Once inside, she went to change out of her dress and heels she had donned for the club. She returned in a pair of gray leggings and an oversized pink hoodie, pulling her honey blonde hair up into a ponytail. Mike was busy pulling a frozen pizza from its box and putting it in the oven, alongside a pan of chicken fingers and garlic knots.
“Happy birthday, Sis!” he cheered as she walked back into the room.
On the counter sat two bottles of wine and a small confection box. Beside them was the miniature chocolate cake. On top, there was a single tealight candle. She laughed.
“Sorry about the candle. It was all they had in the store.”
“Listen. I’m really sorry about us not getting in the club. This isn’t how I planned to celebrate your birthday with you after missing like the last five or six.”
“Eight, but who’s counting,” she told him.
It was funny, but if not for the ten-year difference in their ages, Mike and she could pass for twins. They both had the same hair color and the kind of pale blue eyes that people were as likely to describe as unnatural as they were beautiful. Their only real difference was in size. Mike was tall and broad-shouldered, stocky. She, on the other hand, was thin and petite.
“I’m sure you could do better than frozen pizza, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice.”
“It’s perfect. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than hanging out with my big brother, whether that is at a club or watching one of the bad horror films you like.”
“So, no Zombie Werewolf in Space then?”
“God, I hope not.”
“Alright. I’ll pour us some wine, and you pick out something you’d like to watch, birthday girl.”
Kat climbed onto the sofa and turned on the TV. Hopefully, there was something decent to stream. She flipped through the selections and finally found a dark comedy called Bartering in Baytown.
“That looks doable,” Mike said, handing her a glass of wine and sitting his on the side table on the opposite end of the sofa. The oven timer went off in the background. “Come on and get some food before we settle in.”
Kat followed him to the kitchen and fixed herself a plate with a slice of pizza, a couple pieces of chicken, and knots. Mike looked at her and shook his head.
“You eat like a bird,” he told her.
Kat defiantly reached for another slice of pizza and returned to the sofa while he piled up his plate. He plopped down on the other end and smiled at her.
“Ready for the matinee?”
“I am,” he mumbled through a bite of pizza.
“You’re disgusting,” she told him, laughing as he made a production of chewing his food.
“Ah, come on. It’s just us girls tonight. You can be all ladylike if you ever get a boyfriend.”
“What makes you think I don’t have one already?”
“Mom talks a lot.”
“Ah, of course. The old speech about how I’m never going to find a guy and settle down.”
“Just no one around here to date.”
“You should try Alpha Meets Omega.”
“Alpha Meets Omega?”
“Yes. It’s an app. I can give you a code to join. Alphas set it up to help them meet Omegas, but we Betas use it too. There are a lot of Betas and Omegas out there that aren’t looking for the whole walk down the aisle. More like a walk of shame,” he scoffed.
“Spare me any details about your walks of shame,” she groaned.
“I will. Still, you should give it a try. You might meet someone you like. If nothing else, you’ll at least have something to do better than eating frozen pizza and watching movies with your brother.”
“I’ll look at it,” she told him, with no real intention to do so.
After a glass of wine too many and a slice of cake after the movie ended, she found herself downloading it while Mike talked to someone in hushed tones down the hallway. She set up a quick profile and began flipping through local Alphas. There were several she knew and quickly swiped left on. There was no one in this pack she wanted to date.
Then she saw him.CHAPTER THREETravis
Travis looked down at his phone. He’d only been out of prison for a month, and things still seemed weird to him. After five years in that place, it was hard to adjust to being free. He’d considered trying to get a completely fresh start, but in the end, he’d ended up back at home in his old pack. He’d missed his family and pack brothers.
Luckily, his mom’s old place was still vacant, and his sisters, though all married and moved away, had made sure it was kept up for his return. He’d gotten a job slinging drinks down at the motorcycle hangout, which wasn’t glamorous work for an Alpha, but it would keep him in groceries and afforded him a cell phone.