First Chapter Sneak Peek: Omega in the Shadows (Lost Wolves Book One)

The release date for Omega in the Shadows is sneaking up on us! I hope you guys like this new series, since I've had a blast writing it. Crazy world building and ambiguously moral characters -- my favorite two things besides chocolate.

The book will be out April 29. Mark your calendars!! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf!

Here's a look at the first chapter. Nothing says romance like a stoic alpha and a deadly omega assassin, right?

If you want to read the second chapter, I'll send it to my mailing list on release day. Join here to read it first!

Omega in the Shadows
Lost Wolves Book One

Chapter One

Elijah Kane sounded like an assassin’s name.
Rowan Gregor frowned. He didn’t like the idea of hunting his own kind. Yue, the moon goddess, wouldn’t approve. But Rowan lost faith in her a long time ago. Even if she tugged at the alpha roaring inside him, begging him to shift and howl at her beauty, he wouldn’t give in.
She let him down when he needed her most.
Never again.
“In position,” Brooks, the wolf’s human partner, grumbled over the Bluetooth headset lodged in Rowan’s ear.
“Copy,” he muttered back, hoping the inconspicuous microphone on his shirt collar caught the words. The reception in Český Krumlov was spotty at best, even with the signal booster close by.
The air chilled his skin. It was unseasonably cool for October with a thick sheet of clouds blocking the sun.
The perfect day to kill an assassin.
He wanted to zip up his jacket, but he needed easy access to the gun in his holster. All of his senses had to be sharp – ready to sense Kane.
Rowan leaned against the ancient stone church in the middle of the square and gripped the newspaper. He ran Kane’s suspected crimes through his head. How the man thought. What he might do. Only it was a whole lot of ‘if’ and ‘maybe.’ They didn’t know enough about the infamous assassin to create an in-depth psychological profile. Hell, they didn’t even know if he was real, or a mixture of different men smashed together into one myth.
Twenty known kills – several of them people the CIA didn’t want dead. Yet. That’s why Rowan and Brooks were after Kane in the first place. To take him out before he messed things up for the agency’s plans.
Then there was the other thing – no one knew what Kane looked like. He slipped in and out of countries as if he moved through the shadows and not in the sunlight.
Not to mention some of the kills weren’t what most people called normal.
Humans couldn’t rip a man’s heart from his chest – but a wolf could.
That’s how Colonel Greer, Rowan’s boss, knew what they were dealing with, and why he sent Rowan. The alpha was the only wolf in their unit, after all.
The streets were crowded at this time of day. People walked to work under the slate gray sky. A few held umbrellas tucked under their arms, and everyone wore clean, simple clothes. Typical European style.
The cobblestone streets invited one to trip, so he’d have to watch out for that. Falling on his face wasn’t the way to start a mission, and the oxfords he wore to blend in didn’t exactly serve as running shoes.  
Rowan flipped a page in the newspaper, his eyes trained on the crowd.
“Got anything?” Brooks asked and slurped his coffee. Impatient as always.
“Not yet. I’ll let you know when I do.” If I do, Rowan amended in his mind. No saying the tip was good. Maybe Kane wasn’t going to march into a crowd and take out a dirty politician in the middle of the day. Then again, he might.
One could never tell. He was too unpredictable. Maybe too good.
Or Kane didn’t even exist, Rowan reminded himself and scowled. It wouldn’t give him away – everyone in Eastern Europe scowled.
And who wouldn’t? Europe’s Old One territory wasn’t well integrated with its human territory. That meant human cities were squished into all the areas they could fit. Meanwhile, wolves and other shifters roamed free on their own land – land that didn’t support modern technology due to the presence of the Old Ones, ancient shifters who supported the flow of magic. Unlike America, wolves and other shifters weren’t welcomed in the human territory throughout most of Europe. Centuries-old wars saw to that – war and hunters.
Shifters were snuffed out and killed on sight, giving everyone another reason to be wary and on guard.
Not that America was perfect, far from it. But at least a wolf could wander into human territory without getting his head chopped off if someone found out his secret. Rowan grimaced. That didn’t mean humans cared about shifters, not really. His past attested to that. Yet here he was. Hiding in an old Czech city and working as an attack dog for a human organization.
This was a choice he made a long time ago. Don’t get involved with other shifters, especially wolves. Getting close to other wolves meant he’d have to deal with losing them, and Rowan wasn’t going to lose anything he cared about. Ever again.
Living as a human was the only way to accomplish that.
He caught sight of the mark across the street. Miroslav Tesar. The man the CIA thought Kane was hired to kill.
Rowan gritted his teeth. Tesar wasn’t an innocent. Not by a long shot. He took bribes. Visited countless whorehouses filled with girls there against their will. And he had ties to the warlords farther east. The ones that ran the borderlands between human and Old One territory. No one else wanted to live that close to monsters.
