Some proto-Hunter I’ve turned out to be.
Barney’s belief that they might be dealing with a rogue Hunter filled his head. He couldn’t get it out of his mind. The thought that Barney might be right scared the shit out of him. If it was an ex-Hunter, the man would know exactly how to evade not only Ryan’s clumsy attempts to find him, but Barney’s and Gabe’s as well. There was a possibility he could elude capture for months, maybe even get his claws on Glory once more.
Ryan would give all he was to keep that from happening. He needed to start training with Barney before that happened. Maybe he would have some tips on the best ways to keep Glory safe.
Ryan schooled his features into a blank mask. Why was he not surprised to find Glory’s long-lost brother here? There was just something about the guy that made Ryan’s hackles rise. “Temp.”
Ryan would have bought Temp’s concern if he hadn’t seen the strange flicker in the man’s gaze. Temp was up to something, and Ryan was going to find out what. “She’s good.”
Temp studied him for a moment before he crossed his arms over his chest. Ryan’s brows rose in surprise as Temp scowled at him. “Tell me about yourself.”
“I wasn’t here to protect her before. I need to know what kind of man you are, and from what I’ve seen you aren’t good enough for Glory.”
“How so?” This Ryan had to hear.
“I remember what my father was like with my mother. I know the signs of someone who’s overly possessive, and you’re triggering every single one of them.”
Ryan wanted to laugh. That’s what that strange look had been about? The man was trying to protect his sister? “Glory’s got a fucking stalker, but it sure as hell isn’t me.”
“How do I know you’re not the one who’s been doing all these things to terrorize her?” Temp took a step toward Ryan, ignoring the fact that Ryan was bigger than he was. Ryan hated to admit it, but he was impressed. Only Bunny really got in Ryan’s face, and Bunny had a reputation that was far scarier than any Hunter’s. Bunny had maimed the men who had terrorized Heather. Among the Bear community, his cousin was a legend. “You could be trying to drive her toward you. Without her family, you and Cyn are the only ones she trusts.”
“And the fact that Cyn trusts me is irrelevant.”
“I don’t know Cynthia Reyes well enough to decide if she’s a good influence on my sister or not. My dad hated her, so I’m inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.” Temp smirked. “You, not so much.”
Ryan gave him the same look back. “I hate to tell you this, but I’ve already been in your sister’s pants.” He enjoyed the way Temp’s face turned grim. “And I’m still looking for the man who sent her a dead rose.”
“Dead rose.” Temp froze before swearing under his breath.
The man had the gall to start walking away from Ryan. “I have to speak to Glory.”
“Tell me.” Like Ryan was going to allow this guy anywhere near his mate without Ryan present. Until he was certain that Temp and Faith were no threat, he wasn’t going to allow them any more contact than he had to. He followed after Temp, determined to find out what the man knew.
Temp turned on him again, his expression fierce. “I don’t trust you.”
“Good. I don’t trust you, either, so we’re even.”
Standoff. The two men glared at each other, neither backing down one little bit.
Fuck. The human was stubborn. Ryan was becoming more and more impressed with the asshole. “I need to know to protect your sister.”
Temp snorted. “Fine. Just before she disappeared, Hope told me someone left her a dead rose and a note that said ‘Whore’.”
“Are you sure?” At Temp’s nod it was Ryan’s turn to swear. Glory was attacked right after getting the same message. “Was Hope getting gifts from a secret admirer?”
Temp seemed startled. “Yeah. Again, I didn’t know about them until after Hope disappeared and Dad spoke to the cops. You’re saying Glory is getting the same presents?”
“Fuck a duck.” Temp took off again, heading for the apartment building’s parking lot. “The gifts Hope got were more geared toward a teen, but the same thing happened.”
“Any idea why she would have gotten the whore note? Glory got hers after our first real date.”
“We’ve known each other for a year, but your sister has…issues.”
Temp turned on him again. Damn, the man had a temper, and apparently no problems aiming it at someone bigger than him. “What do you mean my sister has issues?”
Ryan just stared at him. Was he serious?
Temp rolled his eyes. “Fine. We all have our own tickets to board the crazy train. Where does Glory’s train arrive at?”
Cute. The guy was growing on him. Ryan would say like a fungus, but that stuff in his crockpot had begun haunting his nightmares. He was pretty sure he’d heard it whimpering help me when he poured the bottle of bleach on it. “Abandonment Station, Platform C. Your sister gets panic attacks whenever something serious changes around her. She has ever since your father beat her to a bloody pulp and left her alone, homeless and penniless.”
“They went away for a while, but they came back when all this shit started going down.” Ryan wasn’t about to tell the human about the attack on the girls that really started it. If Temp and Faith turned out to be everything Glory thought they were, Ryan would talk to the family about bringing them in.
For Glory’s sake, he hoped both of them were exactly what they said. “Glory needs constants in her life, someone to lean on when everything else around her is spiraling out of control.” He leaned in close, tempted to let Temp see his fangs. “In case you missed it that would be me.”
The threat remained unsaid, but Ryan decided to finish it. “You won’t need to hunt me down, because if I hurt her, I’ve done worse to myself.” Ryan sighed. “Whether you believe me or not, your sister means everything to me, and I’ll protect her from anything.”