An Inconvenient Obsession
The Omega Rescue: Book Three
Written by Kian Rhodes
Intact Copyright 2017 Kian Rhodes
Absolutely ALL rights reserved.
Unedited – read at your own risk!
“You know we’ve enjoyed having you here, Stephen,” Leon, the Alpha of the Peaceful River pack, told me with a smile. “Unfortunately, the Council of Packs requires all orphaned Omegas to report as available for claim when they turn eighteen if the fostering Alpha isn’t going to claim them.” He shrugged apologetically and tilted his head toward the female omega, Dawn, sitting beside him, a serene smile on her face. I’d known since I was first fostered with their pack – long before I’d presented as Omega – that Leon only had eyes for her and nothing had changed; not that I would have ever tried to interfere in their relationship.
“I..I understand,” I agreed, not bothering to correct him. My name is Sebastian, not Stephen, but it didn’t really matter either way. “I’ll leave immediately.”
“Absolutely not!” Dawn gasped in horror. “We’ll get your things packed and then Leon will have someone escort you to Council headquarters.” She glanced at her mate, her pink lips drawn into a frown. “Won’t you, dear?”
“Oh, of course,” Leon agreed quickly. “You can’t try to make that trip on your own. It isn’t safe.” He glanced at Dawn, relaxing at the approving set of her lips. “Tomorrow is soon enough,” Leon decided. “Tonight, we’ll have a going away party!”
Trig, the Beta that Leon assigned to escort me into town the next evening, couldn’t have seemed less interested in acting as my security detail if he had tried. Peaceful River wasn’t a wealthy pack, and the Leon’s ancient truck was the only vehicle, so we headed off for town on foot. We were an hour, maybe two, into our journey when Trig stopped short, scenting the air with a low growl.
“Hey, why don’t you go on ahead?” he suggested, his eyes glazing over as he snorted in gulping breaths of the air laced with the scent of a female wolf in heat. “There’s something I want to check out.”
Amused, I shook my head as I watched Trig tear off into the woods that flanked the abandoned dirt road. I couldn’t imagine why he thought a bitch in heat would want a Beta, but I continued down the path as he’d suggested. It was a beautiful spring night and I was enjoying the walk, breathing in the deep, earthy smells of the forest. The overgrown brush hid the road as I rounded the bend. If I’d been more alert, I would have smelled the man – the human – hiding just out of sight, waiting to spring out when I least expected it. His forearm crashed suddenly across my throat, immobilizing me and cutting off my air. I began to call my wolf forward when suddenly, the pressure released and I sucked in huge, gulping breaths before the sickly-sweet smell overpowered me. My wolf screamed a warning, but it was too late and the darkness sucked me under.
Waking up was a surreal experience. I was inside a floor to ceiling cage, the stained and cracked concrete cold under my cheek. There were three other Omegas kneeling next to me, trying to soothe me.
“Where am I?” I managed to choke out even though my mouth was Sahara desert dry.
“The backroom of the Blue Moon Bar and Grill,” a slender shifter with black hair answered, holding a paper cup with a few ounces of water to my lips. He grimaced. “That probably isn’t what you meant, right?” He didn’t wait for me to agree before he continued. “You’re in a cage. We all are. I’m Levi, by the way.”
“Sebastian.” I answered automatically. “Why are we in a cage?”
“K..kidnappers,” Spencer said with a slight stammer similar to my own. “I..I heard Jack, the guy in charge, s..say that they are collecting Omegas t..to sell to Alphas who are under Council of Packs censure.”
“Oh, no,” I gasped. An Alpha under censure was prohibited from claiming an Omega and there were only a handful of reasons for it. They had killed or ordered someone else to kill an Omega under their care, taken an Omega against his or her will, or, worse, in my opinion, prostituted an Omega against their will. All of them a good reason not to want to be claimed by an Alpha like that.
Levi nodded. “They just got started with their collection as they call us, so I think we’re all safe at the moment. He’s planning on holding an underground omega auction once he has enough of us.”
“Hell.” I eased up to a sitting position, grabbing at my swimming head as my stomach lurched. “We have to get out of here.”
“It’s not going to be easy,” Levi offered, glancing at the partially closed door beyond the iron bars. “Even if we get out of the cage, there is always someone on guard.”
I sighed and looked around. “Then I guess it’s a good thing we seem to have a few days, right?”
