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His Biggest Secret

A Portville Mpreg Romance (Book 1)


By Xander Collins


© 2018 Xander Collins


All Rights Reserved.

This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.


This book is a work of fiction and is intended only for adults over the age of 18.

All characters are 18 or over.


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Copyright

Table of Contents

About His Biggest Secret

Chapter One - Mark

Chapter Two - Landon

Chapter Three - Mark

Chapter Four - Landon

Chapter Five - Mark

Chapter Six - Landon

Chapter Seven - Mark

Chapter Eight - Landon

Chapter Nine - Landon

Chapter Ten - Landon

Chapter Eleven - Mark

Chapter Twelve - Landon

Chapter Thirteen - Mark

Chapter Fourteen - Landon

Chapter Fifteen - Mark

About His Deepest Desire

Chapter One - Stephen

Chapter Two - Jake

Also By Xander Collins

About Xander Collins


ABOUT HIS BIGGEST SECRET


Sometimes the biggest secret is the one we keep from ourselves.


Tough beta cop, Mark, wakes one morning with a hangover and some very vague memories of the previous night. One of those memories is something that Mark believes can’t be possible. 

He sees a flash in his mind of his best friend, Landon, who also happens to be his partner at work. Someone he’s always had a crush on. The thing that Mark can’t believe is what Landon is doing in that memory. And why Landon doesn’t have any clothes on.

It isn’t until Landon brings up the event that Mark realizes what is happening to him. For the last forty years, young beta men have been turning into omegas. Some as late as their twenties. 

Mark is filled with shame when he realizes that's what's happening. He went into heat. He threw himself at his partner. He's now an omega. 

And he's carrying Landon’s baby. 

Mark’s whole world comes unraveled as he struggles with the changes his body is going through, as well as the changes in his perception of the world around him. He’s no longer the tough beta cop he thought he was, but Mark starts to realize what true strength really is.

His Biggest Secret the first book in the Portville Omegaverse series. It is a friends-to-lovers romance of 37k words with some bad language, hot sexy times, exciting and suspenseful moments, and a super cute baby to cuddle and tickle. It is intended for readers over the age of 18.



Chapter One


Mark



A full city block is up in flames after arsonists hit another fertility clinic in Old Town earlier today. If you’re taking one of the bridges into the downtown area from the East side this morning, be sure to check your navigation app for any alternate routes. More on local traffic and weather ten minutes after the hour.”

I lay there in bed for another few minutes, trying to wake up and take in the news that was slowly filtering into my brain. I stayed there with my hand on the radio alarm clock and my eyes closed before I could bring myself to move. When I was finally able to open my eyes the light from the room came flooding in. The brightness shot a stabbing pain through my already throbbing head.

I turned my aching head to one side and tried to make out the glowing digital numbers on the clock. 7:45. I was going to be late for work if I didn't get the hell out of bed in five … four … three … two …

I sat up, wincing at the pain, but that sharp, stabbing feeling wasn’t just in my head anymore. There was a new source of discomfort concentrated underneath me. Right where I was sitting, in fact. I rubbed my temples and shook my head and tried to remember what the hell it was that I did last night, and why on earth my ass was so goddamned sore.

I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and threw the covers off, then stood up and tried to stretch out the ache in my muscles. I moved from side to side, then forward and backward, but nothing seemed to help. I thought maybe a Charlie horse—or a pulled muscle—had hit me in the middle of the night. But the thing was, every single one of my muscles felt fatigued and sore. I took a couple of steps and even had trouble picking up my feet so I could get myself across the room. What the hell was going on?

I figured I must be coming down with something. Maybe I’d caught the bug that had been going around all winter. The one that was keeping people in bed for weeks, even sending them to the hospital. When I thought back, I realized I had been feeling a little under the weather this last week. But being sick was the last thing I needed. My precinct was short on men, had been for months. I knew there was no way the captain would let me take any time off. With the rash of fertility clinic arson jobs that had hit the city lately I sure as hell didn’t want to stay home. I had to make it in, no matter how crappy I felt.

As I walked into the bathroom and flipped on the light, I couldn't help but wonder if it was something else, though. Something I'd done last night. I didn’t have a sore throat or a fever, and, the thing was, I couldn’t actually remember how I got home last night. I didn’t remember getting into a fight. And when I looked in the bathroom mirror I didn’t see any scratches or bruises on my face or body.

But when I pulled my boxer briefs down I was kinda freaked out to see that they were damp. Soaked through was really more like it. And I had no idea where the hell all the moisture could have come from since it was all concentrated at the back. I reached around and slid my hand between my ass cheeks to see if I was bleeding or injured in any way, but I couldn’t find anything.

“What the hell?” I said out loud to the mirror as I watched myself twist around futilely to catch a glimpse of my body from behind. It was no good. I couldn't see a thing except for some clear liquid on my hand that smelled … well, it smelled a hell of a lot like come. But that was ridiculous. I was a beta and when I went out looking for some action, I always made it clear that I was a pitcher, not a catcher. There was no way I would have let anyone go there, no matter how drunk I was last night. I closed my eyes and splashed water on my face, trying not to think about why I couldn’t remember a thing.

