Omega Channing Jacobs has been captured by the wolves after being found in a rebel camp, but he has secrets to tell his old lover, Territorial Alpha, Maxim St. Clair. Fate and bitter circumstance once conspired to part Channing from Maxim, leaving Maxim bitter and unwilling to forgive him. But time is running out and Channing has to make him listen. Despite his enduring love for his Alpha, Channing has to try to keep his heart from getting too involved, because his secret is one that could change everything for both of them, and it’s one that Channing will literally give his life to protect.
It’s been years since Maxim has seen Channing, his omega mate, and he wanted to greet the beautiful young man without passion and anger overwhelming him because of their volatile past together. Channing had left Maxim a year and a half before without a word and Maxim’s pride wouldn’t allow him to go after him. Now Channing has landed back in his life like a falling star. Maxim wants to be cold and indifferent to Channing and give him what he deserves, but the moment he sees him, he realizes he can’t follow through on his plan. He feels nothing but lust for him. He absolutely doesn’t love him. His heart is no longer involved in any way, because an alpha can’t be in love with a faithless omega—so why does the word love keep leaking out of him like coffee from a cracked cup?
I was freezing in this cell where they’d thrown me. I’d often thought that this was what the hell the preachers were always talking about must really be like—not full of heat and blazing fire, but cold and damp and miserable, a swamp of despair. It seemed to me to be far more fitting.
I was alone, having been separated from my uncle Carter and the other rebels who had been captured along with me in the raid on our camp. I was a half-wolf, an omega, while they were all human, so maybe I warranted a different fate. The huge, dark-haired wolf in charge of the raid had shown interest in me when I’d given him my name. In fact, he’d asked me to repeat it and stared at me for a long moment afterward. He’d had a whispered conversation then with one of the gamma guards, who came over to grab my arm and haul me out of the general line-up of prisoners. I had been thrown on the back of an old army truck and taken here to this huge, maze-like Territorial Prison, deep in St. Clair territory.
After cooling my heels—literally—in the back of the freezing, open truck for an hour or so after we arrived, I had finally been taken inside and pushed down several long corridors and into this cell. I was half-frozen by then and like I said, all alone—though I didn’t think I would be for long. Wolves always looked at me like I was something on the menu, and the looks I had garnered from the guards on the way in hadn’t inspired me with any confidence.
Since I’d figured it wouldn’t be long until one or more of them paid me a visit, I wasn’t all that surprised when I heard the sound of footsteps a half-hour later. It was dark inside the cell, so when the light shone in on me, I had to shield my eyes as I tried to see who was standing outside in the corridor, staring in. I heard a sharp intake of breath and got to my feet to meet whoever it was face-on.
“Take that light out of my face. It’s blinding me.”
The light was shielded almost immediately and I could see the outline of a big man staring in at me. That smell—it was teasing at my nostrils and making my heart beat faster. The tantalizingly familiar scent made me sway slightly on my feet, and I clutched at the slimy wall to stay upright. It couldn’t be. Not here. Not so soon. I didn’t know if I was ready for this meeting—or if I ever would be.
I took a step closer, trying to peer through the gloom. “Maxim?” I whispered, barely daring to breathe out the name. “Is that—is that you?”
“It’s me,” he said gruffly, the voice sweeping over me like an icy wind. It was full of bitterness—and a cold, barely controlled fury that I’d never heard directed at me before. I shivered in real fear for the first time since my capture.
“I should leave you here to rot,” he said and I felt the words like a physical blow. He was standing in the shadows, so I could barely make out his features in the dark. I took a step closer—I wanted badly to touch him, but I didn’t dare. My heart was thundering in my chest now, skipping beats and making my chest hurt and my head swim.
“Why don’t you, then?” I asked him, and the men with him—I realized as I came closer that there were several of them with him, all staring in at me—gasped at my disrespect. Maxim was a Territorial Alpha, the head of the powerful St. Clair pack, and I was literally a nobody. A half-human omega. In their opinion at least, I wasn’t fit to breathe the same air.
“Shut your mouth, scum, before I shut it for you!” a deep voice I didn’t recognize yelled at me. Probably one of his betas. I couldn’t be bothered to care. Let them do their worst. I only needed one thing, and I wondered if I was going to be able to persuade Maxim to give it to me.
“I need to talk to you, Maxim, and then you can do whatever you want. Please. I have something to tell you.”
There was a long silence. Then his voice came again, even more bitter than before. “What could you possibly have to say to me?”
“Well,” I replied, lifting my chin. “There’s the matter of your son. Wouldn’t you like to know about him?”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Maxim said harshly and slammed his hand against the bars. This must have excited his betas, because they began to yell and yip and snarl. I wanted to reply, but they were using up all the oxygen in the room, and suddenly I found I couldn’t breathe. I managed one more step toward him, my hand outstretched, and then the floor came up to hit me in the face, and the darkness was absolute.