The Lockdown - Book 1 of Zeta Series

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Summary

The hierarchy has never changed - Alphas, then Betas, then Omegas. But a new species had emerged seemingly overnight. Zetas. A strange mix between an Alphas and Omegas. Raw aggression, no heats, and no need for mating. A perfect little combination all wrapped into a mysterious being. Episteme University was every students' dream. The promise of a high-profile position upon graduation was a lure too hard to ignore. Students were given multiple opportunities to work on current world projects, contributing to their society and the scientific community around them. And every five years, Episteme University invented a new product through a process called The Lockdown, boosting the economy. A student who survived The Lockdown was invaluable. Nola had set herself apart as a Zeta - smart, gorgeous, and bonded with an Omega. College life could not possibly have gotten any better. That is, until she began presenting like she was in heat. And The Lockdown was going to start in two days. **If you're one of those people who get angry and shout at books/movies, "What are they doing???"... welp, this is one of those. Beware of plotholes along your journey and enjoy some superficial reading.**

Genre:
Fantasy / Mystery
Author:
Nic. Slater
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
129
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

NOLA was itchy. Which was semi-normal at this time of the month. As a Zeta, she didn’t get heats like Omegas did, but around the same time every month, she still got super irritable. Or as her roommate liked to repeat - insufferable. The only downside to being a Zeta.

Well, that, and the fact that she had apparently let down her parents because she refused to mate with her ‘betrothed’ Alpha to carry on the family legacy. It was an age-old tradition that somehow never seemed to die out, even with the Omega rights committee. Nola had no desire to play into their plans for her own life, especially after presenting as a Zeta, much to everyone’s surprise. Her entire family was chock-full of Omegas. It was only natural that she would have presented as an Omega and then married an Alpha of her family’s choosing.

Now?

She was a disgrace. Especially since Zetas found everyone’s scent repulsive. Mating with anyone other than a Zeta was unheard of. All the constant scents, emotions, and stink floating through the air made it nearly impossible to mate at all.

Nola had only recently gotten used to her Omega’s – Ravana’s smell, and she’d been rooming with the girl for three years. Trying to think of what it would have been like to settle down with an Alpha, her Alpha, and create a family made her stomach churn. Not being able to go to school, get a job, live her life? That just wasn’t an option. She shoved the thought from her mind and snuggled farther into the large, colorful pillows on her bed.

The pink and yellow fluffy decorations were far from her favorite, but Ravana had a knack for sprucing up the apartment against her wishes. And really, who was she to stop the Omega? It was an Omega’s biological need to nurture and nest. Nola didn’t really care, so long as Ravana didn’t try to start dressing her. Not that the Omega hadn’t tried.

A shocking wave of pain washed over her. Nola curled tightly against herself. This month felt different – worse and better at the same time. Like a gut-wrenching thought that she wasn’t as Zeta as she had been led to believe. There were reports of Zetas finding out that they weren’t Zetas at all, just defective Alphas or Omegas. Nola shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes. I can’t be an Omega.

Being an Omega meant that once her mother found out, she’d be dragged back home and forced to marry her betrothed. The only reason she had made it to school was that her parents couldn’t legally force marriage upon a Zeta. Since then, Nola had accomplished everything on her own. Returning to that prison would be torture.

Another wave of pain tore through her gut, leaving her panting and out of breath. She shut her eyes, grasping at the blankets between her fingers, hoping to distract herself from the constant throbbing through her body. Nola tried to hold onto the fact that at the very least slick wasn’t running her legs, her only desire to be knotted by some random Alpha. At least there was that.

Ravana popped her head in. She never knocked, which was a constant strain on the relationship, but Nola was too much in pain to start that conversation. Nola shot Ravana a feeble look through glassy eyes. The Omega’s brown eyes sparkled before turning to worry. “TOM’s here already?” Nola grimaced at Ravana’s nickname for her time of the month, “You weren’t scheduled for another week or so. I mean… the doc said stress could mess things up, but this seems-”

Nola gritted her teeth, but couldn’t stop the moan from escaping her lips. God, this was definitely worse than last month.

Ravana continued, “Excessive. Oh… my… god.”

Nola loved her roommate, but sometimes the inability to stop talking got on her nerves. All Nola wanted was her Omega to come cuddle her and do the catnip thing that their health class always fawned over. For whatever reason, Zetas and Omegas were drugs to each other. Finding Ravana had been a godsend, always having someone to share her TOM with. But Ravana liked to draw things out, watch, and talk about things.

