Her Perfect Mate(104)

By: Paige Tyler

Letting out a growl, Ivy turned and ran. Within a few hundred yards, she broke out of the heavier old-growth forest, where she picked up his scent again. It was stronger now. He was close.

Movement caught her eye, and she saw him. He was running through the trees, toward the trail that would lead him to the main road. Ivy sped up, determined to cut him off before he got there. With a snarl, she launched herself through the air and pounced on him like the small, scurrying rat he was.

Jeff cried out and tried to twist away, but his own momentum worked against him and he fell to the ground. She tumbled over him, digging her claws into his shoulders and the backs of his thighs as she rolled.

She landed on her feet a few yards away, hands on the ground as she prepared to pounce on him again. When she lifted her head, Jeff was already on his feet, flipping his submachine gun around. It was almost too easy to swipe it out of his grasp and send it spinning into the air.

Jeff swore, his eyes darting to the trees where it had landed, as if he wondered whether to go after it. He must have decided against it because he pulled a knife and dropped into a defensive stance.

Ivy approached him slowly, moving first one way and then the other, testing him. She’d injured him pretty good with her initial attack, not to mention when she’d almost gutted him back at the lodge when he’d tried to rape her again. He wouldn’t have much mobility in his arm or be able to push off with his legs.

“What are you waiting on, bitch?” he demanded. “Attack if you’re going to, so I can gut you like I should have done years ago.”

Ivy stilled, then stared directly into his eyes, letting a slow, drawn-out hiss escape her lips.

Jeff flinched. But he quickly found his spine again and hissed back at her in his own crude way. “Maybe you’re just thinking about letting me finish the game I started back in the lodge? Maybe you want to get on your hands and knees and take it like the animal you are?”

Ivy snarled. Jeff might get in one shot with his blade, but she was going to make him sorry he’d ever met her. By the time she was done, he was going to beg her to kill him.

“You sick bitch. I can see you want it.” Jeff motioned her forward with his free hand. “Come and get it.”

Ivy felt the last vestiges of her human side disappear. She could barely remember who Jeff was, much less what he’d done to her. All she knew was that she wanted to destroy him for it.

Only she didn’t want it to be this way. She wanted to be there when it happened, wanted him to know it was Ivy and not some animal who finished him.

But she was too far gone to ever come back. She didn’t even know how to begin regaining control. Being this deep, she wasn’t sure if she would ever be in control again.

An image suddenly flashed into her mind of her and Landon sitting in a tent in South America. It was so vivid, she could smell him. So intense she could feel his fingers as he tenderly wiped away her tears.

Your animal nature is part of what makes you so good in the field, but it’s not the only part. His voice was soft in the darkness. Your human side plays a part, too. You can’t let one part shove the other into the backseat. You have to be the one in control.

Then he had kissed her, and in her memory, the feel of his mouth on hers was just as powerful as the real thing had been.

And just like that, a path appeared before her, showing her the way back to the Ivy she wanted to be. She grasped at the memory of the kiss as if it were a lifeline leading her out of a dark cave. She focused on Landon’s face, on the touch of his lips, on the way his eyes had filled with tears when he’d rescued her.

“What’re you doing, bitch?” Jeff smirked. “Daydreaming about what I’m going to do to your freak ass?”

Ivy smiled, showing him her canines. She was herself again. “I was just imagining how much better the world is going to be without you in it.”

He snorted. “You don’t have it in you to kill me. The only chance you had to finish me was while you were wrapped up in your inner beast.”

Ivy didn’t answer. Instead, she walked toward him, clawed hands down at her side.

Jeff lunged at her with his knife—just like she knew he would.