His touch felt as if it burned her. She watched him move towards the door as if she were in a trance.
‘I will see you later,’ he promised. And leaving her, he made his way down the hall to the library…
HE’D BEEN DEEP in the throes of the most erotic dream he’d ever had…Now, stirring to wakefulness on one of the old overstuffed sofas in the library, his brow damp with perspiration and the very devil of a searing pain in his arm, Keir sat up feeling dazed, and rubbed his hand round his studded jaw.
It was hard to tell which pain was worse…The scald he’d acquired from the hot coffee, or the strong throbbing ache in the region of his groin…The dream had been so damn real that Keir could swear he’d been making uninhibited passionate love to one dark-haired, hazel-eyed sorceress who, in turn, had done things to him that would make a grown man sink down onto his knees and give thanks that he had been incarnated as a male in this lifetime…
‘Bloody hell!’ He exclaimed out loud. Not because he shouldn’t be nursing such lascivious thoughts about his temporary secretary, but because she wasn’t there with him to carry out his fantasy for real…
Keir reflected that now he had enforced an intimacy between himself and Georgia that there was probably no turning back. Perhaps it had been reckless of him, but even his infamous iron will could not resist the pure temptation that was Noah Cameron’s shapely, beguiling,— sister. Things had really started to get out of hand when she’d pushed back that lock of hair from his brow. Her touch had been so exquisite, so infinitely kind, that Keir had been undone by it. No one had ever touched him in such a tender, almost loving way…
He froze at how dangerously his emotions seemed to be unravelling. What the hell was he thinking of? Georgia Cameron fascinated him, and he definitely admired her as a person—how could he not when she had so many amazing qualities?—but right now he had only one goal in mind as far as she was concerned,— and that was to simply seduce her. Anything beyond that—especially anything remotely appertaining— to emotional need—was simply a fantasy on Keir’s part, no doubt brought about by what had just happened to him.
Yet, even if that most basic physical need were fulfilled, would he find it that easy to let her go? He wanted more from this woman than mere sex—although— he hesitated to confirm in his own mind what that something ‘more’ was.
He’d always found it difficult to relate to the concept or even the possibility of needing a deeper response from anyone. He even kept his platonic friendships as uncomplicated and commitment-free as possible. There was a deeply held belief inside him that somehow the taint of his unhappy past would ultimately end up destroying those friendships,— and so inevitably he did not allow anyone to get too close to him. There were very few, if any among his acquaintances, who could really say that they knew him.
Now, glancing down at his watch, Keir experienced mild shock when he saw the time. Had he really slept most of the afternoon away?As he made himself stand, he— tried to shake off the slightly unreal and stuffy feeling in his head that made him feel as if he’d been drugged. He was thirsty, he was hungry, and his burn throbbed like merry hell! Had anybody in the house-hold— come to check on him whilst he’d been sleeping?
As he reached the door and wrenched it open with a disgruntled frown, Keir knew full well the person he’d hoped would have undertaken that task was Georgia.
Georgia had set off walking about half an hour before dinner, to try and get her head straight. She’d hardly had any peace since Keir had kissed her, and now her feelings were in absolute turmoil.
Walking in nature usually provided a release from such inner turmoil, she’d found, and so she’d resorted to the one thing that might help her. But now she realised that the inevitable spell of the mountains and lochs had weaved their magic too potently around her senses, and the distance she’d inadvertently— covered because of her enchantment was too great to allow her to get back to Glenteign in time to sit down to the evening meal with everyone else.
Even Hamish looked up at her with reproach in his big dark eyes, his great tongue lolling as he panted hard at his exertion. Dropping down onto her haunches, Georgia affectionately stroked back the champagne coloured fur on his head and sighed heavily.
‘I’m sorry, Hamish! I just lost track of time. Never mind—you’ll have your dinner as soon as we get back to Glenteign, I promise. We’d better get our skates on, though, because it looks like it might rain again!’
