Addison Richards stood in line at the soup kitchen. Emerald Way shelter in Silver Creek had been her home for the past 2 years along with the streets. She never pictured her life would turn out like this. Here she was a college student majoring in journalism. She had money saved up to buy her own place and get out from under her parents. Life was good for a while until she met Randy Neil. Randy swooped her off her feet and said all the things she wanted to hear. After dating for a few months, which wasn’t enough time to get to know someone, he popped the question and like an idiot, she said yes.
Her parents tried to talk her out of it but Addy was grown. She didn’t need anyone telling her what was good for her and she damn sure didn’t need her parents holding her hand through life. Addy wished they tried harder to convince her. The betrayal stung the worse. Randy didn’t tell her the truth about his life. Addy found out about the real man hidden beneath all that charm when he moved in with her. Randy was lazy and good for nothing. He didn’t bother going to school and now that she thought about it, she met him at the park near the school.
Randy told her he majored in journalism too but she never saw him on the campus. He even brought strange people to her home. Addy tried to put up with it as best she could but it only got worse. Randy started drinking heavily and every bit of savings she had for herself, he used to fund some big project he worked on or to impress his friends. It wasn’t until later, Addy found out he was cheating on her as well. The money she loaned him went to funding trips with these women and pretty soon, she didn’t have enough to stay afloat. She was kicked out of her apartment and by then Randy had no use for her anymore.
He left her to be with some rich woman he met or so he claimed. Addy believed he just wanted out of the relationship. She tried to go back to her parents for help but they wouldn’t budge. You made your bed so you must lie in it. Now she was living on the street. Her college dreams and her life gone down the drain. She sold some of her belongings to make ends meet but she didn’t have that many valuables. The shelter was the only place she had left to go and she stayed there from time to time.
Addy wanted to cry about her miserable life and she had plenty of times, but her conscience always reminded her she brought it on herself. She didn’t have to give Randy all her money. The blame wasn’t entirely on him. Like her parents said she must lie in the bed she made for herself but she had hope. Hope that things would get better for her. Hope that someone somewhere would love her for who she truly was not for what she could provide them. Well, she had nothing left to provide anyway. She didn’t have much to look at now either. Her clothes were either dirty or had holes and her hair was messy. She tried to make the most of her life here but it was still hard.
Addy stared at the soup being piled in her bowl as her friend Sid made his way over to her. A bad business deal landed Sid here with her along with drug use. Like her, Sid’s family cut ties with him too. No matter how they tried to help him, Sid went back to his old habits. He'd lost his father and brothers a lot of money when he made a bad deal with one of his father’s business rivals. Addy didn’t believe Sid was beyond saving. If they wouldn’t help him, she would find some way to help him herself. It was a long shot from here though.
“Hey Sid,” Addy said.
Sid held out his tray. “Same soup just reheated huh?”
Addy giggled to herself. Although their situation looked bleak, Sid had a way of making her feel better. Sid winked at her, his blue eyes had a glint in them. Addy thought Sid was handsome. His hair was a beach blond and longish. He always wore a ponytail piled high on top of his head to keep his hair from falling in his eyes. He wore the back hanging which came to his shoulders. It was usually tucked under a collar or in his jacket. This time, he wore a long-sleeved shirt that exposed his neck. Sid’s hair was rarely dirty.
Addy slid down to accept a piece of bread. “Yeah but it’s better than nothing.”
“Yeah.” Sid reached for another piece of bread. Addy took her tray to an empty table. She sat down and shivered. The bench was cold. She stood and pushed the tail of her coat under her. It was Winter but the heat rarely worked in here. Sid came over to sit with her. Addy smiled.
“So, how was your day?” he asked, dipping his bread into the soup.
“As about as good as it can get in here,” Addy said. “We’ll have to find somewhere else to go tonight.”
“And I hate that,” Sid said with a frown.
Addy did too. She didn’t have the money to pay for a stay here neither did Sid. She guessed tonight she’d be on the streets but she wasn’t afraid. She was more than capable of taking care of herself and no one really bothered her. Besides, Sid would come with her. They loved to keep each other company.
“Sleeping under the stars is not such a bad idea,” Sid said. “I kinda like the idea. I just wish we were in a better situation.”
Addy finished her soup. “Yeah, me too.” She swirled the little bit of bread she had around in the broth and popped it into her mouth. She laughed when she caught Sid drinking from the bowl. Addy watched as he slurped the broth down and placed the bowl on the table.
“You going to finish that?” he asked pointing at her bowl.
“No you can have it,” Addy said, sliding the bowl to him.
Sid grabbed the bowl and slurped the broth down. He placed the bowl on the table and licked his lips. Addy stood. She brushed the crumbs off her clothes. “Let’s get out of here shall we?”
Sid wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Sure, why not?”
Pierce Halton left his favorite bookstore. He tucked the bag under his arm and walked down the street. Ever since Hadria announced her pregnancy, the mansion was in an uproar. Victor worried over every little thing and Bryce spent his time spoiling his niece or nephew. He bought different types of toys. Pierce wanted to point out they didn’t know if the baby was male or female but he kept quiet. Like he often did, Pierce tried to help with whatever Victor and Hadria needed but Victor told him he wasn’t needed at the moment.
