Valiant Page 83

’’I found you.’’ His voice came out raspy, choked with emotion.

Tears flowed down her cheeks but she didn\ try to rein them in. ’’I knew you would.’’

He released her hands and reached through the bars to cup her face. His thumb brushed away her tears. His other hand reached in and gripped her hip. She wished the bars didn\ separate them. She wanted him to hold her but he couldn\ .

’’Are you hurt?’’

’’I\m fine. I was just scared.’’ She suddenly remembered they weren\ alone. She turned her head enough to glance back into the cell but not enough to break contact with Valiant.

927 remained standing where she\d left him. He stared at Valiant and Justice with open curiosity and wonder. He remained utterly quiet and motionless. Tammy glanced at Valiant and then Justice, who stood nearby in a relaxed stance, staring back at 927.

’’This is 927,’’ Tammy said softly. ’’927, this is Valiant and that is Justice North. He\s the one I told you about who leads your people. I told you they would find us if there was a chance.’’

Justice finally spoke. ’’I am Justice, formerly known as 152. We will get you both out of the cage as soon as our men secure the two humans who\ve kept you captive and bring the keys.’’ Justice straightened. His gaze never left 927. ’’You are free now. We are here to take you home to our people. You will be a part of a loving and caring family we\ve established and you will never know imprisonment again. You are a man now and no longer to be known just as a number. You\ll have a real name once you decide on one.’’

Tammy glanced at 927 to see his reaction. He blinked rapidly when his eyes seemed to grow watery and lowered his head until his dark hair hid his features. A few deep breaths later he seemed to get his emotions under control. His head lifted and he stared at Justice.

’’I would be very happy to have a home and a name.’’

Justice smiled. ’’Having a home is a wonderful thing. You\ll be happy with us and I\m sure you\ll pick a perfect name.’’

Tammy fought back tears while watching a miracle take place for 927, after a lifetime of being a prisoner. He would finally know freedom. Tammy smiled and stared at Valiant. She reached up and touched his face.

’’I love you so much.’’

’’I love you too, se*y.’’ Valiant darted a look at the man behind Tammy. His eyes lowered to hers and his features tensed. ’’Did he harm you in any way?’’

’’No.’’

Valiant relaxed but he kept touching Tammy and she understood why. They were both grateful to be back together. Tiger rushed into the back of the warehouse, jingling as he ran.

’’Both of the ass**les are alive and secure. I have keys to his cage.’’ He pulled a ring of them out from a pocket in his vest. He peered at 927 before glancing at Justice. ’’Is he stable? Should I call for backup with a package?’’

’’No need.’’ Justice accepted the keys. ’’He\s fine.’’ He moved to the door. ’’I\m going to let you out now.’’

The second the door swung open, Valiant entered the cell and grabbed Tammy. He scooped her off her feet and almost squeezed her to death in a bear hug while he backed them out of her prison. She didn\ mind at all, just hugging him tightly back, and rested her head against his shoulder to watch what would happen next.

Tiger chuckled. ’’He\s happy to see her.’’

Justice smiled. ’’Yes.’’ He turned his attention on 927. The man stood motionless inside his cell. Justice slowly entered the room, an expression of dread on his features. ’’I hate entering these cages. They bring back so many bad memories.’’ He paused just inside the door.

’’Are you ready to leave here and start your new life?’’

927 hesitated. ’’I\m really free from this, from all of it?’’

’’Yes. There are more of us outside waiting to greet you. We will help you learn how to live beyond these bars. We all had to do it and it is frightening at first. Humans had to help us adjust to our new way of life but it will be easier for you now that we\ e in charge. We will take you home now.’’

927 took one step and then another until he walked out of his cage. He stopped next to Tammy. Valiant swung her down to stand on her feet at her silent urging. She stared up at the New Species who could have hurt her but hadn\ . She smiled when he spoke softly.

’’You did tell me the truth.’’

’’I did. You\ e free,’’ Tammy said softly.

Valiant studied him intently and held out his hand. ’’Thank you for not harming her. She is everything to me. My heart and soul. The reason I breathe.’’

927 glanced at the offered hand with confusion.

’’Shaking hands is a custom we picked up from humans,’’ Justice explained. He moved forward and shook Valiant\s hand. ’’We shake the hands of males as a sign of respect.’’

927 shook Valiant\s hand. ’’You are welcome. I treated her as I wished another would treat a female I cared for. You must be very happy to be loved so greatly by her.’’

Valiant pulled Tammy closer against his body. ’’I have never been happier in my life.’’

’’I\m Tiger.’’ He stepped closer. ’’I\m head of security at Reservation. It\s where your home will be while you adjust to freedom. You\ e going to love it there. There are miles to run and all the deer you can take down.’’ Tiger grinned. ’’No more bars and there are trees as far as your eyes can see. The sky is beautiful. We\ll have some disgusting-tasting beers and watch the sun rise and set. You will hate the taste of the human drink but you\ll do it because it\s an experience.’’ He grinned. ’’You\ll see.’’


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