He groaned. ‘Colour me happy.’
A smile broke across her face. ‘Wow. I haven’t heard that in years. My grandpa used to say that all the time.’
For a second something changed. The barrier that had been between them from the second she’d got there seemed to disappear. This time his smile reached right up into his weary eyes.
He wasn’t the sexy guy whose calendar had adorned the staffroom wall at work. He wasn’t the heartthrob who’d played sold-out venues around the world.
He was just Mitchell Brody, the guy she was alone with in a million-pound chalet in the snowy Alps. Right now she was living every girl’s dream. Honestly? What nurse did she know who wouldn’t kill for this job?
Which was why it made her feel so uncomfortable.
Up close and personal he had the kind of warm brown eyes that could just pull you in and keep you there. The kind that could make you forget everything else around you. And that was pretty much what was happening now.
The meter gave a little beep—reminding them to switch it off—and it jerked her from her daydreams. ‘Cup of tea?’
She started boiling the kettle and searched through the cupboards for cups. He was still watching her with those eyes and it was unnerving. His gaze seemed to linger on her behind as she bent down to look in a few cupboards before he finally said, ‘Top right for tea, bottom left for cups,’ and took another bite of his sandwich. ‘To be honest, though, I’d prefer a beer.’
Her brain switched straight into professional mode. ‘It’s too soon for a beer.’ The words came out automatically before she could stop them and she cringed. He was a rock star—of course he’d want a beer. She had to try and push her bossy instincts aside and be realistic and put the patient first.
It was no use telling people who were newly diagnosed what they couldn’t or shouldn’t do. For most people, it just gave them the urge to rebel or to think their life would never be the same. And that could be disastrous. She’d seen exactly how her sister had reacted to things like that.
No. She knew better. This was all about making this work for the patient. This was his life, not hers. She was beginning to question her suitability for this job. It would always be tricky to teach an adult about something they might consider a new way of life. But to teach someone like Mitchell Brody? It seemed like an almost impossible task.
She watched as he ran his fingers through his just-too-long, messy hair. The man didn’t know how damn sexy he was. Then again, with the press and media attention he got, he probably did. Working with this guy was going to be more than distracting. Living in the same house as him? She would have to bolt her door at night and only hope that she didn’t sleepwalk.
As there was no evidence of a teapot she poured the boiling water into the mugs, squeezing the tea bags out and adding milk. She put them on the table and took a deep breath, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll talk you through what to do with your insulin and testing if you want to have a few beers.’ She paused, choosing her words carefully. ‘When the time is right.’
His hand moved slowly, lifting the mug and taking a sip. He cringed. ‘I like two sugars in my tea.’
She smiled and grabbed her handbag, which had been abandoned on the table, rummaging around for a few seconds before pulling out a saccharin dispenser and clicking two into his cup.
He tried again. This time the grimace was even worse. ‘That’s disgusting!’
She shrugged. ‘You’ll adjust. In a few weeks you won’t even notice the difference.’
‘Is that a promise?’ He held his cup up towards her.
She nodded and clinked her cup on his. This was about to get interesting.
* * *
He was still trying to come to terms with the events of the last hour. If anyone had told him a few weeks ago that he’d be sitting in Innsbruck, drinking tea with a hot chick around midnight, he would have laughed in their face.
Drinking tea was not what Mitchell Brody was known for. But the truth was it was actually about all he could face right now.
For the last few weeks leading up to his diagnosis he’d known something had been very wrong. He’d never felt so tired, both physically and mentally. He’d been beginning to question if he was feeling stressed about the tour. Which was why he’d ended up here, his favourite haunt in the world—and the one place the press hadn’t figured out he owned yet.
His house in Mauritius was regularly buzzed by helicopters. The townhouse he owned in London practically had the press camped outside the front door, and as for the house in LA. Well, it was a stop on one of the ‘houses of the stars’ coach tours. Privacy was virtually impossible.
Which was why he loved Innsbruck so much. He’d bought the house ten years ago under his brother’s name. Tucked up in the snowy Alps, with direct access to some of the best ski slopes in the world. Who could want to stay anywhere else?
He loved the area. He loved the people. Most of all he loved the staff at the nearby children’s hospital. His family had stayed here for just over a year when he’d been six. His father had worked for one of the big pharmaceutical companies that had had business in Austria and the whole family had had to up sticks for a year.
It had been great for two young boys. They’d learned to ski within a few weeks and had never been off the slopes until his brother Shaun’s diagnosis. Then they’d spent the rest of the time in and out of St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
From the balcony at the front of the chalet he could even see the roof of St Jude’s. It was part of the reason he’d jumped at the chance to build here. Although his house was chalet-style, the expansive size almost made a mockery of that description.
He loved it here. He really did. This was his hideaway. There were people here that knew him as Mitch, the boy whose brother had had leukaemia, and had known him for the last twenty or more years. Shaun’s recovery had been a long process, and even after they’d moved from Austria his family had continued to holiday here twice a year.
Here, he wasn’t Mitchell Brody, rock star. He wasn’t the guy with four homes around the world and a dozen fast cars. He wasn’t the guy who’d fallen out of one nightclub too many, or had needed to be bailed out of jail the next morning. He was just Mitch, who had to queue in the local bakery for his favourite pastry, like everyone else. And he liked it that way.
He liked somewhere to be normal. He liked to be around people who had no expectation of him—where he was just another guy. Somewhere along the line all that had been lost.
With girls too. He’d been the spotty teenager who’d just wanted his first kiss. The young guy who everyone had laughed at for locking himself in his room all the time to practise his guitar.
But practice made perfect. He was testament to that. His last album had achieved platinum status in a matter of hours, with women queuing round the block of the hotel he’d been staying in, hoping for a glimpse of him.
It was amazing what a few years of going to the gym, some filling out and a careless approach to haircuts could do.
But that didn’t help with the girl sitting across the table from him right now, looking at him with those amazing blue eyes. He’d been so desperate to be discharged from hospital he couldn’t have cared less what his nurse looked like. As long as she could get him through the next three weeks, that had been fine by him.
But he hadn’t banked on this. He hadn’t banked on her.
He squinted at her. ‘What did you say your name was?’
She gave her head a little shake and laughed. ‘Samantha. Samantha Lewis. I’m your nurse.’
He leaned back in his chair appreciatively. ‘Oh, yes, you are.’
Her eyebrows arched and she wagged her finger at him. ‘Don’t start with me, sunshine. Don’t you be giving me that kind of look. I’m here to do a job. That’s all. I’m only staying up with you
and making you tea so we can check your blood sugar before you go to bed.’
He leaned forward, planting his chin on his hand. ‘Let’s talk about this job. What exactly will you be doing for me?’
He watched her cheeks flush at the way he’d emphasised the word and the way she squirmed in her chair. He liked it. Samantha Lewis was different from the last lot of women he’d been involved with.
Right now, it felt like this diabetes diagnosis was a weight around his neck. Samantha Lewis might lighten the load a little.
‘I’ll be doing exactly what I should be doing. I’ll be helping you monitor your blood-glucose levels, teaching you how to adjust your insulin and how to recognise the early signs of a hypoglycaemic attack. It’s important you have good blood-glucose control. It’ll help you stay independent and reduce the risk of any complications.’
He groaned. She might not look like Dragon Lady, but she was certainly beginning to sound like her.
‘Let’s talk about something else.’ He leaned across the table towards her. ‘Is there a Mr Lewis I should know about?’