Broken (The Broken Series Book 1) (9 page)

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Before I could move back around to help him out of the chair, he’d lifted himself up and pushed himself back onto the bed with practiced ease.
 

I took an unsteady breath. “Is there anything I can do?” I said. “Anything you need?”
 

He shook his head.
 

“Should I call someone?”
 

He shook his head again, firmly this time.
 

“No, I’ll be fine. I just need to rest. It was stupid of me to overdo it. It’s just this damn pain in my legs.” He leaned back, resting his head on his pillow and closing his eyes.
 

I hovered beside him for a while, not really knowing what to do before I decided to leave him to relax. It couldn’t be very relaxing having someone staring at you while you’re trying to sleep. So I headed back into the living room.

Despite what Jack said, I was too worried not to tell somebody else what had happened. I was really scared I may have caused Jack permanent damage. I picked up the phone and the card Brian had given me and dialed his number.

“Brian, it’s me, Kristina. I’m really worried about Jack. We went for a walk on the crutches, and he came over really pale, and he said there’s a terrible pain in his legs, and I don’t know what to do,” I said all in a rush.

“Whoa. Calm down,” Brian said. “It’s not a problem. This is something that will happen when he tries to use his legs at first. His legs were shattered in the accident, and they’ve knitted back together, but they are far from perfect. He will be in pain, Kristina. It’s part of his recovery.”

“But there must be something I can do,” I said.

“There’s some cream, called muscle ease, in the cupboard,” Brian said. “You can massage that into his legs. That should help. Give him a couple of the pain killers in his bathroom cabinet. He doesn’t like taking them, but do your best to persuade him. Give him two now, and another two in four hours’ time if he’s still in pain, okay?”
 

“Okay,” I said, but I didn’t sound convinced. My shaky voice betrayed me.

“Look, if you’re still worried about him and the massage and the tablets don’t help, then give me a call back in an hour or so, and I’ll come back in.”
 

I exhaled in utter relief. “Thank you, Brian.”
 

12

I went into the bathroom and rattled around in the medicine cabinet. I found the tube of muscle ease at the back on the top shelf behind the shaving foam. It looked like some kind of muscle oil. I unscrewed the cap and took a sniff. It smelled of menthol. I guessed it was like a muscle relaxant.
 

I grabbed the white bottle of prescription painkillers as well, and as Jack heard me rustling around in the bathroom, he called out, “What are you doing in there?”
 

I walked back through to the bedroom with the muscle ease in one hand and the pain killers in the other.
 

He rolled his eyes at me. “You spoke to Brian.”
 

I nodded. “Why didn’t you tell me about the pain killers?”
 

He didn’t answer.

I walked up to his bedside and put the muscle oil and the pain killers on the bedside cabinet. I then extracted two tablets and handed them to him.
 

He pushed himself up in bed, and I handed him his glass of water.
 

“Thanks,” he said and swallowed both tablets.
 

“Are you angry with me?” I asked. “For calling Brian?”

“No,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “I’m quite looking forward to it.”

I frowned. “Looking forward to it?”

He smiled. His face was still pale, but it transformed with his grin. His eyes sparkled.

“Yeah, because now you’re going to massage me with that oil.”
 
He winked at me.

I flushed beet red and quickly averted my gaze to stare down at the bed covers.

I wished I could stop the blushing. It was so embarrassing. I should be more practical and nurse-like. I glanced at the tube of oil again and gathered my courage. I could do this. I had to. It wasn’t a big deal. He was a patient and this was a treatment.

So I’d be up close and personal with him for ten minutes, but I could handle that, couldn’t I?

I had to.

I cleared my throat and picked up the massage oil. “Right, so, where exactly do I use this?”
 

Jack spluttered a laugh. “It’s okay, you only need to do my legs.”

I looked down at him on the bed and saw my first challenge: he was still wearing his t-shirt and jeans. I wasn’t sure what to do. Did I take them off, or should he?

I licked my lips. “Um, I suppose we need to take your jeans off.”

He nodded. “Yep, that’ll be good.”
 

He grinned at me again. I could sense it, but I wouldn’t look at his face because I knew I would flush a thousand shades of red for the millionth time. Instead, I put the muscle ease oil on the bed beside him and reached towards the fly on his jeans. My hands started to shake.

My hands were trembling so much I barely managed to open the first button. I could feel my breathing getting faster, and I hoped Jack didn’t notice.
 

But he reached for my hand. His fingers wrapped around mine.

 
I looked up at him. “Did I do something wrong?”

He wasn’t grinning anymore, but there was a look of concern on his face. “Are you nervous?” he asked. “Your hands are shaking.”
 

I pulled my hands away. “No,” I snapped. “Of course not. It’s just because the air conditioning is on. I’m sensitive to cold.”
 

“Uh huh,” he said with a knowing smile.
 

I huffed under my breath and grabbed the tube of muscle ease.
 

“You know you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Jack said. “I could do it myself.”
 

I shook my head. “You wouldn’t be able to massage it in properly. It’s my job. I’ve done nursing, you know. It’s no big deal to me.”

Jack nodded. “Okay then, Nurse Kristina.” He winked again. “Ready when you are.”
 

Damn it. I was blushing again. Seriously, if there was a record for number of blushes per day, I think I’d smash it.
 

I took a deep breath and undid the rest of his buttons. My fingers felt stiff and clumsy, but he helped me and eased his jeans off himself.
 

