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’’Why would she do that? Did she not want you for a mate?’’

’’I thought so. That\s why I lost my mind. I found out today that they made her accept a feline or her father would have killed me if I\d claimed her first. She did it to save me.’’

’’Why are you out here and not with her?’’

’’I hated her for accepting that male. I\ve hated myself for thinking I killed her. I died inside that day. Now I find out she survived, why it happened, and I don\ know what to do. I just feel rage at everything. All of it has made me who I am, and I finally had some peace. It\s gone now. I want the numbness to return.’’

’’I understand. Things have changed though.’’ She cocked her head. ’’There\s no place you can run from this. There\s no hiding from the things you must feel.’’

His body grew rigid, but Kit seemed to ignore his reaction or take it as a warning.

’’This female mattered to you and still does, or it wouldn\ tear you up this much. You\ e broken, Hero. She might be able to fit the pieces together to make you whole.’’ She stepped closer to the back door. ’’The male I loved is dead. There is no hope of him walking into Homeland to seek me out. I watched it happen and saw his broken body. Go to her, Hero. Where is she?’’

’’Inside my home. I left her on my bed.’’

Kit reached down, withdrew her key card from her pocket and swiped it. She punched in the code and yanked open the door. ’’Go to her, Hero. Make your name count for what it should mean instead of a way to torture yourself with the irony of it.’’

’’Why are you saying this?’’

Her features softened. ’’I want you to be happy. It will give me hope that one day I won\ remain this way. We\ e a lot alike. Get your male ass inside the dorm and return to your apartment. Face this female and the past. Try to make a future. You said she\s human. She could leave Homeland to live in the outside world, but we both know she won\ be safe out there. They are crazy and some would target her for her association with us. Save her now.’’

He still hesitated. ’’I\m afraid I\ll hurt her. I am a mess.’’

’’She\s a mess too if she was raised at Mercile.’’ Her tone deepened. ’’You\ e a canine, not a pussy. Go male up. I think that\s the term. You\ e no coward. You\ e a survivor. So is she. You belong together. Go.’’

He shoved off from the wall and stepped closer to Kit. ’’I just want to run.’’

’’I\ve been to your home. It\s three flights up. Use the stairs. That should help alleviate that urge. Don\ make me drag your ass up there. I haven\ had dinner, and I missed lunch. You\ e a big male, and outweigh me. It would irritate me to use that much energy to get you up those flights of stairs.’’

He stepped inside and turned. ’’I ’’

’’You\ e welcome. I know you don\ feel thankful right now, but you can mean it later.’’ She grinned. ’’Stop stalling. Females hate to be kept waiting.’’ She shut the door in his face.

He turned, staring down the corridor that led to the back stairs. ’’F*k.’’

Chapter Six

Candi washed her face in 927\s bathroom sink and put on the tank top that she\d tossed on the floor after she\d attempted to seduce him into mounting her. She left the bedroom and stared at the door to the hallway. It was tempting to go out and search for him but he wouldn\ want to be found. He\d proven that already.

She moved around the living space, touching his things. He didn\ have many personal items, but there was a photo of him with a couple on a shelf. The male was a big feline with harsh features who held a human female close to his body in a possessive way. 927 stood a few feet away from them and they all were smiling. There were a lot of trees surrounding them.

The door at her back opened and she turned, expecting Breeze or one of the males who\d escorted her to 927\s apartment. She was stunned when 927 stepped in and closed it, sealing himself inside with her. He leaned against the wood, staring at her with a grim expression. She glanced down his body, seeing a few tears in his shirt. It was possible he\d gotten into a fight, but he looked fine, just angry.

’’That\s Tammy and Valiant,’’ he murmured. ’’They are mated.’’

She realized she still held the framed picture in her hands and glanced down before returning it to the shelf. ’’I guessed she was his.’’

’’I\d just been freed when that photo was snapped. They insisted on taking one with me since I\d saved her life. They gave me a copy.’’

’’She\s the one you mentioned? The one you didn\ kill?’’


She wanted to get closer to him but held still in case he decided to leave again. ’’Thank you for coming back.’’

’’It\s my home.’’

She glanced at his shirt. ’’What happened?’’

He looked down, touching one of the holes. He sighed and lifted his chin, meeting her gaze. ’’It doesn\ matter.’’

’’It does to me. Did Breeze make you come back?’’

’’It wasn\ Breeze. I\d have more damage to my clothes if someone had tried to force me to return when I wasn\ willing to. I\d have fought. This was just to hold me still so I could hear her words.’’


’’A friend.’’

’’Have you shared se* with her?’’

He pushed away from the door and strode into the kitchen. ’’Are you hungry?’’

She flinched and pain jabbed at her. He hadn\ denied it. He\d changed the subject. He must have a reason. ’’No.’’

’’You should try to eat.’’ He opened the fridge, peering inside it. ’’I could fix you a sandwich.’’

’’Is she important to you? Do you feel a bond with her?’’

He slammed the fridge and glared at her. ’’Don\ ask. You don\ want to know.’’

’’I do.’’

’’Fine. Yes, Kit and I have shared se*. I\ve been to her home a few times. I was with a few females while still at Mercile. They used me in breeding experiments after I was told I killed you. Christopher nearly beat me to death as punishment and I became one of Evelyn\s. She brought me a few Species females and I mounted them. I refused to watch someone else die until they moved me and brought in those humans they captured. I killed them, as I said. Then Tammy was brought to my cage and her mate tracked her there. I was freed in the process. There have been others at Homeland and Reservation after I was freed.’’

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