The Omegas by Annie Nicolas
Only a vampire is man enough to teach werewolves how to fight.
The Vanguards, #1
Pretty librarian Sugar wants her life to stay quiet. That’s hard enough when friends and neighbors turn into furry wolves every full moon. But when a hot vampire gets involved, life’s bound to get complicated.
The Omega have always been the pansies of the paranormal. Now Chicago’s top werewolf pack has issued them a life or death challenge. Their only option: hire a vampire warrior to teach them the moves.
Daedalus has been a powerful vampire for ages. Intrigued by the chance to train the geeks of the underworld, he wasn’t bargaining on losing his heart to a human. Can he make the Omegas a success, fit into Sugar’s quiet life, and avoid being ripped to shreds in the process?
A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance
All rights reserved, Lyrical Press, Inc.
Eric strode into the living room holding an envelope. “I found the solution to our problem.”
Sugar uncurled her legs and sat up straighter. They had both survived growing up in the same low-income neighborhood. Friendship forged in such fires never died.
He handed her a sealed envelope and joined the rest of his wolf shifter pack lounging on her mismatched furniture.
Sugar examined the front, then the back of it. “Pal Robi Incorporated. What’s this?”
“It’s our salvation.” Eric shifted in his seat to lean forward. “Read it to everyone.”
She glanced at him. What was he up to? Sliding her fingernail under the corner, she tore it open. The letter was printed on good quality paper with a huge golden company emblem stamped at the top. An errant blond curl slid in front of her eyes and she shoved it back behind her ear.
To the Omega pack:
I have reviewed the details of your plight. Pal Robi Incorporated deals mostly in security issues, but I find your problem worthy of my personal attention. Enclosed you will find a non-negotiable contract. Please review it closely, and have your signature notarized. The return fax number is listed on the contract so proceedings can begin. Mail the original to my office. Thank you for your business.
Daedalus Pal Robi
Cold claws of fear gripped her stomach. What had she gotten herself tangled in? She wasn’t pack, just a plain vanilla human. The Omegas were her neighbors and also her closest friends, all outcasts from their old packs.
Driven by loneliness, Eric had solicited Sugar to help him search for others like himself. Werewolves with no attitude. Geeks of the underworld. Pansies of the paranormal.
Their friendship spanned years, since high school, when he’d rescued her from a home of drug abuse. Eric had treated her like a little sister, advising her on life in general. When he survived his werewolf attack, both their worlds shattered and their roles reversed.
Eric found four others to join him: Sam, Tyler, Katrina and Robert. No alphas ruled this pack. They needed each other, so they became a family. All five lived in the apartment next to her.
Eyes wide, Eric held his hands out in front of him. “Mr. Pal Robi is offering to teach us how to fight.”
Sugar tilted her head as she surveyed her friend. “Yeah, I bet for a substantial fee. How can you guys afford this?” He always thought with his heart.
Eric looked at his pack, pleading. “Before you make any judgments, let’s have Sugar read the contract out loud.”
She held it in front of her.
This is an agreement between Pal Robi Incorporated and Eric, Sam, Katrina, Tyler, and Robert, from here forward to be known as the Omegas.
1. Pal Robi Inc. will provide to the Omegas, training in defense, hand-to-hand combat and small weapons use.
2. Training will take place for the duration of the period beginning with the trainer’s arrival until the challenge date.
3. Combat training is inherently dangerous. Pal Robi Inc. is not responsible for injury or death sustained during such training.
4. Trainer will not intentionally hurt and-or kill any Omega during the period of this agreement.
“What the heck? Death…kill–” What had Eric done? She stared at him, but he waved for her to continue.
Responsibilities of the Omegas:
1. Omegas will provide appropriate lodging for trainer from Pal Robi.
2. Omegas will provide daylight security of said trainer.
She stumbled over the word daylight and re-read it quietly before continuing out loud.
3. Omegas will submit to the direction of the trainer without question for the duration of the training.
1. Omegas agree to pay Pal Robi Inc. $8,000 in cash prior to the beginning of training.
2. In addition, Omegas will provide the trainer with fresh, consumable blood upon request.
She gasped. “You hired a vampire?” Her shout shattered the silence in her living room.
The other wolf shifters responded to her outburst with low growls directed at Eric.
With a heavy sigh, she continued reading.
1. Failure to provide payment renders this agreement null and void.
2. Failure to abide by the terms specified represents a breach of contract, which renders the agreement null and void.
3. Breach of contract will result in an immediate investigation. Vengeance will be swift and unmerciful.
Sugar placed the contract on her lap, unable to find words to express her trepidation.
Robert held up his hand to speak, like a kid in a classroom.
She sighed. How could this pack of puppies fight a pack of wolves? “Robert, speak up. You don’t need to ask permission to talk anymore, remember?”
He grinned sheepishly. “What do they mean, ‘vengeance will be swift and unmerciful’?”
