I am Jane Ellis, an Omega in the Storm pack. My parents had died when I was very young and I’d grown up here alone. As an orphan, I’d been made an Omega – one of the lowest of the low, my duties dull at best and humiliating at worst.
“Aw, she looks sad,” one of the Warrior Wolves cooed. “Maybe we should give her a break.”
I wanted to believe him. But I knew him better. “Maybe you should,” I joked weakly.
“Oh, little Jane,” he purred, his fingers curving around my neck, “as if we’d ever go easy on you.”
Maybe they wouldn’t hate me so much if I could shift. Today was my eighteenth birthday, and I still couldn’t shift into my wolf.
It was hard for me to be brave with half the pack bearing down on me, but I gritted my teeth and stared resolutely over their shoulders. My bottom lip started to quiver. I bit down on it. Hard.
The boots I’d been cleaning lay discarded on the grass. They wouldn’t get told off for disrupting me; I’d get shouted at, and worse, for allowing them to distract me. They’d spotted me on their way to morning training – just my luck.
His meaty hand slipped down from my cheek, moving to my neck. He squeezed until my eyes rolled back into my head.
“You are nothing,” he said, “not even worthy of cleaning our boots, Omega. But,” he paused, a smile tugging at his thin lips, “you can lick them clean. Go on.” He shoved me, forcing me to my knees. “Lick them.”
They closed in, laughing as they held me down, lifting a dirty shoe up to my face. I couldn’t see the colour of the muck on it, but I could smell it. I shook my head, clenching my jaw shut. I almost passed out from the stench.
I kept struggling, writhing and twisting my head. Suddenly they grabbed my neck from behind, holding it in place; another grappled with my jawbone, forcing my mouth wide open. I gagged and bucked, desperate to escape. The humiliation of it made my skin burn and the smell made vomit surge up my throat. Even as I threw up they kept shoving the vile thing at me. My tears fell silently, a quiet rebellion against the brash noise of their jeers.
Next came their claws and teeth. More wolves piled on, slashing and biting at my arms, my legs, my belly. It wasn’t the first time, and it sure as hell wouldn’t be the last. Until I could shift, I was stuck being the pack’s punching bag. I did have one way of fighting back, though. Just one. I was trained by Daisy, the doctor of our pack, to be a healer in secret.
Eventually, thankfully, I passed out.
The wolves were gone when I came to. Dragging myself upright, I pulled off what was left of my sweater and pressed it to the gaping wound on my side. I clenched my teeth against a hiss of pain, bent down, and gathered up the boots. I sloshed what was left of the soapy water over my blood, stacked everything up neatly, and resolved to come back after I’d stitched myself up – literally.* * *I was used to fixing myself up after these attacks, so I made quick work of my wounds. I checked myself over in the mirror once I was done: slightly curling long brown hair, hollows under my big dark eyes, full lips pursed at the newest bruise blooming down my slender neck.
With one last wistful tug at my knitted jumper, I fetched the birthday cake I’d made for myself and carried it over to the medical centre. Daisy was my teacher and my only friend in the Storm pack, and I wanted to share what little of my birthday I could with her. She’d always been nice to me.
The Moon Goddess had taken away her fertility and, as she had no children of her own, Daisy had bestowed extra kindness upon us orphans. She also said I was the most talented healer she’d ever met.
I knocked on the door to Daisy’s hut, shifting the cake to my good side and wincing as I raised my arm. There was no answer, but the door swung open. I frowned.
“Hello?” I called.
Nothing. Curious, I stepped inside.
The smell of blood hit me first, thick and metallic and hanging heavy in the air. Then I looked down.
A huge black wolf collapsed in the middle of the living room. A long gash ran down its side, seeping blood onto the rug. I dropped the cake and rushed to its side, instinct taking over as I cleaned and stitched the wound.
“Daisy,” I whispered, eyes widening as realisation hit me. She could be hurt, too.
I bolted into the forest surrounding the Storm pack’s territory. “Daisy? Daisy! Daisy, can you hear me?” I called, pressing a hand to my side as pain lanced up it. My own wound was nowhere near healed, but I couldn’t worry about myself. I had to find her.
