Lost and Found by Willa Okati

Lost and Found by Willa Okati

Lost and Found

Omega Wolves, Book 1

by Willa Okati

Changeling Press

Ebook ISBN: 07593-02448

[ Werewolf Romance, MM ]

Matthias takes shelter from a blizzard in Bree’s bolt-hole just as mating fever consumes the Omega, and the former lovers are reunited just in time for their world to change again — for keeps.

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Chapter One


Matthias

Find shelter — or die.

Matthias tilted his head back, pointed his muzzle at the sky, and howled. He held his breath during the silence that followed, ears pricked erect and quivering as he listened for any sign of the pack.

At first, he heard nothing but the screaming of the blizzard and the rush of snowfall that’d trapped him out in the heart of the storm. He’d meant to hunt and find a den before night fell, but the blizzard had had other ideas. Matthias bared his teeth at the blinding torrents of snow that meant to kill him if they could. Let them try! They wouldn’t find it that easy to finish him. He’d spent years working his way back home, and he’d be damned if he lay down now.

Then —

Wolves howled faintly and far away. Who calls? Who calls?

Son from away come back, Matthias called back in his wolf voice. Hunting on the Wasp Lake.

Snow bad there, snow bad. Three or more wolves sent him that message. Find shelter.

Matthias growled to himself before howling his reply. Shelter where? Where, shelter?

Their answer took long minutes to come, but when it did it was in a strong, clear call. Cabin, east side of Wasp Lake. Omega’s bolt-hole. They sounded grudging. Packmaster says, you shelter there now.

A pause.

Away-hunter! After the storm, you answer challenge, or you go. Understand?

Matthias drew his lips back over the gleaming fangs he boasted in his wolf form. He’d been an orphaned adolescent boy the first time the pack cast him out, and he’d had no choice but to take to his heels — but he hadn’t spent his time away idly. He was an Alpha now, one who’d earned the fortune he’d set out to make, and who didn’t mean to leave the Wasp Lake pack before he’d gotten what he’d come for.

That would have to wait. For now.

Understand, he called back. Going now, to cabin.

No answer came to that. Guessed that meant he was on his own. Matthias shook himself good and hard to rid his thick timber-gray coat of the snow that’d gathered while he stood still, and with a leap forward pushed his powerful muscles into a long-legged gallop.

He’d forgotten how winters could be so harsh this far inland. Where he’d lived, the seas never froze and snowstorms were never worse than mild squalls. Nothing like this. Inland, the snow fell so heavy and dense it blocked out the world past the end of his muzzle, and so cold his body begged him to stop, to rest, to sleep.

No. Matthias gritted his teeth and forced himself forward. He didn’t think the pack would have sent him on a wild goose chase. They’d want to know who he was and why he’d entered their territory before they decided what to do with him. The Omega’s cabin he’d been promised would be there.

Though it did occur to him to wonder if an Omega lived there just now or if they had an Alpha ready and willing to defend his territory.

If there were, then so be it. Matthias wasn’t any stranger to fighting for his life. He knew how to survive.

His keen sense of smell while in wolf shape picked up the signs of habitation long before his eyes would have been able to. Smoke from a wood fire, tilled earth, and goats kept in a warm winter enclosure. Not far ahead now. Almost there. Keep going.

Another burst of energy brought Matthias to the edge of a clearing, and when the winds broke momentarily he saw the blessed yellow halo of lights shining through windows of heavy, opaque glass. He shook more snow off his coat and loped toward the steps of the small cabin — only to scrabble to a hasty stop when the Omega wolf he’d been warned of burst through the cabin’s door with his teeth bared in a mighty bark.

Matthias deflected the attack and feinted a bite at the Omega’s neck. Shelter-claim. No fight.

Fight! No shelter, the Omega insisted. You go.

Matthias bared his teeth. Packmaster orders.

The Omega wolf scoffed at that. Packmaster not here. I am. You go! He tried to dodge low and snap at Matthias’s underbelly.

Enough of that. Matthias seized the Omega’s scruff in his teeth and shook him until he yelped. There was something strange about his scent. Something almost familiar. A spicy sort of fragrance that tickled his nose and sent a frisson of mixed irritation and heat up his spine. Had they fought before? Matthias couldn’t be sure, his blood too hot for rational remembering.

Without letting go, Matthias growled. Shelter-claim. Nowhere else. I stay.

Any other Omega would have given up at that, but not this one. He got in a lucky nip at Matthias’s shoulder and bolted for it when Matthias let go in his surprise. Scrambling on the longest legs Matthias had ever seen on a wolf, it had almost reached the door of the cabin by the time Matthias caught up. One mad leap brought him on top of the wolf, and their momentum carried them indoors.

