Home > Dark Ghost (Drak #28)(3)

Dark Ghost (Drak #28)(3)
Author: Christine Feehan


She kept her expression blank. He had friends camped close by? She was in the Carpathian Mountains alone with him. She’d trusted him to guide her up the mountain in order to find the exact crystal or stone she needed. It was imperative she find it. She was on a quest – a mission – and she needed the crystal. She’d know when she found it. Her body was a tuning fork for such things. The moment she stumbled on the trail she’d track it to its location, but she had to feel a hint of it first. She’d come prepared to spend a month in the mountains, knowing sometimes it was very difficult to run across the faint sign that would allow her to find what she needed.


“I guess I should thank you for thinking of me, but really, Armend, a pity fuck is out. I don’t want you to touch me, let alone get that personal. So pity or not, that’s out of the question and off the table. Get out of my tent.”


“You’re just a stupid little virgin, aren’t you? A cock tease.”


She raised an eyebrow, gritting her teeth. She had a temper and he was pushing very close to it. He was definitely going to attack her, and she might as well prod him into it so she was ready for him. “There isn’t anything stupid about me, Armend. I’m far more intelligent than you’ll ever be. I had to tutor you, remember? You never would have gotten through any of your classes without me.”


He flung himself on her, knocking the cooking pot out of her hand. She was small. Five foot two to her sisters’ five foot ten and eleven, and that was when she wore shoes. She was extremely slight. She didn’t exactly have lush breasts or anything else that men found enticing. What in the hell was Armend thinking?


His body slammed into hers, carrying her over backward. Her head hit the frame of her backpack and her back hit the ground – hard. He landed on top of her, forcing the air out of her lungs. She punched him as hard as she could from the awkward angle she had, driving her fist into his left eye.


He swore and punched her back. Three times. In the face. She actually saw stars and the edges of her vision blackened. She refused to pass out. He tore at her clothes, ripping her favorite camping shirt. She had only brought a few changes of clothing, because when she hiked, it was all about the weight of the pack she carried. He’d just reduced that meager amount by one.


There was no bucking him off, no getting out from under him by rolling, so she used her very strong stomach muscles and sat up, into him, slamming her head under his chin and driving up with the top of her head. It hurt like hell, but she didn’t care. It got him off of her. He rolled into the side of the tent, nearly bringing it down.


She scrambled on all fours to get out of the tent. He kicked her hard in the back of her thigh. Her leg went numb but the force sent her flying out of the opening. She landed on her stomach and rolled away from the tent as fast as she could, trying not to sob with the pain. He wasn’t fooling around. He definitely meant business and he didn’t care whether he hurt her or not.


She’d taken lessons in defending herself – a lot of them. She climbed, both bouldering and sport climbing. She hiked all the time, all over the world. She was in good shape and strong for being so small. She was not going to let someone like Armend Jashari beat and rape her, not without hurting him.


Her hand found the rock she was looking for. It was a good size and solid. As she pushed herself up, struggling to fight off the waves of nausea the punches to her face had caused, Armend hit her from behind, slamming her back to the ground. His hands found her hair and he yanked her head back savagely, turning her as he did so, still straddling her. He punched her hard in the ribs and then leaned down and bit her lip. Hard. The pain was excruciating. She tasted blood.


When he lifted his head, he had blood around his mouth. Her blood. He laughed. “I’m going to have fun with you, Teagan. And then my boys are going to have fun. You’ll do whatever we tell you to do and you’ll beg us to fuck you if you want to get off this mountain alive. You’re not the first stupid bitch we’ve taken up here. A few are still wandering around trying to find their way off the mountain. Oh. Wait. They fell off a cliff. We didn’t bother to bring their bitch bodies out, just left them for the scavengers.”


Now she could put down “poor judge of character” beside all the other “cons” on her list about herself. As his head came down toward hers again, she slammed the rock against his temple, using his downward momentum and her strength. He grunted. His eyes rolled. He slumped over top of her, a dead weight. Crushing her.


Teagan wasn’t certain she could find the strength to move his body, but the thought of his friends being close by – and she was certain he was telling the truth about them – had her shoving him hard with every bit of strength she possessed. She managed to shift him enough to crawl out from under him.


Shock took over, adrenaline leaving her shaking and close to tears. Neither was a good thing when she needed to get out of there fast. She couldn’t help herself, she had to reach over and feel for his pulse, just to assure herself she hadn’t killed him. Touching him was abhorrent, but she did it. Unfortunately he was still alive. She scowled at him, staggered to her feet and hastily caught up her pack. She left her tent and started up the mountain rather than going down it as he would expect.


She had no idea how good he was at tracking someone, but she wasn’t going to make it easy for him. She needed a plan, and she’d figure out what to do while she climbed. Her face ached and she knew it was swelling. Her ribs hurt. She wanted to go back and smash him again with the rock. At least there was some satisfaction in hitting him hard.


First, she had to calm her breathing so her ribs wouldn’t hurt so darned bad. She wanted to climb into the high country so she could make a wide enough circle that she could head back down the mountain and not run into Armend and his friends if they really decided to come after her. Remembering the look on Armend’s face and the way his eyes turned hot and eager at the thought of him and his friends having so much power over her, she was certain they would come after her.


Teagan pushed herself hard, using the trees and brush to hide as she moved steadily up the mountain. She kept herself in good shape and usually she could hike for hours uphill when needed, but she was at a higher elevation and the back of her thigh throbbed and protested with every step she took. Her face hurt so bad she wanted to cry, and one eye was swelling, along with her cheek. Her lip seemed the worst, which was silly. She poured water on a handkerchief and held it to her lower lip while she walked.


Eventually she came to a narrow deer path winding uphill through a much thinner grove of trees. Thin wisps of fog drifted through the trees – a few fingers only, but the air had cooled already considerably. She was grateful for the respite. Up high, the sun and thinner air wreaked havoc and she had very fair skin and her ribs hurt like hell with every jarring step.


She cursed Armend Jashari with every breath she took. She’d gone a few more miles and was wondering if she dared to take a break. She needed one. She’d drank water and stopped a few times to find a place she could do her “girl” thing, and she hid any sign of that carefully, afraid it would help Armend find her trail much easier.

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