Home > The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male (Bluebonnet #2)(8)

The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male (Bluebonnet #2)(8)
Author: Jessica Clare

He checked every campsite. They all seemed to go in a half circle through the woods and were pretty easy to find. He was disgusted at the sight of them, too. Fire pits too close to tents—luckily for them, the water had washed away any embers—cans and empty bottles everywhere. Some of it was the rain but some of it, he knew, was carelessness, and he hated that. Damn idiots. He hated to see the land being ruined by a bunch of fools. They could stand a few lessons on wilderness survival themselves, he thought. Of course, Grant would see this as a business opportunity.

But Grant wasn’t out here in the middle of the night, in the rain and the mud. Colt was, and he found their lack of care annoying as shit.

The Templar camp wasn’t anywhere in the neat half circle of campsites, and he knew it wouldn’t be. When Lucy had mentioned it, she’d made it sound like quite a hike away, and had noted a stream with a fallen log that he was familiar with. He finished his sweep of all of the other campsites first, just to be sure. He found each one full of debris, camping gear, and discarded foam weapons. The rain hadn’t let up, and the ground was turning into a muddy sludge. Whoever had purchased this land hadn’t bothered to do anything but clear away the trees for the parking lot. No wonder all the cars were stuck in the morass of mud.

When he’d finished checking all the campsites, he doubled back and headed deeper into the woods, looking for the Templar campsite—or Beth Ann.

The trail was mostly washed out at this point, but Colt didn’t need it. Even in the downpour, he knew which direction he was headed; an advantage, he suspected, that Beth Ann probably did not have. But he took his time, searching the area to make sure that there were no other stragglers, and watching his steps. It was dark, and wet, and cold, and those three things would be an unpleasant combination for anyone not used to the elements.

He went farther into the woods, past the circle of campsites. He found the stream Lucy had mentioned, now swollen and overflowing, and crossed the log that served as a bridge to the other side. He’d been making his way slowly through the woods for some time, noticing that the ground sloped up ever so gently, when he heard a loud crash in the brush ahead.

Colt clicked off his flashlight, listening. Despite the steady patter of raindrops, he could hear something moving in the dense trees ahead, so he stopped to listen. While there were a few wildcats in the area—not many—they wouldn’t be out in the storm. Wild boar might, though, or a coyote.

He paused, waiting.

Another crash. Then, a softly muttered, “Fiddlesticks.”

He didn’t know whether to laugh or roll his eyes in annoyance. Of course she was out here. His suspicions were confirmed when a low call of “Lucy? Lucy, are you out here?” echoed through the woods.

He stepped forward out of the brush, toward her.

It took him a moment or two to find her—he was mostly following the thrashes—when he turned on his flashlight again, and the light caught on something glittering.

“Who’s there?” she called at the same time, a bit of hope in her voice. “Lucy?”

He stepped out toward her and caught his first good look at Beth Ann Williamson.

She was soaked. Her long blonde hair was plastered to her skull, her bangs like daggers over her pale forehead. She wore some sort of blanket over her shoulders, and a peach-colored sparkly dress clung to her wet body like a second skin. Her br**sts were outlined by the damp, clinging fabric, and the shadow of her ni**les could be seen through the pale material. Not that he needed that to see them—her ni**les were hard as rocks and standing at attention. Her dress was so thin he could even see the vee of her hips under the fabric, and his c**k automatically hardened at the sight. Her legs were slick and damp and pale with cold. Below the knee, her calves and feet were covered in mud. She’d clearly been wearing a lot of makeup before coming out—it was smeared over her high cheekbones and dribbled down her face in black streams. She clutched a bag in her hand.

She looked like an utter wreck.

At the sight of him, Beth Ann stopped short. A look of surprise crossed her face, and then her eyes narrowed. “What are you doing here?”

He was kind of used to that sort of response from her. They’d formed a momentary truce when Miranda and Dane had gotten engaged, but it had quickly fizzled back into intense dislike on both sides. “I’m here saving your ass.”

She huffed, an action that made her wet br**sts heave and his c**k jerk in response at the sight. “I don’t need saving, Colt. I need to find my sister.”

She was so outraged at the sight of him. It was damn funny to watch. And, okay, a little arousing. “You look like something out of a horror movie,” he drawled, unable to quit looking at those magnificent, heaving wet br**sts. She was something out of a horror movie all right. The hot, sexy starlet that took her top off and got f**ked by someone for five minutes on screen. Damn. He shifted in the mud. Why the hell was he so turned on by the sight of her all wet and helpless? She had a fine body, but it came attached to that yapping mouth of hers.

A mouth that had just dropped open in shock. “A horror movie?” Beth Ann repeated, stunned. “How dare you!”

“That’s not what I meant,” he began, and then scowled when she glared at him and turned her back. She was determined to find insult in whatever he said, it’d seem. Prickly woman. Madder than hell and still trying to be a lady about things. “You’re misunderstanding me. I’m here to rescue you.”

“Rescue me? Oh, really.” Beth Ann turned as if the word made her furious. She put her hands on her hips, the wet bag bouncing against her side as she did. “Here to be the big hero?”

Well, he didn’t like to think of it that way. “I guess.”

“Is this some sort of macho joke?”

He raised an eyebrow. Why would he joke about a rescue?

She laughed, the sound bitter and harsh. “Oh, this is unreal. You really do think you’re here to rescue me, don’t you? How cute. I’m sure that’s what everyone told you—that poor little Beth Ann Williamson is desperate for a man to sweep her off her feet and rescue her from her situation. That I’m just waiting for Prince Charming to swoop in and save the day.” Her mouth pursed into a polite little smile, made all the more ridiculous by the makeup running down her face. “Look, Colt, I don’t know why you feel this need to show up here and try to play the hero, but the last thing I want is another man deciding that I can’t take care of myself and trying to take over my life. So you can just go away now. I don’t need saving, and I don’t need your help. Oh, and tell Miranda that I said nice try.”

He didn’t see what Miranda had to do with anything. “You’re turning down a rescue?”

She laughed and flicked her hand, as if shooing a fly. “Oh, I am turning down the entire kit and caboodle. The rescue and the person it came attached to.”

All right, now he was getting annoyed. He leaned back, studied her. “Oh really?”

“Yes, really,” she said viciously. “I don’t know if you were aware, but not every woman in the vicinity needs saving.”

“I don’t know,” he drawled, knowing any response he made would irritate her. “You look pretty helpless to me.”

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