The scent of another omega wore on Mia’s frayed nerves the way it always did. She didn’t blame the other woman—it wasn’t as if she were the reason for Mia’s annoyance—but that didn’t change the fact that Mia had done this too many times.
“What do you mean they aren’t in?” The omega’s smile dropped from her painted red lips.
Mia brushed her hair from her face and tried to act sympathetic. She wasn’t, not anymore. Her bosses might be useless womanizers, but they were unfailingly honest. This omega knew, as all the others had before, that the three alphas Mia worked for weren’t looking for a commitment. Still, women of all types would see the men’s expensive cars, their fifty-grand watches, and believe they were the woman who would finally score the three bachelors.
They’d show up at the office, and Mia had the unpleasant task of sending them away empty handed.
“Sophia,” the omega snapped. “I have a name.”
So did all the others. It doesn’t make a difference. Mia shook her head and scolded herself for the unkind thought. “I don’t know what you expected, but they aren’t the staying type.”
Sophia blew out a noisy breath, seeming to deflate “I just thought they’d change their mind once they got to know me.”
And maybe they would have if her bosses ever got to know any of the women who filled their one-night-stand evenings. Still, none of that changed that they wouldn’t be getting to know her, because that was not in their plans. They never spent a second night with any of their women.
“I understand.” Mia reached into her purse and pulled out a twenty. “Take this and go buy yourself lunch. Find a cute guy and forget about them. You can do better.” She deserved better.
Sophia took the folded bill from between Mia’s fingers and tucked it into her pocket. “Yeah. You’re right. I don’t need this.” She straightened her back, then nodded a silent thanks before the clicking of her heels took her from the room.
Which left Mia ready for a hell of a nap.
It wasn’t just that she had to put up with the after-effects of her bosses’ love lives, but having the omega around as well.
She’d perfected the art of going unnoticed, of fooling all those around her into believing she was the beta she claimed to be. The only ones who could find her out were other omegas, but she’d gotten good at even tricking their noses. The right scent combination in perfumes and lotions and she blended into just another beta.
Still, when one came to the office, it prickled Mia’s nerves. Would this be the one to see through her ploy? To ruin everything she’d created as a life for herself?
Not even the three alphas she worked for knew—they were the last people she could let find out—and hiding her designation from people she worked so closely with for six years felt like an empty achievement.
“She gone?” Dax poked his head out of the back office, his short hair styled without a hair out of place, his lips curled into a slight smile. Of course he knew she was gone, but he enjoyed his jokes.
“You know, it was never part of my job description to deal with your groupies.” Mia turned her chair to face Dax as he left his office.
His navy suit was cut perfectly, showing off his lean figure and his boyish face. Despite being the oldest of the three alphas, he looked the youngest. Part of that had to be his childish sense of humor. Best of all, his green eyes shone bright in a way that was entirely unfair. It was hard to blame omegas for falling for him.
“It’s not my fault that our lives only have room for one woman in them, and that’s you,” said Shepard when he came out of his own office. He had a similar sense of humor to Dax, except Shepard tended to go for sarcasm and could deliver snark with only a hint of a smile. His dark hair was messier than Dax’s, but it also made his blue eyes stand out.
She rolled her eyes and turned her chair away from them. She’d learned not to listen to their flirting. They flirted with anything that moved. It was a default mode they couldn’t help, as though innuendo and charm were their native language. If Mia hadn’t been aware of what bullshit it was, she might have even been tempted to fall for it.
Thankfully, she knew better.
She wasn’t the one ‘woman in their lives’. She was their office manager. She’d helped to keep their law firm open and profitable for six years. It meant she wasn’t just a groupie for them, but a valued part of their day-to-day lives. She set appointments, dealt with clients, even did some of the work of a personal assistant, setting up cleaners and landscapers and things like that for their home.
In short, Mia kept their lives and business running smoothly.
“Stop harassing her,” came the last of their voices, smooth and deep. “The last time you bothered her too much, she ordered us nothing but vegan food for lunch for an entire month. If I never taste vegan bacon again, I’ll consider it a win.” Hart strolled out from his office, his black pin-striped suit showing off that he was larger than the other two. He had on a yellow tie—the one Mia loved because it brought out his honey-colored eyes set against his dark skin. He always looked effortlessly put together, his hair buzzed to his scalp. He didn’t smile like Dax did, not even a crinkle in his cheek like the one that gave away Shepard’s jokes.
“I notice you three scuttle out here as soon as I chase away the big bad woman you’re all hiding from. Pathetic.”
