Her Perfect Mate(10)

By: Paige Tyler


She’d darted sideways while she was in mid-kick. That shouldn’t even be physically possible.

Ivy landed lightly on her feet, a smile curving her lips. “I knew I could get you to take a shot at me, even if it was lame. Then again, I didn’t expect much from another oversized grunt like you. I don’t know why they keep pairing me up with guys like you all the time. Can’t they find anyone with a brain?”

Landon rose from his crouch and moved to the center of the room. When she came at him again, he didn’t want a wall getting in his way. “Guys like me? You’re trying to insult me now? Think that’s going to get me to take a punch at you? What are you, a masochist?”

Her smile broadened. “I already got you to do that. And I’d only be a masochist if you ever got your hands on me.”

He snorted. “Lady, that wasn’t a punch. You’d know it if I wanted to hit you.”

“All talk and no action,” she scoffed. “Isn’t that the Special Forces motto or something?”

Landon knew what she was trying to do and it wasn’t going to work. She must have figured it out, too. She gave up on the verbal jabs and resorted to real ones, coupled with those damn spinning roundhouse kicks again.

He stripped off his camo overshirt and threw it across the room, so he could get down to serious business.

He blocked most of her strikes with his hands and the others with his shoulders, biceps, and thighs. He sure as hell felt them, but he got the feeling she wasn’t hitting him nearly as hard as she could.

His plan was to lure her in close enough to get his hands on her. That way, he could put her down without being forced to throw a serious punch. She might be agile as hell, but if he connected with anything real, he’d break something. His best bet was to get his hands on her and pin her to the floor so he could end this stupid game.

That was easier than it sounded. Ivy was faster than lightning and could twist her body into a pretzel to get out of his grasp. He had her in a perfect jujitsu take-down position several times only to have her spoil it by not going down like she should have. He even planted his knee in her stomach and yanked her backward with him in a throw that should have landed her hard on her back, groaning in pain. Instead, she turned the move into some kind of gymnastic flip and came down as softly on her feet as if she stepped off a street curb.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the two training officers taking notes as they watched. Kendra was actually smiling. Landon clenched his jaw. What a couple of asses.

On the other side of the room, Ivy spun around to face him. Eyes narrowing, she ran directly toward him. He automatically braced himself for another blow, but at the last second she darted to her right, jumping at the wall and rebounding off it like she was an extra in some Jackie Chan movie, then ricocheting back at him, her right leg coming around in a roundhouse kick.

Instead of getting out of the way like any sane person would have, he moved closer, getting underneath her swinging leg and grabbing her shoulders. He avoided her foot, but ended up taking a knee to the left side of his rib cage. It hurt, but it got him inside her defenses. He was going to get a grip on her, and this time she wasn’t going to get away.

That’s when he realized her kick had only been a distraction. He’d been so busy watching her feet he hadn’t even noticed her open hand coming toward him. He did a double take. She was going to slap him? His mind registered surprise for half a millisecond before her hand angled down to sweep across the front of his T-shirt.

Landon felt the fabric tug and swore he heard a ripping sound. He even felt a sting. But he ignored it. Tightening his grip on her shoulders, he spun them both around, letting the momentum from her rebound take them down to the floor.

He twisted at the last second, taking the impact of the floor on his right shoulder before yanking her to his chest in a bear hug. If he’d been trying to kill her, he would have crushed a hell of a lot harder. Instead he squeezed just enough to let her know he could hurt her if he wanted to.

They came to a stop with him on his back, Ivy pinned to his chest. She didn’t fight him, simply laid there with her face close to his neck, breathing deeply. Landon couldn’t help but notice how soft her body was against his, and how nice it felt to have her on top of him.

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