Though he knew that the fight had already been started. Mason would know he was ignoring him and that would piss him off. It usually pissed alphas off.
“You’re early,” Nicky said, quirking an eyebrow.
“Well,” Luke drawled, “don’t wanna get shit twice in a row. Can’t be starting bad habits.”
“Hm,” Nicky said, pursing his lips. He dropped his bag on the floor. Luke shifted uncomfortably as they waited for the rest of the team to show up.
Nicky glanced at him a couple of times, but neither of them said anything.
It wasn’t long before a flight attendant showed up, followed by Q and the rest of the coaching staff. Q quirked an eyebrow at Luke, but there was satisfaction in his eyes. Evidently, he thought his punishment had made Luke more apt to be punctual.
They were allowed to board the plane after that, and slowly, the other guys started filtering in. Mike was next, followed by Leo soon after. Sebby and Brenden showed up together—typical—and Ty wasn’t far behind them.
Luke settled back into his seat, popping in his earplugs. It was a short flight—they almost would have been better driving, really, but nobody was really going to complain about shorter trips—but Luke was hoping he could nap.
Maybe he’d be less cranky. He glowered at Jake as the forward dropped into the seat beside him, jostling his arm. Jake offered him a sheepish smile and shrugged.
He’d forgotten how quick the flight was. They were up in the air, and then they were down again before he’d even had a chance to close his eyes. The flight, short as it was, had been turbulent, and they’d barely leveled out before they needed to descend again through the clouds.
So much for a nap.
The landing was rough, and the day was gray in Philly. They disembarked and transferred their luggage over to the bus. Then they were on their way to the hotel.
The entire atmosphere of the bus was grim; nobody wanted to talk. Luke might have tried to sleep again, but the ride was all too quick; it was only about twenty minutes, and then they were unloading again.
Danny gave him a nudge and a wink on the way in to the lobby, which was maybe supposed to be encouraging, but Luke wasn’t entirely sure.
“Dinner’s at six sharp,” one of the trainers announced, and everyone dispersed, some of the guys heading straight for the stairs to take more punishment and others crowding to the elevators, checking their keycards to see which rooms they got.
Most of them knew their room assignments fairly well—there were particular people you roomed with, but things could get shaken up by injuries and trades and call-ups and whatnot.
Luke was given the honor of rooming with the rookie for this road trip. Ty glanced at him sheepishly, then looked at the ground. Luke was kind of glad they only had one night in Philly; after the game tomorrow, they’d be back on the road, headed home.
“See you at dinner,” Nicky said, giving them a sharp look as they exited the elevator, which meant he expected no funny stuff. Luke didn’t take it personally; Jake and Mike had come along for the ride and when those two were together, it usually meant trouble.
They headed into separate rooms, Ty tailing Luke into their suite, both of them ditching their gear near the door.
Luke didn’t really know much about Ty, except that he’d been drafted just last year, and they’d just called him up from the farm team. Off the ice, he was pretty much a mystery.
Luke turned on his phone, checking his messages. Ty was doing the same.
Luke gritted his teeth when he realized he had five new messages, all of them from Mason.
He wondered if something was up. Mason wasn’t normally this persistent.
He glanced up and met Ty’s questioning gaze. “A friend,” he said.
“Ah,” Ty said, nodding as though he understood.
Luke doubted he did and turned back to his phone. He glanced at Ty again. “I’m … um. Gonna try to take a nap.”
“Cool,” Ty said, “Jake and I are gonna go do something.”
“Great,” Luke murmured as he rolled down the sheets on the bed.
“See ya,” Ty said as he headed out the door with a bang. Luke sighed, then tossed off his shirt, shucked off his pants, and crawled between the covers.
He tossed and turned for a bit, rolling over and over until the sheets were twisted and tangled, but at last he fell into an uneasy, lucid dream—he knew he was asleep and what was happening wasn’t really, but it felt real.
He hated those dreams with a passion. He had them more frequently than he liked—and nothing good ever happened. They were the sort of dreams that held him in paralysis, unable to escape from what he knew was coming next. The sense of dread was immense, but there was no escape.