As I ran, I became more and more uncomfortable. My spine prickled; pins and needles pushed through my hands and feet. My heart pounded in my chest, adrenaline spiking so suddenly that I doubled over, about to be sick.
Then I heard a voice in my head. A voice I knew instinctively, even though I’d never heard it before. It was my wolf.
‘Jane?’ she asked. ‘Jane, can you hear me?’
Somehow, I knew how to speak to her in my mind. ‘I can. Are you my wolf?’
‘I’m Nina.’ She sounded frantic. ‘I shouldn’t be here.’
‘What? Why not?’ I fell to my knees, waves of pain crashing over me.
‘The Moon Goddess said it would be years before we met. But our mate is in danger, Jane, and I can’t wait to help him.’
‘Our mate?’ Despite the agony crippling me, hope spiked in my chest.
‘We have to go now, Jane! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t a matter of life or death. I couldn’t wait to emerge, before the Moon Goddess had planned. So I’m a Preemie wolf.’
‘A Preemie wolf?’
‘I’m unstable and weak right now, Jane, but I’ll explain everything later. We need to find our mate first!’
Nina shifted and ran us back to Daisy’s hut. I stared around, confused. The wolf had disappeared.
‘Mate!’ Nina cried happily, tapping her paws on the rug. ‘Mate!’
The smell in the room was intoxicating. I sniffed hard, filling my nostrils with woodsy cedar and a salty musk and something softer, older, like well-thumbed parchment. I followed the scent, finding a man, a naked man to be exact, lying on Daisy's bed.
His head was in his hands. He bit back a groan as a shudder wracked through him. A deep gash on his side was bleeding through its bandages. Shock rattled my bones. This had to be the wolf I’d saved.
‘Nina, help him! Quickly!’ I screamed in my head.
‘What? How?’ Nina circled him anxiously.
‘What? Didn't you say you were here to help our mate? He looks like he’s in agony! Help him!’
‘Yes, I'm here to help him!’ she snapped. ‘I found him, but nobody told me how to save him! That’s your job!’
Nina shifted abruptly, hurling me back into my human body. I took a deep breath, flexed my fingers, and edged closer to him.
"Man,” I muttered, touching his forehead, “if I put an egg on this, we'd have an omelette in no time."
I rummaged through Daisy’s drawers, finding a cooling cloth and some ibuprofen to give him. Nothing I did helped. I re-wet the cloth, trying to figure out what medicine to use to cool him down, when he grabbed my hand and yanked me against his bare chest.
Our bodies were pressed together. I felt him between my legs. Blushing, I realised then that I was naked, too.He held me so that I was on top of him, letting out a long breath. His furrowed brow smoothed out, and his violent heartbeat steadied.
‘See,’ said Nina triumphantly, ‘I told you, we can save him.’
‘With my body?’ I sighed helplessly. I bit my lip as I stared at him, my own heartbeat picking up. He was the most handsome man I’d ever seen, practically a god with his tousled dark hair and gleaming blue eyes. Then my gaze dipped lower.
He had broad shoulders and abs to die for. My mouth went dry as I let my eyes wander even lower…
I caught myself. “You’ve been poisoned, and you need treatment.” I struggled to explain to him, but he pushed me back onto the bed and pinned me down. I tried to resist, but my body’s instinct didn’t. My rational mind quieted as his tongue brushed against mine and I felt the swell of him against the apex of my thighs. He seemed okay now I was here…
“I need you, Am….” he murmured, pulling back and pressing a trail of kisses along my jaw. I shivered.
I pulled back, staring into his eyes. He met my gaze hungrily; his pulse jumped at his throat and he wet his lips. Those lips! My toes curled as I stared back at him, my whole body alive with yearning.
He ran a thumb over my bottom lip. I swallowed hard, barely able to breathe as he leant in. “Beautiful, Am…” he murmured, a frenzied glint in his eyes.
How I wished I had heard his murmur clearly, but I didn't. I was yanked headfirst into his desires.
