“She’s had a tough day.”
“Yeah, so let’s give her some narcotics, a little whiskey and then put her in the shower. Maybe she’ll break something else.”
Jessica’s face wrinkled. “Well, I was thinking she would have help in the shower, but you’re right. We’ll save the whiskey for tonight.”
She took the glass from Sam and returned it to the kitchen. “I’m going to take a shower, too. I think I’ll puke if I smell sunscreen and creek ick one moment longer. I’ve laid out towels and clean clothes and everything in the guest bathroom, Sam. Mila can help you find anything I’ve forgotten. I do so appreciate it you doing this, Sam.”
Before Mila’s mouth finished dropping, Gramma disappeared into her bedroom. Mila stared at the closed door, then whipped around to look at Sam. “I can’t believe she just did that.”
“You didn’t catch it when she said you would have help in the shower? Process of elimination leaves me.” He shrugged. “I’m a good choice in terms of not letting you fall. Maybe not so good in terms of modesty and privacy. But we can manage.”
She had to admit the idea held enormous appeal under different circumstances. If no injury was involved, if it was totally his idea, if Gramma wasn’t down the hall, if they were bathing together…
That last thought was enough to leave her starved for air once again but in a much lovelier way. Being naked, wet, soapy and steamy with Sam, his hands on her, her hands on him, touching and exploring… How many firsts would that mark off her list?
How many other firsts would it lead to?
Her heart was pounding, making her flush with every new influx of hot blood. She wanted a shower, wanted that shower, wanted everything with him, but…
He was watching her, his expression level. “We can keep it clean,” he said softly. When her face flushed, he chuckled. “I know, clean is not my first thought when I think of you naked, but…you’re injured. Your grandmother’s here. But we’re adults, and we can behave appropriately until a better time.”
All of that, and she truly heard only one thing: when I think of you naked. Before her brain could stop her mouth, she asked, “You think of me naked?”
His only answer was a searing look that warmed her to her toes. He stood and offered his hand. “Come on. Let’s test my self-control.”
She had no doubt he possessed it in spades. Sadly for her, she had tons of it, too. She could come out of this undressing-showering-dressing again as innocent and untouched as she was right now.
But she took his hand anyway.
She’d left her flip-flops just inside the front door, so her feet padded soundlessly down the hall and to the bathroom the two guest rooms shared. Gramma had left the lights on, the water running to get it nice and warm, and a couple of scented candles burning. For ambience? Seduction?
Then Mila caught a look at herself in the mirror above the vanity, and a look of woe crossed her face. She most definitely needed any help she could get. About 40 percent of her hair was still in a braid, but the rest hung in a tangled mess that looked as if it belonged with the other mucky roots at the bottom of Cedar Creek. The marks on her face from the goggles getting jerked off had turned to purple-hued bruises. Her swimsuit was mostly dry and stiff and smelled rich and ripe, like fertilizer she used in the garden.
Her gaze flickered to Sam, who’d been adjusting the shower spray and temperature. “I guess we start with my hair.”
He looked at her head, opened a drawer and pulled out a pair of scissors, his brows arched, his mouth twitching with a grin.
“You don’t scare me. The woman who cuts my hair loves me because I let her do whatever she wants.” She lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “It always grows back.”
“I’d like to see it short someday.” He put the scissors back and began searching through the tangle for the rubber band that held her braid together. “Then down to your waist, then really short again, then maybe down past your hips.”
A shiver went through her, and not just because he was pulling knots and tangles and the occasional leaf from her hair with such gentle movements. “They say hair grows only about six inches a year.” The sort of changes he was talking about would take time. Months. Years.