It always started in the locker room, after a hard game, a bitter loss, and they were all sitting there, sweating and commiserating, and then whoever was next to him would crinkle his nose in disgust. He’d turn his head, then snuffle at Luke; hot breath washed over his neck, forcing every hair to stand on end. Luke’s sweat would turn cold; he’d shudder and his heart would pounding, his breath coming short.
“Smell like a bitch in heat,” whoever it was would say, the syllables slurred and strange—the voice was always the same, never actually anyone’s voice—and he’d tilt his head back.
A flurry of insults would rain down on him—fucking bitch, slut, whore, goddamn omega—and then someone would pin him down. The rest of the team would converge on him still spewing insults, now leering, shouting over one another—he’s mine first, hey whore how much, lookit this slut, spread your legs you filthy—
Then something else snapped, and they were angry, angry at being betrayed, about being lied to. Someone would hit him, and then he was on the floor, at their feet, and then—
He’d wake up at last, eyes wide, chest tight. He’d stare at the ceiling for a moment or two, trying to remember how to breathe. Slowly, very slowly, his body would release, relaxing into the bed, allowing him to inhale, gulping down air.
He sat up, mopped his forehead with the sheets. He glanced at the clock.
Quarter after five. He swung himself out of bed. That hadn’t helped at all; he felt worse now than he had before he’d fallen asleep. With dreams like that, it was scarcely a wonder sleep was rarely restful, even when he needed it to be.
He hopped into the shower, rinsing away sweat and fear. His eyes were still drooping. Even the initially cold spray didn’t help wake him up.
He helped himself to the in-room coffee, wincing at the bitter taste. He couldn’t be bothered to add sugar and cream to it though, so he simply choked it down.
Ty bustled back into the room, Jake not far behind him. Luke glanced at them. “Heya,” Ty said brightly, kicking off his shoes. “Didja get some sleep?”
“Hm,” Luke replied, took another sip of coffee to wash away any acerbic response to that.
He nodded to Jake, who gave him a strange sort of smile. Luke glanced down at his towel, picking lint off the edge, where it was folded around his waist. He glanced up under his bangs, then bit his lip.
Jake leered at him, his grin getting wider, his eyes glinting in the dim light of the room. It was … unsettling.
Luke didn’t bother to say anything though, just took another sip of his coffee. If he ignored it, it would go away. After all, it wasn’t like they hadn’t seen each other naked before.
Which, he supposed, made it all the stranger that Jake would look at him like that. It wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen before; this was Jake’s sophomore season, so they’d spent all of last year playing together too.
It was kind of how alphas looked at omegas, though—predatory. But Jake didn’t know.
Luke frowned into his coffee, his brows knitting together. Jake couldn’t have possibly known.
“You ready for dinner?” Ty asked, seemingly immune to the sudden tension in the room. He finished tugging a fresh dress shirt on, buttoning it blindly as he smiled at Luke.
“Um,” Luke said, glancing down, “I somehow doubt this appropriate attire.”
Jake laughed, a barking noise that grated on Luke’s nerves. Ty picked up his tie and threaded it around his neck. “Yeah, I dunno if Q would accept ‘locker room casual.’”
“I doubt the restaurant would,” Luke said, fishing his own shirt out of the closet. He tugged it on, catching Jake’s glance in his direction. He buttoned up a little faster than he might have otherwise, turning about.
He couldn’t see Jake, but he knew he was watching as Luke dropped his towel, pulled on his undershorts. It wasn’t like any of them to be shy—you kind of became immune to it after years in locker rooms—but Jake was unnerving him.
He felt better once he was in his slacks, busy fishing socks out of his luggage. Ty had finished fussing with his tie. “We’ll see you down there?” he asked, tossing a glance at Jake who, Luke noticed now, hadn’t changed yet.
“Sure,” Luke said, busying himself with his own tie.
Ty grinned, and then the two younger players left the room, the door falling shut behind them with a bang. Luke finished pulling on his socks, then sniffed at himself.
