“We’ll watch for him, then.” Ryan clapped Gabe on the shoulder, hoping to offer some reassurance. If one of his relatives went bug-shit insane, he’d be weary too. “His scent wasn’t anywhere near Glory’s apartment.”
“So maybe he’s not interested in Hope at all. Maybe it’s something else he’s come out here for.” Gabe put the shopping bags in the trunk. “Here’s hoping he’s just out here taking his aggression out on poor, defenseless Thumpers and Bambis.”
Ryan nodded. The last thing they needed was Doctor Demento going after Glory’s sister. Hope had been through enough. She didn’t need to add a brand-spanking new stalker to her list of woes. “How do we deal with Hope? She’s been changed against her will. She may not want to be around other shifters.” A lone Wolf, one who wasn’t rogue, wasn’t unheard of. It was rare, but it did happen. Packs and Prides would view such a Wolf warily, but the shifters who formed family groups would be more open to them.
“We let her decide.” Gabe shut the trunk. “If she chooses to stay in Halle, we talk to Max and Emma about bringing her into the Pride. If she needs other Wolves around her, we send her to Rick and Belle.”
Ryan didn’t know Hope well enough to guess what she might choose, but he did know her sister. “Glory won’t be happy if Hope decides to go to the Poconos rather than stay here.”
“It’s not about Glory. It’s about Hope, and what she needs in order to heal.” Gabe stared at the two women in the back seat of Ryan’s car. “If the closeness and security of a Pack are what she needs, that’s what she gets.”
“And Glory will be torn between following her twin and staying in Halle with Cyn and Tabby.”
“Maybe Temp and Faith will go with Hope. Rick Lowell isn’t nearly as backward as his grandfather was. He’s accepted humans into his Pack. Hell, his Omega just mated one. He’ll be fine with it.”
“And if Faith becomes a Wolf as well, she’ll be better able to protect herself from her father if the good Reverend ever comes back for her.” He couldn’t see a man like Temperance Walsh bowing down to any Wolf, even Rick Lowell. They’d have to figure out something else to do with the man.
Gabe nodded. “In the meantime, let’s get the girls back to Halle.” He glared around at the darkness. “Something doesn’t feel quite right.”
“Do we need to check it out?” The Wolf who’d hunted his mate could be in the woods, watching them, but Ryan didn’t scent anything.
“No, it’s not that. I think we’re being watched, though.”
“I think you’re right.” Barney sauntered over to them, keeping the women in his sight at all times. “But whatever it is doesn’t feel hostile.”
“I’m not an Omega. I couldn’t tell you whether or not it’s safe.” Gabe blew out a breath. “I’m going to follow you back, get Hope settled with Max and Emma. I called on the way over here, and they told me that if Hope really was here they’d take her in, no questions asked.”
“Will she be all right with them?” Ryan’s mate was talking quietly to her sister, her voice a barely audible buzz against his senses, but her tone was easy to distinguish. She was keeping her twin calm, Hope leaning against Glory as if weary beyond endurance.
“Max is pissed that this shit keeps happening in his town, and Emma has declared she’ll neuter anyone who goes after Hope. So yeah, I think they’ll be safe.” Emma Cannon was one hell of a scary woman, almost as frightening as the Poconos Pack Luna, Belle. “Besides, Adrian and I have some enforcers watching the Alpha’s house. They’ll keep watch for this asshole.”
“Good.” Ryan headed for the passenger seat, yawning his head off. “Let’s go home.”
The quiet sympathy on the face of the Puma Curana nearly had Glory in tears once more. “Thanks.”
“Sheri is here. We were hoping, with what she’s been through, she might be a little bit of help.” Sheri Giordano was the mate of the Puma Marshal. She’d also been kidnapped, but Max Cannon had saved her life. He’d turned her into a Puma, and when she’d come back to Halle years later and met her mate, Adrian, he’d given her a new home. She was now a happy, important member of the Halle Puma Pride. If anyone could understand what Hope had gone through, it would be Sheri.
Max Cannon, Emma’s mate, stood behind his spouse. The man was almost inhumanly beautiful, with golden-blond hair that brushed his shoulders and stunning blue eyes that crinkled at the corners when he laughed. He had a small scar at the side of his nose, the only mark that marred the perfection of his face.
If Thor and Black Widow had a baby, and that baby had a baby with Brad Pitt, he might turn out half as handsome as Dr. Max Cannon.
“We called in Sarah too.” Emma yawned, her mobile mouth going wide. She was still in a pair of pink Hello Kitty sleep pants and a white tank top, a pair of fuzzy, bubblegum-pink slippers on her feet. She was much shorter than her tall mate, with deep brown hair in a sloppy bun and big brown eyes that watched the world around her with quiet intensity. She was like a chubby little bunny in a lion’s den, ready to be eaten—
—until she opened her mouth. Glory chuckled, by now used to Emma Cannon’s unusual personality.
“Who’s that?” Hope’s eyes were so wide in her face Glory was afraid they’d roll out of her head and go click-clack down the wooden floors like a pair of dice.
“The who?” But Hope followed her into Max and Emma’s Craftsman-style home without a protest. Glory pretended not to notice how badly her sister startled at every little sound, how she shook like a leaf or shied away from Barney as the man followed them in.
“The Curana.” She helped her sister into the great room. The sage-green walls, cherry floors and white trim helped create a homey look in the Cannons’ home. A vaulted ceiling with skylights gave the room the feeling of being huge, while a large, reddish-brown leather sofa invited you to sink into it. It rested on a bold area rug done in a geometric pattern of reds, blacks and greens and faced a set of built-in cherry cabinets along one wall that doubled as the entertainment center. The fireplace, on the opposite wall, was decorated with the same fieldstone that was on the outside the house.