Several hours later Roth felt as if he’d been dragged up the entire mountain by a raggedy snowplow. Instead of Tressa saying, “I told you so,” she instantly shifted into caregiver mode, forcing him upstairs and into bed, despite his protest.
He stared at the ceiling, bored out of his mind and lonely. “Tress… Baby, where are you? I miss you.”
Damn. They’d only been apart twenty minutes. Plus, she was only a flight of stairs away. Yet, he missed her. Then it dawned on him. He didn’t have a cold; he was experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. He laughed at the silly analogy. This was definitely a cold, and he felt like crap.
“Men are such babies when they’re sick,” she said, nearing the bed with a steamy bowl of something.
He pushed himself up onto his elbows. “What’s that?”
He really didn’t feel like eating, but she’d gone through so much trouble. To show his gratitude, he could surely get down a few swallows. “It smells delicious.”
Tressa took a seat on the edge of the bed, scooped up a spoonful of the fragrant liquid, blew it to cool it down, then fed him.
“Mmm. Woman, you do have some major skills in the kitchen.”
“Just in the kitchen?” A mischievous grin spread across her face.
Oh, if he had the energy—and a cootie-free status—he’d have taken her right there. “Tease.”
After he’d got his fill, Tressa placed the bowl on the nightstand, butted her back against the headboard and directed his head onto her lap. She stroked a hand over his cheek. Why did her touch soothe him so much?
Relaxed, Roth allowed his eyes to close. In his adult life, there had only been one woman he’d allowed his guard down around, and she’d hurt him. He’d sworn to never allow himself to be in that position again. And he’d managed to stick to his vow. Until now. Until Tressa. She’d become the exception to his ironclad rule.
With his ex, the connection had never been as strong as the one he felt with Tressa. Not even after the two years they were together. A part of him wanted—knew he needed—to pull away from this thing blooming between them. But the part of him that liked the way she looked at him, liked the way she touched him, loved how he felt when he was with her, beckoned him to stay, to risk.
“You’re supposed to be resting, Mr. Lexington, not stewing in your thoughts.”
“I’ve noticed that whenever you glide your thumb back and forth across my skin like that, you’re in deep thought.”
Damn. He hadn’t even realized he was doing it. He shifted to eye her.
Tressa smirked. “You’re not the only observant one around here. I told you I see you. In vivid color.” She winked.
Overwhelmed by the emotions storming inside him, all he could say was, “Oh, yeah?”
Well, since she saw so much, did she see how hard he was falling for her?
* * *
The following morning, Roth was still fast asleep when Tressa snaked from the bed. She didn’t readily move away. She watched him sleep. He looked so adorable.
Mr. I Don’t Get Sick.
The nighttime elixir she’d prepared and given him—a mix of bourbon, because he had no rum, honey, lemon juice and cayenne pepper—had put him out cold. Recalling the expression on his face when he’d tasted the concoction nearly made her burst out laughing. It definitely wasn’t the best-tasting remedy, but it worked wonders. He would feel like a new man when he woke up. Well…better than he did before he’d taken it, at least.
Moving away, she headed downstairs to prepare them some breakfast. Before making her way into the kitchen, she threw a few more pieces of wood on the fire. A glance out the window revealed the snow had finally stopped. God, this place was gorgeous in the snow. Probably even more beautiful in the spring when everything was in bloom. The idea of returning brought a smile to her face.
She’d got her wish to spend the week at the cabin. The only problem…Roth was sick. She shook her head at the quirk of fate. Actually, that wasn’t all bad. Well, bad for him, but she actually enjoyed his relying on her. That built trust, which was the foundation of any relationship.