Glancing up at the darkening grey clouds that were gathering so threateningly in the previously flawless blue sky, Georgia sensed sudden fear knife through her. The last thing in the world she wanted to do was to be caught out in a storm to equal the one they’d had last night! It was one thing being inside, watching— it safely from a bedroom window, but quite another witnessing the full brunt of its elemental passion outside in the open!
Falling into a jog, she nervously increased her pace as a sudden spot of rain splashed onto her face…
‘Where the hell has she got to?’
The harshly expressed question did not fail to conceal the underlying anxiety in Keir’s voice as he paced to one of the huge dining room windows and glanced out.
Watching his stiff back in the dark cashmere sweater, and feeling the tension in him transmit itself to the other members of staff in the room, Moira silently admitted to her own concerns about the young secretary since she’d failed to turn up for dinner. She’d seen her go out with Hamish shortly after she’d finished work—and she hoped the girl had not gone and got herself lost. It was easy to do if a person didn’t know their way well round these parts. The mountainous region around Glenteign was so vast that even an experienced guide could easily make a wrong turn. Now the Chief’s obvious anxiety over Georgia’s absence was putting her on edge as well. Especially as outside the rain had started to pour as though it would never cease, and they’d all heard that angry rumble of thunder vent its spleen above them only moments ago.
‘Someone had better go and find her.’
Standing up from the dining table in the smaller, more— intimate dining room where they’d just had their meal, Moira glanced across the polished maplewood— table at one of the young gardeners employed on the estate—a lad who worked alongside his father, who— was head gardener there. Both men knew the area well.
‘Euan, will you go? The lassie told me she was a bit nervous of storms, and she might get disoriented trying to find her way back in the rain.’
‘I’ll go.’ Already at the door, and pulling it wide, Keir turned briefly to glance at the others round the table. ‘She’s probably not far away.’
‘Get a mackintosh from the mudroom before you go, Chief. You don’t want to be getting soaked to the skin or get that dressing all wet after your accident today!’
On her feet as she started collecting up the plates to take them into the kitchen, Moira didn’t hesitate to advise him.
Without a word, Keir turned and went out.
Just as he reached the bottom of the concrete steps that led down onto the gravel drive, he saw a blur of vivid colour in the distance and realised that it was Georgia, jogging towards the house, Hamish slightly ahead of her. The relief that washed through him could not be measured.
But even as he sensed the tension ease out of his shoulders a scissor-flash of lightning slashed through the sky with an ear-splitting crack, and Keir saw Georgia pause to look up. She started to run again, but a moment later she seemed to trip and pitch forward in the middle of the glistening emerald lawn. Immediately— the faithful Labrador ran back to be with her.
Without another thought, Keir started to run towards her. The driving rain pummelled at his clothing where he hadn’t bothered to do up the waterproof— he’d quickly donned on the way out. When he reached her, Georgia was starting to struggle to her feet, her red linen dress covered in loose wet grass and splashes of mud. Her long dark hair was tangled, and almost plastered to her shocked face, and her hazel eyes couldn’t contain their fear.
‘What have you done to yourself?’ he demanded, concern making his tone gruffly impatient. ‘You haven’t hurt your ankle?’
‘I just slipped on the wet grass,’ she replied, shivering. ‘I’m all right…really.’
She might not be hurt physically, but Keir easily detected that the lightning strike and the thunder had shaken her up badly. Giving no thought to his own injured arm, he swept her up against his chest and started to hurry with her towards the house.
‘You don’t have to carry me!’ Georgia protested, shocked. ‘Keir, I’m quite capable of walking… really!’—
But he carried her just the same, his dark face stoic and determined as he held her, his racing heart attesting to the maelstrom of emotion that was going on inside him at being able to hold her so close, uncaring— that her own soaked clothing was making his even wetter.
By the time they reached the house and Keir had ordered the faithful Labrador to go round to the back door Moira was at the front, her face amply illustrating— her anxiety and relief.