Love between two Omegas is forbidden. But Carey’s determined to break all the rules.
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genres: Paranormal (Werewolves/Shifters), Gay
Length: 54 pages
Put aside by his former mate for his inability to bear children, Omega Lane retreated into the Alaskan interior and has lived there alone ever since. He’s a lone wolf and a hermit, not part of the world and no longer wanting to be.
Until Carey comes across his path. Younger, and also an Omega, Carey’s on the run from an Alpha who won’t take no for an answer. Though Carey thinks at first he might be pregnant, he soon learns that isn’t the case — instead, he’s going into heat.
Carey doesn’t want or trust an Alpha anywhere near him. Lane, who has kept his preference for Omegas hidden for years, is the only one Carey chooses to trust. But can Lane let Carey into his life after living alone for so long?
And what if Carey decides he doesn’t want to leave?
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The entire point of living as a lone wolf in the interior of Alaska was the blessed solitude of it all. Lane hadn’t seen a face he didn’t know, and hadn’t been bothered by any familiar acquaintances for almost five years.
Alaska boasted the only flag-stop trains still in existence in the United States. With a line running through the heart of the wilderness, would-be passengers who likely didn’t have piped water, much less Wi-Fi, could wait by the side of the tracks and flag down an oncoming train if they needed to go to town. Lane kept his visits to a strict quarterly schedule — biannual if he could manage it, and sometimes he could. But no matter how well anyone planned, they would eventually run out of essentials like coffee, and a trek couldn’t be avoided.
Of course, not knowing exactly when the train would come could mean hours of waiting in thigh deep snow, but those were the breaks.
Lane had just wrapped his fleece-lined coat more snugly around his narrow shoulders when there came a racket he hadn’t heard in years. It was so unfamiliar that at first he pricked up his ears in confusion, unable to identify the noise.
But when the Omega struggled free of his tree line, it all came flooding back. Lane’s lips parted in shock at the sight of a stranger on his property — and a clumsy one at that, clearly unused to walking in snow this deep, stumbling every other step and showing signs of having fallen flat on his face several times in recent hours.
So surprised was he that he couldn’t speak a word until the stranger had come within arm’s reach of him. The Omega stopped there and searched Lane’s face with desperate speed, then let his breath out in a puff of — relief?
“You’re not an Alpha,” the Omega said. He had a sweet voice made ragged from exertion. “You’re not an Alpha, are you?”
Lane’s teeth ached from the cold, and he finally remembered to close his mouth. “No. I’m not.”
The sound of his own voice was strange to him after three solid months of silence, but the words came out as they always had. Clipped, cool, precise. Emotionless. He knew how he must look, returning stare for stare with the Omega. Too tall, too thin, and too wiry for any kind of beauty, with a Madonna mouth and blue eyes like chips of frozen sky.
There wasn’t any way to avoid the impression of a disapproving monk, so he usually didn’t bother. He folded his hands in front of him and lifted his chin. “Who are you?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m sorry. I know that was rude. But I had to be sure,” the Omega said in a rush, with an embarrassed shrug. “You look like an Alpha from a distance.”
The Omega paled and looked down at his boots. “Oh.”
Why is that a bad thing? Lane wondered. It was true. Small and slim and delicately shaped, this one shouted Omega from the second he came into sight. True, he would be better described as “cute” than pretty, with a spray of freckles across his nose and cheeks — and his hair! It looked like he must have worn it long, then tied it up in a ponytail and cut it off just above the band with a pair of kitchen scissors. Dull ones. “And you didn’t answer my question. Who are you?”
“I did answer. I said it doesn’t matter.” The Omega lifted his head, strong emotion giving his skin color despite the cold. “Where are you going?”
Lane considered not replying, but the old habits of politeness ran deep. “Talkeetna. For supplies.”
The Omega’s lips moved in what looked like a silent thank you. He made a sudden movement that culminated with his pressing a bundle of folded bills, mostly ones and fives, into Lane’s hand. “Buy my ticket for me with that. Please.”
Lane didn’t close his fingers around the money. “What on earth?”
“Please,” the Omega begged, casting a wary glance toward Lane’s tree line. “Please. You look like an Alpha from a distance.”
Yes, and being reminded of his failures wasn’t exactly winning him over to the Omega’s side. “It’s not the 1800s anymore. Omegas are allowed to buy their own tickets.”
“I know, I just — please.” The Omega tried to close Lane’s fist, his fingers slim and cold. No gloves? If he wasn’t a shifter, he would have succumbed to frostbite hours ago. Even so, he had the luck of the devil.
Lane pressed his lips together. “Who are you?” he asked for the third time. “What kind of trouble are you in?”
The Omega shook his head. “I can’t — I mean, I’m not — I’m not in any trouble. I swear I’m not.”
“Yes, you are, and you’re a bad liar on top of it.” Lane rubbed at his forehead. Oh, this one was trouble walking. Anyone could see that. And yet… Lane knew a few things about wanting to run away from your worries, and your worse-than-worries. Hadn’t he done exactly that? Looking at the Omega’s huge, pleading eyes, how could he do anything besides help?
The train was coming. Lane could hear its great engines roaring and chugging in the near distance. He had a minute, or less, to make up his mind. He let out a long breath that puffed white vapor in the frigid air and closed his fingers around the Omega’s money. “On one condition. You tell me your name.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Willa Okati is made of many things: imagination, coffee, stray cat hairs, daydreams, more coffee, kitchen experimentation, a passion for winter weather, a little more coffee, and a lifelong love of storytelling. She is definitely one of the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
You can reach Willa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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