Nola made grabby hands, albeit a little shaky, towards Ravana. The Omega chuckled and climbed into the bed, snuggling into Nola’s arms, allowing her to crush her in a tight embrace.

The best part of her TOM was the cuddly warmth that Ravana showered her with. Almost all Zetas, even as rare as they were, had an Omega. It was almost like a master/pet relationship – weirdly with the Omega falling into the master role. Alphas were all too ready to adopt Zetas as well, adding to the strength of a relationship. Zetas were rarely a threat to the hierarchy, as they never competed with the Alpha/Omega mating system. Zetas didn’t have scent glands, just a strong distaste for Betas that was almost primal. It went both ways. No one knew why.

Nola crushed Ravana into her chest, relishing the way that the Omega began nestling against her breast, her fingers tracing light circles on her neck. The soothing gestures sent calming tingles down her spine. After almost three years, Nola had finally found someone she could be close to without retching at her scent. She never would have thought Ravana would have fit the bill though. Ravana was forceful, abrasive, and foul-mouthed most of the time. Not to her though. And somehow it worked. Nola would have done anything for the girl in her arms. Yet, if she thought about it too much, the Omega’s scent was still repulsive. Zetas had a lonely existence if they couldn’t persevere through at least that much.

Ravana snuggled in closer and Nola dug her nails into her back, trying to find a way to relieve her own pain. The Omega winced and Nola scrambled back immediately, hanging her head low apologetically. Three years ago, Nola would have mumbled a soft apology, but make no move to let up. Now, she felt compelled to protect the Omega in front of her. Anything less was unacceptable. Ravana smiled softly in her direction, but the Omega’s eyes were looking through her. It was an unnerving feeling, “Your smells are all over the place.”

Nola felt mocked, watching the Omega’s nose wrinkle. It was the only time that a Zeta’s true essence could be smelled – during their TOM. Smells ranged across the spectrum, wavering dangerously back and forth between Alpha and Omega, confusing everyone who passed by.

A day or so later, much shorter than an Omega’s heat, everything returned to normal, and their scent would disappear. Ravana usually kept her holed up in her room, which meant that no one other than the Omega had ever really caught her scent. Ravana placed a small kiss at the base of Nola’s neck, a supposedly sweet gesture between bonded friends – something between platonic and romantic. Nola shivered against the Omega, the touch both unsettling and frightening.

Ravana sat up, a large frown plastered on her face. Nola couldn’t read her eyes, which was starting to worry her. “You shouldn’t – that’s not supposed to happen.” The warmth drained from the Omega’s face. Ravana cocked her head to the side and blinked a few times, before reaching towards Nola’s neck, two fingers outstretched.

Nola squirmed away, covering up the base of her neck instinctively. A pure Omega move. They froze, staring at each other, neither saying a word. The neck was an erogenous zone, for everyone other than Zetas, for obvious reasons. But for Zetas? Most didn’t even have a scent gland. Those that did had only a faint remnant of the real thing. Unless the Zeta was going into heat – which wasn’t possible.

But even Nola could feel the tenderness at the base of her neck, something that hadn’t been there during her last TOM. “No,” She tried to find the words to explain all the thoughts that were rumbling through her head, “I can’t… this can’t,” But words wouldn’t explain the tightness in her chest. She wasn’t prepared to go into heat. If she had been an Omega, which wasn’t an option, everything she had worked so hard for would fall apart. Her mother would demand her immediate return. She would be the baby-making machine that everyone in her family had hoped she would be.

Nola clenched her fists in determination. She wasn’t going to present as an Omega as if that were her own choice to make. She wasn’t going to depend on some Alpha biologically for the rest of her life, desiring to be knotted and filled with little children. That just wasn’t in her life plan.

“Hey,”

Ravana’s soft touch on her arm brought Nola back to reality. She hadn’t even realized that she had started shaking as the Omega crawled into her lap, her head nestled into her chest. The Omega pressed soft kisses on Nola’s exposed collarbone. Nola strung her arms around the Omega, the pain settling as a dull ache in her stomach. The Omega sighed, “We can figure that out later. For now, just rest.

Nola didn’t fight the Omega. She didn’t want to. Her mind was racing a mile a minute. She couldn’t think straight. The Omega’s soft stroking circles on Nola’s arms were starting to put her to sleep. And when she woke up, her TOM would nearly be over.

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