“Be happy to, young Sam.” The old gentlemen were pleased to lead her some distance away, though at first she looked like she wanted to resist. It was only after catching Sam’s gaze that she went along.
He eased to the ground next to Mila, keeping hold of her right hand, and adjusted the towel around her shoulders. There were a couple of marks across her face that made her look that much more vulnerable.
Merry or Kerry—though not related, they’d been inseparable best friends for so long that he couldn’t keep their names straight—followed his gaze. “That’s where he yanked her goggles off.”
“A kid found them about a hundred feet downstream and brought them over,” Daniel said. He sat down, too, choosing a grassy spot in front of them. “Do you feel like answering a few questions?”
“You said it was a man. Did you see his face?”
“No. He wore a dive mask that I couldn’t see through.” Anticipating his next question, she went on, her voice growing a little stronger. “I was looking for a way to hurt him. I thought maybe I could yank his hair, but he was bald, so I tweaked his ear instead. It made him let go.”
“Did you see which way he went?”
She apologetically shook her head. “I was out of air. I just surfaced, saw Gramma and tried to get to her.”
“Can you make any guess about his size?”
Another rueful shake. “The water was murky, and without the goggles, my eyes were burning. All I can say is he was dressed all in black—shirt, pants, gloves—he was bald, and he had a very strong grip.”
Sam looked at the finger marks visible on her arm. As the swelling continued, the marks and colors would run together to make one ugly mass. Damn it, who was this bastard, and why was he terrorizing Mila?
“Could you identify him if you saw him again?”
She was very still for a long time before shaking her head. “No,” she whispered. “I wasn’t thinking about being a witness. I just wanted to survive.”
The statement was so soft, so bald, that everyone around her went still. After a moment, Daniel broke the silence when he closed his notebook and turned his attention to Sam. “You should probably take her to the emergency room. Merry and Kerry offered, but she declined.”
“I’m okay.” Mila started to move her hand, winced and stopped. “It’s not broken.”
“You have X-ray vision now?” Sam forced a teasing tone into his voice, though it just about broke his face to smile.
It was worth the look she gave him, though. Relief. Gratitude. Like she would tease, too, if she had it in her.
“It can’t hurt to get it X-rayed,” one of the paramedics said.
“Of course it can,” the other disagreed. “They’ll try to put it in all kinds of unnatural positions for the views. But afterward, they’ll give you drugs for the pain—and there will be pain.”
It was obvious from the paleness of Mila’s face that there already was, which made Sam’s decision an easy one. “We’ll stop by there before we go home.” He didn’t say it wasn’t her home he was taking her to. Her attacker knew where she lived. Might know where Jessica lived.
Merry and Kerry began packing up their equipment. Sam stood and helped Mila to her feet. She nodded to the parking lot across the creek. “Gramma’s car is over there. So are our clothes.”
His gaze automatically slid down her body. How had it escaped his notice until that very minute that she wasn’t wearing anything but water shoes and a black swimsuit that clung lovingly to her body in all the right places? The curve of her breasts, her narrow waist, the flare of her hips and her long, strong, tanned legs…
God, he had it bad.
She was watching him, one brow arched, waiting for…what? Oh, yeah, a response. He tried to remember what she’d said, though the faint snicker from Daniel wasn’t helping. Finally, the sound of Jessica’s voice as she approached triggered the memory. “We’ll drive Jessica over. She can pick up the car and your clothes.”
Daniel leaned close. “Or maybe she’ll want her clothes before she waits in the ER for the usual couple hours.”