Chapter One Sneak Peek: Omega in the Light (Lost Wolves Book Two)

The betas and editor approved! And the book is almost ready. Some minor edits here and there, and it'll be done. Boo-fucking-yah!

It'll be out August 4th!

Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm going to work on next. I have an idea for the next Haven City series book. Jin and his fiery mate (seriously hot guys!). It's on fire. Scorching! Okay, I'll stop. But it sounds really fun -- and I like having fun when I write. It makes everything so much easier. But then I have the next Lost Wolves book too.

Decisions decisions!

I might do Haven City. Maybe. I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

One more little note. I decided to name the chapters in this book. There's a reason, and it has to do with my complete obsession love of Baccano! It's a great anime with mobsters and ultra violence and immortals and sexy assassins. Crazy fun. And it has awesome titles for each episode. So I was like: "I can do that with my books!" Because it sort of suited this book. The last Lost Wolves book too. I might go back and add chapter titles to that. If I do, I'll post them here in case anyone cares.

Finally! Here it is. A look at the first chapter. Zev meets Simeon. How romantic.

Chapter One:

The Alpha Invites his Assassin to Dinner

Zev Oren wanted three things: a drink, a cigarette and a blowjob.
Since a wolf currently shadowed him, it looked like he was out of luck for at least one of them.
It kept far enough away that Zev couldn’t see the bastard, but close enough that he knew, instinctively, the other shifter was there. No telling who it was, but a friendly shifter would say hello. Approach him with a smile.
At least, that’s what Zev figured.
Someone who wanted to harm him should’ve set off his alpha alarm bells. But this wolf didn’t do that either. Instead, the alpha paced and sniffed and whined, as if it wanted to be let out to play.
Not that he could trust those instincts now. Or himself.
His decisions were the worst.
Paleo Faliro sparkled in the early evening, fresh with spring rain. Typical for this part of Greece. He kept a casual pace, strolling like all the other tourists on the streets. However, they walked in groups while he wandered alone.
His fingers itched for something to do, and he shoved down the urge to turn and look for his stalker. He wouldn’t find the wolf in the crowd, or he’d have seen it sooner.
Not it.
The wolf following him was a male – Zev caught the unmistakable musk in the breeze. It damn well bordered on enticing. The alpha responded to it, scratched at the edges of Zev’s mind. Reminded him of his truth, the thing he shoved aside and buried to appease his pack – his father.
Look what that got him.
 He sighed and stopped at one of the many restaurants lining the street. Zev grinned at the hostess on duty, lopsided and just charming enough that the woman would offer him a seat. He didn’t plan on taking it, but he needed food and a smoke.
He slipped a cigarette out of his pack of Lucky Strikes and lit it.
“Dinner, sir?” the hostess asked and offered him a look at the menu on display. She was petite, human, and wore a shade too much makeup. “Plenty of seats inside and out.”
No doubt. Paleo Faliro wasn’t overcrowded in the off season. This early in the year, the weather was too brisk to be completely comfortable. Even if the Greek Riviera was just as beautiful, if a bit grayer, than normal.
Zev tightened his grip on the plastic bag in his fingers. “Not tonight, sweetheart. But I would like something to go. Long day sightseeing. What would you recommend?”
Pro tip for dining in Greece. If he took the food to go it was nearly half the cost. Zev wasn’t a cheapskate, but money was tight. Might as well save when he could.
The hostess knitted her brows and pointed out a few things on the menu, seasonal favorites, she said.
He sucked on the cigarette and nodded. “Sure. I’ll take all of it. I might have a guest tonight if I’m lucky,” he said with a wink. Zev pitched his voice so the stalker heard him. Shifter hearing and all that jazz. No matter how far away that bastard was, he’d pick up the sound of Zev’s voice.
She blushed and giggled before she relayed the order to one of the waiters. “Please, come sit inside. It’s chilly out here.”
