Glory bit her lip. “I hope…” Ryan took hold of her hand, and only then did she realize how badly she was trembling. “I hope Temp kept our dad off her.”
Glory finally looked at Gabe. “Because doormats don’t get anything but stepped on.”
Gabe nodded once. “All right. Everything was normal right up until Hope went to the library. That day, did any of your family react oddly? Was there anything strange, anything out of place?”
Glory tried hard to remember the details of that day, but everything up until the moment they all realized Hope wasn’t coming home was a blur. “I spent the day in my room, bruised and sulking. Temp brought me lunch and Faith tried singing to me through the door before my father screamed at her to stop. Dinner came and went, but Hope didn’t come home.”
“The cops came and took a statement from my dad. They declared her missing because she was a minor, and they wanted to get her face out to the surrounding police precincts. But they never found her.”
“Your father left town when you were eighteen and left you behind.”
Glory hated thinking about that time. She’d been left in the cold with the clothes on her back, beaten black and blue and with five dollars in her wallet. Thank God for Mrs. Reyes, and thank God for Cyn, because otherwise Glory would have been homeless. “Yeah.”
“The years in between must have been hard.”
Ryan was still holding her hand, but at that he glared at Gabe. “I’d imagine so, if her dad blamed her for her sister’s disappearance.”
Gabe sighed. “I have to know this stuff, Ryan. The family is the first place we look when a child goes missing, even a teenager like Hope.”
“It’s okay, Ryan.” Glory leaned her head against his arm briefly. “I’m okay.”
He huffed out a breath, but it didn’t sound quite human.
Glory ignored him. “My dad became vicious to all of us, but especially me. My mother ran, just disappeared one night while we were sleeping.”
“We got post cards from her. I think she’s in Phoenix.”
“Stuck around, mostly for me and Faith.” She sighed. “Faith is eighteen. With any luck, they’re both free of my dad.”
“I’m going to try and find them, see what they know.”
“I have no idea where they went when they left Halle. My dad didn’t exactly care if I could get a hold of them or not.”
Gabe’s smile was cold. “Then I will make him care.”
Ryan’s smile was just as vicious as Gabe’s. She had the feeling that if Pastor Walsh ever returned to Halle, he’d be the victim of a bear mauling, and she found she couldn’t care less. Any love she’d once had for her father had long since been beaten out of her.
Ryan managed to catch Gabe before he got too far from Cynful Tattoos. He needed to catch the sheriff before he climbed into his patrol car. “Hey, I wanted to talk to you.”
Gabe stopped at the door of his car and eyed him for a moment before sighing. “You want to help in the hunt.”
Ryan nodded. “Wouldn’t you, if it was your mate’s sister who was missing?”
“Fuck yeah.” Gabe jerked his head toward Frank’s Diner. “Let’s grab some coffee and chat.”
“Thanks, Gabe.” Ryan would have tried to go it alone, but he had Glory to think about now. He couldn’t allow her to think that he’d left even for a second, not until she got it through her head that Ryan would rather cut off important body parts than leave her.
The two men entered the diner, and Ryan grimaced. The new waitress was a perky brunette with a big smile and bigger tits, but he much preferred the one who’d been forced by circumstances beyond her control to quit. His baby sister, Chloe, had loved working here and at the veterinarian’s clinic where she hoped to someday become a vet. Those dreams, like this job, were gone now, lost to a brutal beating that had nearly killed her and left her with problem hands and a speech impediment. Chloe had only survived thanks to the intervention of Bunny and Julian, something Ryan would never forget.
The waitress seated them far enough away from the rest of the diners that Gabe and Ryan could enjoy a private discussion. Gabe must use this place often for quiet chats. It was the place he’d first questioned Bunny when they’d arrived in Halle, and was one of the most popular eateries in the town.
They ordered coffee, and waited until the waitress was out of earshot. “All right.” Gabe folded his hands on the table. “Talk to me.”
“I want to be involved in the hunt for Hope.”
“You think Glory is in danger?”
“If we poke the hornet’s nest, something might come out to sting her.” Ryan wasn’t going to let his mate hurt.
Ryan held up his hand. “You’re in charge. I’m not stupid. I’m not a law enforcement officer or a Hunter, so I’m leaving it up to you.”
“Your instincts are good. You could be in law enforcement.”
“Yet you managed to track that rogue Alpha all on your own.”
Ryan’s laughter cut off, his eyes shifting to his Bear’s. Whenever he thought about what that son of a bitch ex-Alpha had done to his mate he wanted to rip him to shreds all over again. “I wasn’t tracking him because he was Tabby’s stalker.”
“I know.” Gabe’s voice hardened. “That doesn’t mean you won’t be an asset on this case.”
Ryan’s eyes returned to their normal human blue, his Bear backing down instantly. Ryan’s Bear was calmed by the anger in Gabe’s voice. Gabe had been just as outraged over the pain Glory suffered as Ryan had been, and the knowledge that a Hunter agreed with him soothed his beast.
Hunters were a group of men and women sanctioned by the shifter Senate to hunt rogue shifters down. Rogues threatened the fabric of shifter society, either by almost outing their existence to the humans around them or by going after other shifters. The man who’d hurt his mate had been rogue, hurting the people around Tabby in order to hurt her. More often than not, a Hunter would be forced to kill the rogue in question. If the ex-Alpha hadn’t been rogue, Ryan would have been labeled a rogue himself for killing him. Instead, the Hunter had approved the kill, and had made sure the Senate had no room for complaint.