My name is Lydia Hansson. I'm twenty-one years old. I have yet to meet my true mate, but I might never live to see that day because I'm the unfortunate omega of my pack. It means I'm the weakest, and only one omega exists in my pack.
Everyone is out to get me, and the only reason my pack doesn't target me right now is that I'm dating Owen Willis.
He is the beta of the Grimfang pack, wealthy, and a prime wrestler in college—Owen is a hunk of a werewolf.
Gorgeous. Hot. Tall. Popular.
I must admit Owen is a little dumb when it comes to emotions, but he is cute. I'm so lucky. Usually, the beta wouldn't date someone of my low ranking.
Owen is putting his reputation at risk. Every werewolf on the street is out to wring my neck since it's not against werewolf law to beat up the omega. Pack members see me and think I'm a free punching bag. But I'm in safe hands with Owen by my side.
We have been dating for a few months. Nothing erotic. I'm a virgin, but Owen doesn't seem to mind that I'm not ready. He is a sweet guy, and today we are shopping together on a Friday night. It's romantic.
"Hmm... Not here either..."
Humming, I push my cart through the supermarket, scanning the shelves for Oreos. Owen is by my side, smiling dumbly down at me from his towering height.
"What are you looking for?"
"I need cookies for the cake I'm baking," I inform Owen. The fact that he is more than a foot taller than me makes me feel protected. I'm four-foot-eleven, but sometimes I add an inch to sound taller.
"Oh..." Owen's smile is brief. "Can you bake it with Oreos?"
Oreos are Owen's favorite. I hid my dark brown hair behind my ear, smiling at him shyly. "I don't see why not?"
"Cool," Owen stretches out his six-foot-one body. "The Oreos should be right about here on this—"
His voice falls flat, and I lift a confused eyebrow at Owen when he slumps down.
What is happening?
Owen makes a noise that sounds a lot like him choking. I scan his face, holding my breath when I see the dazed, spellbound expression taking over his features.
A silent prayer leaves my lips, but it's too late—a tall brunette is standing a mere foot away from us. She is batting her eyelashes seductively at Owen, and my heart shatters.
I've dated Owen long enough to have feelings for him. I like the handsome beta, but now it seems he has found his mate at the supermarket of all places.
"Mate!" The two werewolves shout in unison.
I'm unsure whether to laugh or cry when both werewolves latch on to each other's mouths. There is no self-restraint. They eat at each other's faces like feasting hyenas.
I'm bound to grimace at the scene of the couple making out by the cookie section.
I can't believe Owen Willis ditched me that easily. He didn't even say sorry or look at me.
My chest feels a little too tight, and my tears are prickling behind my eyelids already. I'm an i***t for letting my guard down with Owen and thinking we would last.
Why did I do that?
With my pride cracking into pieces, I push my cart forward toward the cash registers. I won't cry. Nope. Not me. I'm stronger than that, and it's not like I would marry Owen.
Yet there is pain.
I just lost my boyfriend to a pretty brunette. My day can't get any worse, but I won't shed any tears.
Though perhaps I spoke too soon.
Down the ice cream aisle, I see a gang of scary werewolf men from my pack: Rick, Morty, and Papa Cash.
My heart claps faster. Everyone in the trio is younger than me, yet each one towers over me.
When did they get so big?
Everyone keeps outgrowing me, goddamn it!
"Hmm, do you smell that?" Morty asks the other werewolves.
I freeze. If I walk any closer, the trio of friends might chase me for the sport of hunting the omega, but they might sniff me out if I turn back. What am I supposed to do? I've lost the only protection I had: Owen.
Rick snorts. "The air definitely smells like omega... Do you think she is here?"
"Lydia? She must be. The air stinks like her."
"Hah, you feeling like chasing her?"
"Or better: finally biting her dead."
Biting me dead?
Would they do that?
The answer is yes, yes, they would. The werewolf world is cruel, and now there is no one left to protect me. I'm not safe here. Truth: I'm not safe anywhere without Owen by my side.
My pulse drums against my neck as my fight or flight instinct kicks in. This time, I choose to put my tail between my legs; I release my cart, hoping to survive.
I rush away from the trio of wolves, only to slam into the person behind me. I see stars, and then I'm disoriented, falling—and dragging the poor guy down on the floor with me.
"Oh, s**t!" The stranger yells.
