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AJ hates when she has to drive down dark roads like this. But this is the only way she’s familiar with to get to Aiden Grove. If she hadn’t had to work today, she definitely would’ve been past this point already. There’s nothing she can do about that now. Now, she just has to continue on. As she’s driving over the small bridge, her car starts making a funny noise. She frowns when it begins to clunk and smoke right after that.

“No,” she mumbles. She manages to get the car to the side of the road before it dies. She frowns as she looks around. It’s dark and she knows it’s still several miles to the next town. She’s never been in a situation like this before. She grabs her cell phone, only to remember it had died twenty minutes early and she doesn’t have her car charger. “Great.” She’s going to have to start walking to find somewhere to go. It’s the middle of winter; she can’t stay in her car. She’s just thankful that she has plenty of clothing.

She climbs out of the car and heads to the trunk of her car. After pulling a hoodie out of her bag, she slips her coat off, shivering when the cold air hits her bare arms. She pulls the hoodie on as quickly as she can before pulling her coat on once again. She goes back to the driver’s door, grabbing the flashlight she keeps there. Before she can move any further, she hears a growl from behind her. She turns quickly, shrieking when she sees a brown wolf on the other side of the road. She backs against the car.

“Oh God.” She starts shaking as the wolf takes a step closer to her. Licking her lips, she glances at the opened car door. If she’s quick, she could make it inside. But one misstep and she’s a goner. Carefully, she takes a small step to the open door. She screams when the wolf starts running toward her. She turns and covers her head. But then she hears another growl. Turning slightly, she sees another wolf, this one much darker, standing there, blocking her from the first wolf. There’s definitely a difference between the two. While the first one is big, he’s nowhere near as big as the second. She gets in the car, locking the doors and shrinks down as she tries to calm herself down.

A few minutes pass when there’s a knock on her window. She screams as she sits up quickly. She looks at the window to see a man standing there. She scoots away from the window. “Go away!”

“Hey, it’s okay. I just saw your car sitting here,” he says. “Everything okay?”

AJ looks around. “Where are they?”

“Who?”

AJ takes a deep breath as she looks at the man. “There were two wolves.” She points out to where she had seen them. “They were right there.”

“Well, I didn’t see anything other than your car. They’re probably gone. My name is Wade Barrett.”

AJ looks at the man again. She’d finally heard his thick accent. He doesn’t look dangerous. Okay, he could be very dangerous, but… “I’m AJ… Lee.” She opens the door and steps out. “I um… was on my way to Aiden Grove and my car died.” She shivers at the cold air. It’s getting colder.

Wade nods. “Well, I can take a look at it, but it’s too dark tonight.”

“How fair is it to the next town?” She doesn’t know why she asked, because she knows the answer.

“Ten miles. My place is nearby. You are welcome there. I can’t let you stay out in the cold. I can make you something hot to eat.”

AJ chews on her bottom lip. She’s hungry and had planned on stopping when she reached the next town. “Okay. I really appreciate it. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

Wade shakes his head. “No, I was just out walking my dog when I came across your car.” He gestures toward the trunk. “I’m going to guess you have some bags?”

AJ nods. “Yes.” She shrugs. “Was on my way to visit my parents for the week.”

Wade nods. “Want to pop the trunk and I’ll grab your bags?” He walks to the back of the car. “So where are you coming from?”

“Lincoln.” AJ pops the trunk before grabbing her bag from the passenger seat. “My parents moved out to Aiden Grove after I graduated high school. I went to Nebraska for school and then just stayed in Lincoln because I got a job at the place I interned at.” She frowns. “I’m sorry. You probably don’t care about that.”

Wade grins as he grabs the three bags from the trunk. “It’s okay. You can say anything you’d like.” He closes the trunk. “Ready?”

AJ nods. “Yeah.” She stays close to Wade as they start walking. “Didn’t you say you were walking your dog?”

“Yes. He’s headed back to the house.” Wade turns down a dirt path, AJ following closely.

“Oh.” She frowns a bit as they continue to walk. She’s starting to get really nervous now. “Um… I um…”

“Look, I know this probably is a little creepy. I get that. But my house is just up the way here.”

AJ looks at him. “How can you live this far out? Isn’t it scary? Though, I’m sure you aren’t scared of anything.”

Wade chuckles. “You get used to it. But it’s not just me out here. There are a few houses back here. We’re all pretty good friends.”

“Well, that’s good then. How long have you been here?” She licks her lips as she watches Wade.

“I’ve been here in Bryce for five years. Moved to the states twelve years ago.”

She smiles. “Why’d you move here?”

“To the states? Group of us wanted a change. Moved to Bryce because we wanted out of the big cities.” Wade turns toward the house to their right.

“Wow.” AJ stops dead in her tracks and stares at the cabin like house. It’s not like any other cabin she’s ever seen before. “This is amazing.”

Wade smiles as he opens the front door. “Well, then come and see the rest of it.” He sets her bags just inside the door before stepping back to let AJ pass. He watches as she steps into the house and looks around.

“Wow,” AJ repeats. She turns and looks at Wade. “This is amazing. Did you build it?”

Wade shakes his head. “No. I wish I could say that I did, but no. I did a lot of renovating when I moved here though.” He steps back outside, whistling. He hears a bark from the side of the house. “Get inside, you mutt.” He closes the door after the Alaskan Malamute runs inside. “Hey, stay down.”

AJ smiles as she pets the large dog. “He’s gorgeous. What’s his name?”

“Carter.”

“Hi Carter. Such a gorgeous boy.”

Wade smiles at her. “You’ll never get rid of him now.”

She looks over, smiling widely. “Who would want to get rid of this gorgeous boy?”

“Let me show you where you’ll be sleeping so you can get changed into something warm. You’re shivering.”

She smiles. “That would be appreciated, thank you.” She watches as he takes her bags once again and leads her to the left. She follows him into a bedroom.

“This is it.” He sets the bags on the bed. “There are extra blankets in the closet if you get cold later. Bathroom is between the bedrooms. It is the only bathroom, but it’s big. I’ll go make some coffee.”

“Um… could it be hot chocolate instead?”

He smiles. “Sure can. I’ll go get that going. What would you like to eat?”

AJ shrugs. “I don’t care. I’m not picky.”

“Okay. I’ll find something.” He steps out of the room, closing the door behind him.

