Numbers Page 70

She eased off the couch and walked toward the door. She would ask the guard outside the door to take her to Breeze. She turned the handle and opened the door but a bandaged hand suddenly slammed against the wood, and the knob was torn out of her grasp. The door slammed closed. She turned, peering up at Hero. His eyes were scary and his lips were parted, fangs showing.

’’I want you. That\s the problem.’’ He snarled the words. ’’I lose control when it comes to you. You make me feel too much, Candi. You always have. I once wanted to kill you over another male. You were mine! Do you know why I ran from you in my bedroom?’’ He didn\ give her time to ask. ’’I was terrified I\d damage you. You\ e weak and ill. I can\ mount you. It makes me furious that I want to.’’

He wanted her. She reached up and gripped his shoulders. ’’You won\ damage me. I\m not ill.’’

’’Bullshit.’’

’’I just need to gain weight. Doc Tri ’’

’’Fine. You\ e weak. You felt easily breakable in my arms. Captivity does that. You need time to become strong before I take you to my bed. What if I do hurt you? I have enough guilt. I can\ take any more.’’

’’What guilt?’’

He spun away, stalking across the room. He ran his fingers through his hair. He began to pace, shooting angry glances at her.

’’What guilt? I know you didn\ mean to hurt me with your chains. I don\ believe you would have snapped my neck if you\d reached me. I don\ want to believe that. You would have stopped yourself from taking my life if you\d broken free and reached me.’’

He stopped pacing. ’’We\ll never know.’’

’’Let it go. I have. I never blamed you for your rage or pain. Never.’’

’’How do you feel, knowing I was free while you were still being held captive? We have a task force team that looks for our lost females. No one searched for you. I never told them about you, Candi. I didn\ mention anything to the NSO about the human child who was raised with me inside that cell, because I didn\ want them to know I\d caused your death.’’

Some of it started to make sense to her. ’’You thought I was dead and you had no reason to question it. I was taken away from Mercile. How could you know?’’

’’I let you down. It\s what I do. You allowed another to mount you to save me, and I hurt you in return. You were locked up but I never tried to rescue you. You made it here on your own after having to kill to gain your freedom. You wanted me to hold you when we saw each other, but I ran away. Now you offer to stay out of my sight so I don\ feel guilt for all the times I\ve failed to be the kind of male who deserves you.’’

Her heart broke. ’’I was wrong. This hurts me the most. You\ve never let me down. Stop thinking that way.’’ She went after him. ’’You have always been the male I live for. You\ e the reason I am here. You\ e my entire world, 927.’’

She reached up when she stopped in front of him and slid her hand along the back of his neck, grabbed a handful of his hair and yanked. He grimaced but allowed her to tug his face toward her. She fisted his shirt in the front with her other hand.

’’Listen to me, my pup.’’ She paused. ’’927. Hero. Whatever the hell you\ll let me call you. You\ e making me angry now. Don\ ever say that you don\ deserve me. You want to see how weak I am? Say it again. I will knock you flat. You taught me how to fight. I haven\ forgotten that even if you have.’’

His eyebrows shot up.

’’The only way you can break me is if you continue to tear into yourself. I won\ allow it. Don\ you dare. I love you.’’ She eased her hold on his hair and wrapped her fingers around the back of his neck instead, drawing him down closer. ’’I love you.’’

Tears swam in his eyes and he wrapped his arms around her.

’’You were there to hold me after my mother died. You were the one who kept me warm and comforted me every night. You gave me a reason to live in that cell. You made me laugh and feel so many wonderful things. The only reason I\m alive today is because you were my reason to fight and keep trying to escape. Don\ you dare undermine any of that.’’

’’Candi, I...’’

He didn\ seem to know what to say but she did. ’’Forget that I said I\d leave. I refuse to let you go. I found you, and you\ e mine. I will fight any females who try to touch you. I\ll chase you if you run. I will find you again.’’

He lifted her off her feet and she wrapped her legs around his waist. He turned with her in his arms and walked toward the bedroom. ’’No more running, Candi.’’

She clung to him. ’’Good.’’

’’I\m not mounting you until you\ e stronger. Help me do that by keeping covered.’’

She could live with that. ’’But you plan to?’’

He growled. ’’Yes. When you\ e stronger and we\ e sure you\ e healthy after Doc Trisha gets all your test results back. I can\ live with knowing I\ve hurt you in any way.’’

’’May I stay here with you? Sleep with you?’’

’’Yes.’’ He stopped by the bed and gently lowered her. ’’But you need to help me get you better. That means rest and sleep. I\m going to care for you.’’

She didn\ want to let him go but he stepped back and straightened from the bed, forcing her to. ’’You want to take things slow. I\m okay with that as long as you\ e with me.’’

’’I won\ leave. I\m going to call my friend Tammy. She\s human the way you are, and always complains about how difficult it is to keep weight off after having her cub. She will know how to put weight on you.’’

’’Cub?’’

He crouched. ’’That\s another reason I won\ mount you right now. I could get you pregnant.’’

She was stunned. ’’Mercile found a way to do it?’’ Horror came next. They made more Species to torment? To torture with their drugs? ’’Oh no.’’

’’Easy,’’ he rasped, reaching out to stroke her hair. He seemed to understand her reaction and the thoughts that came with it. ’’Mercile never accomplished that. It was after we were freed. Species can\ breed together, but some mated human females have had babies with Species males. It\s possible.’’ He glanced at her body. ’’You\ e so weak that I fear a pregnancy right now might harm you more. I won\ take that risk.’’


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