He smiled in spite of himself. "Yes, Simi, I would like to be your family."
She beamed. "Good. You're such a smart Dark-Hunter."
Before Gallagher realized it, Simi had led him back to Sanctuary. She opened the door and stood back, waiting for him to enter. The earlier loudness was nothing like what was happening now.
There were four hawks lined up on one curtain rod, dancing in time to the rocking Christmas carols. The Howlers (all in human form) were singing while Dev Peltier played the piano. A white tiger was lying on its back on the sofa while Marvin the monkey jumped up and down on its belly.
A large black bear he assumed was Aimee Peltier was feeding two baby cubs peanut butter sandwiches. A red-headed human woman with a scar on her face came up to them and grabbed Simi into a hug. "Hey little demon, where's boss man?"
Simi shrugged. "He off attending to Lord Queen Pain-In-My-Butt. How are you, Tabitha? Is your sister and Kyrian coming?""No, they'll be here tomorrow. Morning sickness hit Amanda as they were leaving, but Talon said he'd be here just as soon as he could." The two of them drifted off into the crowd.
Gallagher stood back, watching the revelry. There were Arcadians here, Katagaria, Dark-Hunters, demons, humans, and who knew what else. By all rights none of them should get along and yet they were together tonight.
Bound by something other than blood. They were bound together by their hearts.
Colt came up to him. An Arcadian Sentinel, his job was technically to hunt and slay the Katagaria. But years ago the Peltiers had rescued and protected Colt's mother and then raised him after her death. He was as loyal to the bear clan as any of their natural sons.
Smiling, he pulled a pineapple mitt out of his back pocket. "Man, Gallagher, you must really rate. You got one of the good fish. All I got was a lousy pineapple."
"What, does everyone she meet get one?"
"Nope. Only family."
Gallagher looked around at that and saw something he'd hadn't noticed earlier.
Everyone there had a mitt.