AJ can’t help but smile a little as she changes into a pair of her sweats and a long sleeved shirt. She wishes she had grabbed a sweatshirt, but she hadn’t expected to need anything like that. She pulls her slippers out of her bag. After slipping them on, she walks back out to the main living area. She smiles when she sees the fire burning in the fire place. She hears Wade moving around in what she’s figuring is the kitchen. She makes her way over. Wade looks over and smiles.

“I started a fire,” he says gesturing toward the living room. “Which I’m sure you saw.”

AJ nods. “I did. I love fires. Wish I had a fire place in my apartment.”

He hands her a mug. “Well go sit by it. Is chicken okay with you?”

She nods. “Chicken is perfect. I love chicken.”

“Okay. It won’t take long.”

She turns and heads into the living room. Sitting down in the chair closest to the fire, she pulls her feet up under her. She takes a sip of her hot chocolate as she watches the fire. She should be worried about being here alone with Wade, but she’s not. She feels safe with him. That worries her more than being here alone with him. Carter walks over and curls up in front of her chair. AJ smiles down at him. She has to wonder if this is where Wade sits.

Wade walks in a short time later. He takes a seat in the chair to AJ’s left. “Food will be ready in about twenty minutes,” he says.

She looks over at him. “Okay.” She smiles at him. “So is this where you usually sit?”

“No, I’m sitting where I normally do. Carter must really like you. He doesn’t normally sit that close to strangers.” He watches AJ. “Of course, you’re easy to like.”

She blushes at that comment. She doesn’t believe him but won’t argue with him. She licks her lips as she looks at the fire once again.

“I think while we’re waiting for the food, I’m going to go jump in the shower.”

“Okay. I can keep an eye on the food.”

Wade nods. “Everything should be fine, but that would be appreciated.” He stands up and heads into his bedroom.

AJ turns to watch him for a moment. She can’t help but smile as she settles back in. This would be a perfect place to be. She could definitely see herself in a place like this. She’s always wanted to live in a cabin. She’d always pictured herself sitting in front of the fire, just like she is now, only with her nose in a book. She could always grab her book from her bag, but she won’t, at least not right now. Maybe after they eat she’ll do that.

******

Wade steps out of the shower, thankful he no longer smells like a wet dog. He can’t believe AJ hadn’t said anything about the smell. Of course, she could have easily thought it was Carter’s smell. He pulls his boxers on before grabbing his pants and slipping them on. He grabs his comb to run it through his hair. He can’t help but wonder what AJ is doing right now. He doesn’t know why he’s having this thought. Okay, not completely true. The woman intrigues him.

He walks out of the bathroom and into his bedroom. He had been out on his normal area sweep when he’d heard the growling, followed by a shriek. When he’d seen the other wolf… werewolf… he knew he had to step in. So he did just that. Then he had quickly gotten out of view and changed back into his human form. He’d been worried she’d question the smell right away, but he couldn’t just leave her there.

Grabbing a long sleeve shirt, Wade pulls it on. Not that he really needs a long sleeve shirt on, but he doesn’t want AJ to think anything. He could only imagine what her reaction would be to what he really is. He wishes he could be honest with everyone he meets, but he knows that isn’t possible, especially when it comes to the reason he came to the states. He’d been thrown out of his family’s pack, which meant he had to leave. He’d been surprised when Drew and Stephen had joined him on his journey over. It was nearly a month later when Mason arrived as well. How is he supposed to tell someone that he’d been banished from his family because of a mistake he’d made at a young age?

As he walks out of the bedroom, he pushes the sleeves of his shirt up. He smiles as he sees AJ walking out of the kitchen. She stops when she sees him.

“I made more hot chocolate for myself,” she says softly. “I hope you don’t mind.”

He shakes his head. “Not at all. You’re welcome to anything you can find.”

“Okay, thank you.”

He nods. “Are you warm enough? I can turn the heat up more.”

“No, I’m okay. I’ll just go by the fire.” She smiles as she walks back over to the chair.

He laughs softly before heading into the kitchen to check on the food. “If you’d like, we can eat by the fire.”

“Really? That would be amazing. If you’re sure…?”

“Yeah, that’s fine with me.” He pulls two plates from the cabinet. He finishes getting the food ready, having only made boxed mashed potatoes for tonight. He dishes some food onto both plates before grabbing silverware and heading into the living room. He hands AJ one of the plates.

“Thank you,” she says with a smile.

“You’re welcome.” He sits down once again. “Would you like to watch a movie or something?”

“Sure, that sounds good.”

When the movie ends, Wade looks over at AJ. He can’t help but smile when he sees that’s she’s asleep. He stands up and takes their plates before heading into the kitchen. After he cleans up, he walks to the guest bedroom to clean off AJ’s bed. He pulls the blankets down and walks into the living room once again. Leaning down, he carefully lifts AJ up, hoping not to wake her up. He stops when she moves. She doesn’t wake up, however. Instead, she curls against him. He smiles as he heads into the bedroom. He lies her down on the bed and pulls the covers up over her. As he walks out of the room, he shuts the light off, and closes the door.

The next morning, Wade wakes up to noise coming from outside of the house. He’s out of bed and out the front door in the matter of seconds. He looks around, trying to find the intruder. He doesn’t have any trouble finding the prowler. It’s Damien Sandow, the man who’d tried to attack AJ the night before. Wade knows he’s here to try and get AJ again, but he’s not going to let him.

Wade closes the door and runs out into the trees, shifting easily. He comes across Sandow and growls as he approaches. Sandow turns, growling right back. They circle around each other. Wade is waiting for Sandow to make the move, though this is the one person he would gladly chase out of town in a heartbeat. Sandow has done nothing but cause trouble since arriving. They both stop when they hear the door open. Wade watches as Sandow looks over. He doesn’t have to look to know AJ is now standing on the porch. He hopes she can’t see them from where she’s at. But as Sandow stalks toward the porch, he knows that’s going to change.

He follows close behind, not wanting to let Sandow too close. AJ shrieks and backs into the side of the house. Wade growls when Sandow moves closer. He can hear the other man laughing. He runs in front of Sandow, growling. He stalks toward Sandow, daring him to come closer. He’s ready to attack.

“Go away!” AJ shouts. “Get out of here. You don’t belong here.”

Wade takes a step toward Sandow, the other man finally retreats, running back through the trees. Turning around, Wade looks at AJ. She has the same look on her face as when he’d found her last night. He walks up the steps, not surprised when AJ shrieks a little.

