"This fifth book in the series deals with a somewhat more subtly embedded preconception about "the werewolf world" as portrayed in most stories I have read. Usually, the alpha (or dominant werewolf shifter) claims his mate, come hell or high water – i.e., whether the mate agrees and is ready or not. The rest of the story is usually about dealing with the fallout, the mate's resistance and slow winning over. Not so in this book, and I have to say I found that quite refreshing. Charlie, an omega, has been abused and mistreated his entire life. He trusts absolutely nobody, and that attitude has served him well. So even though Lucas says he is Charlie's mate, Charlie runs. He needs time to deal with things, mainly to consider whether he can trust Lucas and the man's pack. And the amazing thing is, Lucas doesn’t come after him to drag him back. The mate bond and Charlie's desperate need to be with Lucas win out in the end though, and after a torturous ten days (for both of them) Charlie comes back and begins the slow process of building trust. Lucas is all alpha. The hardest thing he's ever done is to let Charlie go, on the advice of his pack alpha, Roarke, who is developing more and more into a true leader with each book. Lucas is going crazy though, and when Charlie finally does return, he is as impatient to claim his mate as Charlie is to be claimed. That much they agree on. That isn’t the end of the story though, and it takes patience, a crisis of life-threatening proportions, and, of course, an epic challenge and physical fight for Lucas to get the message to Charlie that the man is now safe, accepted, and even loved. This time the bad guys are the remaining alphas, idiots one and all, from Bud's pack who keep trying to steal omegas to make them their personal slaves. Charlie does a great job at learning how to conduct himself in a pack so that they can be dealt with and everyone is safe. The way he learns to work with Lucas is wonderful to watch. If you're looking for another shifter story that doesn’t necessarily follow the "traditions" of the paranormal genre, if you enjoy reading about mates who have to learn to work together, like books with lots and lots of reaffirming shifter-on-shifter action, then you will probably like this novella." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
Lucas White couldn’t sleep.
He couldn’t eat either, and the appetite of a werewolf wasn’t exactly something to be messed with.
Even his other pack mates were starting to notice that something was wrong. Ross had once even noticed that he looked like he was having a fever because of the color in his cheeks and the way his eyes were constantly bright.
Even now, he could barely keep the twitching out of his fingers as he walked through the woods surrounding the pack’s property.
Roarke hadn’t wanted him to go out alone, but he hadn’t ordered Lucas to stay behind either, so Lucas waited for when the leader of the pack wasn’t looking and he took off on his own.
His body felt tight and his mouth was dry. He needed his mate. Every day this was getting worse and still Charlie hadn’t come back to him yet.
Roarke was the one who ordered Lucas to let the man go. They had just rescued Charlie from a rival pack, and Charlie was scared after his ordeal and not exactly eager to go into another pack with people he didn’t know. Omegas always had these things to worry about.
It might not have been such an issue if that wasn’t also the first day that Lucas and Charlie had met.
It took some convincing before Lucas would admit that his alpha was right. It wouldn’t have been the best thing for his mate if Lucas had forced the omega to come into the pack with him, so he’d let the man go, hoping it would be only a few hours before instinct compelled Charlie to return to him.
Now Lucas was suffering without his mate.
If he let the man go, eventually Charlie would return anyway. That had been what Roarke said to him and by now it had become the mantra inside of Lucas’ head. Charlie would soon realize that Lucas really was his mate, and he would feel the unstoppable need to return as the urge to solidify their connection became stronger.
That had been ten days ago, and so far there was no sign that Charlie was coming back.
Then the questions started creeping into his mind. Had he been captured again? Or killed? God, Lucas would lose his mind if his mate had been murdered by someone from a rival pack and he hadn’t been there to stop it, hadn’t even known about it.
It was giving him anxiety just thinking about it, and Lucas had to stop his walk and come to rest his forehead against one of the trees just to get his breathing back under control.
Fuck. He was so fucking horny. His cock was standing up even now, demanding attention, demanding his mate. Lucas didn’t bother touching himself, even though he was out here and all alone, because he knew that would only make it worse. His body didn’t want Lucas’s hand, it wanted Charlie.
He had to do something. Meditation to get himself under control until Charlie returned, because Lucas was starting to snap at everyone else in his pack, and eventually one of the alphas was going to take that as a challenge and not be able to stop himself from ripping into Lucas for the offense.
God, if only Charlie would come back. He had to be feeling this, too, right? He was the omega, and they were supposed to feel the effects of denying a mate even stronger than the alpha did.
Unless they were dead.
No! He couldn’t think like that. He had to stop thinking like that!
The scent of his mate ignited in his brain on the next intake of breath Lucas took. He snapped his head up and looked around, then he breathed it in again.
It smelled like freshly cut grass, or watermelon, but it was distinctly Charlie. Lucas would recognize that scent anywhere, and it was him. He was near. He was alive, and he was finally coming back.
Lucas turned toward the location where the scent was coming from. It was deeper in the woods, and the soft breeze was carrying Charlie’s scent right to Lucas.
Lucas moaned as his dick throbbed to the tune of his racing heart, and he shot off at a fast run. He couldn’t stop himself even if he tried, and he didn’t want to try. He wanted to find his mate and he wanted to hold him.
No. He needed to hold him. There was no wanting about this. It was complete and utter instinct to put skin to skin and finally be complete in the way that two mates were.