I turned on the shower and slipped under the stream of hot water. I hoped if I stood there long enough it would help wash away some of the soreness in my muscles, and maybe even the uneasiness I felt bubbling up inside me. I put my head directly under the stream and closed my eyes.

Okay, I thought to myself. Step-by-step. What happened last night?

I remembered getting off work and going out with Landon after our shift was over. He never let me forget that one time I pulled the wrong way into a secured parking lot. I wound up popping all four tires on those metal teeth that you’re not supposed to back up over. Ever since then he’s insisted on driving whenever we’re out on a case. Some days we’d go out in a cruiser, but a lot of the time he picks me up in his own car. He even has a portable flasher that he likes to put up on his roof if we’re after someone. On the days he picks me up, he usually gets me in the morning on the way into the precinct, then brings me home at night.

Yesterday was one of those days. He was driving, so I let him pick the bar. We wound up at one of those omega clubs over on Stark. I remember eating a steak and having a few drinks and the two of us watching some cute omegas strip. Nothing out of the ordinary at all for a Thursday or Friday night. Not even the number of drinks I had, which I wasn’t even sure of at this point.

Everything after that was a bit of a blur, though. I remembered Landon being there and that was about it. For all I knew I could have brought a stranger back here last night. Someone who got up and snuck out of my place before I even got a sober glimpse of him. Even under the soothing warmth of the shower spray, I cringed a little when I thought about the fact that I’d blacked out again.

I had to admit I’d been letting things get a little out of hand for a while now. Going to bed with too many nameless, faceless men … drinking way too much. Especially on a work night. I didn’t always drink to the point of blacking out, but that was becoming more and more common. And I knew that’s what happened last night. Everything was pretty foggy after that fourth or fifth 151 and Coke I’d downed.

I did remember Landon driving. At least, I remembered being in his car. He hadn't had as much to drink, which was usual. He was always a little more in control than I was. But then again, he was also an alpha. Betas like me could get away with letting things slide here and there. I wasn’t expected to lead or be in command … not like an alpha was, anyway.

But maybe I was fooling myself. I had a feeling I’d been taking advantage of the situation—and of Landon—for a while. I’d been letting him take responsibility for getting my drunk ass home, and I’d been flat-out ignoring his subtle comments and questions about whether I was sure I needed another one for the road.

That wasn’t the only thing I’d been ignoring, though. I’d done a pretty good job for a very long time of pretending I was happy. I’d convinced myself that I didn’t need the kind of stability that came with a relationship. A part of me actually believed that I didn’t care if someone was going to be there when I got home at night. And I’d been completely ignoring how desperately I wanted a warm body to wrap myself around when I woke up in my big bed every morning.

But it wasn’t just any warm body I’d been wanting, even though that’s pretty much how I’d been acting … for years. That this lifestyle—the strip clubs, and open bar tabs, and one-night stands—they were all I needed, instead of the guy who was sitting right next to me through it all. But Landon and I were partners and best friends. End of story.

The thing was, I didn't hate my life by any means, so it had been pretty damned easy to lie and tell myself that I was better off on my own. That’s how I’d always pictured myself anyway. The lone beta cop who could take care of any bad guy that came along, as well as himself. I didn’t ever want to need anyone. In fact, I hated the idea.

But being a cop wasn't exactly as fulfilling as I had imagined it would be when I started on the force five years ago. Not that I regretted it or anything. Far from it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I loved being a cop. But I felt like I was missing something. And as I stood there with that stream of water beating down on my head, I realized that nights out with random dudes that I picked up at bars and mornings waking up with a hangover didn't seem to be cutting it anymore.

I bobbed my head back and forth under the water, trying to loosen my neck a bit, maybe even jog some more memories loose from last night. That was when an image flashed in my head that caused my eyes to fly open. That couldn't be right, I thought as I stared at the white tiled wall. What the fuck would Landon have been doing with his cock out in the car? I had a clear picture in my head of him holding his very thick manhood at the base—the entire thing sticking up in the air like a goddamned baseball bat.

And the way I remembered his cock seemed crazy—like I was way up close to it. Too close. Why would I remember Landon’s cock right up in my face like that? In all the years we’d known each other, we’d never once fooled around. It’s not that I hadn’t thought about it. Just the opposite. I’d wondered what his cock looked like every single day since our first shift working together. Not to mention what his lips tasted like. He was just about the hottest alpha I’d ever seen in my life.

But I knew he needed an omega to give him things that I couldn’t. So, whenever the subject came up I told him that I wasn’t into alphas, and that was mostly true. I knew that I could never be the omega that most alphas were looking for, so I made it simple for everyone. I picked up other betas at the bars we frequented, and occasionally an omega that was up for a one-night stand, but I stayed away from alphas.

And so far, that seemed to be working for me.

I quickly soaped up and rinsed my body off, trying very unsuccessfully to wash away the feeling of fear that was rising from the pit of my stomach. The feeling that I’d done something really stupid last night. And that it had to do with Landon.

