Page 18

My poor boobs!

Tiny, angry red cuts were dangerously close to my nipples—like this could’ve been a hell of a lot more painful than it was kind of close. There were smudges of blood on my breasts and my upper stomach. I ran my hand over my stomach and winced. Just above my belly button, there was a small piece of glass embedded in my skin. Nothing requiring major surgery or stitches, but blood made me squeamish. Pain was even worse. I had no tolerance, having never broken a bone or experienced anything major in my life.

I hobbled from one foot to the other, freezing my nips off as my fingers hovered on the shard of glass. I could do this. All I had to do was pull it out. That’s it. Nothing major. But I couldn’t even pull out a splinter without asking Andrea or my mom to do it.

I reached for it, and then winced, pulling my hand back. I did that over and over for at least five minutes, until I tipped my head back and let out a loud, frustrated groan.

“Syd? You in there?”

Jumping at the sound of Kyler’s voice, I banged my hip into the edge of the sink. “Shit!”

The door swung open, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision with me. I yelped, crossing my arms over my chest—not sure what the point was in that, considering he’d been all up on it ten minutes ago—as he stormed into the bathroom, looking like he was ready to take on a rabid grizzly bear.

His dark brown eyes searched every exposed inch of me. Then he was right in front of me, grasping my shoulders. “You’re bleeding.”

He sounded pissed.

Kyler’s eyes narrowed as a muscle popped in his jaw. “You told me you were okay.”

“I am,” I said in a tiny voice.

“When someone is bleeding, that usually means they are not, in fact, okay.” He shook his head as he let go of my shoulders. “Jesus. Sit down and let me take care of you.”

“I can’t sit down.” I winced.

He lowered his head so that he was almost eye level with me. Up close, I couldn’t make out the difference between his pupils and his irises. “Why can’t you sit down?”

I shuffled from one foot to the other, feeling incredibly vulnerable being that I had no shirt on and all. “There’s this piece of glass stuck in my skin, and I think sitting down is going to make it worse.”

“What?” he shouted, and I flinched. “Why in the hell didn’t you say something downstairs?”

“Because I didn’t know it was stuck in my skin, and it really isn’t a big deal, but—”

“But you don’t even like splinters. Jesus, Syd….where is it?”

I pointed to where the tiny speck of glass was.

Kyler went down on his knees, and my eyes went wide. All kinds of dirty thoughts exploded in my head, totally inappropriate at that moment, but the button on my jeans was still undone and, well…“I can’t see it,” he said. “You’re going to have to come downstairs where there’s more light.”


“You are not okay and you are not going to argue with me over this.” Jaw set in a determined line, he reached around me and grabbed a towel off the rack. He tucked it over my shoulders, folding it across my hands. “Come on.”

Realizing there was a good chance that he’d just drag me downstairs, I followed him out of the bedroom and into the hall. He told me to wait there while he disappeared into the hallway bathroom and returned with peroxide and a little first aid kit in his hand.

I sighed. This was going to suck. Could be worse, I knew that. He could be plucking out buckshot.

We ended up in the kitchen, much to my dismay. There were a lot of windows in there, but we really didn’t have much of a choice.

Kyler positioned me so I was just below the window, but close enough that he could see. Going down on his knees once more, he parted the edges of the towel with a frown. “Damn, that’s a piece of glass.”

“Told you.”

His head bent and several strands of hair fell across his forehead as he dug around in the little box with a red cross. “You can’t leave it in your skin, Syd. It will get infected.”

“I wasn’t suggesting that. I was just sort of hoping my skin would quickly and naturally reject it.”

He laughed as he pulled out a pair of tweezers, causing me to swallow hard. Images of me running screaming from my mom as a child whenever she’d wielded those tiny instruments of pain assaulted me. He held them in his elegant fingers as he looked up. “You’re going a little green, Syd.”

“I don’t like tweezers,” I whined.

A small grin appeared. “It’s not going to hurt.”

“That’s what everyone says, but I know it’s not true. It is going to hurt, because you’re going to start digging around and—”

“I’m not going to dig around. I’ll be in and out before you know what I’m doing. Promise.”

I wanted to run from the room, but I forced myself to stand there like an adult. “Okay.”

“You sound pitiful,” he remarked as he tucked the edges of the towel into the back of my jeans, exposing all of my stomach. He placed his fingers on either side of the glass splinter and pulled the skin taut.

The tweezers hovered over my skin, and I cringed away.

“You big baby, stop moving.”

“Shut up.”

He chuckled. “This isn’t going to work if you keep squirming away from me every time I get within an inch of the glass. You’re making this worse by delaying it.”

