Until He Met Meg(10)

By: Sami Lee


A moment later Bryce proffered a tumbler of honey-coloured liquor. Meg took it from him and sniffed the contents, guessing it was brandy. She swallowed a mouthful and promptly gagged as the potent fluid hit her throat. ‘What is this stuff?’ she rasped.

‘This “stuff” is twenty-year-old cognac.’

‘Crikey. Didn’t you have any new booze?’ The look of horror on his face was worth him thinking she was an ill-bred hick. She let out a giggle as she took another swig of the alcohol. ‘I had you there, didn’t I?’

His lips twisted, fighting with his bad mood. Eventually his amusement won and Meg was rewarded for her goofiness with his slow, breathtaking smile and the appearance of that surprising dimple. ‘You have a way of keeping a man on his toes, Meg Lacy. I have to say it’s as delightful as it is bothersome.’

Meg fought her own inner battle with her emotions. She tried to focus on the ‘bothersome’ comment and get annoyed but the delightful part kept getting in the way. Her heart picked up pace, pushing her liquor-fuelled blood around her body with such force she thought she might pass out. Pushing out a breath, she sank further into her chair and tried to hold on to consciousness as the room swirled around her.

Immediately Bryce was bending over, staring into her face. ‘Are you all right, Meg?’

‘Fine. I just…’ I just swooned is what. You called me delightful and I need a paramedic. ‘I skipped lunch is all. I’m feeling a little woozy.’

His frown made a hasty return. So hasty Meg was left wondering if she’d imagined that gorgeous, affectionate smile. ‘For god’s sake woman. Don’t you know how to take care of yourself?’ He put a hand to her forehead and muttered something under his breath. Then he took the tumbler of cognac from her fingers and stalked to his desk.

‘I can take care of myself just fine.’ But Meg felt sleepy, sleepier than she’d ever felt. And she suspected her voice slurred when she asked, ‘What’re you doing?’

His voice was clipped with annoyance. ‘I’m calling a doctor.’

She tried to shake her head but a jagged pain limited movement. ‘Don’t need one,’ she insisted. All she needed was a little sleep. A short cat-nap in this warm room by this warm fire would have her right as rain.

Just a teeny-tiny nap…

***

Bryce put down the phone and turned to see Meg Lacy fast asleep in his favourite armchair. The spurt of frustration he felt was quickly becoming commonplace. She was a rather frustrating woman. The more tender emotion that accompanied it was less familiar and infinitely more disconcerting. He felt a wayward compulsion to protect her, to take care of her as she obviously wasn’t taking care of herself. Skipped lunch indeed. No wonder half a glass of cognac had knocked her out.

He moved to crouch beside the chair. Touching her seemed a dangerous proposition at best, given the way his blood had heated moments ago when he’d foolishly grabbed her arm, but he had to be sure she was all right.

He brushed his knuckles over her face, ignoring the way the contact made his fingers tingle. When she didn’t stir he gave her cheek a light tap. ‘Meg, wake up.’ She murmured and burrowed further into the chair. Her tongue poked out to wet her lips and Bryce found himself entranced by the action.

Good God, she couldn’t stay here. But what were his options? Casting her out into the rain seemed cruel. She was obviously exhausted, and her temperature seemed high. He wouldn’t feel at ease until his family doctor had arrived to check her over. Once she had been given a clean bill of health he could order a car service to take her home.

And in the meantime, she couldn’t stay where she was. Her clothes were damp and she was going to get a crick in her neck from leaning on the arm of his chair. He’d have to move her to a bed and find her something dry to wear.

Which meant he’d have to take her clothes off.

Good god. She could not stay here.

Even as his mind reiterated the thought, Bryce found himself gathering Meg in his arms and rising to his feet. She felt as though she weighed little more than his daughter but he was intensely aware of her womanly shape pressed against him. Especially when she sighed with pleasure and snuggled closer to his chest, clutching his shirtfront in her slim fingered hand. Her soft breathing teased his flesh through the material.

Bryce’s pulse quickened as his hands flexed convulsively. He’d been too long without a woman, obviously, if he was reacting physically to a bedraggled, unconscious one.

Chastising himself as ten kinds of fool, he strode from the study with Meg in his arms.





Chapter Three

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