Let’s kick off the weekend with a sexy read! Check this one out!
Eric Calhoun was looking for a date.
Eric Calhoun defies all omega stereotypes – most of the time. He’s adventurous, determined, independent… and desperate for a date that will actually go somewhere. When he meets Rashad Abboud, he immediately falls for Rashad’s good looks and sweet, considerate behavior. It’s obvious that Rashad likes Eric just as much – at least, if their short and probably ill-advised liaison in the back alley is any indication.
But fast forward one month – and Rashad’s not only ghosted Eric, but he’s left him a souvenir. Newly pregnant and determined to the right thing, Eric gives Rashad one more chance – only to discover that Rashad hasn’t just stopped returning his texts. He’s disappeared.
And after Eric asks the right questions in the wrong places – he’s about to disappear, too.
Rashad Abboud was looking for answers.
Rashad Abboud isn’t the macho, unattached alpha he might seem. And he definitely didn’t mean to ghost Eric. He only wanted to follow the latest lead on his missing mother, who fled the country after her husband’s death when Rashad was just a toddler. Rashad’s questions clearly have caught someone’s attention, though: one minute he’s walking down a D.C. street, and the next he’s waking up on the other side of the world.
Maybe for some people, finding his family would be a dream come true: but for Rashad, the combination of family politics and leaving Eric behind is a personal nightmare! And just when he’s convinced the only way out is to accept it – he finds the surprise of a lifetime waiting for him in the next bedroom over…
Neither of them were looking for an international adventure.
Eric never wanted an adventure quite this big – and Rashad never wanted to find family this cloying. There’s no reason in the world why they should trust each other – but it might just be the only way they’ll ever make it home.
The Omega’s Missing Mate is a stand-alone m/m mpreg romance with an HEA ending. It features over-the-top bedrooms, the slowest car chase ever, and family members who really need to learn the definition of “boundaries”.
(Setting the scene: Rashad and Eric are on their first blind date – and it’s going really well. And then Eric makes a startling discovery about just how much he likes Rashad…)
Rashad looked impressed. “You’re a chef?”
“Not according to the head chef where I work, but I try.”
“Where do you work?”
“Paleo, it’s downtown—”
Rashad’s eyes widened. “Two Michelin star Paleo?”
Eric blushed and looked down at the table. “Yeah.”
“I’ve eaten there, it’s delicious. They catered an iftar for my grandparents a few years back, it was amazing. Perhaps you were the one cooking my food.”
Eric squeezed his hand, knowing full well that his face well on its way to being as red as his hair. “If it was a few years ago, it’s more likely I was chopping the veg. Now I’m working the fish station; we don’t usually provide the food for catering, since it’s hard to make fish travel well. I hope it was a good party, though.”
Rashad chuckled. “Iftars are the meal eaten after a day of Ramadan fasting. So I guarantee, we enjoyed the food immensely.”
“Oh.” Eric ducked his head. “Sorry, I don’t know much about Islam. We’re not exactly religious ourselves.”
“Nor am I. I’m the Muslim equivalent of people who celebrate Christmas and Easter but very little else. I fast during Ramadan, but for me, it’s more a psychological challenge than a religious endeavor.”
Eric thought of the Arabic he’d heard Rashad say. Maybe it wasn’t religious, though – the way some Yiddish and Hebrew words had snuck into the vernacular and no longer held their original religious overtures. Before he could ask, Rashad continued. “What’s your favorite cuisine to make?”
The change of subject was almost a relief. “Hoping I’ll say Middle Eastern?”
Rashad rolled his eyes, but Eric could tell he was amused. It was something about the crinkles in his forehead. “I wouldn’t mind. Though Alnurian food is closer to Indian in style than typical Middle Eastern.”
“Alnuria – that’s where you’re from?”
Rashad nodded. “My father’s parents immigrated as children. It’s also where my mother was born. It’s a very small country, on the Gulf of Oman between Iran and Pakistan. Most people have never heard of it.”
“Have you ever been there?”
Rashad shook his head. “My work has never taken me to Alnuria, unfortunately. I wouldn’t mind the chance to see if my mother has any living relatives, but…” He shrugged, as if it wasn’t exactly a priority. “Work keeps me busy. And… I’m not always sure I’d like what I would find. Or that they would like being found. My grandparents always gave the impression that my mother left Alnuria for a very good reason. She kept her secrets, my mother. I don’t even know her maiden name.”
“Wow.” The way he said Alnuria wasn’t anything like how Eric had pronounced it. Eric leaned closer it. “Say the country’s name again?”
Rashad smiled and leaned closer. “Al-nooriyeh.”
The vowels were drawn out, almost a whisper. It sounded exotic and beautiful, as if Rashad was speaking an entirely different language.
“I’ll have to look up the cuisine,” Eric promised him, sitting up a little. The motion made his hand pull a little at Rashad’s, as if he was about to slip away.
Rashad’s hand contracted so quickly, almost violently, that Eric’s breath caught in his throat. He almost whimpered at the sudden pain of it, even if it didn’t really hurt very much.
“Sorry,” whispered Rashad, his eyes wide with what Eric suspected was his own shock. “I didn’t mean—”
“It’s okay,” said Eric, shaking just a little bit. It wasn’t the pain of Rashad’s hold on his hand so much that surprised him.
It was the way he liked it. The way his body clearly liked it, if his reaction was any indication. He felt strangely light, every nerve and cell waking up inside of him, focusing its attention on the man sitting across the table.
