Valiant Page 29

’’I\ll try to speak nice to the humans for you, Tammy. I wish to stop this talk. It isn\ a good discussion.’’

Point made and taken. Valiant didn\ want to talk about the day she\d escaped his house. ’’Just let me do the talking, okay?’’

He shrugged. ’’Fine, but just remember, I go where you do. I\m going to become very scary if someone tries to take you away from me, se*y.’’

’’Deal.’’ She relaxed in his arms.

She got a warm feeling when he called her se*y. Yeah, right. I need a shower in the worst way. She\d been pinned on a ground and didn\ have to touch her hair to know it had become a ratted mess with dirt and God only knew what else stuck inside it. She\d been crying, her body was bruised, and she knew she had dried blood on her face. She was the anti-se*y if there ever was one but it was sweet that he\d lie that boldly to make her feel good.

Cars were parked along both sides of the road when they walked out of the woods. The sheriff, some deputy cars, and an ambulance were among them. More cars were parked on the grass next to the pavement, including a large white van with lettering on the side. The voices suddenly stopped in the area lit by car headlights. Tammy knew they\d been spotted as a hush settled.

Sheriff Cooper ran toward them with one of his deputies, Carl Bell, right on his heels. ’’Tammy!’’

She forced a brave smile. ’’I\m fine. Valiant and his friends saved me.’’

The sheriff hesitated a few feet from the much taller and bigger New Species holding her. He glanced nervously between Tammy and Valiant. ’’You can hand her to me, son.’’ Greg Cooper held out his arms.

Valiant shook his head. ’’I\ll take her to the ambulance. She\s been hurt.’’

’’Where are the men who took her?’’ The sheriff\s gaze searched the dark woods behind them.

Valiant shrugged. ’’It isn\ my problem. The only thing I care about is Tammy. I\m sure my people will bring her attackers to you if there\s anything left of them.’’ He stepped around the stunned sheriff and deputy to take Tammy to get medical attention.

Tammy wanted to flinch when she peered over Valiant\s shoulder as he strode away from the duo. Sheriff Cooper stared at the woods for a few seconds more before he turned. She didn\ miss the curious glance that passed between him and his deputy, who shrugged. Both men quickly jogged to catch up to them.

Tammy knew both people waiting by the ambulance. She\d gone to high school with Bart Homer and he grimly watched as Valiant gently eased Tammy down onto a gurney he\d yanked out as they approached. Debra Molmes, the other paramedic, was a woman a few years younger than Tammy but she\d gone to school with her older brother.

’’Shit.’’ Debra gawked at Valiant and swallowed hard, a look of wariness crossing her features. She tore her gaze from him and visually examined Tammy. Debra flinched. ’’Jesus. You\ e a mess, Tam.’’

’’It\s been a rough night for me and I\m sure I\m not looking my best.’’

’’Uh, excuse me, sir,’’ Bart said softly to Valiant. ’’I, uh, need in there to help examine Tam.’’

Valiant hesitated a second before stepping out of the way. A bare-chested, huge, buff Valiant was something to behold. He appeared massively masculine in a se*y way when he wasn\ growling and showing off his sharp teeth in a silent snarl. Tammy met his gaze with a forced smile. He crossed his arms over his chest, which only showcased his bulky, muscular arms. He returned her regard with a grim look. Tammy turned her head and caught Debra nearly mooning over Valiant. She seemed to have gotten past her initial uncertainty about how to react to him.

’’Tammy?’’ Sheriff Cooper stepped closer. ’’You need to tell us exactly what happened. Have you ever met those men before? Did they tell you why they kidnapped you?’’

Tammy tried not to wince as Bart and Debra checked her over and cleaned her wounds. Her face hurt when they washed away the blood and treated the area near her ear where her cheek had slammed into the side mirror of the truck. Her wrists hadn\ hurt much after Valiant tended to them.

As the paramedics worked, she slowly told the sheriff what had happened when she\d left the bar and how the men had grabbed her but she skipped some parts. She chose not to mention anything related to the New Species except to say they\d made comments that made it clear they hated them. She flat-out lied.

’’They said they knew I\d gone to New Species Reservation.’’ She tried to stick to some of the truth to keep her story straight. ’’They targeted me because I had worked there and they accused me of being a traitor to humanity for liking New Species.’’

Sheriff Cooper sputtered with anger. ’’Those ass**les took you because you worked on Reservation one time? Damn. The entire town is going to be targeted by those ass**les next if that\s all it takes to set them off. Where in hell are your pants and why are you wearing his sweater?’’

’’They...’’ She dropped her gaze, unable to look at the sheriff while she spoke, afraid she\d burst into tears if she did. ’’They stripped me, held me down and tortured me,’’ she got out. She couldn\ look at the man she\d known most of her life as heat flamed her cheeks. ’’That\s why I\m wearing Valiant\s sweater. He and the other New Species got to me before they seriously injured me but they stripped me down to my panties.’’

’’Son of a bitch,’’ Sheriff Cooper cursed. ’’Did they rape you, Tammy?’’

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