Hello and Happy New Year! Today I'm sharing the first chapter for my upcoming release, Alpha's Desire - Book 1 in the Alpha Omega Force series. This chapter was written to the Top Gun Anthem by Harold Faltermeyer. Yes, Top Gun is one of the inspirations for the story. No, I'm not even a little ashamed of that. I hope you enjoy reading!
Space stretched so far into the distance mathematicians had gone insane trying to calculate the vastness, while philosophers spent their lives theorizing over the meaning of its infinite reach. Rashan did neither. As he flew his jet, he scanned for signs of movement, splitting his attention between the radar and looking directly out the window in front of him. There was nothing there. Nothing but deep, inky black and the glow of distant stars.
He spoke quietly, the microphone in his helmet transmitting his voice to the rest of his squad over the communication link. "I think this is going to be a peaceful and uneventful patrol." His squad mate's response exploded in his ear as soon as he finished.
Rashan grinned at Waylan's vocal disappointment. It was expected, as was the response that followed.
"Any day that we don't have to directly engage with pirates or the Varnos is a good day," Lieutenant Sasha Jemison calmly said.
Rashan understood her viewpoint. No matter how good they were as fighter pilots, battles were dangerous, and they risked their lives in each one. Still, he too was a little disappointed they'd be returning to the ship without seeing anything but space dust.
However, a blip suddenly appeared on Rashan's radar. Followed by another. Then two more. "Guys. We've got company."
"Looks like you jinxed us, Rashan," Tony said.
Already getting into the mindset for a fire fight, Rashan grinned and answered his best friend without much remorse. "Sorry about that."
"Don't be sorry!" Waylan cut in. "I need some action."
"You're such a cowboy," Rashan said with a snort. He teased his friend, but secretly he was glad the Varnos had shown up.
"Stay on me and wait to see what they do. They might stay far enough outside the transport lane to avoid violating the Guion Accords, and pass by us."
Following his lieutenant's instructions, Rashan banked around slightly, staying on Sasha's left as they flew to meet the approaching space crafts. It was unlikely they were friendlies. Space travel was heavily regulated in this section of the Guion Galaxy, and they would have been informed of any expected traffic in this section before the start of their patrol. Which meant it was either pirates or unsanctioned rebels from the Varnos Federation. They'd find out soon who they were dealing with. Once they were in range for a hailing frequency, the lieutenant got on the line.
"Attention! You are approaching a restricted travel lane, protected by the Zareen Earth Alliance Force. Identify yourself for travel approval or change course immediately. Action will be taken if you do not comply."
Flying at a steady pace, his hands light on the controls, Rashan waited for the response to Sasha's order. When it came, it was in a heavily accented voice filled with loathing.
"Shut up, earthling scum."
"Well, that answers that," Rashan offered dryly.
"Yes, it does," Sasha agreed. "Engage but remember, we are not the aggressors. If they attempt to retreat, let them."
"You got it, boss." Rashan pushed up on the accelerator and his jet shot forward, streaking toward the line of small black ships. His radar signaled a shot coming at him a few seconds before he saw it himself. Yanking the controls, he tilted his craft onto the left wing. He avoided the hit but it shot so close underneath him his jet shuddered from the blowback.
Quickly righting himself, Rashan locked onto his target, firing rapid blasts from the gun ports mounted on the front of his wings. His shots connected, and a second later a plume of smoke rose up, stark white against the black of space. The Varnos jet spun and wobbled before steadying itself enough to limp behind its fellow rebels. After that, they all retreated.
Rashan shook his head in disgust as he watched the blips on the radar move farther and farther away before blinking out. "That was pointless."
Waylan laughed. "At least we won."
"So easily I don't even know why they bothered," Tony said in annoyance.
"We'll patrol for another twenty to make sure they've really gone before we return to the ship."
"Roger that," Rashan said with a nod.
For the rest of the patrol, it remained quiet, with no sightings other than a registered cargo ship. So precisely twenty minutes later, they turned to head for home, the Galaxy Ship Marion 3. The ship was massive, as long as three football fields and several levels high. Despite its size, its design was sleek and elegant. The wings flared from its sides in smooth curves while the red-tipped tail rose in a perfect slope. Once they were in sight of their home base, Sasha got back on the comm link.
"Lieutenant Jemison to Flight Command. 29th Star Squadron returning to base. Requesting entrance for four space craft."
"Welcome Back 29th. Permission granted to enter the Marion in gates three and four."
