Ugh. His brain wasn’t helping. Nothing made sense to him any more.
He walked over to the window and looked out at his precious mountains. It was only a few days until Christmas. Maybe he’d been harsh the other night? She must be missing her family. And maybe he’d taken her comment too personally about how special Christmas was with the other family. Of course Christmas was special for kids. That’s exactly the way it should be.
Something pricked in his brain, sending a smile across his face. That’s it. That’s what he’d do. He already had plans at the hospital for Christmas. But maybe if he could make her see that Christmas was special here too, she might just start to come round. She might want to be around him, rather than feel obliged to be.
He couldn’t rationalise why that was important to him. He just knew it was.
She hadn’t seen the outdoor ice skating rink yet in Innsbruck. That’s where he’d take her tonight. She’d already been impressed by the Christmas market, golden roof and cathedral. It was time to show her what the rest of Innsbruck had to offer. That’s what he’d do.
Enough of the awkward silences. It didn’t matter that they’d mainly been his fault. He needed Sam onside badly. And if charm was the way to do it, then Mitchell Brody could certainly oblige. Charm was easy. Charm was slick. He could do that.
He would play nice. He would do everything she wanted. Then, when the time was right, he’d suggest to her that she might want to work with him a little longer.
Of course he would pay her. He would never let her be out of pocket. But it was more important that she wanted to do it rather than had to do it. The money should be a nice bonus, not the deciding factor.
He could even offer to fly her home every other week to see her mum.
He made a quick call. Done. A large hangar booked for between Christmas and New Year to practise his set for the tour. That would give them a guide to how much energy he used during a performance. Hopefully it would be enough to tailor his food intake and insulin. It was so important that Sam said he was fit to continue the tour. Anything else would be a disaster.
In the meantime, he would do everything possible to keep her sweet. It wasn’t as if that would be a struggle. Samantha was a honey. If he could just get her to leave her nurse’s hat at the door, she could be a whole lot more.
There. Much better. He started to pull some clothes from the cupboard. It was time for him to pick himself up and start putting his plans into effect.
His gaze swept across the distant roof of St Jude’s. He was doing this for the right reasons. Of course he was.
So why did he still have an uncomfortable feeling churning in his stomach?
* * *
She was living the dream. And ultimately it was her nightmare.
She was the invisible presence in his home. It was like being a ghost. Or, even worse, an unnoticed servant, which, in fact, she was.
He probably wouldn’t even acknowledge her if she ran screaming through the house naked. The thought had crossed her mind.
What on earth was wrong with him?
She may have asked him a few difficult questions, and made a few suggestions he didn’t like. But that didn’t mean he could completely ignore her.
She was here to do a job—and she couldn’t do it if he wouldn’t communicate with her.
But it was more than that. Even if she didn’t want to acknowledge it.
It annoyed her—embarrassed her even—that she still felt a little starstruck around him. She shouldn’t, of course she shouldn’t.
She was dealing with Mitchell Brody, patient, not Mitchell Brody, rock star. She’d already learned that most of the assumptions and gossip about him in the press was just a smokescreen.
But what really annoyed her was the kiss.
The way it had made her skin tingle. The way it had conjured up a whole host of fantasies in her mind about how it could have continued. And how it had ruined practically every night’s sleep since.
There were moments she spent with Mitch when she felt they really connected. When she felt he might actually be interested in her, Samantha Lewis. She wasn’t just the convenient female presence in the house. She wasn’t just the hired help.
And it was those little moments, those knowing smiles and locked gazes that made her stomach flip flop.
She kept telling herself this was crazy. Her mixed-up head was reading things that weren’t really there at all. It had been one kiss. Just one completely perfect kiss.
But right now it felt like in fifty years she would still remember it. Still remember the feel of his skin against hers, the brush of his hair tickling her cheeks, the intensity of the look in his eyes. How many other women had lived out their fantasies in the Mitchell Brody experience?
She shook her head. No. She didn’t even want to think about that.
That was horrid. That was painful. That was...
He was standing in the doorway, dressed in a black leather jacket, jeans and boots. She scrambled to sit up on the bed, pushing away the pillow she’d been lying against and pulling up the wide-necked T-shirt that had fallen down one shoulder.
‘Do you want to go to the hospital?’
It seemed the safest assumption. He certainly didn’t seem to want to spend any time around her.
He shook his head and walked into the room. The indignant part in her chest wanted him to ask her permission to enter her room. The self-conscious part was running her tongue across her teeth and trying to remember if she’d actually put any make-up on today.
How did he make a pair of jeans look so sexy?
He sat down on the edge of her bed and looked at her red-painted toenails. ‘I think our differences in opinion might have affected my manners the other night.’
You don’t say. Was he about to make an apology? Because he just didn’t seem the type.
This was probably the time to bite her tongue and stay quiet. But that had never been in Sam’s nature. ‘I’m your nurse, Mitch. You don’t have to like what I say, but that won’t stop me saying it.’
‘Yeah, you’re my nurse.’ He stared out of the window towards the perfect white snow. If he mentioned he wanted to go skiing she might pick up her nearest shoe and throw it at him. Climbing up a freezing mountain was so not what she wanted to do right now.
His hand reached over and touched her foot. Her first instinct was to flinch and pull it away, but he was holding on, not tightly, just enough to keep it in place. ‘It’s Christmas in a few days, Sam. I feel as if I haven’t been very hospitable. You asked me t
o take you down to Innsbruck shopping—I haven’t even done that.’ He shook his head and let out a laugh. ‘Have you any idea how much trouble I’d be in with my mother and Granny Kirk if they knew?’
She smiled. She couldn’t help it. ‘You make it sound as if you do what your mum and gran tell you.’
He rested his elbow on the bed, his chin near her knee. ‘Disobeying Granny Kirk could result in a fate worse than death. No one, but no one ever argued with that woman. As for my mother, she has the best disapproving stare in the world. Award-winning. She’s also the master of the tut.’
He nodded, his face deadly solemn. ‘Oh, yeah.’ He made the noise with his tongue and shook his head along with it. ‘That tut is actually about five hundred disapproving words all rolled into one.’
He smiled at her. Really smiled. She was being whitewashed with his teeth. His whole face could light up with that smile. How many other women in the world would love to be on a bed with a smiling Mitchell Brody at their feet?
The thing was she didn’t really care about any other women. She just cared about herself.
Oh, for a pair of stiletto heels, a perfect fake tan, a designer figure-hugging dress and sultry red lips. Wasn’t that the kind of woman he was used to? Darn it. She’d forgotten the thirty-two double-Ds.
Nope. She was Samantha Lewis. Unruly blonde hair. A bit of tinted moisturiser if she was lucky and some cherry lip balm. Her current jeans were from the supermarket, along with her push-up bra.
But Mitchell didn’t look as if he cared. He was crawling up the bed towards her.
‘What do you say you let me be the host with the most?’
‘Most what?’ Her voice came out in an embarrassing squeak. Her brain was in places it shouldn’t be. But then again, she was on a bed with Mitchell Brody, so maybe her current fantasies weren’t as far-fetched as she suspected.
He reached the top of the bed. Planting one hand on either side of her, positioning himself directly above her. She was having flashbacks to that night on the sofa. It was all she could do not to let out an involuntary moan.