Hold Me

Free Hold Me by Betsy Horvath

Book: Hold Me by Betsy Horvath Read Free Book Online
Authors: Betsy Horvath
absolutely magnificent.
    “Ho-ly crap.” She couldn’t help staring before turning to her companion. “Even if this place is in a trust, you must be freaking rich.”
    Luc’s laugh was a bark that didn’t have a whole lot to do with humor. “That would be a big fat no. I’m nothing more than a glorified caretaker.”
    Katie was a little startled by the bitterness in his voice, but he was already hobbling away so she decided to let it drop, running after him.
    She knew he’d never admit it, but it took both of them to get him down the hall and into a lovely modern kitchen containing yards of countertop, a large, rectangular table, and a bunch of ladder-back chairs. Katie grabbed one of the chairs and shoved it under Luc’s butt. He didn’t so much sit in it as crash.
    “Ugh,” Luc said.
    “I hate to say I told you so, but—”
    “I’m fine.”
    “—you really should have let me drive. Then you could have been in the back seat with your foot elevated and maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much.”
    “Yeah, well, thanks for mentioning it.”
    He looked at her then and a sudden, unexpected tremor of awareness shot through her. He was tired and grumpy and in pain. His rather shaggy hair had fallen over his forehead and his chin was dark with the start of an impressive beard. He looked dangerous and…something else. Something that made her stomach clutch and roll just the slightest, delightful bit, even now. Even in the middle of everything.
    Boy, oh boy, she thought. Talk about trouble.
    Clearing her throat, Katie tried to pull herself together as she dragged another chair over to him. “Put your foot up on this.”
    His hooded eyes grew wary. “Why?”
    “Because I’m going to try to help you, you idiot.”
    “I’m okay.”
    “No, you’re not, so shut up.”
    “That’s nice.”
    “Your ankle needs some attention.”
    “My ankle needs brandy.”
    “No it doesn’t.” She gave up waiting and tugged at his leg.
    “Fine, fine, fine.” With obvious reluctance, he propped his foot on the chair.
    Katie knelt beside him. She carefully removed his worn running shoe and sock, feeling a little bit like Androcles with the lion. But one look at his ankle pushed everything else out of her mind. It was bluish-purple and swollen two or three times its normal size. She touched it, and he flinched involuntarily.
    “This is really bad.” She looked up at him, resting on her heels. “You should go to the hospital.”
    “No hospitals.” His harsh face was a little pale under the five o’clock shadow.
    “I mean it, Katie. No hospitals. Especially not for some piddly-ass thing like this.”
    “It’s not piddly-ass, and it must hurt like heck.”
    He shrugged.
    She sighed. Deeply. Men. Still, she couldn’t drag him out of there by force, so she contemplated his foot again, anxiously chewing on her bottom lip while she tried to figure out what to do.
    She wished her mother was there. Her mom could handle any situation. Even sitting in a strange man’s kitchen looking at his large, well-shaped foot and swollen ankle wouldn’t have fazed her.
    Katie, on the other hand, was beginning to be just a little faint. Absently she touched his foot again down near his toes, where it didn’t seem to be quite as puffy. His skin was warm and elastic under her fingers. She smoothed it, unconsciously trying to ease the pain.
    “Does it hurt when I touch you here?” she asked. There was a pause.
    “Um, no.” His voice sounded strange.
    She glanced up to find him watching her with inscrutable eyes. Abruptly she was aware of the intimacy of their situation. His foot seemed vulnerable, unguarded. It was strangely wicked of her to be touching it.
    She snatched back her hand and caught her breath.
    “Does it smell?” he murmured.
    “My foot. Does it smell? You look weird.”
    Katie found herself laughing, grateful that he’d broken the oddly tense mood. “No. I was just thinking about what to do.”

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