“Ah,” said Eric, his voice strangely bright. “Your tea’s going to get cold.”
Rashad’s eyes were focused squarely on Eric. “I couldn’t care less. You’ve kept me talking.”
“Did I? Sorry. You should drink it. Nothing worse than cold tea. Unless it’s too-hot tea and you burn your tongue and then you can’t taste anything—”
“You’re babbling again,” said Rashad.
“Oh damn,” groaned Eric, closing his eyes. “I’m completely fucking this up.”
Rashad laughed softly. “No. You’re not. I’ve been on enough terrible dates, I can assure you that you’re doing just fine.”
“Yeah?” Eric opened his eyes. “How many?”
Rashad’s smile was soft and secretive and it felt to Eric like it was meant solely for him. “I have four cousins who are very determined to see me bonded.”
Eric laughed softly. “Which is why you’re on a dating app?”
“They are wonderful cousins. And terrible matchmakers,” said Rashad darkly, but his eyes twinkled with humor. “I think I’ve dated every Alnurian omega and possibly every suitable Muslim omega in the entire DMV. They finally gave up on me.”
“Are you that difficult?”
Rashad shook his head, still smiling. “I wouldn’t say that. But the types of omegas that interest me aren’t the types my cousins meet very often.”
Eric felt his heart squeeze a little. “What type is that?”
“The surprising sort,” said Rashad, pitching his voice low.
“I’m surprising,” said Eric, sitting up a little.
Rashad leaned closer, eyes still squarely focused on Eric, so dark and smoldering that Eric could feel the warmth cascade down his skin, into his bones and the very deepest parts of him, which twisted and gaped and wanted.
Every part. Eric felt the thickening in his cock, and he was suddenly aware of his body in a way that he wasn’t usually aware of it. The way it was beginning to feel warm, present, and above all – empty.
“Have you been on many dates?” said Rashad, his nostrils flaring.
Eric nodded. “First dates. Not many second ones, though. Guess I’m not the type of guy people want to see twice.”
“I don’t believe that,” whispered Rashad.
“True,” Eric told him. “You might not like me much, either.”
“Try me,” Rashad challenged.
Eric took a breath. “I’m stubborn. Willful. I like working. I don’t want to stop. I mean, I get how working in a restaurant isn’t exactly good for family life, but I want someone who’s willing to figure out how to make it work, or support me while I figure out what else I can do with what I’ve got. I don’t like being put in a box or told what to do.”
“You want independence,” said Rashad.
“Yeah, exactly,” said Eric, brightening a little.
“That makes sense to me – you’ve been independent so long, I can’t see easily giving that up,” said Rashad, so reasonable that Eric squeezed his hand reflexively. “Why would that scare me off?”
“It always has before,” whispered Eric, his heart pounding in his chest.
Rashad shook his head. “Not this time.”
The feeling came on so strong – or maybe it’d just been building so deep in Eric’s mind that he wasn’t willing to pay attention until Rashad said those words.
An urge, a deep longing in his stomach to tighten his grip on Rashad’s hand and yank him right out of the chair and out of the café and down the street to somewhere where they could….
He realized he’d forgotten to breathe when his lungs began to protest, and when he sucked in a breath, he caught it.
A familiar sort of taste to the air, something that was more scent than anything else. Something rich and thick and yeasty. Something that reminded him of…
Eric sat up and quickly moved his hand to his neck, fingers at the slim bit of skin behind his ear, right where his omega scent would be the strongest.
Pheromones, thought Eric with horror. He stared at Rashad, who was still looking at him, though looking a little more startled now.
Oh shit – maybe Jane wasn’t joking. She always said the only reason she didn’t jump Lucy in the library that day was because she couldn’t find a broom closet and was too scared to use the stacks. I’m kicking out pheromones like no tomorrow. And if they’re strong enough for him to notice…
“I think,” began Eric, trying to keep his voice even. “Rashad, are you… can you tell if…?”
Rashad nodded, staring at him. “Your scent,” he said huskily. “It’s… stronger now. Yeah.”
Eric swallowed. It was a lot harder than it’d been ten minutes ago. If just touching him has kicked off an impromptu estrus… I can’t stay here. People are going to start to notice.
“I…” Eric stammered. “I should probably go.”
Rashad nodded briskly – but he didn’t let go of Eric’s hand. Instead, he stood up with him. “Let me walk you at least part of the way. You shouldn’t go out like this unprotected.”
Rashad was probably right – but beyond that, just knowing that Rashad didn’t want to leave him was a complete relief, enough to settle the shakes that were threatening to take over Eric’s entire body.
“Okay,” he said. “A little ways.”
About the Author:
Penelope Peters has spent a considerable percentage of her life waiting in international terminals around the world; she may or may not have ranked her favorites. She’s never flown on a private plane, but she did get bumped into business class once. It was awesome. Having driven in two Middle Eastern countries, she assures you that Dupont Circle in DC is cake. She has, to the best of her knowledge, never been involved in a high-speed car chase involving a moped.
Penelope is greatly indebted to HL for her expertise and patience in being a sensitivity reader for this book and the Muslim characters within. Any remaining mistakes or misconceptions are Penelope’s.
Penelope no longer lives in the Middle East. As much as she misses the taste of shawarma, the scent of oud, and the hauntingly beautiful call to prayer, she has greatly enjoyed experiencing cold weather again. Her husband and sons also enjoyed the colder weather, or at least the sports that came with it. The cat has other opinions.