I was still in a daze when I pulled on my jeans and a T-shirt—then slid my holster over my shoulders. But as I threw on my leather jacket and headed out the door, that image hit me again and I stopped cold. I shook my head and I told myself that it had to be a dream. That's all it was. Some alcohol-induced hallucination that my brain cooked up in my sleep.

But as I shut the apartment door behind me, I couldn't shake the feeling of how real it all felt—but not just the memory. Something I hadn’t even been able to admit to myself while I was in the shower.

When I closed my eyes, I could feel the weight and heft of Landon’s cock in my hand. I could feel his smooth skin. I could smell his earthy aroma. And even though I’d brushed my teeth and had a cup of coffee, I could actually taste him in my mouth. The deep, musky flavor was similar to Landon’s scent, only a thousand times stronger. And that aroma was burned into my brains because it was one that has made my head spin ever since the moment we met five years ago.

I opened my eyes and swallowed hard. Landon’s cock had been in my mouth last night. And that was a thought that both terrified me and completely took my breath away.



Chapter Two


Landon



"Yo, Lewis, what's your ten-twenty?”

I stood behind a stack of boxes in the dark, abandoned building. I couldn't see a thing other than a dim blue light that filtered in through the grimy warehouse windows that lined the top of the wall near the ceiling.

“Second floor, right next to the stairwell. Where you at?" I heard from my cell phone. Mark and I used an app that allowed us to use our phones as walkie-talkies when we were on out in the field.

"I'm on my way up. I don't think they’re down here. I haven't heard anything for a couple minutes."

"Okay. Watch your back. I’ll cover you from the second floor."

I crept out from behind a metal shelf that was lined with boxes and quickly crossed over to a staircase that disappeared into a dark stairwell. I scanned the cavernous room for any sign of movement, and when it looked like the coast was clear, I started up the stairs. I kept my eyes moving constantly, and my back to the wall, as I slowly made my way up to the landing, then turned the corner to head up to the second floor.

Suddenly a barrage of shots rang out around me, hitting the metal banister and the walls, and sending a rain of concrete chunks down on my head. I heard Mark yell for me to hit the floor and I didn’t think twice. I trusted him more than anyone I’d ever worked with. No matter how much shit I gave him—and I dished out plenty—I knew that he was the best cop on the force and was always thankful he had my back.

The minute I hit the ground I heard a thud behind me. Then some yelling and footsteps from somewhere below me on the first floor. Within seconds, Mark was right there next to me, rolling me on my back with his face right in mine.

"You okay, Landon? Did you get hit?”

"No, I’m good.” I sat up and looked at a motionless body on the cold concrete landing down below me. There was a growing pool of blood seeping out around the head that was starting to trickle down to the first floor. "How did you even know he was there?" I asked Mark.

"I don't know, man. I just had a feeling. When you told me you hadn't seen anything for a while and were on your way up I thought I'd watch your back and make sure you got up here okay. I'm glad I did."

“I’m getting to really appreciate those feelings of yours. They’re usually right.” I pushed myself up and grabbed onto the railing for support, then stepped around the blood and made my way back down the stairs. "You think anyone is still in the building?"

"No, there was no one up there. I think they were still on the main floor and took off when they heard the gunshots. Better get on the horn and have someone pick this one up,” Mark said as he nudged the body. “Maybe they’ll find some evidence that links him to those arsonists.”

"Those guys are really getting out of hand. We need to find them before someone is killed in one of those blazes. I can’t believe they’re targeting fertility clinics. How low can you get?” I said as I headed to the cruiser.

"Well, it seems like a lot of people have that ‘us and them’ mentality these days—that if you don’t believe what they believe, you’re one of them.”

"Yeah, but the sane ones don't usually kill people over a difference of opinion."

Mark slid into the car next to me and grabbed the radio. After he called dispatch we sat there in silence and waited for the cleanup crew to show up. I’d been trying to figure out a way to break the tension I'd been feeling between us all morning and decided being direct was the best option.

"So, you doing okay?" We'd already been on the shift for four hours and Mark hadn’t brought anything up about last night. I didn’t particularly want to be the one to do it, but I felt like we couldn’t just ignore what happened, considering the implications.

"Yeah, sure, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?’” I could tell by the tone of his voice that what he was saying and what he was actually feeling were not the same thing. His body language was also telling me a completely different story. As soon as I asked that question, his entire body stiffened up and he turned his head, so I couldn’t see his expression. His eyes were always a dead giveaway to what he was feeling, and I was pretty sure he knew it.

I could see I was going to have to be the adult in this situation and say it out loud, even though I was just as nervous to talk as he was. “I think maybe we should talk about what happened. You know … last night."

"I don't know what you're talking about." He may have thought he was being convincing, but I could see his hand curling up into a fist next to his thigh. He knew exactly what I was talking about, but he was going to make me take all the responsibility, as usual. Of course, always the Alpha. Always in charge. What I wouldn't give to relax for once and not have to worry about being the responsible one. But it wasn’t in me to ignore a problem, to pretend I didn’t know how important it was that we get things out in the open.

"Okay, so I guess I'm the one that's going to have to say it out loud. Is that how this is going to go?"

