Omega Challenge Read Now

Note: These chapters are fresh out of Quinn's brain, unbetaed and unproofread.  This means there are proofreading errors in the text. I have used this version for the website as a security measure in case someone downloads the book and tries to publish it off as their own. When it is live, the fully edited proofed version on Kindle, Nook, & iBooks,  Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords & direct from me via Gumroad. ENJOY! 

Chapter 5 - Noah (Omegaverse Romance Fiction)

After the last alpha had shed blood on the rock, Noah was expected to mingle with the wolves of the other packs. This sort of glad-handing always made Noah uncomfortable, even when he wasn’t expected to find a mate. Worse, Luther hadn't come back. Noah spotted him at the edge of the clearing, beneath the tree, sitting with the forsworn alpha.

A hot poker of jealousy passed through Noah, though he had no business or future with either man. Luther had, no doubt, approached the forsworn alpha to warn him from pursuing Noah. Luther protected Noah and kept safe. Noah was grateful for this and frankly relied upon it, and yet, watching the two men together, the way their bodies leaned just so slightly towards each other, made Noah suspect a deeper interest.

Noah shook his head. He probably projecting an emotion onto Arthur that Noah denied himself.

Horace put a hand on Noah’s shoulder, squeezing it a bit too tightly. With a wide smile, he said, “Go on, son, get to know the other young people. Where is that beta of yours? You shouldn’t be going around with strange alphas unattended.”

“I doubt—.”

“Raymond!” Horace shouted across the field. With his free hand, he waved his son over. “Raymond will take you around to meet the other alphas. You stay away from that one with the forsworn eye, ya’ hear. Danger ain’ as exciting as it seems to the young.”

Why did everyone simply assume that Noah had no good sense or ability to watch after his own interests? Even Luther, who he loved, felt the need to warn Arthur off. And now they sat, practically touching, and Luther cocking his head at the alpha like he did when he was contemplating whether to tease Noah’s nipples with his teeth or suck on his cock.

Noah could not afford to let thoughts of Luther distract him. He and Luther were finished. Noah needed to find a mate by the end of the Cluiche. Having Raymond lead him around, subtly claiming Noah as his own, would not help in this goal. He pulled himself from Horace’s grip. “I would like to visit with the omegas first, uncle.”

“Hmmph.”

“Father,” Raymond jogged over.

“Show Noah around,” Horace ordered. “He wants to meet your competition.”

“Certainly.” Raymond ran his tongue between his lips.

Noah shivered. He hated the way Raymond looked at him, as though he was a pig on a spit, dripping with fat, begging to be devoured down to his bones. “I could just visit with the omegas,” Noah suggested.

“Horace,” one of the other Alpha leaders called out. “When you are done with the youngsters…”

“I’m coming, Melvin,” Horace said. He waved Raymond and Noah off. “Go, have a good time.”

Noah resented being dismissed like this. Omegas and alphas were supposed to be equals, and technically, Horace was an advisor to Noah, though in fact he was seen as the pack leader because Noah was an omega who needed ‘protecting.’ If he had been born an alpha, he would not be viewed as too young or fragile to handle the serious work of pack leadership.

At the same time, beyond his sight, which was erratic at best, what did Noah have to offer? Horace was older, wiser, and understood the politics of how packs interacted.

“This way, Omega,” Raymond said. His sudden formality was surprising and strange. “May I take your arm?”

“I can walk on my own.” Noah held his hands stiff and tight at his sides.

“Of course, Omega,” Raymond responded and smiled. His scent was sharp with desire, and something darker. Anger? Or maybe Noah was simply projecting his own fears.

As they walked, they passed a patchwork of blankets that some of the Omega leaders of the other packs had arranged. By rights, Noah should have joined them, but he was still unmated, which put him in a liminal place. Not quite a leader, not quite a child either.

At the edge of one of the blankets was Horace's mate, Ernest. He sat like a discarded puppet, his legs askew, and his gaze blank as he stared, lips parted in a vague smile at something only he could see. Noah shivered.

Ernest's sight was too strong, and it had eaten him alive inside.

Noah had been a child when Horace had claimed Ernest as his mate. Even then, Ernest’s sight had been eerie. He spoke to spirits as though they were alive, and sometimes he would scratch his skin raw complaining that he was being bitten by flies.