In my panic, I grab his shoulders, and amazingly enough, it keeps me from hitting the back of my head against the floor. My ass connects with the ground. And with the massive guy over me, I land on my back with an oomph.
"Holy moly..." I blurt out, still pressing my fingers into the stranger's skin. He has insanely broad shoulders. Sinewy. Hard. Even after landing, I'm still gripping his muscles.
"That was quite a fall..." The colossal guy is holding himself up on his forearms, which can't be comfortable. He is doing a push-up on top of me. I'm impressed.
My fingers sink deeper into his muscles.
He is wearing a white t-shirt, but my thumbs are underneath it and close to his neck. My digits touching the skin of the gorgeous stranger. It makes my face burn. He smells like fresh laundry, and I get a delicious waft of his manly cologne.
There is an instant buzzing in my belly.
I swallow thickly. "Yeah, but somehow I'm fine—"
I turn to stone seeing the person's face. His nose is inches from mine, and I recognize him immediately.
Holy s**t. The person I crashed into is Avery Hale—the young alpha of my pack!
Unlike normal werewolves, an alpha USUALLY picks its mate. In some cases, they meet their fated one, but it may or may not happen, which is why most alpha werewolves claim their mate. But Avery hasn't met his mate, and he hasn't had a claiming ball yet. He is sexy and single!
And right in front of me!
I might pass out.
This close, his beauty is a physical assault on my brain, rich and robust, vibrating with intense masculinity. He is breathtakingly beautiful, chiseled face, dark hair, blue eyes, the body of a god, and a swagger of smoldering sexiness.
It should be illegal to be this attractive.
His slightly annoyed expression shifts into a stupor as I stare at him like a goldfish gasping for air. My hands are still on his shoulders. He is still doing a push-up on top of me. Avery Hale got me pinned down, and he is between my legs!
"It's you!" I blurt out in a high-pitched fan-girl voice. Avery appears weirded out, but I can't stop my blabbering mouth. "You're Avery Hale! The alpha of my pack! It's an honor to meet you in person! You're so beautiful! And I heard you defeated your father within five minutes to step up as the new alpha! Gosh! I'm your biggest fan!"
I throw the poor guy off his guard by hugging him. He turns tense as if horrified. Avery even tries to get away, but somehow that ends up with me sitting in his lap.
He is strong.
Suddenly, I'm eye-level with his chin while sitting on his muscular thighs. Lord, I'm so close to him! I can't believe this. I will never forget this moment for as long as I breathe!
I lean against his collarbone to inhale him.
He smells nice.
Today is the best day ever. Avery Hale is holding me in his big, powerful arms, and he smells fantastic. Too bad we aren't in his bed. Naked. Together. Forever.
I'm still hugging him when his eyes narrow into slits. He looks ready to explode and hisses at me. "Get. Off. My. Lap."
When my eyes land on his expression, I realize what I'm doing. I also register what I've done and what I'm currently doing. Holy s**t! I'm hugging the alpha—I might have well asked for a death sentence!
Avery is stiff, and I suppress a yelp when I notice the burning hatred in his gaze.
"I'm so sorry!" I whimper.
Terrified, I release him and clamber to my feet. Fear claws from inside my chest like a caged animal. Holy s**t, Avery is tall, taller than I expected, and broad-shouldered.
While towering over me, Avery growls. "What makes you think you owe the right to touch and inhale your alpha without permission? You should have created distance instead of hugging me!"
"I'm so sorry—"
"And how old are you? f**k! I can't believe a kid ran into me!" Avery growls.
"Uh, I'm not exactly a kid." I'm just short with a baby face. It makes people ask for my ID all the time.
His eyes burn into mine. "You're not?"
Avery doesn't look convinced as he rakes me up and down. When he speaks, his tone is dry. "You must be the smallest and weakest werewolf I've ever seen."
I hang my head. "That's probably why I'm the omega..."
Before I can say anything else, Papa Cash pipes up. "Good Lord, Avery, we can't take our alpha anywhere without the pack girls throwing themselves at you, can we?"
The trio bursts into laughter, but Avery doesn't laugh. He growls at them to shut up, and they quickly abide with little yelps, not stupid enough to challenge their alpha.
But a second later, they are all smelling the air. It makes my skin crawl in discomfort.
Avery, as the alpha, doesn't go out very often, but his fellow pack members do, and they are about to find out I'm right here.