Two of the ship's rear doors for small craft slowly opened, and blinking laser runways guided them in.
Rashan throttled back and flew forward slowly, taking entrance three on the left. Even at his decelerated speed, he was still flying too fast to stop on his own. The arresting wire caught his tail hook, pulling him to a complete stop on the lift before he shot back out into space on the other side.
Rashan started shutting down the weapons system as the lift rose, taking him up to the flight deck. The lift stopped, locking into place with a metallic bang. He rolled forward slowly, driving along the lit path until he reached his assigned bay. After completing his post-flight check, he popped the canopy open and activated the exit ladder.
Once he hit the ground, he gave the gleaming blue jet a small salute. "Thanks for keeping me safe, babe." He pulled off his helmet and waited for Tony, who was exiting his jet in the bay next to him. Tony took his helmet off as he walked over, revealing short, wavy black hair, smooth brown skin, and a close-cropped beard. He flashed a grin at Rashan, his dark eyes lit with amusement.
"You've been flying for two years and you're still talking to your mech?"
Rashan returned his friend's smile, tilting his head back slightly when Tony reached him in order to maintain eye contact. "Hey, don't be jealous. It's not my fault you alphas are too tough to show your mechs any love," he teased.
They waited for the all clear from the runway crew before they crossed to the other side of the deck to the exits. They went up the short staircase together, helmets under their arms, boots loud on the metal grate of the steps. On the landing, they entered the elevator to take them up to the main part of the ship.
"You want to hang out and get something to eat after you gear down?" Tony asked once they reached the floor for their quarters.
Rashan glanced at the time on the status screen they passed. "A little later? I've got an appointment with the med staff in about thirty minutes."
"All right, swing by my room when you're ready."
Their rooms were on different halls, so they said goodbye and split up. Rashan's trip to his room was short, long enough to store his blasters, strip out of his armored flight suit, and change into a tank and sweats before heading to the medical wing.
Everything in this section of the ship was stark white, and smelled so clean it stung his nose. Rashan pressed his thumb to the patient check-in monitor, then took a seat in the waiting area. He only had to wait a few minutes before a nurse came to lead him to an exam room. The nurse directed him to have a seat on the exam table, chatting politely as he checked his blood pressure and weight.
"Okay, everything looks good," the nurse said as he put his equipment away. "The doctor will be with you shortly."
The door slid closed behind the young man with a quiet hiss, leaving Rashan alone to read the health posters on the wall while he waited for the doctor. His favorite featured a cartoon astronaut, wearing a clear, fish-bowl type helmet and sporting an aggressively friendly smile.
Remember the Three Ds and Report Space Sickness to Your Doctor! Dizziness. Disassociating. Depression.
Rashan had never experienced any of those symptoms but a member of their squad was currently on planet side medical leave recovering from a bout of space sickness. As Rashan looked at the poster, he sent up thanks that it hadn't happened to him.
A few minutes later, Dr. Bolden came in. The tall, dark-skin African American, dressed in a white uniform with a red medical logo over his left breast, smiled as he closed the door behind him.
"How are you, Star Officer Grove?"
"I'm fine as always."
"Taking your Vitamin D on the regular?" Dr. Bolden asked as he sat on a rolling stool.
Rashan nodded. "Yes, sir."
"Good. I called you in today because I wanted to talk to you about your suppressant prescription."
"Yeah, I didn't receive my automatic refill this month."
Dr. Bolden tapped through his red data pad for several moments, before looking back at Rashan with a concerned frown. "That's because I can't refill it for you, Officer Grove."
"What? Why, are we low on stock or something?"
"No, of course not. The stock is fine, I just can't give them to you. You've been on suppressants for an exceptionally long time, and your prescription is the heaviest dose available."
Frustration building in his chest, Rashan shrugged. "I didn't want to deal with any of it."
"So, you haven't had your heats and you also don't experience everyday arousal or even attraction."
"That's right. And I'd like to keep it that way."
Doctor Bolden sighed. "Officer Grove, an omega's body isn't meant to be restricted from going through its usual functions for a prolonged number of years. As you know there are adverse side effects related to long-term suppressant use. You would have had more time if you weren't on a prescription that shut down your system so thoroughly. Frankly, I'm surprised your original doctor agreed to give you such a strong dose."
"I'm willing to take the risk," Rashan said through clenched teeth.
