Numbers Page 8

’’I wouldn\ hurt Dana.’’

Darkness\s eyebrows shot up. ’’You know her name?’’

’’I don\ attack females.’’ It was an insult to be accused of wanting to do her harm. ’’She\s defenseless. There\s no honor in that.’’

’’You were curious about human females? Is that why you were watching her?’’

He said nothing.

Darkness changed the subject. ’’Don\ force me to defend myself against you again.’’

’’I understand.’’

’’You\ e not going to deny that you attacked me today because you thought I\d kill you for striking me?’’

’’I lost my mate.’’

Darkness stepped closer. ’’I\m aware. Let me tell you something about me. I don\ like the situation I found myself in today. I\ve had to kill before, but that doesn\ mean I enjoy it. Pick someone else if you have a death wish, Mourn. That was all kinds of f*ked up. You want to talk about honor? I would find none in ending your life.’’

Anger stirred. ’’I\m not defenseless.’’

’’You\ e broken,’’ Darkness snapped. ’’You lost your mate, and you also lost your will to live. You think you\ e the only one to know loss? Think again. We\ e Species. We were created to suffer, and we all dealt with a shitload of it. We survive and thrive. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get your shit together.’’

Mourn snarled and wanted to attack the male for the cutting words.

’’Exactly. Get angry. Use that to get past the loss. I didn\ know your mate well, but she seemed courageous. I witnessed the death of two of my brothers and had to kill the third one with my bare hands because his mind snapped. I had to prevent him from becoming something he would have despised. They were my blood, yet I\m still here. They would have expected me to live life. They weren\ given that opportunity. Wouldn\ you have wanted your mate to embrace her freedom even if you had died? Wouldn\ you have expected her to go on without you?’’

’’I wasn\ the one to die.’’

’’She fought hard to live. Don\ dishonor her memory by throwing the rest of your life away. She would tell you this if she could.’’

’’Don\ speak for her.’’ Mourn felt as if it all his blood rushed into his head, and he wanted to punch the male in the mouth.

’’Someone needs to, and you brought me into this when you threw the first punch. I don\ know what you were doing near Paul\s sister, but I\ll have you sent to the Wild Zone if I catch you within a hundred yards of her. Am I clear?’’

’’I\m not going to hurt Dana.’’

’’Why were you there?’’ Darkness stepped closer. ’’Shit. You\ e not thinking about grabbing her, are you?’’

’’No!’’

’’She couldn\ put up a fight the way one of our females would. They\d kick your ass if you attempted that bullshit. Is that your new plan? Stealing Paul\s sister to take as a mate, and forcing us to kill you when we take her back?’’

Mourn was horrified. ’’That\s what you think I\m capable of?’’

’’I don\ know what you\d do. I\d have sworn you\d never take a swing at me before today, yet you did exactly that. She\s under our protection. Stay the hell away from her.’’

’’We were talking. That\s all.’’

’’Bullshit. You were watching her through a window.’’

’’I was making sure she didn\ tell anyone I visited her.’’

Darkness frowned. ’’Explain fast, and don\ lie to me. Otherwise, I\ll personally knock your ass out and you\ll wake up inside a cage. I\ll keep you there until she\s gone.’’

’’I met her today at Medical and she offered to talk to me. We both lost our mates.’’ He resented having to share those details, but what the male had assumed was outrageous. He wasn\ anything like Vengeance. That male would be the one to steal a female to take as mate. ’’I sought Dana out tonight, we talked and I took her home. I wasn\ sure if she\d call Security or tell her brother about our conversation. I didn\ want anyone to know.’’

’’Why would you care that she told someone if you did nothing wrong?’’

Mourn hesitated. ’’Some might object.’’

Darkness blinked a few times as long seconds passed. ’’She lost her mate too?’’

’’I said that.’’

’’Did he die or just leave her? Humans sometimes abandon their mates for a new one.’’

’’He\s dead.’’

’’How did your talk go? Did you frighten her?’’

’’No.’’ He scowled. ’’You believe I\d enjoy scaring a female?’’

’’I\m not sure.’’

’’I wouldn\ hurt her, nor would I take pleasure in making her feel fear. She\s a kind female.’’

The male studied him closely. ’’Do you plan to talk to her again?’’

He gave a sharp nod. ’’Do you plan on stopping me?’’

’’It depends. Are you going to do anything stupid that would piss off her brother or me?’’

’’No.’’

’’I\ll be watching you,’’ Darkness warned. ’’Remember that. You harm a hair on her head, and you\ll end up at the Wild Zone. They won\ allow you to leave. Valiant will make damn sure of that, even if he has to lock you inside one of the cages for the newly acquired animals that are dangerous. Understood?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’Are you planning on spying on her again tonight?’’

’’No. I was going to go for a run.’’

’’Good. Do that.’’ Darkness waved his hand toward the park.

Mourn spun and sprinted away, needing to rid himself of the anger. He wouldn\ hurt Dana. It was an insult to be accused of it.

Chapter Three

Dana glanced at the clock and faked a yawn. ’’Wow. It\s getting late. Don\ you have to work tomorrow, Paul?’’

He and Becky were snuggled together on the couch, looking way too content. ’’Not until midday.’’

’’Oh.’’

’’Are you tired?’’

She hated to lie, but nodded. ’’A bit.’’

Becky stood. ’’Okay. Well, it is almost eleven.’’ She shot Paul a teasing smile. ’’I guess it\s time for us to all go to bed.’’

He jumped up. ’’Sounds good to me.’’


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