Ryan snarled at Julian DuCharme, the Spirit Bear who’d mated Cyn. The man was smirking, his dark eyes sparkling with mischief. His long hair was tied back in a braid that Cyn would undoubtedly undo the moment she got her hands on it.
“It’s like watching a sixteen-year-old girl get ready for a first date.” Alex, bald and big and sweet as honey unless you pissed him off, grabbed a dark blue button-down shirt. “Here. It goes with your eyes.” The asshole batted his lashes at Ryan and sighed. “You want me to do your hair?”
Julian began to laugh. “I get to do his nails.”
“Fuck you both very much.” Ryan slipped the shirt on, checking himself out in the mirror. He wanted to look perfect for Glory. She deserved to have a mate she could be proud to be seen with, and he was going to do whatever it took to give her that. Even…
“Okay, pretty boy. Let’s make you gorgeous.” Julian grabbed a brush, laughing harder when Ryan swatted him. “Oh, come on. We can put barrettes in and everything.”
Ryan thought about gutting them both, but at least his hands had stopped shaking. The two of them had stopped by, taken one look at his pale face and wide eyes and shoved him back into his apartment. They’d proceeded to try and get him to relax, but until he had Glory mated and marked, not much was going to accomplish that.
She’d scared the shit out of him earlier that day. Her panic attack, and the reason behind it, had left him with very little choice. He had to make sure she understood exactly what she was to him, and fast. Seeing her in pain, unable to breathe, unable to even think, had shaken him to the core.
He’d already called Eric, Bunny’s brother and Ryan’s cousin, and sent him back to deal with the work in Oregon. Ryan couldn’t leave Glory, and Glory couldn’t leave Cynful, so Ryan was staying in Halle. Eric was just as qualified as he was to handle the money aspect of the business, and since he would wind up inheriting Bunsun Exteriors along with Bunny, Ryan had no issue with Eric taking over the books.
But somehow, Ryan didn’t think Eric would remain in Oregon for long. All the Bunsun-Williamses had fallen in love with the small Pennsylvania town. Ryan was positive they’d all wind up here in the end, taking Bunsun Exteriors’ corporate offices from the West Coast and moving it to the East.
Ryan had no issue with that. The closer he was to Glory, the better.
“Seriously, though. You look good, you’ve got a great plan and Glory panics at the thought of you leaving. I think you’re doing better than you thought you were.” Bunny grabbed the picnic basket Ryan was planning to use for today’s date and placed the wine he’d picked out and two plastic glasses inside. “If she cares enough about you to have a panic attack, then she might be closer to allowing you to mark her than we thought.”
Dear God, Ryan hoped so. The mate dreams were exhausting him.
Julian handed Ryan his jacket. “Remember. Glory’s a lot more delicate than she seems.”
This time it was Ryan who laughed. “She’s survived losing her family, her twin’s disappearance, being shot at and almost killed. She’s stronger than you think, Julian.” Ryan slipped the jacket on and grabbed the basket. “Just because she’s prone to panic attacks doesn’t mean she’s weak. My mate is a survivor.” And no one could be prouder of their mate than Ryan was. Glory was amazing.
“I’m just saying, be careful with her. I don’t want to have to explain to Cyn how my friend broke hers.”
Ryan snorted as the three men left the apartment. Ryan still had to pick up the food and Glory. Checking his watch, he saw he still had plenty of time. “I’m not going to break her.” He grinned evilly. “Well, not in a bad way.”
Bunny shook his head. “Just do us a favor and make sure your mate is happy.”
“Because if your mate is happy, our mates are happy.” Julian climbed into his car. “And one more bit of advice. Clean your apartment before you bring her back here.”
Bunny and Julian glanced at each other and shuddered. “Just do it.”
Both men stared at him.
“Really. My place in Oregon was way worse.”
Julian cocked an eyebrow at him. “Did any of the intriguing new life forms you were breeding start to speak to you? And how did they feel about your leaving them alone?”
“Fine.” Ryan sighed. “I’ll run the vacuum before I bring her back.”
Bunny shivered. “You might want to consider a flamethrower. I hear you can get one on eBay.”
“Ha. Ha.” Ryan climbed into the car, placing the empty picnic basket on the passenger side floor. He was going to do this up right, damn it. “I have to go pick up the food before I get Glory.”
“Good luck.” Bunny patted the hood of his car. “And remember what we said.”
“Be good to Glory and fumigate my apartment.”
Bunny and Julian both laughed as they said good-bye. Ryan made his way to the restaurant and picked up the food before heading over to the apartment Glory had once shared with Cyn and Tabby. Now that the girls were living with their mates in their homes, Glory was all alone. That was something Ryan hoped to fix, and soon. He was more than willing to do what Bunny had done and buy a home in the area, but first he had to mark his mate.
He pulled up in front of Glory’s home on time and wiped his sweaty palms against his jeans. The guys were right. He was acting like a sixteen-year-old on his first date, but damn it. He’d waited so long for her to say yes to going out with him that he felt nervous as hell. What if the date was a flop? What if she decided he wasn’t worth it?
He took a deep breath and got out of the car. There was only one way to find out, and that wasn’t sitting in the car and hyperventilating.
Ryan knocked on Glory’s door and waited. He knew the area around her apartment intimately, having stood guard over her both when Tabby was in danger and when the girls were being targeted by a madman. He scanned the area now, automatically looking for threats to his mate. Finding none, he turned back to her door just in time to see her open it.