"Well, I'm not," the doctor said with a note of finality to his crisp, professional voice. "I won't do anything that could put your health in jeopardy. You have to think of your future, not just how you feel today. You're going to have to go through your heats."
Rashan stared at the doctor in angry, open-mouthed shock. He hadn't come to this appointment expecting to be told he was going to have to suffer a heat, especially since it was scheduled to start soon. Very soon.
"I'm sorry, Rashan. You don't have a mate or a partner to spend your heat with?"
"No," Rashan said flatly. He didn't have one and he didn't want one either.
"Then perhaps you can find a friend who'd be willing to scent mark you. That should at least give you mental peace during your heat."
Practically choking on his rage, Rashan fought to hold it back and answer the doctor politely. "Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try that."
"You should also know that since this is your first heat in -." Bolden paused to check the data pad. "Nine years, it will probably be extremely strong. And the timing of them might be irregular for a while. But your body will eventually adjust and regulate the intensity and schedule. I want you to be prepared for that."
"Thanks for the heads up," Rashan again bit the words out, pissed off and itching to get out of there. Dr. Bolden gave him more info on what to expect, but Rashan mostly tuned him out. Once he was finished, Rashan quickly slid off the exam table, and stormed out of the room. He managed to hold it together until he exited the medical wing. But in the hall, he let his anger loose.
"Goddamnit!" he cursed loudly. He hadn't gone through a heat since his first when he'd presented as an omega nine years ago. Hating the change to his body and everything it signified, he'd demanded to be put on suppressants, and his omega father had obliged him.
Trying to distract himself from the memory of why he'd been so adamant about going on suppressants, he stared out the window, focusing on the sky. It was raining today. Or at least it was back on Earth in St. Louis, Missouri. The skies there were dark with low-hanging clouds, rain falling in a heavy downpour.
Although the home planet was many light years away, the ship's corridor windows displayed the far-off skies as a way to keep the endless black of space from psychologically crushing the people on the ship. Beals Corporation Universal had created the technology after a large number of space crews began experiencing depression, and reported seeing nothing but empty black as one of the causes. Beals programmers had decided on St. Louis since it was an area with four distinct seasons, and would therefore give the crews variety. It was also a way to mark the passage of time, along with the ship's lights set to mimic daylight, dimming in the evenings.
Rashan watched the rain until his anger retreated somewhat. He didn't one hundred percent believe that line that omegas could only be on suppressants for so long before they started to experience negative side effects. Unfortunately, no matter what he believed, he wasn't going to get any from the medical staff. Of course, there were other ways he could get what he needed.
Traders, legit and otherwise, had heat suppressants for sale. Unfortunately, he wouldn't be able to seek any of them out until the ship docked on Terwood in a few weeks. Meanwhile, his heat was coming soon. According to the schedule of his now inactive prescription, it would start in a day or two.
"Shit," Rashan cursed again. The doc had said he should let someone scent mark him, so he might as well try that for now. Although mates scent marked one other, it was something family members did too. Young omegas would often be marked by older alpha relatives, giving them a sense of protection and security as they went through their heats. However, Rashan didn't have any family on board the Marion. So, who could he ask?
Naturally, he thought of Tony first. They were best friends and Rashan trusted him more than anyone on this ship. As he headed for Tony's room, he hoped his friend wouldn't see the request as a gross imposition, and would agree to help him out.
Tony returned to his room, stripped out of his skin-tight armored space suit, and took a hot shower. Once he was clean, dry, and dressed in standard issue Z.E.A.F sweats, he sat down at his small desk. Pulling up the entertainment schedule on his data pad, he tapped through to see what films were playing. There were two cinema rooms on board the Marion. They were small, but had a good selection of movies running on a continuous schedule in order to accommodate all the crew and their various shifts. Cinema A had several horror movies listed for the day. Tony was looking over the choices and start times, when his door chimed, announcing a visitor.
"Door open," he said as he set the data pad down. At his command, the door slid open to show a clearly angry Rashan standing in the hallway. Despite that anger, Tony thought he looked as gorgeous as ever, with his long, curly black hair and the warm brown skin that he'd inherited from his Samoan parents. Like most omegas, Rashan was petite. But he was also an elite soldier who trained and fought regularly, which gave him a slender, lightly muscled build. His thick, dark lashes framed expressive eyes that were currently shining silver with emotion, and his full lips were turned down into a frown. Tony wondered what had happened to upset him in the hour since they'd parted. "What's wrong?"
