|“Tell me the truth, Rol. Have you ever even been camping before?”
Angie Ramirez Tyler focused her unblinking gaze on her husband.
“Ange, I was raised in the Australian outback. I was taught how to survive in the wilderness when I was seven years old.”
“But have you ever been camping?” she asked again insistently.
There was a moment’s pause. “You mean with sleeping bags, and camp stoves, and tents, and all that other stuff?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“That’s what I thought.”
Rollie took his eyes from the road and glanced at Angie. “Is that a note of doubt I hear in your voice? Do you doubt my camping abilities?”
“What I doubt is your ability to get through this weekend without a major camping catastrophe.”
“Jeez, Ange, how hard can it be? I mean, we’re not even camping out. We’ll be staying in a nice, warm cabin, in a nice safe forest only three miles from the nearest road. What do you think is going to happen?”
“Oh, I don’t know. You could cut your foot off chopping wood, or get poison oak--or poison ivy, whatever it is that they have up here. You could run afoul of a bear. You might burn down the cabin by making the fire too high. You might--”
“Now wait just one minute,” Rollie objected. “Why is it me who might do all these things? What about you?”
Angie sighed, then continued in the kind of voice one might use with a five-year-old. “Rollie, who is the one that has ended up in the hospital more times than a director yells ‘cut’ on a movie? Who is it that can’t seem to stay away from trouble for more than a week? No, if there’s trouble, you can bet that it’s going to bypass me and zoom straight in on you.”
“I’m not the only one who attracts trouble. You have too,” Rollie mumbled, a sulking tone in his voice. “If you didn’t want to do this, why didn’t you say so?”
Angie patted his leg and smiled gently. “I never said that I didn’t want to do this. It’ll be fun. I just meant that, with our track record, it would be a miracle if we managed to get through this trip disaster-free.”
“Well, you just watch, Mrs. Tyler. This weekend will pass without a single catastrophe. Count on it,” Rollie declared confidently.
“Does the phrase ‘fatal last words’ ring a bell?” Angie asked mildly.
“Ha ha. Very funny. You just wait and see.”
A couple of minutes later, Rollie turned off the road onto a narrow dirt track. They bumped along for what seemed like forever before they came upon a tiny cabin nestled amidst the ponderosa pine. Parking the car, the couple grabbed their bags and went in.
“This is nice, nicer than I thought it would be,” Angie commented.
“Well, Jason did say that this was his perfect little hideaway. He said that we’re the only other people to stay here,” Rollie said.
“Why is he letting us stay here?”
“I guess he thought we really needed some relaxation after this last project.”
“You can say that again,” Angie murmured. Their last movie had been one big headache right from the start. By the time they’d finished, they were seriously getting on each other’s nerves. This weekend was going to be a chance for them to relax and get back to some things that they hadn’t had much time for.
After unpacking and putting their stuff away, they spent some time exploring the cabin. It was fully equipped with indoor plumbing and electricity. The one thing it didn’t have, however, was a telephone. Their cell phones were useless out here, which meant that they were effectively cut off from communication with the outside world, except for the shortwave radio transceiver that sat on a table.
“It’ll be dark in a couple of hours. How about if we eat an early dinner and go on to bed?” Rollie suggested with a meaningful smile.
“Mmm. That sounds like an excellent plan to me,” Angie purred.
After dinner, Angie went into the bathroom and came back out a few minutes later wearing the new teddy she had purchased for the occasion.
Rollie’s eyes ran over her appreciatively. “I like,” he murmured. He scooped her up in his arms and began sliding his lips across her throat. Angie pulled his head up and brought her lips to his in a passionate kiss. She began pulling off his clothes.
Rollie grabbed her wrists and looked down at her with a wicked smile. “Patience, Love. I have some things to do in the bathroom too.”
“Well, hurry up and do them then,” Angie ordered.
Rollie chuckled and headed off to the bathroom. He came back out a short time later to find Angie awaiting him in bed. He slid in beside her and they took up where they’d left off.
“Mmm. What’s that cologne you’re wearing?”
“It’s new. Do you like it?”
“Oh, yes. It’s wonderful,” she placed some kisses on Rollie’s chest. “What’s it called?”
“Well, they got that right,” Angie said huskily before taking possession of Rollie’s lips with her own.
