Exclusive Excerpt from Omega Shadow
by Quinn Michaels
One clean punch and the alpha dropped.
Shadow’s knuckles stung. He hated bullies. At least this one was staying down. Shadow had thought he would have to hit the other alpha again.
Whatever was going on with this alpha, he had lost control of his wolf. Shadow felt like he’d punched the other alpha back into human form as the man’s jaw receded and the fur on his hands and forearms sunk back into his skin. Maybe he had been sick. Maybe he was strung out. The latter seemed more likely. Though the Black Creek pack was much larger than Shadow’s own Pine Creek Lake den, they lacked discipline. Outside of fighting, the alphas just stomped around and did whatever they wanted, while the omegas and betas kept to their own.
It was weird to spend almost a month around so many wolves and yet feel like he barely knew any of them.
Shadow wanted to go home. He wasn’t doing much good here.
Shadow kneeled down beside the fallen alpha. The man looked pale. Had he stopped breathing? Shadow hadn’t hit him that hard. He put two fingers under the man’s nose to feel for breath. Nothing.
Shadow felt for a pulse. He wasn’t a doctor. Moving his fingers up and down the side of the neck, he began to panic.
“Are you okay?” The guy he had rescued asked hesitantly.
No, Shadow was not okay. Had he just killed an alpha member of the pack he was visiting? Not good. It wasn’t like Shadow could run off and get Mark or one of the other Pine Creek Lake alphas and have them handle this. There was a witness. And besides, it would be cowardly. Shadow hadn’t done anything wrong.
Shadow looked up into the eyes of the man he had just rescued, and it was like his world stopped.
Lust, hot and furious coursed through him. Kneeling over a guy you’d maybe killed was not the time for a boner, but Shadow’s cock didn’t seem to care. Shadow wanted to take Kyle back to the room in the small cabin he shared with the other Pine Creek Lake alphas. He wanted to touch, suck, and lick Kyle until he came, and then plunge his cock into the man’s welcoming heat.
Shadow averted his gaze. Thankfully, the darkness and his skin tone made it difficult to see how his face flushed with embarrassment.
Was this wolf an omega?
He didn’t smell like one. He didn’t smell like anything more than sweat, fear and confusion, which meant he had to be a beta. Shadow had been attracted to other wolves before, omegas and the occasional beta, but it had been a shallow thing. Physical. Nothing like this growing, pulsing need. If Shadow had been able to scent any hint of omega on the other wolf, he’d have sworn this was his true mate.
He couldn’t deal with that now. This alpha, even if he was a bully, needed help.
“Do you know CPR?”
Shadow couldn’t look up again. Not if he had to meet the other man’s eyes. “I don’t think he’s breathing.”
Shadow kept his gaze on alpha’s body as the other wolf extended to slim fingers and with much more confidence than Shadow had felt, first checked to see if the alpha was breathing and then for a pulse.
It was at that point all hell broke loose. Of course the shit for brains alpha had a sobbing mate pregnant about to pop. And of course the mate’s panic had woken up everyone else for five or six cabins around, who all came staggering out to find out what it happened. And of course they now stared down at him, the outsider who had played some role in this alpha’s death.
“Kyle, what happened? Is Chaz…will he make it?”
“Your friend needs to count out the chest compressions.” Shadow was no CPR expert, but he did know that much. At least also now he knew the name of the disastrously attractive beta he rescued.
It seemed too simple a name for someone who had complicated Shadow’s life so much in such a short time.
Thankfully, until the doctor came, Kyle’s mouth was occupied with trying to breathe life back into his attacker.
As the very pregnant omega sobbed beside his mate, Shadow regretted mixing himself into what was rapidly becoming a mess. As a cub, his dark fur, quiet nature, and stealthy pranks had earned him the nickname Shadow. Instead of taking the lead, Shadow preferred to watch and then share what he had learned with one of the older and more outgoing alphas. It was one of the reasons Mark had wanted Shadow along for this “cultural exchange” program. Shadow wasn’t physically intimidating, he knew how to keep his mouth shut, and he kept himself out of trouble. Until tonight.
The pregnant omega had somewhat pulled herself together when the doctor arrived, carrying what looked like a large medical bag and an AED machine. “Kyle, what happened?”
The doctor was a stocky beta with messy curls pulled back in a frizzy bun. She wore a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and boots. The circle of neighbors around them parted, making room the for Dr. Havisham and two others who followed carrying a bright yellow, plastic gurney.
Kyle gave Chaz two more breaths and then while pumping steadily at the alpha’s chest, said, “He’s been out for approximately four minutes. I started CPR as soon as I saw he wasn’t breathing. I think he ODed or something.”
“Werewolves don’t OD.”
Kyle shrugged. “He looked messed up. Like he was on something. Shaky. Pupils dilated, and now he’s got some bruises under his skin. See?”
“Chaz said he’d stopped drinking,” the pregnant omega said.
“I know. He didn’t smell like alcohol,” Kyle responded. “It’s something though. He lost control of his wolf.”