Ice-cold eyes land on mine, and Avery smirks. "Hmm, interesting. I would run if I were you."
I meet his gaze. "W-why?"
He shrugs. "I read your mind, and if I'm not mistaken, you rejected these guys when they asked you out in the past, right? But you're the omega now, and their egos are hurt. They will most likely beat your ass if they get to you."
My heart stops as I stare at Avery.
The alpha can read minds? Does he have magic?!
The answer I get is the slight curl of his lips, and I notice the trio approaching me with scary grins.
"Haha, isn't that Lydia?"
"It sure is!"
"The little lady we were searching for!"
"This must be our lucky day—let's beat up the omega!"
"She deserves it for not going out with me, man."
"She called me too weak..."
"Don't worry, fellas. The ice queen will get her ass handed to her now!"
Yikes, I better flee right about now.
I turn around, only to stop when I notice Owen with his newly found mate around his arm. They are smiling at each other, and I guess... I guess I'm more hurt than I let on.
I hear the woman laugh, and suddenly I'm fighting tears.
This is so humiliating...
I'm no longer ready to run. But I also don't want to keep standing here and let Owen see me. Meeting his eyes will hurt me more than it will hurt him. He left me so quickly...
Didn't I matter to him?
He could at least have said sorry...
A sad sigh leaves my lips, and Avery curiously glances at me. "You know my beta, Owen?"
There is no use in lying. Avery can read my mind, so I answer him with my eyes on the couple. "I dated Owen for a few months, and now, at the supermarket, He found his mate. When he saw her, he forgot I existed and jumped at her... He didn't even say sorry. Typical, right?"
I hand Avery a trembling smile, and despite being angry with me, the evil look on his face fades. It gets replaced by a silent thoughtfulness.
Suddenly, Avery turns around to signal the other werewolves to back off, and before I know it, my feet are no longer on the ground. I'm caught by his strong arms and lifted into the air.
"Wrap your legs around me," Avery orders.
I stare at him but do as I'm told while blushing. My shyness earns me an amused smirk from the alpha. Avery definitely knows the effect he has on ladies.
"It must be hard seeing your boyfriend with someone new. Let's make him squirm and believe you've moved on to bigger fishes in the sea. Since he didn't even say sorry, he deserves this," Avery says while keeping his eyes on mine. "Tell me, have you ever been kissed by an alpha before?"
Kissed by an alpha?
Is that what he is planning on doing?!
My heartbeat kicks up a notch, and it gets harder to breathe. I shake my head in a "No," and Avery's smirk grows.
His mammoth hand is on my back, and his minty breath is on my face as he inches closer. Too close. My pulse races, and I stare into his ice-cold eyes, which seem to have thawed a little.
"This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Avery coaxes with his eyes roaming over mine. "Enjoy."
Without asking for permission, he dips down his head and kisses me in front of Owen like a man deprived of air.
At first, I push at his muscular chest. It doesn't work. Especially not when Avery adds tongue to make me melt in his arms. This is not a peck on the lips, but a kiss meant to leave me breathless.
Embers spark to life.
Butterflies swarm in my chest.
Avery controls me with his tongue. If this is kissing, I don't know what I've been doing my entire life. This is a life-changing experience. Mind-blowing. Hot. Delicious.
Tiny goosebumps are spreading over my skin, and I feel actual sparks come to life between us.
I can barely stand when Avery slips me down on the ground.
We stare at each other for a long while, and a prickling sensation flutters over my neck—just like it did when he kissed me. I'm breathless and confused.
What do those sparks mean?
Eventually, Avery clears his throat. "I'm not a kind guy, but... I've also lost someone to the mate-bond, so I understand your pain," he says and stalks away. "Take care of yourself, tiny girl..."
Despite the blush reddening my face, I dare to raise my voice and shout after the tall alpha. "Y-your pack members said my name, but you don't even remember it?"
Avery doesn't turn around to face me. "Why should I bother? I'm sure tiny girl will do for now," he snorts. "Seriously. Who is dumb enough to hug their alpha without their permission? The weak omega of my pack—that's who."
Oh wow, he is rude.
Dumbfounded, I watch Avery pay for an energy drink and leave the supermarket behind.
Even after he leaves, I'm dazed and stand rooted to the spot. Avery hasn't picked his mate yet, and an alpha always makes their decision at their claiming ball.
Therefore, I must have imagined those sparks earlier, right?