Numbers Page 46

’’You\ e my mate.’’ He cradled her closer. ’’We hide nothing from each other.’’

’’You don\ need to see my lunch come up. Why do they call this morning sickness? It\s afternoon.’’

He brushed a kiss on the top of her head. ’’You\ e carrying my son. I wish I could suffer this instead of you.’’

’’Trisha said it should pass soon, because of the increased gestation thing while carrying a New Species baby. Morning sickness can hit fast and hard but it hopefully won\ last more than a week or two.’’

’’I hope that is fact. I worry so much about you.’’

’’Don\ . It\s normal. I\m healthy. You know that since you have Trisha check on me every day.’’

’’I can\ let anything happen to you.’’

She clutched his hand and lifted her head, staring into his eyes. ’’I\m going to be fine. We\ e lucky. I mean, we got pregnant the first month. Some couples try for years.’’

He grinned. ’’My seed knows it belongs inside you.’’

’’You did promise that you wouldn\ let me feel empty after se*.’’ Dana took a few deep breaths. ’’The nausea is passing. It helps, having you stroke my back like that.’’

’’Good.’’ He kept doing it, staying at her side. ’’I\m going to take a few weeks off to be with you.’’

’’You don\ need to do that.’’

’’I want to. I already asked, and they are assigning my duties to another male until you\ e feeling better.’’

’’You\ e the best.’’

’’I try to be.’’

’’You are.’’

He rubbed her back for a good five minutes. ’’How are you feeling?’’

’’Better.’’

He took his hand off her back, lifted her in his arms and carried her into their bedroom. He set her on the bed, removed her shoes, and started undressing her.

’’We have to meet my mom.’’

’’We will after you take a nap. You look tired.’’

’’I am.’’

’’I am going to hold you while you sleep.’’

’’She\ll be pissed if we don\ show up for dinner on her first night here.’’

’’She\s already pissed because you moved here and mated me.’’ He shrugged. ’’We will cheer her with news of our son.’’

’’I hope you\ e right.’’

’’She wanted a grandbaby. Species young are cute. He will capture her heart.’’

Dana curled onto her side and smiled as Mourn got naked and spooned behind her, molding their bodies together. ’’I know you captured mine.’’

He chuckled. ’’Felines are irresistible. We purr.’’

’’You don\ have to tell me that. I know.’’

Mourn slid his hand forward to tenderly cup her belly. ’’We made a baby with our love. Do you feel amazement over that? I do every day.’’

She nodded. ’’We\ e really blessed.’’

He held her a little tighter. ’’Yes, we are, and this is just the start of our life together. It is only going to keep getting better.’’

927

Prologue

Twenty-three years ago

Christopher had one of the techs open the door and he carried the unconscious girl into the room. He glanced down, guilt making his steps hesitant. She\d seen too much. It was either kill her too, or put her in a place where she could never tell the police what he\d done. His plan would put her in danger, but she had a chance of survival if he made her part of one of his experiments. None of his supervisors would complain or refute his decision. They\d welcome having a human child at their disposal.

The male pup backed up into a corner. It sniffed the air, looking unsure, and its big, dark eyes narrowed. Christopher glared back. ’’Her name is Candace.’’ It helped to say her formal name, not the one he\d called her since her birth. ’’She\s your new roommate. You hurt her and I\ll kill you myself. Am I clear?’’

The pup growled as Christopher lowered the girl to a sleeping mat and left her there. He backed up quickly. The pups were strong and fast, despite their young age. He\d never turn his back on the little bastard. Many of the staff had already learned to be wary. No deaths had occurred yet, but the test subjects were growing more dangerous as they developed. He felt a little safer knowing Tad would shoot 927 with a tranquilizer dart if he lunged for his throat.

’’I mean it,’’ Christopher warned. ’’She dies, you die. Got it?’’

The pup growled at him again.

Christopher was certain the pup understood a lot more English than it pretended to, despite its refusal to speak. He\d bet the little animal would actually speak to his daughter after they spent enough time together. Mercile would welcome the opportunity to monitor their interaction, and they\d learn exactly how smart the little bastards really were. Candace would be key to that research. She was about the same age as the pup.

He backed out of the room and the door slammed with finality. There would be no taking her from that cell, from the life he\d brought her into. His Candi might as well have died with the bitch who\d birthed her. His pain and rage were equal. Just the memory of coming home to find the woman he\d married in bed with the neighbor almost sent him into a rage again.

’’Are you okay, Dr. Chazel?’’

’’Yes.’’ Christopher wasn\ about to admit to Tad that he\d just killed his so-called loving wife and the man he\d considered a friend. His house had to have already been reduced to rubble and ash. He\d set the fire himself. It had been easy to dig out the bullets expelled from his gun and bring some candles into the bedroom. He\d taken booze from the bar and spilled it all over the bed, and then knocked one of the candles over. The whish he heard as flames spread had felt appropriate. His marriage had ended just as destructively and fast.

He\d almost walked out of the bedroom, but movement caught his attention. Candi had stood there, cowering against the wall behind the door. The shots from his gun must have woken her. She wasn\ supposed to be home. It was one of the reasons he\d left work early. She\d been invited to a sleepover. He\d wanted to surprise his wife with a romantic evening but she\d started without him, with another man.

Candi had trembled in her little pink nightgown, eyes wide and showing signs of shock. He wasn\ sure how much she\d seen but obviously too much. The bullets he\d dug out with a steak knife were in his pocket. So was the knife. He moved fast, the fire spreading at an alarming rate. She\d stiffened in his arms when he\d lifted her and strode down the hallway. Then she\d whimpered. He\d glanced down and knew without a doubt that she understood he\d just killed her mother.


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