The Touch of Her Hands
Aurelia Salazar has a special gift the government wants to know more about. She can heal with just the touch of her hands. For five years they kept her hidden away while they studied her. And then two brave Marines helped her escape and smuggled her out of the country.
When some of the children of the Wind River Pack become ill, Zack remembers the young girl and her unique abilities. He goes to South America to find her and bring her back so she can help. He doesn’t expect to find she’s his mate.
Now, they’re racing against the clock to get her back to the States before it’s too late for the children. But Zack isn’t the only one searching for her. What happens when the scientist that held her prisoner for all those years finds them?
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Zack squatted down next to the girl. “What do you want me to do?”
“Unfasten his belt and pull his pants down.”
Zack wrinkled his nose and moved to do as she asked. He noticed she turned her face away and blushed as he pulled the trousers down past the man’s boxer shorts, leaving them bunched around his calves. “Okay, I’m pretty sure the damn thing’s broken, Medina. It looks bad. I need to call a medical transport, man.”
Aurelia turned back around and glanced at the injured leg. “That won’t be necessary.” She moved closer to Medina’s body and pulled off her gloves. Taking a deep breath, she rubbed her hands together as if to warm them, and then placed them on his thigh.
As Zack watched, a slight orange glow formed around her hands, highlighting each finger. With her eyes closed, she breathed in and out steadily. It was like she disappeared into her own little world. Medina groaned and then visibly relaxed. His head sank back onto the ground as he sighed.
After a couple of minutes, Aurelia gasped and pulled her hands away. If anything, she was even paler than before. “How is it?” she asked.
Medina moved his leg up and down and laughed. “It’s all better, girl. Damn, I’ve seen you do that before, but it never fails to amaze me. You fixed it.”
“What’s going on?” Zack asked. Medina sighed and awkwardly got to his feet. He pulled up his pants, fastened them, and then reached to help Aurelia stand. Zack frowned when she swayed slightly. “Is she all right?”
Medina nodded. “The healings always take something out of her, some more than others. This was minor compared to some of the things I’ve seen her do.”
“It’s time for you to tell me the truth. What are you doing out here? I know you came from the building because you left the door open.”
“I had to. I needed a way back in where nobody could see me.”
Zack crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m waiting. What’s going on?”
“He’s helping me escape.”
Zack frowned and looked at the girl. “Escape from what?”
“The government,” whispered Aurelia.
“I couldn’t leave her in there any longer, man. They’ve been holding her here, against her will.”
“Why?” asked Zack.
“Because of my gift.”
“Your gift? I don’t understand.”
“She can heal people with the touch of her hands,” said Medina. “It’s not a scam. You saw it for yourself. They found out what she can do and they wanna know more. Hell, they’re keeping her drugged most of the time. They’ve been running all kinds of medical tests when she’s unconscious. I’m afraid of what they’ll try to do next. They can’t figure where her power comes from.”
Zack knew all about having abilities one had to keep secret. “How did they find you?”
Aurelia’s eyes filled with tears. “I’d been able to heal my brother’s small cuts and bruises since I was about five. When my father accidentally backed over his dog, I healed him right there in the driveway. Up until then, I’d kept it to myself, but my father was a witness this time.” She wiped at her eyes. “At first, he was afraid of me, but then he began to wonder how he could benefit from my gift. He wasn’t discreet, and before he could make any real plans, the government made him an offer. Basically, you could say he sold me. They gave him money and a small piece of land and then took me away to live in their labs.”
“How long ago?” asked Zack.
“Five years. I was nine years old when I last saw my family.”
Medina grabbed Zack’s arm. “Please, you’ve got to let her go. They’re planning to transfer her soon, and I might not be able to go with her. She deserves a chance at life.”
“Where were you taking her tonight?”
“My cousin is waiting about a mile from here, through the woods. He’s gonna get her out of the country and take her someplace they’ll never find her. I was gonna go back inside and make it look like she’d escaped.”
“Was Raulston in on this?” asked Zack.
“No, but I knew I could get by him. He’s been drinking on duty lately.”
Zack turned away and walked a few feet. When he turned back, his gaze settled on Aurelia. His coyote wanted closer, wanted to protect the little girl. Nobody should have to live their life as some kind of specimen. “For this to work, It’s gonna have to look like both of us were taken unaware. I wouldn’t be able to explain how she got past me while I was on patrol. You’ll have to knock me out and then go back inside and do whatever you can to make it look like you were overpowered.”
Medina smiled. “Then you’ll help us?”
Zack sighed and nodded. Aurelia moved quickly and threw her arms around his waist. “Thank you, oh, God, thank you. Bless you, sir. I’ll never forget you.”
Zack cleared his throat and pushed her away. “Go on and get her to your brother. I don’t wanna know where you’re going. I’ll be waiting by the back door. When you get back, we can set the scene.”
Medina holstered his gun. “Thanks, Wind River. I’ll owe you, man.”
“Call me Zack, please.” He motioned toward the woods. “Go on and get moving. You’re wasting time.” He stood and watched as the two of them hurried toward the northern border of town. Just before they disappeared into the trees, the girl turned back and gave a small wave. For some reason, his stomach clenched. For a moment, he fought the impulse to chase after her, and then turned to make his way back to the building he was supposed to be guarding. It was definitely going to be a long, cold night.