Chapter 3: The Hunter And The Prey
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However, the final blow didn't come, so I opened my eyes once again. My heart pounded in my chest as I struggled beneath the massive silver werewolf pinning me to the forest floor, its hot breath washing over my face. A primal fear welled up inside me, my body trembling uncontrollably, convinced that I was about to die.

"Please," I screamed, louder, tears streaming down my cheeks. "Please, don't kill me! Get off me, you monster!"

To my surprise, the werewolf's intense yellow eyes seemed to soften slightly, and it growled back at me with a guttural voice. "It wasn't me who attacked first, was it?"

I stared at it, dumbfounded. Could this beast really understand me? My mind raced, desperately searching for something to say, while my body remained paralyzed with fear.

"Was it?" the werewolf pressed, its voice somehow both menacing and seductive.

"Uh... I-I guess not," I admitted reluctantly, my voice barely a whisper. I could feel a spark of connection between us, even as terror still clawed at my insides. "But you're a werewolf, aren't you? You eat people..."

"Oh, I could eat you right now if I wanted to... but I won't," it replied, an almost human smirk playing on its lupine lips. "Now, are you going to keep calling me a monster, or can we talk like civilized beings?"

"I don't know if I'd call you 'civilized,' but sure," I muttered, trying to mask my fear with a hint of sass. As much as I hated to admit it, there was something undeniably magnetic about this creature – this Silver Werewolf – that intrigued me despite the very real danger he posed.

Before my very eyes, the massive silver werewolf began to shrink and contort in a mesmerizing display. Fur receded, limbs reshaped, and the terrifying beast transformed into an incredibly attractive man who was now lying on top of me. His body was a masterpiece – tall with broad shoulders, a chiseled torso, and every muscle rippling beneath his tanned skin. His beautiful honey eyes held an intensity that both frightened and captivated me, framed by soft, shiny silver hair that fell just above his strong, square jawline. A sparse beard adorned his face, giving him a rugged, masculine quality that only made him more desirable.

"Wha...?" I stammered, my mind struggling to process what had just happened. The weight of his body pressing down on mine sent unexpected shivers of excitement down my spine, but I couldn't let myself forget that this man was still a werewolf. I had a tendency to disassociate werewolves from their human forms, even if I knew they were shifters.

As if sensing my inner turmoil, the stranger released me and gracefully stood up, clad only in a pair of tight shorts that left little to the imagination. My eyes couldn't help but wander over the expanse of his toned flesh, even as I mentally berated myself for being so easily distracted.

"Go," he said, his voice deep and commanding. "You attacked me, but I won't retaliate. Leave now."

I shook my head as I stood up, confused by his unexpected behavior. Everything I knew about werewolves told me they were vicious, bloodthirsty beasts that devoured human flesh without a second thought. And yet, here was this werewolf, this monster – sparing my life and even allowing me to escape unscathed. It didn't make sense, but I should've taken the opportunity to run. However, something inside me, an insatiable curiosity, prevented me from simply running away.

"Why?" I asked, my voice trembling as I met his gaze. "Why aren't you attacking me? You're a werewolf... Aren't you supposed to kill me?"

A hint of amusement flickered in his eyes, and he gave me a devilish grin that made my heart race.

"Contrary to what you may have been taught by the Hoods, not all werewolves are mindless killers," he replied, and though his tone held a touch of sarcasm, there was also an underlying sadness that tugged at my heartstrings. "In fact, some of us can be quite civilized when given the chance."

"If you know I'm a Hood, why reveal yourself to me?" I asked, unable to contain my curiosity any longer. "Why spare me?"

He chuckled, the sound reverberating through the air like the richest of melodies. "I suppose I wanted to prove a point."

As I looked into those hypnotic honey eyes and saw the raw vulnerability beneath his bravado, I found myself wanting – no, needing – to know more about this enigmatic man who had shattered my perception of the world with a single, devastatingly sexy smile. And yet, as much as I wanted to believe him, I couldn't shake off the years of conditioning that had taught me to fear and despise creatures like him.

"Fine," I said, trying to sound nonchalant as I scooted away from him, my hands inching toward the crossbow I'd dropped during our scuffle. "If you're so civilized, why did you tackle me in the first place? You could've dodged and ran away."

"I could've dodged and ran, sure. But where would be the fun in that? Plus, I got to see you up close" he smirked, crossing his arms over his chiseled chest. I couldn't help but glance at the way the muscles in his biceps flexed and strained beneath his smooth, tanned skin. The sight caused an unexpected heat in the pit of my stomach.

