He supported her with his knees and checked the reddened trail of skin down her thigh. The feel of her silky flesh beneath his hand tightened his desire. He couldn't resist brushing his lips over the velvet of her cheek. She kept her eyes closed tightly.
"Almost through." He gently ran his hand over the damaged skin of her leg and side to feel for sand and grit. She shuddered and squeezed her arms around his neck tighter, burying her face against him.
It was almost more than Cole could take. He inhaled sharply, tensing. The damaged skin felt clean. He slipped his arm beneath her knees and carried her out of the water, walked to the edge of the pool, and lowered her gently to the cave floor. She shivered.
"Let's dry you off." He reached for her petticoat. First he gently patted the wounds with the petticoat, then he briskly toweled over the rest of her. Still she shook.
"Here, take off these wet clothes and put on your dry ones."
"All right." With a tremor in her voice, she turned her back to him.
Thankful she didn't protest, he helped her out of her remaining clothes. Ignoring temptation, he helped her finish drying, shook out her skirt and blouse and helped her put them on.
She turned her back again, clutching her blouse to her chest. His hands shook as he managed the buttons and fastened her skirt. The aching desire she aroused in him increased unbearably. When she sat down to rest, he looked away.