Chapter 3

Back in shallow water, my gasps were lost behind heavy breathing, not of my own. The stronghold loosened, dropping me onto the sand where water and dry land met before he collapsed beside me.

I looked to this man who had his back to me as he knelt with his head down and fists in the wet sand. His white shirt clung to each and every curve of the muscles in his back that flexed as he pushed up and stood.

"What the hell were you doing?!" His voice was deep, yet smooth, causing me to shiver despite the anger directed at me. Once the initial effects of his voice wore off, I frowned realizing he was actually waiting for an answer.

Wait...who the hell is he to be angry at me?

"What did it look like I was doing?!" I fired back with just as much venom, still huffing and puffing as my breathing returned to normal.

"Something incredibly stupid. Do you know where this beach leads? Did you not see the signs about sharks this time of year?" He continued his verbal assault with so much fury that I could've sworn the trees cowered from his tone.

Pissed off over the fact that this guy had interfered in my plans, then had the nerve to shout at me like I was some child, I jumped to my feet and faced him, dead set on giving him not just a piece of my mind, but the whole damn thing. As I saw his face for the first time, however, my heart did something unexpected.

Beat.

I was staring into the eyes of a God. Dark eyes that were slightly illuminated under the moonlight, matching perfectly with thick dark brows, and medium length hair that he pushed back out of his face.

I'd never seen a man with such perfect bone structure; angular, masculine, just absolutely perfect. I couldn't get over those eyes. Not when they were staring back at me saying so much, while he was saying nothing at all. It was nothing like when my eyes met with Cameron's for the first time. It felt pleasantly different. I felt like something in me wanted to know this guy, or like I already did.

But how could that be? I would remember such a delicious human if I'd seen him.

When I was able to look away, I couldn't help but drop my gaze to the imprint of chest and stomach through his drenched shirt, then down at the jeans that were hanging off of his hips. A God, indeed, but be that as it may, he still stood in my way of what I was after and no matter how drool-worthy he was, he had to face my wrath.

Taking a threatening step toward him, my finger pushed into his stomach, "Do I look like I give a damn about any of that? Well, I don't! I was trying to kill myself and you, Dipshit, ruined that! So, thank you! Thank you for being a fucking superhero when no one asked for your services!"

I gave him one final shove before I stomped away, kicking up sand that wasn't sticking to my wet feet and pants. I should have been grateful that he saved my worthless life, but how can I be happy about something I didn't want?

"Why?" He bellowed from behind me.

That single word successfully brought me to a stop, yet I refused to turn and be trapped by those eyes. There was something about him. Something in the way he looked at me that made me want to fall into his arms and bare it all to him, but I wouldn't. There was way too much to explain and too little time I plan to spend in the company of this stranger.

"Because," I huffed a frustrated breath, "I can. My life is none of your damned business, and I don't answer to you. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to play on the highway."

A firm hand gripped my left elbow then I felt myself being pulled in the other direction.

"What the hell?!" I shouted, turning as quickly as I could to keep from falling over my own feet as he dragged me toward a modern looking beach house.

With my nails digging into the flesh of his rough hand, I planted my feet in the sand to halt his movements since he'd all of a sudden become this mute caveman and was obviously tuning me out. He stopped like I hoped he would but instead of facing me and saying something, he effortlessly threw me over his shoulder, ignoring the fists slamming into his back.

"Put me down, RIGHT NOW!" I scream repeatedly.

Still, he continued into the house, slammed the door behind us. He carried me up the stairs to a large room painted in a rich earthy green tone with dark wood furniture and leather decorating the space. His hand slid over my butt as he gently put me down on the cold hardwood floor, and of course, I wasted no time reacting.

Blow after blow to his chest and arms I swung at him with all I have until he grabbed hold of my wrists and forced me to look at him. Under the dim light provided by a shaded lamp in the far right corner of the room, I could see him much better, and once again, my heart reacted.

Beat.

Lost in the depths of each other's eyes, that was the end of the struggle to get away from him just as he seemed to forget why he was holding my wrists in the first place.

He released me slowly and without looking away. For that moment I stayed put. The smart thing to do would be to run, so, why didn't I? That stranger dragged me into his house to do Goddess knows what, but I couldn't run. My feet felt like lead weights. I couldn't move from that spot and honestly… I didn't want to.

Suddenly he blinked, bringing me back to reality and to all the pain that disappeared as long as he was looking at me. I turned away, suddenly embarrassed about the way I had been gawking, sending my soaking wet curls into my eyes.

I barely saw him move as I used the back of my hand to swipe my hair out of my face. As soon as I was able to see again, he stood before me with two fluffy white towels in his hands. Without hesitation, he began blotting the ends of my hair dry then worked his way up to the root.

First, he saved me, then he wanted to take care of me? I was confused, to say the least. Who the hell was this guy? A soft-hearted serial killer that tends to his victims before chopping them into a million pieces to store in the walls of his house? Couldn't be. If his mission were to kill me all along, he would have left me for the sharks and wouldn't have yelled at me for trying to swim with them.

While he was focused on tending to me, I scrutinized each of his actions and found myself staring at him. Something about him came across as sad. Tormented even. I hadn't noticed before, but his eyes appeared just as lifeless as mine. Pained and lacking any real emotion.

His hands moved through my hair gently. Every now and then I could feel his fingers graze my scalp through the fabric of the cotton towel, and it took everything in me not to moan. All too soon, he removed the damp cloth, tossing it to the floor and took one taunting step closer to me so that our bodies were nearly touching. So close, I could feel the heat from his body radiating into mine.