“Oh God,” AJ whispers. “Please don’t hurt me.”

He steps closer, nuzzling her hand. He backs away quickly before turning and running into the trees. He stops to look at her once again. He watches as AJ walks to the edge of the porch, looking out toward him. He retreats further into the threes before shifting back. He walks around to the other side of the house, walking up onto the porch.

“Good morning,” he says.

AJ shrieks, turning around quickly. “Oh God, you scared me.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” He walks over to stand beside her.

“It’s okay. Doubt you did it on purpose.” She combs her fingers through her hair. “Where were you?”

“Went out for a little morning walk.” Not a complete lie.

“Oh. Did you see them this time?”

“See who?”

“The wolves. The same ones from last night. A big brown one and a big black one. The black one is huge. I swear he’s bigger than me.”

He grins as he watches her eyes widen. “That big, huh? No, I didn’t see them. Are you okay?”

She nods. “The brown one was trying to get to me. The black one wouldn’t let him.”

“So he’s protecting you?”

“Yeah, I suppose you could say that.” She frowns. “I don’t understand. I thought wolves didn’t like people.”

He shrugs. “Most won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.”

“Oh. I don’t know what I did to make the first one mad.”

“Probably nothing. Some wolves just don’t like people.” He watches her. “Just don’t go far without me.”

She smiles up at Wade. “I won’t. Not even sure if I want to be on the porch without you after seeing that.”

He grins. “Why don’t we go get dressed and head up to look at your car?”

She nods. “That would be good. Think you’ll be able to fix it?”

“I make no promises.”

She frowns a little, but is thankful he’s being honest with her. “Okay.”

It’s not long before they’re both dressed and headed back through the woods. AJ stays as close to Wade as she possibly can. As they approach her car, Wade breaks away to pop the hood of the car. AJ stays near as he leans over to look at the engine. She hopes it’s nothing too serious. But she doubts that as soon as Wade looks over at her.

“It’s bad, isn’t it?” she asks.

“I’m afraid so,” he answers. “Well, let me rephrase that. I can’t fix it. Past what I can do with cars.” He stands up straight and drops the hood. “And with this weather…” He gestures to the fact that the road is covered with at least a foot of snow. The only path is the one they came up through, which he’s sure Drew made. “…no one is going to be getting out here any time soon. And honestly, even if I would have been able to fix it, I doubt you would have been able to get out of here.”

She frowns but nods. “Yeah, I realize that. I just…” Her shoulders sag a little. “…was looking forward to seeing my family. And now I’m intruding on you even more.”

Wade grins. “You aren’t. Honestly, it’s nice to have someone other than the idiots I call friends around.”

“I heard that!” someone calls out.

AJ jumps a little as she turns around. A tall man, much like Wade, with long hair walks toward them. She unconsciously takes a step toward Wade. Wade smiles as he rests his hand on her back.

“You were supposed to. This is AJ Lee. AJ, that’s Drew McIntyre.”

“Nice to meet you, Miss AJ.” Drew shakes her hand.

“You too,” AJ nearly whispers.

“What brings you out this far?”

“Was on my way to my parent’s last night when my car broke down.”

Wade glances at Drew. He’s going to have to talk to him later about what’s going on with Sandow. He knows the others will watch out for AJ if he tells them to. Not simply because he’s been considered the pack leader, but because they all know how Sandow is.

“Drew, have you seen any wolves around?” AJ asks.

Drew shakes his head. “Can’t say I have.”

“Weird.” She shrugs and looks at Wade. “I guess I should let my parents know I won’t be making it.”

Wade nods. “Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. Don’t want them to be worried.”

AJ sits down on the chair as she calls her parents. She sees Drew and Wade head into the kitchen as she settles in.

“Hello?” Angie answers.

“Hi, Mom.”

“April, hi.”

AJ can hear how happy Angie is to hear from her. She’d simply sent a text message the night before to let them know she wouldn’t be there.

“How are you? Are you safe?”

“Yes, Mom. I’m doing good. But I have some bad news.” She bites her lip as she waits for Angie to respond. She knows her mom isn’t going to be happy about this.

“Okay.”

“I’m stranded here.”

“What?”

“The snow storm hit hard here and there’s more coming. So I can’t get out.” She frowns as she fiddles with the bottom of her shirt.

“Oh, April. This place you’re staying, it’s good?”

“Yes, Mom. And Wade has been very nice. Things are going to be fine. I have a warm place to stay and food to eat.”

“Okay. I hate this, but I know there’s nothing I can do.”

“I’ll call you later on.”

“You better.”

AJ smiles after ending her call. It definitely went better than she expected. She stands up and walks into the kitchen to find Wade and Drew standing at the counter. Wade looks over and smiles.

“Get ahold of your parents?” he asks.

“Yes,” AJ answers. “Talked to my mom. She’s not thrilled about me staying here, but she knows that if I could get out that I would. They’ll be fine. They’re just not used to me staying anywhere but at their house or my apartment.”

Wade grins. “I can understand the fear of you being here though. Not as if you know me.”

Drew snorts. “That’s good, scare her now.”

AJ grins. “He’s not scaring me. I know what he means. But I’d like to think I know a good person when I see one. And that’s all I’ve seen of Wade so far.”

Drew frowns a bit and looks at Wade. “Wow,” he mutters. “Lucky bastard.”

AJ frowns at the comment. “What?”

“Nothing, sorry. I should head home before he sends a search party out to find me. I’ll see you later.” Drew heads out.

Wade isn’t surprised when AJ gives him a questioning look. He shrugs. “I ignore the stuff he mutters most of the time.”

“Okay.”

He’s thankful that she leaves it at that. He doesn’t want to go into any kind of explanation of what Drew meant. It’s not bad, just not something he wants to get into.

“So what are the plans for the day?” she asks. “I mean…” She chews on her bottom lip for a moment as she watches him. “I don’t want you to change any of your daily routines because I’m here.”

“With the snow storm, I won’t be doing much of anything.” He smiles a little.

“What do you normally do when you can’t leave?”

Wade shrugs. “Hang out with the guys, watch TV. Just depends on what I feel like to be honest. You can do whatever you would like. I’ll head out to the shed to get some more wood for the fireplace.”

“Can I help?” She wrinkles her nose. “Well, I guess I probably wouldn’t be much help, huh? Being as short as I am with the snow being so high, I’d probably fall.”

