Suddenly, a shadow is cast over the pages of my novel. The sun is blocked by something … or someone.
As I peer up with furrowed brows, I see it’s Hunter, and my annoyed look turns into a cheerful smile.
My eyes light up the moment I see him. He’s towering above me, wearing ragged pants and a flimsy tank top, which barely covers his broad chest. I gulp at the sight, especially because his black jacket makes him look so tough.
He’s like a motorcycle rider, only he isn’t. He just looks like one.
Hunter goes to his knees and snatches away my book.
“Hey!” I snap. “I was reading that.”
“Yeah, ‘was.’ And now you’re not.” He holds out his other hand. “Get up.”
I grab his hand, and the moment my fingers touch his it sends electrical shocks through my entire body. He’s so strong, he can lift me in one go without my help. My boobs bounce from the way he jerks me up, and I see his eyes flick to them for only a fraction of a second.
I gulp, and a flush spreads across my face as I pull my shirt up higher.
“What’s this for?” I say.
“Time for some training.” He leans forward, grabs the blanket, and folds it up.
“Yes, now. My classes are finished, and by the looks of it so are yours. We don’t have much time, so let’s make the best use of it.”
“B-but I have to study and―”
“But, but, but,” he mocks, making a pouty face. “If you wanna learn how to defend yourself, you gotta put in the effort.”
I frown. “I was busy. You think I’m just going to adjust to your schedule?”
“You can read a book anytime you want. I can’t do this with you anytime I want. If I could, I would, trust me,” he grunts with a thick voice that makes me shiver.
My pupils dilate when he says that, and my core heats up. Damn, why does he always do those things? And why do I find it so goddamn attractive?
He steps back a little, putting on a cocky smile as he throws my … his book in the grass. Then he throws the blanket on top of it. Grinning, he takes off his jacket. The lines of his muscles show clearly through the thin fabric of his tank top, and my heart is already beating in my throat just seeing it. His biceps bulge
and for a second I think he’s flexing them.
“C’mon,” he says, rubbing his hands together. “I’m ready for you.”
One of my eyebrows lifts up. “What? In these clothes? I’m not dressed for sparring.”
He snorts. “You won’t be dressed for it when they attack you again either. Now c’mon.” He signals to me with his fingers, lifting his eyebrow only a little to taunt me.
I take a deep breath and place my hands on my waist. He’s gawking at me from a distance, bending through his knees like a professional wrestler. If the look on his face wasn’t so goddamn sexy, I would’ve shaken my head and walked away, but I can’t.
For some reason I’d love nothing more than to tussle with him.
“Well? Are you going to come at me or what?” he says.
Swallowing, I fling my arms and legs to shake some life into them after sitting for so long. I take a deep breath and a good look at him. His tan muscles are already primed, ready to go. He looks like a football player waiting for the ball to be thrown into his hands so he can race off.
“Don’t make me wait … I hate it when girls make me wait.”
I chuckle. “Oh, really? What then? Are you going to kick a wall again or something?”
He muffles a low laugh. “I’ll come after you myself if I have to. And things get rough with me pretty fast.”
There’s some sexual innuendo in there, I’m sure of it. The way he groans makes me want to bite my lip. God, he’s so hot.
Goddammit, I have to stop thinking like that.
No way a guy like him would ever fall for a nerd. He could pick any girl he wants. Who’d want to pick me?
Clearing my throat, I say, “Okay. Here I come.”
After taking a quick breath I bolt toward him. I put all my strength into it, but he still manages to stay upright as I crash into him. He’s like a rock in the ocean, forever unbreakable, and I’m the fish slapping up against it.
I try to tackle him, but instead I’m the one falling on my ass.
He laughs, so loud it makes me feel embarrassed. Everyone can hear him.
“Why are you announcing you’re going to attack? That’s like playing right into my hands,” he says, and he holds out his hand.
I grapple him and try to pull him down, but he remains as balanced as ever. Shaking the finger on his free hand, he says, “You think it’s that easy to bring me down?”
“I’ll make it happen. Eventually.”
He chuckles. “I like your spunk.” He takes a few steps back. “Try again.”
I clean the dirt from my legs and bite on my cheek while thinking about a tactic. If I could only get him to move, then I could take him down. I thought he was going to teach me something, but instead I’m charging into him. Not my idea of learning self-defense.
“C’mon. I can take you, Leafy,” he says, biting his lip.
That name he has for me … God, I hate it. Why can’t he just call me by my real name?
I’ve had enough of his provocations. Maybe I’ll just kick him in the balls instead. That’ll show him not to mess with me.
I know it’s below the belt. Literally. But at least I can try to win this way.
God, I’ve changed, too.
I charge forward without warning this time. As I lift my knee he deflects my leg by pushing it down with his free hand. With the other, he grabs my lower arm.
“You’re getting dirty.” He squeezes my wrist, hard, and makes it impossible for me to escape. “I like it,” he murmurs.
With clenched teeth I fight to get loose, but he won’t release me.
“Put a little effort into it,” he says. “Nobody’s going to be nice for you. I’m not either.”
I slam his arm with my free hand, but he still won’t let me go. It’s like he doesn’t feel anything. Nothing. Nothing at all.
Damn, is he some kind of brick wall?
He chuckles. “C’mon, hit me.” At first it sounds like he’s pushing me, but after a while it becomes plain mean. “Hit me!”
“You’re a wuss. A boneless nerd. You can’t fend for yourself. Can’t live in the real world. Not even one day.”
“Shut up!” I gather all my strength and punch him so hard in the gut his stomach retracts, and he takes one step back. His grip on my wrist loosens, and I jerk myself free.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” I say, my eyes welling up with tears again. “You’re being an asshole, and you know it.”
“Damn, that was a good jab,” he grunts.
“Who cares? You’re a bully.”
He laughs and steps forward. When I try to hit him again, he grabs both my wrists and comes to a halt right in my face. “I’m helping you.”
“Helping me? You’re insulting me, belittling me, and making me feel like a pile of crap.”
“And those guys didn’t?”
“What do they have to do with it?” I snap.
I try to jerk my wrists free, but he won’t let me go.
“Anger helps you fight. It fuels you.” His lips quirk up into a devilish smile. “Guess this is your first time finding out about the power of rage.”
“C’mon. You know I didn’t mean any of it. It’s just to get you worked up.”
“Let me go,” I hiss.
“Make me,” he says jokingly.
I’m so pissed, I kick him against the shin so hard I think I’m going to snap bones.
Instead, I break his stance, and he slips. I see him tumble down to the ground, but not before he grabs my leg and pulls me with him.
I squeal as I land right on top of him.
I’m staring into his face, my body resting on his body.
Oh. My. God. I can’t believe this.
I think my heart has stopped beating, because all I hear is his breathing. My body tenses up, feeling his skin against mine. I want nothing more than to press my body
closer to his.
His chest moves against mine each time he inhales, and these few seconds feel like an eternity.
His hand lifts. When it reaches the top of my head, I swear I’ll fall to pieces right here, on top of him.
Something tickles, and then he retreats. In his hand is a leaf, which was probably stuck in my hair. He releases it and lets it drift away with the wind. Then he stares at me, his eyes suddenly showing a little hesitance. His lips are parted and perky, and all I want is to press mine against his.
And then smack him again.
He’s breathing against my chin, and I feel my groin heat up. I’m getting all wired up because of him.