Valiant Page 20

Tiger stopped near the human and shook his hand. ’’I\m Tiger. These are my men.’’ He released the guy\s hand to point. ’’That\s Brass, Rider and Valiant. We\ e glad to be of service, Sheriff Cooper. Has anything changed since you called us?’’

Sheriff Cooper shook his head. ’’No. I don\ know how this could happen. I\ve known Tammy Shasta since she moved here when she was just eight years old and I don\ know anyone who\d want to hurt her. She\s a nice little gal. Our pastor is the one who witnessed those men snatch her and he followed them out this way. The truck they used to abduct her broke down about a mile from this road. They tore out the oil pan and the engine seized up. Those men are strangers to this area because Pastor Thomas knows everyone who lives out this way and they aren\ anyone he recognized.’’

Tiger nodded. ’’We\ll take it from here. You\ e more than welcome to come with us if you want. We can track anything between us two cats and the two canines.’’

’’I insist on it,’’ the sheriff stated as he gave them all a nervous glance, seeming unsure about not being there to watch whatever they did. ’’I\ve seen a lot of things in my life and when we find Tammy, I have a bad feeling that if she\s still alive, she might want to see a familiar face. I can\ think of why four men would grab a pretty woman unless it\s for the worst. I have an ambulance on standby if they didn\ just rape and kill her flat out.’’ He paused, frowning. ’’Two cats and two canines?’’

Valiant snarled and startled all the humans around him as they backed away fearfully, their gazes locked on him. If any of the humans had put their hands on Tammy se*ually he\d tear their fingers off. He\d rip their arms from the sockets while they screamed and then proceed to beat them with the their own limbs. He\d

Tiger spoke, ending his violent plotting. He flashed a warning look Valiant\s way, silently conveying that he needed to keep a leash on his rage. ’’Valiant and I are feline species while Brass and Rider are canines.’’

’’Oh.’’ The sheriff seemed at a loss for words.

Valiant\s irritation couldn\ be contained. Tiger wanted to play polite with the humans but he just wanted to hear what the sheriff knew to help him track Tammy. He hated wasting time. He lifted his lip to flash fangs at Tiger, conveying a silent message of his own. He wasn\ patient and the bullshit needed to stop. A gasp from the humans made him glare at Sheriff Cooper, who stumbled backward, his gaze horrified, and stared at his mouth.

’’Are those...’’

’’Teeth,’’ Tiger acknowledged. ’’Don\ worry about Valiant. He\s just very angry that the woman was taken and wants to go after her right now.’’

The sheriff finally glanced at Tiger. ’’I sent somebody to her car at the bar where she was grabbed to see if he could find something of hers that would have her scent. I know when we use hounds they need something from the victim. My deputy should return with it at any time. He radioed in that he has her jacket.’’

Tiger pointed to Valiant. ’’That won\ be necessary. We\ve both met her. She did a catering job at Reservation and they\ve become friends. That\s why he\s here. He spent more time around her than I did. He\s very familiar with her scent. He\ll have an easier time tracking her.’’

The sheriff shot a horrified glance Valiant\s way. ’’Well, I guess that\s good. That means you fellas know what a nice gal she is and that we\ve got to find her before the kidnappers have time to really hurt her.’’

’’I\m going after her,’’ Valiant snarled, done listening to them waste time when Tammy needed him. ’’You stand here bullshitting. I\m getting her back.’’ He took off toward the woods at a run.

’’Damn, he can move fast.’’ The sheriff sounded amazed. ’’I won\ be able to keep up. Just go. Find Tammy. They have an hour lead.’’

Tiger snarled. ’’Wait up, Valiant. I\m right behind you.’’

Valiant eyes adjusted to the darkness and followed the clear and deep impressions the truck tires had left in the long grass. He knew Rider and Brass followed him closely. They probably were under orders to make sure he didn\ slaughter the human males when he found them. Two Species males wouldn\ be enough to prevent that from happening if they\d done anything bad to Tammy. Tiger should have brought a dozen males with them if that was his intention.

Valiant located the truck and smelled Tammy right away inside the back of it. He leapt into the truck bed and discovered blood. He crouched down, sniffed, and only calmed slightly when he realized it wasn\ hers. He closed his eyes as he took a few breaths to memorize the stench of the males. Pure rage coursed through him because he could smell Tammy\s fearful scent along with those who had taken her. He stood and jumped out of the truck. Tiger and the two security officers watched Valiant, waiting for his assessment.

’’Two of them had her in the back of the truck. There\s blood but not hers.’’

Tiger nodded. Valiant walked to the open driver\s door. He stopped and sniffed, moving around it to the busted side mirror. He growled as his entire body tensed.

’’What is it?’’ Tiger moved forward but the answer was there as he inhaled. ’’Blood.’’

’’Hers.’’ Valiant threw back his head and roared. ’’Her blood is on that broken mirror so they hurt her. I\ll kill them for this.’’

Brass cleared his throat. ’’She fell here and ran away but they followed.’’ He stood about ten feet from the truck near the tree line of the woods.

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