Numbers Page 23

’’The other males might wish to protect her from me. I don\ want issues to arise.’’

The black-haired guy seemed to ponder it for long seconds. ’’I could arrange that.’’

’’I go on shift at noon, but I get off duty at four. Do you think it can be settled by then? I don\ want to have to take her to the shed every time we meet.’’

Darkness nodded. ’’I think I can.’’ He looked at Dana then. ’’Would you feel safe in a more private location with him?’’

She squeezed Mourn\s hand, grateful to be holding on to him. The big black-clad guy scared her. ’’Yes. We\ e trying to get to know each other better,’’ she responded, feeling the need to explain. The situation kind of reminded her of the first time she\d met Tommy\s father after they\d started dating. She\d been terrified he\d tell her to get lost and not to go near his son.

Darkness sighed. ’’All right. You might want to speak to your brother. He\s been pacing his living room, and refused to calm until you were found.’’ He looked at Mourn. ’’You stay put. He wishes to punch you. I refuse to allow you to fight a human, especially that one.’’

’’I gave my word I\d only restrain Paul if he attacks me.’’

Darkness growled. ’’Let her go inside alone. Her brother won\ harm her. It is best if she talks to Paul without you within his sight. You are going on duty in a little over an hour. You smell like the female. You need a shower, and it will give you some time to pack your belongings before shift.’’

’’I should speak to Paul and reassure him that Dana is safe with me.’’

Darkness shook his head. ’’It\s obvious, even to a human, what the two of you did. Trust me, he will attack you. You shared se* with his sister. This is a family issue that she needs to address without you. Say goodbye to her, and you can pick her up after your shift ends. I\ll contact you with your new address. I\ll stay here to make certain all is well. I won\ allow anything to happen to her, but you will just exacerbate the situation.’’

Dana tugged on Mourn\s hand until he looked at her. ’’He\s right. I\ll handle Paul. You should shower before you go to work. I\ll be okay.’’

He scowled.

She rushed on before he could protest. He looked as if he planned to. ’’Go pack your things if you plan to move today. You should eat something too. You said you get off work at four. I\ll be ready when you show up for our date.’’

’’I don\ want you to face Paul alone if he\s angry that I kept you out all night.’’

’’F*k,’’ Darkness muttered. He glared at Mourn. ’’Trust me. Go home, shower, and do what your female said. Eat breakfast and pick her up after your shift. Do you want to make things easier on her? Don\ make her watch her brother attack you. He will.’’

Mourn growled low. ’’Fine.’’ He released Dana\s hand. ’’I\ll be here when my shift ends, right after I pick up food.’’

’’I\ll see you then.’’

He spun and stormed away. Dana watched him go, worried. He looked angry. Darkness cleared his throat, and she tore her gaze off Mourn to face him. She tensed, not liking his grim expression.

’’Am I in trouble?’’

’’For sharing se* with Mourn?’’

She nodded. ’’I tried to talk him out of it.’’

Darkness stepped closer. ’’Did he force the se*?’’

’’No. It wasn\ like that.’’

’’Why do you think you\d be in trouble then?’’

’’He\s grieving the loss of his mate. I told him it was a bad idea to get involved so soon with someone else, but he didn\ agree. I can understand if you think I took advantage of him, but I promise that hurting him is the last thing I want.’’

He surprised her by suddenly laughing.

’’What\s funny?’’

’’Humans are. No one at Homeland will think you took advantage of him. It\s funny every time I hear those words. He pursued you. Our males can be very convincing, as I suspect you\ve learned firsthand since he kept you all night and most of the morning. Go inside to your brother.’’ He stepped aside.

Dana hesitated. ’’Is Paul really angry?’’

’’He\s worried.’’

She nodded, took a deep breath and blew it out. She advanced, passing the two guards without glancing at them, and entered the house. Paul was in the kitchen with Becky. They were talking, but stopped the second they spotted her. Paul rushed forward.

’’Where the hell have you been?’’ He came to a halt a few feet away, taking her in from head to toe. ’’Are you all right? Did that crazy son of a bitch hurt you?’’

’’Mourn isn\ crazy.’’

’’So you were with him? Darkness said you\ve been meeting him every night after we went to bed.’’

’’Calm down, Paul,’’ Becky urged.

’’Stay out of this.’’

Dana winced. ’’Don\ talk to her that way.’’

’’I\m the bad guy?’’ Paul threw up his arms. ’’I woke and you weren\ here. Then I find out you\ve been lying to me and hanging out with Mourn. I told you to stay the hell away from him. He\s not right in the head.’’

’’He lost his mate, and he\s been struggling with that. I\ve been there, remember?’’

’’Yes.’’ Paul nodded. ’’You were nuts after you lost your husband. We all worried you\d take a self-inflicted bullet to the head.’’

’’Paul!’’ Becky rounded the island and grabbed his arm. ’’Stop it.’’

Paul closed his eyes. ’’I\m sorry.’’ He took a few breaths, and opened his eyes. ’’I was scared shitless that Mourn would hurt you. He\s in Medical all the time after picking fights with men. They aren\ like regular guys, Dana.’’ He looked past her. ’’Tell her, Darkness. Mourn is a danger to his own kind, and she\s not one of your females. My kind killed his mate. He could take it out on my sister.’’

Dana glanced back, realizing Darkness stood directly behind her. He was so close, she could move her hand a few inches and touch him if she wanted. He glanced down at her, and then frowned at Paul.

’’She makes Mourn stable. He sees her as a reason to live. He wouldn\ harm her, just the way I told you earlier, Paul. He does have a lot of rage directed at anyone associated with Mercile, but what Species doesn\ ? He\s aware that your sister is nothing like them. He\s interested in her as a female.’’

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