It’s been three years since Caleb lost Gabriel, the love of his life. Drowning himself in memories, he meets a mysterious woman who holds the key to unlocking a hidden part of his life. Caleb must travel back to where it all began, searching for answers and encountering Dmitri, ruthless leader of the San Francisco Pack. Will Caleb ever be able to love again? Will he find the courage to protect a woman he barely remembers? Or will what he finds from his past destroy his future?
Anna Petrenko found herself out of money, out of gas, and out of luck at a roadside diner off Interstate 5 in Eugene, Oregon on a cold December afternoon. Everything she had ever known had been taken away from her, and her home was no longer safe. Her parents had been killed. Her Pack had been destroyed or subdued. Even her car was on its last legs, and running out of gas had been the last straw.
She was sobbing, tears streaming down her dirty face, when a knock came at her window. A tall young man wearing a red letter jacket was standing next to her car, motioning her to roll her window down.
“Miss, is everything okay? Can I help you with something?”
She nodded, then shook her head. “I’m fine,” she choked, obviously not fine.
“Hey, come on, now. It can’t be that bad,” he said, trying to cheer her up. “Remember, no matter how bad you have it, someone else has it worse.”
I don’t see how, she thought, bursting into tears again. The young man frowned, embarrassed at his gaffe. “Okay, I’m sorry. Do you need me to call someone? A friend or family member?”
She shook her head. “There’s no one to call.”
The young man frowned again. “At least let me buy you lunch.”
She tried to wave him off, but her stomach growled at the mention of food. The young man heard it. He grinned and cajoled her. “Ehh? I know you’re starving. Crying does that to a person.”
She sighed and took the keys out of the ignition. She got out of the car and took a good look at the young man in front of her. He was cute, with a head of foppish brown hair, shining brown eyes, and an all-American complexion.
The young man extended his hand. “I’m Marc,” he offered.
“An...Anna,” she countered, wiping her eyes and shaking his hand.
As it turned out, Marc worked at the diner as a cook and had just finished his shift. Over double cheeseburgers and chocolate pie, they talked about everything from music to movies, mostly things that didn’t really matter. She was careful not to divulge any of her secrets, but she found herself enjoying Marc’s company. He had an amazing grin, and he made her laugh.
“So, listen,” said Marc after yet another refill on their coffee. “I know it might not be any of my business, but do you have a place to stay?”
“No,” she admitted. “It wouldn’t matter anyway. My car is out of gas and I have no money.”
Marc frowned. “Let me see if I can do something about that. Hey, Ruby Jean!” he called.
The head waitress, forty and platinum blonde with enormous hoop earrings, came to their table. “Whatcha need, hon?”
Marc smiled. “Since Crystal just won the lottery and moved to Florida, we need another waitress,” he said, nodding at Anna. “This is Anna. She’s new in town and needs some work.”
Ruby Jean took a skeptical look at Anna. “You need a job, sweetcheeks?” she said. “All right. We’ll get you started tomorrow. Can you come in about eight o’clock?”
Anna’s eyes lit up and she gasped. “Oh, yes! Of course!”
Ruby Jean smiled. “If Marc here can vouch for ya, ya can’t be all bad. We’ll see ya in the mornin’, hon.”
Anna nearly broke down in tears again. “You didn’t have to do that,” she beamed at Marc.
Marc grinned. “Don’t worry about it. You still owe me for the cheeseburger.”