20 Time's Up!
I wake up to Chris’s hand on my shoulder gently shaking me. “Time to get up, little one.”
What I wouldn’t do for two more hours in bed. My body is aching.
He on the other hand, looks well rested and has already showered, dressed and is ready to go.
Once I begrudgingly sit up, he heads for the door. “I’ll meet you downstairs for breakfast, don’t take too long.”
I get up stretching my sore muscles, my legs being the worst. I frown, realizing that I won’t be able to run or climb much today. Once I clean up and change, I make my way down stairs.
The kitchen is already a buzz so I slip past the mass of people and move towards the food. My stomach is reminding me how little I’ve eaten in the last twenty four hours. Right as I grab a plate to load up, Sara and Claire spot me and quickly sweep me away into another room.
“Time to socialize later,” Sara chirps with a determined look that makes me frown. “Eat up, we have a lot to go over and not much time.”
‘Oh sure, now she wants to strategize.’ ‘She doesn’t have a choice; I’m all she has left.’
“I don’t know how we can make a go of this.” I dig into the plate Nat passes me, piled high with bacon, eggs and fruit. “I can’t support you like Claire did, and my body is exhausted. I don’t think I’ll be able to run or climb much.”
“That is why I’m the captain,” she chides, not hiding the annoyance in her voice. “Yesterday worked out better than I could have ever expected. You as bait was the perfect distraction, allowing the teams to work.”
“Today however, we need to switch from offense to defense. The game plan will be to outlast.” I can see the wheels turning as she works out the finer points of the strategy, her dark eyes ablaze with determination.
“After yesterday’s cliff stunt, nicely done by the way, Chris isn’t about to let Jace take you down.” Claire beams as she continues, “So he will send Jace after Sara and go after you himself.”
The door opens to Alisa carrying in a pile of clothes. “Got them,” she declares triumphantly. The stench hits me as the clothes are dropped beside me.
“Your scent will be our secret weapon. We’ll help disguise it with these,” Sara says as she grabs the dirty laundry. “I’ll be wearing some of your clothes too. Hopefully we can confuse them enough to buy us some time. How well can you swim?” Sara asks, as if looking at me for the first time in a new light.
A short time later we are making our way to the starting point. The goal is to keep the guys away from me and Sara. Judging from the looks Chris gives me, it’s working. His expression is somewhere between a hungry predator eyeing a steak, and a petulant child watching another kid play with his toy.
The game starts and we take off running. Once out of sight, we put the plan in motion, swapping shirts before splitting up. She takes the easier path towards the rocks I hid in yesterday, while she sends me down a more difficult path that will come out at the river.
Bzzz- defenders have entered the woods.
Shit I need more time!
I race down the path as fast as I can. Just under two hours doesn’t seem like a long time, but knowing two highly skilled, super sense wolves are hunting me down, it might as well be two days. Relief washes over me as the sound of water reaches me.
“Well played!” Jace emerges behind me with a surprised look on his face.
Shit, now what?!
An angry roar sounds in the distance, grabbing all of my attention.
“I guess that means Chris caught up to Sara,” Jace says as he stalks towards me, an amused but dangerous edge to his voice as he takes off towards the roar. “I suggest you start running.”
I let out the breath I was holding, putting the second part of the plan into motion. After peeling off the layers of clothes and sending them down river on a log, I take off towards the falls.
One more hour, I can do this!
The falls break into view; clear blue water cascading over the low cliff is breathtaking as ever. Carefully, I wade into the water and quickly swim behind the falls, following the blue glow to the heart of the lake.
The shimmering light is just as captivating as before, but I don’t have time to savor it now. Effectively I’m backed into a corner and need to find a place to hide or something.
Off to the left, I spot a boulder big enough to hide behind in the shadows. It will still give me a view of the water, so Chris can’t sneak up on me.
Bzzz- Sara has been eliminated by Chris and Jace.
Crap, still a half hour to go.
She should be as far away from here as possible, if she was able to stick to the plan. With fifteen minutes left in play, the water starts to move as someone swims in.
He slowly gets out of the water like some Greek god. I’m not sure if he’s moving that slow, or if my mind slowed it down to savor every moment. The aquamarine light dances across his bare, broad, muscular chest as he stalks out of the water, scanning the cave. My heart races in excitement as I take in the glorious view from the safety of the shadows.
