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Vera’s jaw dropped. “Okay. So you really want to save my sister.”
“Yes.” He reached through the glass, clearly unconcerned with the cuts he was getting. He unlocked the door. “There’s water in the kitchen sink.”
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I’d never seen the hawk act that way.
For Vera’s credit, she didn’t look fazed. She walked in and searched for the kitchen.
I remembered the basic layout of the place and handed her a glass. She ran the tap for a full thirty seconds before filling her cup. She smelled the water. Careful. I could appreciate that. I filled my own glass.
“Toby?” She called his name without turning around.
“If you love my sister so much, why has Jared slept with her too?”
I nearly choked on my water. “How’d you know?”
“I just do.” She turned to me. “I also get the sense you hurt her.”
“Are you psychic?”
“No. I’m just good at reading people.”
“He found out she was a Pteron and treated her like crap. End of story. Come on. Let’s talk about what’s important.” Toby glared at both of us.
“Yet you don’t care what she is?” She watched Toby.
“I love her. I don’t care about anything else.”
She set aside her water and hugged him. “Then you deserve her.” She spun back to me. “And I bet you hate all other shifters then too?”
“Hate’s a strong word.” I preferred disliked the company of.
“But you think you’re better than the others, don’t you?”
“We are better…” What was her problem? Was she trying to pick a fight? That was something I’d do.
She laughed. “Yet you’re undressing me with your eyes.”
Wait. Was she trying to tell me she wasn’t human? Was she the same as Rhett? No. It couldn’t be possible. Was being attracted to a Pteron not enough? Now I found a bear hot? “I’m guessing you’re not human.”
“Not by a long shot.” Her eyes linked with mine in a heated stare.
“Oh.” Did that mean Casey was part bear too? I didn’t have time to think through that implication.
“Oh. Is that all you can say? You’re a pig, but Toby’s right. We have more important things to talk about.”
“A pig? Because I enjoy looking at attractive women?” I leaned back against the counter. Bear or not, the girl was something to look at.
“No.” She stepped closer, effectively boxing me in. “Because you like to look but think you’re too good for me. As if I’d sink as low as to sleep with someone like you.” She spun around.
I didn’t get a chance to respond. “Where is she?” Toby growled.
“They’ve got her in a cave not too far from here.”
“A cave?” I groaned. Seriously? She had to be held in a freaking cave?
Vera’s eyes twinkled. She enjoyed watching my discomfort. “Yes. They wanted to pick a place that Pterons wouldn’t have an advantage.”
Without our wings, we weren’t as useful. Closed spaces weren’t a Pteron’s best friend.
“Let’s send word to our men. We need to go.” Toby was already walking into the hall.
“Wait.” Vera exhaled loudly. “You can’t show up with an army. They’ll be expecting that.”
“Then what are we supposed to do?” Toby and I asked in unison.
“Sneak in?” I asked incredulously. “We’re supposed to sneak into a cave?”
“Yes, and I’m the only one who can help you do that.”
“Just tell us where she is. We’ll do the rest.” Toby hesitated in the doorway.
“I’m coming with you. The only way in is with me.”
“Are you sure?” I generally try not to agree with Toby, but I also didn’t like the idea of bringing this girl, bear or not, into combat.
“Yes.” She scowled at me. “What? You think I can’t take care of myself?”
She even looked hot angry. I didn’t say anything. That was my mistake. She started stripping down.
“Uh, what are you doing?” Toby asked.
I couldn’t talk as she slipped off her panties. I didn’t get long to admire her body.
In a split second, she transformed. Before I could respond, she had me backed against the counter. There’s usually something incredibly unsettling about watching a person transform into a giant bear, especially a giant grizzly, but not Vera. Even in bear form, she still had attitude. It was like she was saying “anything else to add?”
“I get the point.” I waved her off.
She transformed back to her human form.
I stared with my mouth wide open as she got dressed. This time, I had more time to study her. Hot was an understatement. Vera was curvy and muscular in all the right places. It’s not that she had a better body than Casey, it was just different. I blinked a few times to stop myself from staring.
“I guess this means you don’t have to imagine it anymore.” She clasped her bra.
“Can I turn around now?” Toby called.
“Did you miss all of that?” I asked.
“My relationship with Casey is complicated enough. Do I need to add seeing her sister naked to the list of hurdles I have to get over?”
Vera laughed. “Sorry, nudity isn’t a big deal in the clan.”
“If the whole clan looked like you, I wouldn’t mind either.”
“I’m one of three girls.”
“And how many guys?” This number was important for more than jealousy reasons. Jealousy? Did I really care how many men had seen this girl, or more than seen this girl, naked? She was a bear. I wasn’t touching her. And even if she was human, she was Casey’s sister. I’d slept with sisters before, but not ones I ever planned to see again.
“There are twenty-five bears in that cave?” Toby sounded alarmed.
“Usually, but most of them go out to hunt together. We have to time this right. They’ll only leave a few behind to guard her. One of the guards, Fin, will help us. He used to date Casey, and I know he isn’t as much of an ass as the others.”
She definitely had a mouth on her. I didn’t mind. “Leave only a few behind? Are they that confident?”
“They have her chained to the rock wall. She isn’t going anywhere.” Vera sighed. “I would have brought her out myself if I could have.”