He grins. “It’s okay. You stay in here and stay warm. I won’t be long. If you want a sweatshirt, feel free to go into my closet to get one. I’ve noticed you haven’t had one on even though you’re cold.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll be back shortly.”

AJ watches him walk outside. She walks over to the window, not wanting to step outside for fear that the wolf would show up once again. It would be just her luck that it would. Of course Wade probably finds her ridiculous because apparently she’s the only one who’s seen these wolves. She rolls her eyes at herself. As she continues to watch Wade, she surprised to realize that he isn’t wearing a coat. All he has on is his long sleeved shirt. She can’t believe he’d risk his health like that. Turning around, she heads into Wade’s bedroom. She looks around, amazed at how clean it is. Sure, the rest of the house is clean, but she hadn’t expected his bedroom to be neat as well. She opens the closet door, smiling at the thought of wearing one of his sweatshirts. She’s going to swim in it, but she’ll be warm. After grabbing one, she pulls it on and heads back out to sit by the dying fire.

Wade walks in a few minutes later. He sets the log holder down before he leans down to untie his boots. “Good timing,” he says noticing the fire is almost completely out.

AJ looks over and smiles. “Yes, perfect timing.” She watches Wade bring the logs over. “Why didn’t you put a coat on? You’re going to end up getting sick.”

He frowns. He hadn’t realized he hadn’t grabbed his coat. Maybe because he rarely puts one on when going to grab more logs for the fire. He’s not used to having someone here that would notice that as something that shouldn’t happen. “Guess I forgot to grab it.” He glances at AJ. “I’ll be fine.”

She pulls her knees up to her chest. “You better be.”

He grins as he moves to sit down in the chair beside AJ. He’s intrigued by her but knows he can’t do anything more than watch her. It’s not as if she’ll be here much longer. As soon as the weather breaks and the roads are cleared she’ll be gone. Wade knows that she’ll never give him another thought after she leaves. Not that he expects anything different. She has a life out there that doesn’t have room for someone like him.

“What?” AJ can’t help but blush a little when she catches Wade staring at her.

“Nothing, sorry.” He looks away. He can’t believe he’d been caught watching her.

AJ frowns a little when he quickly looks away. He had definitely been watching her and she isn’t sure why. What did the look mean? She’s probably overlooking it. Wade could never look at her in the way she thought that look meant. He’s too perfect and she’s too… naïve; at least that’s what so many people keep telling her. Okay, she knows she can be at times. But the way people talk makes her feel like she doesn’t know anything; which isn’t true at all. AJ’s a smart girl. She was in the top of her class all throughout grade school and high school. When she reached college, it didn’t change. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She worked hard to get where she is. But she’s still missing something; something that may never happen.

“You seem to have something on your mind.” Wade says pulling her out of her thoughts.

She looks over at him. “It’s nothing.” She curls up on the chair as she stares at the fire. Nothing other than I’ll never have a family of my own. She hates when she starts thinking like this. It always makes her feel worse than she already does. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure. You can ask me anything.” He watches her, waiting for AJ’s question.

She chews on her bottom lip as she continues to stare at the fire. She’s trying to figure out how to ask this question. It’s probably not one she should ask, but she can’t help herself. “Do you think I’m pretty?”

He frowns a little. “I think you’re beautiful.”

She looks over at him quickly. “I’m being serious.”

He nods. “So am I. AJ, you are a beautiful woman. Who says you aren’t?”

She shrugs. “No one has directly. But it’s obvious.”

“Obvious how?” He can see how hurt she is right now and that kills him. He wishes he could take away her pain.

“All of my friends are either married, engaged to be married, or have been in a relationship for so long they may as well be married. Me? Never been close. No man wants me. I’m little and apparently naïve. I’ve never really had a boyfriend. My first kiss was horrible. My second wasn’t much better.”

“AJ, your time will come. Most of my friends are married, engaged, or in serious relationships. And you are younger than I am, so you definitely have time.”

She looks at Wade again. “You really think I’m pretty?”

“I think you are beautiful. And anyone who says different is an idiot.” Before Wade can continue, there’s a scream outside. He frowns as he stands up. “Stay here.”

AJ jumps at the scream. “What? No, Wade, you can’t go out there. It could be…”

“I’ll be okay. Stay here. Don’t go anywhere by the doors or windows. Stay where you are.” Wade slides his fingers through AJ’s hair before he heads outside.

“Wade!” AJ stares at the closed door. “No… no… Why?” She rests her cheek on her knees as she continues to stare at the door, waiting for Wade to return. How could he go out there when he doesn’t know what happened? And to go out empty handed; it’s a death wish, especially with the wolves out there.

AJ stays where she’s at for several minutes before she finally stands up. Wade had told her to stay away from the doors and windows. But how can she do that when he’s out there? She takes a step closer to the window. She stays back but gets close enough to see what’s going on outside. There are several wolves; seems to be two different packs. AJ takes another stop closer to get a better look. She sees the one that had tried to attack her be tossed up onto the porch. She screams and jumps back; big mistake. The dark wolf stands and growls at her through the window. She covers her mouth. When he moves away from the window, she thinks she’s safe. However, she sees the door slightly ajar out of the corner of her eye. She runs to shut it completely, but it’s too late. The wolf is walking in, stalking toward her. She backs up, though she doesn’t know how she’ll get away. He takes a leap toward her, but is caught by the darker wolf. AJ flinches as she sinks to the floor.

“Oh God.” She squeezes her eyes shut. “Wade! Where are you?” She curls around herself as she listens to the commotion around her. What has she done? “Wade!”

When the commotion stops, AJ curls up even more. She can’t bring herself to look. The sight could be something she doesn’t want to see. The door closes with a soft thud, but it’s enough to make AJ jump a little.

“Oh, AJ,” Wade says as he approaches her. He sits down beside where AJ is and pulls her onto his lap. “I told you to stay away from the windows.”

“I know.” She wraps her arms around Wade’s neck. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Wade rubs AJ’s back. “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

AJ clings to Wade for a few moments. As she finally starts to settle down, she has to wonder how Wade had gotten in here. And where were…? That smell, it definitely isn’t Carter’s smell. She pulls back quickly and looks at Wade. “You…”

“AJ, calm down.”

