The Alpha King(9)

By: Vicktor Alexander

His family had hit on his last nerve and he was on the verge of a freakout. Or a major mental breakdown. Whichever happened first.

"Doesn't matter anyway, with all the men and women I've met and been with, none of them were my mate. Not one. So, I'm thinking my mate died before I had a chance to meet them, and since I have no desire to settle down and have a bunch of little Tals running around, I figure it's all for the best," Tal stated emphatically.

"Bullshit," Josie scoffed, raising her eyebrow when he shot her an incredulous look. "You want all of that, the husband, the kids, you want to have someone to cook for and take care of. You're wired that way. When we played as kids, you always wanted to be the mom or the wife or the nurse."

Tal flipped her off and Josie laughed.

"Face it, Tal, the only reason you say you're so opposed to the idea is because you don't have it right now and you don't think you'll ever have it, but if you were faced with the reality of your mate and a lifetime of love, happiness, and children, you'd jump at the chance."

Tal swallowed deeply and closed his eyes at the brief flash of a life with his mate and their children before he mentally shook the image away—an image of a large muscled man with black hair and blue eyes fading from his mind. He'd been dreaming about the man every, single night for the past three years, and found it a bit unnerving.

"Not even a little," Tal lied, smoothing his hands over his thick, long brown hair, making sure he wasn't sitting on it, and turned his mind back to the task at hand.

They talked about all manner of things as they flew farther away from their home planet and closer to their destination. Tal laughed when Josie described the Doralian she'd met online and slept with. Josie had a soft spot for large men—they shared that turn-on—and she couldn't get much larger than a bear shifter. Everything on target as they flew towards Strawxig to deliver their goods and engage in a little exchanging for their family, Tal figured they'd never had such an easy delivery before.

The notion got cut short, when without warning, a massive space storm arose and he and Josie found themselves thrown 25,000 light-years off course and came out of warp headed to a totally different planet.

"What the hell?" Josie yelled, clutching at the arms of her chair, her hair flying around her face, her eyes wide.

Tal would have laughed at how frightened she looked had he not been trying to keep the shuttle in line, and had he not been scared shitless himself.

"I don't know! That storm came out of nowhere; we've been rerouted to Tumaro by the shipboard computer." Tal felt both frustration and a little fear as the shuttle sputtered and whirled around, his systems shutting down one by one.

His hands moved frantically over the board, Josie's fingers moving in rhythm with his as the two of them did the best they could to keep from crashing.

"Isn't that where all of those fucking dog shape-shifters live?" Josie asked, anxiety creeping into her voice.

"Not all of them, but yes, it's like the wolf shifter planet and they don't have a democracy like we do, they have a monarchy," Tal explained before angrily pounding his systems board when the shuttle's brakes cut off. "Shit, we're going to have a crash landing… a hard crash landing," he warned when they passed through the atmosphere of the planet Tumaro. "Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fucking shit balls!" He swore loud and long when the shuttle's shields crashed completely.

Tal lifted his hands to his head momentarily and grabbed his hair before thumping the useless brakes again in the hopes they would reboot. What the fuck? How had this happened? Things had been going so well. How had it gotten this bad? He returned his hands back to the shuttle's control board trying to bring the systems back up.

He yelled out to his sister. "Josie, I hope you weren't being an idiotic bitch and unhooked your safety belt, because when we crash, anything not strapped down is going to go sailing through the front viewing window and Mom and Dad would kill me if you died!" he shouted over the sounds of the shuttle hurtling through the air towards the ground.

"Well let's hope that when we land the shape-shifters will be in human form and not puppy form or whatever they are," Josie joked, "so they can use their hands, and not their paws, to help us."

Tal and laughed at her attempt at humor. Josie joked when she got scared, but he'd never been so thankful for her absurdity at that moment. He reached out a hand and clutched hers tightly, only then noticing her unbuckled safety belt.

"Josie, your bel—"

Tal's words were abruptly cut off as the shuttle crashed violently to the ground and the shuttle ripped apart as they bounced, rolled, and spun to a halt. His head snapped forward and back, his body shook with the ship and his hands flew forward towards the front of the shuttle as his life flashed before his eyes. He thought about his parents and the day he'd come out to them. He turned to check on Josie, noticing her empty seat just as unconsciousness claimed him.