"Order up, Kel! Come on, girl. Move your ass!"
Kelsi nodded, hurrying to the window. "I'm here. Table six needed more coffee."
Ed growled. "I don't give a fuck, girlie. Hurry up."
She grabbed the burger, the eggs, stacking plates on her arm. She'd picked up the late-night shift a few weeks ago. Between it, the greeter position at WalMart, and the hours cleaning at the hotel, she was starting to save a little money.
Now if she could just keep it going during the full moon, fight the change one more month, she'd have enough to put a down payment on a trailer, have a more private place backing onto a field.
She nearly dropped the plates when she first smelled it. A male. Here. In the restaurant. She didn't look, though. If she was lucky, he wouldn't notice her. If he did, Ed had a huge butcher knife in the kitchen and, as big as an asshole as he was, he'd proven he would use it.
"I just sat the biggest hunk to ever walk in here at one of your tables," Minnie told her. "You can thank me later."
"Thanks." Great. She passed out plates, then headed over to the table in the back, refusing to make eye contact. "What can I get you to drink?"
"No hello, Kel?" Her heart stopped in her chest, before it started racing, trying to tear its way out of her rib cage. Damn it, that was Gage's low, sexy voice.
"What do you want to drink?" What the hell was he doing here?
"We need to talk."
"About what?" She met his eyes. It had been eighteen months since she'd run. Eighteen months, hundreds of miles, and twenty pounds ago, she'd been a spoiled little brat of a girl. She was a woman now.
"About you coming home to the pack."
"You ran away. It's time to come home."
"No. There's nothing to come home to. I have a life here."
"Kel! Order up!"
She turned and headed back to the window, fighting her tears with everything she had. What the hell was Gage doing here? He had his mate, had the pack. Why hadn't he just left her alone?
He was still there after she'd served her table. "I'd like to get some service here."
"Okay. Okay, what do you want? Coffee? Coke? Burger? Eggs?" Her hands were trembling a little, pen jittering over her pad.
"When are you finished here?" God, his eyes were intense, staring right into her.
"My shift here is over at six, and then I start at WalMart at seven."
"Six? That's another seven hours." He shook his head. "Come with me now."
"What? I can't. I need this job."
He banged his fist on the table. "You need to come home."
She jumped. "That's not my home! Go back to your mate and leave me alone!"
His voice lowered, became somehow more dangerous. "My mate?"
"Yes. I saw you both. Together."
Gage's eyebrows drew together. "That's why you ran away."
"I didn't have any reason to stay. I needed to get out on my own. Find my own mate. What do you want to drink?"
"You need to come with me. Kief's out there, waiting for us."
Oh. Gage had brought his lover. Someone must have sent them for her. She shook her head. "I'm not interested."
"You saw us together and, instead of asking, you made assumptions, and like a spoiled little brat turned tail and ran."
"Gage." Kiefer's voiced sounded from right beside her.
She jumped, then jerked away, hips banging into another table.
"Watch it! Jesus!"
"Kel? You okay?" Minnie came over, pushed between her and the boys. "You assholes giving our little sweetheart problems?"
Kelsi didn't wait for an answer. She didn't wait for anything. She hit the door at a dead run.