Did Jake know? If so, how? Luke didn’t think he smelled any different, and he’d definitely been taking his meds.
He knotted his tie, then liberally spritzed cologne. If his scent had changed, his best bet was to try and mask it. As added insurance, he took a second dose of his suppressants; the last thing he needed right now was to go into heat.
He fished his shoes out of the closet and grabbed a keycard before heading downstairs to dinner. He met Nicky and Mike on the way to the elevator, and they crowded into the car together.
Nicky crinkled his nose. “Go easy on the cologne,” he admonished.
“Sorry,” Luke said with a shrug. “Got a bit carried away.”
“A bit?” Mike asked. “I can taste it, and that’s bad. You know my sniffer’s busted.”
Nicky pinched his nose. “Sorry,” Luke said again, holding his hands askance. Mike was a scent-null beta, which meant he didn’t smell nearly as much as an alpha or an omega could. Even other betas had more sensitive noses than Mike, so if Mike was complaining, Luke had definitely got the cologne on too thick.
They headed to one of the conference rooms, which had been set up for the team dinner. Leo had arrived ahead of them, as had Dima. Brenden and Sebby were already seated, waiting impatiently.
“Heya!” Sebby said to Luke, waving, and Nicky nodded. Sebby was also scent-null, so he’d probably be able to stand Luke more so than almost anyone else in the room.
Brenden, on the other hand, was an alpha, and he crinkled his nose as Luke slid into the seat next to Sebby. Even Sebby made a face. “You’re not supposed to shower in cologne,” he said.
“I know,” Luke murmured, glancing down at his watch.
The tables started filling up as the rest of the team filtered in—Timmo and Maxy, Danny, Matt, and Brooksie, Luis, and Adrian—person by person. Ty and Jake were the last ones down, and they looked a little rumpled. Luke quirked a brow, but busied his mouth with water and his ears with Sebby describing some puck bunny he’d almost picked up after the game last night.
Jake slid into the seat beside Luke, and Luke stiffened. He knew, automatically, that it wasn’t Ty; he could smell Jake.
That was bad, he thought, sipping on his water again. He couldn’t just smell Jake, but he was sharply aware of him, of his scent as an alpha.
Luke swallowed. Something was very wrong if he could smell Jake that clearly. Part of what his medications worked to accomplish was the blocking of other scents that might trip the release of hormones or pheromones. He usually couldn’t smell clearly; it was almost like being scent-null, he imagined.
“Hey,” Jake said, leaning in a bit. Luke glanced at him, but said nothing.
“Heya,” Sebby said, “you were there, you saw the girl.”
“What girl?” Jake asked, and he wasn’t going away now; he was embedded in the conversation.
Luke wondered why he was so uneasy. Even if Jake did know, even if Jake was trying to come on to him, he was older and more experienced and telling Jake off should have been easy, even if Jake was an alpha. Luke acted like he was beta, everyone respected him as a beta—and he had seniority on the team, in the league, and a lot of trust from most of his teammates.
Nonetheless, the very idea was still daunting, and Luke hoped he wouldn’t have to. Maybe Jake would just … lose interest. Maybe he was just being paranoid. Maybe nothing would happen.
Conversation wore on, until food arrived on the table at last. Then the room was filled with the sound of clinking silverware, scraping against the plates.
Jake’s foot bumped against Luke’s, and Jake grinned when Luke turned to glower at him.
Luke turned away just as quickly. Well, at least he knew he wasn’t being paranoid.
Jake refilled his water for him, sat a little too close for comfort. Luke kept glancing desperately at Sebby, but the beta was completely oblivious. Brenden seemed to have noticed, but the big lug didn’t say anything. He caught Luke’s eye once or twice, seemed to register that something wasn’t right with this situation, but he seemed to shrug it off just as quickly.
Luke had been hoping that he’d be able to escape to his room, but Jake trailed Ty—an easy excuse, and Luke resented the fact that the rookie had made friends with Jake so easily. Jake followed Ty into the room, that strange smirk still on his face, and Luke felt cornered, trapped. He couldn’t get away from Jake, not even in the sanctity of what was supposed to be his space.
