Valiant Page 19

Someone panted heavily behind her, closing the distance, and the urge to scream gripped her hard. They were gaining on her. She dodged a dark shape and hoped they\d hit what she\d avoided. Instead something slammed into her back. It sent her sprawling hard into the leafy dirt and a heavy, painful weight pinned her down. Pain ripped through her with an intensity that made everything go black.

* * * * *

’’Valiant?’’ Tiger yelled again.

Valiant walked out of his house, approached the gate and stopped. He glared at his friend. ’’Is there a reason you\ e bellowing at me at two in the morning? I was sleeping.’’

Tiger looked grim. ’’We got a call a few minutes ago from the local sheriff. They need our help.’’

Valiant narrowed his eyes in anger. ’’You know humans aren\ my favorite. Go help them if you wish to do so. Why are you bothering me?’’

Tiger bit his lip. ’’You need to remain calm, all right?’’

Valiant\s gut tightened. Tiger would only warn him if whatever he had to say would make him angry. ’’Why? Are more humans planning to attack us? Do you need me to patrol the Wild Zone? Have they breached the walls? I\m not patrolling outside with the human security. I\ll just kill the intruders if they come here.’’

Tiger hesitated. ’’A human woman has been kidnapped from the town and there is a witness. The guy who saw her taken followed the truck but lost it when her kidnappers drove into the woods where the witness\s car couldn\ follow. He used a cell phone to call for help but it\s a small town. It took the cops a few minutes to get to where he\d lost them. They found the truck but not the woman. Four men took her and fled into the woods. The local law enforcement doesn\ have immediate access to tracking animals. They\d have to wait for daylight and it may be too late for her by that time. The sheriff thought of us. A few of our officers are heading there with me to help and I thought you would want to go with us.’’

Valiant hated the idea of any woman at the mercy of human males. They were unstable and mean. ’’I\m sorry for that female but I still don\ understand why you came here. You\ e wasting time by talking to me if you plan to search for her. You should go after her instead.’’

’’To make matters worse, when the sheriff and his deputies found the truck, they searched it, looking to identify the owner. They realized these guys are members of one of those anti-New Species extremist groups. They had some flyers inside the truck that pointed to that conclusion.’’ Tiger hesitated. ’’They took Tammy.’’

Shock tore through Valiant. ’’My Tammy?’’

Tiger nodded grimly. ’’Yeah. Your Tammy. I thought you\d want to help find her.’’ He paused. ’’I figured you\d still remember her scent well enough to be able to track her faster.’’

A roar erupted from Valiant. Rage gripped him at the thought of males attacking his Tammy. Hate groups killed humans who associated with Species. Her beautiful face surfaced in his mind instantly. He panted, going insane a little at the thought of what they\d do to her and he struggled to think.

Tiger flinched. ’’I take it you\ e coming?’’

Valiant spun around and sprinted for his home. ’’Let me get a few things,’’ he snarled loudly. ’’Do not leave without me. I\m going to tear them apart with my bare hands if they have harmed her in any way.’’

’’I figured!’’ Tiger yelled.

Valiant stormed back outside a few minutes later. Tiger noticed the shoes Valiant had donned and glanced at his thigh. He didn\ say a word about the wicked-looking knife strapped to it, but instead just climbed into the Jeep. Valiant jumped into the passenger seat. Tiger waved an arm in the air to signal the two other vehicles behind them to follow.

’’I\m going to kill them if they hurt her,’’ Valiant swore.

Tiger bit his lip. ’’Remember, we\ e not going to be on Reservation. Their law might have a problem with that but they did kidnap a woman. Keep in mind that their law is going to come down harshly on them when we capture them. I want to make sure you realize that. Couldn\ you just maim them a little and let them live? It would be bad press to return these humans in pieces to their law enforcement.’’

Valiant growled. ’’It depends on if they hurt her or not.’’

’’That sounds fair enough to me.’’ Tiger punched the gas.

* * * * *

White-haired Sheriff Cooper, who appeared to be in his midfifties, gaped openly as at the four New Species who climbed out of three Jeeps. Tiger had told Valiant the human\s name on the way there and warned him to try to be polite. Valiant had snarled.

He just wanted to find Tammy. He didn\ give a damn about impressions they made or if Justice wanted them to be nice. Tiger seemed to think it was a big deal that humans would ask them for help, a first step to acceptance by the town, but Valiant figured they were just desperate enough to ask anyone for aid.

His gaze darted to the other three Species. Tiger, Brass and Rider wore their uniforms. The sheriff seemed to fixate on Valiant the most and fear widened the human\s eyes. It could be because he didn\ wear a uniform, instead sporting jeans and a gray sweater he\d tossed on when Tiger\s presence had awoken him. He met the sheriff\s direct gaze and realized the human seemed unable to look away from his face. He resisted baring his teeth to really put on a show. Obviously it wasn\ the jeans that put the guy off as much as his facial features.

The human seemed to get a grip on his fear and stepped closer to them as they approached. He cleared his throat and held his hand out to Tiger, who had taken the lead to meet with the group of humans waiting at the side of the road. ’’I\m Sheriff Greg Cooper and these are my deputies. Thank you for coming. You got here very quickly and we deeply appreciate it.’’


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