Yeira stopped beside a sparkling, blue creek that wound across one end of the strange forest. “We can rest here.”
Audie looked skyward as a new round of frustrated shrieking sounded. The vultures circled high above the softly swaying branches of the droopy trees, their eerie red gazes hopefully scouring the ground. “We need to find shelter. It’s only a matter of time before they come in here after us.”
Yeira crouched beside the creek, cupping her hands and filling them with the clear blue water. She took a drink and splashed it over her face. “They won’t come in here. The marauders don’t like poivron trees.”
Audie looked at his arms. The bloody gashes hurt like hell but they weren’t bubbling and seething like his face the last time he bumped up against the disgusting birds. “You sure that water’s safe?”
Yeira looked at him, her bright blue gaze sliding over his wounds. “The reborn cleaned the poisons from this wood and coated it with cloaking magics. It’s protected and safe.” She looked around, a slight frown on her face. “For a while anyway. With the nest gone I feel the magic waning.”
Audie followed her lead and crouched beside the creek, submerging his hands and dousing his wounds with the cool, clean water. It stung but seemed a better alternative than infection.
Yeira disappeared and came back a moment later holding one of the fat, white flowers. “Here, give me your arms.”
Her gaze snapped with temper. “Seriously? You don’t trust me yet?”
He did trust her. Against his better judgment. But Audie wasn’t about to admit that. He shrugged. “Simmer down, woman. It was a simple question.”
She shook her head, clearly disgusted with him. “The poivron flower has great healing properties.” Yeira dug her fingertips into the flower’s center and ripped it in half. A thick gel oozed out of the orange middle and a sharp, peppery scent thickened on the air.
She dipped her fingers into the gel and reached for his arm. “This might sting a little.”
Her soft, tapered fingers slid over the ragged, red scratches on his forearms, gentle but firm. The gel went on cool but quickly heated on his skin, so much so that Audie grimaced from the heat. “You sure this is a good idea? It feels like it’s burning me.”
Her response was to dip her fingers again. “Give me your other arm.”
Audie held her determined gaze for a moment and then reluctantly did as she asked. A small smile curved her lips as she observed his reluctance. “Don’t be such a big baby.”
Audie’s irritation with her spiked, but her soft fingers rubbing his torn skin soothed it quickly away. Somehow the heat from the gel she was applying had moved south, causing a secondary fire in his groin.
“Take off your pants.”
Audie blinked, his eyes widening as he realized she was serious. “Um, I don’t think…”
She gave an exasperated sigh. “Don’t worry, hunter, your virtue is safe with me. Those need tending to.” She jerked her head to indicate the deep gouges on his thigh.
“It’s okay. I’ll deal with them later.”
“No. The vulture’s claws aren’t poisonous like their saliva, but they’re hotbeds of disease. If we don’t cleanse and medicate those gouges right away you’ll get a raging infection and might even lose your leg.”
Audie swallowed hard. “Give me the flower, I can do it.” The heat in his groin flared and his cock thickened, jerking under the sticky leather pants. How did he warn her that he was commando under the leather?
“I swear to god, I’ve never seen such a baby. I promise I won’t look at you.”
Irritation flared again and Audie gave her a mean smile. “Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Audie shoved to his feet and reached for the band of his pants, tugging the fastener open. With his gaze fixed on Yeira’s so he could watch her reaction, he dragged his battle pants over his hips and down his thighs.
Her pretty gaze widened. She sucked in a breath as his rock-hard cock popped free, dancing on the air between them.
Yeira licked her lips, murmuring, “Good god in heaven.”
Audie lifted an eyebrow. “I tried to warn you.”
“Shut up, Hunter.” She swallowed visibly, her gaze never wavering from his cock. “Just shut the hell up.” Her delicate fingers twitched as if she wanted to reach across the space and touch him. Suddenly Audie wanted that too.
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