‘Stupid bloody thing to happen!’ His expression fierce for a moment, Keir shook his head from side to side as if in disbelief.
‘I’ve often found that when I’m angry I end up hurting myself somehow,’ Georgia shared with him gently, not wanting to inflame his temper any further, but— needing to make what she hoped was a helpful observation. ‘Perhaps you need to find a safer way to release the anger you’re holding on to and let it go?’
‘No doubt you’re right.’
He reflected on his reluctant yet compelling visit to the attic earlier—the first in the nine months since he’d been back at Glenteign. He’d been searching for something…exactly what he didn’t know…but something that might give him some clue as to how he was going to overcome this great weight of sorrow and pain in his heart. But Keir had not left that room of memories feeling much forgiveness or any closure in his heart about his past. Instead, rage had welled up inside him afresh at what he and Robbie had endured, and the indelible scars it had left him with.
He was only beginning to realise now, after suffering— this stupid accident, how dangerous it was to let that rage dominate his emotions. Georgia—in her surprising wisdom—was absolutely correct with her sage advice. Except that Keir didn’t know how he could begin to ‘safely’release the rage and hurt he felt inside. Since he’d been back at Glenteign he’d almost felt like a prisoner there, locked inside his painful memories, with reminders at every turn, instead of a man in charge of his own destiny. He knew that such a debilitating state of affairs could not go on…
‘But there are some things that are almost too damn hard to do and, I can’t help the way I feel,’ he continued, his mouth a thin, bitter line. ‘What? You’re not going to tell me I should try harder?’
There was something so bleak in his riveting blue gaze as he trained it directly on Georgia’s face that her heart constricted in pain. She tore her glance from his with difficulty, and focused once more on the running water splashing onto his arm.
‘I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to do. I think you just need to try and stay calm. It won’t help the pain if you get yourself more agitated…no matter whether you’re hurting inside or out.’
Minutes later, Moira appeared with a small first aid kit, from which Georgia selected a dressing of the appropriate size. She instructed Keir to sit down in the cane chair next to the bath so that she could apply it to his arm. Thankfully, she was able to peel back the soaked material without any detrimental effect to his scalded skin. The wound looked red and angry, but— she could already tell that in a week to ten days’ time— it would heal nicely, without even leaving a scar.
Relief ebbed through her in a thankful wave and, tipping— out an arnica tablet from the packet she had taken from her handbag, she gave it to Keir. ‘Put this on the end of your tongue and let it dissolve. It will help with the shock. I’m just going to put this dressing on for you, and then you should go and put your feet up for a while. Perhaps you could lie on one of the big sofas in the library? They’re nice and comfy. Then I’ll bring you up a cup of hot, sweet tea.’
‘Oh I can do that for the Chief, lassie! I’ll find some of his favourite biscuits too.’
Glad to have something else to do other than stand by and watch Georgia put Keir’s dressing on, Moira bustled out of the room again.
Finishing her task, Georgia sat back on the edge of the bath and smiled. ‘I think you’ll live to fight another day!’
‘Thanks to you.’ Grimly examining the stark white dressing covering a large area of his forearm, Keir quickly moved his gaze to look at Georgia instead. ‘My own private nurse as well as my very efficient secretary…Does your after-care extend to tucking me into bed tonight, I wonder?’
‘Definitely not!’ Although her retort was smart, Georgia sensed a wave of heat suffuse her cheeks.
There was the semblance of a rueful smile about his lips, but his piercing blue eyes could not disguise his longing.
Trying to convince herself that it must simply be the aftermath of shock, or the surge of adrenaline that came with it, Georgia regarded his hard handsome face with renewed concern. With its sculpted lean angles and the firm cleft in the centre of his rather arrogant chin, there was something about it that was so compelling that she was filled with the strongest, almost— irresistible desire to touch him. Not just with the gentle ministrations of a healer either. But with the almost overwhelmingly demanding need of a woman who knew herself to be dangerously beguiled by him…
‘You really should go and lie down for a while!’ she— exclaimed, jumping up from the edge of the bath. ‘We have to be careful that shock doesn’t set in. You can be quite ill otherwise. Shall I help you into the library?’