Mark was silent for a moment, but then mumbled a response to the window. "I don't know what happened last night, Landon. I really don't remember."

I wanted him to turn his head and look at me. I wanted to see his eyes when he said those words. I had a hard time believing they were true. “You don’t remember anything? Anything at all? You didn't feel any different this morning?"

"Well, I was pretty sore. Maybe I caught something. You know there's lots of flu going around—”

“Come on, Mark. Where were you sore? Tell me that."

Mark was silent again and I was afraid that I'd been too harsh. It wouldn’t have been the first time. I wasn’t exactly known for being diplomatic or subtle. If I had something to say, I said it. If I had a question, I asked it. If I was pissed off at you, you better believe you’d know it.

But I also knew that this was a very sensitive subject and I didn’t want things to go bad between us. “Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I just wanted to make sure you had at least a little fun last night. And that you didn’t think I was taking advantage of you.”

Mark finally turned and looked at me but he wasn't smiling. In fact, he looked scared. "What the hell do you mean? Taking advantage of me?”

"Look," I said putting my hands up to show that I was trying to keep the peace. "You were the one that started it. I was surprised as hell that you were going into heat. I mean, you were pawing at me like a goddamned puppy dog.”

“What are you talking about?” Mark asked, the stunned look on his face quickly turning to anger. “I might have been drunk. But in heat? That’s not even possible!”

“Hey, you were drunk, I get that, but I also know what I saw … and what I felt. You were in heat, Mark. Didn’t you have any idea?”

I was not in … come on, you’ve known me for five years, Landon! Have I ever gone into heat in all that time? Have I ever even smelled like an omega to you?”

“No, but you sure as hell did last night.”

“When? How? We were in an omega bar for chrissakes. One of them was probably in heat or something. Jesus,” Mark said as he hit the dashboard with his hand. “Don’t put this off on me.”

I was pretty sure that was probably the reason it had taken me so long to figure it out. That and the fact that Mark and I were so close that, with him, I couldn’t see my nose in front of my face. But I know what I smelled. It was him. The incredible scent that had been calling to me all night and hit me like a ton of bricks when we got in my car was Mark. It wasn’t until that moment that my alpha senses kicked in and zeroed in on the last person in the world I thought would be trying to seduce me. “Mark … you showed me your ass. You presented right in front of me. I’m guessing it was your first heat.”

Mark looked like he was about to have a stroke and it suddenly hit me that he had absolutely no idea what was going on. “At twenty-four years old? Landon, I’ve been a beta since … well, since forever. That’s what the blood test I got in high school said—”

“No, your blood test just didn’t show alpha or omega status at that point. That doesn’t mean anything, and you know it, especially with the way things have changed in the last decade. You also know that twenty-four isn’t too old to present. Not anymore. It’s happened to plenty of people.”

“Not to anyone I ever knew.” He looked out the side window again and by the way his voice cracked I wondered if maybe he was going to cry.

“Look,” I said calmly, trying to bring the tension down a notch and put a positive spin on things. Especially since I was really excited about this new development. I had been thrilled all morning with the possibility of Mark being pregnant with my baby. But looking at the way he was reacting now, I realized he was far less than thrilled. “There’s nothing wrong with being an omega. There are some in government positions now, and—”

“I’m not a freaking omega, Landon. I’m a goddamned beta!” He turned back to me and in his eyes was a heartbreaking mix of anger and fear. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and comfort him, but I got the very distinct feeling he didn’t want me anywhere near him.

I honestly had no idea Mark was so oblivious to what was happening. Or more precisely, to what had already happened. But, then again, I’d had no idea either. Not until he practically stuck his ass in my face last night.

Mark had been my partner for five years—my best friend for four of them. And even though I’d fantasized about something happening between the two of us, that’s all it ever was to me … a fantasy that had no place in real life. I never wanted to do or say anything to jeopardize our friendship or make him uncomfortable. He always told me he wasn’t into alphas and I wasn’t going to pull any dominance bullshit with him when he clearly wasn’t interested. I had too much respect for him.

So, when I started to notice the intoxicating heat scent permeating the air around me, I figured it had to be one of the omegas at the bar. I was pretty pissed off at first because it was incredibly distracting. I hardly ever reacted that way to a random omega scent. As a cop, I prided myself on being in control in just about any situation. But while we were in that club, I swear I almost lost it.

But I didn’t say anything to Mark because, being a beta, I figured he wouldn’t have been as affected as I was. But when we got outside and the scent didn’t go away, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it was him. I’d heard about omegas presenting very late, but up until last night, I’d pretty much thought it was an urban legend.

I kept telling myself that there was no way it was happening, but when we got in my car and Mark started coming on to me—when I was surrounded by his intoxicating scent, and those beautiful eyes of his were begging me to fuck him—the uncontrollable alpha in me was unleashed. There was no way I could hold myself back after all these years.

But I would never in a million years have taken advantage of him if I’d known he was blacked out. The thought made me sick to my stomach. I wasn’t that kind of alpha, and I was suddenly terrified that I had done something very wrong. But I knew what I saw and smelled … and what I felt. It wasn’t just me that was desperate for it last night.

