Fate responds with a roar…
Right… there. She could almost feel it under her lips.
Under normal circumstances, she would’ve taken the time to drink in every inch of him, knowing he’d never notice a girl like her even if she were openly drooling like a starving stray cat.
But this was not a normal circumstance.
Heart thudding against her ribs, Kara lifted her bag in front of her face and scurried behind a row of potted ficus trees. After a moment, she risked peeking through the leaves at the god.
No, not a god.
The breath seeped out of her, leaving her limp. How dare he look so good, so beautiful, so… unchanged?
Two years, almost three. But he hadn’t aged a day. Of course, shifters had exceptionally long lives, even shifters from the poor, forgotten branches of the breed—like her.
But she was certain she had aged a lifetime in the past two years, almost three. Everything had changed since that night.
What was he doing here? If she’d ever thought he would show up in Boston, let alone this building, she never would’ve taken the waitressing job at the Platinum Club. So far as she knew, he wasn’t even an American. He was a globe-trotting playboy, he and his brothers loaded with as much old money as the Stantons, the powerful family of shifters who owned this building.
Well, she assumed they did. When Eva called her about working here, she’d implied as much. Eva, also a shifter of modest means, although not as modest as Kara’s, managed the Platinum Club. Eva was always looking for good waitstaff, she’d said, especially lately since there had been unusually high turnover.
He should be out in the world, enjoying his wealth, prestige, and gorgeousness—in both man and tiger form. He shouldn’t be parading around Boston when she was just figuring how to get through her life without him, not that she’d ever had her life with him, except for that one night. She and Nana had just moved into a two-bedroom apartment, and this job had an elite clientele with a salary to match. A salary they needed desperately.
Where’d he go? She peered through the branches again, an uncontrollable sigh drifting out of her.
He was out of sight and out of her life.
Seeing him wasn’t only painful, but dangerous. However, as tempted as she was to turn and run out of the building and never look back—perhaps even shifting to speed her escape—she straightened her spine and held her ground.
She couldn’t leave. She needed this job. They all did. The days of only thinking of herself had passed.
After waiting another minute, she stepped out from behind the potted trees and walked to the elevator. Although the waitresses had a dressing room they could use before their shifts, Kara preferred to work as she’d arrived, in her favorite black dress and ballet flats. She liked how it made her invisible—or maybe she liked an excuse for why most people didn’t notice her, and even men she’d danced with, men she’d kissed, men she’d— Well, even they seemed capable of completely forgetting her. Easier to blame it on her boring clothes than on her face, body, or personality.
He’d walked within five feet of her and hadn’t even blinked. Neither one of his golden-lashed eyelids over his sapphire-blue irises had flickered a millimeter. She’d even gasped a little when he’d stepped in front of her. All morning, in fact, she’d been as jumpy as a cat at a pool party, sweating too much, breathing too fast—she’d thought it was nerves about starting the new job.
But it was nerves about him.
The father of her child.
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