Eve stared at the man with the enormous freaking knife in his hand. If she weren't completely wiped out from whatever it was she had been doing to find the vision of that couple, she would have heard him approaching sooner. She might have had a chance to hide. As it was, exhaustion from the mental effort of searching rendered her deaf and dumb. She felt depleted, like a wet towel wrung out too hard. It was all she could do to invent the lie about the boyfriend, but the man didn't look like he believed it for one second.
The panic which provided her the small shot of adrenaline she used to bolt away from him waned, and she struggled to remain standing. Unable to do anything else, she crossed her arms over her chest and kept her mouth shut, waiting for his next move. They stared at each other for a long moment. His biceps bunched as he clenched the knife. Eve's eyes widened as they settled upon the blade, and he moved it behind him, obscuring her view of it.
Her gaze moved from his arm to his chest, which was exceptionally solid, down to his stomach which would have made a washboard look like a pathetic piece of wood. The guy was seriously ripped. He wore a pair of buttonfly jeans which hung low on his hips, no shirt, and he carried no backpack. He looked like he could have been lounging around the house, not tramping through the woods.
An image sprang to mind of him lying draped back on a sofa with a remote control hanging loosely in his hand. She beat it back swiftly, admonishing herself for such a ludicrous thought. Maybe it was dehydration. A more rational train of thought would be suspicion. After all, what kind of person goes hiking this far into the woods with no supplies? He could be dangerous. Like, Unibomber dangerous. She repeated warnings to herself, but now that she couldn't see the knife, she didn't feel scared.
His eyes conveyed something…not kindness exactly, but definitely not danger. And his muscles were relaxed now, not coiled tightly like they were when he burst through the trees. Eve's heartbeat began to dance as she considered touching those muscles to see if they were as hard as they looked. No, she chided herself. She should be thinking about her own safety, not how luscious this man looked. And probably tasted. Stop it, Eve. Think. Where were the rest of his clothes? Not that she wanted him to put on any more of them. His bare chest was perfect, thank you very much.
"Um, is your camp right around here?" she asked innocently.
"No," he replied simply.
A very sexy muscle ticked above his jaw, and then his head cocked to the side. That's when she noticed his eyes. They were deep pools of bright blue. He had heavy brows, currently scrunched up in a tight formation with an expression that was a mixture of irritation and impatience. Her eyes wandered down the perfect features of his face. On anyone else they would have been feminine, but the strong line of his jaw prevented any pretense of femininity. It was hard, and at that moment set in a very stubborn expression of intense concentration. There was a rugged, tough quality to him and she felt herself respond physically to his stare.
His nostrils flared as he inhaled deeply, as though scenting something. Her gaze dropped to his lips, which looked as if they might be soft and kissable, but she couldn't tell because they were set in a thin, angry line. She unconsciously licked her lips.
"How are you doing that?" he asked harshly.
"How am I doing what?" What the heck was his problem?
He huffed an annoyed sigh and leaned over to embed the long edge of the machete into the log with a loud whack. Long wavy brown hair spilled over his shoulders. The diagonal twist of his body as the blade sliced down gave her a full view of his broad back, narrow waist, and an interesting tattoo on his left lower back. At first glance, it looked like a Celtic knot, but the lines of the tattoo seemed to shift and flow with movement. As if the tattoo itself were curving, creating its own shapes as the wind blew through the trees.
His eyes never left hers, but she was visually feasting on every square inch of the sun-kissed olive skin he bared to her. Eve dragged her eyes from his body with a monumental effort. She had to get a hold of herself. That sexy memory clearly affected her more than she'd like to believe. She was totally lusting over a complete stranger with a huge knife in the middle of a deserted forest. She had, without a doubt, lost her marbles.
"How, exactly, are you not looking into my eyes?" he asked her incredulously.
Eve snapped to attention at the question as a wave of embarrassment crashed over her. He was obviously aware she had been checking him out and wasn't flattered in the least. It was time to backtrack.
"Look, it was nice to meet you and all, but I think I'll be on my way now," she said, lamely adding, "I need to go look for my boyfriend." Dropping her eyes to the ground so as to not offend him further, she walked over to the log to pick up her backpack. The air seemed hotter around him, and she kept as much distance between them as she could, but the backpack was beside his boot. As she reached for the shoulder strap of her bag, the man grabbed her upper arm, turning her toward him roughly.
He dipped his head to capture her gaze, and stared intently into her eyes. Her heart seized in panic and she jerked against his grasp. His grip was like a band of steel.
"Look at my eyes," he said roughly.
She did, and then stilled in his arms. No matter how hot he was, this was weird. Make no sudden movements, she thought. Crazed killers hate sudden movements.
"Please let me go," she whispered. He didn't respond, but looked at her harder, his expression at first hot and angry, eventually turning into confusion. Dropping his hand from her arm, he released her with a gentle shove.
"I don't know what you are, but apparently you're immune to me. Since you're not human, you can find your own way out of the woods."
He turned his back to her as he reached for his machete, but before his hand had closed on the knife or Eve could ask what the hell he meant by "you're not human", Michelle burst through the trees and sent the yummy looking crazy man flying across the clearing.