Sounded logical, but I wasn’t a fan of logical thoughts right now. After managing to move a full foot before Kyler cornered me between him and the counter, he distracted me. “I tried using my phone to see if I could get a hold of the main lodge. You know, to ask if anyone else has been having problems with windows being shot out or psychos on snowmobiles.”

“Okay.” I obsessively stared at the top of his bowed head.

“I couldn’t get a call out. Looks like the storm is messing with cell service, too. Couldn’t even get on the damn Internet, but from what I remembered from the weather alert, we have about another day of heavy snow and then it should taper off.”

“How long do you think it will take them to clear—” There was a pinching sensation that caused me to yelp.

Kyler’s head shot up. “Sorry, but good news, baby, I got it out.” He waved the tweezers around. “See? Wasn’t too bad.”

“It wasn’t.” I smiled as he went back to studying the minor cut. His long lashes fanned down. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure.” He grabbed the bottle of peroxide and wet a cotton ball. “It will probably take a day for them to get the highways cleared and another one to get the roads around here cleared out.”

There was a little burn as he swiped at the cut. “Three more days?”

“Probably.” He stood gracefully and put the bottle on the counter, along with a couple more cotton balls. “Let me take a look at the rest of you.”

I blanched. “I don’t have any more glass stuck in me.”

“Forgive me for thinking you might lie to avoid the tweezers.” He cocked his head to the side, and I felt my heart trip up. “I want to see the rest of it.”

But that would mean I’d have to expose my breasts, and while he’d been all friendly with them earlier, this was different. We’d been caught up in the moment. Things had been hot, and this was about as hot as an ice storm. Not to mention he hadn’t said a thing about what had happened between us. Neither had I, but I’d lost my lady balls after the window exploded.

Kyler sighed. “You have to make everything so damn difficult.”

“No, I don’t.”

He shot me a bland look and then grabbed my hips. Giving me no other choice, he lifted me up onto the counter. “There you go.”

“Bastard,” I grumbled.

He ignored that. “Let me see your chest.”

I flushed about a thousand shades of red.

“Do I need to point out the fact that I just saw your—”

“No!” I cried out, horrified. “Don’t point that out. It doesn’t make this any easier.”

His lips twitched as if he was fighting a smile. “I promise I’m going to be totally clinical about this.”

Well, that didn’t really make me feel any better either.

He held up his hands. “How about this? I treat you like you were a cat or a dog that needs to be examined?”

“What?” I scowled. “Gee. Thanks.”

Kyler laughed then. “Come on, Syd, stop being such a girl.”

“I am a girl!”

“Trust me, I know.” Before I could decipher the huskiness of his voice, his hands shot out, gripping the edges of the fluffy towel. “Let the towel go.”

“No.” I held on tighter.

“Sydney,” he growled. “Let. It. Go.”

Seeing that he wasn’t going to let it go, because he was in full wannabe-caretaker mode, I focused on his broad shoulder as I loosened my grip on the towel. The material gapped down the front.

Instead of pulling the towel off, he investigated the little nicks that were below my breasts and in the slight valley between them. Swearing under his breath, he pulled a clean washcloth out of a drawer and ran it under the water.

Coming back to where I sat, he shook his head. “You could’ve lost an eye.”

Or a nipple, but I didn’t think adding that would be helpful.

“This is going to be a little cold. Don’t want to use up the hot water.” When I nodded, he gently wiped away the blood before taking the soaked cotton ball to the cuts.

He worked quietly and diligently, tossing the used cotton balls in the trash when he was done. Then he returned to his spot in front of me. His eyes met mine for a brief second before he slid his fingers under the towel, brushing the skin of my shoulders. I shivered and quickly looked away, biting down on my lip.

This…this was about to get interesting.

Kyler didn’t say anything or seem to have moved once the towel had pooled around my hips. I kept my gaze trained on the mat in front of the kitchen sink while I felt his eyes move away from my face and down my neck, following the fast-traveling flush across my breasts. The urge to cover myself was hard to suppress, but I wanted him to look.

I wanted him to like what he saw.

Although I knew this was supposed to be clinical, the tips of my breasts puckered under his scrutiny, and the unfulfilled ache in my center thrummed to life with a vengeance. I was breathless as he picked up the cloth and leaned in.

“Are you cold?” he asked.

I think I hated him.

His chuckle was low and deep, irritating me further. “I’ll make this quick.”

“Yeah, you do that.” I squirmed, torn between being extremely turned on, angry, and uncomfortable to the max.

Kyler moved the cloth in small circles between my breasts, every pass coming closer and closer to their aching tips. My breath was increasing and now I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to know I was confused by what had gone down between us. He’d wanted me—obviously—but nothing had been spoken about it since we’d left the sunroom. Had he changed his mind once he’d cooled down?