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’’Hero?’’ Jinx took a few steps toward him, but stopped. He looked at the female, his mouth open. Hero turned and fled.

Hero nearly knocked Paul over in his rush to leave Medical. He needed to get out of the building, away from her. He ran with no destination in mind, just kept going until his legs gave out. He landed on the grass. The park surrounded him.

A Species female came over and crouched next to him. ’’Hero? What\s wrong?’’

’’Leave me alone.’’ He didn\ want to talk to Sunshine.

A gentle hand stroked his hair. ’’Hero?’’

He squeezed his eyes closed as he lay sprawled on the grass, panting. He would have gotten up but he had worn his body out in his flight for life. At least, that was how it felt. He had a new life now. The female in Medical would destroy the male he\d become. He couldn\ allow it. She should be dead and buried. He\d left her in the past and she should have stayed there.

Sunshine sniffed at him and lay down to press against his side. She wrapped an arm around his back. They were friends. They\d even shared se* from time to time.

’’I\m here. Whatever is wrong, you\ e not alone.’’

She continued to stroke his hair, keeping against his side. If other Species were nearby, they stayed away. He finally caught his breath, but refused to look at her. He wasn\ certain how long he remained there, but it wasn\ long. He needed to get up.

’’Thank you.’’ He rolled away, separating them. He glanced around but didn\ see anyone else.

Sunshine sat up, concern evident when he looked at her. ’’You can talk to me about anything.’’

’’Not this.’’ He stood. ’’Thank you.’’ He headed in the direction of the men\s dorm. He needed to leave Homeland and go to Reservation. He couldn\ be in the same place as Candi.

Chapter Three

’’He\s alive.’’ Candi still reeled from seeing him.

’’That\s who you were raised with?’’

She almost collapsed but the canine male, Torrent, lunged forward and grabbed her around her waist, hauling her up into his arms. He carried her back into the exam room she\d just left and placed her on the bed. He slid his arms out from under her. ’’Jinx, get Doc Trisha. She\s whiter than the sheets.’’

’’F*k,’’ Jinx muttered and rushed down the hallway.

Torrent took her hand. ’’Look at me.’’

She did.

’’Hero is the male you thought had died?’’

’’He\s alive.’’

She realized she\d said that before. It was just too unbelievable. Christopher Chazel had visited her one time after sending her to Penny. He\d sat in a chair next to the bed where they kept her restrained, machines hooked up to her while she healed from a head injury. He\d told her in a cold voice that he\d personally terminated 927. It hadn\ surprised her. She knew he could kill. She\d seen him do it before. But he\d lied.

927 was alive and the canine and feline males had called him Hero. She let that sink in, and then jerked her hand out of Torrent\s. She tried to sit up. She needed to find 927. Why did he leave me? Why did he take off like that? It tore at her.

’’No!’’ Torrent pushed her flat. ’’Stay down.’’

’’I have to go after him. I have to find him.’’

’’He took off like a bat out of hell. I don\ think he wants to see you.’’

’’I need to see him.’’ She shoved at the male\s hands and even resorted to kicking him hard in the thigh. He snarled and backed away.

She rolled off the other side of the bed and grabbed the first thing she could. It was a pitcher. ’’Move.’’

He gaped at her. ’’Or what? You\ll beat me with water in a plastic container?’’

’’I need to find him!’’ A sense of desperation hit her.

Sympathy softened his features. ’’I understand. You both appeared deeply stunned. He probably just needs to pull his emotions together.’’

’’I need to find him now!’’ She refused to back down. 927 was alive, and she had to get to him. She lowered the pitcher back to the table and masked her emotions. ’’I don\ feel so well. Can you wet a towel?’’ She leaned against the bed and lifted a hand to her face. ’’I think I\m going to faint.’’

He spun, striding into the bathroom to do as she\d asked. ’’Lie down.’’

She lunged once he was out of her way. The door remained open and she rushed through it. No one tried to stop her until she reached the area with desks and a long counter. Doc Trisha, Jinx and the female canine stepped out of an office on the other side of the room. They all appeared surprised and confused. Heavy boots hitting the floor sounded from the direction she\d just fled. Torrent appeared, having realized her ploy.

She spun and slammed into the double glass doors. They started to open and she tried again, twisting her body to squeeze between the parting doors. She darted out onto the sidewalk. There were buildings and a street. She made it to the road, frantically searching for 927. She sniffed but her sense of smell wasn\ good enough to be of help. It was one flaw 927 had never been able to fix. He\d tried, but her senses weren\ like his.

A feline male down the sidewalk turned. He seemed surprised when he spotted her. She twisted her head, looking the other way. Trees a lot of them. That\s where I\ll go. She heard Torrent behind her.

’’Easy, Candi. We\ll find him. Don\ make me grab you. I\m afraid I\ll hurt you. Come back.’’

’’Don\ touch her,’’ the female canine growled. ’’Candi, it\s going to be okay. Hero, or 927 as you knew him, probably just freaked a little. I\ll personally track his ass down and bring him here if you want to see him. Just come back inside.’’

There were no cars. She ran into the road. When her bare feet hit the pavement she didn\ care about the slight pain. She was fixated on those trees. He\d always wanted to see them. The hours she\d spent describing them to him when they were children would mean something to him. They pursued her and she was more than aware they could easily catch her. All Species were faster than humans, but they allowed her to run, staying close behind.

She entered a park with a large body of water. There were too many trees and rolling hills to see all of it. She stopped, panting. No one grabbed her but she heard them come to a halt behind her. She twisted around. The doctor wasn\ with them but she disregarded Jinx and Torrent, imploring the female canine, ’’Sniff him out. Track him for me. Please?’’ She would beg. ’’He\s here. I know it.’’ She remembered the female\s name. ’’Please, Breeze?’’

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