The air crept up his sleeves and down the collar of his light jacket – a hoodie he picked up in some tourist shop in the UK a few months before. It served him well so far. Not as heavy as fatigues and not as stuck up as a blazer.
If he moved inside, the wolf would lose his line of sight. Zev didn’t want to put his stalker off like that.
He shrugged. “I like it out here.”
Plus, if Zev ate in public the damn wolf watched from the shadows, just like it’d done for the last week. Or it’d go back to the little apartment Zev rented and root through his things.
He first noticed it last Wednesday. When he got back to the apartment everything was set perfectly where he left it, down to the pair of jockeys draped over the kitchen chair. But the scent of a wolf, slight and almost imperceptible, tinged the air.
The only thing out of place was the soap in the bathroom. The bar was set vertically next to the sink and left that way on purpose.
His stalker was some kind of freak.
Or crazy.
Or the asshole was toying with him on purpose.
Either he was there to kill Zev (most likely) or offer him a job. At the moment, Zev needed the latter and assumed the former. He hadn’t had a job in a month, and Europe wasn’t cheap. Not to mention his pack and family needed him.
Well, not needed, but he was supposed to return to them.
Fix his character flaws (the ouzo in the bag wouldn’t help with that) and restore the honor he shattered when he made the worst decision of his life.
And that was saying something.
But who wanted him dead? Damn. The list was a long one, and the exercise of figuring it out bored him within the first five minutes.
It was easier to figure out who didn’t want him dead, Zev thought and smiled at his own joke. Only it wasn’t so much a joke as a reflection of reality.
Now he really wanted that drink.
He leaned against the building, crossing his feet at the ankles, and watched the budget travelers scurry down the street. His jeans bunched around his boots. If he didn’t have the plait of warm brown hair falling down his back, and the Sig P220 tucked into the waistband of his jeans, he’d look like any other tourist.
A sixteenth century Byzantine church stood in the center of the courtyard, complete with rounded roof, stone walls and candles burning brightly on the inside. It seemed like there was another church just like it every few blocks, so much so that Zev lost his way in the small port town more often than not.
Or maybe it was the Old One territory several miles up the road that threw him off. He sensed the magic reaching through the earth under his feet – tugging him toward the place his kind called home.
These borderlands stretched next to prime real estate, the stunning Greek Riviera. The locals and tourists probably wished they could cross into it and gawk at the ancient wonders stored within Athens. But it was shifter territory – a land without cars, electricity and the other conveniences of modern life in human territory. Not to mention a shitload of dangerous non-humans who could just as soon snap someone’s neck as look at them.
Although that wasn’t fair. Athens was actually ruled by a number of level headed shifter packs, wolves among them. Most humans didn’t know that, however, which is what kept the city safe.
His cigarette neared the filter, and Zev took one last drag before he put it out.
He felt the wolf’s eyes on him. They watched from the darkness, and Zev threw a careless smile in that direction. He almost waved too, but the hostess returned with his food before he got the chance.
Zev paid, carefully counting out his Euros, and finished the walk to his apartment.
Once he shook off this wolf he’d have to find work again. Cold crept up his bones at the thought.
The last job hadn’t gone well. Sure, he delivered the merchandise without a problem. But there was an incident with the payment. A fight and an unfortunate misunderstanding which took Zev a week (and more bottles of gin than he wanted to admit) to forget about it.
Now he didn’t remember much of that week either.
Before that, a shadowy client and a group of hunters (who had no idea Zev was a wolf), hired him to break into a Serbian prison and free a man held there. To say the least, that job ended even worse. The man died, as did the hunters, and Zev was certain the client wasn’t exactly thrilled with him. The bastard probably knew he was a wolf by now too.