Still, Horace had loved him. Claimed him, the omega all others were too afraid to touch. They'd had one child together, Raymond, before Ernest’s visions grew too strong and Horace had taken him away for treatment.

Now, Ernest was quiet and blank. Even as a wolf, which he could shift to only during the full moon, he acted on only dull instinct.

Ernest terrified Noah. As Noah's gaze met Ernest's unfocused one, a vision flashed in Noah’s mind.

His wrists were tied to a chair with leather straps. He tried to turn his head, but it was held in place by more straps. They’d drugged him, and he floated, knowing he needed to flee but not caring enough to try. A thin, metal spike moved slowly towards his left eye. He bit down, trying to squeeze his eye shut, but it was stuck in place too. The spike’s metal tip glinted as it came closer and closer. He reached for his wolf, but it was far away, sleeping, as they jammed the spike into his eye—

Noah squeezed his eyes shut. Not now. He was freezing. His teeth chattered, and his stomach churned. He was going to throw up, right here.

Raymond grabbed his arm as he swayed. “Noah? Was it a vision?”

Noah shook his head and just focused on breathing. In and out. In and out. His sight was strong, yes, but it was also unpredictable. He had seen his parents crushed in a rockslide, only to have that vision be a mirage. And other times too, his sight had been false.

Whether true or false though, his sight terrified him. Would he end up like Ernest, hollowed out by the visions, left hugging his knees and staring endlessly at nothing?

“Are you sure?” Raymond said, brushing his fingers along the fabric of the back of Noah’s shirt. “We can sit here for a time. You can put your head in my lap if that is what you need.”

Acid churned in his belly, and Noah tasted it on the back of his throat. He forced another breath and squared her shoulders. Raymond never crossed the line, and even at his worst, he was polite. Still, Noah would rather rest his head in a pile of dung. The space behind Noah’s left eye throbbed. Stress? A residue of the vision he’d felt earlier? Best to ignore it. He had three days to find a mate. Noah said, “I want to meet the others.”

“As you wish, Omega,” Raymond said.

“Do not call me that,” Noah snapped.

“I only wished to be polite. I can call you by your given name if you would allow me. Noah.” His eyes were wide, and his voice was soft like a rabbit’s pelt. It made him no less a predator. And Noah was no less prey. But even as Noah understood the trap Raymond had so expertly laid for him, the teeth of it still pressed into his flesh, and he could not escape without bleeding.

To punctuate his point, Raymond added, “You can call me Raymond, or Ray, if you wish.”

“Raymond,” Noah said.

Raymond smiled. It was a wolf's smile, all teeth, and confidence. A part of Noah was drawn to that. That scared him almost as much is Ernest's blank gaze.

Raymond fell into step with Noah as they approached a group of young, unmated alphas. Three of them looked up, and Noah smelled their interest. He was a fool to have approached the group of alphas on his own, was only Raymond. If he would've been smart, he would have met with some of the other Omega's and approached with them as a group. Instead, he had allowed his own desperation and fear to push him into this ill-advised position.

“Alex, Marcus, have you had the chance to meet Noah yet? He is the Omega of our pack, and when I win this thing, I will ask him to receive the honor of my bite.”

Noah burned with rage. It flushed his cheeks, neck, and chest. “Raymond has made his wishes well known,” he said. “But in the general sense, he is correct. I am here to choose a mate. If we find it mutually agreeable.”

“If we find it mutually agreeable,” Raymond repeated, his voice deepening as he said, “we.”

Before Raymond could ruin things any further, Noah stepped towards Marcus. Or who he assumed was Marcus. He held out his hand, “Noah.”

The other alpha took it and confirmed Noah’s guess. Marcus’s palms were wide and dry, and his grip was firm without crushing. His nostrils flared as he breathed in Noah's scent. Noah inhaled as well. Marcus’s scent was a mix of licorice and pine. Pleasant. He was handsome as well, in a bland way, square chain, wide shoulders tapering to muscular hips above thick, powerful legs. His hair was short with a hint of wave at the ends, and his eyes were a brilliant green. Noah decided he liked the alpha’s face.

