Her Arranged Alpha Husband by Alicia Banks
Ben’s eyes squinted at the sudden light, as he tried to ignore the old man’s words coming to him.
“Get up. It’s late and we have a lot to talk about. You know that the time has come for you to do your part for the clan. It’s time and the countdown begins.”
Ben looked at his father, and he groaned loudly when he saw that there wasn’t anything he could cover his eyes and ears with. His dad had ripped the blanket off of the bed. Ben was hung over, his blonde hair flopped in his eyes, but it did nothing to stop the brightness that filtered in. He growled at the older version of himself, and James chuckled. “What can you do all curled up in bed like that? What’s wrong with you, boy?”
“I was sleeping, and you come in like this. What do you want? Couldn’t you have called or talked to me later? What are you going on about?” Ben wanted to know. He had no inkling of an idea what his dad was there waking him up for.
“It’s time, Ben.”
He waited for more to come out, but his father’s tone and the words were enough. It was the time that he had dreading thinking about, the scenario that his dad had always warned him of. Ben knew that he had no choice for most of his life. He wanted to pretend like he was on top of the world, and he was in some ways. In other ways though, Ben had no say in what occurred in his life. He had no way of picking a mate. It was all to be done without his say and that bothered him more than anything. A mate could make or break a man.
“She is coming of age tomorrow and you will go to her. She will be your wife soon, and after the twenty-one days of courtship are over, you will be married. That will coincide with a full moon, and then you will be mated. I have always said that it will come soon, well now it’s here. Your bride is finally ready. You should be excited; your life is finally going to start. I know that my life was full, but so empty before I was married off to your mother. The Elders know your heart and they are right. Fate will always be right when it comes to matches of royalty. Be thankful that it is that way and you don’t have to find your own suitable mate. Nothing is better than knowing that the woman you are with is the one you are supposed to be with.”
Ben had heard it all before, so he wasn’t keen to hear it again, especially when he had a hangover, and his head was throbbing. He got up to get away from his father’s calm words. He didn’t see any of this as a good thing and being told that he had to marry a woman he hadn’t even met before was a bit more than he was able to comprehend this early in the morning. The doubts of it all had been there always, but he’d kept it inside, telling himself that it would make sense when it was time. According to his dad it was time, but he was no better off for a reason.
He pulled a shirt on and sighed loudly, asking if he had time to get dressed properly and take a shower.
“You do, son, but don’t think that I am going to leave you to it. I have learned that it isn’t going to do me any good to give you some rope. All you are going to do is hang yourself. I am going to stay right here, because you are coming with me, and I don’t feel like tracking you down.”
Ben nodded his head, not sure what to say. It was all a bit much and he jumped in the shower, looking for a way to take off. If he never met her, he would never have to admit that any of it was happening. He wanted to pretend like the girl was in his future, far off where it didn’t bother with his life right now. Why wasn’t that still the case?
He took his time in the shower, knowing what it was when he came out. He wasn’t expecting the time to be there finally. He knew that it was coming, always on the horizon, but now it was there, and Ben didn’t know what to think.
When he got out of the bathroom, his father was sipping on some fresh coffee, the smell penetrating his bad mood.
“Come get some coffee, son. It is going to be a long day.”
Ben swallowed hard and finally asked the question that he was dying to know. “Where is she?” Ben had always wondered who and where, but never asked. He was always told that it was better not to know until it was time. Apparently, it was time and he wanted to at least know where he was being sent. It would likely be far off, because the Elders liked to make matches that spanned thousands of miles. He looked around the warm interior of his rooms and worried about the destination. Divule was his home.
“She is down in America, not too far from the border.”
Ben gulped. “It’s hot there.”
His father chuckled and said something about how his mother was from far away. “It helps to bring home an exotic wife. Everyone will want her, but she will be yours, and it will all be worth it.”
Ben just shook his head. He wasn’t worried about having an exotic wife. He already had a girlfriend that he liked well enough. He’d always known that he had to marry someone else, but Alice was fun. He wasn’t ready to leave her, to change his life. It wasn’t what was in the plan. None of this was how he saw it going. Why did it feel like he should have more time?
“It will be fine, Ben. You are meant to be with her, Teri I think her name is. It’s all going to work out because it’s supposed to. I want you to be excited, but you can’t seem to see the good in all this. Maybe you will feel differently once you meet her. I know that I did when I met your mom.”
Ben wasn’t going to argue, there was no point. He knew that he was meant to marry a complete stranger, it had always been that way, but he had always questioned it. Then was no different. “What about Alice? What am I supposed to tell her?”
His dad just shrugged and acted like it didn’t matter. “She never mattered, and you’ve always known that. Do you love her, really?”
Ben almost said that he did, but there was another part of him that wanted to pretend like she did matter. He cared for her, but love, no. He’d never loved her. He’d always held himself back because he knew that he would one day wed another. Now, it was time, and Ben was grasping at straws to make sense of it all.
“When do I have to go?” he asked. There was no sense in pretending like he had a say in any of it. Love didn’t matter when it came to the next in line to the throne. Ben would be the Alpha soon enough and he would have a wife picked out and by his side. No more time to put it off, the time had come for him to live out his destiny.
“We leave tonight, Ben. Say your goodbyes and meet me this evening to make the trip.”
Ben agreed that he would, trying to play out the different conversations that he had to have that day. It was going to be a long one and he wasn’t sure how Alice was going to take it. Like his dad said though, she didn’t matter. He clicked his tongue, wondering if she was going to see it that way. Ben grimaced, knowing that seeing her wasn’t going to be pleasant.
By the evening, Ben was ready to get out of the Alaskan village where he’d lived his whole life. He had to break up with Alice, which was about as bad as he thought it would be. He was ready to see what came next, even if he was dragging his feet. His dad was right, how could he not want to see what Fate had in store for him? What if she was everything that he wanted in a woman and more? What if Teri was the one that he was truly supposed to be with?
Ben wasn’t sure how much of it he was willing to believe, destiny and the like, but he was curious. What kind of woman would Fate pair him up with? Ben hoped that she was worth everything that he was losing because of her. She was going to have to be some kind of special to be worth it.