And Zev had no one to blame but himself.
He’d burned too many bridges in Israel to go back until he regained his honor – the right to rule his pack and return to his family. Not after the last time. What he did.
Innocent people died. The alpha, already tangled up in lies, had no fucking clue how to react.
 That meant he’d have to try the borderlands in Eastern Europe.
Filled with misery, pain and death.
His three least favorite things.
The rain started again as he climbed the single flight of stairs. He fished the key from his pocket. His hands shook as he opened the door and slipped inside.
Darkness greeted him.
The air was stuffy and the stalker’s scent brushed his nose.
The alpha stirred.
Zev sighed and flicked on the kitchen light. He didn’t bother locking the door. If this wolf could get in when he wasn’t home, the bastard could sure as hell do the same thing when he was there.
“I hope you didn’t go through my underwear again. A man has a right to his privacy, you know,” he said, wandering into the kitchen. His voice echoed through the apartment, hollow and meaningless.
The fluorescent light stung his eyes. For once, he wouldn’t mind the soft glow of candles or oil lamps. It reminded him of home. Of lemon trees in the yard and the life his father placed before him – family, job and pack leader. No matter what Zev wanted for himself.
Then his father died, and Zev smashed it all to bits with a hammer. Now he was left with the pieces and the burden to put them back together. That’s what it felt like anyway.
Plates seemed like too much of a hassle, so Zev grabbed a fork, knife and glass. Drinking straight out of the bottle looked too unrefined.
Plus, he had company.
The ouzo came first – a full glass – then he lit another cigarette, took a long burning drag, and waited.
His hands still shook.
A drink then.
The ouzo was cheap as shit (the Greek answer to hard liquor), and scorched all the way down his esophagus. The warmth spread through his belly and bones. A few more glasses and he wouldn’t have to think about the last job.
Or the one before that.
The scent of the cigarette smelled too much like fire and flesh for his liking, but he finished it regardless.
He also gulped the oversized glass of ouzo and poured another.
The food sat heavily in its containers. The grease leaked through the bottom and turned his stomach.
Why didn’t that stalker bastard confront him and get it over with?
“I hope you don’t kill me in my sleep. Not very sporting. And that’s coming from me. Oh, the number of men I killed in their sleep – fuck. Maybe I’d deserve it like that. What do you think?”
A floorboard creaked.
Zev blinked at the dark outline silhouetted by the bedroom door and grinned. “So. That’s where you like to hide. Come out. Have a drink. Dinner. I got enough for two. I’ll be disappointed if you don’t join me after all this time.”
Another step.
A glint of eyes in the shadows.
Blue eyes.
Zev raised an eyebrow and lit another cigarette. Shit. He’d need a new pack before tomorrow. If he lived long enough. “What’s it been now? A week?”
“Two.” The voice came out of the shadows. Clipped but soft. American.
Zev took another swallow of his ouzo, then flicked open the containers of food. The scent of cooked meat, vegetables and spices filled the air. It did nothing to distract from this strange wolf’s scent, however. Or the sound of his heartbeat. Steady and even, which throbbed with Zev’s own.
The alpha whined. Urged him to give in to the old desire. The one that burdened him since he was twelve and first realized he did not have a crush on Rebeka, like all the other boys his age. He liked Daniel instead.
Zev ignored it. “Two? Bullshit. I only noticed you a week ago. And no one ever gets the drop on me.”
The shadow moved forward, just enough that Zev made out the glint of fangs.
The bastard was smiling!
“You noticed me because I wanted you to notice me.”
That should get him pissing his pants. At least, he assumed a normal man would have that reaction. But Zev wasn’t normal. He laughed instead. “Okay. So you got the drop on me. Good for you. I’ve been out of my element lately. Not my sharpest. Please, sit. Eat. Have a drink. I’m sure you could use it. Trailing me all day has to get boring.”
A shrug.
Another footstep.
At this rate the wolf wouldn’t get into the kitchen until the sun came up.
