“I have to apply electrodes to your temporal and facial arteries. I’m just brushing your hair away from your face. Is that okay?” he asked, looking fierce.
“Of course,” she said, feeling flustered and hating it. “Is this going to hurt?” she asked anxiously when he picked up a small electrode with a wire attached to it.
“Not at all,” he said. “I’m just reading your body, not doing anything intrusive. Just try to relax.”
Lin swallowed thickly as he ran two calloused fingertips over her right temple, finding her pulse. He peeled the paper off the back of the electrode and pressed it to her skin, his actions rapid and knowing. Just reading your body. Not doing anything intrusive. Funny, it felt very intrusive to her. Well, not intrusive, exactly, but alarmingly . . .
. . . personal. Intimate.
“I didn’t realize I had a pulse there,” she mumbled, worried she’d disrupt the electrode he’d just placed on the right side of her chin just a fraction of an inch above her jaw.
“You have them all over your body,” Kam said, his manner distracted as he picked up another electrode. His finger slid against her neck, and she repressed a shiver. He gently pressed an electrode to the pulse he easily found there. “You have especially defined ones. That’s why I thought you’d be a good test subject.”
“I do?” she asked, her amazement temporarily dulling her anxiety. “You noticed that when we were . . . together?”
“Yeah. You show your emotions extremely well. Put out your arm like this,” he instructed, extending his arm so that his palm was faced upward.
“I disagree,” she said a little cantankerously, following his instructions. “I’m always told by business associates that I’ve got a great poker face. Ian values the fact that I always appear calm, no matter what happens.” In control, she added in her head, mostly because she felt the opposite of in control at the moment. “It helps in stressful business interactions.”
“I’m not talking about your facial expressions,” he said, his first two fingers running over her upper arm. The skin on the underside of her arms felt very tender and sensitive. Kam found what he wanted and attached an electrode. He repeated the process on the inner side of her forearm, his long fingers trailing something that she realized was a vein before he found what he wanted. “I’m talking about your physiological responses,” he continued. “The signs are there . . . if a person knows how to read them, that is.”
He knew how to read them. No one better.
Her heart fluttered when he took her palm in both of his hands, gently probing her wrist. It felt good. Her sex responded to his touch, heat rushing through her. The realization that her body could betray her so easily—so wholeheartedly—left her mute. She watched him in silent anxiety as he attached the electrode to her inner wrist. He glanced up with quicksilver eyes and caught her staring.
“Can you stand?” he requested.
She stood, her legs feeling like rubber. Maybe he’d known they would feel that way, and so had asked if something so simple was a major maneuver. He knelt before her, and her alarm increased. The sure knowledge that he would be able to read her anxiety—her arousal?—like he would a document on a computer left her panicked.
But Lin wasn’t in the habit of running away. She was trapped by her stubbornness.
She stifled a gasp when he opened his hand at the back of her knee, again gently probing with knowing fingertips. He must feel the bumps that rose on her skin caused by his touch. It was strange, experiencing his expertise, his easy knowledge of the human body. Most people would never think to describe Kam Reardon as subtle; his manner and sexuality were so primal. Observing this deft, complex side of his personality left her feeling even more vulnerable.
But Kam had graduated from medical school, hadn’t he? Even though his mother’s illness and death prevented him from finishing his cardiology residency, he would have gone through countless clinical rotations at hospitals, not to mention the fact that he’d recently managed a large-scale trial of his biofeedback mechanism at a college in France. He probably thought nothing of a subject getting some involuntary goose bumps on their skin while he applied equipment, right?
Did those subjects and patients get as damp between their thighs as Lin was right now, though? Extremely doubtful. Surely they didn’t become bizarrely both aroused and panicked at the idea of being trapped and exposed to Kam’s knowing eyes . . . of being unwillingly excited by his touch.
She closed her eyes and focused on her breathing, recalling in detail a complicated dance movement that required exquisite control and attention to detail. By the time Kam had finished attaching an electrode to her calf and then her foot, she had calmed a little.
“The watch with the mechanism in it will only be able to gather data at the wrist pulse,” Lin said as he stood. “Why are you bothering to take information from all these pulse sites?”
“If I gather baseline data for your entire body, in addition to the other information you provided from the sensor and from the questionnaire, I’ll be able to use a logarithm I created that will make an automatic correction for the data at the wrist. A huge amount of data is collapsed into one measuring device that can accurately predict what’s going on in the body from basic readings of temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, galvanic skin response, and a whole lot of other things. In many ways, that mathematical formula is the true key to the entire device,” he said distractedly. She just stared, a little stunned by his casual brilliance. She blinked when she realized he was studying a lot of squiggly lines on his computer screen intently. “You just did something. What did you do?”