Online Romance Novel – chapter 3

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Online Romance Novel — Chapter 3

 

Moonlight On Snow: A Love Story

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12

 

 

Haley backed toward the open door, keeping her eyes on
the man. Wow, she couldn’t help but think. Courtney sure knew how to pick ‘em.

It was as if her sister had tapped into Haley’s brain
and had then gone out and found the perfect man for Haley. Where had her sister
found him? He was exactly the kind of guy Haley had fantasized about earlier.
He’d look perfectly at ease with a glass of champagne in his hand and a
beautiful woman on his arm, she decided as she stepped back inside her little
cabin. She gripped the doorknob hard as he brushed past her and stumbled
inside.

A soft sigh of regret escaped Haley. In the real
world, a woman like her would never have a chance with a man like him. Having
Courtney send her this guy as a birthday present was as close as she would ever
get to her fantasy.

She closed the door behind him. With her foot, she
pushed the rolled up towels back against the bottom edge of the door to block
the cold drafts that sneaked under.

“Ahhh, heat,” her unexpected guest moaned
and rushed toward the stone hearth.

Haley watched as he jerked off black leather gloves
that appeared better-suited for driving an expensive sports car than for
trekking through a Montana night. From his gloves to his wingtip shoes, he was
a city slicker for sure, but, oh, was he appealing!

Just look at him. Tall, tanned, and more attractive
than any man has a right to be. Haley sniffed gently, trying not to be obvious
in her attempt to get a good whiff of his musky aftershave. Everything about
him made her pulse accelerate. Her hands shook nearly as much as the strong
hands he held out to the fire.

Her gaze sharpened. She gasped. His poor hands.
Besides being red from the cold, the knuckles of his right hand were skinned
badly. Bruising was already evident around the injury.

Her sympathy effectively banished her bemusement. That
hand had to hurt. “Your hand looks bad. I’ve got a first aid kit. Let me
get it.” She rushed to the small alcove that served as a bedroom, glad to
have a few minutes away from his disturbing presence so she could collect her
thoughts.

A patchwork curtain with round rings suspended from an
iron rod fixed to the ceiling could be pulled to close off the sleeping alcove
from the main room of the cabin. Haley had never drawn the curtain before. Now
she did.

Exhaling loudly in relief, she pressed her hand to her
racing heart and sank onto the bed. The old springs creaked. Haley winced and
her cheeks flamed at the uncharacteristic erotic thought that popped into her
scholarly head. She pressed her cold palms against her hot cheeks, trying to
subdue the heat that seemed to have taken possession of her as soon as
Courtney’s stripper had stepped out of the cold and into her cabin.

* * *

Jeff gazed around the cabin. Wow! Pretty spartan
accommodations. The interior had exposed logs and was nothing more than one
large room with a curtained alcove at one end, a small kitchen at the other,
and the so-called living room in the center. The cabin, originally built by the
Forestry Service back in the fifties, had been used for various environmental
projects through the years but didn’t appear to have been upgraded in any way. EnviroMed held a one year lease on it just for Gant.

Jeff was surprised she hadn’t complained loudly and
often about the place. Every woman he knew would have turned up her nose at
staying a night here much less a year. He’d have to do something about this.

Gant was gone for so long that he began to wonder if
she’d sneaked out a back door hidden behind the curtain. “Dr. Gant? Are
you coming back out?”

Haley started. His voice seemed overly loud in her
quiet cabin. “Yes. Just a minute. I couldn’t remember where I put the
first aid kit,” she lied, grabbing the metal box from its place next to
her few toiletries on top of the chest of drawers. She took another deep breath
to steady her rioting nerves and shoved the curtain back.

With quick strides, Haley crossed to the small blue
sofa in front of the fireplace and sat. “Come here so I can take care of
your hand.”

Without a word, he sank onto the sofa next to her.

She grasped his hand. Her pulse leaped. She made a big
show of tilting it and peered at it from every angle. “How’d you do
this?”

“Changing a tire. The jack slipped.”

“You mean you had a flat?”

“Hey, you really are a genius.”

His tone of voice was so dry and amused that she took
no offense. “Very funny,” she said mildly. “I hope that flat
happened before you hit the logging road.”

“Don’t hope too hard,” he said dryly,
flexing his hand.

