In a non-shifting alpha/omega society, omegas have become so scarce, they’re sequestered at birth in isolated facilities.
Rafael Vargas, cyber expert, is an omega hiding in plain sight. At least until activists recruit him to hack an omega facility and rescue the children. He gets away clean until a prime alpha unwittingly hires him to trace the hack. With his precious freedom at risk, Rafael battles his instinctive attraction to the alpha.
Grant Tenereth, an alpha overseeing the omega facilities, is hell-bent on finding the kidnapped children. But from the moment he hires the fascinating but challenging Rafael, Grant finds himself questioning his rock-solid devotion to the rules. When he learns the man is an omega as well as a criminal hacker, he tries to do the right thing for the law, even if it isn’t the right thing for him. Or for the omega.
Grant struggles, trapped between duty and desire. Rafael aches for love but fears losing his independence. Will they realize before it’s too late that what they have isn’t just instinct? It’s everything.
Rafe woke to stifling heat. Sweat had soaked his hair and slithered down his neck to pool on the damp pillow. He opened his eyes, dismayed to see it wasn't a dream -- he was in jail. When he tried to get up to splash water on his face, a wild rush of dizziness slammed him flat on his back. Groaning as the room tilted and swirled, he clutched the thin plastic-covered mattress and waited for it all to right itself. At last, the motion slowed, and he stopped gagging.
He eased himself to a sitting position and looked around. The sink seemed to be an impossible distance away, but his heated cheeks and the smothering dryness in his mouth pushed him to his feet anyway. He hobbled to the sink and filled his cupped hands with tepid water again and again, drinking until he felt halfway human. He wet his hair and slicked it off his face. On his way back to the bed, the sound of muffled conversation came from the corridor.
He moved to the cell door and strained to hear, in case it was about him.
It sounded like the brunette was finishing her shift and complaining to a fellow officer. "No, damn it, Kowalski's late again. Why should I have to suffer when his kid's sick?"
A male voice laughed. "Oh, the trials of parenthood. Good thing you're married to the job, I guess."
"Funny, Richmond. Here -- you just got drafted to take breakfast to our special guest -- he's in cell three."
"Who is he?"
"Don't know; don't care. Feed him, and keep watch 'til Kowalski graces us with his presence. I'm out of here."
A few moments later the door to the corridor opened, and a young male officer backed in, balancing a tray. As he approached Rafe's cell, his steps slowed until he stood immobile in front of the bars.
The man inhaled sharply. Nostrils expanded, pupils dilated.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
And with all the sweat and stress, Rafe must be churning out scent pheromones like a bakery on free-donut Friday. He stumbled backward, trying to put distance between him and the cop.
The officer cleared his throat. "Hey, I've got some breakfast for you. Come here."
"No thanks, I'm not hungry." His stomach chose that moment to disagree. No one could have missed the rumbling growl.
The cop grinned. "Come on, I know you're hungry, and the food's not that bad."
"I said no."
"You gotta eat." The coaxing tone held a core of steel.
Deciding if he didn't take the tray, the man would never leave, Rafe approached the cell door and extended one hand toward the food slot, keeping as far back as he could.
In a blur of movement, the alpha's hand shot through the bars, grabbed Rafe's wrist, and pulled him closer.
Heart racing, Rafe struggled against the harsh grip, knocking the breakfast tray to the floor. A tiny hailstorm of overcooked scrambled eggs bounced onto the concrete, and the smell of fresh coffee rose from the puddle around the broken Styrofoam cup.
Rafe tried to tell himself as long as there was a steel door between them, he'd be safe. Right? Only if he ignored the fact the man had a key to the cell. Afraid of what he'd see in the alpha's face, he turned his gaze toward the door to the corridor.
Should he yell for help? Would anyone even hear his screams or do anything if they did? Damn Grant! He'd promised to keep Rafe safe.
He risked a glance at the alpha's face. The man's eyes were closed, thank God, but a strange sound issued from his throat. No, it couldn’t be. But it was. The son of a bitch was purring!
A sparkle of interest lit in Rafe's belly at the sound. He squashed it. He had to put a stop to this caveman overture before his idiot omega side responded. But how? Smash the alpha's head into the bars? Yeah, the other cops would kick the shit out of him. But he had to do something. He wanted the man's hand off him -- it felt, well, just wrong.