Rashan came into the room. "Can we talk in private?"
"Of course. Locks engage," he directed the system while Rashan stalked over to sat on his bed.
"I just came from Doc Bolden's office." Rashan paused and raked a hand through his hair. "He won't give me any more suppressants. Says I've been on them too long."
"I'm sorry to hear that." Tony truly was sorry. He remembered when Rashan had first gone on suppressants, and how happy he'd been as a result.
Rashan looked up, his irises glowing with fury and frustration. "I don't believe there's anything wrong with staying on them for a long time. It's just nonsense they came up with to keep us omegas in line, I know it."
"Rashan you don't know if that's true."
"Whether it's true or not, I'm going to track down some street suppressants at the end of this patrol cycle when we land on Terwood. I'll get some even if I have to deal with a black-market trader. They can't be that hard to find with all the activity going on around the docking station."
Immediately concerned, Tony went over and dropped to one knee in front of his friend. "Please don't. You don't know what kind of chemical mix is in that black-market crap." Rashan scoffed at his warning, so Tony used the one thing he knew Rashan cared the most about to get him to reconsider his plan. "They could do more harm than good. You don't want to end up making yourself sick and affecting your career as a pilot."
Rashan's jaw remained stubbornly set as he stared off to the side for several long moments. Finally he groaned, his shoulders slumping in defeat. "You're right. I really do have to go through my heats." He cursed and pounded a fist on the mattress. "It's not fair. I shouldn't have to deal with this just because I was born an omega."
"Alphas have ruts, Rashan. And they can be... unpleasant if we don't have a mate or someone to spend it with." Tony knew that from years of personal experience. "And other than the special blockers we're only allowed to use in the event of an emergency during our rut, there aren't any suppressants for us." Rashan still didn't look convinced. Instead, he was busy picking at the dark material of Tony's sheets.
Tony genuinely felt bad for his friend, so he tried to cheer him up. "Maybe once we're back on Terwood, you'll be able to find another method to help you. Something legit, not from a black-market trader or back alley doctor. In the meantime, do you want to do something and take your mind off all of this for a while? The entertainment wing is having a horror movie night."
"I'm going to have to raincheck on hanging out for a few days. I uh... I came by because I was hoping you could help me. With my heat."
Tony's heart skipped a beat before it started pounding so hard, he was sure his friend would be able to hear it.
Was he going to ask...?
"You're free to tell me no, especially if there's someone you're thinking about mating. But..." Rashan hesitated, plucking at the sheet again. "Do you think you could scent mark me? It should help keep my head calm to have a familiar alpha's scent around me while I get through this."
Suddenly, Tony had blood heading south. It wasn't a request for heat sex, but it surprised him just as much. "I'm not preparing to mate anyone," was all he could manage to say.
Rashan looked at Tony, his eyes no longer silver with anger. Now they were their usual soft brown, and filled with tentative hope.
"Then will you help me?"
Tony gazed into those deep, dark eyes. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for his friend. Even this, which might affect him in ways he would have to keep secret from everyone. "Of course. I'd be glad to help you."
He stood, then grasped Rashan's hand and pulled him up to stand in front of him. There was no way Tony was doing this on his bed. An alpha, on a bed, scent marking the omega he desired who was about to go into heat? He had control, but that would be pushing it to the limits. If he wanted to keep from going into rut in response to Rashan's heat, he'd need to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Since he was already holding Rashan's hand, he raised the other man's slim wrist to his mouth to start with the scent gland there. He brushed his lips across Rashan's pulse before licking over the spot. Rashan's eyes went wide, as if he were surprised, before he looked down, breaking eye contact. Tony had to swallow back a pleased groan at the first taste of Rashan on his tongue. He wanted more of it. If they were mated, he would suck on that gland, getting even more of his omega's taste in his mouth. Maybe he'd even lavish enough attention on the delicate spot to tease forth arousal. Tony stifled another groan at the thought of Rashan becoming aroused from his lips and tongue.
He bent his head, leaning in closer and closer until his mouth hovered above Rashan's collarbone. His pulse beat fast and quick there, and a sweet scent bloomed in the air. It was faint but the alpha within Tony had no trouble recognizing it as that of an omega about to go into heat. His dick twitched in response. Tony immediately tightened his control over his body's reactions. Reminding himself he was only doing this as a friend helped, even as he ran his tongue up the side of Rashan's throat, nuzzling curly black hair out of the way so he could lick behind his ear. Rashan shivered and Tony froze, waiting to see if he would ask him to stop, or gods, ask him for more. He said nothing, so Tony continued
The marking on the left side complete, he pulled back slightly to switch to the other side, pausing for a barely noticeable nanosecond when he passed in front of Rashan's parted lips. Once he'd marked the glands on Rashan's right, he straightened, simultaneously glad and disappointed the unexpected intimacy was over. "That should help."
