Nine Months to Redeem Him

By: Jennie Lucas

His master. Not mine.

“Sorry.” I shook my head fiercely. “There’s no way I’m staying to work for a man who wants a physical therapist he can treat like his dog.”

“Caesar is a very good dog,” he said mildly. “But let’s be honest, shall we? We both know you’re not going back to California, not with all the sharks in the water. You wanted to get away. You have. No one will bother you here.”

“Except you.”

“Except me,” he agreed. “But I’m a very easy sort of person to get along with—”

I snorted in disbelief.

“—and in a few months, after I can run again, perhaps you’ll have figured out what you truly want to do with your life. You can leave Penryth Hall with enough money to do whatever you want. Go back to university. Build your physical therapy business. Even audition.” He shook his head. “Whatever. I don’t care.”

“You just want me to stay.”


Helplessly, I shook my head. “I’m starting to think I might be better off just staying away from people.”

His eyes glittered in the firelight. “I understand. Better than you might think.”

I tried to smile. “Somehow I doubt a man like you spends much time alone.”

He looked away. “There are all kinds of alone.” He set his jaw. “Stay. We can be alone together,” he said gruffly. “Help each other.”

It was tempting. What was my alternative? And yet...

I licked my lips, coming closer to his chair near the fire. “Tell me more about your injury.”

His handsome face shuttered as he drew back.

“Didn’t the agency explain?” he said shortly. “Car crash.”

“They said you broke your left ankle, your right arm and two ribs.” I looked over his body slowly. “And also dislocated your shoulder, then managed to dislocate it again after you were home. Was it from physical therapy?”

He made a one-shouldered gesture that would have been a shrug. “I was bored and decided to go for a swim in the ocean.”

He could have died. “Are you crazy?”

“I said I was bored. And possibly a little drunk.”

“You are crazy,” I breathed. “No wonder you got in a car accident. Let me guess. You were street racing, like in the movies.”

The air in the dark study turned so chilly, the air nearly crackled with frost. His hand gripped the armrest, then abruptly released it.

“Got it in one,” he said coldly. “I raced my car straight into a Spanish fountain and flipped it four times down a mountain. Exactly like a movie. Complete with the villain carted off in an ambulance as all the good people celebrate and cheer.”

His friendliness had evaporated for reasons I didn’t understand. Wondering what had really happened, I took a deep breath. “Too soon to joke about your accident, huh? Okay, got it.” I bit my lip. “What really happened? What caused it?”

“I loved a woman,” he said flatly. Jaw tight, he looked away, staring out the window. It was leaded glass, small-paned and looked very old. The last bit of reddish sun was dying to the far west.

“I find the topic boring.” He looked at me. “How about we agree to forget about the past—both of us?”

It was the best plan I’d heard all day. “Deal.”

“Jason Black sounds like an idiot in any case,” he muttered.

The memory of Jason’s warm eyes, his lazy smile, his sweet, slow Texas drawl—Darlin’, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes—made pain slice through me like a blade. Folding my arms tightly over my heart, I glared at my new employer. “Don’t.”

“So loyal,” he sighed. “Even after he slept with your stepsister. Such devotion.” Deliberately, he rested his eyes on his sheepdog, then turned back to me suggestively. I scowled.

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