We hovered there for a moment. Tingles shot through me. My whole being centered on his thumb, the throbbing in my lip moving lower, lower, lower…
Then he kissed me. His hands curled in my hair, tugging gently until I moaned into his open mouth. My desire for him was urgent, desperate. I tipped my head back, baring my neck to him. He drew his tongue down the column of my throat before pulling back, pressing feather-light kisses along the trail he’d just carved.
“No,” I breathed, shoving at his chest. “You’re unwell.”
“You make the pain go away,” he rasped, pulling me close. Electricity crackled in every tiny gap between our bodies. My back arched. My spine tingled. He looked at me like he was drowning and I was the only hand reaching out to save him. It was dizzying, intoxicating, and I couldn’t resist him. My mate. My saviour – the only hand held out to me.
I ached with my need for him. My nails dug into his muscular shoulders as he drove inside me, my head falling back as waves of pleasure crashed through me. It was like something in us both had snapped and the tethers holding us to reality had broken.
He was wild and frenzied. His hands were everywhere, roaming over the curves of my waist, the arch of my back, gripping at the backs of my thighs hard enough to leave bruises. I lost myself to him, in him. Worries about poison dispersed like dandelion seeds on the wind and, for the first time in my life, I felt utterly content. I was safe. I was home.
Until I woke the next morning and found that my mate had gone.
I borrowed some of Daisy’s clothes and hurried outside, desperate to find my mate. Nina became increasingly quiet as I searched and, as the sun settled high above the horizon, she whispered to me that she needed food. I went back to my room in the pack house, stomach growling. I rushed up the last few steps, so focused on the toast I was planning on making that I didn’t see the man standing outside my door, arms crossed and smirking. I walked straight into him.“You’re late for your duties, Omega,” he sneered. “Where have you been all night?” I tried to stand up for myself. “I–”“You know I don’t actually care, right?” he scoffed, cutting me off. “I’m just here to punish you.” I stuck my chin out. “You don’t need to. I haven’t done anything wrong.”“You disappointed the Alpha. It’s the Succession Ceremony today. Everything has to run smoothly.” He shoved me back against the wall. “Being our slave is your only use in life, and you can’t even serve us properly.”‘Nina?’ I probed arou
I always left very early, before Hunter woke up, after every treatment. He was wild with the poison racing through his veins; he gripped me hard enough to turn his knuckles white and his eyes were frenzied, blind with lust. I dragged myself up, exhausted and weak.I never let on what happened between us, though. Gradually I realised that he didn't just hate me, he hated all Omegas, and he’d already thrown me in the dungeon once. I couldn’t let that happen again.If he knew, he might think I was using my body to seduce him, not cure him, and I wouldn’t be able to bear it. Worse still than the dungeon was the thought of him looking at me with hatred, and it was that slim bit of pride that kept my mouth shut.Dragging myself to the kitchen, I winced with every step. I was particularly sore after last night, my thighs aching and my back bent out of shape. “Here she comes,” muttered Phyllis, one of the other Omegas.“Morning,” I said, forcing a smile. “Bitch,” another hissed, their back
Every day I stayed in that dark basement. There was only one tiny window, one slanting beam of light that fell across the floor every day, and I stared out of it at the snow like a fool. I’d thought he’d felt something for me. I’d thought – It didn’t matter what I’d thought. It mattered that I’d been an idiot, that I’d fallen for his gentle touches, for the forehead kisses and the strong arm wrapped around my waist at night, for every time he’d saved me, and now I was stuck here.Stuck here, in a dimly lit basement with no company but my own thoughts. I cradled my belly, looking wistfully out at the snow. I did nothing but act as his medicine, make him medicine, or talk to our baby. It was so quiet in here that I could hear every one of my shallow breaths, and the sound drove me mad. It was so silent that I started to miss the back-breaking work I’d been forced to do before. At least I’d had people talking to me then – even if it was to call me names. Anything was better than this.
