But it had to be. There was no one else she could think of, no one else who would have fucking poison and an injector on him. And they’d scented him at Hope’s run-down motel, but none of them had known why.
The helmet swiveled in her direction as the Puma lifted his finger to his helmet in a shushing motion. He turned his attention once more to Salazar and nodded.
Jamie—if it was Jamie—backed away from Salazar and the car. He didn’t do anything more. He simply stared into the back seat, at Hope, for a long moment before walking over to his motorcycle.
Glory shivered. If the insane doctor had fixated on Hope, they were in more trouble than anything Salazar had been capable of giving them.
But Jamie’s shoulders weren’t nearly so tense, the sense of menace dulled to a quiet river rather than a raging storm. He was still dangerous, still unstable, but whatever had driven him after Glory and Hope seemed satisfied now.
Glory leapt out of the car, ignoring the body of the man who now lay where the Wolf had been. Salazar deserved to be found naked and dead of whatever Jamie had done to him.
Hope yelled from the backseat, staring at the man in the helmet. “Wait!”
Jamie paused, shuddering violently at the sound of Hope’s voice, but didn’t turn around.
Her sister took a deep, shuddering breath. “Thank you. For saving us.”
For a second, Glory didn’t think he’d respond, but then the helmet briefly dipped before Dr. Jamie Howard got on his cycle and roared out of her life once more.
Hope kept her gaze on him until he disappeared from sight, before collapsing again in the back seat. “Who was that?”
“I’m not sure, but I think it was Dr. Jamie Howard.”
“The one who lost his mate?” Hope’s tone was full of…something. Fear, maybe? Longing?
Glory couldn’t tell. She was too busy trying to get her breathing back under control. “Yeah.” Glory sat in the driver’s seat, her hands shaking as the panic she’d barely allowed herself to feel began to kick in. Her vision was going white around the edges, her breath coming in panting gasps.
She had to get herself under control, or she’d wind up killing both herself and Hope.
Glory reached for her Bear and prayed that what little she knew would be enough to keep her from losing herself in the fear.
Ryan followed the sweet scent of his mate, his head hanging out the window like a dog’s. “There. Down the ramp.”
He tried not to panic as the scent of Jamie Howard mingled with that of Hope, Glory and Salazar. If Jamie did anything to hurt his mate, there’d be war in Halle, Pennsylvania. Jamie wouldn’t live to see the dawn.
“Julian says Jim is awake.” Gabe hung up his phone, but his eyes were still Puma gold. The sheriff was pissed that Salazar had tricked them, had hurt people under Gabe’s protection. Ryan wasn’t certain which of them wanted Salazar’s blood more. “He’s confused, and asking a lot of questions.”
Gabe nodded as Barney followed the scent of Jamie, Glory and Hope through a small town. Gabe had his badge ready in case the local police decided to pull them over. Technically, he should have called the kidnapping in to state police, but time was of the essence and they didn’t want a crazy shifter set on a bunch of humans. The bite Jim had gotten proved the rogue Wolf couldn’t be trusted not to try to harm or change them, thus endangering them all. Even if Ryan didn’t get to him, Tito Salazar was a marked man. “Chloe’s making her way to the shop as we speak. She’ll try and help Julian explain everything to Jim.”
God, what Jim was about to go through. No one should have their choices taken away like that. But it was too late to do anything now. If Chloe had been there, she could have bitten her mate, given him the mark and changed him into a Fox.
But Chloe hadn’t been, and now Jim would become a Wolf against his will. Chloe had to be heartbroken.
It was just one more reason to rip Salazar apart. No one made Ryan Williams’s baby sister cry.
“Julian used their freaky mind-link to call her to him. She’s on her way.” Gabe was leaning forward, his gaze glued to something outside the front window. “Wait a minute. You see that?”
Barney, driving the car, was also leaning over the steering wheel. “Yup. Looks like they’ve stopped.”
Ryan leaned farther out the window, trying to see what they saw.
A dark car, front and back driver’s side doors open. A body on the blacktop, naked and grotesquely distorted.
A fall of powder-blue hair spilling out of the driver’s seat.
Ryan was out of the car before it came to a full stop, running toward his mate, terrified as the scent of blood, her blood, filled him. “Glory!”
Her head snapped up. Her pale blue eyes were glazed, her clothing dripping with her blood. There was a gaping hole in the shoulder of her filmy top.
Fuck. She’d been shot again. His Grizzly roared, wanting to rend, to tear at the son of a bitch who’d harmed his mate.
He was growling, his eyes changing to his Bear’s brown, his claws extended in anticipation of ripping through flesh.
But his mate needed him. She was wounded, hurting, terrified and on the verge of one hell of a panic attack. Ryan soothed his Bear, reminded him the body had to be that of Salazar, but his Bear wasn’t ready to listen yet. It wanted revenge for his mate’s suffering, and wouldn’t calm until it knew Glory was safe and whole. “I’m here, sweetheart.” He pulled her the car, cradling her close as she collapsed against him. “I’m here.”
God, he’d almost lost her. The smell of gunpowder on her skin, her clothes, terrified him. Hell, he might have a panic attack right along with her.
She was trembling against him. “Ryan.”
Ryan was still tired from healing Jim, but his mate needed, and he would provide. His Grizzly agreed, and together they danced down the healing spiral, checking her wound and repairing what little damage was left. She’d done very well for someone who hadn’t been formally trained in her gift, leaving little sign of the damage the bullet must have made.