It’s Friday, it’s time for my weekly guest author slot, and today I’ll welcome author N.J. Lysk, who writes in the insanely popular Alpha/Omega Shifters genre. If you like your romance with fur, teeth and pack dynamics, then stay right here. It’s not a genre I’m at all familiar with, but I’m intrigued by the way N.J. expains the concept and the content of the series here:
Once upon a time, there was an author who thought they could write mindless porn where a guy unexpectedly presented as omega (code for: in this magic world some guys get pregnant) and got assigned five alpha mates. And then all these people grew feelings and a conscience and there was a LOT of angst. Since its humble origins as a fantasy inside my head, The Stars of the Pack has grown into almost 300,000 words about family, love, choice, bodily autonomy, and the meaning of independence. It got way deeper than I meant it to, what can I say? Once an English Major…
Omega for the Pack
When Ray presents as an omega instead of an alpha, his life changes forever. As a male omega, he’s expected to mate with a select group of alphas and start a pack of his own.
The five men selected for him are as different as they are keen. And one of them is his best friend, Josh, who Ray was sure could never return his feelings. But now they all must deal with the mating instinct that the power of the Moon brings out in them; and after that… Ray will have bigger problems than a crush.
Can Ray become the submissive omega his pack needs him to be? Will the alphas understand how hard it is for him, or demand more than he can give?
Excerpt from Omega for the Pack by N.J. Lysk
Of course it was Josh who found him, naked and huddling in a cave where they’d played as children. Ray had felt his presence, but the cave didn’t have another exit and there was nowhere else for him to go, anyway. Packs weren’t just blood, but loyalty and protection, and a lone wolf didn’t live long.
He heard a rustling sound but only understood it when Josh announced, “I’ve left your clothes.”
Then he heard his friend step away. So he was allowed to get dressed before he had to come and face the music. He hesitated a moment longer: When he put on those clothes, he’d have no excuse to stay in the cave anymore. The chase would be over, and he’d be caught.
But then he realised that every second he took, he was proving them right, proving an omega was afraid. He didn’t like the cards he’d drawn, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t face it. He couldn’t choose. He couldn’t walk away. Fine. But he wasn’t going to quiver and cringe like a limpet. It didn’t matter what they did to him, they couldn’t change who he was.
And Raymond Halley might not be an alpha, but he wasn’t a coward.
When he emerged, Josh turned clumsily in his direction. Ray saw him swallow thickly. They hadn’t seen each other at all since before Ray had presented. Ray didn’t know what he had expected, but Josh looked the same: tanned skin over thick muscle, luminous hazel eyes, his lips curved on the cusp of a smile even though there was nothing happy about his expression. But he was looking at Ray in a completely new way—half like he was afraid of him, half like he was afraid of startling him again. Josh, who’d delighted in scaring the crap out of him after every horror movie and in every haunted house. Ray wondered if he could punch an alpha, as long as it wasn’t his alpha yet. Yet… He had to exhale and look away for a moment to collect his thoughts.
Josh was only a little taller than Ray, so little the only way to tell was if they stood back to back, not that he’d ever stopped ribbing Ray about it before. Now he’d think…
“Ray,” his friend said. He was flushed enough to be visible, even in the twilight. “Your uncle told me, and I wanted to help,” Josh explained. “I promise. I just want to help.”
Ray snorted, bitter and hurt, and turned away for a moment to gather the strength to speak. It was harder now. His wolf knew it was in front of an alpha, it wanted to submit. “I’m sure that’s all you want.”
“It’s all I want,” Josh insisted, and it rang true, heart steady, breathing agitated but even. “And if I want something else later, it will only be to help you.”
Ray almost laughed. It would not have been a happy sound, and he was so full of anger and indignation that he didn’t dare let any of it out for fear of what else might escape. “So you’re doing me a favour,” he finally said. This time he didn’t even try to look at Josh. He couldn’t fight his wolf and himself at the same time.
“I’m doing what I have to do to keep you safe,” Josh replied.
“Safe?” he repeated. “Did you hear what my uncle said?”
“You know you will be safe. No alpha would ever harm you.”
“Then why? Why you? Why—”
“Because I know you, Ray, and I know what you want. And I can keep it all from overwhelming you. What you have to do… it doesn’t have to be your whole life.”
And that was when the wolf lost the battle: Ray threw himself at Josh. He got him in the gut, hard enough to leave him whizzing, and almost hit him again before he realised that Josh wasn’t fighting back.
“Hit me,” he demanded, shaking Josh hard enough to make his teeth rattle. It wasn’t the first fistfight they’d got into with each other, and it wouldn’t be the last. They would never really hurt each other, of course. That was part of the appeal, they could let loose with someone strong enough to take it.
“I can’t!” Josh panted, trying to push him away, but not hard enough to succeed.
“What the fuck do you mean you can’t?” Ray spit out, pushing him in turn, hard enough to tumble him to the ground.
Josh looked up at him, not attempting to get to his feet. “That fucking hurt, Raymond, but I couldn’t… I can’t.”
“You said you wanted to help,” Ray reminded him. Slowly enough not to startle, Josh got to his knees, then his feet until he was looking Ray in the eye again.
“I need… I’ve just lost everything. I can’t…”
Josh took a decisive step forward and pulled until Ray was stumbling into his arms. It was only the familiar roughness of the gesture that kept Ray from pushing him away.
“No, you fucking haven’t,” Josh said indignantly. “You have me.”
Ray shook in his arms, with fury, or loss, or desperation. “But the others…”
“They’re good guys, Ray. Your uncle consulted with me. They’re all guys you know; guys we can trust.”
Ray thumped his head against Josh’s collarbone. “How can there be good guys for this?”
He felt so lost, untethered from reality as he knew it, with only Josh to keep him grounded. Except this wasn’t Ray’s best friend, the guy who had his back and knew all his embarrassing teenage stories. This guy, smelling unmistakably of alpha, was going to fuck Ray. Not just that, he’d watch as the rest of the new pack did as well. And if the stories were true, Ray would be happily spreading his legs for it. He shuddered, and Josh’s arms tightened around him.
“We need to get back,” he told Ray. He didn’t apologize for it, but he didn’t try to move away. It was such a typical Josh thing to do: remind Ray of his duty, but leave it up to Ray to decide to go through with it.
Of course they had to go back; they were waiting for him. Had all the alphas been waiting all this time? Ray didn’t think he could face them again.
“We don’t need to go back to the meeting hall, just… We can get the others, then we can go to the site. It’s on the other side of the river,” Josh explained. Like Ray could possibly give a fuck about where he was going to be fucked and mated. He pushed out of Josh’s embrace as roughly as he’d been pulled into it. But the intent wasn’t the same. He could see by Josh’s stricken expression that he knew it too.
“Let’s go,” he decided. There was little enough he would be able to decide from then on.
About N.J. Lysk
N.J. Lysk—compulsive reader of all things queer, allergic to silver, and meat eater extraordinaire—decided to write so the werewolves wouldn’t eat her brain (metaphorically, they aren’t zombies!)
With a genuine allergy to silver, a preference for werewolves was always a given, but it wasn’t until the wonderful world of alphas and omegas that inspiration struck.
N.J. likes British English, Earl grey tea, werewolves, polyamory, hockey, social commentary, and power dynamics (ok, and a lot of sex! :p). She can’t stand misused homophones, predictable plots, gender binaries and stereotypes. Also, the Oxford comma.
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