Valiant Page 7

’’Really?’’ Tammy was extremely grateful not to be mute anymore. She felt calmer now that she wasn\ frozen with terror. She was adjusting to how the guy looked and since he\d brought her inside his house, he seemed more human than animal. He talked to her instead of just growling. ’’I disagree. You\ e huge and I\m small in comparison. The two don\ add up.’’

He watched but didn\ try to stop her as she climbed off the bed on the other side to keep the large piece of furniture between them. Tammy stood on shaky legs and faced him. She studied him as he watched her, only he smiled while she remained wary.

’’I disagree. I think we could work. Do you think I\d hurt you? I wouldn\ . I can be very gentle when I need to be.’’ His gaze raked over her body. ’’I admit it\s going to be tough to keep all my urges in check but I would.’’

’’I\m not sleeping with you.’’

He laughed. ’’I\m glad. Sleeping is the last thing I want to do with you on my bed.’’

Tammy gritted her teeth, her anger flaring. ’’I\m not doing that either. I don\ do strangers, and hell, I sure as hell won\ be doing you.’’

His smile died and the amusement left as his gaze seemed to grow slightly cold, appearing a little scary. ’’Are you prejudiced? I\m not putting you down for being totally human.’’

She frowned. ’’That\s, well, at least you know what I am.’’ She focused on his mouth. ’’And I couldn\ shred you with my teeth. I\m not scary, Mr. Lion. Is that what you partly are? Lion? Tiger? What?’’

He just blinked but something in his expression hardened. ’’You could say that,’’ he stated slowly.

She\d struck a nerve or something. She swallowed, deciding he looked a tad angry. ’’I\m sorry. I don\ mean to insult you. I\ve never...’’ Shut up, she ordered her brain. She was digging a hole and knew it. ’’I didn\ mean any disrespect or anything. You frighten me, okay? I\ve never met a New Species before today and you have to admit you\ e really intimidating. The one at the gate who allowed me into Reservation mostly looked human. You don\ . If you were smaller it would help but you\ e huge, all muscular, and I know how badly you could hurt me if you set your mind to. I\m probably rambling but stop looking at me that way because you\ e scaring me again. I\m five-foot-four and I weigh a hundred and thirty pounds. You are what? Six-foot-four or five and...’’ Her gaze raked down him. ’’Two hundred pounds?’’

’’I\m six-foot-six and two hundred sixty pounds.’’

’’Huge,’’ she summed up. ’’Way bigger than me and you didn\ exactly walk up to me politely to inform me that I was at the wrong place. You growled at me, glared, and terrified me more than I\ve ever been in my entire life. I never shut up. Never. Ask anyone. You had me so frightened I forgot how to breathe there a few times and I couldn\ have spoken to save my life. I tried really hard too.’’

Valiant\s lips twitched and the anger faded from his features. ’’You never shut up, huh?’’

She shook her head. ’’Never. I\ve heard it since I was about four years old that I can blab anyone to death. My family kept telling me the worst mistake they ever made was teaching me how to talk and if they could go back in time, they\d have taught me sign language so they could close their eyes to shut me up.’’

The man crossed his arms over his broad chest. He grinned, showing those teeth. ’’You\ e really adorable and I enjoy the sound of you talking. You have a really nice voice. Come here.’’

Tammy glared at him. ’’No way. You stay over there and I\m happy right where I\m at.’’

’’Come here,’’ he ordered again.

She crossed her arms over her chest the exact way he had his and her eyebrow arched. ’’No. I want to leave now.’’

His arms dropped he sighed. ’’I\m not going to hurt you. Remember that.’’

Oh shit. Tammy tensed. She was certain she wasn\ about to enjoy whatever he planned to do. He at least warned her before he moved, rounding the bed fast. She jumped on top of the mattress, hit it on her hands and knees, and started to scramble across it since she didn\ have anywhere else to go.

A hand suddenly gripped her ankle, gave a hard enough jerk that knocked her flat to her belly, and he rolled her over onto her back. In the blink of an eye Valiant crouched over her until inches separated their bodies. He didn\ put any of his weight on her but she was pinned between his arms and legs on the bed.

His gaze locked with hers. ’’Let\s try an experiment.’’

’’Let\s not.’’ Her heart pounded. She didn\ try to touch him to push him away even though she wanted to shove at his chest. Fear gripped her. ’’Please?’’

He smiled. ’’I insist.’’

She stared at his sharp teeth and swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. ’’Um, you look scary when you show your...uh...teeth. They look really sharp.’’

He didn\ get angry. In fact, her words seemed to amuse him greatly. ’’The better to eat you with,’’ he teased softly.

Tammy\s heart flipped inside her chest. ’’That\s a bad joke, right? Please tell me you\ e just kidding.’’

’’I\m not a wolf.’’

’’I\m not wearing red.’’

’’I still want to eat you.’’

She was shocked by his candor, and realized that no man had ever spoken to her that way before. He didn\ attack her but instead seemed happy to just peer into her eyes. She calmed a bit.

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