A heavy, yet gentle hand was placed on my shoulder. I jumped at the touch and whirled to see Nash kneeling beside me. He took his hand back but stayed at my side. Now that he was just inches away from me, I was able to see him in detail. The smooth, velvety shade of his skin, the stubble growing around his mouth to give him a look of maturity and strength. His eyes were darker than mine, yet they weren’t cold. They were warm, trusting, inviting… caring. Emotions I hadn’t seen in years. Emotions that I’d forgotten even existed.
I was surrounded by fresh, cool air and safe for the moment, yet my pulse was racing and I found it hard to breathe.
Nash hesitated, then put his hand on my shoulder again. I didn’t stop him this time. His expression was torn between concern and anger. I didn’t understand the mixture of emotions until he said, “I’m sorry I didn’t get to you sooner.”
I smiled weakly, despite the pain in my face. “Don’t apologize. You don’t know me. My problems aren’t your problems.”
Nash’s eyes narrowed. “I have a serious problem with any man who hurts a woman.”
Good to know we were on the same page.
His fingers slipped from my shoulder to my back. His other hand slipped into mine and pulled me to my feet. He was so gentle that I couldn’t bring myself to chastise him for my lack of permission. I couldn’t remember the last time someone touched me so tenderly.
After what I was going to do to them, I didn’t deserve it.
I shrugged away from Nash’s warm touch and shoved my hand through my soaked hair. I was too rattled to keep playing the victim. After what Tyler and Morris had done, I needed to remember that I was strong.
I turned my gaze to Sawyer. The marauder was standing only a few feet away with a suspicious look on his face. His tawny eyes flicked up and down my body, but not in the lecherous way Morris’s always did. He was gauging me. His mistrust couldn’t be more obvious. Pretending that his interest in my body was nothing but sexual, I crossed my arms over my chest and glared.
“You better not see something you like. I’m in the mood to punch something right now.”
Sawyer’s eyes narrowed to slits. “I doubt you’re my type.”
“Good. Glad we have an understanding.”
From the corner of my eye, I could have sworn Nash was grinning.
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