But that didn’t mean they could let an assassin finish him off, right?
Not when it went against orders.
Tesar strolled down the other side of the street. Like most of the Czech Republic, this town’s history stretched back over a thousand years. The architecture, countless alleys and side streets, reflected this history and made tracking a skilled assassin that much more difficult.
Too many places for the bastard to hide.
The church bell rang across the square. Rowan folded the newspaper and fell into step behind Tesar.
“Target in sight,” he said. “Headed in your direction.”
Brooks huffed on the other end of the line. No doubt antsy for action after being holed up in town for the last week. Rowan didn’t blame him. The alpha clawed at his insides, urging him to shift and charge through the crowd. His old habits weren’t controlling it as well as they used to. No matter how many women he took to bed, they couldn’t calm the beast.
Hopefully a good old-fashioned hunt would do the trick.
Rowan couldn’t remember the last time they didn’t know what they were up against. Maybe never. It sent a little jolt of excitement through his veins. The alpha simmered inside, raising its mighty head and ready to howl and rip.
To kill.
Rowan shoved it down. He needed to focus on the mission. His training. Not the wolf bristling just under the surface, willing him to surrender his control to the animal.
Two bodyguards flanked Tesar. The politician smiled at pretty girls on the street, his head held high. The bastard knew he was rich and untouchable.
Rowan stamped down the urge to punch the asshole and kept his eye on the crowd. Anyone unfamiliar. Anyone dangerous. Scratch that. No one ever spotted Kane because he blended in. Either he wore disguises, or he didn’t stand out.
“Two more blocks,” Rowan said and crossed the street. His shoes slapped against the cobblestones. The weight of the gun at his side was comforting, but only if he knew where to shoot.
“See him,” Brooks said.
“Kane?” Rowan muttered, looking around casually.
“No. The mark. I’ll lead.”
Rowan sighed. “Copy.”
If Brooks spotted Kane first he’d probably do something stupid, like open fire without a word. They needed to make sure the person they brought down was the mysterious assassin – or that he could lead them to the man.
Kane was causing too many problems for the agency to sit back and let him be.
Brooks slipped out of his seat at the café and stepped in front of Tesar by several paces. “Anything?”
If Rowan’s superior senses couldn’t find Kane, no way Brooks would. “No visual that I’m aware of.”
“I’m tired of this bullshit,” Brooks said. “If we don’t know what Kane looks like, how will we find him before he shoots Tesar?”
Because I can smell a fellow wolf, Rowan thought, but he didn’t say that. Like most humans, Brooks preferred not to think about Rowan’s dual nature. He had no idea what shifter senses were like – how powerful they could be.
The crowd dissipated at the end of the road. They neared Tesar’s office with every step. If Kane struck inside they wouldn’t be able to stop him in time. It’s not like Tesar knew the CIA kept an eye on him, and Colonel Greer wanted to keep it that way.
He gritted his teeth and studied every face he passed. A few blonds and redheads, but everyone else was plain. Brown hair. Light eyes. Dull and ordinary. Kane probably slunk among them without a care in the world.
Then a shock of stylish black hair caught his attention. The man wasn’t tall, just under average height and slender. He wore an expensive suit, perfectly fitted, and the way he held himself told Rowan he knew he was attractive. The man’s eyes were the most striking thing about him. The gray blue of the sky right before a thunderstorm. The color clashed with his dark hair.
Those eyes caught Rowan’s and held.
The man smirked, and Rowan caught the scent on the wind. Heavy with musk and tantalizingly sweet. A jolt of recognition hit him in the belly.
A wolf.
Rowan pushed his way through the crowd and bit his tongue. If he warned Brooks about Kane, the assassin might hear him. Wolf senses were sharper than those of normal humans, even in a crowd like this. Rowan had to handle this guy on his own.
Kane didn’t quicken his pace, but Rowan saw the man slip a hand into his suit jacket. A gun. He was going to slip past the bodyguards and shoot Tesar at pointblank range. Even in a crowded street the confusion that followed would allow him to slip into the shadows like he always did.
Not if Rowan got to him first!
“Hey,” he called, trying to get Tesar’s attention.
“You see him?” Brooks asked and spun around.
Rowan didn’t answer. He broke into a run, but a bodyguard turned and shoved him back.
Wrong guy, asshole, Rowan thought and swung his fist into the brute’s gut. The man’s eyes widened, and he doubled over in surprise. He stood as tall as Rowan, a towering six foot three, but wolf strength bested human strength every time.
“Who is it?” Brooks hissed.
The other bodyguard turned at that moment, and Kane stepped in close.
Rowan shoved forward, but the quick whish of a silenced gun rang through his ears.
Right to the chest.
Tesar crumpled to the ground. His heart stopped.
The crowd erupted into screams as the bodyguards turned their attention to the man they should’ve been protecting.
Rowan caught a glimpse of Kane disappearing into a side street and ran after him. They may never catch him again if they lost him now.
“Gregor? Dammit!” Brooks cried.
Rowan ignored his partner as he moved through the bustle of bodies.