They turned to Eric, but Tyler answered. “It means if anything happens to the vamp, we can kiss our asses goodbye.”
Sugar folded the letter closed. She agreed with Tyler. Vampires were bad news. Literally, all over the news swearing they had turned a new leaf and didn’t hunt humans anymore. Nobody would catch her becoming a donor any time soon.
Eric stood and faced his pack mates, staring at each one in turn. “How can we not hire him? The Ayumu pack officially challenged us. One of us has to fight and beat one of their soldiers in a month. There’s no other way.”
“We will be absorbed again,” Katrina whispered in her thick Asian accent, as she hugged her knees tight against her chest. Being a submissive female in a pack equated to being anyone’s mate. Sugar had tried to help Katrina come to terms with those old wounds, but they kept her captive.
Tyler shuffled closer to Katrina, petting her long, black, silken tresses. She shrank from him, fear etched on her delicate features.
He looked at Sugar and shrugged.
She crumpled the letter in her hand. How did preying on weaker members of the pack equate to strength? She just couldn’t understand shifter culture.
“You should run away.” The weight of Sugar’s words hung in the sudden silence.
Eric crossed his arms. “There will always be another Ayumu pack wherever we go. We’re finally happy. We have jobs, friends, and a home. It’s all worth fighting for, right guys?”
Sugar’s heart sank as she watched her friends’ expressions harden. So it would be a fight.
They nodded to each other, sealing their fates.
There went their quiet life.
Worst of all, a vampire would be moving in next door.
* * * *
Daedalus Pal Robi strode across the foyer of his house and tossed his car keys to a passing vampire. “Can you park it in the garage for me? I’m done hunting for the night.” He pointed to a piece of wood protruding from his abdomen. That was a close call. He would let the others think the vampire-gone-bad he’d been hunting and finally killed had done this. In truth, a clumsy fall had almost ended his long existence.
The human police were discovering decapitated bodies in the river. They thought a serial killer responsible so far. Daedalus knew better; decapitation was an excellent way to hide bite marks, same as burning the bodies or shredding the flesh to make it look like a shifter kill. As Nosferatu Prime of Northeastern America, it was his responsibility to take care of these issues before the humans discovered the truth. Vampires didn’t need more bad publicity. History had given them plenty.
Daedalus had killed the lazy bastard. It didn’t take much effort tracking and staking him. In his over-confidence, Daedalus had spun around to leave and tripped on a fucking extension cord. It sent him flying face-forward onto an antique wooden chair, hence the chair leg sticking out of his stomach. A little to the left and two inches higher and he’d have been nothing but a pile of dust.
His nest mate stared at the injury. “Do you need help, Master?”
“Nah. Just a flesh wound. It won’t take long to heal.” He closed the door to his study behind him and crossed the room to the fireplace. Leaning against the mantle with one hand, he wrapped the other around the wooden shaft. He took a deep breath and yanked the son of a bitch out.
“Fuck.” Wood burned. It didn’t matter where in the body it stabbed him. He tossed the piece into the fire and rested his forehead against the mantle. Blood trickled from the wound in a steady thin stream. He’d have to feed to finish the healing process.
He pressed his hand to the wound and retreated to his comfy chair close to the fireplace. That was too close. If he’d perished, how would people remember him? The Infernal Champion of the Brotherhood, Vile Butcher of Babylon, and Subjugator of the Accords, to name a few of his titles.
For the last two hundred years he’d been trying to be good. Whatever that meant. It started out as an experiment but over the last century it had transformed into a true desire. After an age of depravity and lack of role models, he still wasn’t clear what he should and shouldn’t be doing.
The Vampire Council had ordered no killing of humans, so he enforced that law to the best of his ability. If a few unsavory ones vanished in the night and nobody missed them, then he turned the other way. Ridding the human race of evildoers seemed good.
Someone knocked on the door.
He jerked in his chair at the sharp noise and stifled a moan at the stabbing pain. Careless again. Too lost in his thoughts, he hadn’t heard the footsteps. He’d grown complacent in a job surrounded by his loyal nest. “What?” Yanking his leather jacket closed, he hid his healing injury.
The door cracked open and Clementine, his vampire secretary, stepped inside, her eyes downcast as always. She hurried across the room and handed him a large business envelope. “This arrived while you were gone, Master.”
“Thank you.” He glanced at the return address, glimpsing the word Chicago, and fingered the edges of the seal. It wouldn’t befit a Prime to tear it open like a boy on Christmas morning. “Could you call for a donor to attend me, Clementine? I feel like eating in tonight.”
She bobbed her head and backed out of the room. One day she’d stop fearing him, he hoped.
Ripping open the envelope, he saw what he’d been hoping for. The shifters had signed the contract. He could afford to leave his nest for a few months and take this small side job. He grinned and buzzed his personal security team.
“We’re going to Chicago tomorrow night. Come by my study so we can make arrangements.” Training a few shifters to defend themselves seemed like a good thing to do.