"Mark … listen. I don't know what to tell you, but it’s not in my nature to react the way I did last night, especially to a beta. I’ll let one of them suck my cock or if I’m really horny I’ll go to town on them, but just to get off. I’ve never been driven to mate with a beta because, well … because there’s no point as far as I’m concerned. But last night? Mark, that was the most intense experience I’ve ever had in my life. I couldn’t keep my hands off of you. I couldn’t even form a coherent thought when we got in the car … and I thought you felt the same way. Don't you remember any of it?"

Mark had turned back to the window again and I couldn’t see his eyes. But I noticed his fists. They were balled up against his thighs so tight that his fingers were turning white.

“No, I don't remember what happened last night. And I don't believe you. I didn’t turn into an omega all of a sudden and I didn’t throw myself at you. You’re my fucking partner, and my friend,” he said, looking back at me with tears in his eyes. "And that means a lot to me. This job, and our relationship … it's my whole life. I don’t know what you’re trying to do to me, but—.”

"I'm not trying to do anything. You presented right in front of me last night. You don’t think I know what that smells like? I’m a fucking single alpha. Every cell in my body knows that smell, Mark. Fucking craves it. When we got in the car, you told me to take my cock out and started sucking it. You begged me to fuck you, Mark. Don’t you remember any of it? Anything at all?”

Mark’s eyes grew wide and his mouth dropped open. I could almost see the gears turning inside his head like he was starting to remember. “But that can't be right,” he said, dropping his head down into his hands. “I’m a beta, Landon. I’m a beta.”

“Well, you better tell that to your body. The minute we left the club last night I could smell omega pheromones all over you. You were oozing them like nothing I'd ever experienced before in my life. Then when we got to the car you didn't go around your side right away. You stumbled into me, pressing your body against mine, and I could feel your cock through your jeans. At first, I thought it was that you were drunk. But then you grabbed my hand and pressed it into your bulge and whispered into my ear that it was for me.

“I didn't know what to say or do. My body was suddenly on fire and all I could think about was how incredibly good you smelled, and how desperately I wanted to mount you. I literally couldn’t see or hear or feel anything but you. I had the worst case of mating-tunnel-vision I’d ever experienced in my life. Finally, I managed to come to my senses and I pushed you away—told you to get into the car. But the only thing that did was intensify everything—your scent and the burning desire inside me to have you.”

Mark's eyes didn't leave mine the entire time I was talking. He didn’t blink or move once and almost seemed like he was going into shock—like his brain had stopped working.

"So, once we got in the car I reached up to start the engine and you grabbed my hand. You told me to stop, that you wanted me to take out my cock. My head was spinning like crazy by then. I was so fucking worked up at that point, even though there was this voice in the back of my head that kept screaming ‘No, you can’t do this. This is Mark. He’s your partner. He’s your best friend.’ I just couldn't stop. I didn't want to stop. And I thought you … I really believed you wanted it too. I would never have done anything if I’d known you were blacked-out drunk and didn’t want it, Mark. I swear to God.”

He was still staring at me like he was in shock, but I could see in his eyes that his expression was softening and melting into what looked more like sadness. I wanted to grab him and put my arms around him, but instead, I pushed my hand through my hair and continued.

“So, I took my cock out, and you sat there and stared at it for a few seconds. We both watched a bead of pre-come drip down the head and when it reached the shaft, you leaned forward and caught it with your tongue.” The words were coming out slower now as I remembered what happened with every cell of my body. I closed my eyes and swallowed, then continued. “I watched as you licked it up in one long movement, all the way back up to the tip. Then you put your lips around my whole head and sucked me into your mouth.”

I was starting to get hard again as I heard my voice say the words out loud, so I decided not to recount every single moment blow by blow.

“After you sucked my cock for a few minutes, you looked up at me and told me you couldn't wait another second. You sat up, put your seat back, and turned around, pulling your pants down in the process. Then you arched your back and stuck your ass up and told me to fuck you. But you didn’t tell me … you begged me.”

"You're fucking kidding." Those were the first words that Mark had said in over ten minutes, and the sound of his voice almost startled me.

“No, I'm not. I'm telling you exactly what happened. You’re saying you don’t remember a single moment of this? Nothing I’m telling you sounds familiar at all?”

Mark stared at me for a long time but didn’t say a word.

“You were so freaking wet,” I continued. “Like, wetter than any omega I've ever been with in my entire life. You kept telling me that it was just for me, that you’d never wanted anyone like you wanted me. You told me that I was your first, that it was perfect because I would be the first to ever come inside you.”

After a long pause, Mark spoke. “So did you?” His voice was shaking, and his words came out barely above a whisper. “Did you come inside me?"

“Yes.”

“So that means …” Mark said slowly like he was finally putting all the images in his head together and could see them clearly for the first time.

“That means you’re probably pregnant with my baby.”



Chapter Three


Mark



I sat there staring at my hands and wished the ground would open up underneath me. That the universe would do what I wanted for once and allow me to disappear. I could feel Landon’s eyes burning into the side of my head, but I couldn't bear to look into them again.

