Her Perfect Mate(105)By: Paige Tyler
She knocked the knife aside with one hand and raked the claws of the other across his throat.
Jeff dropped the knife and clasped his hands around his neck, trying to stop the flow of blood.
Ivy watched as he slowly dropped to his knees, then crumpled to the ground. The anger she’d carried around for so long disappeared. She waited for the light in his eyes to go out completely, then turned and ran for the lodge. She was done here. She needed to find Landon and make sure he was okay.
Landon lost his weapon somewhere on the headlong slide down the hill, which ended with him smacking against a jagged rock—hard. He ignored the pain and got to his feet as quickly as he could.
Stutmeir was already on his feet, a wicked looking survival knife in his hand. It was sharpened on one side and had a ragged set of saw teeth on the other. Stutmeir moved a little gingerly, as if he’d landed awkwardly. Or maybe the man was just faking it, trying to suck Landon into attacking him.
Landon took a quick look at his own arm, assessing the damage. The cut was deep and jagged at the top of his bicep, but it got shallower as it ran down his arm. It wasn’t much more than a scratch near the elbow. It was bleeding a lot, but it wasn’t life threatening.
Landon saw his M4 out of the corner of his eye. It was at the bottom of the slope, maybe fifty or sixty feet away. It might simply be how the weapon was lying in a crevice, but it looked like the collapsible stock had collapsed a whole lot more than it was supposed to. At least Stutmeir didn’t have his gun, either.
Landon reached down for his knife, but the sheath was empty.
Stutmeir spread his legs as Landon approached, balancing his weight on his toes and keeping the knife low. The guy looked like he knew a thing or two about knife fighting. Landon hoped that Stutmeir’s ankle really was gimpy. If not, this could get ugly.
Landon circled around to the right, trying to get on the same level with Stutmeir, but the man slipped sideways to stay in front of him—and keep him lower down on the slope. If his ankle was injured, he wasn’t showing it now.
Landon was just about to move to the left when Stutmeir kicked out with one foot, showering him with dirt. The ex-Stasi immediately followed the move with a lunge.
Landon backpedaled to avoid the knife, then darted to the side and delivered a quick punch to Stutmeir’s ribs. The blow wasn’t hard enough to break anything, but it made Stutmeir grunt all the same. He’d felt it for sure.
Unfortunately, Landon wasn’t able to capitalize on the rib shot because Stutmeir quickly skipped back a few steps. Was he moving a little more gingerly on that ankle? Maybe, but it wasn’t something Landon was ready to put any faith in.
So they played a game of cat and mouse, Landon moving in a feint and trying to draw Stutmeir into making a mistake, while the ex-Stasi did the same to him. Landon got in a few more body shots. Stutmeir got him with a backhanded slice across the chest. The wound was barely a scratch, but it demonstrated once again how fast the ex-Stasi was.
Landon clenched his jaw. This was taking too long. He considered running down the hill to get his rifle. Even if it was broken, he could use it as a club. But Landon still didn’t know if Stutmeir was faking that bad ankle or not. Turning his back on the man would be suicide.
“Whatever the DCO is paying you, I can double it.” Stutmeir’s breathing was ragged. “I’ll even throw in a few thousand extra if you bring that cat bitch with you. She could be a real asset to me.”
Landon would have been more concerned with how Stutmeir knew about the DCO if he wasn’t so pissed.
“Like hell I will.”
Letting out a roar, he threw himself at Stutmeir.
They hit the ground hard, but because Landon was on top, Stutmeir took the brunt of the impact. That didn’t keep him from trying to carve up Landon’s face.
Landon caught Stutmeir’s knife hand in one of his. Then he slowly forced the knife back toward the man’s chest.
Stutmeir grimaced, straining to keep the blade away with one hand while he used the other to punch Landon anywhere and everywhere he could reach.
Landon ignored the blows. He was focused on one thing and one thing only—exerting more and more pressure on the knife until he wore Stutmeir down.