Valorous - M.S. Force

Chapter 1

She’s in shock. That’s the only possible explanation for the glazed look in her gorgeous brown eyes as well as the unusual and pervasive silence between us. She’s trembling so violently that I want to call a doctor to give her something to calm her down. I’m at a total loss as to how to comfort her.

I’ve brought her to my home, hoping to protect her from the feeding frenzy going on outside hers. All my worst nightmares have come to life, but my worst nightmares have nothing on hers. With her painful past made public for the world to dissect, she’s lost her job as well as her anonymity, and it’s entirely my fault.

I want to get on the phone with my people—lawyers, publicists, anyone who can get me the blood of the man who hurt her. I want to get Leah over here, because Natalie needs a friend. But I’m afraid to leave her alone for even the short time it would take to make calls that might help. Her silence is freaking me out. I liked it better when she was sobbing. That I understood. The eerie silence… That scares me.

Then I remember how she admired the big tub in my bathroom—the one I’ve never used in the ten years I’ve owned this place. Leaving her curled up on my bed, I go into the bathroom and start the bath. Under the counter, I find a bottle of body wash that can be used to make bubbles. Keeping one eye on her and another on the tub, I wait until it’s three-quarters full before I turn it off and return to her.

Sitting on the edge of the mattress, I kiss her cheek, which is cold under my lips. “Hey, Nat, I ran you a bath. It might feel good to warm up.”

She doesn’t protest, so I help her up and out of her clothes and then pick her up to carry her into the bathroom, where the tub full of steaming water and bubbles awaits. Two nights ago, we made love for the first time, yet nothing about this is sexual. When I deposit her into the water, I end up with wet sleeves, so I remove my shirt and take a seat next to the tub.

“Sweetheart, will you talk to me?”

“Nothing to say.” Her voice is dull and flat, as are her eyes. The tears that roll silently down her cheeks break my heart and threaten my own composure. I have to do something—anything—to help her.

“I’ll be right back.” I get up to go into the other room to find my phone and a dry shirt. I’ve missed thirty-two calls and forty-six text messages. I ignore all of them and call Gabe at Quantum. He runs our BDSM club and acts as Quantum’s head of security in New York.

“Flynn,” he says, “are you all right?”

“I’ve had better days. I need a doctor for Natalie. Do you know someone who can come here and be discreet?”

“My cousin. I’ll call and set it up.”

“Thanks, Gabe.”

“Let me know if there’s anything else I can do. We all want to help.”

“I will, thanks again.”

I return to the bathroom, where Natalie hasn’t moved from where I put her. Tears continue to leak from her eyes, every one of them a knife to my heart.

“Flynn,” she whispers.

“What, honey?” I kneel beside the tub. “I’m right here. What do you need?”

“I’m going to be sick.”

I grab the trashcan from the floor and get it to her just in time to hold back her long dark hair as she heaves violently. “I need to