Nine Months to Redeem Him

By: Jennie Lucas

Edward looked me over in a way that caused my body to flash with heat. He took a step closer, and his muscular, powerful body towered over me in every direction.

“Perhaps that’s the real reason I wanted you here,” he murmured. “Perhaps we are kindred spirits, you and I. Perhaps we can—” he brushed back a tendril of my hair “—heal each other in every way....”

Edward pulled closer to me. I felt the warmth of his breath against my skin and shivered all over. My heart was beating frantically. He started to lower his head toward mine.

Then I saw the sardonic twist of his lips.

Putting my hands on his chest—on his hard, muscular, delicious chest, warm through his shirt—I said, “Stop it.”

“No?” Taking a step back, laughing, he mocked me with my earlier words. “Too soon?”

“You are a jerk,” I choked out.

He shrugged his one-shoulder shrug. “Can’t blame me for trying. You seem so naïve, like you’d believe any line a man told you.” He considered me. “Kind of amazing you’re still a virgin.”

Outrage filled me, and new humiliation. “You claim you’re desperate to be healed—”

“I never used the word desperate.”

“Then you fire your physical therapists, and waste your days getting drunk—”

“And don’t forget my nights having sex,” he said silkily.

“You’re already trying to sabotage me.” Narrowing my gaze, I lifted my chin. “I don’t think you actually want to get better.”

His careless look disappeared and he narrowed his eyes in turn. “I’m hiring you as a physio, Miss Maywood, not a psychiatrist. You don’t know me.”

“I know I came a long way here to have my time wasted. If you don’t intend to get better, tell me now.”

“And you’ll do what? Go back home to humiliation and paparazzi?”

“Better that, than be stuck with a patient who has nothing but excuses, and blames others for his own laziness and fear!”

“You say this to my face?” he growled.

“I’m not afraid of you!”

Edward stared at me blankly.

“Maybe you should be.” He fell back heavily into the chair and stared at the fire. The sheepdog lifted his head, wagging his tail.

“Is that what you want?” I said softly, coming closer. “For people to be afraid of you?”

The flickering firelight cast shadows on the leatherbound books of his starkly masculine study. “It makes things simpler. And why shouldn’t they fear me?” His midnight-blue eyes burned through me. “Why shouldn’t you?”

Edward St. Cyr’s handsome face and cultured voice were civilized, but that was a veneer, like sunlight over ocean. Beneath it, the darkness went deeper than I’d imagined. In spite of my earlier brave words, something shivered in my heart, and I suddenly wondered what I’d gotten myself into.

“Why should I be afraid of you?” I gave an awkward laugh. “Is your soul really so dark?”

“I loved a woman,” he said in a low voice, not looking at me. “So much I tried to kidnap her from her husband and baby. That’s how I got in the accident.” His lips turned flat. “Her husband objected.”

“This is why you wouldn’t allow the agency to give me any details,” I said slowly, “not even your name. You were afraid if I knew more about you, I wouldn’t come, weren’t you?”

His jaw tightened.

“Was anyone hurt?”

His expression suddenly looked weary. “Only me.”

“And now?”

“I’ve left them to their happiness. I’ve found that love, like dreams,” he said the word mockingly, “offers more pain than pleasure.” He turned to me in the firelight, his expression stark. “You want to know about the depths of darkness in my soul?” His lips twisted. “You couldn’t even see it. You, who are nothing but innocence and sunlight.”

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