Kane slipped through the crowd like water. His pace quickened, but he didn’t run. Then he slid into an alley and Rowan pulled out his gun, took a deep breath, and rounded the corner.
He sighed and stepped forward slowly.
If he was Kane, he’d focus on escaping. But Kane obviously didn’t want people to know what he looked like. That meant he’d try to kill Rowan.
He scowled at the thought and listened.
Footsteps pattered in the distance, and Brooks’ breathing huffed in his ear. Part of him wanted to rip out the headset and move on his own, but that was breaking all kinds of protocol and putting his partner in danger.
“Got him,” Brooks grumbled over the headset, and Rowan froze.
“Do you now?” someone asked on Brooks’ end. His voice was smooth and rich, unconcerned. How the hell could he sound like that when he had two unknown assailants on his ass?
Kane knew he was good. Egotistical asshole.
“Brooks,” Rowan whispered.
A gun cocked. “I’m not arresting you,” Brooks said.
“Of course not. You’re going to try and kill me. Try being the operative word. Well, go for it,” the man said.
The hairs rose on the back of Rowan’s neck. He had to get to Brooks before his partner did anything stupid!
“You Elijah Kane?” Brooks demanded. He probably took Kane for granted since he wasn’t large or powerful looking. It’d be the last mistake he ever made.
Rowan crept down the alley. Kane and Brooks couldn’t have gotten far.
“The one and only. And you’re here all alone. Doesn't that scare you?” Kane asked and a footstep clacked.
Brooks snorted. Typical response.
A siren wailed on the main street. Shit. They had to get this done before Czech authorities caught them. Not only did the CIA need to keep this mission a secret, but Rowan also wasn’t too keen on the local authorities finding out his real identity. His shifter identity.
If the Czechs caught him, they’d turn him over to hunters. His blood froze at the thought.
Silver bullets. Wolf’s bane. Death.
That’s what hunters did to wolves.
Then a shot rang through the air and the headset buzzed with static.
Rowan ran toward the sound.
He slipped around one corner, down another alley and stopped dead.
Brooks slumped on the cobblestones. The back of his skull decorated the wall with brains and blood. His gun sat limp in his hand.
Kane stood over him, but he was looking at Rowan, eyes sharp and bright. “Let me guess, CIA? If it was just you I’d have thought M-16, but he made it painfully clear how American he was.”
Rowan almost bristled at the insinuation. He was American too, but they stationed him in Eastern Europe because he blended in with the people, even with his shock of auburn hair. Shifters didn’t look any different from normal humans, besides the small things, like slightly sharper canines.
Kane’s gun hung at his side, like an afterthought, but Rowan didn’t push his luck. Wolf reflexes were superior to human reflexes. Everything about Kane was superior to a human.
“You’re smarter than your partner, but I’d expect that from a wolf,” Kane said and smirked. “An alpha.”
“And you’re an omega,” Rowan said carefully.
Kane sneered. “Obviously. I’m too small to be anything else. Isn’t it funny how we stick to meaningless ranks even when we don’t have a pack to enforce them?”
Rowan shrugged. He wasn’t going to get into a discussion about wolf politics with the most elusive assassin in Europe, maybe the world. Anything he said might piss Kane off enough to shoot him. If only he could get the gun away, he’d be able to overpower Kane with brute strength.
Alpha beat omega every time. Except this omega wasn’t normal.
“You want to kill me, don’t you?” Kane asked and sighed.
Rowan pointed his gun at the assassin and nodded. “You know I have to. You killed my partner.”
Kane rolled his eyes. “You didn’t care about him. An idiot who charges in like that was going to get killed sooner or later. I hope you’re better than that.”
This was some kind of game. A man as dangerous and as intelligent as Elijah Kane was a master of lies and intrigue. Best to keep him talking while Rowan could. “I am an alpha.”
“Than catch me,” Kane said and dodged around the corner.
“Fuck!” Rowan grumbled and ran after him.
The town was a maze of side streets and rivers, all surrounded by lush farmland and forest. The closest Old One territory started over a hundred miles off, and he doubted that’s where Kane would head. A lone omega would fare as well in strange Old One territory as he would in human territory. Not well at all. Even if a fellow wolf pack lived there, it didn’t mean they were friendly. They’d just as soon slaughter a strange shifter as a hunter.
Rowan kept Kane’s trail for a good twenty minutes. He slid through alleys and over one of the many bridges in the city, dogging Kane’s steps. Then the damn assassin slipped into a crowd, and Rowan lost Kane’s scent. Too many other smells filled the air, and that intriguing musk dissipated.
Shit. He shouldn’t find the scent of an assassin omega intriguing in the least, Rowan told himself as he went back to Brooks’ body.
Well, he found Elijah Kane but lost his impulsive partner.
He’d have to report this – and Colonel Greer would not be happy with the results.
Even worse, a strange sensation tugged at him. The alpha stirred, scratched at the confines of its cage. Rowan’s chest tightened, like something wound itself around it.
Through it.  

He pushed the feeling – all feelings – aside and got to work.


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