Numbers Page 67
Hero had forgotten about the officer who was stationed in the hallway outside his door. He stepped around the male. ’’I\m going for a walk.’’
He took the stairs down to the first floor and burst out the back door of the men\s dorm. He nearly collided with a female and had to twist to avoid making contact, slamming his shoulder into the wall. Kit frowned at him.
’’Where\s the emergency, Hero?’’
’’There isn\ one.’’ He shoved away from the wall and tried to step around her.
’’Not so fast.’’ She gripped his arm, shoved him up against the wall and stepped into him, pinning him there.
He scowled but didn\ shove her away. ’’Let go and move.’’
She eased her grip and removed her hand. ’’You stood me up. I was coming to find you.’’
He had forgotten he was supposed to meet her at the bar. ’’Something came up.’’
She growled as she gave him a once-over with her shrewd gaze. ’’I see your erection. Who is the female I smell on you?’’ She leaned in and sniffed. ’’Not familiar.’’
’’I don\ want to talk about this. I apologize, but I need to be alone.’’
’’You asked me to have dinner with you. I expected we would share se* after we danced. I\m owed an explanation.’’
’’I\m not your mate.’’
She jerked back a good foot. ’’You\ e in a mean mood.’’
He regretted his harsh words. ’’I\m not having a good day.’’
’’I don\ want to talk.’’
’’Do you wish to fight?’’ She cocked her head. ’’Tell me what is wrong or we will. You look angry. I know I am. I\d like to punch you in the face for making me sit at a table waiting for you when you never showed up. Now I smell some unknown female all over you, and you\ e as hard as a brick. I thought we were going to try to date like humans do and not share se* with others.’’ She grabbed his chest and shoved him against the wall again, his shirt ripping a little in her hands. ’’I agreed to that because the se* between us is good, and you aren\ one to demand too much of my time. We both enjoy our space.’’
He gently pushed her off. ’’Stop touching me. I need space now. Share se* with whomever you wish. I can\ attempt dating anymore.’’
She leaned in, sniffing at him. ’’Who is she?’’
He hated seeing the anger in Kit\s eyes. She\d been a good friend to him. They\d even become more recently, sharing se* twice. He hadn\ minded that she didn\ want a male to spend time with her afterward. He didn\ want to stay. He\d only held two females in his arms while sleeping. One had been Candi and the other had been his friend Tammy. She\d had a mate and he\d held her to keep her safe from their captors.
He had the urge to call Tammy, but he\d left his cell phone on his nightstand. She had remained his friend and he might be able to talk to her about what was going on. They\d shared a harsh ordeal together.
’’I mean it.’’ Kit drew him from his thoughts. ’’I will punch you if you don\ explain why you stood me up and who you\ve been with.’’
’’Go ahead.’’ He leaned his head against the wall.
’’Stubborn male,’’ Kit hissed. She flashed fangs. ’’I should bite you.’’
’’Do it if it makes you feel less angry. I am sorry.’’
Her expression softened. ’’Talk to me. What is going on? You look bad and you are almost begging me to hurt you.’’
He shook his head.
’’You\ e being self-destructive. I know this state of being well.’’
’’You have no idea what I am.’’
’’I know you accepted the name Species call you out of some sense of self-inflicted punishment.’’
He regretted telling her that.
’’You\ e not a bad male, Hero. We all know why you killed those humans when you were in captivity. It doesn\ put me off the way it does some of our females. Most of our kind have killed humans, and it wasn\ out of a sense of giving them mercy. It was to inflict suffering and gain revenge. Is this your way of making certain I don\ get attached to you by standing me up and having another\s scent all over you? I\m not looking for a mate. I just wanted to share se* with only one male for a while. I chose you because you\ e not clingy and you have pain in your heart. We\ e the same that way.’’
’’This has nothing to do with you,’’ he answered honestly. ’’Or us.’’
She narrowed her gaze. ’’Do you know why I chose my name?’’
’’One of the head shrinks likes to build small toy model cars. He said they are called kits. There\s a picture of what it is supposed to look like after all the parts are put together, but inside the box, when it\s first opened, it\s a jumble of confusing little pieces.’’ She hesitated. ’’That\s how I felt. I was a bunch of jumbled pieces contained inside this body. I look whole, but inside I\m not.’’
He reached up to take her shoulder in a gesture of comfort.
She flinched away. ’’Don\ pity me. I don\ want it.’’
He let his hand drop away. ’’I don\ . You\ e one of the strongest females I know, Kit.’’
’’It\s a picture I show on the outside. Inside I\m a mess.’’ She held his gaze. ’’I just told you something I\ve never shared with another. We both suffer deep pain from our past. You can hurt me now if you wish to tell others what I said. I don\ want them to see me as weak. Bare yourself to me. I wouldn\ betray your trust. Tell me why you let them call you Hero, and why it hurts you.’’
He felt compelled to answer. ’’The one person I wished to be a hero to and save was a female I believed I killed. I was enraged at the time and in such deep pain that I wanted to hurt her. I did.’’ He held her gaze, not looking away. ’’Today she walked into Homeland. It\s her scent you smell. Mercile lied to me. She survived and just escaped from where they\d kept her locked up.’’ Pain wrenched through his chest. ’’I even failed her that way. I\ve been free for a while but she was still in captivity. I wasn\ even searching for her.’’
Kit sighed. ’’You have feelings for her. Did she work for Mercile? I won\ judge.’’
’’She\s human, but was brought there as a child by her father. He murdered her mother and she witnessed it. He wanted to make certain she couldn\ tell on him to other humans. He knew Mercile wouldn\ punish him for what he\d done. She was raised with me inside our cell as if she were one of us. I regarded her as my mate but her father took her away from me and only allowed us to spend monitored time together when we reached the age when our se*ual attraction began.’’ It hurt him to say the words, but he did. ’’She allowed another male to mount her before I was able to claim her as mine. That\s why I attacked her.’’