‘And what about—?’ She seemed to hesitate to pursue her question. ‘What about what just happened between us?’
God, she was so innocent! Keir’s heart seemed to stall inside his chest at the realisation.
‘It was probably inevitable! You can’t suppress your own needs for ever…eventually something has to give!’
He saw her absorb what he’d said with what seemed like distress. ‘What you’re saying is I could have gone to bed with anybody? It just happened to be you?’
‘No! I’m not saying that at all! It’s obvious that we’re more than a little attracted to each other, and you are a very desirable woman. Good God! I almost knocked your door down to get you into bed—have you forgotten that?’
It was a cast-iron certainty that Keir hadn’t! Even now his body ached with an almost unholy ache to be inside her again. Touching Georgia, making love to her, drowning his senses in the hypnotic intoxication— of her body’s sweet perfume, had brought him the most indescribable delight. Nothing he’d experienced— in a long time could compare with it. And then there was the fact that he was her first. He would always be the keeper of that precious gift she had given him, and he couldn’t deny the surge of jealousy that all but cut a painful swathe through his insides at the thought that she might ever make love with someone else.
Now, seeing her shoulders drop a little, Keir had to own the surprising feelings of protectiveness and warmth towards her that were assailing him.
‘Georgia? Did you hear what I said?’
‘Yes…I heard. I’d better get dressed. Moira will be—’
‘How can you think of food at a time like this?’ Unable to conceal the need that had been growing inside him even as they were talking, Keir knew his desire must be written all over his face as he stared down into Georgia’s beautiful startled eyes.
‘I didn’t get to eat my dinner, remember?’
‘Come back to bed.’ He hooked his finger in the front of the linen sheet she’d wrapped round herself, at— the place between her breasts, and tugged until the two ends came apart and the material slithered down her naked body.
‘Keir! We can’t. What will—what will everyone think if we don’t go downstairs again?’
Keir didn’t need to see the sudden delightful contraction— of her soft pink nipples to know that she was as turned on by the idea as he was…
‘To hell with what anybody else thinks! They don’t even know that we’re together. I told Moira that I had some work to do. If anybody knocks at your door, then you can just call out that you’re tired and having an early night. Later, when the rest of the house is asleep, I’ll take you downstairs to the kitchen and we’ll raid the fridge together!’
Secretly delighted by this previously unseen playful side to his nature, nonetheless Georgia was doubtful. ‘I can’t let you do that.’ She tried to tug back the hand he had captured.
‘What?’ His expression was deeply amused. ‘Raid my own fridge?’
‘I didn’t mean that. I came here to work for you, remember?— I know it’s too late to undo what’s just happened, but we shouldn’t be making things even more complicated by repeating it!’
‘Do you regret the fact that we made love?’ he demanded, his vivid blue eyes attesting to his sudden doubt. ‘Would you have preferred it if the man you gave your virginity to was the man you were in love with?’
Keir’s words were akin to setting off a small earthquake— inside her, and Georgia almost swayed. What would he say if he discovered that she had given her virginity to the man she was in love with? Finally admitting— the truth to herself, she felt the realisation rock her very soul to its foundations.
‘I don’t regret it at all!’ she exclaimed. ‘And I had no grand plan about saving myself for anyone! I’ve already told you why things were the way they were. I’m simply trying to be sensible about this. I know it’s a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but we have to work together until your own secretary returns and I don’t want to ruin things.’
‘Nothing will be ruined,’ he insisted, impelling her forcibly into his arms. ‘We’re both adults, aren’t we? We’ll just carry on as normal and nobody else has to know anything unless you want them to.’
Even as he said the words Georgia felt uneasy. What if Keir’s housekeeper found out? Or one of the other members of staff? What if they thought that she was taking advantage of her situation working for the Laird? She would hate any of them to imagine for even one second that she was some self-seeking unprincipled— opportunist! And she wasn’t convinced by Keir’s statement that nothing would be ruined. He had no idea that she had realized she was already in love with him, and that just made the situation even more precarious!
