Glory fluffed the blonde wig, trying to make it look less…boring. “I used to do my hair lavender.”
Tabby’s eyes went wide. “Ooh. We could totally do different colors.”
Glory sat up straighter. “Purple, blue, red—or maybe pink, if we’re doing pastels—and a little green?”
“It would be a lot of work.” But Cyn had that gleam in her eye, the one that said she was already plotting out how to do it without turning Glory into an Easter egg. “If we cut in some layers we could add a different color to each one.”
Glory winced. “No. No cutting my hair.” She loved her waist-length curls just the way they were. “But…we could frame out my face better.” The blonde bangs were giving her ideas. “We could give me bangs, I suppose.”
“That could work. Do the area around your face in teal, maybe, then—” The sound of the doorbell interrupted Chloe. “Shut. Let me make sure Ryan’s got the door.” Chloe left the room, her expression irritated. “It’s Julian!”
Cyn, who’d been puttering around Ryan’s bedroom, instantly went on alert. “I’d better go see how he is. He was talking about visiting the hospital this morning.” And she was gone, her concern for her lover overcoming everything else.
And she had reason to be worried. Hospitals were the bane of a Kermode Bear. His urge to heal could drive him to literally kill himself for the sake of someone else. If Julian was visiting the hospital, it meant nothing good, especially for him and Cyn.
“I guess we head out there.” Tabby patted her belly. “Ready to get your picture taken?”
Glory shrugged. “As ready as I’ll ever be.” She couldn’t wait to get the wig back off. The thing itched.
“Glory?” Ryan poked his head into his bedroom. “My parents will be here soon. Did you want anything from Frank’s? They’re bringing burgers and fries.”
He didn’t even bat an eye at the blonde wig. “What do you think about rainbows?”
She rolled her eyes. Of course he’d known why she asked. Ryan was uncannily in tune with her. It was one of the things that kept freaking her out. “Get me the usual. Oh, and a chocolate shake.” He turned to leave the room. “Oh! And some of that apple pie.” She bit her lip. “Make that cherry.”
“Two double-bacon cheeseburgers, hold the mayo, a basket of fries, a chocolate shake, a slice of apple and a slice of cherry. Got it.”
“Two?” But Ryan was gone, already holding a phone to his ear and giving her food order. “I’m not eating two burgers. And I’m certainly not eating two things of pie.”
“Sounds like my kind of lunch.” Tabby licked her lips. “I hope Alex got my order.”
“That’s because you’re a pig.” Glory patted her hips. “Some of us have to keep our girlish figures.”
“Same to you, Miss Piggy.” Glory slid her arm through Tabby’s, taking a deep breath. “What a way to meet the in-laws, huh?”
Tabby giggled. “Tell me about it. Remember when I met them all? Chloe was in the hospital and Alex had already marked me. And I was Outcast.” She shook her head. “It still amazes me how easily they all accepted me.” She took hold of Glory’s hand and began dragging Glory through the bedroom door. “Trust me. They’re going to love you.”
“On a ciabatta roll with Dijon mustard, maybe.” When Tabby started laughing, Glory shrugged. “What? I’m an acquired taste.”
“You certainly are.” Ryan gently tugged Glory away from Tabby and faced the people in the room. “This is Glory. Glory, that’s Raymond and Stacey Allen. They’re the parents of Heather, Keith and Tiffany.”
The two waved hello. Raymond had his children’s flaming red hair while Stacey had the Williams smile.
Ray actually got up and gave her a hug. “Thanks for giving Heather a job. How is she working out, really?”
“Dad!” Heather, her cheeks flaming red, hid her face in her hands.
“She’s good, but you’d do better asking Tabby and Cyn. She’s a tattoo artist, not a piercer like me.”
“Ah. I’ll do that, then.” Raymond settled back down next to his wife, chatting quietly with her.
“Aunt Stacey and my father are twins.” Ryan grinned as he pointed toward the next older couple. “You know Aunt Barb and Uncle Will.”
The Bunsuns both came and gave her a hug, knocking her wig askew. “It’s good to see you and Ryan working things out.” Barbara Bunsun gave her a sharp, toothy smile. “We want all our kids to be happy.”
Will pulled his wife away. “Settle down, tiger. I think Glory’s well on the way to accepting Ryan.”
The doorbell rang again, and Will opened it to allow in…
Whoa. Big. The guy quietly greeted Will, then made his way to Ryan. “So this is your mate?” A strange, huge blond man walked up to her, eyeing her up and down. “She’s teeny. Forget the roll, I don’t think she’d fit on a cracker.”
“Uh, Ryan?” Glory took a step back, surprised when her over-protective Bear didn’t get in this guy’s face.
The one who did, the one who surprised them all, was Chloe. She got between the giant man and Glory and snarled. “Leave her alone.”
One of the people in the room gasped, but Glory couldn’t see who it was.
“Thanks. I think.” Chloe dropped her arms, her stance relaxing. “Who are you again?”
“James Barnwell, but you can call me Barney.” The massive blond straightened up. “I’m the Hunter Gabe warned you about.”
“You’re going to help us find the shifter who’s been stalking me?” Glory wasn’t too sure about this. The guy looked like a cowboy, had the attitude of a New Yorker and spoke with an authority she’d only seen in Gabe Anderson and Max Cannon.
“Yup. I…” Barney sniffed, then frowned. “Uh. Excuse me for a moment.” He tilted his hat back and stared around the room, finally settling his gaze on Heather. “Crap.”