The sound of the gunshot was loud, the burning fire in her shoulder shocking her. Glory screamed. Shit. She hated getting shot.
“Get out of my car.”
Glory whimpered, but refused to move. She couldn’t abandon her twin. “No.”
Before Salazar could pull the trigger a second time, the driver’s side door was wrenched open. A pair of black-gloved hands reached in and grabbed hold of Salazar’s hand, driving the gun up. It went off, leaving a smoking hole in the car’s roof.
Salazar struggled with the stranger over the gun, kicking the rider in the thigh. The pained grunt was the only sound the rider made.
It was freaky as hell.
Glory worked harder to get her hands free. She needed to get Hope and get out of the car before the two men turned on her. She had no idea who the stranger was, but a familiar scent was beginning to override the scent of leather and gunpowder and Wolf.
Hell, she’d been a shifter for so short a time she was lucky she knew what Bears smelled like, but the man currently struggling with her captor had a distinctly feline scent to him that she recognized in Gabe, Max and Emma. The smelled like they belonged together.
Even so, the strange sense of menace rolling off the rider had her double-timing her work on the rope. She was rewarded when it finally gave way, freeing her hands to grab hold of Hope’s shoulders and shake her twin. “Wake up!”
Nothing. Hope’s head lolled on her shoulders, rolling with Glory’s movements.
“Shit.” She grabbed hold of Hope under her armpits, ignoring the screaming, red-hot agony in her shoulder, and dragged her twin to the car door. “We’re getting out of here, I promise.”
“No.” Salazar finally managed to get the rider off of him, pointing the gun once more at Glory’s head. “You’re not going anywhere.”
Then his eyes went wide as the rider drove his fingers into the side of his head, claws first. Glory could hear the bone snap as Salazar screamed.
A Puma’s claws weren’t nearly as long as a Bear’s, so Salazar wasn’t killed instantly. He was wounded now, a bleeding Wolf who thought he was defending his mate. So he did what any wounded shifter would do.
He shifted, desperately trying to wriggle free of his clothing. Because he shifted into an animal that was smaller than his human form, he didn’t risk hurting himself by trying to burst through his clothing.
Must be nice. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to fight Salazar back in the shop if she could have changed. Glory redoubled her attempts to cut through the ropes binding her wrists, grunting in satisfaction when she felt them begin to give way.
The familiar-smelling Puma didn’t change. He backed up, making come-hither gestures with his hands, shooting the Wolf the finger when Salazar crouched down in the driver’s seat.
As soon as the fucker was out, Glory would be in. He’d left the keys in the ignition. Glory had no trouble stealing the psycho’s wheels and making her getaway, whether Hope regained consciousness or not. She had to get Hope to Julian, had to—
“Mother pus bucket!” Glory swore, using Cyn’s favorite curse, her vision blurring as she twisted wrong. It pulled at the wound in her shoulder, and pretty stars danced around her head, nearly sending her tumbling into unconsciousness along with her sister.
She had to be more careful, or she and Hope were going to be in bigger trouble than they were now. She healed a little of the damage the bullet had caused, closing the bleeding blood vessels and torn flesh, the moves instinctual. Her Bear guided her, showed her what to do and how to maximize what little energy she had left. And she had precious little. Healing Hope had taken most of it. By the time she was done taking care of her shoulder she was panting, gasping, her vision blurred at the edges. And not all of it was from pain and exhaustion. Her Bear was showing her how to stave off the panic attack that threatened to stop her breath.
The Puma whistled, that sound one used to call a dog to heel, and Glory would have laughed if she wasn’t terrified of the pain. This whole thing was so surreal.
From Salazar’s answering growl, the Wolf was less than amused. He stayed hunkered in the driver’s seat, glaring and baring his teeth at the Puma who was trying to taunt him out of the car. From the way he positioned himself, Glory would swear he was trying to keep Hope safe. He kept his eye on the Puma, his back to Hope, but every now and then he’d snarl at Glory. If Glory didn’t know better, she’d swear he was acting exactly as Ryan had when he’d been protecting her.
But Salazar was not Hope’s mate, no matter what his delusions told him. There was no mingling of their scents, no permanent mark on her body. Cyn smelled of Julian; Tabby, of Alex. Glory was aware how her own scent had mingled with Ryan’s.
Hope smelled like Hope, and nothing else. Ditto with Tito Salazar.
But that didn’t stop the psycho wolf from acting like a mated shifter. He was keeping the Puma from getting too close to Hope while remaining close enough to keep her safe.
The Puma shrugged, reached in his jacket, and pulled out something Glory could barely see. He sauntered back to the car, his stride certain, the object half hidden in the palm of his hand.
Salazar tensed, ready to spring at the Puma who dared come close to them once more. The man in the leather was going to get savaged unless he changed, and Glory wasn’t certain how much more she’d be able to heal. The exhaustion that rode a Bear who’d used his or her powers, the price they had to pay for their gift from the spirits that had made them, was riding her hard.
But if the Puma got hurt trying to save them, Glory would try and heal him. It was the least she could do.
The rider reached the driver’s side of the car.
Salazar pounced, snarling and snapping like the rabid Wolf he was. Glory tensed, certain the Puma was about to get his throat ripped out, high-necked leather jacket or no. Salazar was just that fast.
But the Puma was faster, his hand whipping out and jabbing the object he held into Salazar’s side.
Salazar cried out, a canine yip of pain, his momentum shattered as the Puma used it to pound him into the ground. She saw his thumb press down, and realized he was injecting the Wolf with something.
Salazar began to thrash almost immediately, his body contorting as whatever the Puma had given him killed him so quickly it was over before it really began.