She pushes off Wade’s lap and back away from him. “You… you are the wolf. You are the one that saved me.” She shakes her head. “But…” How is this possible? She’d heard stories growing up about wolves, werewolves, but she thought they were just that, stories. Is it possible that it’s the truth? “No, it’s not real. You are not a wolf. It’s not real. It’s not possible.” She licks her lips. “Wade, tell me it’s not real. Tell me you aren’t…”

“I am a werewolf.” He watches her carefully. “AJ, I know it’s not something that is…”

“You…” She turns and walks into the bedroom. She closes and locks the door before curling up on the bed. Wade had been the one saving her from the other wolf. She should have known. The way he always popped up should have given it away. But just like everyone thought, she was too naïve to see it.

Wade knocks on the door softly. “AJ, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you right away. You weren’t supposed to find out. I… I didn’t want you to find out because I didn’t want you to look at me differently. I’ve seen how people react to me when they found out. I’m sorry, AJ.”

AJ stares at the door. She knows she should just go out and talk to him, but she can’t. Not yet anyways. She needs to gather her thoughts. She has to figure out how she feels. The truth is, she had started falling for him. She hadn’t meant to look at him as anything other than someone helping her out, but she couldn’t help it. The man is amazing. And come to find out, he has saved her multiple times. She’ll never be able to repay him for that.

After a few more minutes, AJ heads back out to the living room. She licks her lips when she finds Wade sitting by the fire. “Wade…”

Wade looks over quickly before he stands up. AJ notices the slight flinch as he does. He must have been injured when he was fighting. She licks her lips as she approaches. It’s then she notices the cut on his chest.

“You’re cut,” she says softly. “Have you cleaned that up? You should really clean that up.”

Wade grins. “I did.” He licks his lips as he watches her.

“Are you okay? It’s not bad is it? You flinched when you stood up. You’re injured.”

He shakes his head. “I’m okay. Just a bit sore. I’m fine though.” He reaches up and pushes AJ’s hair off her face. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”

“I’m just confused. I had heard many stories about werewolves when I was growing up. I just never thought it would be true. I didn’t want to believe it when I figured out you were, but there’s no way around it. It makes so much sense. You’ve always been there when something happened.” She shrugs. “And now I’ve gotten you injured because I couldn’t stay away.”

He shakes his head. “No, this wasn’t your fault. I was blindsided out there. I promise it has nothing to do with you. Okay, the cut I got in here. But the side? No, that happened outside.”

She reaches over, touching the red mark on his side. She licks her lips as she takes a step forward. “You’re okay though?”

He nods. “I’m okay.”

She leans in, pressing her lips to the cut. She can feel Wade suck in a deep breath. She closes her eyes, taking her own deep breath. She can’t believe how this man is making her feel. How can she feel this way about someone she just met? Wade makes her feel things she never has before. She’d give anything to have him take her.

Wade lifts her head and kisses her softly. “Seems like we want the same thing,” he whispers.

She simply nods as his lips are on hers once again. She whimpers against his mouth. He lifts her up with ease and she wraps her legs around his waist. She curls her fingers into his hair.

“Wade, please.” She looks at Wade, licking her lips as he walks to his bedroom. She reaches behind Wade to close the door.

Wade kisses her again as he lays her down on the bed. He’s never felt like this before. He never thought it would be possible to feel this way about someone. AJ slides her hands up Wade’s back and back down again. She whimpers as he shifts, the bulge in his shorts pressing against her.

“Tell me to stop and I will,” he mutters.

She shakes her head. “No, don’t stop.” She kisses him again.

He pulls her up enough to pull her shirt off. He watches as her breasts fall free. When she starts to move her arm in front of her chest, he stops her. “No, don’t do that.”

She frowns at him. “I know they’re not much.”

He shakes his head. “They’re perfect.” He leans down, sucking a nipple into his mouth.

AJ shudders. “Oh!” She licks her lips as she slides her fingers into Wade’s hair. “Oh, that’s good.”

Wade smiles around her as he rolls his tongue over her nipple. He pushes her gently to lay down once again, never pulling his mouth away. When AJ squeaks softly, Wade moves to her other breast. AJ tightens her grip in his hair. She has never felt anything like this before. She feels like she’s going to explode.

“You okay?” Wade asks as he places kisses up to her neck.

“Yes,” she answers. She smiles shyly at him. “I’ve never felt like this before.”

“I hope it’s a good feeling.”

She nods. “Yes, definitely a good feeling.” She curls her fingers into Wade’s hair. “Really good feeling.” She smiles at him once again. “Don’t stop.”

He smiles before kissing her again. As he’s pushing her shorts down, he realizes that he doesn’t have any condoms. He’s never needed them before… until now. He pulls up enough to look at AJ. “There’s a slight problem.”

She frowns. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t have any condoms.”

She frowns even more. “Oh.” She runs her hands up and down his back. “I um… do you want to stop?”

“I’m clean. I haven’t been with anyone in years.”

She nods. Now it’s her turn to talk. Can she admit that she’s never been with anyone before? “I um… I’ve never been with anyone before.”

Wade opens his mouth to say something, but quickly closes it again. She’s never been with anyone before? “As in…?”

“I’m a virgin.” She chews on her bottom lip nervously. “Dumb right? I…”

He covers her mouth with his own. “No, not even close to being dumb. I’m just surprised.” He kisses her again. “I’m amazed that you want me to be your first.” He smiles against her mouth.

“You are amazing. I couldn’t think of anyone better.” She trails her fingers over his cheek. “Please?”

He grins. “Anything you want, Chipmunk.”

She smiles at the nickname before kissing him again. She lifts her hips when he pushes down at her shorts. “Just, go slow? I…”

“Of course. I’m going to make sure you enjoy this.” He kisses her as he pushes his own shorts down. “It may hurt a little at first.”

AJ nods. “Okay.” She runs her hands up and down his upper arms. She’s nervous, but she’s never wanted this before now. She’d always believed when she found the right person she would feel it. That’s what has happened.

“Come here.” Wade kisses AJ as he pushes in slowly. He moans at how tight she feels; though, he’s sure it comes out more as a growl.

AJ whimpers as she tightens her hands around Wade’s arms. Wade thrusts in fully, stopping to let her adjust. When he hears her let out a low whine, he pulls up enough to look at her. He wants to make sure she’s okay before he does anything else. The look he gets from her is one he never thought would get to him. He grins as he kisses her again, slowly starting to move in and out of her. She slides her arms around him, wrapping her fingers in his hair.

He keeps his pace slow and steady, loving the way she feels beneath him. He kisses the side of her neck. “Oh, wow.”