It was quite remarkable to Keir that he could be in so much pain from his scald and yet so imbued with desire for the woman who had tended him that he could scarcely think straight! So much so that he didn’t want to go and lie down alone. If Georgia came with him, then that would be quite a different matter entirely…
Yet even as the thought grew into the most compelling— demand, Keir already guessed that she would refuse him. She would no doubt have a raft of principles— behind her refusal too. Number one being that he had hired her as his temporary secretary, and that was the only obligation she’d come to Glenteign to fulfil… Not to alleviate any carnal desire her boss might have!
She was clearly a woman of integrity, and he couldn’t fault her for that—even though it didn’t help his case right now one little bit.
‘I don’t need your help to walk down the corridor into the library, dammit!’ he replied irritably. ‘I’ve scalded my arm, not broken my leg!’
As he got up and went through the door, Georgia stared at him in astonished disbelief. ‘Well, I’m so happy to see that your accident hasn’t curtailed in any way your ability to be as cantankerous and belligerent— as ever!’ she declared out loud to his back.
Turning at this daring attempt not to be brow-beaten— by his temper, Keir felt his blood throb with renewed heat as he confronted her beautiful indignant— face. Driven to act by purely primal instinct—he— crossed the floor in one fluid stride and with his uninjured arm yanked her hard against his chest.
‘This has been coming for a long time,’ he ground out, just before he covered her mouth passionately with his own.
The hard yet compelling mouth that took command— of her lips was bordering on the brutal with its untamed, ravenous demand. But as the velvet magic of Keir’s hot silken tongue ruthlessly seduced her, causing— an explosion of untrammelled sensation throughout her body, Georgia felt an answering cry of profound need ring out in her heart. To feel such raw physical need was a revelation to her. She’d suppressed— so much that to have those potentially dangerous— feelings blown apart now by this man’s expert, ruthless kiss, was deeply shocking and yet wildly liberating at the same time.
She had been guarded all her life. Always, always she had thought of her brother’s welfare first, and of how his upbringing might be jeopardised should she allow herself to fall in love and commit her future to someone else. What if the man she fell in love with could not find it in his heart to be kind to Noah? What if he didn’t understand the closeness between brother and sister and sought to end or destroy it?
These questions had always loomed large whenever— she’d nursed fantasies about meeting someone special…someone she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
Now, the heated addictive pressure on her mouth started to ease, degree by tormenting degree, and Keir’s arm slackened a little on her waist. To Georgia’s surprise his kiss became gentler, kinder—more— seductive even—and her chest was tight with emotion and yearning. When he finally withdrew his lips from hers, she saw such raw, unfettered need reflected— there in his amazing blue eyes that it made her feel almost faint with longing.
‘I think I will go and lie down on one of the sofas in the library,’ he teased gently, his nostrils flaring a little. ‘I seem to have acquired a sudden added complication— in that my blood pressure has just gone sky-high. What remedies do you have for bringing it down again, Nurse?’
Now it was Keir’s turn to sweep back a lock of hair from Georgia’s brow, and the tender way he did it elicited such joy inside her that it made her lightheaded. Perhaps she ought to be furious with him for taking such a liberty as to kiss her so uninhibitedly and brazenly. But of all the emotions that were sweeping through her right then, fury did not feature at all.
Clearing her throat with difficulty, her lips still throbbing from his hungry, fiery kisses as though they would never cease to ache, Georgia wondered if her compliance showed in her eyes. ‘Rest,’ she advised softly, her hazel glance reflecting myriad greens and golds. ‘Plenty of rest. I’ll tell Moira to take your tea into the library.’
‘Thank you.’ Smiling ruefully at having to leave her, Keir finally set Georgia free with a light brush of his hand against her cheek.