Strength of an Assassin(8)

By: Stormy Glenn


He didn’t look as if he believed me.

“My name is Samson.”

“Henry.”

I felt a smile tug at my lips. “Henry.” There was still wariness in Henry’s eyes, but it was fading with each passing second. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Henry. I’ve waited a very long time.”

I moved slowly when I lifted my hand this time. I wanted to give Henry plenty of opportunity to move away if that’s what he needed to do. I considered it a win when he didn’t pull away. He just watched me until my hand brushed his cheek, and then his eyes snapped to mine.

The fear was back.

“Remember, I will never hurt you.”

Henry continued to watch me with wary eyes as I brushed my hand over his cheek, down his throat to the juncture where his neck and shoulder met.

“I bit you already, but I’ll be doing it again.” I glanced over to meet his eyes. “You should already be feeling the mating pull.”

I was surprised when Henry’s eyes widened. “What?” I asked.

“Omegas don’t get mates.”

I chuckled until I realized he was serious. “Who told you that, Henry? It’s not true. Every shifter gets a mate.”

He should know that.

“Omegas don’t.” Henry sounded so sure.

“If omegas don’t get mates, then why do we both feel the mate pull?”

Henry’s eyebrows drew together. “I don’t know.”

“I do.” I leaned down and pressed a kiss to the top of Henry’s head. I didn’t miss the slight inhale that came from him, but chose to ignore it. “And I can promise you, omegas get mates just like every other shifter.”

When I lifted my head and looked down at Henry, the man had tears in his eyes. I quickly sniffed the air to see if he was afraid. He didn’t seem to be, but…

“What’s wrong, Henry?” I asked in a soft voice, almost a whisper.

I needed to remember to be gentle with Henry. He had been horribly abused. The bruises on his skin attested to that. I couldn’t go all beast on him. It would make my mate scared of me, and that was the last thing I wanted.

“The guards”—Henry swallowed hard—“they beat me pretty badly. I don’t think I can go another round with them.”

I clenched my jaw for a moment. “I know, Henry.”

Henry’s brown eyes snapped to me. “You know? But how did you…you smelled them on me.”

“I did, and I will kill them for what they did to you. I’m just glad you were strong enough to survive the beatings. I am blessed to have found you.”

“You know I can smell a lie, right?”

I lifted my eyebrow again. “Am I lying?”

“No, but…” Henry’s frown deepened.

“I have this friend. We used to just be coworkers, but recently we became part of a pride and we developed a friendship. He was out on an assignment when he accidentally shot his mate. Granted, he didn’t know the guy was his mate at the time, but he still put a bullet in his spine. Now, Sinclair is in a wheelchair, and will be for the rest of his life.”

“How could he shoot him?”

“It was an accident, Henry. Sinclair got in the way of a bullet meant for someone else. Stone had already fired the shot. There was nothing he could do. He spent the next five years denying himself his mate because he felt guilty.”

“Oh.”

“Not to worry.” I smiled at the sadness I could see on Henry’s face. “They’re together now and very happy.”

“Does it hurt him?”

I chuckled as I pictured how pissed Sinclair got when he crashed his wheelchair. “Only when he falls out of his chair or runs into something.”

“You shouldn’t laugh.”

I laughed even harder as I hugged Henry to my chest. He made my heart feel lighter. “I’m not laughing at Sinclair being hurt, Henry. I was just picturing how pissed he gets when he crashes his chair.”

I saw the first sign of Henry’s backbone when he said, “It’s still not nice to laugh.”

I couldn’t have been more thrilled with his disagreement. Not so much the words, but that he felt safe enough to voice them. It might have been just a small bit of progress, but it was still progress. I wanted Henry to feel comfortable enough with me to argue, to rant and rave, to do anything he wanted to do.

“I have another friend who was sent out to eliminate his mate. Once he realized that his mark was his mate, he moved heaven and earth to save him. We all did.”

“Are all of your friends…uh…”

“Killers?”

Henry gulped.

“We’re panthers, baby. That’s what we do.”

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