The beaming grin was still in place, and that twinkle in his eye she’d spied on a few occasions was definitely back. The guy was playing with her.
And, what was worse, she kind of liked it.
Their faces were inches apart. His hair fell forward, tickling her cheekbones, his warm breath making her skin tingle. He knew. He knew exactly what he was doing.
Those deep brown eyes were drawing her in, taking down her defences like a swirling whirlpool with no chance of escape. And she didn’t want to.
He bent closer. She held her breath. For a second she was sure he was going to kiss her. Just like he had the last time. Her body was craving his touch. All she wanted was to feel his lips on hers.
But instead he whispered in her ear, ‘The guy with the most beautiful girl in the world.’
It would be so easy. So easy to believe that and drink in every word.
But the truth was the words fell a little flat. Because she knew—the whole world knew—the kind of girl Mitchell Brody usually had on his arm.
But the thing was, he was looking at her as if she were the most beautiful girl in the world. She could almost believe it.
His lips brushed against the tip of her ear as his face appeared back in front of hers. ‘How about some fun?’
She could feel herself pull back against the comfortable mattress, her eyes widening. This was beginning to feel like some crazy daydream. Maybe while she’d been lying on the bed she’d actually fallen asleep. In a few moments she would wake up and realise it had all been a dream.
But the warm breath on her skin wasn’t a dream. Neither was the persistent smile in front of her eyes.
‘Let’s go back into Innsbruck. I haven’t shown you around much. I know you hate skiing, but what about ice skating? There’s a rink right in the middle of one of the markets, we could go there. And shopping? Would you like to get some things for Christmas? I haven’t got you a present so how about you choose something?’
Definitely a dream. He was making it sound like she was about to get free rein on a credit card. She moved her foot, pressing her toes hard against his outer leg. Nope. He was still there.
She could smell him. She could smell the leather of his jacket. His aftershave was drifting around them, mixing with the smell of his shampoo. ‘What do you think?’
This time his stubble scraped the edge of her nose. This was no dream.
She blinked, trying to decide what to say, trying to decide how to act. He was practically on top of her but she still felt as if she was misreading signals all over the place. If he’d wanted to kiss her, he could have. But he hadn’t. It was almost as if he was wanting her to take the lead.
She pressed her lips together, feeling the lip balm between them. Her tongue slipped out, an automatic reaction to what was going on in her brain.
His eyes caught the flicker of her tongue and she felt his body stiffen above hers. Then more, a natural male reaction started to take place. She couldn’t help it, her smile was reaching from ear to ear. ‘Is this how you ask all the girls to come and play with you, Mitch?’ she quipped.
He threw back his head and laughed, flipping over and landing on his back next to her on the bed. There was no point trying to hide what had just happened. The evidence was there.
He turned his face towards her, both of them lying on the comfortable pillows. ‘You’re making this difficult, Sam.’ He shifted again, leaning his head on his hand. ‘What do you say?’ The twinkle was getting sparkier by the second. ‘Do you want to play with me or not?’
How to answer. The air was rich with innuendo. She could either fully embrace it or kill it stone dead. And nothing about this was straightforward. Her senses were on overload. Her hormones could currently light up the Christmas-tree lights for the whole of Innsbruck.
She wanted to tease him. She wanted to play him at his own game. She didn’t care about the models or his past gorgeous girlfriends. What she cared about was that right now Mitchell Brody was interested in her.
She turned on her side to face him, lifting her finger to the little gap in his shirt where she could see a few curling hairs. She laid her finger on his skin. ‘Well, that would depend.’ She was smiling. She could see his reactions to her one solitary touch.
‘Depend on what?’ he growled.
She kept her voice low, almost a whisper. ‘Depend on how things progressed.’ Had she really just said that out loud? It almost sounded as if she was propositioning him.
This time it was he who licked his lips. She liked the effect she was having on him—the direct effect on his erogenous zones. It made her feel in control. It made her feel important.
‘Well, what do you want to happen, Sam?’ He was holding his breath. He was waiting to see what she might say.
The million-dollar question, and all the power was in her hands.
How brave was she? She moved her lips closer to his and whispered.
‘Let’s find out.’
THANK GOODNESS FOR interruptions. Dave rang the bell a few moments later and they both jumped apart. She could barely breathe and her heart was thudding in her chest.
Mitchell pulled himself together first as she straightened her clothes. When he padded back to the room a few minutes later it was with a rueful expression on his face. ‘That was Dave. Dropping off some groceries.’
She’d already collected herself and pulled on a jumper and some boots. She gave him a bright smile. ‘Ice skating, then?’
He rolled his eyes and nodded, picking up his discarded leather jacket from the floor. ‘Ice skating it is.’
* * *
Being around Samantha was a pleasure. The diabetes stuff wasn’t even annoying him as much any more. She didn’t need to prompt him. When they sat down for coffee he pulled out his meter and checked his level, she glanced at the screen and said nothing, letting him adjust his insulin dose himself, taking into account what he was about to eat.
If he’d been doing something wrong she would tell him. Sam was no shrinking violet. But this way he felt more in control. She didn’t feel so much like his nurse, more like the girlfriend he was beginning to imagine her being. If Dave hadn’t interrupted them...
The ice rink was busy, full of stumbling families and the occasional pro weaving their way through the falling bodies. He finished fastening the skates he’d just hired. Years ago he’d fancied himself as a speed skater for about ten minutes. He could skate. But the type of blades on these hire skates were different from what he was used to.
He watched as Sam finished fastening hers and stood up. She didn’t hesitate, just stepped out onto the ice and skated straight to the middle, stopping herself by spinning around. ‘Come on, slowcoach!’ she yelled.
Mitch didn’t need to be told twice. He crossed the ice in a few seconds and circled his hands around her waist. His stop wasn’t quite as elegant as hers, but he managed to stay upright.
‘Is there something you haven’t been telling me, Samantha Lewis?’ he murmured as their noses touched.
She pushed backwards, skating a little away from him before pushing off and twirling round a few times with her hands in the air. ‘I can’t imagine what you mean,’ she said wickedly.
He slid forward, grabbing her around the waist again and pulling her tightly against him. ‘So what were you? The ice-skating princess? The champion twirler?’
‘All of the above. I might have done figure skating for a few years.’
‘How many years exactly?’
She started skating backwards, lifting up her foot behind her, above her head and catching the bottom of her blade with her hand and spinning around.
‘What on earth is that called?’