The next morning, Rollie and Angie felt happy and completely refreshed, despite the lack of a full night’s sleep. They got dressed, Rollie putting on some more of the highly effective cologne. After breakfast, they decided to go for a walk.
Surrounded by the peace of the forest, the couple found their cares slipping away. After walking for an hour, they stopped by a tiny stream. They’d been there for perhaps five minutes when Rollie felt something brushing against his leg. He looked down to see a rabbit rubbing up against him.
“How cute!” Angie exclaimed. “It must be a pet that got lost out here. Here, bunny.” She took a step toward the animal, but it leapt away. “Hmm. I guess it’s a bit afraid of strangers. It’s okay, bunny. I won’t hurt you.” She took another couple of steps toward the creature, but only succeeded in frightening it into the bushes. Frowning, she went back to Rollie. “Oh well, I guess we’ll have to leave it.”
“Come on, Ange. I want to go a little farther before we head back,” Rollie said.
They spent another half-hour in the woods before heading back to the cabin. As Angie prepared lunch, Rollie went out to chop some wood for the fireplace. Angie watched in admiration as her husband, stripped to the waist, worked up a sweat. Finally dragging her eyes away from him, she went back to preparing their lunch.
Rollie had a sizeable pile of wood chopped when he took a break. “See, Angie? I still have all my fingers and toes,” he murmured, knowing that she couldn’t hear him. He was about ready to pick up the axe when he felt something soft press into his lower back, rubbing up and down. “Mmm. That feels good, Ange.” The pressure increased, sending shivers of pleasure up Rollie’s spine. “Ohhh. If you keep that up, I’m not going to be getting any more wood chopped.”
Rollie turned around, ready to pull his wife into his arms. Instead, he let out a cry of shock and stared at what stood before him. Not scared off by the cry, the deer stepped forward and began nuzzling his stomach and chest, butting and rubbing its head against him.
“Shoo!” Rollie said. Ignoring him, the deer kept right on nuzzling and butting, becoming a bit more insistent. He tried to push the animal away, but it weighed more than he did. He then tried to get away from it, but it kept following him, finally trapping him up against the cabin.
“Angie?” Rollie called softly. When there was no response, Rollie raised his voice, unable to help the note of panic that rose in it. “Angie!”
Angie came dashing out of the cabin. She stopped on the porch and gaped at the sight before her.
“Could you please . . . oof! . . . get this . . . ow! . . . animal off me?” Rollie pleaded.
Angie kept staring for several seconds, then, suddenly, burst out laughing.
“I fail to see . . . ouch! . . . what you find so amusing . . . yow! . . . in this,” Rollie said testily. He let out a screech as the deer butted against a somewhat more tender portion of his anatomy. “If you want children, Angela, you’ll get over here right now,” he gasped.
With a final snicker, Angie leapt toward the deer, yelling and clapping her hands. The animal bolted into the forest. She walked over to Rollie, who was slightly bent over.
“Ah, Tarzan. Did Jane do good chasing away the fierce beast?” Angie asked, another snicker welling up in her throat. Rollie just glared at her. “Come on, Tarzan. Let’s get you inside before you’re assaulted by a pack rabid of bunnies or something.”
Safely inside, Angie led Rollie to the couch and sat him down, settling beside him.
“What in the hell was with that deer?” Rollie asked.
“I don’t know. It must have really liked you.”
“Well, the feeling wasn’t mutual.” The Aussie groaned, rubbing his ribs. “I’m going to have bruises from this.”
“Aw, poor baby. Want me to kiss them and make them all better?”
Rollie’s eyes lit up. “Oh, yes, Mommy. Make them all better.”
“After lunch,” Angie said, getting up.
Rollie pouted, then joined Angie in the kitchen.
After lunch, Rollie went out to get some of the wood he’d chopped. He brought in an armload, then went back out for some more. He’d been gone for perhaps a minute, when Angie heard him scream her name. Sighing, she got up out of the chair, preparing to chase off the pesky deer again.
“Rollie, I think you’d better. . . .” Angie’s voice died in her throat at the sight before her. Rollie was sprawled on the ground, pinned helplessly by the animal crawling all over him. The cougar rubbed its body up and down the Aussie’s form like an overgrown house cat rubbing against a catnip treat. Its huge paws wrapped around his leg as it nuzzled and rubbed its head into his stomach, making little mewling and purring sounds. Rollie turned terrified eyes toward Angie.