I found it surprising how normal his legs looked. They both had scars, but they looked muscular and strong. He moved them easily too, although he flinched with the pain. When I had first heard about this job, I thought the guy I would be looking after was paralyzed. The accident could have been so much worse.

Jack winced again as he moved his legs. It was obvious he was still in a lot of pain.
 

I brought up the tube of massage oil and squeezed it onto my hands. In my nervous state, I managed to squeeze far too much out at once. It spurted out onto my palm. I don’t know what the heck was going on in my mind these days. It seemed like everything seemed to have an erotic innuendo behind it. I was in danger of becoming obsessed with thinking about sex when I was around Jack.

I’d read once that a man thinks about sex once every twenty seconds. I’d never believed it. I mean once every twenty seconds? That’s crazy. But I’d changed my mind. When I was around Jack Harding I found out that it was indeed possible to think about sex that often.

I gave Jack an embarrassed smile as I set the tube down on the cabinet beside his bed. He gave me another knowing look, and I really hoped he couldn’t tell what kind of thoughts were running through my mind.
 

The muscle ease was actually less of an oil and more of a jelly. I rubbed it between my palms, and I felt the tingle of the menthol. It had a strong smell, and it made me feel a bit light headed – at least I told myself it was the gel making me light headed and not my proximity to Jack Harding.

I shifted my eyes to the lower part of Jack’s body, trying hard to concentrate on his legs only. That was not easy. He was lying there in his underwear. At least he hadn’t taken his T-shirt off, so that was one less distraction. I was very glad of that.

Liar, a little voice in my head said.
 

I tried to concentrate.

His legs were long and muscular. I could clearly see the two parallel scars running along his calves and thighs, caused by the operation to pin his bones back together after the crash. The actual scars from the accident were less uniform and much smaller. They’d almost faded. I only noticed them because the scars were paler than the rest of his tanned skin.

I looked up at him. “Um, so where should I start…”
 

I nodded to his legs, and he grinned. “Mainly, here,” he said and put his hand on his left thigh.
 

Jack didn’t take his eyes off me. If my hands were trembling before, that was nothing compared to now. I placed my tingling palms on his left leg first, and I felt his muscle tighten beneath my hands.
 

My fingers itched to move further. This shouldn’t feel so good.

I pushed upwards, maintaining a steady, gentle pressure. And when I heard him moan as I moved, my insides seem to melt with desire. That sound was so erotic.

That was wrong. I shouldn’t be thinking this way.
 

This is a medical procedure, I told myself. Jack is a patient.

But it was no good. He wasn’t like a patient to me.
 

He was one extremely hot guy that I was really enjoying rubbing massage oil into.
 

There was no denying it.
 

I pushed a little harder. “Is that okay?” My voice sounded a little breathless and shaky.

“Mmm-Hmm,” he said. “Feels good.”
 

Damn it, I wanted to massage this stuff all over him. I glanced upwards to the tops of his legs. Mmm, I thought, I’d like to massage him there.
 

My cheeks were growing more and more flushed as I kept massaging.
 

I lost track of how long I’d been doing it, the rhythmic movement, kneading his firm flesh beneath my fingers. My fingers were inching ever so slightly higher when he said, “Uh, Kristina?”

My eyes flicked upwards and I froze. It was like I had been lost in some kind of trance.

His eyes were dark, almost as if they were filled with desire, but I dismissed that idea as quickly as it had come to me. I wasn’t thinking straight.
 

“Yes?” I said.
 

“I think you can move onto the next leg now,” he said.
 

But this time there was no cheeky grin. His eyes were fixed on me.
 

As I moved to his right leg, he grabbed one of the pillows from beneath his back and laid it over his lap.

The instant he did that, I knew exactly why, and the blood flooded my face again. Oh God, I was so embarrassed. This poor guy was laying in front of me, in pain, and I was touching him up.
 

My fingers skimmed his right thigh. I couldn’t look at him.
 

Despite my embarrassment, I still couldn’t help thinking about what I would like to do next…

Reluctantly, I removed my hands from his leg. “Um…” I mumbled and turned my attention to putting the screw cap back on the muscle relaxant. “I think I’m done.”
 

I cleared my throat.
 

He looked at me with those dark eyes, licked his lips and then swallowed. “Yeah,” he said. “Thanks.”
 

He seemed almost as distracted as me. Yeah, he’s probably embarrassed, too. I thought I might die of humiliation.

Without saying anything else, I headed to the bathroom to wash the menthol off my tingling palms. I looked at myself in the mirror. I gasped at my reflection, taking in my dilated pupils and my flushed cheeks.
 

“You’re in trouble,” I muttered to my reflection. “You need to stop this, and now.”
 

“Did you say something?” Jack’s voice came from the bedroom.

I quickly dried my hands. “No, no,” I said, walking out, putting on a full smile. “Just talking to myself. Um … do you want me to help you get your jeans back on?”
 

“No,” he said.
 
“I’ll be fine. I’m just going to stay here for a bit.”
 

“Okay then,” I said, trying to edge out of the room backwards. “I’ll just be in the next room if you need me,” I said, and then I thudded into the wall behind me.
 

Oh, way to go, real nice, real smooth, Kristina.
 

I grinned apologetically, and rushed into the living room where I sat on the sofa and put my hands over my head.
 

Oh my God
. What was the matter with me?

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