Pierce didn’t know why he felt useless at a time like this. He found comfort in his life by going into town and buying books. Pierce would visit the coffee shop too. On purpose, Pierce would stay out longer than usual just to see if Victor caught on. Victor never said anything. Pierce sighed. It was crazy to be jealous of Hadria but he couldn’t help himself. She had Victor’s attention all the time now.
Pierce walked into the coffee shop and his wolf went crazy. Pierce frowned. He didn’t know his wolf liked the smell of coffee so much. He ignored his wolf and ordered his usual. Café Mocha with whipped cream and cinnamon. As the barista prepared his beverage, he went to the window to look out. A couple of people passed by the store. Once again, his wolf acted up. Pierce rolled his eyes. Maybe his wolf felt off balance because he hadn’t shifted lately.
“Looks like I’ll have to go for a run tonight,” he said under his breath.
“Sir, you say something?” Pierce turned around. He shook his head at the barista. She stared at him with wide eyes. She went back to the drink with a smile. Pierce studied her. Was his wolf reacting to her? It was funny. He didn’t feel anything. No lightning bolt moment or freeze frame like Victor experienced when he encountered Hadria. Victor couldn’t think straight and Pierce tried his best to decipher his thoughts that time.
It was then he realized Hadria was Victor’s mate. Pierce didn’t know why everything was giving him a hard time even his wolf. He went back to the counter as the barista finished his mocha. Pierce thanked her and left the store with the mocha. As soon as he hit the street, his wolf started again. Pierce sighed and looked both ways. He didn’t smell any unusual scent except for the coffee nor did he see any people.
“What is wrong with you today?” He took a sip of the mocha. “There isn’t a female for miles.”
His wolf didn’t listen to him. Pierce continued to his car. As he got in and cranked up, a female came out from the alley. Pierce didn’t acknowledge her; he just drove away.
Back at the mansion, Pierce didn’t announce his return. He caught Hadria sitting in Victor’s lap as he fed her. She giggled. Pierce went to his room. He threw the book on the bed and removed his scarf and coat. He folded them carefully and laid it on the couch in front of his bed. Pierce sat down and buried his face in his hands. He had no idea he’d feel this way. There was a silent knock on the door. Pierce lifted his head. Hadria stood there with a hand on her belly.
“Yes?” Pierce asked. “Do you need something?”
“Where did you go?” Hadria asked, biting her lip.
Pierce scowled. Funny how Victor’s mate knew he was missing and Victor didn’t. Pierce wasn’t in the mood to answer her but as their new Luna, he had to obey her as well.
“I just went to the bookstore.” Pierce grabbed the book and handed it to her.
“You got this for me?”
Pierce didn’t answer her this time. He grabbed his coat from the chair. “My wolf’s a little restless so I think I’ll go for a run.”
Hadria was about to say something else, but Victor called out to her. Pierce watched her leave the room. Victor waited for her at the end of the hall. Pierce went in the opposite direction of the couple. He began to shift as he stepped out onto the back steps of the mansion. Pierce cast a glare back at the mansion and took off into the night. He sprinted through the forest. He kept running until he was out of breath. Maybe now, his wolf would be alright. His legs ached a little, having not shifted in a while.
Pierce sat on the ground to catch his breath. He shouldn’t slack off. He was the beta. Pierce shifted back to his human form. He made sure his clothes were intact before he got to his feet. There wasn’t really a need to go back to the mansion so soon. He walked out of the forest. He decided to check out the nightlife. Pierce pulled his coat tighter around him and wrapped the scarf around his mouth. It was freezing out here. He wished he’d brought his car. He hurried across the street to a nearby alley. As he walked down the alley, his wolf went crazy.
Pierce didn’t have a clue why. There was nothing in this part of town except homeless people and Pierce wasn't the charitable type. The undesirables of Silver Creek all huddled together here. Pierce decided to entertain his wolf. Maybe it knew something he didn't. He walked until he came across a male with beach blond hair. The man rummaged through a cart. He coughed and pulled a toboggan out of the pile of clothes. He placed it on his head. He rummaged some more and pulled out a female’s coat.
“Hey Addy,” he called. “I found something for ya!”
Pierce squinted his eyes as the male took off down the alley. Pierce followed him. He kept to the shadows making sure the man didn’t suspect him. The man stopped at the end of the alley. He jumped out from the corner and held the coat up for someone Pierce couldn’t see. The man had a huge grin plastered on his face. Pierce was about to walk closer to the man when the man glanced in his direction. The man lowered the coat and looked at him with a curious expression. Pierce heard a female voice shouting at the man.
When the man turned in the direction of the voice, Pierce left the alley. It was better for him to stay away from this side of town. Pierce cursed under his breath. What was he thinking? He felt his phone vibrating in his pocket. Great, it was Bryce. Pierce rolled his eyes. Leave it to Bryce to be the overprotective type. As Pierce took the call, he glanced back at the alley. The man was gone. Pierce sighed. He might as well head back to the mansion and contemplate his miserable life.