Tempted by the Brooding Vet by Shelley Rivers

Tempted by the Brooding Vet by Shelley Rivers

Author:Shelley Rivers
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: 2020-04-02T12:24:41+00:00

* * *

Something in Kiki’s voice drew Alex’s attention. Concerned, he placed Boo on the floor and moved towards her, touching her elbow. He almost stepped back when without a word she turned into his arms, pressing her face against the curve of his neck.

‘Hey, what’s wrong?’ he asked, enfolding her in his arms.

Was she still upset over their earlier conversation? Had his remarks offended her that much? He’d tried to soften them, but he wasn’t used to considering a woman’s feelings when he gave his opinion.

God, he wished he had more experience in comforting someone, but it wasn’t something he’d experienced much in his life. A cruel word or the sting of a slap had been a more regular occurrence than any kindness or support.

‘Nothing,’ she mumbled.

He smiled faintly and rubbed his hands over her back, his fingers gently massaging each bump of her spine. ‘Not the dreaded nothing? Rumour reckons that often makes a person cry without warning and for no reason.’

Kiki giggled at his teasing and pulled back slightly. Wiping the tears from her cheeks, she blushed. ‘This is so unprofessional. I never do this normally. It’s just sad about Boo’s family, and you’re being so nice and caring. Utterly sweet, actually.’

‘Shh, don’t go spreading lies like that,’ he said. ‘I’ve worked hard to hone my mean, wicked reputation.’

She sighed and snuggled once more into his hold, the movement sending Alex’s nerves shaking and his blood pounding harder than a sculptor’s hammer. The woman didn’t realise what she did to him every time she sought comfort in his arms. How it left him desperate for more than just a soothing hug.

‘They’re not lies,’ she insisted, rubbing the last of her tears away and stepping back. ‘You are a very nice man and you care deeply for others, despite pretending not to. I was just thinking about my mum and how lonely she was after my father left us.’

He reached over to the paper towel machine and awkwardly tugged off a couple of sheets. Handing them to Kiki, he asked, ‘Did she never date?’

‘She tried, but it never worked out. After a while she retreated into herself. It’s been over five years since she passed away, but I still miss her every day.’

‘I’m sorry.’

‘Thanks.’ She wiped her face with the paper towels and sent him a weak smile. ‘I really am sorry for crying. I know how much you hate emotional females.’

‘Who told you that rubbish?’ he asked, suddenly realising that all he cared about was making her feel better. If any of his other staff members had broken down in front of him he would have fetched Anne to deal with them, but Kiki was different. He wanted to hold her and soothe her distress. Give her support when she required it. Whisper sincere platitudes into her pretty ear. Perhaps nibble and kiss it, too. ‘My week isn’t complete unless I help mop up a woman’s tears,’ he said.

This time her laughter was stronger and fuller. ‘You’re so kind, Alex.


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