Zev picked up a skewer. They called it souvlaki in Greece, but it was similar to the ones back home. He ripped a piece of meat off the stick without thinking how much it looked like the burnt out bodies in his nightmares.
That’d just make him lose his appetite again.
He took another long drink. Glass half empty.
The wolf took eight steps this time and sunk into the chair facing Zev. He moved so quickly and quietly it hardly registered he did it at all.
The wolf stared, his face completely impassive.
A knot clogged Zev’s throat, and he swallowed it.
The wolf was small; the size of an omega, but that’s the only thing about him that was omega-like. He didn’t drop his eyes or hunch his shoulders. No. He watched Zev as if the alpha was something mildly interesting on television, and the wolf wondered if he should change the channel.
He was pretty, with dark hair that hung over his forehead and brushed the edges of his ears. Blue eyes – bright and far too sharp for his delicate face. And hell, that’s the only way Zev could think to describe it. If there was a picture in the dictionary next to the word ‘pretty boy’ this wolf would be it.
The only thing that marred him was a scar at the side of his mouth. A jagged line trailed up his chin over his full bottom lip and thin upper lip. Even that looked perfectly placed. It needed to be there.
Zev expected someone dressed in a suit – something professional. Instead, this wolf wore a pair of jeans and a casual button up plaid shirt with a dark jacket thrown over the top.
Zev laughed again and grabbed another glass and a fork. “I’d feel better if you put the gun on the table.”
Then he poured a shot of ouzo and handed over the fork. It didn’t escape him that he was asking for one weapon while giving this wolf another.
To Zev’s surprise, the wolf pulled his gun out of a holster at his side and set it in front of him.
Sig P226. 9mm.
Silver bullets. Their sharp scent stung the air.
That made Zev’s death look even more eminent.
Great. Now he needed an escape plan.
He took another drink first. Time to think. “I don’t suppose you’ll tell me why you’re following me?” he asked, smiling lazily. He leaned back in the chair and crossed his long legs.
“To kill you.”
Well. That was more direct than he expected. Zev sucked his cigarette to the filter and snubbed it out. “And you set your gun on the table. First rule of killing someone. Don’t give up your weapon.”
“I don't need a gun to kill you.”
Those words should’ve sent the familiar dread to Zev’s chest. The constriction that made it impossible to breathe. The guilt that crippled him when he remembered too much.
Instead, a strange jolt of excitement snaked through him, settling in his groin. Like his death wasn’t staring at him right in the eye, but it was some hypothetical thing that might happen. The alpha nudged him to leap toward it. The part of his brain that reminded him what a dumbass the alpha was, how bad its decisions were, held him back.
No doubt this wolf could make death a reality, and that still didn’t chill him like it should.
It definitely should not get him off.
He needed that blowjob more than he thought.
Too bad this wolf probably wouldn’t oblige.
Zev finished his ouzo and ripped the rest of the meat from the skewer. “So. How would you kill me?”
“I have knives.”
That sent a new wave of heat over him. Or maybe it was the alcohol. He pushed the glass and a container of food across the table.
“I don’t like ouzo,” the wolf said and eyed the glass of clear alcohol as if it might leap up and pour itself down his throat.
“Well, someone’s a picky princess.” In normal circumstances, Zev wouldn’t turn his back on someone sent to kill him. Then again, inviting his assassin to dinner wasn’t a normal circumstance in the first place. He glanced at a few of the empty bottles around the sink. No good.
Then he moved to the refrigerator. “Wine or gin? That’s all I have.”
“Is it red?”
“Wine. Please.”
At least his assassin was polite.
Zev pulled out the bottle. Enough left for a glass. He downed the ouzo he poured for the wolf and filled the glass with wine instead. The red clung to the side, and his fingers shook as he pushed it forward.
“Reminds me of blood,” Zev said and let out a slow, shuddering breath.
The wolf nodded absently, eyes focused on the glass of wine. “I hate blood,” he said. He ripped the words in half. It’s the most emotion he’d had in his voice all night.
