Bunny glared at Tabby. He hadn’t known she’d lost consciousness. He might not have been quite so calm if he had.
“Look, before we get too far, why don’t we fill the others in on everything that’s been going on? We tend to get a little blind to what’s going on outside the Pride, so they might not know what all’s been happening.” Gabe took a seat in one of the side chairs and pulled his mate into his lap.
She settled in with a sigh, resting her head against his shoulder. “Good idea.”
Bunny took a seat on the couch again, Tabby next to him. Adrian and Sheri took up the remaining seats, leaving Emma in the other wing chair, Max standing by her side. Simon and Becky settled on the floor across from the couch, their backs to the entertainment center. “Okay, here’s what I know so far. Tabby was Outcast
—” he ignored the gasp of his mate “—for something she didn’t do. She roamed as a Wolf for about eight years before landing in Halle.” He stared at Gabe, willing him to understand what he was about to say. “And if anyone owes anyone else, it’s me who owes you and your grandmother for taking care of Tabby.”
Gabe nodded, acknowledging what he’d said. Bunny got the feeling he didn’t quite agree with him, but that was all right.
“Because of her status, this guy Gary feels he can do anything he wants to Tabby without repercussions.”
Max winced. “Unfortunately, he’s right. She’s without the protection of her Pack, set apart from them for a crime, whether she committed it or not. Unless she proves she’s worthy of joining another Pack or manages to get her old Alpha to take her back, she’s considered a criminal and fair game.”
Emma’s lips curled up in a wicked grin. He’d seen that grin before, on a cartoon when he’d been a kid. It was the same grin the Grinch had when he came up with his idea to dress as Santa and steal Christmas. The look sent shivers down Bunny’s spine. And from the looks her mate was giving her, he guessed the Alpha had no clue what his little mate was thinking.
“Great.” Bunny sighed and ran his hand over his bald head. The stubble there rasped against his palm. Time to shave again. “Anyway, he’s egged the store, bothered all of the girls who, by the way, are all human other than Tabby, and called her multiple times. I got to see him last night and, frankly, if I hadn’t been there, I’m not certain he would have stopped at harassing her. As it was, he tried to warn me off, telling me he had every right to bother my mate. In other words, he’s stalking her.”
Gabe shrugged. “I’ve asked him, but he refuses to answer. The only thing I’ve been able to learn is he comes from New Mexico. I’m still running down his birth records. The college has been less than enthusiastic about turning over records and, without a warrant, they’re right. I can’t get one without probable cause.”
Gabe ran his hand up and down Sarah’s back. Whether it was to soothe her or himself, Bunny had no clue. “Besides, technically speaking, shifter law is on his side. The girls at Living Art are aware of what Tabby is and who the Pride members are, so they’re considered kin.”
Bunny could feel the helpless rage building up in him again. Did this mean that the little fucker could keep on taunting Tabby, possibly hurting her, and there was nothing he could do about it?
A soft hand landed on his arm. He looked up into the warm brown eyes of the Omega. “We’ll fix this. I promise.”
A calm peace he’d never felt off a yoga mat settled over him. He nodded, knowing she was right. Everything would be fine. Sarah smiled and sat back in her mate’s lap, her hands curled up in her own. Gabe took hold of her wrists, his thumb stroking the insides. Something about the caress had Bunny taking notice. He stared at the sheriff and his mate, and wondered…
“Hmm?” He turned back to find Tabby staring up at him. The fact that his name was pretty much the first word she’d uttered since walking in the front door soothed something deep inside him.
Tabby took a deep breath. “Tell them about Chloe.”
He growled. “Some asshole beat my cousin Chloe damn near to death and left her in the road like trash. She would have died if it hadn’t been for Julian Ducharme.
She’s still in a coma. Nothing we’ve done so far will wake her up.”
Max’s blue eyes flashed gold for a moment. “I heard. We’re going to look into that.” He exchanged a glance with Gabe and Adrian, who both nodded.
Sheri bit her lip. “Chloe’s such a sweet little thing. Who would want do that to her?”
“We don’t know, but so far the clues are few and far between.”
“I’m betting on Gary and the Gutless Wonders,” Tabby muttered.
“Gutless Wonders?” Max’s tone was not amused. “How many Pack members does Gary have with him?”
Tabby winced. “He has two others who follow him. Oh, and he sent a kid out for a tattoo of his Wolf. I recognized it from when he changed once, just before he found out I was Outcast.” And from her tone of voice that conversation had not been full of warm fuzzies. “He told the boy that if he got the tattoo he could join his fraternity .” Tabby made little quotation marks with her fingers and made a face. “For all I know, he’s changed people around campus, but since I don’t exactly hang out there, I have no idea what he’s really up to.”
Max growled, the sound feral and feline. His sky blue eyes were pure gold. A light mist pooled around his feet, his power spilling out into the room. Bunny had only seen something like that once before, when a Lion had tried to make his father bow down before him.
It hadn’t worked on William Bunsun, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to work on William Bunsun’s baby boy. His chin lifted in the face of the Alpha’s anger.
“Why didn’t I know about this?” Max stared around the room at his core hierarchy, his expression full of outrage. “He’s changing humans on my territory and I didn’t know about it?”
“Shit. How the hell were we supposed to know? How many other Prides do you know of that are based in a college town with other shifters in it?” Simon showed why he was this man’s Beta. Other than the twitch of his shoulders and a brief wince, he stood tall. Even the Marshall was hunched over, fighting his Alpha’s anger. The only other person in the room who wasn’t bowed down was Emma.