“Oh Wade, so good.” She licks her lips, arching up against his touch. She’s never felt anything like this before. She could have never imagined it would feel so amazing. She gasps as she reaches her release. “Wade…”

The way she moans his name pushes him over the edge. “Oh yes, AJ.” He kisses her once again as he slips out of her. He smiles at the slight squeak she makes when he does. “You okay?”

“I’m wonderful.”

He smiles down at her. “That’s good to know.” He kisses her once again.

******

AJ wakes up the next morning and rolls onto her back. She smiles when she bumps into Wade. She hasn’t slept this well in ages. She rolls onto her side and curls against Wade. She could stay like this all day if she could. Her smile widens when Wade wraps his arm around her.

“Go back to sleep,” Wade mutters. “Too early to wake up.”

She giggles. “Okay.” She knows she won’t be able to fall back to sleep, but she can certainly lay here with him. She can’t help but hope that the weather hasn’t broke yet. She doesn’t want to leave Wade just yet. She frowns at the thought. What if he doesn’t want her here any longer?

“Chipmunk, what are you thinking about?”

“Nothing, really. I don’t think I could go back to sleep though. I can go make you breakfast, though, while you sleep a little while longer.”

“Mmm… that sounds good.” He pulls her close and kisses her softly.

She smiles against his lips. “Then that’s what I’ll do.” She kisses him again before climbing out of bed. She grabs the t-shirt Wade had been wearing the previous evening and pulls it on. After slipping her panties back on, she heads out of the bedroom and to the kitchen. She leans against the counter and lets out a soft breath. She’s going to be leaving. How is she supposed to leave now? She let herself get attached to Wade. She glances outside as she passes the window on her way to the fridge. At least she’ll have a little longer with Wade. Snow’s still there and it looks as if it hasn’t warmed up enough to melt down much.

She should have expected that she would fall for him. Why wouldn’t she? The man is amazing. He’s perfect; everything that AJ has been looking for in her life. Too bad it couldn’t be different than what this is. She frowns as she goes about making breakfast. Maybe it could be something more. If they both wanted it… though she doesn’t believe Wade wants more. She’s nothing special. No one would want something long term with her. She doesn’t have what others have to offer. She’s clumsy, naïve, silly, and she could continue if she had the effort.

“Smells wonderful,” Wade says.

AJ shrieks a little as she spins around. “You scared me,” she says softly. She bites her bottom lip nervously as she watches him. “I hope it tastes good. I’ve never been much of a cook.”

Wade grins. “If it smells that good, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.” He approaches her and slides his arm around her.

“So what happened to going back to sleep?” she asks softly.

“I couldn’t sleep knowing you weren’t there with me.”

Her stomach jumps at that. “Oh.” She licks her lips just before his mouth is covering hers. She squeaks as she slides her arms around his neck.

Wade isn’t sure how he feels right now. No, that’s not entirely true. He knows this is it. However, he knows this life isn’t for AJ. So he’ll pus his own feelings aside so she can live her own life. He wishes things could be different.

AJ pushes him back a little. “Stop,” she says with a smile. “I need to finish breakfast.”

He grins. “Okay.” He takes a step back. Walking over to the window, he’s thankful to find that there’s still plenty of snow on the ground to keep her here for at least another day. If he’s lucky, more snow will fall. But he knows that probably won’t be happening. The weather is supposed to be clear for several days now. “Looks like the snow finally gave up.”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll take a walk out to your car to see if the roads are clear enough for someone to come out and bring it in.”

“Okay.” She frowns at the thought. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He looks over and watches her. He could hear the sadness in her voice; it kills him to hear that. If he had it his way, he’d leave he car out there forever and keep AJ here with him. He knows that’s never going to happen though. He can’t let it happen. She deserves more than this. He can’t give her the life she should have. No matter how hard he tried, he would never be good enough.

“Breakfast is ready,” she says, pulling him out of his thoughts. “Sit, I’ll bring it to you.”

He smiles as he moves to sit at the kitchen table. He watches as she walks over, setting a plate in front of him. “Are you eating?”

She nods. “Yes. Getting mine right now. What would you like to drink? Coffee is ready.”

“Coffee is good.”

“Orange juice too?”

He grins. “Sounds good. Want me to get the drinks?”

“No, I’ve got it.” She smiles as she goes back to get Wade’s coffee and juice. She sits down a moment later with her own plate and coffee. “Eat up.”

They eat in a comfortable silence. It’s something that AJ has always wanted. She never imagined she would find it in someone like Wade. He’s the exact opposite of anyone she ever pictured herself with. Maybe that’s been the problem. She’s always looked at the wrong type of man.

Wade stands up after they finish. “I’ll clean up,” he says.

“No, I can…”

“You cooked. It’s only fair.” He winks at her as he takes her plate. “Thank you for breakfast. It was great.”

“You’re welcome. I’m glad you liked it.” She beams at that. She’s so glad that Wade had enjoyed the meal. She turns and watches him. He’s perfect, so perfect. She frowns a little at that. Maybe he’s too perfect. Too perfect for her anyways.

******

AJ stays close to Wade as they head out to meet the tow truck driver. She can’t help but look around. Despite knowing that Wade will her safe, she’s still afraid that Damien will return. Wade slides his arm around her.

“He’s not going to come,” Wade says. “Not with me here with you. He’s stupid, but not stupid enough to attack when I’m around.”

AJ nods. “I trust you.” She smiles up at him as they approach her car. “Thank you for all of this. It means a lot to me.”

He kisses her forehead. “You’re welcome.” He gestures down the road. “Here they are.”

She looks past him to see the tow truck driving up. “Do you know them?”

“Yeah, great family. There’s nothing for you to worry about.”

“Okay. Are they…?”

He chuckles. “No. But they know about us.” He waves as the two men climb out. “Teddy, Mike, thanks for coming out.”

“Not a problem,” Teddy says shaking Wade’s hand.

“Roads are a lot better,” Mike says. “Still not good. But good enough for us to get out here.”

“This is AJ,” Wade says. “This is her car.”

Teddy nods. “Nice to meet you, AJ. I’m Teddy, that’s my brother, Mike.”

AJ smiles at them. “Nice to meet you both.” She slides her arms around Wade’s waist as she watches Teddy and Mike walk back to their truck.

A short time later, the brothers walk back over. “All right,” Mike says. “We’ll get this in and get it looked at. It’ll probably be the morning that we are able to do anything with it. But we will give you a call when we figure it out.”

