This is a continuation of the sequence that started when Jade was lost while hiking and was 'rescued' by the mysterious Nias, who is supposedly leading her to safety. He brings her to a strange tavern seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
I can speak for myself here in that I liked the whole hiking/tavern sequence. There was only one problem - we never could get back to it, and it brought up questions that couldn't be answered in the context of the rest of the story. So, even though it was a fun scene to write and edit, it just didn't fit into the final version of the novel.
* * *
Jade kept following him, but she was beginning to feel like this trek was taking much too long. “I really need to find my way back to my car, and you are starting to freak me out with the whole creepy I came for you thing.” Just get me the hell out of here.
He led her to a small well lit building. As they got closer it looked like a restaurant or a bar.
“If this were a movie,” she laughed despite the situation, “locals would be calling that place a tavern in some strange accent. Unfortunately the movie might just be ‘The American Werewolf in London’, where soon after the lost travelers find said tavern they are attacked by a man-eating monster.” This time her laughter was a little nervous and she decided not to follow that train of thought through.
“Come on, you’re going to be fine,” He said as he looked back quickly, cracking a small smile and chuckling softly to himself. It was actually quite endearing, the way she rambled when she was nervous.
“You thought that was funny?” Jade was surprised to hear a bit of an amused tone in his voice.
“Yes, I suppose I did.” He slowed so she could catch up with his long strides and turned his entire body this time to smile at her again.
The tavern was on a small forested dirt road which looked like it wasn’t frequently used. There were a few older cars out front, which made her feel a little better, but not much.
“Thank God,” she mumbled. Regardless of the look of the building she was grateful to be out of the woods.
Jade could hear her new guide give a small laugh under his breath, but it didn’t sound like he thought she was funny this time; it sounded just a touch menacing like he knew something she didn’t. She thought, well actually hoped, that it was her head running away with itself again.
She began moving swiftly toward the door really hoping there was a phone inside. He opened the heavy beat-up door and let her walk in before him. The inside was low lit. It had an old medieval, shadowy feel to it. The tables were made of thick distressed wood planks. The chairs surrounding them were heavy wood and brown leather with metal rivets, very King Arthur’s court. Giant mugs of beer were being served by a waitress who could have been anywhere between thirty and fifty; her demeanor was insouciant at best. Jade inhaled the distinctive aroma of some kind of hearty man food and it seemed to be coming out of the back.
“It smells like heaven in here. I’m starving.” She looked to the back of the dining room and saw where the food was coming from. “It’s been forever since I ate.” Tall and beautiful was looking to her with some kind of questioning glare.
Jade figured it would be okay if she sat with her rescuer for a few minutes and ate. Then she would call herself a cab. Although, she wondered why he brought her here and not to her car, since he seemed so sure of his surroundings and where he was going.
Once she got past the smell of the food, she realized the energy in this place was off; that is the only way she could explain it, off. It felt similar to the bookstore the day she had first seen the man; the people seemed suddenly nervous, uneasy.
“Um, hey,” she said to him as he pulled out one of the large wooden chairs for her. “My name is Jade by the way, Jade Shear, thank you for helping me out of there, I was so lost.” He glanced down at her and smirked, but didn’t offer his name in return; he just turned toward the kitchens, leaving her at the table. She was again struck by how he looked; at this point staring at his firm backside. “Fine don’t tell me your name then,” she called after him, wishing she hadn’t been as open with her own identity.
There was something feline about him, a smooth indifference. And yet he was completely masculine, definitely arrogant. She couldn’t really explain it if she’d tried, how they meshed within him, but the end result was dark and strangely delicious.
She knew she shouldn’t, but she wanted to get a feeling from him now that being lost in the woods wasn’t her major concern. She realized she was face to face with one of her dream guys; the man could have just walked out of her mind and into the woods to find her, the hero already. She really wanted to know if she was dealing with a disturbed psychopath or the sweet, gentle, knight in shining armor who had just rescued her. She wanted to get inside his head, find out what was going on in there. She found that she was staring at him, again. She argued with herself over whether she should deprive him of his autonomy and steal a taste of his feelings. She realized he noticed she was checking him out, considering him. He looked like he was enjoying it. He turned full toward her, his giant beautiful body in what she thought must be his signature languid slant, just leaning against one of the tables. He cocked a dark brow and gave her the most arrogant smile she’d ever seen and actually said “Go ahead, look all you like, I’m quite used to it.”
The rebellious independent woman in her reacted immediately, without thought or preamble. “Agh, did that just come out of your mouth? Does that kind of cocky attitude make women want to jump your bones? It makes me want to tell you what an arrogant ass you are, possibly pick up something large and hard and whack you with it, several times.” Scowling at him, she wondered why the universe would give all that hotness to such an ass. He straightened up and walked toward the bar and she couldn’t help but think, umm, but I bet he is large, hard, and that is a perfect ass. My God Jade, pull it together. She heard her new guide give a small laugh under his breath.
A wave of his emotion struck her - conflicted? Was that what it was, or did he just throw her off kilter, she couldn’t tell. But she didn’t trust him any further than she could hurl him.