Home > Queen Heir (NYC Mecca #1)

Queen Heir (NYC Mecca #1)
Author: Jaymin Eve, Leia Stone

Chapter One

The tolling of the bells, long live the Queen.

The first thing my subconscious registered was the tolling of the bells, a distinct plucking twang which surged through my alpha bond. I’d heard it only a few times in my life, mostly during times of unease within the boroughs. It was a special form of communication the queen of the wolf shifters could use with her heirs and alphas. But this twang was different. Weaker almost.

Shaking off the last of my sleepiness, I finally registered the true nature of the call and surged upright, eyes wide and heart hammering in my chest. The mental bells finished their tolling then, dying off with one last clank, like that of a final nail into a coffin. My wolf rose up within me and both of us let out a long howl, echoing across the room. Pain strummed inside me, sharp and metallic. Every part of me felt it, the loss of power, the emptiness where there used to be a tie to my queen.

“Arianna!”

Calista’s voice cut through my howls as she burst into my room. I had to take many deep breaths to push my wolf down. Acting on autopilot, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and rose, hurriedly crossing the room and meeting my advisor halfway.

“Arianna,” Calista said again, softer this time, more unsure.

“The queen has fallen,” I said. The words singed my tongue as they crossed it; everything would change now. The world as we knew it would descend into chaos if a new queen wasn’t crowned quickly.

Calista’s head fell to her chest then and I could feel her surge of emotion through our pack ties. “I can feel the emptiness … but are you sure? How has this happened?”

As an advisor to multiple heirs throughout her long life, Calista had been through a lot and had seen it all. She was one of the strongest women I knew and her voice still wavered.

Closing my eyes, I reached out through my alpha bond to my pack, the thousand-plus shifters of the Bronx borough in New York City who were at my command. It took mere seconds to double-check what I already knew. The bond that bound me to my queen was severed and the mecca power that had once coursed from her to me was leaking everywhere. The chimes … they must have been her last attempt to reach out to us. She had literally just taken her last breath.

Tears pricked the back of my eyelids, and yet I knew I would never let them fall. There was no room for my weakness today. I could already feel the dissidence within the packs. The power grid, which balanced our world, the mecca, was weakened.

Opening my eyes, my wolf rose again, this time in response to the unease of my people.

“How did this happen?” I said, unable to stop the low growl from leaking out. “Find out how this happened!”

Calista was used to me when I got like this, and barely blinked as she whipped out her huge tablet device and started scrolling.

“I have no details yet, Your Majesty. There’s literally nothing in the alerts.” She paused for a moment. “Wait … a summons has just come through. We have to leave immediately. Looks like you’re going to find out what happened from the council.”

My steps faltered at her use of Your Majesty. I had known Calista my entire life, she always referred to me as “Alpha,” Arianna, or “pain in the neck,” never “Your Majesty.” Yes, I was an heir, but the queen could theoretically live forever and there were only a few years I was even eligible for the crown, so we never took my lineage too seriously, never thought I would be queen. Now I was one of four in the running to be the next ruler of the entire wolf-shifter race and the three boroughs we controlled, and protocol dictated everyone refer to me as royalty. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but there was no time to ponder it.

My eyes shot to her tablet again. I hated that she had no details. The other three heirs would already be preparing themselves to take the crown, but my main concern was on what had happened to the queen. She was powerful, one of the strongest leaders we’d ever had. They said her lineage could be traced directly back to the time of the Tuatha de Danann, the fae who’d initially built the mecca millennia ago, before they all disappeared and were rumored dead. And now she had fallen. Could the bears have done this? Did they kill my queen?

Was war now coming for us all?

Calista hurried off, ducking into my huge walk-in closet and emerging moments later with a pile of pressed and folded clothes in her hands. Official dress code was apparently required for this summons. She handed them to me, and wasting no time I dashed into the bathroom and struggled into the black leather pants, knee-high leather boots, and red silk shirt with crossed swords and star-shaped insignia denoting me as an heir to the throne of the red house – the same house of the fallen queen. The moment the true queen fell, the Summit began, and I needed to play my part or my entire race would weaken. After tucking the shirt in and brushing my teeth, I strode from the room to find Calista looking at me with pride.

“I’ve waited twenty years to see you wear that.”

I gave her a tight smile and turned my back to her so she could braid my long white-blond hair.

To be honest, I was hoping this day would never come. I liked my life. Being the Bronx alpha and heir to the queen afforded me all the power and luxuries I could ever need. I had no real desire to go after the throne and be thrust into the political arena, not to mention carry the burden of ruling tens of thousands of our kind. But if the queen had been killed, it was only a matter of time before the bears stepped in and tried to wrest our territory from us. The loss of power would be devastating to my people.

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