contrast to the white light falling in through the window. All was hazy beyond the vision of his mother. She had her back to him, but when he ran up to her, she turned and welcomed him, and he snuggled into her side, the top of his head coming only up to her waist. She smiled, her hands stopping whatever work she was doing, and reached down to brush at his golden hair.





“Yes, my boy?” she said to him, her voice gentle and sweet. His mother had always been a strong, stern woman when it came to her work, but she would save up all her sweetness and patience for Will and his father.





“How did you and Pa meet?” said Will, his boyish voice high-pitched and almost painfully innocent. Somewhere on the far edges of Will’s consciousness, he felt this conversation familiar, a memory from the past accompanied by the tingle of deja vu.





Will’s mother crouched down to meet him at eye-level, still smiling, her brown eyes meeting his green ones. “Well,” she began, her hands reaching up to brush through his messy hair, “I saw him in the market, standing by a corner. And that was it.”





“And you knew?” pressed Will eagerly.





“I knew,” his mother confirmed, pressing her thumb into his dimple. She loved that dimple. Will’s father had the same one, and she always touched it affectionately. “Just like that, I knew he was my fated mate.”





“How?” Again, at the frayed edges of his consciousness, a much older Will was listening onto this conversation, knowing well what was to follow. He could still remember this conversation, as clear as crystal, only now he was reliving it.





“The same way any other lucky person with a fated mate does, Will,” said his mother. Everything around her was nothing more than a vague outline, but she herself stood solid, well-defined, with moles and freckles and wrinkles marring her face, with every strand of hair drawn out. The bemused quirk in her lips was perfect. “You just know it. The first time you catch the eyes of your fated mate, you just know it's the right person. Your breath stops, your heart stops, every single thought stops — save for one. All you know at that moment is the very undeniable fact that you’re facing your destined partner for life. Everyone around will know it too. They’ll see it on your faces, they’ll know immediately that you two are meant for each other.”





Young Will smiled, his still chubby cheeks puffing out happily. “Will that happen to me too?”





“Maybe,” laughed Ma, “you just might meet the right girl at the right time, Will. You just have to be ready for it. To find your happy ending, all you need is courage, strength, and love.”





*





"Rise and shine, princess. Planning on getting out of bed anytime soon, Will?"





Sharp rays of a crisp yellow sun splashed across Will's face as his curtains were unceremoniously drawn wide open. He groaned in response, his pale face crinkling over in displeasure, squeezing his eyes shut to block out every speck of sunlight threatening to invade his sight. A smart retort was loaded on his tongue, but he kept silent, ultimately deciding to just roll over and press the side of his face into the other half of his pillow. But his plans to snooze a little while longer were abruptly interrupted.





"Come on, get up!" Hands shook his shoulders none too gently, and Will did his best to swat them away, but to no avail.





"Let me get a bit more shuteye, Kytes," Will grunted, blindly trying to shoo his friend away as though he were a fly being a nuisance. "After working on that bothersome banquet last night, I deserve a few extra hours of sleep."





Plus, he had just been shaken awake from a dream, and he needed a few extra minutes to reorient himself. A dream about his mother…he didn’t know why, but that same dream had been visiting him more and more frequently in the past few months. And it was a startling crisp replay of a memory, an actual conversation he had once held with his mother, every word perfectly repeated inside his head.





I wonder why I dreamt about that, Will lazily thought, even though he knew that dreams were mostly nonsense, and this was likely nothing more than an odd memory resurfacing. Still, a small smile tugged at his lips. He didn’t have many memories of his mother, and the few he had he treasured. Seeing her face again so vividly was pleasant.





He had been no more than six or seven in that memory, going through the same phase most children did then, wondering about future mates and what his might be like. Neither him nor his mother had any way of guessing then that he was a decade away from presenting not as a typical alpha-male, but as an omega. He wouldn’t be hoping for a female mate after all — but still that conversation made him smile. What would it be like if he could revisit that conversation with his mother now, he wondered?

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