The words conjured up another kind of picture in her brain and from the rueful smile that danced across his face it was clear it had sparked a memory in him too.
His voice dropped. ‘Shaky and sweaty weren’t the only symptoms, were they Sam?’
She couldn’t answer. It just didn’t seem appropriate. She had wondered if he’d even remember. It wasn’t exactly the most tactful thing for her to bring up.
‘We can talk about this in the morning,’ she said swiftly as she moved back to the doorway, her cheeks beginning to burn. She could still feel his breath on her cheek, the touch of his lips on hers, the brush of his chest against hers.
‘Sam.’ His voice sent a shiver down her spine. It was the way he’d said her name. As if it was honey on his tongue. As if he was caressing every part of her. ‘I might hate everything about this, but I don’t regret kissing you. Not for a single second.’
She didn’t stop. She kept walking. Straight down the dark hall and into her bedroom, closing the door behind her before her legs turned to jelly.
What on earth had she got herself into?
TWO DAYS LATER Sam was still tiptoeing around Mitchell. They’d fallen into an easy routine. She didn’t seem to have any problem getting up early and joining him on the slopes. Even though she categorically refused to set foot on the snow, she was happy to wait for him at the Seegrube mid-station.
It was even more of a relief that she had no qualms about going back to St Jude’s every afternoon with him. Some of the kids even knew her by name already.
His phone beeped and he pulled it from his back pocket. Can you call me? It was Lisa. Their relationship was purely professional. She must be texting about one of the kids.
He pressed the dial button straight away. ‘Lisa, what’s up?’
‘Thanks for calling, Mitchell. It’s Brian. He became really sick last night. His dad had just flown out for emergency business in Dubai.’
‘You know he’s been up and down. He spiked a fever really quickly. He’s under emergency care and they’ve put him on the bone-marrow transplant list.’
Every hair prickled at the back of his neck. A deterioration like this could be deadly. He couldn’t bear the thought that the young guy he’d played guitar with had become so sick so quickly.
‘Is there a donor?’
There was a sigh at the end of the phone. ‘Neither Brian’s dad or mum is a good enough match. Nor is his brother. He’s going to have to go on the general list.’
‘Can I see him?’
‘That’s why I phoned you. Brian’s dad has barely touched down in Dubai and is scrambling to get a flight back. His mum has flu and is holed up in the parents’ room.’
Everything fell into place for Mitchell. ‘And you’ve put Brian in isolation because his blood count is so low?’
‘Yeah. He’s isolated. We can’t let his mum in. If Brian caught flu right now...’ Her voice tailed off. She didn’t need to say any more. Mitchell understood completely.
‘I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.’ He hesitated. Should he take Samantha with him? But his brain was so fixated on getting there that he only gave it a few seconds’ thought before he scribbled her a note and let the door slam behind him.
Half an hour later he was masked, gloved and gowned. Barrier nursing. More like space-age nursing. Luckily Brian was old enough not to be scared. Or so he thought. It was sometimes hard to remember that thirteen was still really a child.
Lisa was hovering around him. ‘You’re definitely not sick? There’s nothing wrong with you?’ Her eyes were scanning up and down his body. He could tell there were a million things going through her head right now—all of them about Brian’s safety.
‘Just say what you mean, Lisa.’ He wanted to get in there. He didn’t want to stand around a doorway.
‘It’s just...you’ve lost so much weight in the last few weeks. I know you say you’re fine, but...well, it’s not normal. Is there something you’re not telling me?’
It didn’t matter that he didn’t want any of hospital staff to know what was wrong with him. It didn’t matter that he didn’t want any of them to think the tour was in jeopardy. He wasn’t important right now. Brian was. And Lisa was asking all the questions an experienced nurse should.
‘I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes in the last few weeks. That’s why the rapid weight loss. Sam assures me it will go back on.’
The jigsaw pieces of recognition fell into place. He lifted his hand. ‘Swear to me that you won’t breathe a word.’ He glanced through the glass. ‘I’ve only told you so you won’t worry about me being in with Brian.’
She gave a brief nod of her head. ‘Now I know why Samantha’s here. She told me she was a nurse.’
He put his hand on the door. ‘Okay to go in now?’
She nodded, but she was still mumbling. ‘Pity. I thought for once you might have found a decent girlfriend.’
He paused. ‘What do you mean?’
She gave the slightest shake of her head. ‘You know, one that doesn’t care about fame and headlines.’ She gestured with her head towards the room. ‘Someone who knows what’s important in this life. Someone with a heart.’ She turned on her heel and walked down the corridor, leaving his brain whirling.
Was that what people really thought? That anyone who dated him only did it for the fame? It was more than an insult, it was a crushing blow. Mitch had always thought his looks and charm were the hit with the ladies. Most of the women he dated might not earn the same as he did, but they could certainly afford the life of luxury.
He thought back over the last few. Misty Kennedy had been fun for about ten minutes, but vain beyond all belief. She didn’t eat. Full stop. And he didn’t like it.
Carrie Beaulaux had been nice—if a
little shallow. Truth was they just hadn’t really had much to say to each other.
As for Lightning Adams, she was the true definition of a diva. Demanding and a control freak who seemed to have the press photographers at her beck and call. But the day that she’d spoken horribly to Dave, that had been her ticket out of there. He’d deposited her, her free designer wardrobe and her ten-thousand-dollar face cream on the sidewalk outside his LA home, just as a ‘houses of the stars’ coach tour was passing by. It might have made the headlines.
He watched Lisa round the corner at the end of the corridor. He liked her. He respected her opinion and the job she did. But it was the first time she’d ever made a straight mention of his rock-star persona. Much to his relief, she’d always totally ignored that. But her comment about Samantha bothered him.
Someone who knew what was important in this life. Someone with a heart.
It prickled every sense in his body. Was that why he was feeling the overwhelming pull towards her? At first he’d thought it was just his normal male hormones. Then he’d suspected a weird case of Stockholm syndrome. But maybe it was time to get to the bottom of this.
Maybe it was time to ask himself why a cute blonde with startling blue eyes was all he could think about these days. Was she the most gorgeous woman on the planet, with the best body? Maybe not in the world’s eyes. But she was certainly looking good from his. He definitely wanted to know what lay underneath the array of cute jumpers and blue jeans.
But now wasn’t the time. Now he had to concentrate on a thirteen-year-old boy who needed someone to hold his hand.
This young guy had reached a crisis point without his family support system around him. He’d be terrified. And Mitch understood. He just had to let Brian know that he did. There was no time to consider pretty nurses and blonde curls.
He pushed open the door and went inside. Brian’s colour was so pale he was practically fading into the white sheets. He had an IV in place and his arm was littered with angry purple bruises.
He was so tired he barely lifted his head from the pillow. But the corners of his lips turned upwards. He recognised Mitch, even though he was hidden beneath a gown, cap, mask and gloves.