The Omega turned, snarling.

Enough! Matthias reached deep inside himself for the ability to change his shape, shook off his wolf form, and rose to stand on two feet. He kicked the door shut and secured the latch. The wolf’s scent surrounded him inside, dizzying him briefly.

“I’ll bite you again if I have to, and I promise you won’t like it one bit.” The warmth of the cabin threatened to overcome Matthias. He planted his feet firmly on the split log floor and raised his chin. “Stand up! Who are you?”

The Omega wolf stopped mid-lunge, staring at him. Though they balked, no Omega could resist an Alpha’s command, and when he spoke they had no choice but to cast aside their animal form and stand in man shape. The Omega’s legs were even longer as a human, his body slim, and his face heartbreakingly lovely. His wide blue-gray eyes focused on Matthias in startled shock. ”You.”

Matthias’s lips parted in equal surprise. This wasn’t just any wolf, but the man Matthias had loved once and had to leave behind. The Omega he’d come back to the Wasp Lake Pack to find and claim for his own.

“Bree,” Matthias said, his heart leaping. ”Bree.”

* * *

Bree

Am I dreaming? Bree backed away from Matthias, though there wasn’t far to go inside the cabin. It’d been his father’s, used as a way station during hunting trips, and was little more than a box with storage cupboards built into the walls. A handful of steps brought his shoulders to the far wall, which made his skin prickle with cold from the chill leaching through the logs.

The Alpha wolf — Matthias — stared at him with his lips parted and his eyes huge. “Bree.”

Bree shook his head stubbornly and said nothing. He had to be dreaming. Matthias had left him years ago without a word, not one word. Bree had given up hoping Matthias would come back after the first winter gave way to spring. Even if his subconscious betrayed him every now and then, Bree knew better than to think miracles really happened.

Matthias shook his head as if in wonder. “Look at you. You haven’t changed at all.”

“Right,” Bree scoffed at that because yes, he had. He’d been the son of the former Packmaster when Matthias left, and sibling to the Packmaster’s Alpha heir. They’d wanted for nothing, not even in the cruelest weeks of winter. He’d been padded with supple flesh, and clothed in the finest that could be bought from the traders who ventured this far inland.

That had been before the old Packmaster went hunting bear and didn’t come back. Before a challenge for leadership of the pack sent Bree’s sibling away with his tail between his legs. The Pack had let Bree stay on the outskirts, but only because he was Omega.

And they’d never let him forget that.

Matthias hadn’t heard, or had chosen to ignore, Bree’s reply. He walked forward as steady and sure on two legs as he would be on four paws, his gaze fixed eagerly — hungrily — on Bree’s face. Oh, he’d changed. No longer a skinny stripling adolescent, he’d grown into a real man, thick with muscle and tough with sinew. His face had matured, the strong bones finding their shape. The eyebrows were still the same, one permanently bent in an arch.

The sight of him kindled a fire in Bree. His body didn’t care that this wolf had walked away from him before. It wanted Matthias now.

“You’re as beautiful as the day I lost you. Bree, my pretty Bree,” Matthias murmured as he came closer, steady and sure and just how Bree remembered him. “Did you miss me?”

He wasn’t dreaming. But how —

It didn’t matter. Matthias had left him. Bree shook his head so hard that his long red hair whipped against his cheeks. “Go away.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Matthias was so close now that the Alpha scent of him flooded Bree’s senses. Naked as he was — as they both were, after changing shape — there wasn’t any hiding how his body had reacted to Bree. When he closed the last bit of distance between them, his cock pressed thick and hard against Bree’s belly.

Bree moaned. He couldn’t help it. He’d forgotten how good it felt, to have a man desire him so plainly. It’d been months — no, years — since he’d let any man or Alpha near him. Packs always needed more breeders, and Omegas were too precious to cast out, but Bree had sworn he’d be damned before he’d spread his legs for any wolf at Wasp Lake.

So far, he’d been lucky. He’d always managed to hide when he felt his heat cycle coming on, and rode it out by himself. Why the new Packmaster allowed it, Bree didn’t know. Maybe he thought time would wear his resistance down.

Maybe he was only giving Bree enough rope to hang himself with.

And now this. Matthias.

Matthias’s warm hands rested on Bree’s ass. When had that happened? Bree moaned again, shaking with the effort it took not to grind forward. His body wanted this. It’d gone soft and open, eager for Matthias’s cock, the lubrication an Omega’s body produced to ease the way already trickling down the soft skin of his inner thighs.