Once Kyle had straddled the alpha to start CPR, Shadow had avoided looking at Kyle or the body. This bizarre attraction to the beta was disconcerting, and Shadow didn’t want to think of body on the ground as a man. One he had likely, if accidentally, killed. It made the death more real. Because of this aversion, he hadn’t seen the yellowish bruises that were blossoming on the man’s cheeks, neck and exposed chest.
“Those weren’t there before,” Shadow said.
“Who are you?”
Kyle cut in. “He saved me. Chaz was losing it. I was scared he was going to kill me.” He ended the set of compressions and dropped down to give two more breaths.
Shadow couldn’t help but be impressed. This Alpha, Chaz, had done his best to beat the hell out of Kyle. Possibly kill him. And now Kyle was giving his all to save Chaz’s life. And Shadow couldn’t even look at Kyle without thinking about how much he wanted to get into the betas pants. There was definitely something wrong.
“Just keep up the compressions. We’ll start with the AED. If it will help. Then we’ve got to get him to the hospital cabin.” The doctor leaned over the body, lifted his eyelids and shined a flashlight at his bare pupils. “Nonresponsive. Has some hemorrhaging.” She looked up at Shadow. “Can you hold him down? Sometimes the shock will induce a shift, and they’ll lash out. Just grab him by the shoulders.”
Shadow didn’t want to put himself in a position of sitting directly in front of the beta who had stirred his desire so intensely, but he wouldn’t take the coward’s way out. Not when Kyle was working so tirelessly to save the life of the guy who had attacked him.
Once the pads were placed, a warning bell sounded and everyone took their hands off of the Alpha.
“Grab him right after the shock,” Dr. Havisham ordered.
But then another bell sounded, and the machine powered down.
“It’s never easy,” the doctor said with a sigh. “I’m giving him some epinephrine and will have to keep the compressions going until we get him back to the hospital.”
“Is he going to be okay?” The pregnant omega asked.
“We’re doing everything we can,” the doctor said. “Now Sam, Desmond, get the gurney down next to him. And when you need some folks to lift him. Kyle, you keep the compressions going until we have to transfer him, and then I’m going to need you to start back up again while we move him to the hospital cabin. Okay?”
Everyone agreed. And though they moved quickly, Shadow knew that Chaz was running out of time. He had probably already run out of time.
Though Kyle was on the small side for a beta, Chaz was large and difficult to move, especially when Kyle got back on top of him and continued with the CPR. The two betas lifting the gurney back up grunted, arms shaking as they tried to manage the unwieldy load. Shadow ran alongside and grabbed an end.
“What are you doing? Get off of him!” One of the others, a thin, middle-aged woman with reddish hair threaded in white.
Shadow ignored her. Were any of the other spectators helping?
“A little help,” the doctor shouted, sounding as annoyed as Shadow felt.
Finally, a few of the other younger looking wolves peeled off and grabbed the plastic gurney at the edges. He and the others carried Chaz into a clean, white walled room that smelled of antiseptic.
“Get him up on the table,” the doctor said. “And then I’m going to need the rest of you to step outside. Except Kyle. Kyle, stay here.”
Shadow, feeling suddenly superfluous, did as he was told. Within minutes, he was standing outside the front of the cabin. One of the other Blackcreek wolves who had helped carry the gurney stepped ahead of Shadow and waved to another of his pack-mates.
Shadow took that moment of distraction to step aside, and avoiding the glow cast from the twin lights at the front of the cabin, he stuck to his namesake and quietly avoided the group. He had made it halfway back to the guest cabin where he and the other Pine Creek Lake wolves were staying when someone whispered harshly from behind him, “Shadow?”
It was Lena. She was a chubby, dark-haired omega and the sister of Shadow’s heart. She also had a way of showing up just in time to watch Shadow take the heat for his worst scrapes.
“What happened?” She asked. “People are saying you and one of their alphas got into a fight and you killed him.”
“I didn’t kill anyone. I hit him once. He fell over and stopped breathing. I didn’t even hit him that hard.”
“I’m taking you to Mark.”
Shadow wasn’t going to argue with that. He wanted to talk to Mark. Mark always knew what to do. Maybe he would have some insight into why this Blackcreek beta had affected Shadow so strongly. Shadow’s face heated, and he shook his head. Mark didn’t need to know about that. Shadow had already gotten himself into enough trouble.
As his thoughts shifted to Kyle, a sudden sense of both sadness and guilt washed through him and he knew Chaz was gone. Dead.
I must be imagining things, Shadow told himself. He didn’t feel guilty about Chaz’s death. And he certainly wasn’t sad about it. The whole thing had been inconvenient and annoying.
Shadow shook his head again, trying to shake out these weird emotions that he knew weren’t his.
“Are you okay?” Lena asked.
“I’m just…” Shadow sighed. “Have you ever heard of an alpha and a beta being true mates?”
Lena laughed. “You’re ears high in trouble, and you’re asking about true mates? Wait! You think you found your true mate? Here?”
“Who is it? Boy or girl?”
“You’re embarrassed; I can smell it on you. Who is it? You think it’s a beta?”