Valiant Page 65

The car started. Tammy tried to calm down, realizing how dire her situation had become. Think! The New Species checked trunks. She\d seen them do it to a car in front of her the first day she\d visited Reservation. Two of the security officers had checked Tammy\s van next.

They\d done a very thorough job. They\d even opened the mini refrigerators inside the back of the van and opened sealed trays to make sure they carried food and not weapons. They\d used handheld devices over the food to make certain nothing had been stashed inside.

She\d be found. Charlie Artzola wouldn\ get her off Reservation. She knew large, thick walls enclosed the entire place with only two entry gates. He wouldn\ be able to get her out except to go through those checkpoints. Tears of frustration slipped down her cheeks and she couldn\ even wipe them away. They\ll find me.

The car slowed at one point but didn\ stop before it picked up a lot of speed. A long time passed. The car finally stopped. Hope soared inside Tammy. At any second one of the security officers would make the attorney open the trunk. They\d discover her, she\d be rescued and returned to Valiant.

Instead the car moved again, picking up speed. More time passed. The car stopped again, the engine died, and Tammy fixed her gaze toward the top of her prison. It was dark inside, pitch black, she couldn\ see a thing, but she knew where the trunk lid opened. Any second she\d be saved. She heard keys. Hope soared.

Light blinded Tammy when the trunk was jerked open. Tammy looked up but she didn\ see a New Species face. Charlie Artzola glared at her instead before he turned his head to look at someone else.

’’I told you they\d just wave me through. They trust me.’’ The jerk snickered. ’’Here\s the bitch I told you about. They wanted a marriage license. She wanted to marry one of those animals. She\s living with and screwing him. He looks worse than the rest of them do. He doesn\ even appear kind of human. He is a tiger or something. He is about as freakish as I\ve ever seen.’’

Tammy screamed inside her head. NO! The officers at the gate couldn\ have just waved him past. Another man walked closer until Tammy stared at the face of a man in his sixties. He wore glasses and was bald. He looked as if he could be someone\s nice grandfather. That was until he turned a pair of ice-cold green eyes on her that froze her. He frowned.

’’So,’’ the older man said softly. ’’We finally have a test subject. She survived breeding with one of them. Something about her attracted one and, if my theory holds, that chemistry should attract 927 to her as well. You said the one she was breeding with was a tiger? Well, let\s see how she fairs with a dog.’’ He laughed. ’’I hope he likes her as much as the tiger did.’’

Two scary thugs in their twenties suddenly stood over Tammy. They reached for her and lifted her out. One of them gripped her legs and the other one grabbed her under her armpits. They hauled her out of the car. She saw a flash of trees while they carried her between them as though she were a large bag.

She glimpsed a house a white one badly in need of paint. It was a single story and she didn\ recognize it. That meant she wasn\ close to town. As they entered the structure she stared up at a cracked, plaster ceiling. They dumped her on a soft mattress.

The twin bed had been set up inside a living room. One of them grinned at her and pulled out something from his back pocket. He yanked her hands up and handcuffed her to something above her head. She couldn\ turn her head to see what he\d locked her to but then her legs were jerked down flat and straight. Metal enclosed each ankle. The scary one by her head leaned over to stare into her eyes.

’’Wait until you meet 927. He\s going to love you.’’ He laughed, his gaze lifting to the other man. ’’For about ten seconds until he snaps her neck and kills her.’’

Tammy heard the other man laugh.

The jerk still leaning over Tammy looked down. ’’I almost feel sorry for you. 927 is the meanest beast ever made but since you like to do their kind, I guess you might enjoy the rough treatment you are going to get when he mounts you. If he\ll mount you. The Doc thinks he might since one of his kind liked you.’’

’’Get away from her,’’ the older man demanded loudly. Tammy recognized his voice. ’’We don\ want your smell on her because he\ll just kill her outright since he hates the two of you so much. We need her to smell like the tiger.’’

Valiant. She silently screamed his name. Would he be able to find her again? Save her? Would he even know by now that she\d been taken? That someone had kidnapped her?

Tears streamed down her face. She screamed again in her head. Valiant!

* * * * *

’’This doesn\ make sense.’’ Tiger frowned at Valiant. ’’Why would they take those two women, walk them a few miles from their home and just leave them tied up alone? It was too easy to find them.’’

Valiant shrugged. ’’I do not know but they are fine. That is what matters, right?’’

Tiger nodded. He glanced at the three other men that he\d brought along on his team. They watched him back. Tiger sighed. ’’Something just isn\ right. I can\ put my finger on what it is but this just makes no sense. What was the point of taking two women to just tie them up and abandon them?’’

One of the men shrugged. ’’They are human. They sometimes don\ make sense.’’

Sheriff Cooper approached Tiger and his group with a wide grin on his lined face. ’’Thank you so much. Again, we owe you. The women are fine. They were scared but they only have a few bruises. They wanted to give you their thanks. They said the men didn\ talk to them at all. The only thing they heard was one of the men asking if they thought they had moved them far enough for them to be hard to track. It doesn\ make sense to me but that\s all they heard. The women said the men carried them through the woods, took turns tossing them over their shoulders to get them this far, and just dumped them at the base of that tree. They tied them up good and just took off.’’

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