Isaiah grew up without knowing the love and stability of a family. His parents died in a car accident when he was a toddler, and for years he bounced around between foster families and group homes, never really fitting in, until he ended up on the streets as a teen. He's been arrested, he's tried different ways of coping—none of them healthy—and still he feels lost and alone.
When he tries to rob the wrong house, his life is turned inside out. The homeowner keeps telling him he's a werewolf, and an omega at that. Isaiah is convinced that Marcus is crazy, but then Marcus shifts in front of him, ruining the simple view Isaiah had of the world.
Isaiah is suddenly thrown into a new life and a new home, with people who want him around. It's wonderful and scary, and Isaiah is convinced that Marcus is making a huge mistake with him, but he's desperate to believe, too.
Marcus woke up at some ungodly hour with rain pouring outside and thunder shaking the old windowpanes beside his bed. He lay in bed and listened to the house around him, trying to pick out the sound that had woken him up. It wasn't the rain, or the thunder. It was fall in southern Missouri, and the rain had been around for the better part of a day and well into the night.
There. The sound of footsteps a few rooms away from where he was lying. Slowly Marcus sat up. He sighed. It wasn't one of his betas. They would have knocked on the front door to let him know they were around. So it had to be some human who had decided to break into his house tonight, and Marcus really didn't have the energy to deal with humans right now.
He got out of bed and pulled on a pair of shorts. Maybe, if he was very lucky, he could get this disturbance taken care of and over with quickly and then he could get back to bed. It wasn't even really his bed. It wasn't even really his house. He owned it, but he was just there to make sure the cabinet installers got there in the morning. The house was set to be the newest rental for the pack, if the remodeling could ever get done.
But none of that mattered if he couldn't get this human out of the house and away from his pack. The human was easy for Marcus to find. He was noisy. Even his breathing was too loud, not to mention the heavy steps he took on the brand-new bamboo flooring Marcus had just finished helping install. He huffed in irritation and was half tempted to shift and see just how much he could scare this little human by showing himself as a wolf. But shifting took time and energy, and he was too tired for it right then.
So he simply joined the man in the empty study and turned on the light, surprising him. For a moment the intruder simply looked at Marcus, the shock in his expression clear even if Marcus could only see his eyes and mouth through the black knit ski mask.
But then he ran. Not toward the front door, which would have been smart, but toward the back of the house. Marcus figured that must have been how he'd come in and, as he quietly followed after him, he found out that he was right when he caught sight of the broken window pane next to the back door that the man had shattered to be able to unlock the door. Marcus shook his head. He sped up and grabbed the man by the back of the shirt, pulling him down roughly onto the floor.
The man cried out and grabbed his head, whimpering from what Marcus assumed was considerable pain. Thankfully the injury hadn't caused the man to bleed.
Marcus knelt down on the intruder's chest, pressing his knee against the man's sternum to hold him in place. "What in the hell do you think you're doing here?" Marcus snapped at him. He pulled the mask off, revealing a guy who was likely in his early twenties and looked tired. Marcus had never seen someone that looked more exhausted by the world than this man did. It was in his eyes, in the lines around them. In the cracks on his lips and the old bruises on his face that were already being framed by new ones.
Pitying him was easy, but Marcus pitied most humans. They were too rough with each other, too quick to hurt each other for no reason. They were like the werewolves. They had no sense of community outside of their own limited families. Seeing the damage that had already been done to him, Marcus eased up a little on the man's sternum. There was no reason he should try to hurt him, too. "What's your name?"
"I'm not telling you shit."
Marcus snorted. There was certainly no reason to start cursing. "I guess I'll just call the police, then, and let them handle you. Humans should deal with humans, after all."
The man's eyes got wide and Marcus silently swore. He must have been more tired than he'd originally thought to let that stray thought slip. He stood up to go get his phone. "Stay right there. If you move, I'll drop you on your ass again."
It wasn't more than a few seconds with his back turned before the man was up and running again. Marcus didn't make idle threats, though. He caught up to him, grabbed him by his hair, and tossed him on the floor again, this time on his shoulder, which definitely popped on impact. Marcus cringed at the sound, and at the man's cry of pain.
"It's your own fault," Marcus told him. "Next time someone gives you a warning, maybe you'll listen." He walked off to get his phone and came back to find the man now sitting up, but he hadn't moved more than that.
His eyes were filled with pain and anger, but he held his tongue as Marcus started to call the police. He sat down on the floor across from the man, though. There weren't many places to sit in the house yet, and he certainly wasn't going to invite him to share the bed he'd been so rudely woken up from. He hesitated before pressing send on his cell. "What's your name?" he asked again.
"Why do you care?"
So much anger and pain. Marcus really had no idea why he was so curious. It would be been better just to hand the human off to his human police and then get on with his night. If he was lucky, he’d get a few more hours of sleep and then in the morning he would call to have the glass repaired. So why did he care what the man's name was? "Simple curiosity. It's been a long time since anyone broke into a house I was staying in."
"No one was supposed to be here. This place has been empty for months."
While that was true, it really didn't explain what the man was doing there. "So you came to rob an empty house? Of what? The closet doors?"