“What’s wrong, Bella?” He straightened, alert.
She smiled. “Nothing, sugar.”
He grabbed her hand and for the first time noticed the dark stains on the brown shirt. He pushed up her wide, bell-shaped sleeve. The raw and oozing scrape ran up her arm.
“It’s no big deal, sugar.” She tried to pull back her hand but he wouldn’t let go.
“The hell it’s not. Got any iodine?”
She sighed, causing her magnificent breasts to rise and fall. “No, but I’ve got some antibiotic cream in the bathroom.”
He stood back and motioned with his hand. “After you.”
“You’re a stubborn man, Hank McHenry.”
“I could say the same about you.”
“Hmm,” was all she said as she walked out of the kitchen, the cat at her heels.
He followed her to the bathroom, trying to ignore the sway of her hips.
She sat down on the stool and pointed toward the medicine cabinet.
His gaze swept the bathroom, a pretty little room as feminine as its owner. Pristine white walls had apricot and yellow rosebuds painted on them. Fluffy large apricot towels hung on a dainty rack.
He opened the drawer, scanned the cabinet and pulled out a tube of ointment. “Do you have a washcloth you don’t mind getting a bit bloodied?”
She pointed toward a wicker basket overflowing with pastel washcloths and towels.
He picked one up at random and ran it under warm water. “Push up that sleeve, would you?” She complied and he gently washed her arm.
His head bent over her, he dabbed gently.
“You’re a good man, Hank McHenry,” she said quietly.
Her warm breath tickled his ear and sped up his heart rate.
The dabbing became a gentle stroking. “What kind of men are you used to, Bella?”
“Hard-edged, hungry men, sugar.”
For just a moment, his grip on her warm skin tightened. As the cat growled, his tail swishing, he forced himself to let go.
Picking up the tube of antibiotic ointment, he squirted it liberally on his fingers then gently rubbed it on her shoulder and arm.
He turned his head. Her lush lips were a breath away, moist and beckoning. She looked at him from heavy lids, her eyes as mysterious and deep as the ocean. He leaned closer.
The buzzer sounded loud and insistent from the foyer.
He drew back, willing his fingers not to tremble.
Unhurried, she stood up and pushed down her sleeve. “Thank you.” She headed for the foyer, her carriage as graceful and regal as a queen’s. The cat shadowed her like a witch’s familiar.
He waited a moment, fighting for control. He stared in the mirror. The man looking back at him was raw-boned and weathered with a head full of red hair turning gray. He planted his hands on the cool marble sink, leaned his head against the mirror and closed his eyes. What are you doing, McHenry? She is way out of your league.
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