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This is a prequel novella to the new Burning Moon Series by R.K. Close. This book is available on most retailers.

The last of the dinner crowd had emptied out about twenty minutes earlier, leaving Harmony and me to clean up and close. I didn't mind the work since I got to spend time with her. The Greasy Spoon wasn't the most romantic setting, but after dating for four years, we were comfortable with one another in most situations.

"Please take this out back before it explodes," Harmony said, pointing at the garbage bin in the kitchen. I'd been working at the diner for over two years, but Harmony only started last summer. We worked so well together, the owner, Mrs. Buehler trusted us to close the restaurant on our own.

Grinning, I walked toward her. Instead of grabbing the bag of garbage, I slipped my arms around her waist and pulled her against me. Harmony had always felt like a perfect fit in my arms. "How about I take you to the storage room for a break? I missed mine during the rush." I nuzzled her neck.

"Liam McKenzie! You are impossible. Let me go so I can finish. I promised Lisa I'd come right over after work," she said, making a half-hearted effort to get away from me.

"Why does Lisa get all of your attention these days?" I asked, finally letting her slip out of my grasp.

Harmony put her hands on her hips and gave me that look—the one that said I wasn't being nice.

"She's having a crisis and needs to talk. I'm spending the night at her place." She picked up the rag she'd been using and began wiping down the stainless-steel counters in the kitchen.

"Lisa is always having a crisis. What's wrong now?" I asked while pulling the garbage bag out of the container.

Last month it was her weight, even though a strong wind could have knocked that girl over. Lisa was convinced she was five pounds too heavy and therefore, the world was coming to an end.

"Robert broke up with her over text message. Can you believe that? They've been dating almost two years. She's pretty hurt by it and I don't blame her." She had moved on to wiping down tables and then placing chairs on top of them, so we could sweep and mop. That was usually the last thing we did.

"Well, he's in college and living a thousand miles away. It makes it hard to have a relationship." I walked toward the back door with the garbage in hand. When she didn't respond, I stopped to look at her. She was watching me with an odd expression I couldn't read. "What?"

"It's nothing. We'll talk more when you finish with the trash." I thought I saw a flash of sadness in her eyes before she covered it with a brief smile. Something tightened in my gut, but I did what she asked, without pressing her further.

The alley had one light shining down over the steps from the diner. Its usefulness was almost nonexistent by the time it reached the dumpster across the alley.

I tossed the bag of trash into the large metal bin, which made a loud thumping noise as it hit bottom. A high-pitched squeal came from the shadows and my heart leaped into my throat.

"Who's there?" I called.

A familiar voice responded, "Go back inside, Liam. You scared Renee." A female voice giggled from the other side of the alley, where I could barely make out two forms sitting on the tailgate of a truck—my truck.

It was old, beat up, and had been rode hard, but it was paid for and it was mine.

"Seth! What are you doing in the alley?" I asked. "I need a ride home, by the way. Harmony has plans that don't include me." Seth's car had a nail in the tire, and instead of having it fixed before the tire store closed, he asked to borrow my truck while I was working.

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