Not finding anything amusing in her husband’s predicament this time, Angie quickly went in and retrieved the shotgun she’d seen over the fireplace. Loading in the shells she’d found earlier in the kitchen, she went back outside and fired into the air. The cougar leaped away from Rollie and took off. Keeping a grip on the gun, Angie ran over to the Aussie, who hadn’t moved.
“Rollie, are you all right?”
“I will be as soon as I can breathe again,” Rollie replied.
Angie helped him up, and they got back into the cabin as quickly as possible.
“What is going on here, Angie? First a rabbit, then a deer, and now this. What’s coming next?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like it. There’s something about you that’s attracting them.”
“You’re telling me. I thought wild animals stayed clear when they smelled humans around.”
A look of realization spread across Angie’s face. “Wait a minute! That’s it!”
“Rollie, where did you get that cologne?” Angie asked.
“Uh, from Dad when he visited last. He said that he got it from an acquaintance. It’s brand new, not even out on the market yet.”
“Uh huh, and what else did he say?”
“Just that it’s supposed to drive women wild. I decided to save it for a special occasion.” Rollie studied Angie’s face. “You think that the cologne is what’s attracting the animals?”
“Could be. Can I see it?”
Rollie fetched the bottle from the bathroom. He handed it to his wife, who removed the cap and took a deep sniff. A very pleasant flush spread throughout her body, and she felt a rush of sexual awareness. Rollie noticed his wife’s reaction to the scent.
“Crap! That stuff must be full of pheromones, Angie. No wonder those animals reacted to it. I bet that it gets more potent the longer someone wears it, that a person’s body chemistry heightens the effect. Animals have a much stronger sense of smell, so they were hit even harder by it. I am going to kill Dad when I see him next.”
“Um hum,” Angie murmured. She took another, much deeper whiff of the cologne. Her eyes glazed over, and her face flushed. She let out a low moan that made Rollie’s pulse race. “This stuff is . . . ohhh . . . very nice,” she whispered huskily.
As much as he was enjoying watching Angie’s reaction to the cologne, he knew that he had to dump the stuff. “Okay, Angie, give it to me. I’ve got to get rid of it.”
“Nope. Uh uh. I wanna keep it.” Angie’s voice was slightly slurred.
“Come on, Ange. That stuff is too potent.” He reached for the bottle.
Angie backed away from him, clutching the bottle to her chest. “Nnnoo. I’m keeping it!”
“Angie, stop being childish and give it to me.” Rollie made a grab for the bottle. Angie scuttled away from him, and he went after her. He chased her halfway across the room before managing to catch her. He grabbed hold of her hands and tried to get the cologne away from her. In the struggle, the contents of the bottle spilled all over them and the floor.
“Bloody hell!” Rollie yelled.
“Nooo! Now look what you did!” Angie wailed.
“I’m sorry, Angie, but . . . but. . . .” Rollie voice trailed off, and he stared at Angie. The scent of the cologne was strong in the air, on the floor, on him--on Angie. The Aussie felt his senses tip off center, and he was filled with the most exquisitely powerful arousal that he’d ever experienced. He felt hot, feverish. He looked at his wife. She was panting, her eyes wild with desire.
Without a word, they grabbed for each other, kissing hungrily. Pieces of clothing started flying through the air.
Their actions were interrupted by a very loud thump against the wall of the cabin. Startled, the couple pulled away from each other.
“What was that?” Angie asked.
“I don’t know,” Rollie replied.
There was an even louder thump, and the wall shook. They heard a deep, low growl, then yet another thump. Rollie and Angie crept slowly toward the window, flinching at every thump and growl. Finally close enough to the window, Angie leaned over and looked outside.
“What is it? What is it?” Rollie asked frantically.
“Uh . . . uh . . . you remember what I said earlier about a bear?” There was an even louder thump, and the wall shuddered. “Rollie? It really, really wants in here.”
They both jumped at the sound of something banging against one of the other walls. The couple turned to see a moose press its nose against the window. They spun around as more thumps and bangs came from the other walls. Then they heard scratching sounds on the roof, as if about a hundred birds were trying to get in. Both Angie and Rollie let out a screech as they heard rustling under their feet.
“Rollie, I think we’re surrounded, and I think that they all really, really want to get in here.”
“Well, this is bloody terrific.” The Aussie turned to his wife. “There’s just one thing I want to know, Ange.”
“Did you have to use the term ‘fatal last words’?”