Jake Nelson isn’t worried when he’s kidnapped for ransom. He’s a strong alpha and former military, so he’s able to rescue himself and his fellow prisoner, omega David Beecham. There’s only one problem: during their captivity, David bonded with him. Now Jake has to decide if he’s ready to make a lifelong commitment to a man he just met.
David was holding out for a progressive alpha, not that it matters anymore. Bonding with Jake means he’ll never respond to any other alpha. He isn’t sure which is worse -- being rejected by Jake, or discovering Jake is willing to claim him but wants a completely subservient omega.
It isn’t what either planned for and has the potential to be a disaster. And yet, could it be their kidnapper did them a favor by bringing them together?
David hadn’t wanted to believe he’d bonded with Jake Nelson. After all, the medical staff were amazed he’d managed to keep himself from bonding with Roger McLaughlin, especially when he was weakened by dehydration. He’d been stuck in that room with Roger a good fourteen hours a day, he figured, and the doctors had never heard of an omega who didn’t bond with an alpha after two weeks of prolonged daily exposure to said alpha. They could only surmise David had incredible strength of will.
So surely he wouldn’t have just latched on to the next remotely decent alpha that happened by, right?
Wrong. He felt better as soon as the doctor brought Jake into his room, like the missing piece fell into place. Which, under the circumstances, made him almost cry.
“Oh God,” he said, “no, no, no.”
There was a reason why mature unclaimed omegas were very careful when they went out. Bonding with an alpha was permanent. David wouldn’t respond to any other alpha for the rest of his life because Jake’s unique pheromones had imprinted on him. Therefore, his life was now in Jake’s hands. If his alpha refused to claim him, he’d be alone until he died. Worse still, omegas were never independent because laws were apparently written by people who’d yet to advance out of the Stone Age. If Jake didn’t want him, David would live with his aunt and uncle for the rest of his life, later his cousins or an omega home run by the state. No family of his own, no alpha, nothing.
On the other hand, he’d wanted a good, progressive alpha. Even if Jake was willing to claim him, who knew what kind of alpha Jake would be? He might want David to be totally subservient, without so much as an independent thought. Some traditionalists were like that, in which case David thought being alone would actually be preferable.
“You did bond with me?” asked Jake.
David nodded and fought his tears. If they didn’t escape his eyes he wasn’t technically crying.
Omegas bonded for a practical reason. Their pheromones attracted alphas and one didn’t want countless alphas sniffing around. An unbonded omega produced pheromones when exposed to any alpha, but a bonded omega would produce much less except in the presence of their alpha, who would be able to protect them from unwanted advances. Jake, however, hadn’t claimed David and therefore had no compulsion to protect him, nor any obligation to David whatsoever.
This was clearly a shock to Jake and in most circumstances David would empathize. Now he was too caught up in his own situation for much empathy. After all, Jake could walk away from this without a second thought while it would determine the rest of David’s life.
“I’m sure this is quite a shock for both of you,” said the doctor. “We’ll arrange for a social worker to speak with you first thing in the morning.”
“Do you have an omega or a significant other?” Uncle Ed asked Jake.
“No. I’m single.”
“It would be helpful for David’s recovery if you would agree to share a room tonight,” the doctor told Jake.
“I should have your CT results shortly. Mindy will be in momentarily.” With that the doctor left.
“My parents are waiting in my room. I’ll go let them know and be back in a few.” Jake didn’t wait for anyone, just wheeled himself out and left David alone. David might have taken offense to that if it didn’t give him an opportunity to cry.
Aunt Julie wrapped him in a hug. “Let it out, David.” So he did, crying on her shoulder while Uncle Ed closed the door to allow for some privacy. It was too much. After everything he’d gone through, after beating the supposed rules of biology by not bonding with Roger, and in the end he bonded with a stranger. He had no control over his life anymore.