Chloe nodded and, while Glory finished closing her station, chatted with Cyn and Heather about exactly what she wanted.
“I like seeing her smile.” Ryan watched his sister with an indulgent smile. “I like even more that she’s looking at the positive again.”
“I’m betting she’s plotting how to get Jim Woods to mate with her.” Glory didn’t understand how anyone could turn down the cute, bubbly Fox. Even with the odd quirks her injuries had given her, she rarely let herself get down. Only when she was exhausted could you tell that her mate’s absence weighed on her. The veterinarian Chloe had fallen for before she’d been attacked was playing hard to get. “She still looks tired, though.”
Ryan nodded. “I think that’s always going to be true. She tires easily these days, and the shakes in her left hand will never go away.”
“Any idea what she’s going to do now?”
“I think she’s going to try and continue working in veterinary medicine, but maybe as a vet tech instead of an actual vet. I don’t know what her options are, and she’s still looking into it.”
“You guys ready to go?” Chloe bounced over to them, but the spring in her step was muted compared to the way she’d been before she’d been beaten.
“Let me think. The best burgers in Halle, or anyplace else?” Chloe walked over to the door and threw it open. “What are you two baiting for?”
Glory laughed and grabbed her jacket. “I think someone is hungry.”
“No, really?” Ryan stepped out the door before either of the women, taking deep breaths. It took Glory a moment to realize that Ryan was scenting the air for the Wolf who’d attacked them. “Coast is clear.”
Both women waved good-bye and continued cleaning their own stations. Glory could hear them discussing Chloe’s new tattoo as the door shut behind her.
Ryan stiffened next to her, but it was Chloe’s gasp that had her stepping between the Fox and whoever had spoken her name.
Oh. So this was Dr. Jim Woods, the veterinarian Chloe had fallen in love with. He was pretty damn good looking, with his wavy blond hair and bright hazel eyes, broad shoulders and broader grin. He looked genuinely pleased to see Chloe…
…until he saw the way she was clutching Ryan’s arm. Then his expression closed off, became cold. “It’s good to see you’re up and moving around.”
Even in the dim light of the street lamp Glory could see the way Chloe’s cheeks went bright red. “I mean tee.”
“Chloe?” Jim took a step toward her, but stopped when Ryan growled. “Wait. I know you.” The cold expression changed, warmed. “You’re Ryan Williams, right?”
Oh shit. Glory knew that tone of voice. Ryan was pissed about something. She needed to head this off at the pass or the good doctor might find himself in chunky pieces. “Hi. I’m Glory Walsh, Ryan’s girlfriend.”
She blinked as Ryan’s arm snaked around her waist. “Yup. Mine.”
“Uh. Good for you?” Jim Woods winked at her, earning a small growl from Ryan. Jim checked his watch and grimaced. “Well. I need to get going. I’m meeting someone for dinner.”
Jim either didn’t see the way Chloe’s face fell, or he chose to ignore it. “Oh.” A weak smile crossed her lips. “May I gum visit the hospital and tree the animals?”
Jim eyed her for a moment, and Glory found herself holding her breath. She wanted him to say yes in the worst way. The hope in Chloe was almost tangible.
Slowly, he nodded. “I think it will be all right.”
Again, Jim seemed startled. Didn’t he know about Chloe’s affliction? Hadn’t anyone filled the vet in on the extent of her injuries? “You’re welcome.” He looked past them and tsk’d. “But I really have to get going now. Be careful on the way home, okay?” And with a cheery wave he strode past them, calling out a woman’s name as he went.
Chloe let off a strange half yip, half bark before covering her mouth with her bad hand. “Sorry.”
“I swear I’m going to bite that fucker. Maybe if he feels the mating urge he’ll finally get off his ass and come claim you.” Ryan grimaced. “And I really don’t want to think of my baby sister getting claimed, but I’m tired of seeing you miserable.”
“It’s my salt.” Chloe looked ready to cry. “I didn’t realize cow my relationship with Gabe hooked until it was already too rate.”
From what Glory had seen in that brief second before Jim’s expression had closed off, Jim had been jealous as hell at the sight of Chloe leaning on another man. “Maybe you should explain it to him?”
“I lied once, but he didn’t want to ear it.” Chloe began walking, her pace slow. She took a deep breath, obviously trying to get her emotions back under control. When she spoke again, she chose to do so slowly, sounding out each word. “He honestly thought Gabe and I were baiting, and then Gabe got together with Sarah and I was attacked while Jim was out of town.”
“He didn’t come back, not even once, to check on her.”
She could hear the anger in Ryan’s voice. “Maybe he couldn’t.” Glory shrugged when the siblings both looked at her. “If it was work related, he might not have been able to get away.”
“Hmph.” Ryan was less than impressed.
“I understand, mostly. He doesn’t feel the mating wool the way I do.”
“Which is why I want to bite his ass.” Ryan held up his hands in a pleading gesture. “Just one little bite? I promise to only maul him slightly.”
“No, Ryan. Let me figure out a way to get out of my own mess.”
“I agree.” Glory patted Ryan’s arm, hoping to soothe her savage beast. “Remember how you felt when that Wolf bit me?”
Ryan snarled, then huffed out a defeated breath. “Fine. Okay. I get it. I won’t bite his ass.” He shot his sister a look that Glory was glad the Fox couldn’t see. She was willing to bet her favorite piercing needle that Dr. Jim Woods was going to meet an angry Bear in the very near future. She was sure of it when he muttered under his breath, “Yet.”