Damn that boy could put it away. She’d wound up making three batches. She’d gotten two whole pancakes out of them. She felt lucky she still had all her fingers.

At least she’d gotten her fair share of the bacon. Sometimes it paid to cook.

Julian nodded and flung his arm over his eyes. “I swear, if I get one more bowl of chicken soup, I’m going to scream.”

Julian lifted his arm long enough to glare at her. “For breakfast .” The arm flopped back down when she began to giggle.

“I’ll go get you pastries, maybe a burger from Frank’s.” She patted his knee, trying to soothe the poor, wounded baby.

“If Aunt Stacey is here then the cousins are all here, too.”

“Heather, Keith, and Tiffany.” Alex clucked his teeth in mock sympathy. “You’re gonna get so sick of chicken.”

“Shit.” Julian struggled out of bed. “I just remembered I have to go to Alaska for about sixty years.”

Julian frowned. “Where is Cyn, by the way?”

“The shop’s finally open again. We’re getting wooden counters installed with glass on top and only part of the way down the sides. The carpenter’s been there for the last two days.” She didn’t say anything, but she thought the carpenter had a thing for Cyn. Julian could deal with that when he was feeling better.

“And Chloe?” Julian turned to Alex. “I know she’s feeling a little better but she seems…fuzzy.”

Alex blinked. “She’s having some trouble keeping things straight. The doc says it should wear off over time.”

“Is she having problems with one of her hands?” Julian clenched his left one into a fist.

“Yeah. Shit. How tightly are you two tied together?”

“I know how she feels, and I think I can talk to her.” He frowned. “She’s not a very sympathetic person, is she?”

Alex shrugged. “She can be. It depends. Why do you ask?”

Alex just smiled, but the expression was weary. Not all was right in his cousin’s world, and the strain was showing in the whole family. “Jim finally got here. He’s been to see her twice so far.”

“I know.” Julian grimaced. “He told her again that she’s too young for him. Just what she needed to hear when she’s got a long recovery ahead of her.”

“Fuck.” Alex ran his hand over his shaved head. Tabby had taken care of the stubble for him that morning. “No wonder she seemed a little depressed this morning.”

“She’ll figure something out. And if she doesn’t, well.” Tabby allowed her fangs to show. “That’s what family is for.”

The evil grin the three of them shared did not bode well for Chloe’s reluctant mate.

“There’s something you two need to tell Max for me.”

“What?” Alex finally took the one chair Julian had.

“Something is still wrong. It’s tied into what happened with Gary, and he’s only the beginning. I think there will be trouble with the Poconos Pack as well.”

“Trouble from them, or they’re going to have similar problems?” Tabby rolled over and settled her head on her hand.

“They’re tied to the Halle Pumas. The problems of one will become the problems of the other.” Julian frowned and looked confused. “I think.”

“Shit, I hate that cryptic crap.” Alex rubbed his eyes. “What the hell does that mean, you think?”

Julian opened his mouth to reply when Alex’s phone rang.

“Hold that thought.” He flipped open his phone. “Bunny here.”

Tabby watched the play of emotion crossing Alex’s face. She could tell it was Gabe on the phone, but couldn’t quite hear what he was saying. When he hung up, he looked dazed. “Well, I think I know one of the answers. Gary was definitely working for someone out in the Midwest. Turns out he and his friends were hired to come here. Their records were doctored so they’d be listed in the university computers as new transfers.”

“What were they doing here?”

Tabby pulled on Julian’s arm when he tried to sit up, but he ignored her. “More importantly, did Gary say who sent them?”

Alex shook his head. “He’s refusing to tell them anything more. All Gabe knows is that they were here to observe, but they wouldn’t say why. Gabe’s hoping that the Tribunal will get more out of them.” If anyone was capable of finding out the truth, it would be the men and women who made up the Tribunal.

“Whoever it is must have a lot of money and connections if they can pull off getting them into the college system.” Julian looked ready to start pacing. Tabby would sit on him if he tried.

“Wait.” Tabby sat up. “Does Gabe know yet if Gary was the one who attacked Chloe?”

Alex’s eyes went wide and he whipped his phone out. “I don’t know. Let me call him back and ask.” He dialed the phone again, asking the question they all needed answered. “He says he’ll call back once he knows. They’re going to run the DNA, but we might not have the results for weeks.”

“Now I order in pizza for lunch before I take my mate house hunting.”

House hunting? Alex hadn’t mentioned anything about house hunting. She was supposed to be at work by four, so they had some time if they hurried.

“You, sir, are a God. And please get me the Hawaiian, I’m in the mood for pineapple.”

“Third drawer on the left!” Julian grinned up at Tabby. “Are we having fun yet?”

“Then I’d say yes.” They heard Alex order the pizzas. One meat lover’s, double bacon, one Hawaiian, and one spinach, tomato and garlic. “Well. Glad it’s not my mate eating the garlic.”

Tabby made a face and lay back down. “Cyn would rather eat Gary.”

“Not like that, you perv! Geez. She’s been muttering about finding him and kicking his ass until he whines like a little baby.”