Isaiah already has enough problems in his life without adding a new one—his mate. The man Fate chose for Isaiah isn't just any man, no. It's the man who kidnapped Jamie for the Glass Research Company, the man Dominic kept locked up for a year. And now he's out and living with the pride, eating with them and sleeping in the room next to Isaiah's.
John knows he's lucky. Dominic could have killed him for what he did, but the lion shifter gives him a second chance instead, and John isn't about to waste it. He's not all that comfortable around shifters yet, but it's not like he has to like them. Even if he finds out he's a shifter's mate.
As if things weren't already difficult enough, Isaiah has to go home and leave John behind. Will John come and help when Isaiah's house is attacked? Will Isaiah finally realize he can't live his life for his mother? And even if he does, will John take him back?
The door opened while Isaiah was typing away on his computer. He didn't even need to look away from his screen to know who it was. Jayden was spending a lot of time with Isaiah lately. They were both loners. Jayden had his books, Isaiah his computers.
Isaiah looked up just the time to smile, then went back to work. "Hey."
"Can I sit?"
"Of course you can. Why are you even asking? It's not like it's the first time you hid in here."
Jayden looked at the pile of books in his hands. "Just wanted to make sure it was still okay."
Jayden sat on the couch in the corner of the room and Isaiah turned back to his screen. He checked all the cameras to make sure they were working but hesitated at the last one. He looked behind himself to check that Jayden had his face buried in his books, then clicked on the thumbnail.
The image grew, but Isaiah quickly resized it so that Jayden wouldn't see it even if he did look up, then looked at the man on the screen. John Smith was on his bed, flat on his back, reading a book.
Isaiah didn't know why he was so fascinated by the man when he really shouldn't be. He should hate him for what he'd done to Jamie, for working with the Glass Research Company. So why did Isaiah feel the need to watch the man several times a day?
"What are you doing?"
Isaiah jumped on his chair and quickly opened another document on his screen, but Jayden was right behind him. There was no way he hadn't seen what Isaiah had been looking at.
"Working. I'm working."
"I was checking the security cameras."
Isaiah turned his chair to face the weasel shifter. "What?"
"Checking the security cameras? I know I'm clueless most of the time when books aren't involved, but even I'm not that clueless."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Jayden arched a brow. "Who are you trying to convince?"
Isaiah crossed his arms on his chest and slumped in his chair. "Fine. What do you think you know?"
"I know you've been watching John Smith."
"I have to. It's my job."
"You've been watching him way too often for it to be merely a job, especially since Dominic is about to release him. We all know the guy isn't dangerous, even though becoming Joshua's best friend might not be the smartest thing to do. I mean, I don't have anything against Joshua, but he's always been kind of an ass, really. I don't know how Adrian manages to be around him so much, to be honest. It's probably because of the mate bond, but I'm not sure I'd be able to even with that. The guy's never even—"
"Jayden, stop talking. You know Joshua isn't that bad. Just because he doesn't like to hear you talk doesn't mean he's a bad guy. He just doesn't have much patience."
"Yeah, okay, but what about John Smith?"
"What about him?"
Jayden narrowed his eyes. "You're gonna act like you don't know what I'm talking about? Fine, whatever."
He moved back to the couch and Isaiah instantly felt guilty. He hadn't meant to make Jayden angry or to make him feel like Isaiah didn't want to talk to him. He just really didn't want to talk about it—to anyone.
Isaiah didn't think anyone would take his fascination with John in a good way, especially if what he suspected was true. There really could be only one reason he was so interested in the man, and he didn't think the others would take the fact that John was probably his mate kindly.
Not that Isaiah was sure of it. He'd never actually met John in person. He had seen him once, very briefly, while John was being transferred into his cell—cabin—in the woods. Isaiah had been checking the cameras inside and outside the cabin, and Joshua and Soren had been moving John. Isaiah had been outside, perched on his ladder while his mate had passed next to it, and he hadn't been able to get a good sniff of his scent, so he couldn't be sure.
Isaiah's fox didn't seem to care about any of that, though. The stubborn thing wanted John, and it didn't seem to understand what the problem was. And it wasn't even the only problem Isaiah had at the moment.
Still, it didn't mean he could push Jayden away like that. "I'm sorry."
Isaiah turned his chair and faced his friend. "For basically telling you to butt out of my business. I know you mean well."