“You smell…” Matthias nuzzled the juncture of Bree’s neck and scraped it lightly with the edges of his teeth. His hands tightened on Bree’s ass, kneading the taut muscles there. When he rolled his hips, the delicious friction drew groans from both of them, a noise that Bree sharpened to a cry as Matthias slipped two fingers inside him. “Wet.”

Bree struggled against himself, panting in sharp short bursts. “No. You left.”

“I’m here now.” Matthias spread his fingers. Pressure and heat and lust made Bree want to sob with the hunger they roused for more, more. “And you’re still mine.”

The words were a shock of cold water.

Bree found the strength somewhere, somehow, to push hard against Matthias and shove him away. Not far, but far enough to catch his breath. He pressed his thighs together and made himself ignore both the fierce clamor of his body and the burning ache in his heart. “I am no one’s Omega. I belong to me.”

Matthias’s gaze, dark with lust, lingered on him. Bree could feel him taking in every detail, every piece of him that had changed. Matthias wasn’t anyone’s fool. He would see how thin Bree had gotten, how low poverty had brought him. How desperate he was.

Bree held his head high, though his eyes stung with unshed tears. “I belong to me,” he said again. “You can stay as long as the storm lasts, but then I want you to go. Do you understand?”

Matthias hadn’t stopped drinking him in. No less hotly but more calmly, more thoughtfully. “I understand.”

“And you agree?”

“If you want me to go after the storm ends, and after I’m sure you can make it safely home, then I’ll agree.” Matthias stepped back, still hard, but showing himself not to be a threat. Mouth quirking up at the corner when he saw how Bree’s eyes were drawn to the rigid length of his cock. “And if you change your mind, then I’ll agree to that, too.”

“I won’t.” Bree hugged himself as the first warning wave of heat ebbed away, leaving him wobbly in the knees but in control of his head again. Had Matthias noticed the change in his scent? Bree couldn’t tell. “And that’s not the bargain I offered.”

“No, it’s not.” Matthias let his gaze drift hungrily over Bree one more time. “I’ll be a gentleman. I won’t force myself on you until you ask me to.”

Bree squeezed his thighs together against fresh lubrication. His body liked that idea far more than he wanted it to. But though his face burned hot, he stood his ground. “I won’t.”

“Even so.” Matthias brushed the backs of his knuckles against Bree’s cheek. “Just one more thing.”

Before Bree could ask, Matthias had put both strong arms around him and enfolded him in an embrace that sent a shock of gentle warmth straight down to his bones. A hug that made him feel safe, protected — cared for.

“I missed you, Bree,” Matthias murmured in his ear. “So much. I dreamed of you every day I was gone, and I’ve wanted this every night. More than I know how to say.”

Prickles of electric excitement seemed to burst across Bree’s skin. He drew in a sharp breath, and struggled against the need to wrap his arms and legs around Matthias and let Matthias do what he would. He held out, but only just, and panted with the effort when Matthias let go and looked down at him, mouth tilted in the smile that used to be Bree’s favorite.

“Do we have a deal?”

* * *

Matthias

Matthias’s stomach growled.

Bree blinked up at him, wide blue eyes dazed. Just as Matthias had hoped, and just as he’d remembered. Bree always had been a spitfire. He should have recognized an Omega so ready to fight right away. The only way to calm Bree when he got good and worked up was to kiss the mad out of him, and he doubted Bree would leave his balls intact if he tried it now.

He was tempted to try anyway. All those years apart had seemed to last forever.

Matthias thumbed at Bree’s soft mouth and made himself step back. Just as well to take a breather. Let his mind catch up to his body and heart. “If there’s anything to eat, I’d be obliged.”

Bree licked his lips where Matthias’s thumb had been. “I… There might be something. I don’t know. I don’t live here all the time. I just come when it’s…” He shook his head briskly and pressed a hand to one rose-red cheek. “I’ll look.”

“If there’s nothing, I’ll go see if I can scare a rabbit out of its den.”

Bree wrinkled his nose. “They’re awfully skinny this time of year.”

“Skinny’s better than nothing at all.” Matthias propped his hip against the wall and crossed his arms, watching Bree thoughtfully as the Omega moved about. He walked a little more awkwardly than Matthias remembered; the Bree in his memory was graceful as a dancer, his muscles lithe and fluid.

Except when he was in heat.

