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Leah runs and starts a new journey (to avoid her heart), and she notices when the cool, stark air transforms into a slick, muggy sheen across her skin.

She senses other shifters and werewolves in the area, finding no solace in the cliquish order of the weres. She’s seen enough of it in her own pack, and she wants to free her mind of that – of Sam, Jake, and even of the cold ones.

She’s resting when she hears him pad next to her. She tenses but relaxes when it’s only a collie. When he transforms, she looks up at him (on her guard) and hopes her misery and anger will drive him away (like it does everyone else).

Instead, Leah finds herself taking his hand. He only needs to smile, and she follows him inside. She must be too exhausted to accept a stranger.

He gives her clothes and food, and just stares. He looks elated to find someone like him. She hasn’t seen many shifters, not like her – or him, so above and beyond the grubby weres she’s meant to avoid.

“Name’s Sam,” he says (of course it would be, she thinks). “Welcome to my bar.” The place feels rustic and homey, and she hears country music tingling around her.

“Leah,” she says. “What’s this?” Her mouth waters at the food in front of her, but she’s still cautious, wondering if she can trust him. She’s leaning, though; it’s not hard when Sam is so inviting.

“Yours,” he says simply. “You far from home?” She nods at his observation, and she takes the first tentative bite of her burger. The food is good, and the company seems even better. She meets his eyes again and feels an odd, rare sensation in the muscles of her face.

Leah smiles.