Numbers Page 14

’’I\m decent.’’

’’My turn.’’ He faced her. ’’Close your eyes.’’

She presented him with her back. It felt strange to be in a small building, mostly undressed. It wasn\ something she\d normally do, but she did trust that Mourn wouldn\ do anything untoward. He still remained a bit skittish of their budding friendship, and she needed to keep that in mind. He might not return if he escorted her back to Paul\s to change her clothes. She\d rather stay in the shed with him for a bit than face the guest bedroom alone until sleep came.

’’I told Paul I wanted to hang out with him this week.’’ It was a safe topic to discuss.

’’Did you tell him we are talking?’’ Mourn dropped something wet on the floor, probably his shirt or pants.

’’No. I respected your wishes. I know you don\ want him to know we\ e spending time together. Our mother called today. I used that as a reason to extend my stay.’’

’’How is she a reason?’’

’’She\s forever trying to set me up with men. It happened again. She made a date for me on Thursday night. I told Paul I wanted to stay longer so I could tell her I\d still be out of town.’’

’’Who is the male?’’ His voice deepened slightly.

’’Some son of a friend of hers whom I\ve never met. He\s thirty-five and lives with his mommy. No thanks. I didn\ need to hear any more than that to know it wouldn\ work out.’’

’’He\s an adult male. I thought humans left home after they finished their schooling.’’

’’They are supposed to, but some men enjoy being pampered by their mothers a little too much. I\m betting that is the case with this one. He\s probably looking for a woman who can do everything his mother does, plus have se* with him. That\s not going to be me.’’

’’That\s strange.’’

’’Some people are.’’

’’I\m covered.’’

Dana turned and had to seal her lips. Mourn wore a flag wrapped around his waist, but the expanse of his muscled chest, stomach and arms was an onslaught she had not been prepared for. It had been dark enough in the park the night he\d lent her his shirt that she hadn\ gotten a really good look. The light inside the shed revealed every inch of him in detail. He had the best body she\d ever seen. He looked even bigger and more impressive in the small, enclosed space. The only flaws were a few bruises from the fight he\d been in, and his bandaged arm. The one on his leg was gone, and the wound looked as if it had happened a week or so ago instead of just a matter of days. It impressed her.

He smiled. ’’We\ e dry.’’

He\d said something, and it took a second for his words to sink in. She lifted her gaze to stare at his face. ’’Yes, we are.’’

He inched closer and sat on the padded seat. ’’Are you cold? Species have a hotter body temperature than humans. You could sit on my lap and I\ll keep you warm.’’

She swallowed hard, staring at his body again. ’’Um...’’ Just imagining that made her cheeks feel flushed. He made it worse when he opened his arms, indicating he actually meant it.

’’I won\ hurt you, Dana.’’

The way he softened his tone and peered at her with those beautiful eyes actually lured her an unconscious step closer. ’’Um...’’ She didn\ even know how to respond. It wasn\ proper. She\d never gotten that close to a half-naked guy before, except Tommy.

’’It\s okay,’’ he urged. ’’Come here.’’

She wanted to. That was the confusing part. He leaned forward a little, keeping eye contact. She didn\ perceive a threat there, but couldn\ discount his size or strength. Any other guy would have had her fleeing from the shed.

’’I miss holding someone. Let me put my arms around you.’’

Those whispered, hoarse words were the temptation she couldn\ resist. Her heart raced but she inched closer, uncertain how to gracefully take a seat. Mourn didn\ seem to have that problem. He just reached out and gently maneuvered her until she found her ass resting over one of his thighs and her legs bent over his other one. She sat sideways and he hugged her closer, his arms wrapped around her in a gentle embrace.

They were both tense, but he relaxed first. The hard muscles under her butt softened slightly and he snuggled her against his chest. She leaned her head to the side a little until her cheek rested near his heart. She could hear it beating almost as fast as her own. That made her feel better. She took a deep breath, blew it out, and forced the tension out of her body.

’’This is nice.’’ He shifted a little. ’’You\ e so small.’’

He was really big, but she didn\ comment on that. ’’You are warm.’’ He felt feverish again, a reminder of when she\d first held his hand in Medical.

’’You smell good.’’

She had to clear her throat. ’’Thank you.’’

’’Do I?’’

It was probably the strangest interaction she\d had with a man, but he was New Species, and they were very straightforward. Dana inhaled, closing her eyes. ’’Yes.’’ He carried a manly scent, not overpowering but pleasant. He sure was different from Morgan, her coworker, who loved to douse on cologne until she could almost taste it.

’’See? You\ e safe with me.’’

’’I trust you.’’ It was true. They had a lot in common. He had told her his mate was the only woman he\d ever had se* with. It wasn\ as if he were some guy putting the moves on her. He was probably as inept as she would be at making se*ual advances.

He brushed his cheek against her head, a light caress. ’’Warmer?’’



She struggled to think of something to say. The first thing that popped into her head came bursting out. ’’What did you do today?’’

’’I asked for an assignment.’’

It distracted her from her awareness of him as a man, and that she was held in his arms. ’’What happened? Did they give you a job?’’

’’They refuse to allow me to work anywhere near humans, but said I could patrol the interior of Homeland. I took a shift.’’

’’How did that go?’’

’’It wasn\ bad. I made some Species nervous but they spoke to me.’’

’’Why were they nervous?’’

’’They expected me to start fights but I didn\ .’’

’’What do you do on patrol?’’ She shifted on his lap and got a little more comfortable.

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