The thing was, he was right. Everything he’d said was true. I didn’t remember it all right away, but as he spoke, it was like a movie playing in my head in slow motion. I saw all of it. I remembered every single moment. And I could still feel him inside me. I even started tingling and getting hard when the memories came back. I had an impulse to grab him and kiss him and I wanted to feel his cock filling me up again. Suddenly, I wanted him so badly I couldn’t think straight.

I didn't understand what the hell was going on. I'd never felt anything like this before in my life. I'd slept with plenty of other guys before—tons of betas and some omegas—but that’s all it ever was. Just sex. All my adult life I’d never been sure if I was even capable of associating love or feelings or anything like that with sex. I always figured I was built differently. That I was a loner and always would be.

But now I felt so different. I actually wanted Landon to touch me. But not just touch me … I wanted him to take care of me … be with me … love me. And that scared the hell out of me because I’d never thought those words in my life, let alone said them to anyone. And there was no way in hell I could say those words to him. I was a cop for crying out loud.

“That’s why I brought this up, Mark. We need to talk about what we’re going to do if you are pregnant.”

Before I could answer—or pretend like I was going to, because I didn’t think I’d be able to get another word out for the rest of the day without bursting into tears—a call came through on the radio. A hold up on the other side of town. Landon replied that we were on our way and took off, which put an abrupt ending to the conversation.

For the rest of the day, everything was business as usual. Landon didn't bring up anything that had happened last night again and he didn't seem to be addressing me any differently. But every time my eyes caught his I could see it. That look of pity. That look that told me exactly how he felt about me now that I was an omega. He didn’t respect me or see me as an equal anymore. How could he? Omegas were second-class citizens. Always had been, always would be. No matter how many token omegas they stuck in high-powered positions. They were for show. To make it seem like we had come a long way since the days of birth farms and sex houses. Nothing was ever really going to change.

When we got into the precinct, I ducked out before he had a chance to bring last night up again. I drove home, picking up some Chinese take-out on the way, then crawled into bed, turned on the TV, and hid from the world.

I knew everything Landon said to me today was true. That I had not only transformed into an omega overnight, but that I had thrown myself at him. At my best friend and partner. I was humiliated and couldn’t even fathom facing him at work.

I was incredibly relieved that none of what had happened that night came up the next day, or the day after that. An entire week went by without any kind of conversation between the two of us other than work-related discussions. A part of me hoped that maybe the whole embarrassing event would pass by without ever coming up again. But I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be that lucky.

Especially when I started having problems keeping anything down. Another week passed since that embarrassing conversation, and everything Landon said had been continually spinning around in my head ever since. I made every effort to avoid him or any casual conversation that might lead to an opening for him to discuss my possible pregnancy.

At first, I chalked it up to the flu. The constant queasiness and mornings spent huddled up in one of the men’s room stalls were easily dismissed as that, or food poisoning. But after a week of no other symptoms, I had to consider other possibilities. Or one possibility in particular.

"You okay?"

I could hear Landon shuffling around outside the stall door and I hoped if I didn’t say anything he would go away. In that moment, I wanted everything to go away. My whole miserable life. “Of course I’m okay. I must have eaten something bad, is all. I’ll be out in a minute."

Landon didn’t say anything, but I could still hear him right outside the door. He wasn’t going to leave me alone so that I could be miserable in peace. “All week?” Landon asked finally. “You’ve been throwing up every morning for a week straight, Mark. I think you need to go to see a doctor."

I stood up and pulled the stall door open and there he was. The big, hulking alpha that did this to me. And even though I was still unable to admit to myself what was going on, I blamed him. For everything. I wanted to let him know how much he was annoying me, but I was feeling too weak to yell at him like I wanted. So, I pushed past him and yanked on the door so it slammed shut behind me.

“I don’t need to go to any freaking doctor,” I said as I stalked over to the sink and gripped it, trying to keep myself from shaking. I bent down and rinsed out my mouth, then wash my hands for way longer than necessary so I didn’t have to look up at the mirror and see him staring at me with that look of pity I was sure he had plastered all over his face. I was furious, and I wanted to blame someone for what was happening to me, but deep down I knew it wasn't Landon’s fault.

As much as I wanted to pin this on him, I knew the person I was really angry with—the one I couldn’t forgive for betraying me—was me. This was all my fault. I was the one that had turned into a week, simpering, pregnant omega. There was nothing to blame but my own goddamned genes.

As I stood there and watched the water spiral around in the sink and down the drain, I realized that what I really wanted, more than anything in the world, was for Landon to come up behind me and wrap his arms around me. I wanted that big, hulking alpha to make it all better. But how could I ask him to do something like that when it had never been a part of our relationship? We were both big, strong men who took care of other people. People who were in trouble or who needed help.

That’s how I had come to define myself—through my strength and my ability to be of service to others. How the hell could I let myself be the weak one? How could I let someone else take care of me? Especially the alpha I looked up to more than any other person in my life? “I’m ready," I said, still avoiding eye contact with Landon. I dried my hands and pushed my way through the men’s room door without looking back. "Let's get out of here."



