Flesh
Author:Kylie Scott

Tell me now. How did you get it?”

 

“I didn’t get it from one of them, okay? It was a nail or something going under the fence. I’m not infected. Stop yel ing at me,” she growled straight back at him, her gaze fierce. “Asshole. Get off me.”

 

“You’re sure?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Oh, thank fuck for that. I’m sorry, but I had to know.” The minute he lifted his leg up off her, she tried to scurry away, scrambling backward on hands, butt and feet, crab style. The grip he had on her pants didn’t let her get far. “Take them off. That needs seeing to.”

 

“It’s just a scratch.”

 

“Don’t give me that. You want me to lecture you on how easily infection sets in? How fast?” He scowled, clinging to the raggedy hem of her jeans as if she was his safety blanket. Her gaze flicked to her feet and his followed. One solid kick from those boots of hers and he would be in a world of pain. Important, given how clearly unhappy she appeared to be. “Please … I mean.”

 

The melting-glass glare and the jut of her chin relented, somewhat. Good enough.

 

“Anyway, you need a bath.”

 

Her neck and face flushed, as the muscles around her mouth moved. The play of colors beneath her dirty skin fascinated him.

 

“Can you get out of my face for one minute?”

 

“Sorry, sorry. Though wouldn’t you feel better cleaned up? Then we can see to that scratch.” Daniel gave her his most trustworthy face, hooking a finger in a hole above the hem of her pants leg in case of failure. “Maybe some new clothes, too? What do you say?”

 

She sniffed disdainfully. “I wasn’t sure if they hunted by scent, or … it was a safety precaution. Messing around with hair and make-up didn’t seem wise, given the circumstances.”

 

“I don’t think they track by scent. Mostly they seem to rely on sight and sound. And, sorry again, but as emergencies rate, you having a bath is definitely one.”

 

Her brows reached for the sky. “You are such an ass.”

 

“But an honest one. Doesn’t that count for something?”

 

“No. Not really.” Gray eyes inspected the worn flooring with great care. Far more than it deserved. “Alright, but I’l deal with my own hygiene issues.”

 

“I appreciate your willingness to cooperate. In that same spirit, you need to know that I’m sticking to you like glue. Where you go, I go.” She opened her mouth to refute, but he got there first. “Nothing dubious, I promise. I’ll turn my back, won’t even peek. You can trust me.”

 

“The house is locked up. I don’t you need you watching my every move.”

 

He shoved his free hand into the space between them, palm up and empty. “Ali, nothing is certain these days. Nothing. Consider it a necessary safety precaution because this can’t work any other way. We need to stick together. I’m sorry, but shyness isn’t a good enough reason for your premature death.”

 

His girl frowned, stopped, frowned some more. Finally, she delivered one short nod of assent. “Okay.”

 

“Seriously?”

 

Her chin moved in the desired direction, but she didn’t meet his eyes. Not even a little.

 

She was nervous. The panic attack, running away, all of it. If he had stopped to think with his big head as opposed to the little one, he might have moderated his behavior some time back, but no. He had been gung-ho the whole way.

 

He was an ass.

 

But, he was the ass committed to keeping her in one piece.

 

“Good. Great.” He released the death hold he had on her pants, something surprisingly hard to do; his fingers stiffly refused to uncurl.

 

“Why don’t I turn my back and let you get out of those jeans so you can get your knee cleaned up? I’ve even got a couple of extra t-shirts if you need, so you can cover up. I’m not going to see a thing. How does that sound?”

 

Her shoulders dropped. “Fine.”

 

Turning his back was harder than letting go of her jeans had been. All sorts of conflict rose up inside him. The girl had no voodoo powers, she wasn’t going to disappear into thin air because his eyes weren’t on her. Christ, he was a case. A bead of sweat slid down the side of his face. His hands shook.

 

The tiny hal way led to a poky lounge with a couple of bedrooms situated off it. Not much chance she would run off on him. Surely.

 

He strained his ears but heard no sounds of a swift retreat taking place behind him. With the shotgun still in the kitchen, care of their mad dash, she had no weapon at hand. Behind him, the sound of shuffling told him she’d climbed to her feet and ditched the dirty, bloody jeans.

 

Still. You never knew. So he snuck a peek over his shoulder.

 

“Hey!”

 

He spun to face her at the tone of outrage, a hand held out to halt her not even happening escape. Ah, fuck.

 

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