Rath (The Omega Collective #2) by Mina Carter



Food! Nothing like the cakes or cooking meat she’d been tempted by before. These were field rations. The squares were sealed in some kind of foil she had to tear at with her teeth and fingers. Once it was opened, she crammed a bit of the soft cake into her mouth and moaned. She didn’t know what it tasted like and she didn’t care. It was food.

A canteen lay at the bottom of the pack and she pulled it out while still chewing. She pried the lid off and held it in both hands, sniffing at the contents. Water. She took a sip to confirm it was untainted and then drank half the container in long, greedy swallows. Her stomach cramped and she forced herself to stop drinking. Too much and she’d throw it back up. She couldn’t afford to do that.

Carefully, she tightened the lid back on the canteen and put it back in the pack. She did the same with the unfinished ration, sealing it up in the foil as best she could before putting that away as well. Making sure the blanket was wrapped securely, she looped her arms through the backpack in case she had to run. She wasn’t leaving it behind. It was the only way she had to survive.

Knees drawn up, she rested her cheek on the top of the pack and closed her eyes. Already she could feel the shivers setting in. The wound on her leg wasn’t right. She knew that, but she’d been through this kind of thing before. She would survive or she wouldn’t. That wasn’t her decision to make. All she could do was focus on what she could control. And right now, that meant sleep. A couple of hours was all she needed, and then she would move again.

Her eyes fluttered closed finally and she drifted off...





Finally.

The little omega had proven herself to be far more cunning than he’d expected. In fact, she wasn’t acting like an omega at all, but his sensitive sense of smell told him that’s what she was. Even though these Terran omegas weren’t the ones he was used to, the scent was unmistakable.

A’rath of the H’thor clan sat watching from his vantage point across the street for hours, in turns amused and amazed by the little human’s stubbornness. She had ignored every trap he’d set, and even now she was wary. She had to be starving and he knew she was wounded. He’d seen the way she limped, her pale face drawn and shadowed with pain and fever, and he caught the trace of blood on the air.

No omega should be on her own like that. It was wrong. She needed protection. His protection.

It had taken everything he had not to track her down and capture her by force. The only thing that had stopped him was the utter fear on her face the other day when she’d almost walked into A’rett, his brother. He’d been about to step out of the shadows, trapping her between them, but at the scent of her terror he’d paused, only to have his instinct backed up by the fear in her eyes as she’d run like a frightened little rabbit. She hadn’t seen him, almost brushing by him as she ran, but he’d been entranced from that moment.

Unfolding himself from his vantage point, he dropped down to the ground as lightly as he could. He heard the smallest crunch of stone underfoot and he froze, his gaze cutting to the huddled little form. Her breathing had altered, her instincts still trying to warn her even though he’d laced the water with a mild sedative and antibiotic. He’d been careful with the doses. She was so tiny he didn’t want to overdose her and kill her.

He stayed motionless until her breathing lengthened out again and then moved closer on silent feet until he stood over her. Crouching down, he lifted a hand, about to brush the hair away from her face.

Then, unexpectedly, she opened her eyes.

The moon came out from behind a cloud, and for a moment he could see her clearly. Elfin features almost lost beneath the dirt and grime, her silver-blue eyes gleamed in the moonlight. She made a soft sound and shifted deeper into her makeshift burrow, but the drugs had dulled the edges of her reflexes.

“Hello, little one.” He crouched in front of her, blocking her escape. “You will come with me now.”

“No,” the word came out low and fuzzy. “Go away.”

He chuckled. “Not without you. You’re wounded and sick. I have soft blankets and a warm place for you to sleep.” He held out his hand. “Come. Now.”

Something flashed in her eyes, a moment of primal instinct. “No!”

He’d expected her to run, or cry, or try to hide. He hadn’t expected her to come at him with a blade. His surprise didn’t dull his instincts, and he dodged her wild swing easily, catching her wrist and disarming her in the same movement. In no version of reality was a tiny, drugged little human any match for him.