Rashan bit his lip, dragging his teeth across plump flesh. "What about the other place? Shouldn't you mark there too?"
Tony sucked in a sharp breath. The place Rashan referred to was the skin at the cleft of his ass. No one but a lover would dare touch that spot on an omega. There'd been far too many nights where Tony had lain awake, imagining brushing his thumb, then his lips over that spot on Rashan. Now, he was being offered the chance to do so in real life and he had to act as if it was no big deal. "If you want me to." He ghosted his hand down Rashan's spine. "How do you want me to do it?"
Rashan stared up at Tony, his expression open and trusting.
"Whatever you think is best. I need this to work."
A vision swirled into his head of him dropping to his knees, and gently cradling Rashan's narrow hips as he licked the curve of his spine. Tony shuddered, finally losing the battle to control his erection. His cock grew hard and heavy. Tony swallowed thickly. He pushed that mental image away but there was no way to keep his body's reaction from Rashan. As his body warmed with arousal, the scent of it rose in the room. Rashan's nostrils flared slightly as he inhaled. Then he blinked, a flush crawling up his throat. Without saying a word, he looked down to the floor, his hair swinging forward to hide his face.
Tony cursed under his breath. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't put his mouth to that hidden, sensitive place.
He'd do what would have the most impact in the fastest time possible. "Okay. Turn around then."
Rashan turned and tucked his thumbs into either side of his waist band, pulling his pants and briefs down enough to bare the cleft of his ass.
Staring down at smooth brown skin, and the dimples on either side of Rashan's spine, Tony nearly forgot his decision of a moment ago not to kiss and worship there as a lover would. "This will also help keep other alphas from approaching you," he said hoarsely, trying to ignore the insistent throbbing in his cock.
"A bonus then," Rashan quietly answered.
Tony took a single step forward, bringing their bodies so close together he could feel Rashan's warmth against him. First, he rubbed his throat over the top of Rashan's head, taking the opportunity to scent him there while he pulled his own sweats and briefs down. Once he'd freed his shaft, he took it in hand.
Before he marked Rashan, Tony looked at their reflections in the mirror across from them. Rashan's head was still down, black hair hanging loose and shielding his face from view. Tony stood behind him, his greater height and bulk dwarfing the smaller man. And his eyes glowed silver, a sure sign of extreme emotion. In this case, Tony knew without a doubt it was arousal. The hard length in his hand made that abundantly clear. They looked - not like a couple, they were too tense for that - but they looked like they belonged together.
Tony ached to slide an arm around Rashan's waist, pulling him flush against his body. He would be good and scented then. Even more so if he pressed Rashan down on the bed, covering him completely with his bigger body.
Tony bit back a groan. He couldn't do either of those things. What he needed to do was finish this before the thing he was trying to avoid happened.
He looked back down at his cock, then slowly rubbed the head along the top of Rashan's crease, letting his hand settle lightly on Rashan's hip as he did so. His heart pounded, and he fought to keep his breathing level. He should never had agreed to do this, but he hadn't been able to resist his friend's plea. A clear drop of pre-cum beaded on the tip of his cock, slipping free and wetting Rashan's skin before he could stop it. Rashan gasped. He pulled away just as Tony took a quick step back. The marking was truly complete now. They adjusted their clothes without looking at each other, the room quiet with a silence so sharp it should have cut Tony's ears.
"Thanks," Rashan said, still facing away with his head still down.
Rashan finally turned and peeked up at him. It was only for a second, but it was long enough for Tony to see that Rashan's eyes were shining silver once more. Tony's own eyes widened, as he wondered what Rashan was feeling right then. Normally he'd be able to detect the emotion, but Rashan's face was carefully expressionless, and his suppressants were so strong they blocked Tony from using scent to decipher his mood. He could have asked, but Rashan was already moving across the room. Tony let him go, watching and wondering as the door slid shut behind him.
My rambling and not at all edited thoughts on romance novels, writing, wrestling, shoes, dogs, roller derby and whatever TV show I'm binging.