He ran for a solid ten minutes, which should have been nothing to a werewolf, and it felt like nothing to Lucas, but considering how little he’d been eating lately, and how he had virtually no energy in his body, it was a feat that he shouldn’t have been able to accomplish.
Charlie’s scent gave him the strength that he needed. It gave him the life and energy that his body required in order to run to the man.
Hair was starting to sprout over his body, and his teeth were becoming sharp inside of his mouth.
For the first time in Lucas’s life, he felt out of control of the wolf inside of him. It wanted out, but not yet. He had to hold off for just a little while longer.
Then Lucas finally saw the very person he’d been waiting for all this time appear through the trees, and Lucas stopped to catch his breath.
Charlie’s black hair was even shaggier since the last time Lucas had seen it, and there was a sort of wildness in his eyes. Not the kind that said he was out of control, but about to lose control, and desperate to have what he’d also been craving.
He was still as beautiful as the last time Lucas had seen him. His green eyes were just as bright and sparkling with life as they were ten days ago.
Then their eyes met, and Charlie rushed for him. Lucas did the same.
They crashed together in a passionate kiss that knocked their teeth together and threw them both onto the grass where they rolled and nibbled and kissed each other.
They didn’t even know each other.
When Lucas’s body finished jerking and spasming above him, Charlie realized that the man was still hard, his cock as ready now as it had been before Lucas had put it inside of Charlie’s asshole.
Thank God. Because Charlie’s own dick had decided that it wasn’t finished yet, and he really needed to get off.
“Keep going,” he said to the man above him, and he hooked his feet around Lucas’s waist and locked his ankles together beneath the man’s ass.
Lucas’s blue eyes dilated to the point that all Charlie could see was a thin ring of color around the black pupil, and then he pulled back, until only the head of his cock was still inside of Charlie’s body before slamming back inside.
Charlie threw his head back and cried out as his prostate was not only touched again and again, but mercilessly thrust against until all Charlie could focus on was the absolute and mind-numbing pleasure of it.
So much better than that near sickening sensation he’d been feeling an hour ago when he finally decided to give in to the pull that called him to his mate.
He was pretty sure he was digging his fingernails into Lucas’s back, but he kept them pretty short anyway, and the man was an alpha, so he should have been fine.
Lucas was breathing like a racehorse above him as he punched his hips against Charlie’s body, their flesh slapping together as Lucas’s cock pushed in and out of him, filling him up again and again.
Was the grass moving beneath him? No. Charlie was being fucked clear across the little clearing that he and Lucas had found each other in. There were going to be green stains on his back, but he didn’t care. He couldn’t do anything, not even speak, as he held on for the ride and tightened his hold on Lucas’s back.
The only sounds he made were the desperate and hoarse shouts that clawed their way out of his throat. Charlie couldn’t even reach down to wrap his fist around his cock as Lucas fucked him. He needed both hands to hang on.
Charlie’s fingernails clawed down Lucas’s back one more time, pulling at the man’s skin, and when Lucas closed his eyes and moaned, Charlie did it again.
This was what sex with a mate was like. For the love of God, why hadn’t he been doing this ten days ago? He was insane to have denied himself this.
“Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oh fuck!”
Was that him or Lucas? It didn’t matter he supposed, but, no, it couldn’t have been Lucas because his tongue was currently licking along Charlie’s ear while his hips moved on autopilot. Charlie felt the way Lucas’s balls slammed against the back of his ass, and that only added to his pleasure as he twisted his head around, trying so badly to reach that peak.
The building pleasure in his cock and balls was behind his stomach now, and it was damn near unbearable not being able to touch his cock, and only feel the slight jolts of pleasure that sizzled through him when Lucas’s abs, moving back and forth, brushed against Charlie’s dick again and again.
Then he was there, and it was great. Charlie couldn’t resist anymore, and he brought one of his hands down to stroke the length of his dick, drawing out an already powerful orgasm, the most intense one he’d had in his life.
He was breathing heavily when he finished, and Lucas was still thrusting wildly inside of him, his hard cock teasing and touching Charlie’s prostate, which continued to add to his pleasure even though his dick felt like it was about to go to sleep for the next week or so.
Another strong splash of warmth surged inside of him, and Lucas gasped as his body tightened and twitched above, his hips jerking until finally he was done.
Then it was sealed. Everything was different, and they were connected.
Lucas collapsed on top of Charlie’s chest, and their hearts were suddenly pressed right together, separated only by their flesh and ribs.
But that was nothing to them now since they were practically one and the same as far as their souls were concerned.
That was why a separation was fatal. A man couldn’t survive without his soul, and when his soul was forcibly ripped in half, either by the death of a mate, or a separation, well, it made sense that one probably wouldn’t survive that.
He could feel every breath that Lucas took, every shift in his body, and he was even able to sense his intent.
He didn’t want to hurt Charlie. He wanted to protect him and keep him safe from the rival packs that were in the area, just like he said he did ten days ago, when he rescued Charlie from one of those very packs.
And then Charlie ran away from him.
He just wished he loved the man, but mating with him, bonding their souls and a good fuck did not create love.
He supposed he had to start somewhere.
“Thank you,” he said.
Lucas lifted himself up just enough to look down at him. “For what?”
It was strange that they were about to have a heart-to-heart when Lucas’s cock was still inside of Charlie’s asshole, and he shrugged, feeling very self-conscious all of a sudden. “For saving me that day,” he said. “And for not being mad at me now for not staying with you when you brought me into your territory.”