Zev knew the feeling. “Ex- soldier?”
A sharp shake of the head. Once. Negative. The wolf brought the glass to his lips and took a small sip. He grimaced and took another. He didn’t touch the food.
Since this wolf didn’t like ouzo, Zev obliged himself to drink from the bottle. Might as well. “Can I have a name? Real or code. Just something to call you. I’m Zev, but I guess you already know that.”
A hardly perceptible nod. “Kane.”
Zev froze with the bottle on his lips. He set it on the table with a slight clink. By now, the alcohol shook off any lingering chill, but those words turned his blood to ice.
Kane. He’d been in the mercenary game long enough to know that name.
Elijah Kane.
If Zev wanted to live through the night, he didn’t need another drink. He needed to get out of there before he ended up, quite painfully, dead.
Kane lifted a skewer to his lips and chewed tentatively with his front teeth. He frowned at the food and swallowed, as if it were a dare he didn’t want to lose. He looked nothing like the stories Zev heard of the infamous assassin. Kane was the exact opposite of everything an assassin of any sort should be.
Zev leaned forward and smiled. “That’s adorable. Do you always eat like that?”
Kane shrugged one shoulder. When he finished the skewer, he nudged something inside a container with the fork.
Zev wasn’t sure what it was, but it no longer looked appetizing. “It’s a chore sometimes, isn’t it? Wake up. Prepare food. Eat. Every day is just something checked off the long ‘to do’ list until we die,” Zev said, smiling, and lit another cigarette. If he was going to die tonight, he might as well finish off the pack.
A defeated bell pepper hung from Kane’s fork. He set it down without sniffing it. “Yeah. I usually shift to eat.”
“No one’s stopping you,” Zev said. No doubt Kane’s wolf form was just as startlingly beautiful as his human one.
Zev glanced at the gun, willing it closer. He’d only have one chance to grab it. Lately, he’d gotten used to relying on his fists and superior strength. But projectile weapons were useful.
He should know.
Kane’s gaze met his. “Take it.”
The cigarette hung from Zev’s lips. He bit down on the filter. It had to be some kind of trick. He’d reach for the gun, and Kane would stab his hand.
Or cut it off.
Sever a finger.
No way it’d be this easy.
Then Kane slid the gun around the containers of food, past the half empty bottle of ouzo, and right in front of Zev.
Another knot tied itself in his throat. His mouth dried, and his heart throbbed like the beat of a drum. Next to it, as distinctly as his own, he heard Kane’s heart.
He didn’t hear it; he felt it.
What in Ashina’s glory was going on?
Kane looked at the gun and raised his eyebrows. The gesture was welcoming and friendly.
Zev almost tossed the damn gun out the window.
Hell, maybe Kane rigged it to backfire and blow off someone’s hand.
Who the fuck knew?
“I’m in a generous mood. They want a souvenir.”
Zev put out the cigarette and picked up the gun. It felt heavy in his hand. Awkward. Not one of his, that was for damn sure. He hadn’t held a gun like this in a very long time. “What kind of souvenir?”
Kane shrugged. “Finger. Nose. Ear. Doesn’t matter. Shoot me.”
The Sig P226 didn’t have a safety lock. Aim and shoot. Good for an assassin. Zev had one like it when he was still in the military. If he shot a fellow shifter with a silver bullet it’d cause a lot of damage. Instant death if he shot Kane in the head or the heart.
And the assassin sat there watching him.
Daring him.
Zev thought he was fucked up. “You want me to kill you?”
Another shrug. “I want you to try.”
The fluorescent light buzzed louder. Down the street, some group of tourists laughed as they wandered back to their hotel. The glow of the city reflected off the sea.
Sweat beaded on Zev’s skin and dripped down his back. The fitted T-shirt didn’t do a damn thing to stop it. In contrast to the sweat, a chill raked over his skin.
His throat squeezed, like someone had a hand around it. Crushing the life from his lungs.
Here he was – a fucking alpha – and he couldn’t pull the trigger and kill one measly assassin?
His finger brushed the cool metal.
Fire. Burning smoke clung to his lungs. Scorched bodies – limbs – everywhere. That boy with a hole in his chest, blood pouring from the wound. . .
