Justice Page 66
No Species had asked to be genetically altered with animal DNA, it hadn\ been a choice they were given, and their only so-called crime had been to survive year after year of abuse at the hands of scientists, doctors, and researchers who used their bodies to create drugs to help humans. Not that they got much appreciation for any medical advancements their suffering had provided.
The door opened and Tiger popped his head in cautiously. ’’I could hear you snarling from next door.’’ He edged inside and closed the door. ’’Are you all right?’’
’’It\s just a bad day.’’
’’That\s not uncommon. Has something happened that is unusually bad?’’
’’We just have a new group of people to contend with.’’
’’We always do.’’ Tiger took a seat, crossed his arms over his chest and frowned.
’’You look like hell. Did you sleep at all last night?’’ His gaze lowered to Justice\s hand.
’’I hope whatever you punched looks worse than your hand.’’
Broad shoulders shrugged. ’’I lost my temper.’’
’’That\s unlike you. You need to take a break.’’
’’I know but when do I have time?’’
’’How goes the building of your house on Reservation? I plan to come visit you and sit on that covered porch I saw in the blueprints. It looks nice and the view of the lake should be a great one. We can go fishing.’’
’’It\s about three weeks from being completed and I\m getting a headache just thinking about it. The inhabitants aren\ happy to have work crews in their territory.
Slade is ready to shoot me for making him deal with more humans.’’ Justice raised a hand and tore his hair free of the thong holding it in a ponytail, shook his fingers through the strands and leaned back in his chair. ’’Not that I will ever have the time to enjoy it.’’
’’We\ e working on it. The council is ready to take over some of your responsibilities. You have me, Slade, and Brass too. We\d do anything for you.’’
’’I know that and appreciate it.’’
’’What the hell is up with you, my man? Honestly, all day you\ve been terrorizing anyone who comes near you. You\ e acting more like a bear than a leader. It\s out of character.’’
’’You sit in my chair and then we\ll see how amiable you are every day.’’
Tiger blinked a few times and allowed the silence to grow uncomfortable before he spoke again.
’’Whatever is wrong, you need to find a way to work through it. Everyone has noticed your anger. Are you growing to resent us? I\ve had seven of our males walk up to me in the past few hours to ask me that question. Is the stress getting to you?’’
Justice sighed. ’’I\m having a bad day. Everyone has those.’’
’’You don\ . You are the most even-tempered male I know, and you keep your sense of humor. You only show this side to our enemies when you need to remind them we are not to be messed with. Do you want to fight?’’
Surprise flickered through Justice. ’’What?’’
Tiger dropped his arms, gripped the arms of the chair and leaned forward. ’’Fight.
Do you need to get out some aggression? It feels good and you haven\ done it in a while.’’ He rose to his feet. ’’Let\s go.’’
’’Now,’’ Tiger growled. ’’Take off the mask and remember who you really are.’’
He stood slowly and stepped around his desk. Tiger yanked open the door and walked through the reception area. Justice glanced at his receptionist. ’’I\m taking a break.’’
She nodded. ’’I\ll hold your calls.’’ She refused to meet his eyes.
Guilt gripped him that he might have frightened the female with his gruffness.
’’Thank you,’’ he responded sincerely. ’’I appreciate you.’’
Tiger opened the outer door into the main part of the NSO building and they walked side by side out into the sunshine. Brass sat in a Jeep at the curb. It surprised Justice to see him there but the male only gave him a grim nod. Tiger waved Justice to the passenger seat then gripped the roll bar, jumped up and collapsed into the back seat. Justice sat, pulled his feet inside and the engine started.
They drove to the main security building and entered the training room they used to keep in shape. Tiger glanced at the Species inside.
’’Everyone out. No one comes near the door. Brass and I are going to show Justice a few new training techniques and if he likes them, you\ll be learning some new skills soon.’’
Faces glanced their way but all eight of their people left quietly. Tiger locked the door and Brass crossed the room to lock the second door. There were no windows in the large room, only mats on the floor and a bunch of exercise equipment set up along one wall. Justice hesitated.
Tiger returned, bent down and tore off his boots. He lifted his head, stood and began removing his weapons. Movement to his left drew Justice\s attention to Brass.
The male also removed his boots and weapons.
’’Should I be worried?’’ He kept his tone calm. ’’Two against one?’’
Brass flashed him a grin. ’’Remove the suit. We\d hate to mess it up.’’ His gaze ran down the length of it. ’’It\s nice. We\ e not. We\ll avoid your face. You have to look pretty for the cameras.’’
Justice narrowed his gaze as he reached for his tie. ’’Pretty?’’
Tiger chuckled. ’’Pretty. We love the hair too. Any female would be proud to have such a nice color. They did a good dye job.’’