Wade nods. “Thank you, Mike.” He shakes their hands.

“Have a good afternoon.”

AJ holds onto Wade’s arm as they head back to the cabin. “So what’s the plan for the rest of the day?”

“Anything you want.” Wade smiles as he opens the door. He follows her inside. “Have anything in mind?”

She shakes her head as she slips out of her boots. “No. Maybe we could just lounge around and watch movies.”

“I like that idea.” He hangs his coat up before he takes her coat to hang hers as well. “Why don’t we get changed into something comfy and we’ll get started?”

She beams at him. “Sounds good.” She bounces into the guest bedroom to get changed.

Wade can’t help but laugh softly as he heads into his own bedroom. He changes quickly before walking out to grab them something to drink. He glances back when the guest room door opens. He can’t help but smile a little when AJ walks out. He doesn’t want to get used to having her here… okay, he’s already used to having her here. He doesn’t want to let her go but knows it’s not an option. She has a life and it’s not here. He watches as she walks over and sits down beside him on the couch.

“Did you find something to watch?” she asks.

“No, I just sat down myself. I got us something to drink.” He slides his arm around her shoulders. “I’m sure we can find something.”

“I’m sure we can too. I shouldn’t get too comfy though. When we decide, one of us will have to go put it in.”

He laughs softly. “How about I just go pick randomly and put it in?”

“That sounds good to me.” She smiles as she lets Wade up. She watches his every move. She can’t help it. The man is perfect. He returns a few moments later. “What did you put in?”

He slides his arm around her again. “Overboard.”

“Love this movie.” She curls against him.

This is how they spend the rest of the evening. It isn’t until they’re both falling asleep that they realize just how long they’ve been watching movies and just lounging. Wade is the first one to make the effort to go to bed, pulling AJ along with him. AJ curls against him once again when they’re settled in bed. Of course, Wade wouldn’t have it any other way.

Neither are out of bed the next morning when Wade receives the call that AJ’s car is ready. They manage to get up, showered, and dressed before Mike and Teddy bring the car by. This is the call they’d been expecting. They weren’t expecting the brothers to tell them that the roads were cleared completely.

AJ frowns slightly at the comment. She’s not ready to leave just yet. But now she doesn’t have an excuse to stay. She wonders if Wade will tell her to stay. No, of course he wouldn’t. So she will leave and head to her parents for the remainder of her vacation. She looks up at Wade, hoping he will prove her wrong. When he doesn’t say anything, she knows it’s not going to. When Teddy and Mike leave, she looks at Wade once again.

“I guess I’ll go pack,” she says softly.

Wade nods. “Probably a good idea,” he says. “I’ll make you some breakfast.”

She simply nods before walking away. She closes the door behind her. She knows she’s going to end up crying and doesn’t want him to see her like this. It doesn’t take her long to pack, but she stays in the room for a bit longer trying to compose herself before returning to Wade. When she finally has herself together, she heads back out, setting her bags by the door. She walks into the kitchen, finding Wade finishing up with breakfast.

“Thank you again for everything,” she says softly.

He looks over. “You’re welcome,” he responds. He sets their plates on the table. “Orange juice?”

“Please.” She takes a seat and lets out a soft breath. “So what are you going to do now that you’ll have your place to yourself again?”

Wade sits down after getting their drinks. He shrugs. “I don’t know. I’ll have to do my rounds tonight. So there’s always that to look forward to.”

“Rounds?”

He nods. “Each of us takes a night to make sure everything is okay.”

“Oh.”

“It lets us run around for a bit.”

She looks at him. “Is it your night?”

He shakes his head. “My night was actually the night you showed up. Sheamus took it for me though. I told him I’d take his next turn if I was able to. And that’s tonight.”

“Oh.” She eats slowly, even though she’s not really hungry. “If I would have stayed tonight again you wouldn’t have?”

“No. I didn’t want to leave you alone. You had already seen us already, so I knew I shouldn’t leave you. I didn’t want you to get any suspicions. Yeah, you ended up finding out, but…” He shrugs. “I’m glad you didn’t freak out.”

“It was strange. But…” She licks her lips and looks at him. “You’ve been nothing but amazing since I got here.” She shrugs a little. “You were protecting me.” She lets out a soft breath as she finishes her meal. “Thank you for breakfast.”

“You’re welcome.”

After helping Wade clean the kitchen up, AJ knows it’s time to go. She doesn’t have any other excuse to stay. She slips into her boots, glancing over when she sees Wade doing the same. She reaches for her bags a moment later only to have Wade beat her to them. He reaches past her and opens the door. She tucks her hair behind her ear as she steps outside, shivering when the cold air hits her.

“If you take the road here…” Wade gestures to their right. “…it’ll bring you straight out to the road.”

“Okay.” She watches as Wade gets her bags into her trunk. “Thanks for everything.”

“You’re welcome.” He closes the trunk and turns toward her. “I’m glad I could help.”

She takes a shaky breath as he takes a step closer to her. She wants to beg him to let her stay, but she can’t do that. It’s not right. But… “Tell me to stay.”

Reaching up, Wade rests his hand on AJ’s cheek. “I can’t make you stay, AJ.”

“Tell me you want me to stay.”

He shakes his head before leaning down to kiss her softly. “I can’t do that.” He kisses her again. “You should be with your family.”

“What about you?”

“Don’t you worry about me. I’ll be fine.” He pulls her against him, hugging her close.

She closes her eyes as she snuggles against him. “You have no idea how much this has all meant to me.”

He kisses the top of her head. “I’ll never forget this, Chipmunk.”

She smiles at the nick name. She looks up at him. “I guess I should go.”

He nods. “Careful driving.”

“I will.”

He walks her to the driver’s door, opening it for her. “Don’t talk to any strangers.”

She smiles up at him. “Too late.”

“Oh right.” He kisses her one last time before stepping back. He watches her climb into the car. He steps back even more to let her pull out. As she drives to the road, he waves. He stays here until he can no longer see AJ’s car. He wishes he would have told her to stay. But he couldn’t bring himself to do so. She deserves better than this.

“Are you an idiot?” Drew asks.

Wade turns around and frowns. “She deserves better than this,” he says softly.

“She wanted to stay. You wanted her to stay. She’s the one, Wade. So…”

“Because this is all I’ll ever be. I can’t tie her down to this.”

“You’re an idiot. I hope you know that. You’re going to regret this.”

Wade shrugs. “I’ll see you later, Drew.”

