Small twigs crunch under my feet as I move
from the main path into the small woodland. My concentration stays with my
phone until a squirrel jumps from a nearby branch. Stopping to admire the small
creature, I hear a second pair of footsteps echoing in the distance. My heart
begins to race when I don’t see anyone approaching. Studying the trees, nothing
looks suspicious. I loop back around and hide behind a large trunk, waiting to
see if anyone appears. My breath hitches as someone begins to move towards me.
To steady my nerves, I count to ten, waiting for the person to move closer. I
leap out from behind the tree and push the rock hard body against the bark. My
eyes wander up his face, lingering on his lips before I meet Bear’s brooding
eyes. The surprise on his face would be comical if I didn’t feel so on edge.
“What are you doing? You almost gave me a
My adrenaline is still working overtime.
“Whoa, you’re strong for a little thing.”
He smiles with amusement.
I hold him tightly in place, although he
could probably push me away if he wanted to. We stare at each other, neither
one of us willing to back down.
“I’m not sure that was a compliment. Why
are you following me?”
The stiffness in his shoulders loosens.
His face is unreadable. “It’s not safe for you to be walking around these woods
I’m a modern day woman and capable of
looking after myself. Besides, why would he care what happens to me? We haven’t
known each other that long and we’re only co-workers. “Strange men like you
could be following me, you mean?”
He frowns. “For all you know, there could
be a serial killer lurking in these woods.”
“Or a potential stalker?”
We stare at each other without speaking
for a second. Why is he so confusing?
“Sorry for looking out for you.” His words
almost sound like an accusation. I haven’t done anything wrong.
“It’s the middle of summer and as light as
midday. Besides, I’m a big girl. I can look after myself. What have I done to
make you think otherwise?”
bet all murder victims say that.”
He’s trying to make me laugh. My eyes
soften, although I keep my expression neutral.
“When was the last time anything remotely
interesting happened here? The only thing that’s scary is the theme park rides,
and they are built for thrills.”
His lips tighten. As we stare at each
other, I slowly become aware of where we are. The surrounding forest begins to
breathe again as the tension leaves my body. I ease away, allowing him to
regain his balance.
“Why didn’t you just ask if you could walk
“I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea.”
I roll my eyes. “Get over yourself.”