Ty sprawled out on the bed, kicking off his shoes. “So,” he said, “what are you gonna do tonight?”
He looked at Luke.
“Dunno,” Luke answered, refusing to look at Jake.
“Hmm,” Ty said, kicking his feet.
“We should get some sleep,” Luke said. “Tomorrow’s game is huge, and we need to be rested.”
“We can nap tomorrow,” Jake said breezily, joining Ty on the bed. “I think we should have some fun.”
“I don’t think we should,” Luke snapped back. “Going out partying at this juncture, seriously, Watson, I thought you had more sense than—”
“I didn’t say we had to go out,” Jake said, sitting up again. He leveled Luke with a look.
Ty glanced between them, evidently confused. Jake held Luke’s gaze, refusing to break eye contact. “What do you think, Macks?” he asked.
“I think you should get the fuck out,” Luke snarled, unable to stop himself. He was not in the mood to be propositioned by a twenty-one-year-old, and he didn’t fancy letting anyone know he was omega. Bad enough that Jake seemed to have him figured out.
“Macks!” Ty said, then looked at Jake again.
Jake stood up, sauntered across the room toward Luke. Luke didn’t move, didn’t flinch; he kept his arms crossed and glowered at Jake. He was not going to yield to him.
“Not even a little bit of fun?” Jake wheedled, reaching out and turning Luke’s collar up.
“I don’t know what kind of ‘fun’ you think you want to have,” Luke said evenly, “but I don’t think I want any part of it, Watson.”
“You sure?” Jake breathed, his arms wending about Luke, hands settling on his belt.
“Um?” Ty asked. “Jake?”
“Certain,” Luke replied.
“Funny,” Jake murmured, leaning in close, pressing his nose to Luke’s neck and inhaling deeply. He rolled his tongue up the side of Luke’s neck.
“Jesus!” Ty cried. “Jake, what the fuck are you—”
“You smell like you wanna have fun,” Jake growled, and it took every ounce of strength Luke had to shove him away.
“Don’t touch me,” he snapped.
“Christ, Jake,” Ty was saying, “what do you think you’re doing? Macks clearly isn’t into that, why would you—”
“Can’t you smell him?” Jake barked, whirling on Ty. “He fucking reeks—”
“Enough!” Luke yelled. “Get out—Watson, go back to your own damn room!”
Jake glowered at them both for a moment, then left without another word. The door slammed shut again.
Ty stared at the door for a moment, then looked helplessly at Luke. “You can go after him,” Luke murmured at last.
Ty shook his head. “I just … I don’t think I wanna,” he said. “I mean. Why would he do that?”
Luke had to refrain from laughing. The answer was easy and obvious—he smelled like a bitch in heat—but Ty didn’t know that and what Ty didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.
“Alphas,” Luke muttered with a shrug. “Think they can walk all over everybody.”
Ty said nothing, but he looked distraught. Luke pinched the bridge of his nose. He really wished Jake hadn’t done that; they didn’t need anything upsetting their team dynamics, not before this game.
“Wanna watch some TV?” he asked, and Ty nodded absently. Luke flipped on the television and started searching through the channels.
They settled on some mindless reality drivel, then crawled into bed. Luke drowsed; with some luck, the noise of the television would put him to sleep—and keep the nightmares at bay.
Ty passed out long before he did though; he glanced over when he decided he didn’t like the show that was coming up, and noticed Ty was snoring, his limbs flung akimbo.
With a sigh, Luke turned off the television and flipped out the lights. He curled up under the covers of his own bed, shutting his eyes tight and hoping that perhaps sleep—restful, dreamless sleep—would come over him.
Instead, he found himself once again lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling, wondering if and when sleep would come to him. His eyes were heavy, but they wouldn’t stay closed.
He glanced over at Ty again, then slithered out of bed. He glanced at his phone, unable to resist temptation.
Two new messages from Mason. He gritted his teeth and set the device down.
He shrugged into a tee and shorts, then made his way across the room. He grabbed the keycard out of the electrical slot, then slipped into the hallway.