Chapter 4


Landon



I had no idea what to do. I didn't want to make Mark any angrier than he already was, but he needed help. He needed to see a doctor and he needed someone to be with him. Not because he was weak or couldn’t handle the pregnancy on his own, but because he deserved to be taken care of. He didn’t have to do this on his own. But I didn’t have any idea how to convince him of that.

I knew he didn’t have food poisoning or the flu or anything like that. He was already starting to show. Pregnancies for omegas were a lot different than they had been for beta or omega females. When a female became pregnant—before the pandemic that caused all women on the planet to gradually become sterile—they had the standard nine months of steadily growing belly, hips, and breasts. In omega males, the gestation period only lasted five months and everything happened very quickly. It was basically pregnancy on steroids. And after just two weeks I could already see Mark’s belly popping out over the top of his suddenly too-tight jeans.

"What about your brother?" I asked as we headed out to the cruiser.

"What about him?" Mark snapped.

There was that defensiveness again. He’d been like that for weeks. I’d been wanting to say something every minute of every day, but I could tell it would only make Mark angry. If only he would let me touch him, I knew I could make him feel better. I knew that my energy would calm him and make this all so much easier.

But I wasn't going to do anything without his permission. Not after what happened that night. Even though he was the one who came on to me, I could have stopped everything. I could have been a better person and told him we should wait. If I had—if I had just been able to control myself—he wouldn’t be averting his eyes every time I looked at him.

So now there was no way I was going to force anything on him. Even if he was carrying my baby. The only thing I could do was try to talk to him—show him that I cared what happened to him. That was all I could think to do to help Mark through this. That and hope that he would come to his senses and let me take care of him.

"Well, he's a doctor. Maybe he can tell you what's going on."

“I’m not going to see my brother."

"Why not? You need to see someone, Mark, and he’s family. He can help you.”

"Why? Why am I the one that needs to see someone? It's not fair."

I opened the cruiser door and slid behind the wheel. “You’re not even making sense, Mark. We both know why you need to see a doctor. So you can either pretend like you don't know what’s going on, or you can act like an adult and go get yourself checked out. Because either way you choose to deal with this, we both know what's coming out of you in four months."

"Why do you keep saying that?" Mark mumbled as I backed out of the parking space. “It could be anything. What makes you so sure?"

“Well, for one thing, you smell very different to me.”

Mark’s entire body stiffened up and his hands clenched up into fists like the other day. “Like what? What do I smell like?”

I smiled and chuckled a little. “Well, ever since you’ve been using that pheromone suppression body wash, or whatever the hell it is, you smell like one of those tree-shaped car deodorizers.”

“Gee thanks,” Mark said. “What did I smell like before that?” His voice had softened a little and sounded curious. Almost like a little kid. It was a huge relief after all the gruffness and anger of the last weeks.

I paused for a moment, letting my mind go back to that night, even though I knew it was dangerous. “Like a summer breeze blowing through a fruit orchard. Sweet and fresh and … so fucking amazing,” I said, closing my eyes for a second before I remembered I was driving. “I’ve never smelled anything like it … like you,” I said, looking over at Mark. He was actually facing me, actually making eye contact.

“That’s it?”

“Isn’t that enough?” I said, laughing out loud. “Look, Mark, I could feel it. Not just that something about you was different, but that …”

“What?” he asked, his body starting to relax a bit.

It felt like … when we were together … that we belonged together. That we fit together perfectly.” As those words came out of my mouth I stared straight ahead at the road in front of me. Now I was the one that couldn’t make myself turn to face him. “And I don’t understand why you don’t feel it too.”

Mark didn’t say anything, and even though telling him what I’d been feeling for weeks was hard, I kept going. “I’ve never reacted to anyone like I reacted to you that night, Mark. And I’ve never knotted inside anyone … ever.”

“You knotted inside me? You didn’t tell me that.”

“I didn’t really get the chance. I know I should have, but you haven’t been that easy to talk to these last couple weeks. But that’s why I’m sure, Mark. I know you’re pregnant with my baby. And since your brother is an omega gynecologist, I figured—”

"I told you, Landon, I’m not talking to my brother, so forget about that. This is humiliating enough as it is without bringing him into it."

Hearing Mark say those words was like taking a knife to the chest. I didn’t know if he was just humiliated by the fact that he was pregnant, or if it was also because the baby was mine. I knew that this was a big change for Mark to be going through, but it didn’t even occur to me that the reason he didn’t want to talk to his brother was because he was embarrassed.

I drove silently for a while, trying to catch my breath because I had almost made a complete fool out of myself. I had almost pulled the car over, grabbed Mark and told him how I felt. I wanted so badly for him to know that in the last two weeks I've gone from seeing him as my best friend in the world to being madly in love with him. But there was no way I could do that now. Not if this whole thing—including my involvement—was a big embarrassment to him.

“You got it,” I said as I gripped the steering wheel. “I won’t bother you about it anymore.” But even as those words came out of my mouth I knew they weren’t true. There was no way I could sit by and let Mark go through all this alone, even if he didn’t want me to have anything to do with the pregnancy or the baby. I’d have to find some way to help him, even if I had to go against his wishes. I couldn’t sit by and watch him suffer like this. It was killing me to see him so miserable.