One day turned into two, and then three. Then, a week had passed. And another. With each passing day, Jack and his group of cronies – a few humans and a group of several weak Alphas – added more Omegas to the cage until finally there were so many of us that there was no room to move about.
Levi and I continued to look for a way out and, for one brief, shining moment, we thought we’d found someone to help us when two shifters – a Beta and another, possibly an Omega, although he was much larger than I was used to – suddenly appeared in front of our cage. Before we could speak, though, they were quickly surrounded by Jack’s sentries. Then, things went from bad to worse as the Beta was knocked out and locked in the small broom closet, leaving the Omega outnumbered in a desperate struggle. Unable to help him, all we could do was close our eyes as he was repeatedly violated. Then, as suddenly as he had appeared, he was gone and we were no closer to escape. Or so we thought.
Five days later, we had yet another unexpected visitor but this time things went differently. A tall, gorgeous shifter strode through the door, Alpha pheromones filled the room and a honey-smooth control voice washed over us in comforting waves. He introduced himself as Colt and smoothly coordinated our transfer from the crowded cage to a roomy, comfortable box truck parked out back. We were given food and water and told to settle in for a long ride. During it all, we never saw Jack or any of his cronies.
Relieved to be almost free again, I’d swallowed the water that I’d been given but offered my protein bar to Levi when I heard his stomach growl. He’d been one of the first Omegas to be captured and was severely malnourished; there was no doubt he needed it more than I did. He ducked his head in embarrassment but accept it with a shy smile. Satisfied that I had done all I could for the moment, I stretched out and closed my eyes, opting to try and rest until we arrived at our destination – wherever that might be.
The next few months passed quickly. Our rescue ended up being a combined effort of the Blood Valley pack – the pack that the Omega we had been helpless to stop the attack on belonged to – and the Coruscation pack who were, of all things, werewolves. Reality can be so much stranger than fiction!
Anyway, as month after month passed, Clint and Rafael -the Alphas of the two cooperating packs – had managed to restore most of the rescued Omegas to their packs, and those that remained unclaimed, had been offered protection under the guardianship of the werewolf Alpha.
Clint and his Omega, Trevor, had gone out of their way to make us comfortable. They’d hosted social events for us – one of which had netted my friend, Spence, an Alpha of his own. They’d arranged for us to receive job training – which had resulted in another friend, Thane, being claimed as well. They’d even allowed me to travel thousands of miles to Terena de Dragoni – a small kingdom in Canada – to stay with Spence and his new Alpha, Harry. And there, in the ancient royal castle of Terena de Dragoni, is where my story really began.
Loud voices were ringing through the halls of the dragon castle when I set off in search of Spencer. I paused midway down the sweeping staircase, Alrick, the Böxenwolf Brigade guard assigned to watch over me caught himself just in time to avoid knocking me the rest of the way down. I couldn’t put my finger on where the raised voices were coming from, but I was able to identify them as Harry, the dragon prince, and Cian, a frequent but increasingly uneasy visitor. Satisfied that Spencer, the friend whose advice I was seeking, wasn’t involved, I continued on down the stairs, followed by the grumbling werewolf.
I arrived in the great room and found Spencer exactly where I’d expected – sort of. He was in the greatroom as I’d anticipated – he usually was in the early evening – but the Alpha who stood behind him, his hand resting on Spence’s nape in a familiar proprietary grip wasn’t his mate. It was the dragon Alpha – Trey, he called himself. H was the mate of the Omega who was currently shouting at Spencer’s Alpha somewhere else in the castle. I paused, uncertain what I was walking into.
“C’mon in, Seb,” Spence greeted me without turning his head from the pudgy purple dragonlet he was feeding.
“I don’t want to interrupt,” I said quietly from the door.
“You’re not.” Seb assured me, turning to me with a sad smile. “We’re waiting for Cian and Harry to hash things out.” He ran a hand over his tire face. “It could be a while.”
The Alpha behind him nodded his agreement but didn’t speak.
“Wh..what happened?” I cursed myself for stuttering in front of the Alpha; I’d made it weeks without doing that.
“Nothing, exactly,” Spence said with a sigh. “Not anything new, anyhow. Harry and Cian used to be close friends, but things have been..strained, I guess, since Cian said some unkind things when he found out that Harry and I were together. Trey and I insisted that it was time for them to figure it out.”