Danny was, for better or worse, three floors up. Normally, the team didn’t get split up quite like that, but it seemed that virtually everything about this trip was exceptional.
It boded ill. Luke tried not to dwell on it as he rode the elevator up, ruing the fact he’d elected not to get shoes.
Shoes or not, he made it to Danny’s door and rapped quietly. He waited for a moment, then knocked louder.
He cursed himself for not bringing his phone with him—he could have called or texted then. Both Danny and Matt were likely asleep.
He pounded on the door, wincing a bit. There was probably a bruise that had yet to come to the surface.
“Dan!” he bellowed and was rewarded with the sound of the lock being drawn.
“Uh, yeah, what?” Danny yawned, rubbing sleep from his eyes. “Jesus, Macks, I was sleepin.’”
“I guessed,” Luke grumbled.
Danny dragged a hand down his face, then blinked a couple of times. “Do you have any idea what time it is?” he asked, stifling another yawn.
“I am well aware that it is two-thirty in the morning,” Luke said.
Danny considered him for a moment, then said, “Ah.” He gestured for Luke to step inside.
“Who is it?” Matt’s voice was thick with sleep, nearly drowned out by the door clicking shut.
“Just Macks,” Danny said softly. Luke leaned back against the door, listening to a zipper, then the duffle being rifled through.
Danny handed him the pill bottle, and Luke snapped it open with practiced ease, dumping the contents into his hand.
“Hey,” Danny said sharply.
Luke sighed, then dumped most of his handful back into the bottle. He snapped the lid back on, handing it back to Danny. He popped the solitary pill into his mouth.
“Hope it helps.”
“Yeah,” Luke murmured. He wasn’t sure; it had been a while since one had done much for him.
“That’s all?” Danny asked.
“Yeah, thanks,” Luke said.
They stood there awkwardly in the dark for a moment, and Luke had the vague suspicion that Danny was giving him a critical look, like he was evaluating him or something.
And Luke wondered if Danny could smell him like Jake had. He nearly panicked. What could Danny smell? Did he know? What did he think?
“I … should go,” he said after a moment. “You probably want to get back to sleep.”
“Yeah,” Danny yawned, “that’d be good.”
“Good night then,” Luke murmured.
“G’night.” Danny held the door for him, then locked it behind him.
Luke let his shoulders slump a little. That was his last resort; Danny wouldn’t dole out any more of the meds, he knew that much. Not even if he begged …
He meandered back to the elevator, leaned against the wall as he rode it back to his floor. He picked his way down the hall, crept back into their room.
Ty was still sound asleep, none the wiser.
Luke crawled back to bed, hoping that one would be enough, that he’d at least get some rest.
He tossed and turned some more, his body refusing to relax, even with the influx of the drug in his system. Danny had scared him. Did he honestly smell? Were his medications not working? Jake had scented him, and maybe Danny had too.
He tugged the blankets over his head. It was stupid to worry about it. He had a game to play tomorrow night, and he needed to rest. He could worry about whether or not his teammates had figured out his secret after they finished playing the game.
But what if they knew and they told Q and that got him kicked out of the game entirely? Out of the league? What if he didn’t even get a chance to play tomorrow’s game, because—
He smashed the pillow down on the side of his head, as though he could knock those thoughts loose. He had to sleep, not chase himself around in mental circles worrying about things.
Only one of those things was coming easily at the moment though.
He laid perfectly still for a few minutes, then allowed his eyes to fall shut again. He yawned; the drug was probably taking effect at last.
He had longed for a dreamless sleep, but he dreamed—vividly. He dreamed about Mason, whispering in his ear, grinning broadly as he pinned him to the bed, his tongue rolling up Luke’s neck, hot and wet. He dreamed of Mason kissing him, furiously, bruising him with the force of his desire, branding him with burning kisses, biting him.
One scene blurred into the next, all sweet nothings and hot flesh, moans and whimpers, as his unguarded mind gave flight to its most sordid fantasies—a pornographic menagerie, a filthy anthology of all the things he wanted done to him and to do to Mason. Sweat and salt and sex and—
He woke with a start and a gasp, phantom touches still shocking nerve endings across his skin. He stared at the pillow, gritted his teeth. He was just glad he’d ended up on his stomach; it had been a while since he’d woken up with morning wood.
