James is on the run, and as if that isn’t enough of a problem, he needs to find a safe place to shift. He’s a new werewolf, and he’s still not fully in control of his wolf, especially during the full moon. He’s never hurt anyone, and he’s not about to start, but that means chaining himself to a wall, or in this case, to an old sink. And that means leaving himself vulnerable for the night.
Fyfe hates being responsible for the coven, but he doesn’t have a choice. He likes escaping in the last hours of the night, when the rest of the city is asleep.
Only, it’s not asleep tonight.
When Fyfe stumbles onto a man beating up a werewolf, he intervenes. The wolf is chained to the wall and vulnerable, and if there’s one thing Fyfe doesn’t like, it’s people taking advantage of the weak. He kills the assailant and helps the wolf as he shifts back to human. The fact that he takes in the wolf has nothing to do with how cute he thinks James is, of course.
But James is still on the run, and now, Fyfe has someone to protect. Fyfe isn’t easily convinced, though, even when James tells him the conclave is after him. The conclave isn’t going to stop, and they both know it. Is James going to have to keep on running from the conclave, or will he and Fyfe find a way to prove him innocent?
James rubbed his face and looked at the sky. Goddammit. He needed to find a safe place for the night. He could already feel the ripple of the wolf inside him. It was going to come out whether James liked it or not, and James needed to be sure no one would get hurt when that happened.
Someone bumped against him. A growl escaped his lips before he could stop himself. The man didn’t look afraid, although since James could smell he was human, it wasn’t surprising. He didn’t have a reason to fear James, not yet, not when James was still human.
But he wouldn’t be human for much longer tonight.
James was tempted to go after the guy. He knew it was only because of the wolf, and he pushed back. The wolf never took disrespect well, especially from humans, and it was close to the surface tonight, so close that James was having a hard time controlling it.
But he had to.
He shuffled toward the nearest alley and took his phone out. He’d just arrived in the city, and he had no idea where to look for a safe place. It needed to be isolated and empty, and he had to be able to chain himself to something. It wasn’t an easy thing to find a place that fit, but this was a city. There had to be an abandoned warehouse or building somewhere where he could spend the night. He needed to hurry, though, and he needed to make sure no one noticed him. The city was big, and there had to be other paranormal creatures around. There always were.
James wasn’t supposed to stick around without finding them and contacting them, but that would only lead to his arrest and his death, so that was not an option, even though they could have helped him.
Thank God for cell phones and the internet. It took James five minutes to find out which part of the city he should look for an abandoned building in. It wasn’t far, so he hurried there, his gaze never straying far from the sky. He could feel the moon in his veins, under his skin, pushing him toward the change. His body wanted to obey, but he still had a bit of time before he had to. He was going to fight it as hard as he needed to. He had to be off the streets before it happened. He wasn’t going to hurt anyone, no matter what some people thought he’d done.
The sidewalks became emptier the deeper James walked into this area of the city. He stopped once he was alone. He wasn’t afraid of what could happen to him—he was a werewolf, and even when he was human, he was stronger than most humans. He wasn’t supposed to expose himself and the supernatural world, but he’d do it to defend himself if necessary. He was already being hunted anyway. It was for something he hadn’t done, but adding to it wouldn’t change his fate if they got him.
There was a motel at the corner of the street. James looked at it, wondering for a brief moment if he could maybe spend the night there. He knew it wasn’t possible, though, so he pushed that thought away. Even if he managed to lock himself into the bathroom and make sure he wasn’t able to leave in his werewolf form, there was no way he wouldn’t be heard. His shift wasn’t exactly inconspicuous. He’d be out of the city tomorrow morning, but in the meantime, he needed to be invisible.
So he walked on. He left the motel behind and headed toward an abandoned warehouse instead. The asphalt in the parking lot was cracked, with stray grass growing in patches. James could see several broken windows, so he was pretty sure no one had been in the warehouse in a while, at least not to work. He might have to make sure no one was using it to sleep, though. The last thing he wanted was for a homeless person to find him shifted. He wouldn’t eat them like he’d been afraid he might in the beginning, but he could hurt them, or worse, and he didn’t want that to happen.
The door wasn’t locked. James wasn’t surprised—they seldom were. He’d gotten used to haunting empty buildings since he’d started running.
The first thing he did was walk through all the rooms. A huge one occupied most of the space, but James couldn’t tell what it had been used for. All the machines that should have been there had no doubt been sold, and only the imprints were left in the dust on the floor.
James didn’t waste time trying to understand what they’d been for. He went to the smaller rooms, making sure no one was there. He found two locker rooms with bathrooms and what might have been a break room. None of them had had human occupants in a while, not from the smell—and James was pretty good with that. If there was one thing being a werewolf was good for, it was this. He could tell there were rats in the walls, and that another kind of animal had been around recently, maybe a feral cat, or even a possum. He knew the animals had used the men’s locker room, so he went to the women’s instead. It wasn’t like anyone else was going to use the place tonight, so who cared?