He entered Chloe’s hospital room to find Ryan, his father, Aunt Laura and Uncle Steve already there. “How is she?”
Aunt Laura looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks, her eyes red-rimmed and weary. “No change. She won’t wake up, damn it, and I’m at my wits’ end.”
Uncle Steve placed his hand on his mate’s shoulder, his own expression full of fear and grief. “She could wake up at any minute, sweetheart.”
“Then she needs to.” The determination in Aunt Laura’s voice came as no surprise. The tiny Fox female had to be strong, surrounded as she was by Bears.
“Dr. Howard suggested we find something to stimulate her with. Can you think of anything that might trigger a response?”
He sighed. “No, I…” He blinked. “Wait.” The sheriff had said something the first time they met, when Bunny was still shocked over finding his mate.
The uproar that followed was loud. “What?” Uncle Steve’s voice was full of hope.
“Is it Sheriff Anderson?” Aunt Laura asked. She stood, somehow towering over the men in the room, though she barely topped five foot three.
“She knows who it is, but from her scent I’d say she hasn’t claimed him yet. And no, it’s not Anderson. The man already has a mate.” Bunny pulled out his cell phone. Right after the attack on Chloe, he’d programmed Dr. Howard’s number into it. He knew Dr. Howard had Anderson’s phone number, and Bunny needed it. “Let me make some calls, see what I can find out. Maybe if we get her mate in here it will be just what she needs.”
And maybe he could get some of his own questions answered while he had the sheriff here.
The family chorus of outrage was strangely soothing. “I have no idea.” He breathed deep, afraid he would accidentally shatter the phone in his hands. “By the time I got to the shop, she was on the ground, a lump on the back of her fucking head.”
Ryan’s hand landed on his shoulder. “Do you need help?”
He stared at his cousin, knowing what Ryan was offering and what it would do to them both if Bunny took him up on it. One of the ways they sometimes blew off steam was by fighting each other. The way Bunny was feeling, if he took Ryan up on that offer, one or both of them would be lying in the bed next to Chloe’s. He shook his head. “Nah. I’ll make sure to do an extra twenty minutes of yoga.”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “You have to get over that some day.”
Bunny shrugged, uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going. “I need to call the sheriff.”
“You need to remember you were sixteen when it happened. Let it go, Alex.”
The soothing sound of his father’s voice did nothing to help. “I have. I make sure it’s never going to happen again.” Nearly killing someone because you’d lost your temper was a sure-fire way to teach you how to control yourself. He’d done everything in his power to see to it he’d never hurt another living soul.
Still, there were times when he longed to roughhouse with his cousins without the fear that he’d hurt them. He was large and strong in his human form, larger than all of his relatives, except for his father. He was even more so in his Bear form. And even his father didn’t have the depth of rage Bunny had learned to conquer. His father was one of the most even-tempered men he knew.
Bunny dialed the phone. If he had his way, he’d never fight again. He couldn’t live with the consequences if he did.
“Are you sure you’re all right?”
Tabby shoved Cyn’s hands away from her head. “I’m fine, okay?”
“Other than the one you’re giving me? No.” She snapped on the rubber gloves and smiled weakly at her nervous client. If Cyn didn’t knock it off, Tabby was going to lose her customer.
Cyn glared at her. “Fine. I’ll let it go for now.” She smiled down at the nervous college boy. “So, what are we having done today?”
The boy gulped. If he didn’t calm down, he was going to shake apart from nerves.
“Um, I want a wolf, a timber wolf.” He held out a picture. “Just like this.”
Tabby frowned down at the wolf. It looked familiar. “Where did you get this?”
Tabby put the picture down on the counter and leaned back with a sigh. “Why did Gary tell you to get a wolf tattoo?”
The boy shook some more. “He said it was cool.”
This kid is what, eighteen? What the fuck is Gary up to? She took a sniff. Nope, he’s human. “Do you like wolves?”
The boy nodded eagerly. “Oh yeah. I contribute to a bunch of charities trying to save endangered species and their habitats.”
Her brows rose. He didn’t look like he had the money for an Egg McMuffin, let alone donations to charity. “Where are you from?”
She stroked a finger down his arm, trying to calm him down. “Okay,” she glanced at the form he’d filled out, “Tim.” How do I explain to you that Gary wants his own ugly face tattooed onto your body? Talk about claiming someone! “If you had a choice, what tattoo would you get?” She held up a hand when he opened his mouth to speak. “Remember, whatever I ink in will be on your body forever . I mean old and wrinkly forever. They’ve found intact tattoos on mummies. So make sure it’s what you want before I do this, okay?”
“What about Gary? He said I couldn’t join his fraternity without it.”
She nearly growled. Son of a bitch. “Did he give you the money for the tattoo?”
She’d already explained that she charged by the hour, and how much. The complex tattoo she’d have to make from the picture would wind up costing him almost three hundred dollars.
She sighed and decided to fill this poor kid in before he became a Wolf snack.
“Gary isn’t the nicest person in the world, Tim.”
Tim scowled. “He’s been very nice to me.”