The gun clattered to the table, bounced and landed heavily.
Zev blinked.
It happened again. And this was the worse possible time.
“Guess I’m not good at killing someone in cold blood,” he mumbled and reached for another smoke. His fingers shook so badly he couldn’t pull one out.
Kane’s eyes narrowed, and he turned his attention to the front door. “Pick it up.”
“I don’t take orders from you, omega,” Zev grumbled and willed the dual heartbeats to calm down.
A careful footstep. A draw of breath.
Someone stood outside the door. Another shifter.
Just what he needed.
“We could invite him in since I’m not going to finish this,” Zev said with a lopsided grin and motioned at the uneaten food on the table. What a waste of money.
The shifter outside the door took another step.
Zev didn’t pick up the gun. He stood and pressed himself against the wall. If the front door was compromised, the only escape was the balcony that connected the kitchen and bedroom. He chose that apartment because of the short drop to the street below. Hopefully, no one else was waiting out there to kill him.
One assassin was enough. Now he might have two. Three, well, that shoved everything over the edge into the realm of the ridiculous.
Kane didn’t say a word. He walked to the door, all purpose, and swung it open.
A huge man stood there, tall and impossibly broad. A harsh musk rolled off him, all earth and blood. A boar. It had to be a motherfucking boar. Not many shifters were as strong as wolves, but boars were stronger.
The boar sneered at Kane and stepped into the room. “You’re not Zev Oren,” he said in deeply accented English.
Kane shrugged and kept his feet neatly planted where they were. As if he could prevent the boar from stepping past him.
Zev doubted it.
If two men who wanted to kill him weren’t both standing in his living room, Zev would’ve been mildly impressed.
 “I smell the alpha,” the boar grumbled.
“Another friend! Want a drink? Food? We have plenty left,” Zev said, sure to keep his back to the balcony. “It might be pork, so I’d abstain from the meat if I were you.”
The boar’s beady eyes narrowed as much as possible and the man cracked his knuckles. He loomed over Kane. Hell, he even stood taller than Zev, who was a solid six feet three.
Zev took another step backwards.
“He’s mine,” Kane said so quietly Zev hardly heard.
The boar finally looked at Kane. Blinked. Then laughed. “Why isn’t he dead?”
If the boar wanted an answer, he didn’t wait for one. He charged Zev, who slipped out of the way. His stupid boots tangled in the chair, and he stumbled sideways.
The boar slammed Zev against the wall.
Something cracked.
The plaster crumbled around him, and Zev sucked in a breath. His gun dug into his back, so he couldn’t reach it. He lifted his arms, wrapping them around the boar’s meaty neck, but that fucking asshole shoved all his weight into Zev’s chest. Soon the bone would break and cave, stabbing his heart and smashing his lungs.
Being crushed to death seemed distinctly worse than being shot or cut up with Kane’s knives.
A silver bullet would be a mercy.
Then Zev shoved his thumbs into the boar’s eyes, and the man finally stumbled back.
Zev’s feet struggled to hold him, and he fought the urge to grab his side. Or wince. He needed to get the hell out of here or he’d be dead.
He didn’t want to be dead.
Kane took a slow step forward, his arm cupping his side. But when did Kane get hit?
The boar blinked and roared. Blood leaked from one eye. The other squinted open. He’d still be able to find Zev from his scent.
Shifter senses weren’t such a boon in moments like this.
A knife glinted in Kane’s hand. “Hey. I said he was mine.”
The boar turned and snorted. He dwarfed Kane in every way, yet Kane stared at him like a minor annoyance and not someone who posed a threat.
How the fuck did such a small wolf manage that?
“You think you can beat me, omega?” the boar grumbled.
Kane smiled. “I’m not an omega.”
The boar charged.
Kane met him head on in a clash of limbs and grunts.
Zev didn’t stick around to witness the outcome of the fight. If they were distracted, he could get the hell away. He slipped onto the balcony, leapt to the street, and ran.
New plan: survive.
If he wanted to live, he needed to find out who wanted him dead.


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