Hidden Love(5)

By: Carole Mortimer


Rachel stood in shocked silence, waiting for the wild sensations from her wrist to the rest of her body to stop. Her skin actually tingled where he had touched her, although there were no visible marks there to tell her just why this man's touch made her feel so odd.

He was straightening now, giving her chalky coloured cheeks a quizzical look, the clear blue of his eyes like a Mediterranean sea. 'Hey, I didn't hurt you, did I?' he queried softly, standing so close she could see the green speckles in the blue of his eyes, could smell the spicy, cologne he wore, the male warmth of his body.

She quivered as sexual attraction gripped her, a sensation such as she had never known before, a feeling of wanting to press herself against this man and be engulfed by him. It was mad, utterly-out of character, and yet as soon as he had entered the room she had been totally aware of him. That was maybe, even the reason she had been so sharp with him when she thought he was Kay's husband.

He was looking at her now, the brooding blue eyes puzzled, a frown marring his brow. And well he might. He was probably wondering what was wrong with her, he had spoken to her several minutes ago and she hadn't answered him yet.

She licked her suddenly dry lips, aware that to this ultra-sophisticated man she must appear very juvenile. Especially now, when she was acting like an infatuated teenager instead of a responsible eighteen-year-old. 'No, you didn't hurt me,' she answered strongly, 'One of the books fell on my toe,' she invented.

'Mm,' he looked down at the title of one of them; 'They look heavy-in more ways than one.'

'They are.' She' snatched, the books out of his hands taking care not to touch him again, putting them on top of the others.

'Business in the Eighties' he quoted softly. 'Rather a strange subject for a school girl to be studying, isn't it?'

'I'm not a schoolgirl, Mr.--'

'Nick,' he invited softly.

Rachel flushed. 'I'm not a schoolgirl,' she repeated, this time omitting to call him anything. 'I'm at college. And I'm doing a business course.'

'And you missed classes this afternoon to bring my sister to hospital?'

'Yes."

'We're very grateful to you,' he said deeply.

'I didn't do it for gratitude,' she snapped, still too raw from that strange reaction she had had to him. 'Your sister, Mrs. Lennox, was obviously in need of help.'

'Nevertheless--'

'I really have to go now.' She looked away from him, unnerved by his steady look. 'I have a class this evening.'

His dark blond eyebrows rose. 'In the evenings too?'

'I take languages at night, French and German.'

'Do you have time for a social life?'

'Of course,' she flashed.

The door opened and the doctor came into the room. 'Your sister would like to see you for a few minutes,' he spoke to Nick.

Nick hesitated. 'Is it all right?'

'Just for, a few minutes,' the other man nodded. Nick looked at Rachel. 'You'll wait for me?'

'Wait for me'-how casually those words were spoken, and yet Rachel had the strangest feeling that if he had said them seriously, with the intention of coming back to her no matter what stood in his way of their being together, her answer would have been the same. 'Yes,' she told him huskily.

Seconds after he had left the room she was wondering why she was still here. She had done her good deed for the day, had got Kay Lennox to the hospital, her brother was now here to keep her company, so there was no reason for her to stay any longer. Except Nick's request that she 'wait for him'.

It was stupid, utterly insane. She should be on her way to her French class, not sitting here waiting for a man she had just met, a man who seemed altogether too confident of his attraction to women. She didn't doubt there had been plenty of them in his life the light of experience in his eyes seemed to say there had been many.

She knew all that, knew there was just no valid reason for her to stay here, and yet she was still sitting in the waiting-room when Nick returned.

He was pale beneath his tan, sinking gratefully into the nearest chair. 'Do you think all women have to go through that?'

'You mean you don't know?' she asked bitchily, frightened of her own reaction to this man, feeling his magnetism even stronger the second time around.

'I told you, I'm not married.'

'That doesn't preclude your having a child,' she said insultingly.

If anything he paled even more, this time with anger. 'It does in my book,' he ground out. 'Any child of mine will know my love, my full-time love-unlike my own parents, who didn't give a damn.'

'Where is your sister's husband?' asked Rachel

'In New York on business. He left Kay in my care.' The look she gave him showed him what she thought, of his way of looking after his sister.

His eyes hardened. 'She wasn't supposed to have gone out,' he said abruptly.

'She said she wanted to do some shopping.'