She nodded and took a step back, her expression tormented. “So am I. I don’t think I’m ready for a mate.” She sounded terrified, but Glory remembered her soft tone when she’d spoken to Jamie. The need was there, but both Jamie and Hope had some healing to do before they’d be able to act on their instincts.
“We’ll figure this out, Hope.” Glory ached for her twin, for everything she’d been through.
Hope wrapped her arms around her waist protectively, her gaze drawn once more to the window, and the shadows beyond. “I sure as hell hope so, because he’s hurting even more than I am.”
“You can feel him?” Glory exchanged a look with Ryan.
Hope nodded. “Sarah’s right. He’s lost in his pain.” She smiled wearily. “Just like me.”
He hadn’t been expecting a confrontation so soon, but there he was, waiting for Ryan and Glory on Ryan’s front step.
“Want me to talk to him?” Glory was yawning, her body worn out from the kidnapping, the healing and Hope’s revelations. The last thing she needed was to deal with her brother.
He’d be the judge of that. “Go on up, sweetheart. Get some rest.” He wouldn’t take the man into his apartment until he was certain he was no threat to Glory.
They’d agreed, after much arguing, that Glory would officially move in with him. Hope would take Glory’s old apartment, and each of the male members of his family had agreed to keep an eye on her while she healed. Hope had agreed to multiple sessions with both Sarah Anderson and Adrian Giordano, the Pride’s Marshal. The Poconos Pack Omega and Marshal, Chela Mendoza and Ben Malone, had also agreed to counsel her. Hope would need all that help if she ever hoped to live a normal life again. Ryan was glad, both for her sake and Glory’s, that she’d agreed to the counseling.
Glory’s twin had a shit-ton of healing to do, and he wasn’t certain how long it would take before she could get over the constant fear she lived in. She’d been scarred, inside and out, in ways that would take years to overcome if she even could. He hoped if she really was Jamie Howard’s mate that the man had some patience left, because he doubted she’d be ready to mate any time soon.
“You sure? I can talk to him.” Glory was eyeing both her brother and Ryan with some misgiving.
“I swear, unless he threatens you, I won’t eat him.”
She wrinkled her nose. “I don’t think either of you swing that way.”
He stopped dead, staring at her. She’d borrowed some of Emma’s clothes so that she wouldn’t be wandering around drenched in her own blood. He was grateful to the Curana for that. It helped keep his Bear calm, taking away the scent of his mate’s pain. “SG?”
“Hmm?” She swayed on her feet, blinking huge blue eyes up at him. She was so tired it wasn’t even funny. She did not need to be dealing with her brother right now.
Ryan caressed her cheek, practically purring like a Puma when she leaned into his touch. “Go to bed.”
She yawned so wide he thought her lips would split. “M’kay.”
Ryan escorted her up the steps, holding up a finger when it looked like Temp would follow them in. “Wait here, Temp. I want to get your sister settled first.”
Temp nodded, reluctance in every line of his body. The man shoved his hands in his pockets, staring at Glory with a wistful expression. “Yeah. Okay.”
It didn’t take long for Ryan to get Glory settled. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, her clothing barely off her body. He left her under the covers with a soft kiss.
Now, to deal with her brother.
Ryan made his way out the front door, snagging two beers on the way. If Glory was right, and her brother was no threat, then Ryan hoped to make this a peaceful little chat.
Well. Glory had lived this long without her brother, hadn’t she?
“I know what I saw.” Temp stared up at him, his expression defiant and fearful at the same time. “I’m not crazy.”
Ryan blinked. He hadn’t expected the man to go immediately on the attack. “What did you see?” He held out the beer can and waited.
Temp scowled, but took the offered drink. “My sister became…something else.”
Temp popped the top and took a long swig.
“Tell me you’re not driving.” Fuck, if he had to he’d put the guy up on his couch. That would please his mate.
“I’m not driving.” Temp sighed and settled on the step below Ryan. “What the hell is going on? Is that really my sister? Is this something that could hurt her?”
“Glory is a shifter now, and yes, it’s really her. No, it won’t hurt her. Nothing will ever hurt her again, not if I can help it.” Ryan settled on the step above Temp and took his own sip of beer. “Glory is my mate.”
Temp blinked. “Okay. Back up and start from the beginning. You’re like, what, a werewolf?” Temp sounded calm, but his hand was shaking.
“No. I’m an accountant.” When Temp blinked at him, confused, Ryan laughed. “I’m also a Bear. A Grizzly, in fact.”
Temp’s hand froze on the way to his mouth. “Aren’t they the most aggressive species of bear?”
It was almost cute, the way the man’s voice squeaked. “Yup.”
“Shit.” Temp slumped, his hands between his knees, the almost empty can held loosely. “Are you sure this isn’t going to hurt her?”
“It’s not going to hurt her.” Ryan smiled as Temp relaxed, at least marginally. The man really had been worried about his sister. “You’re taking this pretty well.”
Temp snorted. “I’m holding on for her sake. I’ll freak out in private, where she can’t see it.”
Temp finished his beer and crumpled the can. “Tell me about bears, Ryan. I want to know what my sister is going to have to deal with.”