Haley shuddered.  Her respect for his persistence in getting there rose several degrees.
“You have had quite a night. Why that’s got to be nearly a thirty-degree
slope.” She opened the kit and removed gauze, adhesive tape, and iodine.

“Nothing nearly about it. It’s thirty degrees or
my name’s not–,” He bounced off the sofa as if it were a trampoline.
“Whoa! Wait just a minute, doc!”

Haley frowned up at him. “What’s the
matter?”

“That’s iodine.” He shook his head and
backed toward the fireplace. “No way are you pouring that on these raw
knuckles.”

“Why not? What’s wrong with it?”

“That stuff burns like fire!”

Haley rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “It may
sting a little,” she agreed, “but you need some antiseptic on those
scrapes, and this is all I’ve got. Don’t be so childish,” she scolded. “My
dad used this on me all the time when I was a kid.”

“Hey, I like being childish.” He smiled at
her. Haley blinked. It was as if the sun had suddenly emerged from behind a
cloud.

“Dr. Gant. Haley, if I may?” At her nod, he
continued, “I think it’s safe to say any self-respecting bacteria in this
state is hibernating for the winter.”

When Haley realized he was trying to charm her out of
using the iodine, she couldn’t help but grin widely. “Don’t be ridiculous.
You might know dancing, but you don’t know anything about microbes. They never
hibernate.”

“Dancing? What’s that got to do with
anything?”

“No offense intended. I’m not making any
judgments about your choice of occupation. Now be still and let me tend that
hand.”

“My choice of occupation?” he echoed.

He seemed genuinely puzzled so Haley took advantage of
his scattered focus. She reached out and grabbed his hand, intending to pull
him down to the couch, but his fingers curled around hers. Something seemed to
rush through her. Startled at the intensity of feeling, she looked up. Their
eyes locked. His dark eyes gazed back at her with unabashed interest. Slowly,
he settled onto the sofa next to her.

Haley forgot what they’d been talking about. Still
holding his hand, she laid it across her knees, too conscious now of his
closeness. Carefully, she sprinkled iodine on a gauze square. Her hands shook.
She risked a glance at him from the corner of her eye. He didn’t seem to notice
anything unusual.

Gently, she cleaned the wound, stroking softly along
the length of each tanned finger. When he gasped, she paused and looked into
his eyes. “Sorry. Did I hurt you?”

“No,” Jeff murmured. She hadn’t hurt him,
but her touch unsettled him in unexpected ways. Suddenly, he could smell the subtle
scent she wore. It teased his senses and made him feel restless and something
he didn’t want to dwell on..

“That’s a nice perfume you’re wearing,” he
murmured.

She turned and stared deeply into his eyes. “It’s
just soap,” she said. She sounded as breathless as he suddenly felt.

In the soft lamplight, he couldn’t determine if her
eyes were blue or gray. For some strange reason, knowing what color they were
seemed very important.

A log shifted and fell in the fireplace, startling
him. A minute passed, sixty seconds suspended in time in which his senses
heightened. He swore he could hear the drum beat of his blood through his
veins. It seemed to grow louder and stronger as he became intensely aware of
the smell of simple soap on her skin.

Jeff noticed how creamy, perfect, and soft her skin
looked. Was it as silky as it looked? Her hands were gentle on his. The sweep
of long dark lashes against the ivory perfection of her cheek fascinated him.
She looked up. Her eyes opened wide then quickly her gaze dropped to his hand.
A soft blush colored her face. Had she practiced that or was it innocently
provocative?

“There,” she said, carefully taping a folded
gauze pad across his knuckles.

Jeff realized he’d been staring so intently at her
face that he hadn’t realized she’d finished doctoring his hand. He flexed his
fingers. “You did a good job.”

“And it didn’t hurt, did it?” she asked
gently, smiling up into his eyes. “At least not much.”

When he grinned his agreement, Haley noticed how the
right side of his mouth lifted a little higher than the left. Enchanted by his
crooked smile, Haley gazed at his lips. He had a truly exceptional mouth, she
decided. Full, sensuous lips complemented the hard planes of his face rather
than detracting from his virile good looks. Haley stared dreamily at his lips.
She leaned toward him just a fraction.

What would his mouth feel like pressed against hers?

 

Beginning | Next Chapter

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