“Calm down,” he told himself. “You’re like a puppy chasing his tail.” He closed his eyes and then pulled air into his lungs before pushing it out again. “Calm down.” His mate was in this house; large or small, destiny was on his side. If he followed his instincts, he’d end up where he was supposed to be. Internal pep talk complete, Ricky opened his eyes, let his gut choose a direction, and started walking.”

Chapter 4

As the pack Alpha’s son, Morgan had been taught that he was an example to everyone in Golden Valley, so when other teens had snuck liquor or beer, he had steered clear. In truth, it hadn’t been a sacrifice. He had never enjoyed the scent or flavor of alcohol, and he had witnessed his older brother throwing up after a late night out enough times to learn that drinking didn’t mean fun. When his family was killed and he was forced to step into his father’s shoes, he was glad for those lessons because they were what kept him from drowning his sorrows and fears in a bottle. That and his underage status—humans didn't sell liquor to sixteen-year-olds.

Seven years later, he was naked on his office floor, a half-empty bottle of Jack in his hand, watching the swirls on the ceiling dance, and wondering if he should move to the bathroom so he’d be ready for inevitable vomiting. He raised his head and looked across the room speculatively.

“I can make it,” he said to himself. Enjoying the texture of the rug between his bare toes, he raised the bottle to his lips, took a swig, and then frowned. “How do people drink this shit?” He crinkled his nose and then drank some more. “Disgusting.” As he lowered his arm to the ground, the bottle almost slipped from his grip. “Should probably stop.” He blindly reached up to the end table beside the sofa and, after a few unsuccessful efforts, managed to find it and set the bottle down. “It isn’t working anyway.” Not if working meant helping him forget the presence of his mate in the house.

“Not my mate.” He shook his head, noticed the way it made his entire body feel like he was on a roller-coaster, and then shook it again. “Is this supposed to be fun?” He slowly rotated his head from side to side, decided he didn’t like it, and went back to watching the ceiling move. “Smells like mate, though. Feels like mate.” He gave in to the heaviness of his eyelids and let them rest. Without the sight of the moving room to occupy his vision, a new image formed, one of hazel eyes, slightly shaggy hair, and pale skin. “So pretty.” Morgan licked his own lips and remembered the pale pink ones on the angular face he had tried to avoid all through dinner. “Bet he tastes good.” Ricky smelled of lilacs, jasmine, and roses, plants Morgan’s mother grew in her garden. Definitely better than the whiskey invading his nostrils and coating his tongue.

Briefly, Morgan wondered why he had chosen to hole up in his office alone and drink instead of spending the evening with the most attractive person he had ever seen. “Because he already has an Alpha,” he reminded himself. The adorable Ricky Marx couldn’t be Morgan’s mate, because he was with the new Purple Sky Alpha. And that was for the best because Morgan didn’t want a male mate.

Physically, he was as attracted to men as he was to women, as was common in Golden Valley. He had never understood the culture in some other packs that rejected same-sex couplings. But attraction aside, a male mate would mean giving up the life he had always wanted. Well, giving up more of that life. Morgan was already pack Alpha, something his brother was meant to do; his family was gone, something he hadn’t considered in even his worst nightmares; and a male mate would mean no children. He’d never be able to teach a son to hunt a rabbit or braid a daughter’s hair. His family line would end with him. And a male who was also an Omega would terrify his entire pack. It probably wasn’t fair or logical, but Golden Valley’s only exposure to a male Omega had been to Timothy Tillers, the man who nearly destroyed it.

Fate wouldn’t do that to them. Not after they’d been through so much heartache. Not when Morgan had been trying his hardest to protect and lead them. No, Ricky couldn’t be Morgan’s mate. But then why did everything about him call to Morgan on a cell-deep level?

Maybe his brother hadn’t been lying to justify his inconsiderate behavior. Maybe male Omegas did have some special power over Alphas and it confused Morgan’s body and mind. Except he didn’t feel confused. Anxious, yes. Curious, sure. Horny, definitely. But not confused. Every instinct he possessed, every sense he had, insisted that the man he had ignored all night was his fated mate.

Tags: Cardeno C. Pack Fantasy
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