There was no spark, nothing like he had felt with Arthur, and it was better that way. Noah wanted a comfortable, acceptable mate. He smiled, and the alpha grinned back.

Noah mingled with the others. Alex’s scent was too sharp, and he asked more questions about the Hearts Blood Pack, and the responsibilities of an alpha leader than anything about Noah's own interests. Noah asked about the contest, and a couple of the other alphas began to speak enthusiastically about the feats of strength and, provided they were in the top twelve participants, the following day's hunt.

Alex, Raymond, and Arthur were by far the tallest and most muscular of the day’s challengers. And yet, Noah's reactions to each of them were so wildly different. Alex annoyed him. Raymond scared him. And Arthur… Arthur was too attractive to be safe.

Noah leaned closer to Marcus, allowing his fingers to brush the alpha’s forearm as he pulled from his pocket a partially finished carving he had been working on before they had come for the Cluiche.

Marcus nodded appreciatively. “Precious,” he said. Is that a cub of your pack?”

The word ‘precious’ irritated Noah, not because the cub was not cute, but because he had been working to capture Luisa’s determination as she prepared to pounce.

Raymond, who stood cattycorner to them both, held out his hand, “May I see? You are always working on these projects. It is a fine activity, and the cubs certainly appreciate your trinkets.”

Raymond stood close enough that Noah could almost feel the heat of his body were their shoulders almost touched. Trinkets. Luther appreciated Noah's talent and would remark on the fine details of his work. Of course, neither alpha was Luther, or could they be expected to act in the same way. They were merely looking for an omega, and the chance to lead a pack of their own.

Still, Marcus was preferable.

Marcus handed the half-carved cub to Raymond, who ran his fingers over the wood almost possessively.

“I have not worked on it since we left the Hearts Blood,” Noah said.

“You should,” Marcus put his hand on Noah's elbow.

It was a brief touch, and Noah wished he found it more exciting. But he smiled anyway, looking up through his lashes at the alpha in a way the other omegas had said was seductive. He needed all of the help he could get. “I will,” Noah promised.

“I would like to see it when you have finished,” Raymond said, holding out the tiny piece of partially carved wood to Noah. Noah took it, trying to grab it up between his fingers, but Raymond was quicker. He pressed the figurine into Noah's hand. The heat of his touch lingered. Noah saw the deep forest in twilight. He felt a two-way tongue against his ear as another hand squeezed his throat.

Noah pulled away, shoving the figure into his pocket. His sight was betraying him again, mixing the past in with the present and making him doubt everything. Noah had never liked Raymond, but Raymond had always been proper. He had not taken liberties.

A heavy drumbeat echoed across the clearing from beside the bloodstained rock. Moonrise had begun and with it the Cluiche.

“Good luck,” Noah said, leaning a little closer to Marcus.

Marcus said, “Luck is a crutch for those who lack the strength to forge their own path.”

Raymond said, “I would be grateful for a good luck wish from a beautiful and talented omega.”

Raymond waited expectantly.

“Perhaps you are right,” Noah said, even as the overlapping alpha sense and unceasing posturing had begun to make his head pound. “Luck is unnecessary, for alphas as strong as yourselves. I will simply wish you all the best.”

The alphas have been positioned close to where the first bout of the Cluiche would be held. Noah smelled and recognized Arthur’s scent. At first, he thought he imagined it. None of the other alphas had reacted. But as Noah turned his head towards where the scent was guiding him, he saw the forsworn alpha.

Arthur was much closer than he should have been able to get without the others noticing. His visible eye narrowed as their gazes met. Noah's own desire rose. The mix of fury and possessiveness in Arthur's scent should have warned him off. Forsworn or not, Noah wanted to let his instinct take over. He wanted to run to the Alpha and rub his cheek against the other man's jaw. He wanted to feel the fur of Arthur’s beard on his face, to taste Arthur, to trace the scar down his neck to his back, and to cover himself in the alpha’s scent.

Noah took a step back. “

Raymond, following Noah’s gaze, said, “Do not concern yourself with him. The forsworn are deceptive. But you have nothing to fear. I will protect you,” Raymond tried to take Noah's hand. Noah avoided him. The only person he needed protecting from was himself. “I will watch with the omegas,” he said and fled.

QMDIRECT

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