******

AJ pulls the shirt she had taken from Wade out of her bag. She smiles sadly. It wasn’t in her plans to steal the shirt, but she couldn’t stop herself. As she was packing earlier, she just could help but pack this shirt as well. She had to have something of Wade. She tucks the shirt away before changing into her own pajamas. If she wore Wade’s shirt, she’d have a lot of explaining to do. She’s not ready to go into the details of what she had shared with Wade. Not that she would tell her parents everything that had happened.

“April,” Angie calls. “Daddy’s making popcorn and milkshakes. Want some?”

AJ opens the door of her bedroom. “That sounds good.” She walks into the living room, sitting down beside her mom on the couch. “What movie did we decide on?”

“Overboard.”

AJ frowns a little. “Overboard?”

“I thought you liked that movie.”

“I do. I love the movie. Just wasn’t expecting it.” She looks over when Rick walks in. “Do you need any help, Daddy?”

“No, your brother is helping.” He smiles at her as he hands AJ and Angie a bowl of popcorn. “Milkshakes will be ready in thirty seconds.”

“Okay.” She smiles when he walks back out. “I wish you two would let me help.”

“Nonsense.” Angie smiles at her. “You don’t have to do anything.”

“You know I don’t like doing nothing.”

“I know.” Angie nudges her. “You will be fine though, I promise.” She watches her daughter closely. “Something is different with you.”

AJ frowns as she looks at Angie. “What do you mean?”

“You just seem like something has changed since the last time we saw you. What happened while you were with this Wade?”

“Nothing happened. I told you everything that happened. He found me in my car and let me stay. He is a great person.” She shrugs. “We spent a few days together. We talked and just hung out.”

“Did you sleep with him?”

“Mom!” She stares at Angie. “I can’t believe you would ask me that.”

“Did you?”

“No!” AJ hopes she sounds convincing. “I can’t believe you asked me that.”

“Something happened to you while you were there.”

AJ is thankful when Rick and Jess walk in. She smiles at her brother when he sits down beside her. “Hi, big brother.”

“Hi, little sister.” He smiles at her.

She settles in as Rick starts the movie. She’s glad that they’ve always kept quiet during movies. She knows her mom wanted to continue in on her about Wade. It’s not something she wants to discuss, especially with her mother.

AJ isn’t surprised to find Rick fixing a big breakfast the following morning. She smiles as she sits down at the counter. “Morning, Daddy.”

“Good morning.” Rick smiles at her. “I didn’t expect you to be up yet.”

She shrugs. “Early bird gets the worm.”

“Very true.” He watches her for a moment. “Something on your mind?”

She lets out a soft breath. “Daddy, how did you know Mom was the one?”

“Well, I knew I couldn’t be without her. I figured that had to mean something. April, does this have anything to do with the boy you were staying with?”

She chews on her bottom lip as she nods slowly. “He’s amazing, Daddy. I’ve never met anyone like him.”

“Did you tell him that?”

“I tried. But I’ve never been good with talking to boys though.” She shrugs. “I thought I’d made it obvious that I wanted to stay but I don’t know.”

“Sometimes we just need to hear the words. Yes, we should understand the hints, but we don’t always.”

She nods. “So then what do I do? I didn’t get his number.”

“You show up at his house again.”

She frowns a little. “What if he doesn’t want to see me?”

“Then he isn’t worth it. But you won’t know that until you try, right?” He watches her as she nods. “If he says no, at least you won’t be wondering.”

AJ knows Rick is right. She has to at least try. If she doesn’t, she’ll constantly be asking herself ‘what if?’ She can’t live through life without knowing. There is a possibility that she’ll be turned down. She doesn’t want to think about that, but knows there’s a chance. It’ll hurt, but at least she’ll know.

******

Wade stares at the fire and lets out a soft breath. He wishes he would have begged her to stay. It hasn’t been very long and he already misses her. This is a feeling he’s never felt before. He’s never missed someone. He knows she deserves better, but he loves her. He frowns at the thought. That’s definitely not something he’s ever admitted. He can’t deny it thought. He knows exactly what she is. He needs to find her. Aiden Grove is a small place, maybe he’ll get lucky and there won’t be many Lee’s in town. Information; he can call information and figure all of this out.

Twenty minutes later, Wade is staring at six different phone numbers and addresses. He could easily call and figure it out, but with addresses… He stands up and heads into his bedroom. He packs a bag before heading out to his truck. Aiden Grove is only thirty miles away. He can easily make it there tonight. He’ll find a place to sleep and then start his search in the morning.

When he arrives in Aiden Grove, he finds the nearest hotel. He manages to get the last available room. He’s lucky enough to find a map of the town. He never even thought about bringing his computer. So he’ll go old school and look at a map to find where each location is. He sits down on the bed and lays out the map.

Wade climbs into his truck after the fourth house. He lets out a heavy breath. Maybe it isn’t so easy. He had thought by now that he would have found her. But maybe they aren’t listed. Or maybe they have a different last name. He frowns as he pulls away from the curb. He has two more to go; there’s still a chance he could find her.

Pulling up to the next house, Wade heart skips. This is it. He’s going to find AJ here. He climbs out and heads to the driveway. He walks past the very familiar car, smiling a little as he approaches the front door. He reaches up, ringing the doorbell. There’s movement inside and for the first time in a very long time Wade is feeling a little nervous. The door opens revealing a man that barely comes up to Wade’s shoulder.

“Hi,” the man says. “Can I help you?”

Wade nods. “Yes, I’m sorry to bother you. I am looking for AJ.”

The man frowns. “Can I ask who you are?”

“I am Wade. She was staying with me when her car was broken down.”

“April, you have company.” The man smiles as he waves Wade in. “I’m Rick, April’s father.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” Wade looks up when he hears footsteps on the stairs.

“Wade?” AJ asks.

“Hey, Chipmunk.”

“What are you doing here? How did you find me?”

He licks his lips. “I can’t stop thinking about you. I should have never you go. I should have begged you to stay like you told me to. I um… called information and found all of the Lee’s in Aiden Grove.”

AJ smiles shyly. “Really? So, how many?”

“Six. This is my fifth stop. I was starting to get worried.”

“So…”

“I love you, AJ. It may sound crazy, but it’s the truth.” Wade catches AJ when she throws herself into his arms. He closes his eyes as he holds her close.

“I love you too.” She pulls back enough to kiss Wade.

THE END