Numbers Page 25

Dana laughed at Paul\s question. ’’This was Mourn\s attempt to seduce me. You asked.’’

He groaned, eased his hold on her and stepped back. ’’These guys aren\ normal. I\ll forget I\m your big brother for the moment, but I\m a nurse. Are you okay? Did he hurt you in any way? Bite?’’

Becky gasped. ’’Shit. I forgot about that. Did he bite you? That means he wants to mate you. They mark their territory.’’

’’Mourn wouldn\ bite me. He didn\ hurt me at all.’’

’’It\s not to mark territory. I think it\s more like getting a taste of their mate\s blood.’’

Dana gave him a dirty look. ’’You\ e just saying that to scare me.’’

He crossed his arms over his chest. ’’No. That\s a New Species trait, and it\s classified. They aren\ fully human. They get those urges. He might bite you at some point. The good news is, he\ll be careful not to tear your skin with his fangs. Just don\ fight him if it happens. Hold still. Promise me.’’

She nodded, hoping he was full of shit. She\d seen Mourn\s fangs. They were big, like everything else on him.

Paul suddenly tensed. ’’Tell me he used condoms.’’

Dana shook her head.

’’Son of a bitch!’’ Paul shouted, and stomped across the room. He punched the wall. ’’I\m going to kill him.’’

’’Calm down, honey.’’ Becky left Dana\s side to rush to her husband. She grabbed his fist and inspected it.

He jerked out of his wife\s hold, glaring at Dana. ’’Don\ let him touch you without a condom.’’

’’I highly doubt Mourn gave me a se*ual disease. He\s only been with his mate. I know I don\ have anything. I only had se* with Tommy. He didn\ have any STDs.’’

’’Species don\ carry STDs. They are immune. Just use condoms from now on if you insist on letting that bastard touch you, okay?’’ He looked furious. ’’I need to get out of here. I can\ talk.’’ He marched to the front door, yanked it open and slammed it behind him.

Dana winced. ’’He didn\ take that well.’’

Becky came back to stand in front of her. ’’He likes to take walks when he\s really upset, but he usually kisses me goodbye first.’’ Becky looked at the door sadly and then back at Dana. ’’He just wants to protect you.’’

Dana sighed. ’’I knew he wouldn\ be thrilled to find out about Mourn, but I didn\ expect him to storm out.’’

’’He\ll be back once he cools down and has time to wrap his mind around this. Are you okay? You look upset too.’’

’’I didn\ come to Homeland expecting to meet someone. I\m having a tough enough time coming to grips with this sudden relationship with Mourn. I didn\ need Paul to blow up like that.’’

’’You wanted a little emotional support and understanding,’’ Becky guessed. ’’I\m happy for you.’’

That helped. ’’Thank you.’’

’’Paul is right about the condoms though. Apply that no glove, no love rule.’’


’’Paul has a lot of secrets he has to keep from me about New Species. I never press because he gave his word to the NSO not to repeat anything he learns about them. I do however read and watch TV. There\s a rumor that their genetics can be transferred to humans via se*,’’ Becky whispered. She suddenly grinned. ’’You might grow fangs if that\s true. They interviewed some doctor with a long list of credentials, and he thinks that\s possible.’’

Dana didn\ buy it.

Becky shrugged. ’’I didn\ tell Paul about that show, because he\s asked me to avoid that kind of stuff. He gets really angry when they write about or do shows concerning New Species. Some of it is total bullshit. One of those talk shows interviewed some of the local residents who live a few blocks from Homeland. They were worried that the NSO would kill them in their sleep so their homes would go on the market after what is happening at Reservation.’’

’’Why would they think that?’’

Becky pulled her over to the couch and they sat. ’’Reservation is expanding. They\ve bought up some properties next to their borders. Keep in mind that Reservation is in a little town up north, and most of the properties they are buying are usually fifty-plus acres. The Wild Zone started taking in rescue animals. You know how some people get illegal animals like bears and lions as pets, but then they get too big to care for? Reservation takes them in. The zoos can only accept so many of them and there aren\ a lot of rescue places that can handle those types of large animals. Anyway, some of the properties came on the market so the NSO bought them. They offered to buy anyone\s land that adjoins Reservation, and they pay well over market price. Idiots around here think the NSO might force them to sell by any means necessary, but it\s stupid. They don\ plan to expand Homeland, and they wouldn\ hurt anyone unless they had no choice. You know, like in self-defense.’’

’’They sound paranoid.’’

’’They are. The NSO would never intimidate or force people to sell their homes. That\s bullshit.’’ Becky faced her. ’’You do realize there could be some fallout if anyone finds out you\ e dating Mourn, don\ you? That\s probably part of the reason Paul is so upset.’’

’’I know. I do see the news and am aware of the stories about women who were attacked because of their associations with the NSO.’’

’’There\s also the issue of your mom. Paul is probably thinking about that too. It\s one thing for her to tell her friends that her son works for a nonprofit organization overseas, but what would she say about you? She\s used to him not being around. You\ e her baby. She\s not going to like it if you and Mourn get serious. It would mean you\d live here, and she couldn\ keep you close.’’

’’I\ll cross that bridge when I get there.’’

Becky grimaced. ’’I don\ envy you.’’

Dana dreaded the thought. ’’Me neither.’’

’’Are you okay?’’ Becky studied her. ’’How do you feel about spending the night with a man? This was your first time, right?’’

’’Since Tommy, you mean? Yes. I thought it would be a really uncomfortable situation, but it wasn\ .’’ She felt a little heat rise in her cheeks.

’’You enjoyed it a lot.’’ Becky grinned. ’’I\ve heard New Species have some serious bedroom skills. I\ll take that as fact.’’

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