Adam jerked awake with the metallic taste of blood in his mouth. Breathing hard and drenched in a cold sweat, he sat up and ran his hands through his hair.
He'd lost count of how many times he'd dreamt of the white wolf. After three months and well over five-hundred dollars wasted on fake psychics and palm-readers, he was still no closer to finding out what it meant. He sighed deeply and covered his face with his hands.
Reluctantly he peeked through his fingers at his alarm clock.
Letting out a groan, he fell back to the pillows. He'd have to get up for work at the diner soon.
It was a dead-end job and everyone there -- even his boss -- was afraid of him, but the meager paychecks kept the landlord off his back. That was the only reason he kept showing up.
As he showered and got dressed, his mind drifted to his former pack; the family he'd left behind. He remembered vividly the tears in his mother's eyes and the angry disappointment on his father's face as he'd told them his decision. Becoming Rogue wasn't his first choice, but given the alternative -- an arranged mating with a female he'd never even met -- being on his own was an acceptable, if lonely, choice. His brothers hadn't been happy about the news either, especially little Roman. The six-year-old had been inconsolable and cried for days, despite Adam's best efforts to soothe him.
The only one who had supported Adam's decision was his oldest brother, Michael. Of course, he'd only helped because he was interested in the female that Adam was arranged to mate, but he'd helped nonetheless. His support was likely the only reason their father, the Alpha, accepted Adam's choice and allowed him to leave. That was nearly four years ago, and he hadn't spoken to any of them since.
Adam ate a pathetic breakfast consisting of a pop-tart and some lunchmeat, and began the four-block walk to the diner. The streets were already crowded with people, their scents mixing in the air and bombarding him. His wolf growled in disgust at the putrid swirl of body odor, cheap cologne, sex and morning breath.
Suddenly a different and stronger scent broke through and overpowered all the rest. Adam abruptly stopped walking, causing several people to bump into him. He ignored their muttered insults and turned around to search for the source of the scent. Intrigued, he completely forgot that he was already late and followed the trail.
Both confused and curious, Adam tried to figure out exactly what it was that he was scenting. It smelled like the unmistakable musk of another lycan, but it was more....feminine.
"Impossible," he murmured to himself, and his wolf thought the same. Every lycan knew that females smelled faintly of human because they used to be human, but this scent contained no trace of it. It was pure, unadulterated lycan musk, mixed with a delicate, floral perfume, and it intoxicated both Adam and his wolf. He continued to follow the scent, slipping through the crowd of humans as his brain desperately tried to analyze it and pinpoint its source. Finally, a woman broke away from the crowd and headed down an alley, her long, red curls bouncing with her every step and swishing up more of her scent. Adam's wolf zeroed in on her and his instincts took over as he followed her down the alley.
He called to her, jogging to keep up, and the woman glanced over her shoulder at him. Her stunning green eyes locked onto his for a moment, making him halt in his tracks, and then she turned the corner and disappeared from his view. Adam ran to catch up to her, but as he rounded the corner, he saw that she was gone. He looked all around and sniffed for a trail, but her scent lingered only faintly and there was not enough to follow. It was as if she'd simply vanished.
Natalie looked down on the man from her perch on the rooftop. He was the fourth one to follow her like this since she'd moved to this city. She'd been forced to move from two apartments and she'd be damned if she let another man uproot her again. This one was handsome, with messy dark hair and warm brown eyes that had almost made her forget to flee. He had a light stubble on his face and faint circles under his eyes, making him look like he'd just woken up from a troubled sleep. She watched the man slowly leave the alley and once he was gone she gracefully descended back down to the ground, jumping from one fire escape to the next and landing silently on her feet.
This had been a close one. He'd almost caught her. Vaulting oneself up the side of a building via the fire escapes was no easy feat for a human, but she could do it effortlessly. Her senses were heightened as well -- she'd smelled the man's musk long before she'd seen him. That scent had come to mean danger for Natalie; she could never be sure if they were just curious or one of the Rogues hired to kill her, and though her wolf wasn't pleased when she ran from them, she ignored its protests. She'd had enough close calls already and didn't want to stick around long enough to find out what they'd do if they caught her.
"Nice of you to show up." said Beth, Adam's manager, as he entered the diner. She made a show of looking at her watch and added, "Only fifty-three minutes late."
"Yeah, I know. Sorry." Adam replied, tying his busboy apron around his waist.
"What, no excuses today?" Beth asked sarcastically. "How disappointing."
"Fuck off, Beth."
Adam ignored Beth's complaints toward his conduct and punctuality, and got to work clearing tables, his mind fixated on the redheaded woman. Who was she? What was she?
Of one thing Adam was certain: He would see her again, even if he had to scour the entire city to find her.