Wren is such a baby boy in Katagaria years. Less than 50 years old, he was unfortunate in terms of his parents who both apparently hated him. When they were both killed about 20 years ago, little Wren found refuge at Peltier House that sheltered creatures who were thrown out of their clans and all the misfits in need for help. Wren rarely talks; he has a monkey as his only friend and long hair to cover his eyes and his job is to clean tables. But for some reason almost everyone is scared of him. Maybe because he is deep down an animal.

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People were dressed in anything from biker leathers to t-shirts and jeans. There was even straw spread out across the floor that reminded her of a barn. The bar area to her right was occupied by rough-looking men drinking beers and yelling at each other. She could see a wooden stairway before them that led to an upstairs area, but she had no idea what was up there. Trouble came to her mind. A person could probably find a lot of trouble up there. This place was definitely rustic.

But what held her attention most was the high concentration of handsome men working in the bar. They were everywhere. Elise leaned over to whisper in her ear.

Have you ever seen so many gorgeous men in your life? It really was unbelievable. Even Whitney was gaping and ogling. Nick had loved this place. You only live once, you know? He looked less than enthusiastic as they followed Todd to the table and took a seat. Marguerite shrugged her backpack off, then sat in the chair that Todd was holding out for her. The place was very loud and yet she could see Nick in here.

There was something about it that reminded her of him. Aside from the rather tacky decor which Nick had always preferred. She often suspected that he dressed tacky just to nettle people. To her it had been one of his more endearing traits. She was wearing a pair of skin tight jeans and a small t-shirt with the Sanctuary logo of a motorcycle parked on a hill that was silhouetted by a full moon. Underneath the picture was the tag line, Sanctuary: Home of the Howlers. Blaine gave their waitress a hot once over that the woman wisely ignored.

Whitney and Elise joined in with their orders. Then they all looked at Blaine and waited for his next nasty comment. Before Blaine could respond, the blonde left them. It was like someone was watching her. Turning her head, she scanned the crowd, looking for the source of her discomfort. But there was nothing there. No one seemed to be paying any attention to them at all.

There were several burly groups of bikers playing pool. Tons of tourists and bikers milling about. There was even a group of seven men playing poker in one corner. Waiters and the waitress walked back and forth to the bar and tables delivering food and drinks while the two bartenders went about their business. No one was even remotely looking in her direction.

I must be imagining it. Dressed in a baggy, untucked, white button down shirt covered by a dirty white apron, and faded, dingy black jeans that had seen much better days, he was a busboy who had paused in cleaning off a table. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled back to the middle of his forearms. She had no idea what he looked like since his thick dark blonde hair obscured most of his face and fell over both of his eyes. The back of it hung just past his shoulders. There was something about him that seemed dark and dangerous.

Almost sinister. She rubbed her neck nervously, wishing he would turn his attention back to his job. If she mentioned it, he would no doubt make a scene and get the poor man fired from a job he probably needed. Sophistication and money bled from her every pore. But then no one was, it was why he seldom made eye contact with anyone.

She wore a delicate pink sweater set and a long khaki skirt with matching pink Espadrilles. Best of all, she had a lush, curvy body that beckoned a man to hold it close and taste it. Something about her that seemed lost and hurt. Vulnerability of any kind was an invitation for death. He felt an inexplicable desire to protect her. More than that, he wanted to go over to her and offer comfort, but then what did he know about comforting a human? He was a feral predator in human form.

All he knew was how to stalk and to kill. How to fight. He knew nothing of comfort. Nothing of women. Nothing of softness or kindness. He was alone in the world by choice and he liked it that way. Marvin, the resident monkey mascot of Sanctuary, came running up to him with a new cloth for cleaning the tables. Wren took it from his hand as he forced himself to go back to cleaning the table.

Marguerite took a sip of her beer while Elise and Whitney ogled the men in the bar. She reached for a pretzel only to have Blaine slap her hand. He looked aghast at her.

Do you know how long that has been out? How many grimy hands have been in it? For that matter, our termagant waitress probably poisoned it just for spite. She glanced back to the busboy who had moved closer now. He was working again, but even so she sensed that she was his primary focus. She frowned as she saw a tiny brown spider monkey run up his arm to rest on his shoulder. She bit back a smile as she realized who this guy was. He must be Wren.

Nick used to talk about him from time to time. According to Nick, Wren was a complete loner who kept to himself and who refused to participate in the world. The monkey was named Marvin… Blaine caught sight of her watching the busboy.

He turned in his chair to see Wren who had returned to staring at her. In a weird way, she felt almost flattered. It had been her mother who had turned heads. Never her. Wren ignored him as he moved to the table beside theirs that was covered with glasses and a plate of half-eaten nachos. Marguerite could sense that he wanted to speak to her and she found herself wondering what he looked like underneath all that blond hair.

There was an air of danger around him. It was as if he wanted to blend in seamlessly with the background, but was completely unable to do so. A strange image of a sitting tiger in the zoo came to her mind.

A large beast that was carefully watching those around him, detached, and yet confident that it could take down anyone who messed with him. The monkey started squealing as if protecting Wren. The monkey jumped off his shoulder and scampered toward the bar. Wren set his pan of dishes aside. Her heart pounded as she realized he was coming toward her now. There was an aura of supreme power that surrounded him.

One of speed and agility. He was simply magnetic. This close, she could finally see his eyes. They were a vibrant turquoise blue that was so pale they were haunting in their color. And in their mercilessness. He indicated her empty glass with a tilt of his chin.

It sent a thrilling chill down her spine.


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