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The Giveaway

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There was a man in his studio. In itself not a strange occurrence but Christian didn’t have any sittings booked, or any viewings. There was no reason for this man to be standing in his space, inspecting his current work (a nude portrait of an aging socialite that was not going well). Probably Christian should be worried, or demand an explanation at the least, but the view on offer was just a little too good to interrupt. A camel suit, in loose but well-cut linen, gave the stranger an old-world elegance but did nothing to disguise the long, lean lines of his body, all tight muscles and grace. Not to mention, his position, slightly inclined over Christian’s easel, revealed an utterly glorious ass.

Christian was just contemplating how it would feel to bite into it, when the stranger straightened, apparently aware of the new presence in the room. Without turning round, he addressed himself to Christian.

“You have some talent, Mr Smith.”

“Thanks. I make a living.”

The stranger scanned the pieces lining the walls, drawing out the pause before speaking again. “You enjoy the human form.”

Christian let his smirk bleed into his voice. “At every opportunity.”

The man hummed, apparently amused at the response, finally turning from the easel to show Christian his face. Christian’s fingers itched, whether for his pencils or simply to trace the strong lines of the stranger’s countenance he wasn’t sure. It was a face made to be sketched, not pretty in any way, but striking, compelling… fucking hot. Christian definitely wanted to trace the lines of those cheekbones, preferably with his tongue, down to the wicked curve of that blush-red mouth.

“Do you ever consider that some opportunities are not worth the risk?” There was an edge to the man’s tone, and Christian suddenly had the unwelcome sense that he was being considered as prey. All thoughts of seduction flew from his mind.

“Look,” he said, trying to keep his tone even, “this is a private space and you’re trespassing. Leave now and I won’t do anything about it but—”

He never got the chance to finish the sentence, as the stranger crushed him against the wall, knocking the breath right out of his lungs.

“Unfortunately, Mr Smith, that will not be possible. I’m afraid you took an interest in the body of a very powerful alpha’s omega, and she has demanded that you be shown the error of your ways.” Christian yelped as the man gripped his balls painfully with one hand and, with the other, revealed an evil-looking knife, its curve a mirror of the cruel shape of the man’s lips. “Have you ever heard of orchiectomy, Mr Smith? It is a surgical procedure in which an alpha’s testicles are removed. Normally, of course, it would be conducted with the patient under anaesthetic, but my client was quite specific that it should be omitted in this case. A very unpleasant woman, Mr Smith, it is terribly unfortunate that you could not keep your hands to yourself this once.”

The man leaned in, almost seductive if it hadn’t been so threatening, and rubbed his cheek against Christian’s, like a big cat scenting its mate. Christian fought with every fibre of his being not to recoil, terrified of what might happen were he to anger this man. He breathed deeply, trying to centre himself, just as the stranger inhaled too, apparently eager to experience the scent of his fear.

They both froze.

Christian knew the other man had felt it too, the snap of connection firing into existence.

“Omega,” he breathed, his hands coming up automatically to grip the man’s waist. And, “Mine.”

The stranger whined, and pressed his mouth against Christian’s for the barest of moments, soft and warm and demanding.

“Alpha,” he murmured, brushing his thumb against Christian’s throat, ghosting over his mating gland.

Then he shoved Christian, hard, to the ground, and fled without a backwards glance. By the time Christian scrambled to his feet and made it outside, his omega was gone.

***

Fantôme did not stop moving until he had put New York far behind him.

A mate. A true mate. It was inconceivable. It was impossible.

He should have killed the man then and there. Put an end to him before it was ever an issue. Before he ever knew what it was to be kissed and held and to want nothing more for the rest of his life.

His life would not allow for such a thing.

He felt the brush of the alpha’s hands against his hips, the soft rasp of his stubble, the heat of his breath. He felt the tug deep within, to return to his mate’s side and complete their bond, already started simply by making the barest of contact, a unique reaction seen only in perfectly matched pairs.

He would resist. For as long as it was possible, for both their sakes, he would resist.