Be My Hero(3)

By: Linda Kage

"You almost killed her, you fucking bat!" I swiped out again like the wounded animal I was, hurt and cornered, fighting back for my life.

Instead of shooting me as she probably should've done in return, Madam LeFrey scurried a couple steps away until she was well out of my reach. At the same moment I realized her feet were bare, I also realized tears were matted to my cheeks.

A strange surge of surrealism passed over me, making my head light and woozy. A barefoot woman was about to kill me, and I was bawling like a baby. That was just so fucked up.

My vision blurred. I blinked as Madam LeFrey cocked her head to the side, studying me intently.

"You love this girl?" she asked.

I rested my cheek in the mud and fisted my hand around a clump of grass. The pain was beginning to make my stomach revolt and my thinking dull. But I tried to come up with an answer to her question because, hell, I don't know why. Maybe she'd put me out of my misery if I replied.

Did I love Tristy? God, no. Most of the time I didn't even like her. We'd survived through hell together, though, and you didn't just turn your back on a fellow hell survivor. They became a part of who you were and left you bound to always keeping watch over them.

"She's under my protection," I managed to answer, my words slurring for some strange reason. I had no clue if the pain was whacking me out, or if Madam LeFrey was pulling some voodoo crap on me, but I sure as fuck did not like being this vulnerable in front of her.

When ice-cold, gnarled fingers touched my pulse, I jerked under the pressure but couldn't seem to pull away. Turning my face, I opened my lashes and looked up at her. Pale, watery blue eyes held me captive as she peered straight inside me.

"Your friend doesn't care enough, no," she said. "But you . . . you care too much."

A hollow laugh escaped me. Here I was, ready and willing to die, and she was calling me caring. Yeah right, not giving a shit sounded real compassionate.

I had no clue what had happened to her gun, but it was nowhere in sight. If I had spotted it in that second, I might've grabbed it from her and pulled the trigger myself. But there was only me and her now. Her freaky pale blue orbs saw everything and more, making me shiver and wish she'd just put me down already.

"Please," I begged, my words slurring in the cold breeze.

"You've had a hard life but possess a pure soul," she said, ignoring me as I begged for death. "Hope drips from you like water in a leaky bucket. If it dries up, you'll turn hard and brittle. Like your friend." Her fingers shifted toward my eyes. I squeezed them shut right before she pressed both her thumbs into each of my sockets.

"What the fuck?" Was she going to pluck my eyeballs out? That sounded like it'd hurt. And I just wanted everything to stop hurting.

I grabbed her wrists to pull her off. "Let go." But as soon as my fingers latched around loose skin draped over frail bone, something happened and I couldn't move. My fingers locked into place around her, and I couldn't retreat, couldn't attack.

I was paralyzed.

"Don't worry." Her voice echoed between my ears as if she were speaking inside my head. "I'll give you your hope back."

That's when it happened. I have no idea how else to explain it except I was transported, sucked right out of my body on that cold wet ground with my ankle on fire and bleeding until suddenly, I was warm and dry, without a pain in the world and stretched out on a bed, buck-ass naked while the softest skin of the girl under me slid against mine.

Whoa! I was having sex with someone on silky sheets and a comfortable mattress. And fuck. Sex felt good after all. It wasn't as demented and perverted as that bastard who'd raped Tristy had made it look. It was sweet and warm, and just . . . really, really good. Better than good. Amazing.

Connected to my partner in the most unspeakable way, I buried myself deeper into her. Her sharp fingernails bit into my ass to keep me there. Desire rippled through my bloodstream as the sweetest, tightest wet heat hugged my dick. The link between us seemed to strengthen as her smell, her softness, her throaty sounds of pleasure attacked all my senses. I glanced down into her face, needing to see what she looked like.

She was beautiful, so beautiful. Probably in her early twenties, though I had a feeling I was too, and she had pale corn silk blonde hair that looked glossy and soft.

Dumbfounded by such pretty hair, I sank my fingers into it as I cupped her face in my palm. Grinning, she parted long, dark lashes to reveal the most amazing set of eyes I'd ever seen. Almost turquoise around the pupils, their color fanned out, turning stark blue and then a bright navy close to the rings of the irises. It didn't seem possible that eyes could change three shades of one color like that, but they did.

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