He glanced over at Ty, who was still tangled in the blankets, his back to the other bed. Luke relaxed fractionally and glanced at the clock.
Six-thirty. Four hours of sleep hardly seemed like enough, but it was better than nothing.
He inhaled, his breath catching at the top of his inhalation. The aching was back and now, he felt feverish too, flashing hot and cold.
That was bad, very bad.
He took another double-dose of his suppressants and hopped in the shower, pointedly ignoring his erection. It would go away, so long as he didn’t think about it. Frustration was good for him; it might help make up for his lack of sleep, give him an edge when he hit the ice.
“Hey,” Ty said, yawning and rolling over.
Luke secured the towel around his waist, then made his way to the other side of the room.
“Did ya get some sleep?” Ty asked, sitting up a bit.
“Yeah,” Luke said. It wasn’t a lie.
“Good,” Ty said cheerfully, smiling. Luke wanted to punch him.
Breakfast was another near-disaster. Sleep-deprived and teetering on the edge of heat, Luke was jittery, even without coffee. Paranoia colored his world—everyone was suddenly an enemy, every strange look an acknowledgment of what he was, a confession of knowledge. Every smile was potentially a pass, every awkward conversation starter—even about the weather—was potential flirting. He could smell everyone strong and clear this morning, over the scents of coffee and bacon, and it nearly made him sick. Betas and alphas, and oh goddamn the alphas.
“You feeling okay?” Ty asked, frowning at him.
“Fine,” he replied in a clipped tone, then choked down more coffee—not that he needed to wake up.
Ty furrowed his brow, but went back to his eggs. Nicky set his mug down with a clink, saying, “You don’t seem fine.”
“I am,” Luke insisted. “Fine. Absolutely fine. Great.”
Nicky’s nose crinkled up—an expression of distaste or an attempt to scent Luke?—and Luke swallowed more coffee to keep from yelling at him.
“Hey guys,” Mike said, plonking down beside Nicky.
“Morning,” Nicky said easily.
“What do you want?” Luke snapped.
Mike frowned in confusion—of course, he couldn’t smell. He had no idea. “What’s with you?” the blond asked.
“That’s what I’d like to know,” Nicky mumbled.
Luke was silent.
“Okay,” Mike said, glancing about.
“Hey,” Jake said, sitting down beside Luke, like that wasn’t weird, like what had happened in the hotel room last night hadn’t even transpired. Luke had to force himself to keep breathing. When he did, he nearly choked on Jake’s scent.
Ty looked worried too. Luke hoped he had the sense not to say anything. He didn’t want to talk about it. He didn’t want to remember it.
“Hey,” Mike said cheerily, but Nicky simply grunted, glancing instead between Luke and Jake, then to Ty. He crinkled his nose again. Luke bit his tongue.
They were silent, There was one thing on everyone’s minds and that was the game—but none of them wanted to talk about it. It was probably bad luck or something. But they were too distracted to talk about anything else, so they let the silence fall over them instead.
It should have been comforting. It should have allowed Luke to relax—no one was saying anything, all too preoccupied with their own thoughts to even spare him a thought. Instead, it made him more nervous—what were they thinking, what were they going to say?
He clenched at his mug. “I … have to go,” he said, getting to his feet. The chair toppled behind him.
“Skate isn’t for like another two hours,” Ty said, glancing up at him.
Luke shook his head, then fled the room as quickly as he could, coffee and pancakes threatening to come back on him. His breath was coming short, and his heart was pounding. He felt the flush lifting to his cheeks, caught a glimpse of himself in the doors of the elevator.
The doors slid open, and he stared at Sebby, Brenden, Danny, and Matt, who looked back at him, all curious and strange.
Then Brenden and Matt glanced at each other, and Luke gritted his teeth.
“You okay?” Sebby asked, lifting a brow.