‘I really think that we should put the brakes on here.’
Easing herself out of his arms and stooping to pick up the sheet again, Georgia held it to her front. Inside her chest, her heart thrummed with regret and pain that she couldn’t easily curtail her instinct to be sensible and allow Keir to take her back to bed again. Her only consolation was that given time he might thank her for behaving more rationally.
‘Okay. I can see that you’ve made up your mind about this. Even though I would do a hell of a lot to persuade you differently.’ Touching his knuckles tenderly to her cheek, Keir turned away from her with an audible sigh.
Wishing she could just relent and tell him she’d changed her mind, Georgia watched him go over to the bed, pick up his shirt, then leave the room without saying even one more word…
IN SEARCH OF some strong black coffee the next morning to chase the ‘fog’ from his brain because he’d hardly slept the night before for thinking, Keir strode into the large country-house kitchen only to find Georgia already there.
She was wearing a long tunic-style lilac shirt over matching loose trousers. Nonetheless, the silken cloth lovingly outlined her shapely hips and derrière as she reached up to the old-fashioned dresser for a mug. Mesmerised, Keir fancied the material was like a living rippling sea over the sensual island of her body, and a surge of pure lust gripped him with a vengeance. The impact was dizzying, yet straight afterwards his head cleared almost miraculously, and he secretly marvelled at how just the mere sight of this woman could effect such a dramatic change in him.
Before Georgia had come to Glenteign he had been angry and resentful at being forced to return to his family home, even though he’d always known that he would do his duty there. Mired in the past because of his surroundings, and the hurtful recollections triggered by his brother’s unexpected death, most— of Keir’s attention had been consumed by his situation. But now—now he found his mind transfixed— instead by the allure of this lovely woman…
Drawn by the pure rush of need that pulsed in his veins like one of the fast-flowing inlets that wound its way down through the Glens, Keir crossed the flagged kitchen floor to join her, walking up behind her without a word and sliding his arms around her waist.
‘Good morning,’ he greeted her softly, his voice deliberately lowered and his lips a mere half-inch from the tender place just behind her ear that smelled so divinely of her sweet erotic essence.
‘I was just going to make some tea,’ she said breezily, slipping from his arms as easily as though she were some silken will o’ the wisp. ‘Would you like some?’
Keir did not welcome the tumult of powerful rejection— that kept his feet rooted to the floor. Her moving away from him like that was not the scenario he’d anticipated,— and immediately his temper surfaced.
‘You should know by now that I only drink coffee in the morning!’ he snapped.
‘My mistake,’ she replied, unoffended and gave him a little half-smile. ‘If you want to sit down at the table I’ll make you some. Moira has already left to go grocery shopping in Dundee, so if you want breakfast I’ll make that for you too.’
Regarding his stony expression, Georgia wished she hadn’t been so hasty to free herself from his unexpected— embrace. His hard, masculine body had felt so good pressed up close to hers, and his warm, enticing— breath and the hypnotic blend of his aftershave— had whispered seductively over her skin. But the truth was that she hadn’t known how Keir would greet her this morning, after yesterday’s events, and she’d steeled herself for the possibility that he might be a little bit cool with her.
After all, she had rejected his invitation to go back to bed, and with hindsight he might easily have concluded— himself that it was better if they didn’t sleep together again. Plus, he had made it quite apparent that what they had was merely something fleeting, and— not something that heralded any right future for them both. Why else would he have told Georgia that the man she eventually ended up with would be lucky to have her?
‘I don’t want any breakfast. I’ll just have some coffee.’ Assessing her with an almost accusing glare, he— seemed to suddenly and chillingly assume his role of somewhat distant employer, and Georgia’s insides cramped in protest. ‘You can bring it into the study when it’s ready. I’ll be in there working.’