After seven years of being on the move, Arlo Barman wants nothing more than a place to call home. But unbeknownst to him, Arlo is a caladrius healer, so staying in one place has never been an option. The compulsion to separate himself from those he's healed is all-consuming and leaves him little choice but to pack up yet again.
Nash Silver is the only werewolf in his small coastal town. Living undetected in a human world is imperative for his kind, and he and his small circle of friends -- a vampire and a psychic -- have done so for decades. But Nash's anonymous existence is jeopardized when a man with an enticing scent moves into town. From the moment Nash lays eyes on the stranger, nothing is more important than being close to him. Not even guarding his secret.
Arlo isn't interested in a relationship or even a date, his past has taught him nothing good comes from it, but the rather pushy local popping up everywhere he goes has his heart somersaulting. If his heart is somersaulting or not doesn't matter, because when Nash gets injured, Arlo is the only one who can save him.
Having used his powers, Arlo has to leave Nash and the cozy town he wanted to make his home, but can Nash survive being separated from his mate?
Arlo tried to ignore Holly as she went on and on and on about everything and nothing. He smiled and nodded, he didn't want to be rude, but man, the girl could talk. It wasn't so much her talking that got on his nerves, but she dropped names left and right as if he was supposed to know them, and mentioned places he'd never heard of.
"A large chai latte to go, please."
Arlo looked up at the man on the other side of the counter, then he looked up some more. He had to be at least 6'3," maybe more, and with broader shoulders than could be considered normal. A sizzle skidded over Arlo's skin, immobilizing him. When he breathed out, a whimper wanted to follow.
There was something wild about the man, something larger than the body could contain. Arlo glanced at the door, wondering about the measurements of it and how he could've walked in here without Arlo noticing.
For once Holly went quiet as a mouse.
"Coming right up." Arlo smiled, winked, and gave himself a mental slap. Winked? He'd winked at the giant. When had he gotten that stupid? Perhaps this would be the one town he'd have to leave because he pissed off the wrong people instead of having sucked someone's darkness into him -- it would be a first.
His hands shook as he prepared the drink, his heart pounding, and heat coursed through his body.
Why on earth had he winked, he wasn't one to wink at people. He never winked at people. Avoidance was of utter importance. The longer he could live in a place without forming any ties to anyone, the longer it took before he filled up on tar.
"Here you go." He put the paper cup on the counter without looking at the man and gestured for him to put his credit card in the card reader and punch in his code before wiping his sweaty palm on the apron.
"You're new here?" The deep voice made Arlo tingle, and that was bad. He shouldn't tingle. A giant, who didn't look to be of the gentle kind and probably was ten years his senior, shouldn't have his heart speeding just by asking a question.
He'd have to get another job, preferably in another town. He thought of his cute little red house and sighed.
"Only trying it out." He glanced at the man, those dark eyes studied him with far too much interest and Arlo bit his lip. The man's eyes widened a fraction.
"Yeah?" There was a smile in his voice, but Arlo didn't check to see if there was one on his face as well. Instead, he looked at the screen to make sure the buy went through and when it did, he moved back toward Holly.
"Yep, I think I'll keep looking."
The silence stretched, but Arlo resisted the urge to see if the man was still there.
"Then I think I will too." The husky tone made Arlo's gaze snap up.
The man had already turned around and was leaving the coffee shop in determined strides. Arlo's heart thudded in his throat, and he had to stop himself from calling out. Was he leaving already? Yes, he was leaving and it was good because Arlo didn't flirt with customers. Arlo didn't flirt with anyone.
He glanced at Holly who was clinging to the corner of the counter while watching the man with longing. "He's one fine man, that one."
Arlo hurried to wipe down the surface and not to look as the man slowed down when nearing the exit.
"And there he goes." Holly sighed dramatically. "It's the first time I've heard him talk except to order chai latte. Oh, and you should always offer the receipt to the customers." She gestured at the receipt still sitting in the small printer.
"He comes here often, to buy chai lattes?" If he did, Arlo couldn't come back tomorrow. Beach balls! He liked working in coffee shops, it was one of his favorite places. He rubbed his chest and looked at the empty exit. Where had the hollowness come from?
"His name is Nash?" It didn't matter, his name was of no importance or interest.
"Yes, Nash." She sighed again. "What I wouldn't do to get to see what he looks like in the morning."