Ryan’s family was beyond awesome. They’d all agreed to table the house discussion—and hadn’t that thrown her for a loop—until after Glory’s first change, when she and Ryan would begin hunting for land. The fact that Ryan had paid enough attention to notice how much she loved Max and Emma’s home hadn’t been lost on her. The man knew her better than anyone. Not even Cyn and Tabby were aware of her desire to have a large family home.
Hell, that wasn’t all of it, either. Glory wanted to have a large family, period. It was a dream she’d never dared voice, especially after being abandoned by her parents and siblings. The thought of a little Ryan running around their home, driving them both insane with his smirk and his big blue eyes?
She banged her head against the counter. She did not need another too-cute Williams boy wrapping her around his finger.
But it would happen. She knew it would. The sun would rise in the east, the coffee maker would remain distressingly empty, and Ryan Williams’s children would drive her insane.
The Bunsun-Williams clan seemed determined to fulfill her desire for a huge family, and Glory was just selfish enough to grab hold with greedy hands and never let go. She thought she’d cried herself out holding Hope, but Ray and Stacey had made her feel so welcome that she’d been unable to stop herself from sobbing on her new mother-in-law’s shoulder.
She hoped Ryan didn’t find out about that. He’d fallen asleep on his sofa, utterly exhausted, and Glory had lost it in front of her new family.
Heather, who’d snuck up behind her, poked her arm. “You’re fuzzy.”
Glory grimaced, but refused to lift her head off the counter. It was cool against her forehead, keeping the threat of what promised to be a doozy of a headache at bay. “Thank you so much for pointing out my hairy embarrassment. I know I haven’t shaved my arms in a while—”
Glory blinked blearily down at her arm, amazed to see the rich brown fur sprouting in patchy spots. She laughed, aware how hysterical it sounded. “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.”
“Fuzzy Wuzzy has some hair.” Heather grabbed hold of her, ignoring Glory’s tired giggle. “Ryan!”
The sound of him running thundered through her head, louder than anything she’d ever heard before. “Wha—oh shit.” He grabbed hold of her arm and tugged her into the back room. “I need you to concentrate.”
“On what?” Holy shit. She was changing? Now?
“What?” Why did he have to be so loud?
“Do not let your Bear out. Now isn’t the time.”
“Really? You think so?” She stumbled as Ryan whirled her around, closing the curtains into the back room so that no one could see in.
“Listen to me.” He cupped her face in both hands. The feel of his skin on hers was intoxicating, his scent enveloping her in a cocoon of calm. “Breathe deeply. In.” She took a deep breath. “Out.” She let it out slowly. “Again.”
She repeated the exercise until Ryan seemed satisfied. “What now?” The itch was slowly becoming a burn, and something inside her, something large, was waking up.
“Damn it. It’s too late.” Ryan grimaced. Whatever he saw in her face had him pulling back. He tugged his T-shirt over his head. “You’re going to change here, whether we like it or not.”
“Oh.” Glory licked her lips as smooth, golden skin was bared for her gaze. Yum.
“Whu?” Glory dragged her eyes from his abs. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Is this really the time?” She was all for a little back-room loving, but—
“Glory.” He growled out her name, and she shivered. “I want you bare.”
She laughed. “Don’t you mean bear?”
Ryan undid his jeans, pushing them down his legs. “Yeah. I need you Bear naked.” He rolled his eyes at her. “Now, sweetheart. You do not want to try and shift while wearing clothes.”
“What’s the worst that could happen?” But she tugged off her skirt, trusting her mate’s judgment.
“You’ll hurt yourself when your clothing rips away. It’s not like the movies, you know.” Ryan kicked off his jeans and underwear, leaving him completely naked. “Most clothing is pretty sturdy. You tug on it, and it doesn’t rip right away.”
“It constricts.” It made sense. She’d had a boyfriend once who thought it would be cool to rip off her panties.
That had been one hell of a super-wedgie.
“At best, you’ll try and claw it off. You’ll have to sit back here, with no clothes, while I run home and get you some.”
“Or I could work in your T-shirt and boxers.”
His eyes went wide and deep brown. Someone liked that, a lot.
“You like the thought of me in your clothes?” She reached out to brush a hand down his chest, startled to realize that she had five-inch claws. The little ones she’d been sporting since he’d bitten her had finally grown. “Whoa.”
“Get the rest of it off.” He tugged on her shirt, pulling it over her head.
Glory managed to take her own underwear off, though the claws made undoing the bra a pain in the ass. Ryan didn’t help, laughing his butt off when she began twirling in place, trying to get the hooks undone with nails in serious need of a trim.
“Ass. Hole.” She glared at him, her shoulders feeling strangely humped, her voice far lower and more gravelly than it had ever been before.
She drew in a quick breath and blew it out with a snarl.
She couldn’t help it. Her lips curled, mostly in a smile.
“Now, let your Bear out. She wants to come out. Close your eyes and scent…” He looked around. “Well, scent the shop. We’ll head into the woods later, let your Bear really out.”
The chemical scents of the inks and antiseptic, the metallic ting of needles and the dust and cardboard—it was overwhelming. “We have a mouse.”