"Who’s there?" When no one answered, Destiny Blake clutched the towel to her damp breasts then got dressed. Gathering up her gear, she shoved underpants, bra, and wet towel inside her daypack. She hurried along the narrow path until she spied a bit of blue cloth snagged on a blueberry bush. Back on the main trail, with her ear to the wind, she listened.
With Beaver Ridge a less popular trail, she’d felt comfortable skinny-dipping. Not an exhibitionist by any means, the sun-warmed water had looked so inviting. Destiny had been unable to resist plunging in. Since when did she listen to her urges? Everything about her swim had been so unlike her.
Needy for some type of release and, since sex with a sane man seemed unobtainable in this small town, the waterfall beckoned.
Who had disturbed her swim? He sounded genuinely sorry for the intrusion. Maybe he hiked by with his girlfriend or family. Had the man turned back to rejoin his group? As long as the voice did not belong to either Marcus or Pete, she’d let it slide.
She took pride in her body. Being caught naked wasn’t a big deal. What’s the harm in that? She’d shaved her legs two days ago.
"Chalk it up to karma." After all, her name, Destiny, meant karma.
A smile tugged at her mouth. Heat sizzled down to her toes at the thought of someone spying on her. Even during the few times a guy made love to her, she never experienced as much pleasure as now coursed through her body. Maybe she should find the stranger and thank him for interrupting her bath.
"Silly. He’s most likely so embarrassed he’s already halfway down the mountain." She hushed her monologue when a doe bounded across the trail follow by a six-point buck.
"At least someone’s getting some," she sighed. Lovemaking? She never saw the point though several friends had fun in bed with guys. They insisted that, done correctly, lovemaking felt pleasurable for both parties. Not in her experience.
Hope I don’t come upon the stranger and his group.
But, daylight waned and her braided hair needed a chance to dry. A sunny clearing lay not far ahead. Shivering under the forest canopy, she strode along while her head told her body she’d have more luck finding romance and happy-ever-after in the paperbacks at the drugstore.
With a big sigh, and a vow to get her thoughts back on track, she’d hike to the summit to end her day on a high note. Sprinting up the trail, her body buzzed with the glow of liberation. Braless, her breasts tingled as they bounced beneath her yellow shirt. Panty-less, due to dressing in haste, her thighs brushed together and made her feel sexy.
She fanned her surprisingly heated face with one hand while adjusting her damp shirt with the other. Chipmunks raced away at her approach and a woodpecker tapped the trunk of a nearby rotted tree. Then a strange, out-of-place noise caught her attention.
A chill skittered down her spine, sucking all the heat from beneath her skin. Sliding to a stop, she cocked her head to listen. Could the sound be a man’s voice coming from higher up the mountain?
"Who the heck is—"
"There it goes again." The deep, definitely male voice sounded as if it came from the direction of Falcon Ridge. The boulder-strewn mountaintop, where wind constantly blew over its peak, loomed a short distance away in the direction she’d been heading.
Loudly, she asked the voice, "Are my ears playing tricks on me?"
"Please. I need some help over here!"
"Are you hurt?" Destiny sprinted even faster up the trail. Sliding to a stop, her mouth flew open and her eyes widened when she looked into the eyes of the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Her tongue fluttered, trying to form words, but not one word passed through suddenly dry lips. Thigh muscles clenched as she fought the urge to turn and run the other way. Then she took a closer look.
He sat in the mud. His ripped blue flannel shirt stretched across a broad chest. One arm curled around his left knee. Shivering, and quite surprised himself, his brown eyes locked on hers. Their distress, apparent by his pale skin and frown, hit her in a way she never dreamed existed.
Had she ever laid eyes on such a specimen of masculinity before now? Wavy chestnut brown hair hung a bit long, skimming the collar of his shirt. Eyes like molten chocolate searched hers for answers. They fit his square face rather nicely. Clean-shaven, his skin displayed the healthy tan of someone who spent time outdoors.
Destiny’s heart beat faster and faster. Sweat beaded in the valleys of her fingers. Her nipples stiffened and her chest constricted. She did her best to breathe, but air seemed in short supply. Enchanted by his earthy good looks she stood statue still, enchanted.
Until he spoke and broke the spell.