Tabby sputtered and wiped the water away from her eyes. “Don’t worry, Glory.
Some day your prince will come.”
Glory blinked her big blue eyes, trying to look innocent. Tabby had seen that look more than once just before something outrageous came out of Glory’s mouth.
“God, I hope so. What would be the point otherwise?”
Bunny stood at the diner, wondering why he was here instead of back in the tattoo parlor waiting for his mate. He hadn’t even gotten a good look at her face.
How screwed up was that?
It had been pure impulse that made him wander the town. Ryan was off looking for his sister again, but Bunny had decided he needed some time on his own.
He’d felt the urge to roam, discover the town his cousins were planning on living in, maybe visit the comic book store Ryan had pulled him away from the day before. Hell, if he liked it enough, maybe he would move his business here. The Alpha Puma appeared pretty open about other shifters living on his territory, and his father had been looking into the area anyway for Ryan and Chloe’s family.
If the Alpha had been a Wolf, they wouldn’t even be thinking about it. They’d have avoided Halle and looked for another place to live. Wolves hated having other shifters in their territory, even Bears who didn’t give a rat’s ass about that kind of thing.
He’d found the tattoo parlor almost by accident, the sound of feminine laughter faint through the picture window. He’d caught a glimpse of three women and gone in expecting to find three lovely ladies, perhaps even a date for the night.
Bunny turned around to find a tall, dark-haired man in a sheriff’s uniform staring at him, a hard expression on his face. He nodded to the other man, taking a surreptitious sniff. Puma. “Sheriff Anderson?” Bunny held out his hand when the other man nodded warily. “Alexander Bunsun. You’re dating my cousin, Chloe.”
Sheriff Anderson winced, but visibly relaxed. “No, actually, I’m not. Never was.
Chloe and I are just friends.”
Bunny frowned. “That’s not what it sounded like when we talked to her.”
The sheriff sighed. “Common problem. Trust me, we’ve never dated.” He shook his head. “Are you here to see Chloe?” He led the way into the diner and guided Bunny to a table. He settled in and laid his hat on the table next to them.
Looked like he was having lunch with the sheriff. Now to see if the man would try and run him off. “Yup. Her brother is heading to the university as we speak.” He’d have to ask Ryan to find out what had happened between Chloe and the sheriff.
Why had Chloe made it sound like they were together if they weren’t?
“That sucks, because she’s here right now.” Anderson pointed toward a bright red ponytail bopping behind a counter. “She always works Monday afternoons.”
“Oh.” Bunny turned back to the sheriff, trying to keep his expression blank. “So what’s this about you not dating my cousin?”
Anderson grimaced. “Long story short, Chloe and I are friends. Just friends.”
Anderson winced again. “Let’s just say my wife wasn’t happy with the amount of attention I paid to Chloe and let me know about it. It took me a while to prove that Chloe doesn’t mean nearly as much to me as Sarah does.”
Ouch. He hoped the man’s mate hadn’t given him too hard a time. A jealous mate on the warpath was nothing to sneeze at. “I’ll call Ryan and let him know Chloe’s here.” He pulled out his phone but hesitated. “Do you know anything about a woman named Tabby? She works over at the tattoo parlor.” She’d carried the vague whiff of the sheriff’s scent. Getting some information from the sheriff seemed like a good idea.
“Tabby?” Anderson eyed the triskelion tattoo on Bunny’s arm. He sat back, the edges of his lips curving up in a knowing smile.
Bunny grinned. Just the thought of his mate made him feel like his heart was filled with sunshine. “Yup.” He leaned in close, barely whispered the words.
“Oh? Oh. ” Bunny growled. The blank surprise in Anderson’s voice was shadowed by a tinge of concern. Just because he’d be mating a Wolf instead of a she-Bear didn’t give the sheriff the right to say anything. Anderson nodded, his expression turning grim. “Then there are a few things you’ll need to know before things get too serious between you.”
Bunny nodded. Why do you think I asked, dumbass? “Do you think the local boss will have any problems with us living here?”
Anderson’s brows rose. “ Live here? In Halle? I knew Chloe’s family was coming, but I didn’t know that included her cousins.”
Bunny shrugged. “Tabby’s here.” Bears didn’t mind moving to where their mates were happiest, and Wolves were, well, territorial . Odds were good Tabby would want to stay, so moving to Halle was Bunny’s best option. The last thing he wanted was a grumpy Wolf chewing on his ass all the way back to Oregon.
Anderson opened his mouth, but before he could respond there was an ear-splitting shriek.
The sheriff nearly got bowled over by a pint-sized redhead hurtling toward Bunny at top speed. Bunny laughed, standing just as Chloe reached them. She hurled herself into his arms, giggling like a schoolgirl, her legs wrapping around his waist. Bunny took it, giving her a bear hug that had her gasping to be put back down.
“When did you get here? Where’s Ryan? Did Mom and Dad come too? Where’s Uncle Will and Aunt Barbra?” Chloe was practically bouncing in place, her ponytail waving gaily. Bunny watched his little cousin with an indulgent smile, his heart singing at the happiness in her face.
But there was something behind her eyes, a sadness that hadn’t been there before. If it turned out that the sheriff had broken Chloe’s heart, he’d have to have a few very private words with the man. “We’re staying at the Holiday Inn, checking out the town. Ryan’s on his way here to see you, Aunt Laura and Uncle Steve are still in Maryland with Mom and Dad, but they’re thinking of visiting soon if we all decide to stay here. And we got here yesterday.”