“We’ve already checked out your story, Tabitha.” She turned back to look at the Wolf Alpha. His expression had softened significantly, making him much more approachable. He might even be likeable. “Dennis Boyd is no longer the Marietta Pack Alpha. His son has taken over for him. He’s been Alpha for about two years now, and he’s been trying to find you. He wants to make amends for what was done to you.”
“He wants you to go home. Even your parents want to see you again. They know now what the Alpha did was wrong.” Belle patted the cushion next to her. Tabby fell into the seat, stunned by what she was hearing. “You have options. One, you can do what Micah wants and return to Marietta. No doubt everyone will want to fawn all over you and show you the boo-hoo, oh-how-sorry-we-ares . Two, you can stay here in Halle and tell them to go fuck themselves, thank you very much.
Which, frankly, is the option I would personally go for.” Belle gave her the most vacuous grin she’d ever seen, morphing from powerful Luna to bimbo Barbie in the span of seconds. The sharp intelligence behind those green eyes belied the look, leaving Tabby feeling bewildered and not a little off balance. “Make sure you use an air horn to drive the point home. They hate that.”
The Luna grinned up at her mate, the empty-headed look completely gone. The Wolf Alpha sighed, but the sound was full of fondness for his blonde mate.
“Three, you can come to the Poconos with us. I’ve already spoken to the Pack and explained your circumstances. They’re willing to waive Protocol in light of what’s been done to you and what you’ve done since then.”
She gasped. Go to the Poconos? Leave Halle?
Join a new Pack? One that might actually want her?
“I mean, what self-respecting Wolf would want to live with all these…cats?”
She growled until she saw the wicked grin on the Alpha’s face.
“Them’s fightin’ words, Fido.” The Luna was laughing with him. “Besides, from the sound of that growl, I think she’s made a decision.”
“No one said she can’t be both Pack and Pride.” Rick lifted Belle’s hand and kissed her knuckles. “You’ve proven that.”
“Hmm?” The Curana calmly poured tea from the silver tea service, her brown eyes dancing with glee.
Share? Me? Tabby’s head was spinning. She hadn’t done anything to prove herself to the Pack. Why would they want her?
“I haven’t done anything to earn my way into your Pack.”
“You helped defeat a rogue Wolf. That’s all we need to know.” Belle patted her knee.
Rick nodded. “You could have done anything during those years you were alone.
You could have caused a lot of damage, done a lot of mischief. Instead, you chose to make your way as a Wolf, living off the land. Not once did you cause trouble.
And when you did rejoin the human race, you started working toward your GED, got your driver’s license, a job, and an apartment. That does not scream threat to me or to my Pack.”
“But…” Only one thing was really clear in her mind. “I don’t want to leave Halle.”
“No one says you have to.” Rick’s eyes narrowed in thought. “You could be our ambassador to Halle.”
Emma snorted and handed over a cup of tea to Belle. “Ambassador? Rick, we see each other once a month.”
“So? I like the thought of having an ambassador.” Rick winked at Tabby.
She was pretty sure she looked like a landed fish, gaping and gasping like crazy.
“How about I’m just the resident Wolf?”
And just like that another mantle settled over her, one of acceptance. It was similar in feel to the Pride, but was somehow wilder, more earthy. More integrated.
“ I’ll satisfy Protocol and set up your formal introduction to the Pack later. For now, welcome to the Pack.”
The mental voice of her Pack Alpha was strong and sure. Tabby buried her face in her hands and cried.
She’d gone from unwanted and unneeded to fought over and loved. The only thing that could have made her happier was if Alex were there with her.
“When do we get to meet the grizzlies?” Belle practically bounced in her seat. “I’ve always wanted to meet Bears.”
Tabby laughed through her tears. “Wait until you get a load of Julian.” The Luna was going to love her friend. She had the feeling they were two of a kind.
Tabby watched Julian shuffle around his tiny bedroom. He still wasn’t fully recovered from the fight with Gary, or his healing of Chloe. She followed him in, pausing in the doorway. “I’ve been better.” He settled on the edge of the bed with a wince.
From the amount of white in his hair, she should have known not to ask. Luckily, he was now working for Jamie Howard in his private practice. The man had taken one look at the nearly white hair and pale gray eyes, and put him on bed rest for the next two weeks. For once Julian hadn’t argued. That let her know more than anything how poorly he was feeling. “We’re going to take care of you.”
“It’s the least we can do.” Alex strode into the room carrying a mug of Julian’s favorite tea. Two days had passed since the incident in the woods and he still hadn’t left her side for more than a few minutes. It was cute, in an overprotective, caveman sort of way, but she knew it was going to get old real fast. “Besides, you’re family. Remember?”
Julian flopped back against the pillows with a weary groan. “Your aunts and mother are driving me insane.”
“Aunts?” Alex put the mug next to Julian on the nightstand and stood back.
Tabby settled on the bed next to Julian. From the amused look on Alex’s face, he knew this was something the two had done more than once. Alex had nothing to worry about, and apparently he knew it. She’d fallen asleep in Julian’s bed once, and he’d never touched her. He’d moved into the living room and slept on the couch, leaving her the queen-size bed. Of course, he’d forced her to cook breakfast by claiming a sore back. He’d been so pathetic, she’d agreed and made him pancakes.