Exclusive Excerpt from The Selkie Prince’s Secret Baby
by J.J. Masters
“You are the last unbonded son of Solomon, Caol. We need to stay on good terms with the Royal Council, so you must do your duty by taking a mate and it can’t be Beck. As much as you and Beck want that, it can’t be. So, I’m sorry, but you cannot take a beta as a bonded mate.”
Caol stared at his eldest brother, Kai. The current reigning King of the North sat behind a new, more conservative desk in the royal library with their beta brother and Kai’s assistant, Aegir, standing behind his right shoulder.
Aegir spoke up, “It’s true, Caol, the Royal Council is getting impatient. The Selkie Seekers have rounded up six omegas of noble blood to present. They keep contacting me to schedule a Presentation Ceremony.”
“I don’t want it.”
Kai leaned forward and growled, “You don’t get a choice.” He sat back, shook his dark head and ran a hand down his face, clearly in frustration.
Well, Caol was just as frustrated. “All of you have produced enough heirs for the throne. There’s no reason I need to.”
While Caol couldn’t argue that, he wanted to. But there was no point. “You say you don’t want to be like Father, but here you are, Kai…”
“This wasn’t Father’s rule, it’s the Royal Council’s. The law is written in the scrolls. You know that. We have put off the Presentation Ceremonies as long as we could. The Council accepted the delay while you were traveling and doing business for the Northern Colony. Though, they have no idea what that business was about.”
Over the past couple years, Caol had traveled the globe, visiting other Selkie colonies in search for more sons of Solomon who had been traded away because they weren’t alpha-born. It turned out to be a common practice in some kingdoms, though a highly-kept secret.
It was during one of those many trips that Caol found Aegir, Marlin’s full-blooded beta brother, in the Southern Colony. He also found Zander, Zale’s full-blooded omega brother, in Laurentia, who, unfortunately, had been taken and severely abused by a selfish alpha who was not his fated mate. And in the Caledonia Colony he found his own twin, Caspian, who was omega-born and had been sent away and separated from Caol solely due to his gender.
Three sons of Solomon, that they were aware of so far, had been traded like livestock by their own father because they were not born alphas.
Of course, there had been a fourth son. Douglass. But, thanks be to Poseidon, that beta was no more. He’d been tossed out to sea without his seal skin for the crimes he committed against their family, which included the murder of King Solomon, his own father.
Besides Aegir coming to live in the castle, Caspian had been brought home, as well. But because he was an omega, Caol’s twin remained on heat suppressants until he could find his fated mate.
Zander still lived with Meesha in the nearby town of Seaport. His recovery from the awful physical and mental abuse he’d experienced was a slow process and he preferred to reside with Kai’s former human nanny. They all took turns visiting him on a weekly basis, hoping one day he would join them in the castle.
Kai pulled Caol out of his thoughts. “We can’t keep putting it off, brother, as much as you would like to.”
“You put our brother and king in a precarious position with the Royal Council, Caol. He’s risked a lot already by accepting Nic, a hybrid, as Marlin’s mate. If they ever find out the truth…” Aegir dropped his head and shook it. He had a thick head of dark brown hair like the rest of them, clearly a trait their late father passed on to his offspring. He lifted it again and continued, “And we can’t forget that Nic was never branded.”
“And won’t be,” Kai added. “Neither will your omega, Caol. I won’t allow it. We must do everything we can to keep the Council off our backs and from demanding proof.”
“While I appreciate you taking a stand on the branding without the Council’s backing, I know I put you… us… for Poseidon’s sake, our whole colony at risk by delaying my mating.” Caol took a step toward the desk and his oldest brother. His voice caught when he whispered, “But I love him, Kai, I do. Now that the time has come, I don’t know if I can give him up.”
The king frowned. “The male loves you, too, that’s obvious.”
“It would be like taking Luca away from you.”
Kai’s blue eyes narrowed, and he shook his head. “No. Luca is my fated mate. Beck can never be that.”
“Maybe not fated, but he could be my mate.”
“No, Caol, he can’t. He can’t produce pups. We have discussed this numerous times, and honestly, I’ve become weary of the topic. My answer isn’t going to change. You must start the search for your fated mate. An omega,” he emphasized. Kai glanced over his shoulder and addressed their beta brother. “Contact the Seekers and schedule the first presentation.”
Aegir nodded, his navy-blue eyes, filled with sadness, on Caol. Being a beta, he knew what it was like to be in Beck’s shoes. While both were the sons of kings, neither were considered worthy of being royalty because of their gender. Betas were considered workers. Nothing more. They were forbidden to hold a royal title or rule a colony.
“You need to break it off with Beck. If I must, I can find you another beta servant. We could send Beck away to make it easier.”
How in great sea gods would sending his lover away make it any easier?