Collin lifted his hands, showing her that he wouldn’t harm her. “I’m not going to hurt you,” he said softly. “If I wanted to harm you, I could have done it ten times over by now.” He hoped she could see that if he really wanted to attack her, he could have done it before she even realized he was there. “I’m not a savage toward women.”
She didn’t move, didn’t respond, and still held the knife toward him. But she wasn’t screaming for him to leave, wasn’t getting crazy with that fucking shank, so at least that was a more positive note.
“Listen, I saw you in trouble, or thought you were at least, so I came to help,” he said in a neutral tone. The truth was Collin didn’t speak in a soft, coaxing manner, and he sure as hell didn’t try to woo a woman into liking him.
He was a bastard on all accounts, bad to his soul, and took whatever he wanted. He had done that with Sparrow all those months back, had planned on having her for himself, because he needed a woman in his life. This life was hard enough without having to be alone and not have a female to warm his bed and pleasure him.
He could be gentle with her when the time came for it, offer her comfort and protection, and in return, she’d be his. No one else would touch her, look at her, or even fucking think about taking her from him.
She would be tied to him until the day he died, and this little female would come to realize that, even if he had to throw her over his shoulder and go all caveman on her ass.
He held his hands out in surrender so she knew he didn’t mean her any harm. “The last thing I want to do is hurt you.”
She opened her mouth, but before any words came out, her eyes widened and Collin heard the crunching of glass behind him. He ducked just as he felt the whoosh of air move over his head. He instantly took note that there were two men standing in the entryway of the store and another one right beside him with a long knife.
He grabbed the blade from where it was tucked at the small of his back, and working on instinct alone, he sliced out, cutting right through the asshole’s faded, holey jeans and right into his leg. The man howled out, fell to a knee, and then the other two came forward. Collin wasn’t about to have this shit, wasn’t about to lose this woman when he had just found her.
He would kill every last bastard to ensure that.
He stabbed the asshole who was on the ground, brought the knife right across his neck, and opened his jugular. Blood sprayed out in a great arch of red, and the gurgling sound of him choking on his own blood brought Collin back to the underground in New York.
He stood, charged toward the man who was standing closest to him, and tried to slice the asshole too. But then he heard a scream from his woman. When he grabbed the man around the neck and spun him around, he saw the woman in the corner, her knife held high and her hands shaking. The fucker who was advancing on her had this sick, sadistic smile on his face.
“Kill him if he touches you!” Collin shouted, and the woman looked at him with wide, frightened eyes. She was afraid, but he could sense it was not because of this particular situation. She was afraid, because she had been in a situation like this before—men coming after her and looking to hurt her in unspeakable ways.
Rage burned brightly inside him, and he saw red. He was a very bad man, but what he had never done, what he would never do, was hurt a woman. These pricks wanted Collin dead to do just that, to take something from her that wasn’t willingly given.
Even if Collin hadn’t claimed this woman—even if she didn’t know it yet—he wasn’t about to let anyone hurt her. He sliced the throat of the other man, and then it was just him and the motherfucker who was facing his woman. He turned and faced Collin, saw his two friends dead and bleeding out on the ground, and bared his rotting and yellowed teeth at him.
Collin would show her that he could protect her, that being with him was safer than being alone.
“You piece of shit. You’re going to die, but not before you watch me fuck her raw and bloody.” The man charged forward, trying to get the upper hand on Collin, but no fucking way was that happening.
This asshole didn’t know who Collin was, who he had been. He was ruthless back when shit was afloat, before the infection, and when the world had been at his feet. But now he was even more savage, even more hardened and cold to everyone and everything.