Julia got away from a boyfriend who picked another woman, his mother, over her. She just wants to celebrate Christmas without the stress of knowing she'll be on the back burner. However, her ex doesn't seem to get the message and won't leave her alone. Doesn't help that her hot neighbor makes her wish they weren't currently in a pandemic.
Keith is bewitched by Julia. The attraction is strong, even more than his addiction for soda. He offers his help, hoping that Julia will lean on him. One night with her isn't enough, and Keith wants more. But then he discovers that he's going to get more than he bargained for when he finds out something Julia had kept secret ...
Keith slid onto a seat and focused on Julia. God, just being this close to her had him itching to reach out and touch her, to feel that warm, soft body in his arms.
You’re beginning to sound like an idiot again. Focus.
“I ...” Julia shifted about on the gurney. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”
“It’s my job, Julia. Where else would I be?”
Julia’s cheeks flushed and she looked away. She bit her lip, and Keith had an image of biting that lip himself. He pushed that aside. What they did before was nothing to do with now. She was involved in a crash, and Keith had to do his job. Even if he couldn’t stop thinking about touching her.
Julia took a deep breath and let it out in a shaky sigh.
“I had gone to drop a couple of things at my dad’s place. This car came out of nowhere when I was driving back. It was making me nervous following me so closely, so I came off the freeway and tried a circuitous route. Then ...” Julia shuddered. “It bumps into the back of my car and forces me off the road.”
Keith looked out towards the car. He could see it clearly, and from the tyres tracks in the snow, Julia’s car had mounted the kerb further down the road. He could see at least three mail boxes that had been knocked over. To anyone else, it would have looked like someone had lost control of the car and was trying to cover it up. But this was Julia. She was too honest for her own good. Keith had only known her four months, but he knew that she wouldn’t lie about something like this.
Do you really know that? Or are you thinking with the wrong head?
“Am I going to get into trouble for knocking over a couple of mail boxes?” Julia asked. Then she winced. “God, that sounded silly. I was forced off the road and I’m concerned about mail boxes.”
“You let us worry about that.” Keith turned back to her. “Right now, you need to go to the hospital ...”
Keith blinked. Julia’s face had gone so pale he was worried that she was going to pass out. As it was, she was beginning to hyperventilate. Keith shifted over to sit beside her, awkwardly rubbing her back.
“Hey, take it easy. Deep breaths, nice and slow.” He waited as Julia tried, and managed, to calm down. That was an odd reaction. “Do you have a problem with going to the hospital? Because after a crash like that, you need to be checked.”
“I’ll see my doctor tomorrow.” Julia looked away, and although she didn’t move away physically, Keith could feel her emotionally withdrawing. “I’m going to just have bumps and bruises and maybe some whiplash. Nothing I can’t handle.”
“From the look of it, if there hadn’t been so much snow, it could have been a lot worse.”
Julia flinched. Keith sighed.
“Look, I’ll take you there. And I’ll stay with you the whole time. Whatever scares you, I won’t let that happen. That sound fair to you?”
For a moment, he thought Julia was going to refuse. Then she looked up at him, and Keith almost forgot that he was on the job. Those blue eyes had sucked him in the first time they met, and Keith hadn’t been able to stop thinking about them. About her.
He should’ve let Casey deal with her.
“Okay.” Julia’s tone said she was very reluctant. “I’ll go. But not to Virginia Mason.”
“I have my reasons.” Julia swallowed. “Anywhere but there.”
Keith wanted to question her on that, but she was beginning to tremble, so he didn’t push her. This had already been too much for her, and Julia was beginning to withdraw.
“All right. I’ll make sure you’re not left alone.”
“Please.” Julia looked away. “I don’t want to be on my own right now.”
Wild horses wouldn’t be able to make Keith leave. He was beginning to think he was thinking with the wrong head. Then again, he had been thinking with the wrong one since he and Julia spent a night together. She had completely knocked him off-kilter.
And yet you’re too cowardly to ask for anything more. Idiot.
Keith couldn’t agree more.