He pauses on land, sniffing the air as his muscles flex deliciously, craning around trying to pinpoint my location. His hazel eyes glow green in this light, piercing the shadows to my hiding spot. A triumphant grin spreads across his face as he spots me.
“Come on out, kitten,” he teases. “I can smell you.”
My heart hammers as his intense gaze locks on me. The power and desire in his voice has my breathing shallow as I glance quickly at my watch.
Seven minutes left. Stall.
Slowly I get up from my hiding spot, fully aware of his intense scrutiny. I pause to slick my wet tresses away from my face, carefully tucking them behind my ears with my eyes locked on his the entire time. He stands there, staring at me like I’m a feast waiting for him to devour.
“Come here.” His voice is low and seductive, with lust and excitement clear in his eyes. “Now.”
The rumble sets a fire inside me, causing my already tired legs to feel even weaker. My body moves of its own accord, inching around the far side of the boulder towards him as my heart does flips in my throat.
I stop an arm’s length from him, chewing on my lower lip, unsure what happens next. The thin leggings and tight spaghetti strap shirt leave me feeling incredibly exposed under his hungry gaze.
His resolve crumbles as he closes the distance in the blink of an eye. “That wasn’t playing very nice,” he growls, sending shivers down my spine. He lowers his face to the crook of my neck, inhaling deeply.
“You’re mine now,” he smirks against my skin.
Bzzz- time’s up.
My heart hammers as I watch his reaction. He pulls back, staring at me, realizing that he has taken too long and lost. Confusion and anger take over his eyes as his jaw clenches and a low growl sounds.
Excitement dances in me as I close the gap once again, placing my hands on his chest. “Consolation prize?” I ask, raising a brow, knowing full well I’m on dangerous ground. I look up through my lashes trying to gauge his reaction, only seeing the flexing of his jaw as he stares down at me.
In an instant he hoists me up against him, wrapping my legs around his waist. My arms twine around his neck, tangling my fingers in his hair. His lips are on my neck instantly, eliciting a breathless moan. “Chris,” I whimper.
Pleased with his results, he playfully spanks my ass. The move shocks me back into focus as I push off his chest, looking at him. The sensation shoots straight to the tightening in my core. He crashes his lips down on mine, firm and demanding. There’s no asking this time, there’s just obeying.
He sets me down on the boulder, still pressed between my legs. “I can smell your excitement, kitten.” His voice is strained and husky, with his own excitement making itself known against my thigh.
I gasp as his lips land back on the sensitive spot on my neck. His arms start roaming my body, one hand slips around my neck as his fingers knot in my hair. The other one slides up my side, grazing my breast before cupping and kneading it.
I’m a bit overwhelmed at how responsive my body is to him. As if he notices my wavering attention, he growls, pulling me back out of my thoughts. His deft fingers find my nipple, giving it a light pinch. I squirm under his attention, caught between pleasure and panic.
Tightening his fingers in my hair, he pulls my head back, baring my neck fully to him as his lips work their way down to my sweet spot. He bites down; waves of pleasure push the panic from my mind while my hips buck wildly against his. There’s no holding back my moans as they echo around us. He stops just short of breaking skin but I’m sure there will be a mark.
I feel like putty in his expert hands. His powerful body pushes me back against the boulder as he hovers over me. “You have no idea what you do to me, do you?” Chris asks, his voice hoarse as his eyes search mine, flickering between green and brown. “Or what I want to do to you,” he growls against my throat causing a throbbing sensation between my legs.
I’m too far gone to notice another presence enter the cave, but even in his distracted state Chris misses nothing.
“I swear to God Jace, you must have a death wish,” he snarls, nuzzling my neck. Reluctantly, he pulls me back into a sitting position keeping me tightly to him as he keeps his back to Jace.
Embarrassment burns my cheeks as I try to shimmy away but he just pulls me closer. His breathing slowly returns to normal as he turns to face Jace with a murderous expression on his face.
Jace really must have a death wish as he just stands there grinning like a fool. “Enquiring minds want to know, did we win?” Laughing, he raises a brow looking me up and down. Before he can say anything more, Chris shoves him back into the water.
Chris sighs, turning back to me as he drops his head back to the crook of my neck before breathing deeply. The contact sets my skin on fire as I bring my hands back up to his chest.
“Come on, we should head back before anyone else comes looking for us.” The disappointment is clear in his voice, as is the frustration in his eyes.
I sigh and follow him back to the water, slipping in beside him. My cheeks are still flushed from moments ago as my heart and breathing struggle to go back to normal.