Dax dropped himself into one of the chairs in the waiting room. “Didn’t you see the line of ‘security’ in your job title when you applied?”
“I doubt you needed security from one little girl.”
“That’s because you didn’t see how she tied up poor Hart the other night. She seems sweet until you hand her a flogger.” Dax lifted an eyebrow as if waiting for a reaction.
Mia didn’t even flinch. She might have, years before, but she was an adult and she had grown used to the three trying to get a rise out of her.
“Maybe pick your bed mates more carefully in the future, then.”
“I miss being able to make her blush,” Dax complained with an exaggerated sigh.
Shepard caught a little of her hair and tugged softly, the way one would do to a younger sister. “We bugged her too much, and she’s developed a tolerance.”
Mia smacked his hand away and didn’t even bother to glare. Giving them anything only encouraged them to continue acting like spoiled children.
“You two are impossible,” Hart said. “Come on. Let’s leave her to work.”
“Don’t forget, you have a meeting at three with the omega, Tesh.”
Dax pursed his lips. “That case is going to be a mistake.”
“You always say that about anything that can’t be handled in a day or two,” Shepard shot back.
“And I’m usually right. Some cases are just trouble.” Dax shook his head, managing to retain that youthful charm despite his complaining.
Mia stayed out of it, her gaze back down on her work as she listened in. They bickered often, but she’d learnt early they also worked it out. Somehow the three alphas had formed a friendship that worked, though Mia never understood how.
Dax and Shepard would argue, with Hart playing referee, until some consensus was made. Dax usually didn’t care for the dangerous cases, but when Tesh had walked into their office with a bloodied face and a cowering child clutching her hand, Mia had known Dax would cave. He didn’t care for bringing trouble to their door, but even he wouldn’t leave an omega like that on her own.
So they’d taken the case, because dissolving matings was a messy business at the best of times. Tesh’s ex, Mack, being a violent and abusive man made this situation that much worse, and the alphas had softer hearts than they liked to admit. Mack was a walking disaster, and Mia had seen him once when he’d shown up for a mediation. He’d walked in as though he owned the place, his gaze hard as it had locked on Tesh.
Mia had slid an arm around Tesh’s to offer reassurance, and it had again reminded Mia why she avoided alphas as she did. Maybe not all of them were like Mack, but was it worth the risk?
After the first few mediations, Mack had decided to go after Tesh again. That time they had been able to file a police report, but nothing had come of it yet.
“The police have everything they need to arrest him. I don’t understand what’s taking so long,” Dax pressed.
“He has friends, like most low-lives. They might hide him for a while, but the police will find him eventually.”
Dax went to argue more, though there wasn’t a point. Sometimes Mia suspected he just liked to make sure he was heard, even if he knew he wouldn’t win. They’d taken the case, had Tesh and her son in a safe house with a friend, and the police were dragging their feet because a bloodied omega wasn’t high on their list of worries.
Hart spoke up before Dax could continue. “If we don’t go, we’ll be late for the meeting, and I don’t want to annoy Mia any more than you both have today already.”
Mia hid the smile at that, at the way the alphas might pick on her but also treated her as though she were the boss rather than their employee.
With that, they were gone. They’d make the meeting—despite their behavior at times, they were competent and hard workers—then they’d be off to find whatever new woman they wanted to share for the weekend.
A woman Mia would likely have to deal with later, an omega. Funny that despite not being able to consciously pick omegas out of a crowd—alphas couldn’t tell the designation of others from scent alone—they still managed to sleep exclusively with omegas. It was impressive, really, given how few omegas there were in the world. Beyond that, their type had seemed random at first, at least until she’d really paid attention.
All their conquests had one thing in common—they looked nothing like her. Blondes, redheads, women with black hair or perhaps a brunette, but only if she had a pixie cut. Blue eyes, green eyes, hazel ones. In short, they seemed to like everything except for brunettes with long hair and dark brown eyes.
Mia sighed as she stared at the tasteless statue on the table by the door, that of a half-naked woman in a slinky, barely-there dress. It had been there since she’d started working at the office, and Mia had spent more than a bit of time staring daggers at it. Just another reminder of all the other women in the alphas’ lives.
She enjoyed her job, but sometimes watching the males she secretly loved sleep with every omega they could find wore on her.
Too bad she could never tell them the truth, about her, about how she felt, about any of it.
They’d only break her heart if she did, and her mother had made sure she understood how dangerous that was.