A female Puma bounced over to her and tilted her head, snarling when she saw Tabby’s eye open and trained on the Alpha. Tabby knew who it was immediately and closed her other eye. Apparently the Curana was not amused, and she was much larger than Tabby.

Gary was still panting, but Tabby didn’t dare open her eyes to look. “This isn’t Pride land.”

The only response was the renewed whimpers of Gary’s minions.

“Thought not. Bunny, why don’t you change back? I’d rather not have to explain a bear mauling in Halle, especially a grizzly mauling. If you and your family are staying, we need to keep your presence as quiet as possible. We don’t need Fish and Wildlife sniffing around, wondering how to move your fuzzy ass back west.”

She opened her eyes to find her naked mate bending over her. She damn near growled when she saw her Curana sizing him up. Tabby changed back, then laughed when the big cat was plucked up by Max and carted back toward the other Pumas.

A soft moan had her looking back at the great white Bear. “Julian!” She scrambled to her feet, ignoring her own wounds. She’d heal with time. Julian might not.

Ryan was over him, eyes closed. The concentration on his human face was hard to miss. He was doing his best to heal the other Bear. Wounds began slowly closing, but without the graceful flow she’d seen Julian use. “Alex?”

“On it.” Alex joined his cousin over Julian’s prone body. He closed his eyes and drifted away from her, down what he’d called the spiral of the healing path. She had no clue what he meant by that, but if it saved Julian, she was all for it.

She turned around and faced her Alpha. She made sure to keep her gaze glued to the small scar on the side of his nose. She had no idea why that seemed to amuse him, but it did. “Yes, Alpha?”

“What punishment should Gary suffer for his attack on you?”

The amusement fled Max’s face. “Attempted rape ?” He glared down at Gary. “You tried to rape another man’s mate?”

“Stop.” Gabe Anderson stepped forward, the Pride Marshall behind him. Both men looked grim. “This man is hereby declared rogue. Therefore, he’s mine .” He grinned, the look vicious. “I wondered how it would feel to go on a Hunt. Now I know.”

Gary cringed for the first time. “What?”

“You not only disobeyed the local Alpha, you attempted something that is considered anathema to all shifters. You tried to rape another man’s mate. That makes you rogue.” Gabriel Anderson suddenly seemed ten times more dangerous than he’d ever been. He lifted Gary by his neck, ignoring the choking sounds the Wolf made and the astonished gasps of his Pridemates. “Had you succeeded and run, I would have Hunted you down. Maybe I would have turned you over to the Senate for justice.” He dragged Gary’s face closer, his fangs displayed, his eyes flashing gold. “Maybe.” He dropped Gary to the ground. “Now you’ll be taken in.

You’ll be taken before a Tribunal. And I’ll see to it that you pay for what you’ve tried to do today.” He leaned down. Gary shuddered, his face pinched and gray.

“And if you try to escape me, I’ll let Bunny have you.” He whispered in Gary’s ear for a long time. Tabby couldn’t quite make out what was said, but she got the impression that Gabe was filling Gary in on Alex’s reputation and how he’d gotten it. “Do we understand one another?”

Gary looked ready to piss himself as he darted a horrified glance toward Alex.

“Yes sir.” He no longer looked like a wannabe Alpha. He looked like the young punk he really was, and he was terrified.

“Good.” Gabe clapped his hands together loudly, startling not only Tabby, but everyone else as well. “You two morons, get up. You’ll be spending a few days in jail while I arrange for your Tribunal.”

The Wolves got to their feet, shuffling pathetically. Tabby had no sympathy.

They’d nearly killed Julian and her, and for what? Sport? Because they could?

The Wolves stopped. Gary turned to her. There was fear in his eyes. “Why what?”

“Why did you do this? Why have you harassed me? What did I ever do to you?”

He blinked. One of the wolves behind him opened his mouth, but shut it at a sharp gesture from Gary. The Wolf’s eyes darted to Gabe, and if she didn’t know better she’d swear there was something he was dying to tell the Hunter. “We’re Wolves. You’re weak, alone. Abandoned by your Pack for being unworthy. What were we supposed to do, ignore you?”

Max shook his head, looking disgusted. “We aren’t animals that turn into humans. We’re just the opposite, humans blessed with the ability to share our lives with our animals. And Tabby’s Pack might have been stupid enough to let her go, but she’s part of my Pride now. That means she’s no longer fair game for idiots like you who think they’re in a bad werewolf movie.” He waved his hand.

“Get them out of here before I change my mind and let Bunny eat them.”

The two morons did wet themselves in fear. Tabby felt better already.

Max was staring at Julian, his expression concerned. “Get Julian to Jamie. He’ll make sure the Bear is taken care of.”

“He’ll live.” Ryan sat back on his ass, his face full of weary triumph. “I got most of the bleeding stopped, but if he doesn’t wake up soon, he’s going to have scarring.”

“Jamie can help with that. Can he be moved?”

Ryan eyed the Puma Alpha. “Care to lend a paw? Because I’m not hauling a three-hundred-pound Bear through the woods all by myself.”

“We’ll all carry him.” Bunny gestured to Adrian and Simon. “Grab his ass, I’ll get his head.”

The two men exchanged a glance. Adrian shrugged. “I don’t know about you, but I really don’t swing that way.”

“Oh, move, you big dorks.” Emma Cannon, now human again, bounced around her mate. She wrapped both hands around Julian’s ass and heaved. And heaved .

Emma glared at the Pumas, her hand under the Bear’s ass, her own stuck up in the air. Every single pair of male eyes went immediately to the treetops overhead, save one. Those sky blue eyes admired his mate’s naked ass as she strained to lift a five-hundred-pound Bear by the butt. Yet she still managed to sound like a queen when she demanded, “A little help here, please!”