I turned that information over in my mind.
“But I’ve seen you interact with Cian. He’s always friendly,” I said, confused.
“Dragons live a long time,” the Alpha’s velvety voice washed over me. “Unfortunately, that means we also take a long time to adjust to new situations. The concept of mixed matings are still something that many dragons struggle with. Cian didn’t take the news of Harry taking a wolf to mate well but he has accepted it.”
I cocked my head and Spence gave a small smile.
“He was under a lot of stress when it happened. Things here were bad, and Cian felt that Harry had abandoned his people.” Spence shrugged. “Cian apologized to us and I forgave him. Harry’s having a harder time letting it go.”
That I understood. Spencer was one of the gentlest, most forgiving being’s that I’d ever met. Of course, he had forgiven the young dragon for his transgression.
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Naw,” Spence lifted the baby dragon from the highchair and cuddled her to his chest. “All we’re doing now is waiting.”
I nodded and settled in beside him; my petty complaint could wait.
“What’s up?” Spence asked when I’d once again tracked him down to the greatroom where he was, also once again, feeding the sweet little purple dragonlet. The shouting match between Harry and Cian had finally run out of steam a few hours before, and Trey had taken his Omega home, leaving me to broach the conversation that I had shelved earlier.
“Spence, I really don’t think he likes me,” I murmured under my breath for at least the thirtieth time since arriving at Terena de Dragoni a few weeks earlier. “He’s always watching me like he wants to..” I trailed off, waiting for my friend to roll his eyes or tell me that I was being ridiculous.
To his credit, Spence did neither. Instead, he looked around to find the werewolf that he knew I was referring to and found him standing against the wall a polite distance away.
“To what?” Spence looked up with a wide grin, moving Lizzie to his shoulder to be burped. “Eat you up?”
“No!” I almost yelled, causing Spence’s grin to widen even more. In my opinion, ever since Harry had assured him that Alrick, the head of German mercenary group The Böxenwolf Brigade that was assisting with security at the castle, meant me no ill, Spence seemed to take a little too much pleasure in the entire situation. “I don’t know,” I sighed. “Maybe I should head back to Coruscation territory,” I suggested. “With only baby Lizzie left, you really don’t need my help anymore.”
“Oh, Seb!” Spence’s brow furrowed. “I’m sorry that I teased you; I’ll ask Harry to talk to him again. You don’t need to leave!”
“That’s not it, Spence,” I tried to reassure him. “You know I need to get back. I can’t put off finding a job indefinitely.” I patted his shoulder next to the now drowsing dragonlet, rubbing my fingertips over her soft brow. “I’ll come back and visit.”
“Please let me talk to Harry first?” Spence pleaded quietly. “Wouldn’t you rather find a mate?”
I almost laughed. As an Omega, of course I wanted a mate but, truthfully, I would have been happy just to find my place in the world, regardless of where it was. I would have been thrilled to be a super-hero, like the Blood Valley Omega, Colby, or an empath, like Trevor from the Coruscation werewolves, but not every Omega could be something special. Some of us had to be good old fashioned breeding stock. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even good for that. Who would want to get heirs on an orphaned Omega with no clue what his bloodline was? So, instead of setting my sights on out of reach dreams, I’d long since decided to seek out a profession, instead; a career where I could be successful and, hopefully, prove myself useful enough to vet into a pack someday.
“Thanks, sweetie,” I pressed a kiss to his cheek, “but I think we all know that isn’t in the cards for me.”
“You haven’t stuttered in ages, even when you’re talking to Alphas.” Spence tried to reason with me, reminding me of my reason for being there in the first place.
I swallowed the groan that tried to escape at the thought. Spence’s belief that exposure to Harry, his own calm and mostly stalwart Alpha, would help me overcome the speech impediment that flared up every time that I was exposed to Alpha pheromones had been validated. It had worked, to an extent. I could talk to most Alphas now without tripping over my tongue, but not all. I couldn’t even look at Alrick, for example, without instinctively looking for a safe place to hide.
“And that’s all thanks to you,” I teased him gently, hoping to change the subject. Luckily -well, depending on your definition of luck – the small purple dragon sleeping on his shoulder burst into a sneezing fit, the tiny flame igniting the drapes behind Spencer’s back and he rushed her from the room, in search of a fireproof hankie, as I set about extinguishing the flames.