“How long has this been going on?”

The quiet tone of voice had her stiffening. She was coming to recognize that tone as a dangerous sign. She stiffened, wondering if Alex would lose it. He couldn’t go after Gary. Gary, thanks to his friends , was too well protected. Besides, Gabe wouldn’t be able to keep Alex out of trouble if he went after Gary unprovoked.

Despite everything that had happened, they had no solid proof that Gary had ever threatened to lay a hand on her. It would be her word against his and his goon squad’s. That would work against Alex in both human and shifter law. “Why?”

He gave her an innocent look, totally incongruous on his face. “No reason.”

She glared up at him through the fall of her bangs. “Alex.”

“You are so not allowed near my mother anymore,” he grumbled.

She could feel a smile trying to break free. He sounded like a grumpy little boy.

“After having met your mother, I’d say that’s a good thing.”

His eyes sparkled with approval even while he glowered at her. “Flattery will not get you out of telling me what I want to know.”

“What about a BJ? Will that get me out of it?”

He blinked, his eyes blanking before the frown returned.

She lifted her head and grinned at him. “You had to think about it, didn’t you?”

A slight flush crossed his cheeks. “Brat.” He sat back as the waitress piled pancakes in front of him. Tabby sat back too, the scent of her own breakfast driving her crazy. “If he’s a threat to you, I need to know. How can I protect you otherwise?”

The look on his face was hard, uncompromising. She sighed, just knowing he was going to try to be her fuzzy knight in matte black leathers. “Gary arrived in Halle in August. He’s a junior and a transfer from New Mexico, I think. I’m not sure what group he’s affiliated with, and it’s not like I can walk up to him and say,

‘Hey prick, who’s your boss? I’d like to complain about your customer service’.”

Tabby laughed at the look on Alex’s face. Her old Alpha had hammered into his Pack how to talk around humans without giving them away. The Pack was treated as a company. The analogy wasn’t that far off the mark. Most Packs came with bosses, employees, and yes, even customer service. Hell, the Senate actually did have a legal corporation headed by the Leo, the ruler of the American shifters, a charitable organization that was mostly concerned with the conservation of endangered species. They only accepted donations from shifters, so they didn’t fall under public scrutiny. The Wildlife Conservation Foundation did a lot of good, helping to repopulate the wolves in Yellowstone National Park and giving the big cats born in the U.S. a safe environment to live in. She’d heard that there were more tigers living in the U.S. than any other place in the world, and the WCF

helped to take care of them. Chloe would probably do very well working as one of their vets once she recovered from her injuries and graduated. “Anyway, he found out pretty quickly that I was an ex-employee and decided that harassment was A-okay.”

“Tell me what he’s done, Tabby.”

Fuck. His voice had dropped, deepened until it rumbled through her. “He’s egged Living Art, given me grief, harassed me on the phone, threatened the girls. You know, the usual.” She wasn’t sure if she should tell him about that time in the woods, when Gary had scared the shit out of her. She was afraid of what he’d do if she did. “You were there the other night. He’s done stuff like that off and on the entire time I’ve been here.”

“Have you tried petitioning the closest human resources office for help?”

She shook her head. “I’ve heard of the Poconos boss. He’s a scary guy, and his COO is said to be a little insane.” She heard someone in the booth behind her choke, but ignored it. “I heard she’s from around here, but she left before I arrived.” Tabby shrugged. “Besides, Gabe is aware of what’s going on and he’s doing his best to look out for me.” Although she hadn’t yet told Gabe about how Gary and his Pack had cornered her in the woods. Damn, with everything that had been going on, she’d forgotten she’d wanted to speak to the sheriff about that. It seemed like her life was both spinning out of control and finally finding its center.

Gary hadn’t found out her new cell number yet, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t still stalking her.

She looked up from her plate. Seeing the look on Alex’s face, she grimaced. “I need to talk to Gabe about something.” One of those dark brows rose and she winced. “I just want to tell him that some of Gary’s issues are beginning to spill over onto Cyn and Glory.”

He looked unconvinced. “And then you’re going to tell him about the butterflies that flew out of your butt.”

Okay, the person behind them really needed to stop listening in on their conversation. Throaty feminine laughter floated over them and Tabby frowned, not sure if she was more pissed at the eavesdropper or Alex. “Look, he’s begun harassing them too. He knows that if he hurts them, it hurts me, and it would be my fault.” It would damn near kill her if something happened to Cyn or Glory because of her.

“Bullshit. It would be Gary’s fault.” Alex’s expression turned thoughtful. “Maybe its time we called in some reinforcements then.”

Tabby blinked and turned. There, standing next to her, was a short, curvy woman with long dark hair and laughing brown eyes. Behind her stood one of the handsomest men Tabby had ever seen, his sky blue eyes serious. His blond hair just brushed the collar of his blue shirt. The only flaw on that perfect face she could see was a small scar just along one side of his nose, so faint it was barely noticeable. Dr. Max Cannon, Alpha of the Halle Pride, slipped his arm around the waist of his wife and Curana, Emma Cannon. “I understand you’re having some problems.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Thank you, Captain Understatement.” She smiled at Tabby, her expression mischievous. “Lion-O and I heard everything.” She rattled off an address Tabby knew was in one of the more affluent sections of town. Not quite in the same area as the truly rich, like the Howards, but still pretty respectable. “Come over to our place, both of you. We need to talk.”