Excerpt “Do you remember me, Bridget? I met you at Snickerdoodles.”
Oh, she remembered, all right. She remembered the scent of his skin and the warmth of his body beside her. At least, she thought she did. He’d wrapped his trench coat around her, hadn’t he?
She closed her eyes and shook her head to clear the cobwebs of mixed memories.
“I returned your book and tried to hail a cab for you. Do you remember that?”
No. Wait. Yes, she remembered the terrible kidnapping scene in the book and how she’d left it on the table in the coffee shop. Her memories played out in a reel until it ended with red eyes and searing pain.
Bridget’s eyes flew open, and she stared at her companion with dawning unease. His expression filled with concern and compassion, his eyes a deep chocolate brown. No sign of red anywhere. They weren’t even bloodshot.
“You’re Fredrick MacGregor.”
“That’s right.” A smile flitted over his lips.
“And you smell like spiced apples and vanilla.”
His black eyebrows disappeared into his hairline, one tendril falling across an eye. It looked soft and smooth, and she wanted to push it behind his ear for him. His smug look banished any tender feelings that might have developed.
“You were stabbed in the side, and I brought you to my home here in Gloucester to take care of you.”
Stabbed? She’d been stabbed? Gasping, she wrenched the emerald bedclothes away from her body and scanned the skin of her belly. The bruised pain she felt directed her eyes to her left side, but there was nothing there, not even discoloration. If she’d been stabbed, where was the scar, the scab?
Is he just teasing me? What kind of a jerk does that? Then the rest of his words sank in.
“Yes. It was the safest place I could think to take you.”
Bridget narrowed her eyes as she raised her gaze to meet his again, her hands still holding the bedclothes up.
Safe for whom, you chocolate-eyed kidnapper?
“Normally you take injured people, like those with stab wounds, to the hospital. Or at least call the paramedics.” What was she doing in Gloucester in a richly decorated bedroom? Was it hisbedroom?
There are worse places to be, a traitorous voice remarked.
“There was no time, and I knew I could care for you as well or better than any hospital,” Fredrick replied to her unasked questions.
Riiiiggghhhtt, that’s what all the sociopaths say to their victims.
“I have to go.” She tried to sit up again. She’d make it home come hell or high water. Goosebumps zinged along her leg when it appeared out of the covers.
“Whoa!” She jerked her legs back under the emerald sheets and stared incredulously at the man sitting next to her bed. “Where are my clothes?” And that sexy dress?
“I haven’t had time to get any from your apartment.” His eyes never dropped from hers. “I’ll send someone presently.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Presently? Who uses words like ‘presently’? And how do you know where I live?” She groaned, frowning. “You looked in my wallet from my coat.”
“That seemed to be the most logical place to look for your name and home address.”
“That’s just great. A perfect ending to a perfect day.” She sighed, slumping back in the bed. “Stabbed, kidnapped, and naked in a stranger’s bed. It just doesn’t get much worse.”
“Except, perhaps, being kidnapped by a vampire with a house full of werewolves,” he suggested, a half-smile curling his kissable lips.
She snorted. “Thank God there’s no such thing as vampires or werewolves.”
He stilled as if the life within him bled away, leaving nothing but a quiet, waxen shell, and his face lost the humor in it. Unease crept through her as she stared hard at him, clutching the covers so tightly her knuckles turned white. The scent of spiced apples shifted to a dirt smell, like moist earth or the desert after the rain, and her stomach cramped with visceral fear.
“Thank you.” She cleared her throat. “Thank you for whatever you did. I think I remember being stabbed. It hurt like hell. How bad was the damage, and how long have I been here?”
Life seeped back into him as he cocked his head to one side, his eyes narrowed in consideration. “You have only been here a few hours. We didn’t do anything but look at your wound. You healed all by yourself.”
“Yeah, I know I’m healing. I just want to know what you did to close the wound and how many stitches I needed.”
“I told you. We didn’t do anything. Your body healed on its own.”
“What are you talking about? What do you mean, ‘healed’?” She lifted the bed sheets away from her body again to get a better look at her left side. The skin appeared a little pink at her waist, but nothing suggesting a stab wound. She looked back up at him, anger coiling. “What did you do to me?”
Fredrick shook his head. “Nothing, Ms. Shanahan. I would like to know how you managed to heal so quickly, but it appears you didn’t know you could do that.”
“Of course I didn’t know I could do that!” Bridget dropped the bed sheet to her waist. “No one can do that except in science fiction novels.”
His gaze locked onto her chest, and a predatory expression flooded his features. An odd combination of exhilaration and lust zinged through her, which only pissed her off more. She growled and jerked the sheets back up.
He coughed and had the grace to look chagrined. “Forgive me, but I’ve found it very difficult to turn down an opportunity to view such beauty.”