Valiant Page 62

Valiant nodded. ’’Yes. It is an honor to carry the name he chose. I support him and everything he has done for our kind.’’

’’What did that mean when he said welcome to the family?’’

’’You are one of us now. You are family. We do not have parents or uncles or cousins the way humans do. We only have each other. Family is very important to us and all New Species is considered such. Together we stand strong.’’

Sadness filled Tammy. ’’Do any of you know who your birth parents are? I mean, you had to have parents once, right? At least a mother who carried you.’’

Valiant growled. ’’We are all orphans. Our parents abandoned us to hell. They allowed Mercile to create us, we were nothing more than donated material to them, and the females who birthed us were done as soon as they cut our umbilical cords. We learned that from some of the doctors who were arrested.’’

’’I\m so sorry, Valiant.’’ She hugged him, heartbroken over his past. ’’I always said love is all you need to form a family. My mother abandoned me. I will never understand how she could do that but I\m grateful she gave me life. I wouldn\ be here without her.’’

He stared into her eyes. ’’Where is she? Does she live?’’

Tammy shrugged. ’’I have no idea. She dumped me with Grandma and we never heard from her again. My grandma thought she probably died. She said my mom would have at least contacted her for money otherwise. I used to pray that she\d show up one day to tell me she loved me and how sorry she was over leaving me. You know?’’ The pain still made her chest ache a little. ’’That she\d tell me she made a horrible mistake. After a few years I realized it wasn\ going to happen. I began to hate her a little and that turned into outright anger. I don\ want to see her now if she is alive.’’

Valiant smiled. ’’You have me now and I will never leave you, Tammy. You belong to a large family. He or she will always know love and how it feels to be a part of a large group who will love them greatly if we ever have a child. Our child would never suffer loneliness or pain. Or ever experience a loveless life.’’

Her heart broke a little more for him. She heard the pain in his voice. Had anyone ever loved him as a child? She\d at least had her grandmother to love her. Tammy tightened her hold on him.

’’I love you, Valiant. I love you so much.’’

’’I love you too and you make me happy that you love me.’’

The doorbell chimed. Valiant growled. ’’I was going to take you to our bed.’’

’’I would have let you.’’

The doorbell chimed again. Valiant released Tammy when she stepped away from him. He stormed to the door, looking irritated. Tammy had to fight a grin. He had no patience whatsoever. Valiant flung it open.

’’We have a problem.’’ Tiger stood there looking grim. ’’Sheriff Cooper called us. Two more women have been taken from the town. They need our help to track them. I need your help, Valiant. I know it is not Tammy this time but these women work for us. You are one of our best trackers with your stronger sense of smell and though other males from the Wild Zone have keen senses like yours, I can\ trust any of them around humans. The humans lost the tracks in the woods. Will you help?’’

Valiant studied Tiger. Long seconds passed.

’’Valiant?’’ Tammy waited until he glanced at her over his shoulder. ’’Please help them.’’

He blinked at Tammy before he nodded. ’’I will do this for you.’’ He moved toward the bedroom. ’’Let me change my clothes. I will be with you in a minute.’’

’’Thanks,’’ Tiger whispered when they were left alone.

Tammy nodded. ’’Do you think this is related to the men who took me? Their boss should be in town by now unless you figured out who he is. Did you?’’

’’The survivors haven\ broken and given up the name of their boss yet. We have no idea who hired them to kidnap you. I don\ know many details but the sheriff said the women are roommates and they work here at Reservation. They are both cooks who decided to live in town instead of accepting human housing inside the gates. Someone broke into their home and took them. The neighbors heard screams and witnessed at least six men removing the women by force. It happened half an hour ago. They found the van they were taken away in at the location where you were found.’’

’’I hope you find them.’’

’’Me too.’’ Tiger sighed. ’’The sheriff thinks they were targeted because they worked for us. This means that all of our human employees need to be warned and we will offer them protection here again. I don\ know where we will put them but we look after our own. There aren\ that many of them at least. Slade is notifying them and will handle those arrangements.’’

Valiant returned wearing jeans, a black T-shirt, and running shoes. He walked to Tammy, looked down at her, and said, ’’I will be back soon. I will miss you.’’

’’I\ll miss you too and thank you for doing this. Be careful.’’

’’Always.’’

Tammy watched the two men leave. She sat on the couch and began to worry. She wondered if she knew the two women, if they were locals she might have grown up with, and wished she\d asked Tiger their names. She stood suddenly and walked to the phone to dial her boss, Ted, at home. The phone rang six times but his answering machine picked up. She left him a message to warn him that he might be in danger just in case New Species hadn\ thought to contact subcontractors who dealt with them.

She was worried about Ted and all the people she worked with. They\d done more than a few catering jobs for Reservation since that first one when she\d met Valiant. She proceeded to call her other coworkers but got their machines as well. She left them messages and included the phone number printed on the phone so they could call her back. She wondered where they all were, hoped they were out on a job, and not also kidnapped.


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