Hunger Awakened(9)

By: Dee Carney

“What are you doing?”

“Cold shower slash ice bath, or hospital. Your choice. You’re running too hot to suit me.” Intense blue eyes peered up at him from where she kneeled on the cold floor. “Tell me you can handle the pants yourself.”

Shaky legs almost buckled when he stood, but Bast managed to use the vanity for support. Alice inclined her head away when he reached for the button at his waist. He paused, considering just how well his little Florence Nightingale would appreciate or perhaps run screaming from his arousal, not yet beaten into submission. With a mental shrug, he flicked the button and then reached for the zipper.

Either the cold shower would cure what ailed him or simply make things much, much more interesting.

Chapter Three

Breathe. A naked man looked just like another naked man. They all had the same parts. She’d had lovers before. Hell, she’d seen Richard naked when she’d bathed him during his self-prescribed home recovery.

But when Alice looked at Bast, all thoughts of her brother fled.

How his silky shirt had hidden all that toned sinew and muscle, she’d never know. He’d felt solid, his flesh unyielding beneath her fingers where she’d gripped him, but the definition of his chest and abs belonged to someone otherworldly. Men in real life just didn’t look like this. Except he was here. In real life. And oh-so-drool-worthy.

Kneeling before him, she marveled over the fine line of dark hair along his abdomen, pointing its way down into those tight leather pants. And as much as she wanted to follow the trail, she kept her gaze above his waist. Poor guy was sicker than a dog, and all she could do was fuel fantasies while ogling him? Way to be.

She studied his feet instead, noting the delicate bones. The trimmed nails. But then his foot lifted, one after the other, and black leather pooled before her. Those incredible tight pants no longer hugged his body, instead now lying on the floor.

Suddenly, all commands to herself to breathe became a foreign language she’d never learned. Heat flooded her cheeks, and without looking at herself in the mirror, Alice was sure her skin glowed red all over. Even her scalp tingled with awareness.

Casting her face even further toward the gold mat, she pointed with her finger in the general direction of the shower. “Inside.” It came out as a squeak. She cleared her throat. “Can you manage on your own?”

“I think so.” He took an unsteady step forward, and then another.

Alice bit her lip, fighting with herself on whether she should go to him or not. The sound of running water a moment later assuaged her conscience.

“I’m just going to sit here.” Back turned. Head down. “Keep talking and let me know you’re all right. I don’t want the sound of you falling being my only clue you’ve passed out. And keep the temp cold!”

“I’ve never been sick before,” he said over the sound of displaced water.

“Of course you have. Everyone’s gotten sick at least once.”

“Not me.”

“Never?” Alice frowned.

“Not that I can remember.”

Surely he meant as an adult. All kids got sick. “That’s weird, but maybe you got some bad oysters or something.”

He chuckled, mirthless and dry. “Or something, perhaps.”

Getting him to speak was going to be a small chore. A long silence stretched between them before Alice found something worth poking at. “So...what kind of work do you do?”

Bast didn’t respond at first, the silence making her turn toward him. “Private security.”

Her brow lifted. “Private security gets you all this?”

“I’ve been in business a very long time. But you’ve got good instincts. It didn’t all come from my job.” He stared at her through the shower glass door, their eyes meeting, before he turned his back. Only then did Alice recognize the clarity with which she saw him. There was no steam to fog up the glass, giving her a teasing view. No rippling or fracturing to distort parts of him. What she saw was frank masculinity at its finest.

It didn’t help that the shower stall could hold a football team. Hell, she’d had bedrooms smaller than inside there. Three showerheads sprayed Bast with water, flattening his thick, dark hair. A few feet behind him, bottles of bath products lined a marble seating area. Next to the seat, she noted a fourth showerhead, this one attached to a wand. Perfect for a woman who planned on shaving her legs. All of this she took in with a three-second sweep, a pathetic attempt to look at anything but the man in the middle whose presence demanded she watch him instead.