Chloe bounced again. “It will be so good to have family around again.” Her smile turned wistful for a brief second before her innate sunshine came out once more.
“So, what’s new with you?” She nudged Bunny’s arm.
He leaned in and whispered in her ear. The joy of finding the one woman who could complete him still rode him. “I found my mate.”
Bunny was struggling with a smile. His cousin’s bubbly personality was infectious. “Today. She works in the tattoo parlor.”
“Living Art?” When Bunny nodded Chloe’s eyes went wide. “Does she have blue hair?” Bunny shook his head. “Okay, not Glory then. Pink hair?” Bunny grinned and shook his head again. “Not Cyn, either. Oh! Tabby? Cool!”
Bunny started to laugh. He still couldn’t get over his mate’s name. He planned on having some fun finding out what in hell her parents had been thinking.
“Be right there, Frank!” She turned to Bunny, giving him a quick hug. “Get the fruit salad, you’ll love it.” She laughed and waved goodbye as she headed back for the kitchen.
“Bunny?” Anderson was hiding a smile behind his coffee cup. “Seriously?”
Bunny gave Anderson the one-finger salute. He still wasn’t certain he shouldn’t rip the good sheriff’s arms off just to be on the safe side.
Something was bothering him, though. That look in Chloe’s eyes was so wrong.
His cousin had always known who she was and where she was going in life, and today she looked like she’d lost her way. “Is she having problems with something?”
Anderson shrugged. “I’m not certain what’s going on. She’s not talking, but I think the man she’s… interested in is giving her fits.”
Huh? Bunny stared at Anderson, startled. At Anderson’s nod, he damn near reeled in his seat.
Chloe’d found her mate? Since when? Bunny took a deep breath, but couldn’t detect anything other than Chloe’s lingering scent. Ryan was gonna love that. His little sis, still in college, and already mated? The man would go ballistic. “Why?
What’s wrong with him? Chloe’s cute as a button.”
Anderson shrugged. “I’m not sure. But I wouldn’t worry too much.” He smiled tightly. “I’m sure she’ll help him figure it out. And if she doesn’t, I’ll rip his head off and give it to her wrapped in a bow.” And he sounded like he’d relish the opportunity. The kind of eager happiness on the sheriff’s face was usually reserved for kids and Christmas presents.
Bunny snorted. The only way Anderson would lay his hands on Chloe’s mate was if he beat Ryan to the man.
Pumas might be fast, but Bears, when motivated, were faster.
“Ohmigod, ohmigod.” Tabby pulled her hair, staring into her closet. It was six forty-five and her mate would be here any minute, she didn’t know his name and she had nothing to wear.
“Little black dress.” Cyn stuck her head in Tabby’s bedroom, grinning at the pile of clothing around Tabby’s feet. “Can’t go wrong with a little black dress.”
“Guh.” The panic was threatening to tear Tabby apart. She stared at the three black dresses hanging in her closet, her hand moving between them like a demented butterfly.
Glory’s head peeked in from the other side of the doorway. “The sleeveless one.”
“Uh?” She held up her sleeveless black dress, the one with the red belt and matching shoes.
Tabby stripped, more than used to being naked in front of her roommates. Hell, when she’d first moved in with them, they’d been shocked at how easy she felt being nude. Glory had actually asked her if she was gay and trying to tempt them to “the dark side”. She’d giggled and said that she might be susceptible to temptation if the dark side had chocolate. Tabby had just shaken her head and put some clothes on. She’d spent so long as a Wolf, she’d forgotten some of the basic parts of being human, like pants. The first time she’d used a toilet after so many years had been an interesting experience, something Mrs. Anderson still chuckled about.
When Cyn and Glory had found out what she was, they’d freaked a little. They hadn’t accepted her immediately. In fact, there’d been another girl, Brit, who’d worked at Living Art. Brit had left, refusing to believe what she’d seen the night Tabby, drunk off her ass for the first time in her life, let her Wolf loose in the middle of the apartment. She’d gone so far as to quit her job when Glory and Cyn refused to fire her or kick her out of their apartment. But Glory and Cyn, after the initial shock had passed (and after, they claimed, they wiped up the dog drool), had accepted her without reservations. Hell, they’d mocked her once the hangover had passed. There was still a huge bag of Kibbles N’ Bits in the pantry the bitches refused to throw away “just in case”.
If she thought they’d take it, she’d make them Pack in a heartbeat. She missed having that connection, the knowledge that there were others for her to rely on without a shadow of a doubt. Part of her wondered if her dipshit ex had ever told his father the truth, or if he’d shrugged and let it go. Let her go.
Tabby shook her head and reached for her hairbrush, smoothing down her hair.
That didn’t matter now. Her mate would be here any minute. She slicked on some berry gloss and stared at herself in the mirror. Then she stuck out her tongue and made a face. She was so nervous, her Wolf was whining. She slipped her feet into the red high heels, grabbed her favorite purse and headed for the living room. “Well?”
Cyn snickered and threw a bunch of condoms at her. “You’ll need these.”
Tabby swallowed. “I’m gonna throw up.” Nausea roiled in her belly. She bent and picked up the condoms just as the doorbell rang.
Glory had the door open before Tabby could hide the packets. “C’mon in!”
In stepped the hottie from the store. He wore a green shirt that really emphasized his hazel eyes, dark wash jeans that looked painted onto his thighs and thick-soled black boots. Now that she was upright, she could see how tall he was. He towered over her, the top of her head barely reaching his upper lip, even in her four-inch heels. She’d hit his chin in her bare feet. His bald head gleamed, his jaw clean-shaven. She could see the tattoo that circled his biceps and her fingers itched to trace the design. In his hand, he held a daffodil.