Moonlight caught the side of his handsome face, chiselling it starkly against the blurry backdrop of snow. Why was he thinking of me on a night like tonight? Surely he should be with his new Luna. The thought curdled my stomach and I started to turn away, tears pricking my eyes and my hand moving to cup my belly. I didn’t know what to do. I stood frozen, a deer in the headlights, a thousand ideas and dreams racing through my head. A shadowed figure, walking swiftly towards him, snagged my gaze – and crushed my dreams. Hands covered her face and her shoulders shook with tears. She moved into the slant of moonlight, and I knew for sure then that it was Amy. Perfect Amy. He looked up, too, and his face twisted with emotion. I’d never seen him look at me like that. My Alpha – not my Alpha, not really – went to her and comforted her, pulling her head to his chest and pressing a kiss to her bowed forehead. It was his tenderness that broke my heart. When he looked at me, his eyes were ful
That night was the longest of my life.Everything outside was cool and still, the snow settling upon the slumbering earth. Inside was a haze of bright pain and burning heat, from the ceaseless throbbing between my legs to the condensation dotting the windows. Agony raged through me, a constant I knew as well as my own name. I dozed lightly, too exhausted to stay awake and too full of adrenaline to sleep. A kiss of silver moonlight spilled into the room, brushing over my bent legs. Some might have considered it a blessing from the Moon Goddess; I knew it was a curse. Delirious with pain, I tried to roll away from the slanting beam of moonlight.And then I heard them. The first cries of my newborn child.My heart swelled. Groggy and broken, every shattered piece of myself joined back together as I heard that beautiful sound. Pulling myself upright and thanking the stars above that Daisy lived in the westernmost part of the pack, well away from anyone that could hear the screams of my ba
Hunter's POV I'm Hunter Burns, Rogue wolf and the Alpha’s son. I grew up in the Storm pack but, given the choice, I’d take being a Rogue any day. I hate all Omegas and my father, Alpha Dylan. Whenever I lost control of my life, it was because of them. I craved control. Four years ago, I became a Rogue. Two years ago, I became an Alpha amongst the Rogues. I left my father’s pack, the Storm pack, at fifteen. Everything I’ve built since then has been because of me - not him. My own pack thrived in the human world. Unlike the Storm pack, which shunned humanity, I chose to embrace it. My members and I were doing well; so well that we created our own business group, ‘R,’ where all my pack members work. But we still needed our own territory back in the werewolf world. So when my Beta, Carl Beck, told me that he was near the Storm pack and its Alpha was dying without an heir, I was shocked. I’d left him behind, hating him so much I’d never wanted to think of him, let alone see him, agai
Hunter’s POVI had to re-adapt to life in the Storm pack. It was so different here, far from the human world, without the dizzying nightlife and crowded city streets; the air was clean and crisp, with no exhaust fumes clouding over the sky. There were no electronics, no modern technology, nothing to distract myself with.And it was quiet. Too quiet.Nothing had changed since I’d last been here. Home. I wanted to scoff at the idea. It didn’t feel like home. Not after what had happened to my mother…I shook myself. There was one way to distract myself: Reg. As the sun lifted its groggy head over the horizon and my clock ticked towards six, I let him out for a run around Lake Pear. It was the Alpha’s exclusive lounge area, which meant nobody else could enter it. Peace, or something close to it, beckoned at last. I hoped.Life was a boring bliss here, except for my inexplicable headaches. Daisy said that I was indeed poisoned, though she had no way to cure it. The Omega, Jane, had turned o
Daisy’s POVI’d never thought the Moon Goddess would make it up to me in such a way. The wood of the doorframe bit into my palm as I leant against it, watching Jane drive away. My heart pinched slightly at the sight of her departure. I thought I would be sad when she left, but no, I was happy she was leaving.Now I had everything I’d always wanted.I lowered my head and pressed a gentle kiss to the little girl’s forehead. She cooed; I tightened my arms around her. I would keep her safe.“From now on, you are my daughter,” I murmured. “I think I’ll call you Ava. Ava White,” I breathed. “Hi, sweetheart. My little Ava. I’m your mommy, Daisy White.” I grasped her tiny hand in mine, and I knew what love was as her minute hand curled around my index finger.” So nice to finally meet you.”“I’ll tell everyone that someone left you on my porch,” I whispered, peppering her little face with more and more soft kisses. She had huge blue eyes, but I didn’t think anyone would associate her with Jane