“Fine,” he choked out, pushing by them into the car. “See you later, at skate—”
“You sure?” Matt asked, slamming the door open button, holding him.
“Yes,” he said, his voice rising.
Danny turned sharply to Matt, his gaze narrowing. Luke glanced between them, then hit the door close button. He needed to get out of there. “I’ll go,” Brenden said, since Danny and Matt were now too busy glaring at each other. He pushed the door open button again.
“It’s fine!” Luke cried. “No one needs to come with me, I’m fine—”
“As if,” Sebby sneered.
Danny and Matt stopped glaring at each other as Brenden elbowed by them. “It’s fine,” Luke continued, aware he was blathering, and they weren’t listening. This was happening.
The doors slid shut, and the car started moving. Luke collapsed against the wall, unsure if he wanted to laugh or cry or scream. Brenden glanced at him, but didn’t say anything.
Why was this happening? Why now, of all times?
The elevator dinged. Luke swallowed, lifting his head. “I’m okay,” he said. “Really, I am.”
Brenden glanced at him again, but said nothing as they headed down the corridor. Luke paused outside the door, summoning a shaky smile. “Seriously,” he said, “go get some breakfast, you don’t need to be here with me—”
Brenden grabbed the keycard from him and swiped them in. He held the door open. “Get in,” he ordered.
Luke swallowed the whimper that rose in his throat. He stepped into the room, aware that he was trembling. Brenden let the door fall shut.
“I had no idea you were omega,” he said.
Luke started to hyperventilate.
Brenden’s hands landed on his shoulders, forcing him to sit down on the bed. “Calm down.”
Luke gasped for air, then said, “I just—it’s not—I don’t want to—”
Brenden stared at him for a moment, then smirked. “That’s fine,” he drawled. “To be honest, I don’t wanna screw you either. Uh, no offense?”
Luke shook his head.
“But you know how you smell, right? Like a—”
“Like a bitch in heat,” Luke groaned, falling back on the bed, “yes, I know.”
Brenden was silent for a moment. Luke rolled onto his side. “I am a bitch in heat,” he said after a moment, glancing up to meet his teammate’s questioning gaze.
“You said it,” Brenden murmured. He considered Luke for a moment more, then said, “Is there someone we should call?”
Brenden colored up, his cheeks turning scarlet. Luke felt about as warm as he looked. “Like … a … mate?” he asked cautiously.
“No,” Luke snapped. Anyone they could call was far away or embarrassing to call. “I don’t have one.”
“Okay,” Brenden said. “Someone who helps you out with this kind of stuff?”
“No,” Luke groaned, then sat up again. “I don’t do this often.”
“Okay,” Brenden said, “what can we do?”
“Nothing,” Luke snarled, because the South Carolinian was too close to him. The last thing he wanted was to be touched, but he was losing his grip on his body.
“Do you have meds or something?”
If nothing else, Brenden was unflappable. “Yessss,” Luke hissed. “I’ve been taking them. Took a double-dose last night and this morning.” He didn’t think he needed to add that it wasn’t helping.
“Okay,” Brenden said and rifled through Luke’s bag until he came up with the dosette. He grimaced.
Brenden glanced at him, then back to the dosette. “Well, I think I know why doublin’ down on the pills didn’t help ya.”
“And why’s that?”
Brenden plucked one out of the dosette. “These ain’t suppressants, Macks.”
Luke’s face fell. “Fuck,” he spat after a moment. “I grabbed the wrong bottle when I filled that—goddammit.”
“Yeah,” Brenden said. “These are inducers.”
“I got that,” Luke snapped.
They stared at each other for a moment.
“So what now?” Brenden asked.
“Poison control,” Luke replied, then hoisted himself up and headed to the bathroom.
He didn’t miss the wince in Brenden’s voice as he said, “I’m gonna go talk to Dan.”
“Why?” Luke asked, but the door was closing and Brenden was gone. He quirked an eyebrow. He didn’t see what Danny had to do with any of this …
With a sigh, he turned back to the task at hand—diluting whatever he could of the drug, flushing it from his system as fast as he could.