Matthias’s nostrils flared as he caught the scent that’d been teasing at him since he shut the cabin door behind them. Ah, that explains it. The first time he’d seen the change come over Bree, they’d both been too young to have any sense, and it’d scared the devil out of them.

Only the first time. The second time…

Matthias’s mouth curved, recalling how he and Bree had spent hours wrapped up in one another, discovering the new differences in their bodies — the things that made them Alpha and Omega, and that would tie them together for the rest of their lives. An Omega in heat was an amazing creature. His body opened, wet and slick and hot, eager to be filled. His ligaments looser, giving him a swaying gait; his nipples tight; his body temperature higher. His scent, intoxicating.

Oh yes. It’d been worth it, even if they had to hide their mating from the Packmaster and his heir, and dunk Bree in an icy stream to alter his scent before he returned to them.

Matthias clicked his tongue. As many times as they’d brought each other to orgasm, it was a marvel Bree hadn’t gotten pregnant before they figured out how to avoid the problem with a sachet of silk soaked in tansy oil.

Now there was a thought. Matthias’s groin ached and throbbed as the images of Bree full to the brim with his cubs passed over his mind’s eye. They weren’t wet-behind-the-ears teenagers anymore. They were men, full-grown, who could raise a family of their own if they chose. Far from here, and away from the memories of bad times.

And Matthias did choose.

But that would have to wait. Matthias’s focus shifted, his mouth changing its shape to a frown, as he studied Bree. If he looked past the allure of an Omega on the cusp of going into heat, he didn’t like the apparent changes in Bree at all. He’d gotten taller, but no heavier; thinner, in fact. His legs should have been willowy, not bony, and while his hair was the same heavy sweep of cinnamon silk that Matthias remembered, it looked dry and rough. His hands were reddened from work, and marred with the sorts of small scars a man alone tended to gather chopping wood and butchering meat.

What had happened to him? Matthias scented the air carefully but couldn’t detect any traces of family scent on Bree. So, then. The Packmaster who had cast him out for daring to take his Omega offspring’s virginity and claim his heart wasn’t around any longer. Nor the heir, either.

Good, in one sense. Less fighting in his future to claim Bree, though he would have if he’d needed to.

Bad in that the mate of his heart had suffered.

Well, I can fix that. He’d made his fortune for Bree, and if he could only get them both back to the coast, where life was kinder, he’d soon fatten Bree up again.

His body liked that thought. The only question was — would Bree allow it?

“You’re staring at me.” Bree stopped in mid-reach for a high cabinet shelf. He clutched an oiled-paper packet of what smelled like truly ancient jerky to his chest with one hand and held another of something that might once have been maple sugar candy in the other.

Matthias made himself shrug casually. “Was I?”

“You know you were.” Bree lay both packets down on the countertop that held a basin for washing. He turned his back to bring down a tin pot from the high shelf and glanced over his shoulder. “You’re still doing it.”

“Is that a fact,” Matthias murmured. Since he’d been caught, he didn’t bother trying to hide it. “I spent a long time looking at you only in my memories. I’m making up for lost time.”

Bree pressed both hands to his face. “Don’t. Please don’t. I can’t think when you do that.”

“Do what?”

“Look at me as if you want to eat me alive. You make me want to…” Bree moaned, shifting his hips. “And I can’t. I won’t. You left me, Matthias!”

“Yes, I did. Because I had to.” Matthias’s frown deepened. “I told you all of that in the letter I left you. How I had no choice but to go. I couldn’t fight the whole pack then. I told you in the letters I sent you from the coast.”

“You — what?” Bree lowered his hands and shook his head. “I never got any letters. Not even one.”

The Packmaster. Matthias shut his eyes and stifled a growl. He should have known. It would have been just like the possessive old bastard to forbid them so much as a civil goodbye.

When he opened his eyes, Bree had pressed one hand to his throat and the other to his heart. The blue of his irises swam with unshed tears. “I thought you stopped loving me.”

Matthias’s heart couldn’t help but yield at the sight. Poor thing. “I could never stop loving you,” he said quietly. “I still do.”

Bree shook his head mutely. His lips moved but without sound.

Outside, the wind howled and lashed against the walls of the cabin. Matthias cocked his head to listen. “Sounds like the storm’s picking up. They always do, before they’re over.” He made up his mind. Bree had been through enough shocks tonight, and from the smell of him his Omega biology was about to take charge. “Turn the lamp out, Bree.”

“But you said you were hungry –”

He was, but not for food. Soon enough, neither of them would have a choice. Best that Bree gather his strength first. “No,” Matthias said, and blew out the lamp himself. “Get some rest. I’ll keep watch.”

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