"Is that so?" I asked, struggling to keep my voice steady as I finally grasped the handle of my crossbow. "In any case, I'm glad I won't be your meal today."

With sudden speed, I whipped my crossbow up and fired a silver arrow at him. I'd managed to surprise him but he still dodged it, the projectile whizzing past his head and embedding itself in a nearby tree. Anger flared in his honey eyes, and before I had the chance to react, he lunged at me, tackling me back onto the forest floor and making me drop the crossbow.

"You little...!" he snarled, his breath hot against my face as he pinned my wrists above my head.

His growl sent chills down my spine as he untangled himself from me and stood. Fear gripped my heart as his angry gaze bore into mine while he reached out and claimed my crossbow from the grass.

The man's rage was palpable as he gripped the crossbow in his powerful hands, veins bulging in his muscular arms. With a guttural snarl, he snapped it in two, tossing the broken weapon aside like it was nothing more than a twig.

"No!" I stammered, my heart pounding in my chest as I stared at him, my fear mixed with an undeniable thrill. The sight of his chiseled torso, glistening with sweat and anger, sent shivers down my spine. His beautiful honey eyes were now filled with fire, making him all the more irresistible.

"Why did you do that?" he growled, his voice low and threatening.

"Because," I spat, wincing as I realized a sharp stone had pierced my leg when we fell. "You're still a werewolf. I can't trust you."

"Trust?" His voice was bitter as he stared down at me, his chest heaving with the force of his anger. "You think I have any reason to trust you? You attacked me, and now you've tried to kill me again! And yet here I am, holding back instead of ripping your throat out. What does that say about me?"

I opened my mouth to respond but found myself at a loss for words. My mind raced with thoughts of how unfair it was to judge him solely on his werewolf nature, but my instincts screamed at me to be cautious. As much as I wanted to believe he wasn't just another monster, it was hard to ignore the cold, hard truth. Werewolves killed people... Memories of my father flooded my mind, his warm smile and hearty laughter that once echoed through our home, all snuffed out by a creature like him.

"I don't know," I finally admitted, tears welling up in my eyes as I tried to stand, only to wince in pain and fall back. My leg throbbed where the stone had cut into it, making it difficult to even move. The man's eyes softened as he noticed my struggle, and for a moment, I saw genuine concern replace the anger.

"You're hurt," he said quietly, taking a step toward me, his hands outstretched as if to help me. But I wasn't ready to let him touch me again.

"Stay back!" I warned, gritting my teeth against the pain as I tried to limp away from him. "I don't need your help."

"Clearly, you do," he retorted, his voice gentle despite the sarcasm. He moved closer, his warm hand on my arm, steadying me as I stumbled. As much as I wanted to shake him off, I couldn't deny that his touch felt good. It was strong, reassuring, and even in this tense situation, a little bit exciting.

The sharp pain in my leg radiated through me as the werewolf gently guided me to a fallen tree trunk, his touch surprisingly tender for a beast. As I sat, he looked at me with those piercing eyes, his voice a low murmur, "Let me help you with your leg, at least."

"Fine," I muttered begrudgingly, too exhausted to argue any further. And honestly, it hurt like hell. "I have a medical kit in my bag."

The stranger crouched down beside me. His hands moved quickly, suddenly ripping off a section of my pants to reveal the wound on my thigh, his strength making my pulse quicken. As he exposed my skin, my face flushed a deep red. My breath hitched as his fingers brushed against my inner thigh, sending inexplicable shivers up my spine. It shouldn't feel this good, not when he was the enemy.

"You're blushing?," he teased, smirking as he reached into my bag for the medical kit. His honeyed eyes never left mine as he cleaned my wound, making my heart race with anticipation.

"Shut up," I mumbled, trying to regain some semblance of control over the situation. But the truth was that I could feel an inexplicable tension building between us, igniting a fire within my belly that threatened to consume me whole.

"Sorry," he said softly, though his smirk remained. He dressed the wound carefully, his touch gentle, as if he truly cared about my well-being. As he finished, our faces were mere inches apart, his warm breath fanning across my heated cheeks.

"Thank you," I whispered, my voice barely audible as my gaze flickered between his inviting lips and his captivating eyes.

"You're welcome," he murmured, his voice low and seductive. The desire in his eyes was palpable, and it mirrored my own. It was so wrong - this attraction I felt towards him, but it was undeniable.

I wetted my lips instinctively, feeling the urge to close the distance between us and taste that tempting mouth…