For the remainder of the night, they took turns keeping a constant vigil. The situation was unnerving and June admitted she was relieved Nigel was there. Confidence in her hiking ability and having taken several self-defence courses meant she could protect herself to a degree but she was no match against bullets, thuggery or chicanery and neither were Roland or Jackson.
As she lay in her sleeping blanket surreptitiously watching Nigel, she was surprised by her interest…she found him exciting and intriguing. He was quick-minded, precise in his decision making, flexible he wasn’t stringent, he was concise and strong. She likened his actions to that of a chess player, certain he had steps planned well in advance should trouble come calling. He was that kind of man.
He was also incredibly handsome. His pitch-black hair, brown eyes and lean muscular build appealed. She felt shallow that she was excited by his good looks and flexing muscles but damn the entire package was attractive. She couldn’t say what had attracted her first but she liked what she saw and felt.
Nigel was indeed thinking three moves ahead. He’d scanned the map of the area and memorized it, a gift he had, and recalled several spots that could be used as escape routes should the miscreant return. His mission was finding the missing men without placing June at risk. Sending her back at this point was impossible since they could find and capture her, so his only recourse was keeping her at his side giving the thugs one less target.
Although he had no idea why the men had been taken, the fact they were using every opportunity to leave clues proved they were thinking on their feet. In the short amount of time he’d known her, Nigel was certain of two things. June was not only beautiful with her shoulder-length auburn hair, sea-green eyes and delightful figure, but she was also strong-willed determined and loved deeply as indicated by her adamant resolve to track her brother and his friend. Roland would count on that knowing she’d have his back and wondered if the clues were important in and of themselves.
His first order of business tomorrow would be going over some precautionary scenarios with June so she could protect herself should the need arise. He liked that she wasn’t given to hysterics and he was sure she’d take these steps to heart.
Later Nigel fell thinking about the attraction he felt and whether he should move on those feelings. He figured no harm, no foul and if she wasn’t attracted as much as he was, she’d certainly be upfront about that – either way.
The day dragged slowly by; lack of sleep wasn’t helping. Even their heightened state of awareness and hypervigilance wasn’t helping. June was on edge; it showed in movements that weren’t as fluid as usual.
“I doubt he’ll show himself again, not this soon,” Nigel commented.
“What makes you say that?” June asked with a quick look at Nigel.
“He wanted to make a point. He wanted us on edge, looking over our shoulders and his goal was slowing us down.”
“You think we’re getting close then, Nigel?”
“We’re getting close to something, but what I don’t know.”
June bent to smell a particularly beautiful flower just as a shot rang out and Nigel threw himself on top of her squashing her to the ground. “Stay down!” he whispered urgently. Slowly rising to his knees, pulling his piece from under his shirt, he checked each direction. The shot hadn’t been aimed at them.
“Ok, you can get up now.”
June did so, moving slowly. “Where did that come from?”