“It’s okay, little one,” he murmured in reassurance, his hands paused over her leg for a moment to let her get used to the idea. “I just need to look at this. You’re hurt. You know that. Don’t you?”
She did. He knew she did. She was more intelligent and aware than he’d have expected any omega to be. The way she’d moved, protecting her injured limb, proved that.
Watching him for long moments, finally she gave a small nod. His lips quirked, amusement filling him. The little omega had given him permission.
As if that changed anything.
He checked her injury gently, concern growing as he saw the extent of the infection and the unhealthy color of the skin around the wound. She wouldn’t have lasted much longer out there. He wasn’t sure how she was still on her feet. What he had on hand might not be enough to heal her completely, but it would be a start. A few days of rest and food would do as much for her as the medicine. Then, he’d need to take her to Zabor T’ah, the citadel he and the other members of his clan called home.
Savannah woke slowly, warm and comfortable. For a second she allowed herself to lie there, savoring the last moments of sleep. It was the only place either she or her mother were truly at peace, even if only for a little while. Then it hit her and her eyes snapped open.
She wasn’t with her mother. She’d been taken.
Off the bed before she could register where she was, she tried to run, only for her leg to fold underneath her, dropping her to the floor in an undignified sprawl. A large pair of boots appeared in her field of vision.
“I numbed your leg to treat your wound,” a deep voice said.
An alpha. She gasped and scrambled backward until her shoulders hit the side of the bed. Then she looked up. An alpha towered over her, tall and broad-shouldered, a dark expression on his face as he looked down at her.
“Is there a reason you keep winding up on the floor, little one? Do you have a balance issue I need to know about?”
“No. I... wait. When was I on the floor before now?” The question was fueled by fear, not curiosity.
“Last night when I tried to treat your wound. You fell off the bed.” The big man crouched down beside her. “I am A’rath. Your alpha. What is your name?”
Her alpha? Oh. Hell. No. What had happened last night? Where was she? Even ruined, it was the most beautiful place she’d ever seen.
So was he. And that was the most unsettling thing of all. The man in front of her was tall and golden skinned with a mop of unruly dark curls and a jaw shadowed by several days of beard growth. He was clean and didn’t stink like the other alphas she’d met. And he was... being nice.
She had to be dreaming. Nice alphas didn’t exist.
Without looking away from him, she reached down. A new dressing wrapped her leg, but the only part of her clothing that had been touched was where he’d cut away her pant leg.
She narrowed her eyes. “You only treated my wound?”
As soon as she said the words, she knew he had. There was no way an alpha had taken her, knotted her, and she would be in any fit state to have a conversation. She probably wouldn’t even be conscious.
Reaching up, she boosted herself to sit on the edge of the bed. Whatever he’d done, her injured leg was numb from the knee down. “Why would you do this? Why would you help me?”
“Name,” he reminded her as he got to his feet. He wasn’t as big as some of his kind, but he was big enough to tower over her. “I want your name. As for why, I told you already. You are my omega. Mine to care for and protect.” He shrugged. “That is how this works.”
“Mine.” He folded his arms across his powerful chest. “Name.”
“Savannah.” There was no harm in giving him that much information.
“Savannah,” he repeated, rolling the name off his tongue with satisfaction. “How are you feeling, Savannah?”
“I can’t walk properly,” she said, frowning as she tried to rotate her ankle. “And I’m not your omega.”
He growled at that and took a step closer. She reared back, pulling her legs up to try and scoot across the bed. But he snapped a hand out, catching her trailing ankle in a firm grip.
“What was that?”
“I am not your omega.” She threw caution to the wind. “I’m not an omega at all.”
“Do not lie to me.” He kept hold of her uninjured leg and leaned in, making a show of inhaling deeply. “I know what you are.”
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