Lewis, Alpha master of the Wasp Lake wolf pack, knows that finding his mate should be a joyous event. But former army ranger Jacobi isn't an Omega. Or even a wolf. He's a grizzly bear shifter, and Alpha to the bone.
Falling for an outsider is risky, especially given Lewis's secret. He yearns to be an Omega, not an Alpha, and has never met anyone willing to accept the man he really is behind the Packmaster's mantle. As for Jacobi, it's been a long time since he's been loved so well that it made him want to be a better man.
The pair try loving in secret -- for a while -- but know that's not going to be enough to satisfy them forever. When Jacobi adopts an orphaned lynx cub and Lewis becomes the toddler's second father, they realize something has to be done. But what?
Nature is red in tooth and claw -- but sometimes true love really does save the day.
Praise for Tooth and Claw (Omega Wolves 5)
"The alpha, omega, and mpreg trope is one I honestly love for many different reasons. The fact that this series focuses more on the emotional aspect between the couples is a huge plus in my book. Willa, you outdid yourself on this story. I've fallen in love with this series and I can't wait for more."
-- Christy Duke, Rainbow Book Reviews
"What made this book such a great read is that, beyond the overall plot and problems Lewis is dealing with, you get to see Lewis dealing with his own personal struggles. Gender identity isn't something I can remember reading in a shifter story before but it was honestly refreshing to see... While I usually enjoy a good Alpha/Omega story, I found I really liked the differences in this one."
-- 4 Stars from Sarina, Love Bytes Reviews
"I really liked Lewis and Jacobi. They made a great pair and understood each other and what was needed in their relationship. You can see just how much they care for each other in everything that they do. Their life is hard and when push comes to shove it was nice to see them step up."
-- Mistletoe, Long and Short Reviews
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Tooth and Claw (Omega Wolves 5)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2016 Willa Okati
"Heard tell that bear's been sighted again," one of the oldest wolves grumbled as he warmed his hands by the wood range that worked as well now as it must have when it was new, a hundred years ago. "I'd have thought it'd be dead by now."
Lewis pricked up his ears.
"The skinny one?" old Boaz asked. "Hell, I thought it'd starved a while back."
"Nope. It's hanging on. I found bear sign out near my trap lines, and I saw it once, too. It's the same bear as last year." Abner slurped his coffee and made a face. The older wolves would much rather hunt for themselves instead of using traps, but they weren't as agile in either form as they used to be. "Somebody might ought to do something about the poor bastard, if it can't feed itself properly or sleep through the cold season. Hungry bears in the winter, well..."
Lewis could fill in the blanks for himself. Bears didn't often venture close to human habitation, or pack lands, but if one was awake and hungry enough in winter to be desperate, wolf cubs could be in danger. Valuable Omegas too. Anyone who hunted bear put themselves at risk, Alpha or not. Which made taking care of the menace part of the Packmaster's job.
Though Lewis felt all the men watching him, he took his time about draining his cup, then stood as if he wasn't bothered. Part of him wasn't. "I'll see to it."
"Pretty dangerous, son," one of the elders said.
"Most things are."
"Ought to gather the enforcers, take them with you."
"For one bear?" Lewis fastened his coat and took a long look at his pack. Some of these wolves might volunteer -- they were good men -- but he wouldn't ask it of them. This was his duty, and his alone. He made for the door with his back straight, not even turning around when he said, "I'll be back before dawn."
* * *
When he'd said it, Lewis had meant it.
He still did now, slogging his way through snow that would be thigh-deep by morning. Would have gone faster on four legs, but a wolf couldn't carry a hunting rifle in its mouth. Lewis had been the one to order against that particular folly.
He was a good Packmaster. Lewis knew that deep down. He'd done good things for the Wasp Lake pack. Letting Bree leave to find his happiness. Bringing Ivoire in so he and Zachariah could learn joy. There were others. The Wasp Lake pack was growing by leaps and bounds.
Sometimes Alphas lay with Alphas. In times of need, or in case of scarcity. It wasn't talked about, even if it was tacitly understood as a necessary evil if there weren't enough Omegas around. That was permissible.
But for a Packmaster to crave only the touch of an Alpha's hand? To fall asleep restless as an ant hill, itching for the roughness of command, the peace of surrender; to dream about being dominated and to wake up hard? To wish -- sometimes -- often-times -- that he'd been born an Omega instead? No way in hell would that be allowed.
Lewis set his jaw and walked on, searching the elder's trap line for signs of the bear.
Somewhat to his surprise, he found plenty. A scrap of dark fur here, scratches on a tree trunk there. Clear footprints a few hours old. Traps that'd been popped wide open, with barely a whisker or drop of blood left to mark what they'd caught. Lewis stopped to pluck one of the tufts of fur from where it'd caught on a bush and frowned at it.
He doesn't care if he's found.
Smart enough to scavenge, crazy enough to have abandoned caution. It put Lewis on edge and made him take a more secure grip on his rifle. Bears didn't behave like this, not even those hungry enough to range about in the winter. He kept his eyes open and his ears pricked, searching the woods for a sign of the creature.
He didn't even realize he'd stepped into the open bear trap until it closed around his ankle.
Then he knew. Oh, he knew. Lewis shoved his fist into his mouth to stopper the roar of pain that nearly burst out of him, and breathed sharply through his nose. Agony burned below his knee, white-hot and fierce. He wasn't any kind of coward, but when he looked down his stomach churned and he had to turn his head.
With his eyes shut, he reached down, searching for the release. There had to be one, but his fingers slipped in the blood. He gritted his teeth and tried again, iron rust coarse and cold against his palms where it wasn't sticky-hot.
Too much blood. Lost too fast. Wolf shifters healed fast, and Alphas faster than Omegas, but if he couldn't free himself he'd die. It happened like that out here, just this quick. The third time he fumbled the release, Lewis stopped, trying to recover his self-control.
If he hadn't, he wouldn't have heard the bear's movements before it was too late. Even as it was, he caught the raspy sound of a ragged bellows just in time to look up and see the bear he'd been standing a dozen feet away.
Lewis went still, utterly still as he could.
It had to be the same bear the elders were talking about. Skinny as a rail, his coat dull and dry. Wide awake and watching him.
Lewis gritted his teeth until his jaw creaked, then pushed himself upright despite the burning agony in his pierced calf. If this was the end, then by God he'd meet it with dignity.
The bear didn't move. It narrowed its eyes at Lewis, but it stayed put for one breath. Two breaths. Three.
Then, it sighed, a startlingly human sound. Before Lewis even processed that, the bear shook itself and its animal form melted away, leaving behind a naked man with shadowed eyes, old military tattoos, and -- strangely -- a gentle mouth.
"Well," the bear said, his voice as rusty as the old trap, "If the iron doesn't kill you, the irony just might."