I promised myself I wouldn’t say anything more that day, but the subject was going to come up again. It was going to be obvious to everyone down at the precinct very soon that Mark was carrying a baby, and when that happened, he would have to let me help him.


***


After questioning some suspects that seemed loosely connected to the fertility clinic arsons, we responded to a call on a stolen car parked outside an abandoned warehouse. That was starting to sound like the m.o. of the fringe group that was under suspicion. They seemed to be squatting, or at the very least spending a lot of their time, in some of the abandoned warehouses in Old Town.

After we ran a check on the plates, a big part of me wanted to tell Mark to stay in the car—that it would be no big deal for me to run in and check things out. But I knew there was no way that was going to fly. We both got out of the car and quickly moved up against one of the walls near some dumpsters. I didn’t know if there was anyone inside, but after what went on at the last empty warehouse, I wanted to play it safe.

“You wanna take the front or the back?” he asked as he reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun.

“We could go in the front entrance together,” I said, trying to sound natural—like I’d ever said anything like that to Mark in the five years we’d been on the streets together. “There’s probably no one in there.”

“You’re joking, right? What if there is? They’ll see us both coming in and head out the back.” Mark scowled at me for a moment, then continued. “I’ll go around back. Give me a minute to get down the alley.”

I stood there behind the dumpster and watched Mark head down the narrow space between the two dark buildings, then disappear around the corner. I knew he would be pissed, but I got on my phone and asked for backup. I had a bad feeling about those guys that had taken shots at me last time, and we were within blocks of that warehouse.

After I made the call, I headed down the alley and followed the path Mark had taken to the rear entrance. I knew it wasn't a very effective way to go after these criminals if they were actually in there. But suddenly I was way more interested in making sure my mate was safe.

Just as I turned the corner of the building, I noticed a metal door closing. That had to have been Mark. I ran up before the door shut and grabbed it, then slipped into the dark building without making a sound. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, but before they did, a massive blast of gunfire filled the room.

I jumped behind a column and looked around the dark room to see if I could locate Mark or any of the shooters. As my eyes got used to the low light, I spotted Mark behind another column just ten feet way. The shooters had obviously spotted him too because that column was getting completely blitzed by gunfire. I couldn’t see where the shooters were, but I could tell from the angle of the chunks of cement that were falling off the column that they were up above us. They had to have been somewhere on the scaffolding that surrounded the main floor.

Mark looked right at me and gave me a hand gesture that seemed to ask what the hell I was doing there. I motioned for him to stay where he was, then stepped away from the column and aimed high. I quickly spotted one of the shooters and pegged him with my first shot. Then I jumped back behind the column.

I watched in horror as Mark did the same thing. He stepped out from behind his column and fired up into a section of the building that I couldn’t see. I reacted within seconds. I’m not sure there was a single thought in my head other than to protect my mate at all costs. Pure alpha instinct came over me as I ran towards Mark and lunged at him, grabbing him around the shoulders and bringing him down to the ground so that I could cover his body with mine.

It felt like everything was happening in slow motion. As soon as our bodies hit the ground, I watched two bullets put massive holes in the column right where Mark had been standing. I rolled over and aimed my gun where the shots had come from, and after squeezing the trigger five times in quick succession brought a second shooter down. I glanced wildly around the room, aiming my gun in every corner until I was sure that the threat of more bullets raining down around us was completely gone.

I lay there, trying to catch my breath for a minute when I heard Mark scramble to his feet.

"What the fuck, Landon?" he yelled. I looked up at him and his eyes were filled with fury. “I’m not even capable of doing my job anymore? Is that what you think? You have to fucking protect me?”

"No, that's not it all! You don't understand, Mark—“

"Oh, I understand, all right,” he said as he brushed his clothes off. "I understand that I'm a second-class citizen to you now, just like to everyone else. All I am to you is an omega that needs to be made pregnant, then swept aside so he can take care of the house and kids!” Mark yelled as he stalked to the metal door we’d come in through. He pulled the door open, then turned around and looked right at me. “Well, you can go straight to hell!” Mark kicked the door so that it crashed into the wall before it slammed shut, causing a thundering echo to bounce off the walls of the empty warehouse.

After he disappeared outside, I sat up and put my head in my hands. I didn’t understand how something I’d wanted for so long could be going so incredibly bad.



Chapter Five


Mark



As I left the warehouse I saw some black and whites pulling around to the back of the building. Landon must have called for backup. Awesome. I didn’t remember him calling for backup once in the five years we’d been working together. But now he felt like it was necessary. Because of me. He obviously didn’t trust me anymore and thought I was pretty much helpless.

I waved the men over to the open warehouse door as they got out of their cars but kept walking around the corner and back down the alley. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I wanted to get to the cruiser and get the hell out of there.

I was so mad at Landon I couldn’t see straight. I couldn’t believe he felt like he had to protect me—that I couldn't handle my job anymore. After five years, I finally saw what he really thought of me. But how could I blame him? It was the way the whole world saw omegas. Including me.


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