“Five a.m.” The shadowy figure of the Hunter crouched down beside Ryan. “I think I found Hope.”
Ryan pushed up. He’d gotten maybe three hours of sleep, so his brain wasn’t quite working yet. Otherwise he might have been more surprised that Barney had possibly found Glory’s sister so quickly. “Where?”
“She’s in a little rundown hotel outside town.” Barney sighed roughly and stood up, backing away from the bed. “She looks like she’s been through hell.”
“If we’re right, she has.” Ryan stood, not really caring that he was naked. He made sure Glory’s ass was covered, though.
“Get dressed and let’s go.” Barney leaned up against the wall. “We don’t have much time before she runs again.”
“What makes you think that?” Bleary eyed, Ryan pulled some clothes out of his dresser.
“She’s got her bags packed. I think she’s going to run sooner rather than later, especially if she thinks the guy who took her is here.”
Ryan turned back to the bed to find Glory sitting up, holding the sheet to her naked breasts. He could barely see her blue eyes in the mostly dark room, but the determination rolling off his mate was loud and clear.
For once, Ryan was in total agreement with Barney. “He’s right. It’s safer if you stay here.”
She just stared at them for a moment, and Ryan felt his heart sink. “Okay.”
“Shit.” Barney pushed away from the wall. “You’re going to follow us.”
“Nope.” She curled up against Ryan’s headboard, the sheet clutched tightly against her chest. The puppy eyes she gave them were almost as good as Tabby’s. “I’m gonna stay right here, all alone, where a stalker could get to me at any time.” She sighed deeply. “Too bad I haven’t changed yet. Then I might stand a chance of defending myself against a shifter if I was attacked.” Big eyes blinked up at them. “Not that the stalker will know you left me all alone or anything.”
Ryan was already tossing a pair of his mate’s jeans and one of her gauzy tops onto the bed. “Hurry up, sweetheart.”
“Are you sure? I wouldn’t want to be in the way.” Her tone was sugary sweet.
“This is why Hunters shouldn’t mate.” Barney stormed out of the bedroom. “You have five seconds.”
As soon as he was out the door Glory was scrambling into her clothes. “Thanks.”
“You stay near either me or Barney. We could be leading the Wolf right to your sister, you realize that?”
She made a rude noise. “And you know I’m right. He’s after me, and if you leave me alone he’ll get me.” Her voice was muffled as she pulled her top over her head. “By the time you call the clan and get me a babysitter Hope could be gone.”
“I’m not stupid, Rye. If a fight breaks out, I run. I’ll grab Hope and get my ass out of there, I swear it.” She pulled her braid out from under the top and buttoned her jeans. After slipping her feet into a pair of ballet flats, she grabbed hold of his arm. “Ready.”
“We could drop you off with Bunny and Tabby.” Ryan trusted his cousin before all others to keep Glory safe. Bunny would kill anyone who threatened their women.
“Nope.” She tugged him into the living room and snagged her purse, ignoring Barney’s snort of disgust. “You don’t have time. Besides, I’ll know if it really is Hope you’ve found.” She tapped her forehead. “My twin senses will tingle.”
“Uh, I think I can figure that out on my own, Super Grover.” Barney titled his hat down over his eyes. “I’ve been doing this for a while now, ya know.”
“And you’re not Hope’s twin, so shove it up your trunk, Snuffleupagus.”
Ryan allowed his mate to drag him out of the apartment. “Snuffleupagus?”
“He appears and disappears when you least expect it, but at least everyone knows he exists now.”
“Okay.” He wasn’t going to question it.
There were just some places in his mate’s mind Ryan did not want to go, and this was one of them. “Get in the car, SG, and let’s go see if this really is your sister Snuffy found for us.”
She got quickly into the back seat of the car, yawning and curling up against the door when he shut it. Her eyes were drifting shut as he slid into the passenger seat. “Wake me when we get there.”
Barney slid behind the wheel. “Are you sure about this, Ryan? She could be a liability.”
Barney’s hat flew off his head as Glory’s hand whipped out and smacked him one.
“All right then.” Barney picked up his hat, placed it back on his head and began driving. “Here’s how this is going to work. Glory will stay in the car while Ryan and I verify that Hope is still in her hotel room. Ryan, you’ll scout around and make sure we don’t have the Wolf sniffing around either the hotel or the car. Once we’re sure we’re clear, we’ll have Glory knock on Hope’s door. That will either prove it really is Hope or not. Once we verify whether or not it is Hope, we get her out of there and someplace safe.”
“Should we call in Gabe?” The other Hunter would come in handy.
“He’s already on the scene, watching the hotel.”
Barney chuckled. “Don’t feel hurt, cub. Gabe is fully trained, and you’re not. You’ve got a ways to go before I pull you fully into a hunt.”
“Thanks.” Ryan’s gaze was drawn to the rearview mirror. Glory was asleep, her blue curls framing her face, her braid hanging over one shoulder. She looked like a powder-blue Rapunzel, and he’d get smacked faster than Barney had if he dared say it out loud.
He turned back around and faced the road. “Yeah.”
Barney drove out of town, his expression solemn. “Then the sooner you get trained the better.” He grimaced. “You might want to invest in getting her some hand-to-hand training as well.”
“Because the mate of a Hunter is his or her weakest point. Attack the mate, take out the Hunter.” Barney turned down a quiet, tree-lined street, not a single lamppost in sight. “It’s happened before, and it’s one of the reasons Hunters shouldn’t mate, at least until they’re trained.”