Claim and Mate by Haylee Wolf by Haylee Wolf - Read Online

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Claim and Mate - Haylee Wolf

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Wolf

Prologue

Kent fussed with the collar of his shirt, glanced at the clothes laid out on his bed and chewed on his bottom lip, considering. Should he wear the lone suit jacket he possessed? God. He remembered putting on the stupid thing for every single job interview and the feeling of despair and hopelessness that shot through him after. No one was hiring, and no one would consider a broke young Omega from the country who had no connections.

Oh, Kent had been propositioned. As the lone male Omega in his tiny hometown, he’d gotten used to unmated dominant shifters approaching him and making filthy offers. By now, Kent knew how to turn them down politely. He knew what every single one of those men wanted. An Omega existed on the lowest rung of any pack ladder. Most shifters said their sole purpose was to be bred.

Kent let out a snort. He’d proven those bastards wrong with swift kick to their vital parts. Of course, he ended up running after. An Omega lacked the strength and power even mediocre shifters possessed. Kent was no better than an average human male, except he could give birth and turn into a wolf.

Skull’s different though, Kent murmured.

The thought of the huge burly and inked wolf made him smile. Skull was one of the enforcers of one of the largest packs in the paranormal dominated city of St. Ignatius. Kent noticed the rough and handsome werewolf in the coffee house he worked at. He thought it had been his fanciful imagination working overtime.

Since he lived in the quadrant of the city ruled by vampires, he didn’t expect to see a guy like Skull. Despite the equality laws between all the paranormal species and humans, he found out there was still strict division in the city. The shifters and vampires didn’t get along on general principle, so they divided the city between them. The humans and Omegas like Kent fell at the bottom of the food chain. Skull never made Kent feel inferior. Instead, the huge wolf flirted with him, treated him like an equal.

Skull always came during his shift and only ordered at his counter, despite the second counter being free.

Finally, the huge shifter summoned the urge to ask him out. It was damn fucking adorable. Kent didn’t know what he would do, if Skull never came into his life. Realizing he was doomed to serve overpriced coffee to all the pricks and bitches in the city and come up night-after-night to a lonely apartment, Kent was about to throw in the towel. Besides, he didn’t like the treatment of humans or weaker supernaturals by the stronger paranormals. He was about to head back home, but Skull changed his mind.

The doorbell rang, making him jump. His cat Bob hissed from the sofa. Then again, the tabby was always leery of strangers.

It’s just Skull, Bob. Never mind the other clothes on the bed. Kent would make do with his plain jeans and shirt. Shrugging on a denim jacket, he practically sprinted to the door.

Calm down. Don’t appear too eager.

A couple of times, Skull nearly convinced Kent to take their relationship to another step. Skull wanted him to meet the other members of his pack, but a little voice inside Kent told him things were moving too fast. They had only been dating two weeks. Still no sex, Skull respected his decisions but the dominant shifter reminded him he wouldn’t wait any longer.

At twenty-two, Kent was still a virgin—pretty odd for a male Omega. Most Omegas his age were probably mated or made a breeding wolf by their packs. The stories he read in the news sometimes made him cringe. He’d been so careful for that very reason. Some members of the shifter world didn’t consider them human.

Thankfully, Kent had a protective family back home. But in some ways, his family’s protection also made him feel caged. He left home the moment he came of age to spread his wings and find a decent job in the city.

Heading back home in failure wasn’t an option, but things started to look up.

Kent even held onto the strange silly hope that Skull might be the one, the mate he’d been waiting for all his life.

Most dominant shifters didn’t give a damn about their submissive mate. Skull was different—sensitive and considerate. Admittedly, Skull had his dark moments. Once, Skull lost his temper during one of their dates and nearly broke the human waiter’s arm. Kent chalked it off as a bad day. Skull admitted he faced some problems from his Alpha, pressure maybe.

Being a pack enforcer wasn’t an easy job, Kent assumed. Violence and bloodshed was part of the job description. Skull only lost his temper on Kent that one time, but it was dark and they were both intoxicated...

Well, Kent pushed those murky memories aside. Skull would never harm him, not really and what other option he had. More insistent knocks came from the front door.

I’m coming! Kent yelled.

Bob tailed at his heels, repeatedly pawing at him. He’d already prepped Bob’s dinner, so he wasn’t sure what the tabby had to complain about. Yanking open the door, Kent couldn’t keep the excitement out of his voice.

Hey, baby. You’re five minutes late, how are you going to make up for it?

––––––––

Enough hesitations and doubts. Skull had been so good to him. It was time Kent returned the favor.

Skull leaned against the doorway, handsome and scarred face wearing a wide smile...that didn’t seem quite right. The upward curve looked slightly obscene on his face. It was then Kent noticed the two other presence behind Skull, both huge and wearing grins. He didn’t like the way the two men raked their eyes across his body, making him feel exposed and vulnerable.

You were right, Skull. A mouthy little bitch would be fun to break, one of the men remarked.

Kent slammed the door on their faces, heart thumping—or tried to. Skull easily used his large hand to shove the door open. With a startled yelp, Kent fell on his ass. The huge wolf loomed above him.

Skull, don’t do this. You’re different from them, he whispered.

The other two let out a laugh that seemed way too synchronized. His stomach dropped. Kent’s bladder threatened to empty when Skull planted one heavy foot across his ribs, keeping him down. Kent saw the signs hadn’t he?

Stupid bitch, don’t you know? Skull here likes playing with his prey. One of the wolves sneered.

That date night when Skull didn’t stop when Kent told him to, Skull’s hot breath on his neck, hand clamped over his mouth, or the way Skull’s face contorted in fury when Kent told him to stop—he hadn’t imagined all of it. Kent wanted so badly to believe it was a nightmare, because Skull eventually came to his senses and stopped...not he knew why.

Was Skull waiting for this lone moment?

You’re in for a world of hurt, bitch. By the end of tonight, you’re going to be fucking begging me for mercy once my boys and I are done with you.

Chapter One

Blackwood thought he imagined at first—the screech. He strained to listen, anything to distract himself from his brother blabbering on and on about duty to family and their kind. Ah. There it was again—a cacophony of ugly sounds. Cruel laughter mingled with breaking bone and pleas for gentle handling.

He leaned a little closer to the window, using the sleeve of his coat to wipe away the cloud of dust. The view form the third floor looked out perfectly to the alley beneath the apartment building. A single flickering lamppost illuminated the narrow lane. Even with his supernatural sight, he couldn’t make out anything.

Brother, are you listening? Charles sounded exasperated. This wasn’t the first time.

Blackwood didn’t realize he gripped the heavy frame, annoyed by the dust clinging to his nails. With a grunt, he cranked up the window. Without the wood and glass to cushion the sounds, he picked up the source of the spine crawling screams. The light flickered on for several seconds, casting the shadows of three men. No, he smelled a forth. The smell of copper tickled his nostrils, enticing and tempting, doing little to help his empty stomach.

The last time he had