Indie the Impossible. Midas the Miserable.
I didn’t even know what an omega was until landing at the Complex. And now you’re telling me I’m supposed to find some random group of strangers to spend my heat with? Absolutely not. No way.
Sure, Leon has been my best friend since landing here.
Risk’s chaos reminds me my world isn’t ending.
Joshua’s softness shows me my own is nothing to be ashamed of.
And Hollis understands how my brain works.
But everybody leaves. Parents, teachers, friends; nobody sticks around.
I can’t let Midas Pack see me. Not like that. They have their own problems to deal with, in the aftermath of the mysterious attack they refuse to talk about. The one where Leon lost his hand, Joshua lost his light, Risk lost his mind, and Hollis lost control.
But as my heat looms ever closer, it’s harder and harder to stay away.
Trigger Warning: This novel contains sexual content, violence, and serious mental health issues including eating disorders, depression, PTSD, and mania.
It was as normal a Friday as Fridays could get, in the aftermath.
I wasn’t expecting fate to slap me in the fucking face.
Our routine had grown comfortable, if not pleasant. Me at the Complex, watching younger alphas have what we’ve since lost. Hollis at the Coalition, shuffling papers and taming his ego. Joshua surviving, subsisting, a pale shadow at home. And Risk in the woods, finding false solace in the numbness of routine.
The ache of my hand almost fades on days like today, when it’s just class after class after class. Alphas repeating the exercises they already know, gossiping about forthcoming mission assignments or class finals or omegas that have caught their eye.
The ache where the bond should be never fades. Teaching helps distract me. I am more alive experiencing my students’ lives vicariously than with my own pack. The anger at Hollis simmers constantly in the back of my mind, concentrating into something denser every day.
He wants to satisfy the Coalition. He’s doing damage control. Like we’re the problem. Like if we could just pull our shit together and see things his way, everything would be better. Funny how he wants us to think like him, but has closed the literal window into his brain that would make it possible.
Then I scent her that first time, and it’s game-over. There’s no politics in it, no redemption arc, no sense to the feelings she invokes in me. Just her, bergamot and black tea and springtime blooms. Fate.
She’s light as a feather, a bag of bones in my arms, and she smells better than the best sex I’ve ever had.
Which is saying something, because I’ve had a lot of sex. All of it in the beforetimes, of course.
I was considered quite the catch back then. We all were. Midas Pack used to clean up. We could have had our choice of omegas on rotation, but we never indulged. We wanted our own, despite what the Coalition might think was best. We batted off their demands that we engage in the politics they’d created out of our base instincts.
It was easier to just go out to clubs in the city, pick up unsuspecting betas who didn’t know what we were. Sometimes alone, but often as a group. Girls wondered how they’d gotten so lucky, to have four dudes doting on them for a night.
It never quite scratched the itch, but we all agreed on the omega front—not until we were ready to settle down.
Just wait till I tell Hollis I’ve met our fated mate. A teenager. A sick one, from the looks of her. He’ll have an aneurysm.
Until he scents her.
I spare quick glances down at her, not letting my eyes linger too long. I don’t want to make her spike worse. I don’t want to pop a boner in the middle of campus, unable to hide it with both my arms occupied holding her.
She’s skinny. Terrifyingly so, every bone visible under her skin, the cords of her wasted muscles stretched to fit her frame, visible where her baggy clothes gape away. Her eyes are liquid brown and massive, hiding beneath a sheaf of dark brown hair draped across her forehead. She doesn’t reach to move it. She is pale, her lips chapped, her lashes long, and she has big purple circles under those perfect cocoa eyes.
Her scent changes me. There’s no other way to describe it.
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