Towering over me, he peered down through those extremely dark lashes with so much intensity that I shuddered. He was seducing me with his eyes, with his closeness, and I didn't think he realized that he put me in a daze just by lowering his head toward mine.

I let my eyes go to his lips and marveled over their perfect shape. For a human, this man was a dream. Absolutely perfect even with the faint hook-shaped scar just above the right corner of his lips. Along with the dangerously dark features he had, that scar gave him a bad boy feel that I'm sure no woman could resist with him standing as close as he was to me.

Thinking he was going to give me my first kiss ever, I closed my eyes and waited for the contact, to feel the soft curve of his lips and prayed I wasn't bad at it. Instead, I only felt his words.

"Raise your arms." Warm breath fanned across my lips, making me shudder again until I realized what he said and opened my eyes and looked down between us. His hands, knotted in the bottom of my drenched shirt were already preparing to remove me of it. Whatever hold he had on me snapped in that instant.

"Excuse you?!" I slapped his hands away, then took a much-needed step back.

"If you don't get out of those wet clothes you'll get sick and besides," he crossed his arms over his chest and smirked, "you're dripping all over my floor."

Was that supposed to be funny?

"And you think that gives you the right to touch me? To undress me?"

"You seemed fine with it when you thought I was going to kiss you." That calm, confident, tone of his made my blood boil to no end. More than anything, I wanted to slap that sexy—stupid smirk off his face.

"Oh, ok. I see! So closing my eyes because you had your face too damn close to mine is an open invitation for you to strip me. Sorry, I was unaware! Please, proceed and make sure you take pictures to gawk at later!" I held my arms out and smirked back. He narrowed his eyes and leaned against a very fancy looking side table, rimmed with gold. Once again, he crossed his arms.

"What's the matter? Scared now? Fine!" I snatched the wet cream colored shirt from my body and dropped it at his feet. I moved toward the button on my jeans just as quickly, yanked them open and did a quick shimmy to get them over my hips, and kicked them in his direction.

In a black bra and panties that were sticking to me like they'd been painted on, I threw my hands on my hips and stepped directly in front of him.

"So what's next? You want the pleasure of removing my bra and panties to keep me from 'wetting your floor' even more? Want to put on some music and make me dance for you? Or are you a straight to the point kind of guy and want to take me on that king size bed over there?"

He didn't answer me and didn't move. His eyes stayed focused on my face as if he were waiting for something. A tired breath squeezed its way through my lips, and just like that, I turned, snatching the dry towel out of his hand in the process and was backed into the wall before I had the chance to take a step away from him.

Those eyes came down and leveled with mine as his brows fused into one pretty annoyed line.

"I risked my life to save yours and let your rudeness slide because I wanted to help you. If you're truly some messed up, ungrateful, little bitch that doesn't recognize a helping hand when she sees one, then you can get the hell away from my beach and find somewhere else to end your sad little existence."

A chill ran down my spine as he concluded. Being someone with easily hurt feelings, the idea of someone even looking at me through angered eyes usually made me flinch. This guy practically yelled at me, and all I could do was stare at his lips. They moved so perfectly when he spoke, giving me a good view of straight, pearly white, teeth.

Suddenly there was an idea, this desire to steal a kiss and see if those things were as perfect in touch as they were in sight. Biting down on my own, I contemplated it, remembering that my mate said he'd never intimately touch me. Ever.

Realizing this might be my only chance, I pressed up on my toes and planted my lips against his. I expected him to pull away. Instead, his hands slid around my waist, and he pulled himself closer to me.

Slowly his lips moved against mine, causing my body temperature to rise and little butterflies in my stomach to flutter like crazy. This was crazy. I didn't know him, yelled at him for saving me, and just forced a kiss on him that was growing more intense by the second.

I ignored the initial brushing of his tongue against my lips until I feel his teeth rake them so seductively that an involuntary sigh gave him what he was seeking.

Smoothly his tongue caressed both my lips before entering my mouth and taking my breath away. My inexperience didn't take long to reveal itself, and instead of pulling out of the kiss, he slowed his movements, coaxing me to follow his lead. Never in a million years would I have dreamed that a kiss from a stranger would feel like this—so good and have the power to send my body into the state of hunger it was in. To be with him beyond that was downright slutty, but I couldn't seem to care at that moment. This was the most male attention I'd ever gotten, and according to the man that was made to love me, it was all I'd ever get.

His hands were moving sensually on my bare waist, kneading my flesh while his body pressed into me, showing his need through still wet jeans. So deep, so lost in the whirlwind of desire, I hiked my right leg up and wrapped it around his hip and began grinding my core against his obvious erection, setting off a new wave of frenzied moves.

In one swift movement, he had me up on the wall with both my legs around him as his tongue bathed the column of my neck. I couldn't help but moan as he playfully nipped at my neck, sucking the skin into his mouth and released it loudly.

That was definitely going to leave a mark, and I didn't care.

Further and further, I felt his lips move down my neck with tender kisses grazing my collarbone ever so gently. Shoving my hands into his hair, I let my head fall to the side to grant him more access, hoping I'd never come down from this cloud of pure pleasure he has me floating on… until a sharp pain raced through me.

I gasp from the shock, quickly finding that I couldn't exhale. The stinging in my shoulder faded suddenly as pleasure spread through me like wildfire. I couldn't breathe, couldn't speak, and couldn't move.

Stars were shooting off behind my eyes, and every inch of my body tingled like it had fallen asleep. The room grew dark around me. The pleasure increased to an impossibly high level. Just before my eyes shut on their own, I heard the handsome human in my arms growl.

"Mine."