I watched him sleeping.
I’d been doing the same thing for the past week since he was brought in. And with each passing day, my oh-so-unprofessional want for him grew more familiar. His natural, musky, masculine scent infiltrated my senses and I inhaled it deeply, closing my eyes and pulling it in. Memorising it. I opened my eyes and trailed my gaze over his features yet again. Such a handsome face. Dark brown, tousled hair and more than a week’s worth of beard growth. I wondered if he was usually clean shaven—although he really did suit the stubble. What would it feel like to run my tongue along his angular jaw line? Trembling, I shook my head to dislodge the erotic thought.
Annie, one of his ICU nurses, had told me that he had the brightest blue eyes she’d ever seen. She only knew that from the times she’d checked his pupils.
Sadly, he hadn’t opened his eyes of his own accord yet.
All I knew about him on a personal level was that his name was possibly Cameron Iss. And that was only if the note they’d found with him was actually written by him. My job—when he eventually awoke from his coma—was to find out why he’d tried to take his own life. As a woman, I ached to think of the torment he may have gone through to end up in my care. As a newly qualified psychologist, I was looking forward, in a macabre way, to getting inside his head. He would be my first suicide-attempt case. I glanced down to the panic alarm hooked onto my waistband to ensure it was still there. It was one of the things I’d been informed I should keep with me at all times for my own protection—some patients were known to get a little out of hand. Not that I needed it at that precise moment, but it was always better to be prepared.
The machines around my patient flashed and bleeped. But he lay still. After observing the scar on his forehead, I allowed my gaze to journey to where his long lashes fanned out on his pale, bruised features. Continuing to map his face, I made myself study the NG feeding tube with its medical tape holding it in place on his cheek and then settled my attention on his full mouth. He had those kissable, full lips… well, they would’ve been if they weren’t distorted by the ventilator tube hanging from them.
Good grief, I was being so unprofessional. He deserved better.
But he was probably the most handsome—no… handsome just didn’t cut it—he was the most stunning, sexy, and sculpted man I could ever recall encountering in all my adult years. Fine lines caused an indentation between his strong brows, indicating to me that he was someone who frowned a lot. Perhaps he was uber serious. Stern. Harsh even. The thought excited me and sent shivers of electricity down my spine. He was dangerous, that much I could tell. The epitome of masculinity. Let’s get to the point here, he was the most gorgeous guy I’d ever laid eyes on. I chewed on my lip. As a jolt of sensation throbbed at my clit, I inhaled sharply. Just thinking about what he might be like had me pulsating and needy. But it was wrong and I knew it. Bloody typical—he was in a coma and unattainable thanks to my professional code of ethics.
I sat there a little longer, tablet in hand. I hadn’t really focused on the patient record on the screen, and the tablet had gone into sleep mode—just like Cameron. Despite my state of heightened sexual awareness, exhaustion—both mental and physical—was taking its toll on me too. I could’ve just sat in my office, but the view wasn’t quite as good in there. Don’t get me wrong, the view from my office in the North Kessock hospital window overlooked the beautiful Kessock Bridge with Inverness in the distance. And although I couldn’t see it from my south-facing view, I knew the Black Isle unfolded behind me, and I loved that place. From my office window I could see the sun glinting on the Beauly Firth and watch the boats as they tootled by on the calm estuary waters heading out to sea. But… well, Mr Iss was heart meltingly gorgeous and was rapidly becoming my favourite thing to look at.
The many tattoos covering his arms offered enigmatic clues into his life—possibly. I’d examined them for hours, wondering what they all meant, if anything. Maybe he was just one of those guys who liked ink. But maybe there was some deeper meaning to the numbers, words, and pictures beautifully marking the man’s otherwise perfect olive skin.
One in particular grabbed my attention. It was the word Cosmic in ornate script on his forearm. Strange choice. The word was surrounded by stars, and a sultry woman with green eyes and long auburn hair, not unlike my own, was draped across it as if it were a bed. Some tattoos I’d seen before depicted women as slutty, half naked and big breasted, mere objects to be ogled, but this one was very tasteful. Yet it was out of character with the dark, foreboding images that covered his arms. There were some intricate tribal tattoos too that were really quite beautiful if you liked that kind of thing—which I never had… until I started imagining the bold ripple of ink over his muscles as he pushed himself into my flesh.
Judging by the numerous markings he carried on these relatively small areas of visible skin, I was pretty sure he had more ink on the rest of his body. Annie—lucky thing—had the job of bathing him, but it would be completely unprofessional of me to ask such questions about a patient, and so I continued to use my vivid imagination. It’s a good thing that my superiors were only psychiatrists and not mind readers, or I’d be fired on the spot.
I was clearly sex starved.
At twenty-six years old I was beginning to wonder if I would ever meet someone who could make me really feel. I wanted someone lucid to affect me in the way the oblivious man before me was affecting me. Someone intense, fierce, dangerous, carnal. Someone who would take control of my body as well as my heart. My last so-called relationship had been with my university boyfriend, Dermott, but he was never going to be the one. The thing between us had ended on quite good terms, considering they had, in fact, ended. We met at med school and no one understood the pressure I was under more than he did. Ironic that it just didn’t work out between us, really. We’d kept in touch and occasionally went out for drinks and ended up in bed together at the end of the night. Call us what you will… friends with benefits… fuck buddies… stupid; I’ve called myself a lot worse. The point is, whatever we may be isn’t distracting me from what’s important.
The last few years had been taken up with studying, placements, exams, and more studying. All work and no play certainly made Kelly Marie Darrow a dull girl. But I hadn’t got to where I was by slacking off.
And for once, I was determined to succeed for me. No longer were my efforts a vain attempt to impress a father who’d left and a mother who slept around. This was my career. My life. My independence.
I put down my tablet and jotted a few professional observations in Mr Iss’s paper file. There was nothing to report, really. He was still away in dreamland, and my actual thoughts and observations wouldn’t help his case in any way whatsoever. Deciding I’d wasted enough time in his room, I walked over to his bedside and glanced down at the unconscious man. I wondered how he would feel when he awoke to find he was still alive. Would he be angry? Would he be relieved? What was it about him that touched me on such a personal level? Sighing heavily, I stroked the soft, dark strands of hair back from his forehead; his skin was warm and silky to my tentative fingertips. An overwhelming urge to kiss where I had touched him tugged at my insides and I bent forward, inhaling that familiar scent again. My heart skipped at the mere thought of my lips connecting with him, and the tingle of desire began to tighten my core. I closed my eyes briefly and managed to rein myself in at the last second. Stupid, stupid Kelly. What were you thinking?
“Wake up soon… please, Cameron,” I whispered before turning and leaving the room. As I closed the door behind me I placed my palm over my thumping heart and wondered what the hell was wrong with me for me to behave in such a way. But there was no doubt about it. Even in his unconscious state he had some kind of hold over me. Knowing that fact both terrified and excited me beyond anything I had ever experienced.
Later that night I arrived back home at my little house on the outskirts of Inverness and wondered how the hell I’d got there. The fact that I didn’t remember walking home was a little disconcerting. After clicking on the kettle, I shrugged out of my coat and kicked off my ridiculously uncomfortable shoes.
It had been a strange day to say the least.
The appointments I’d had were a mixed bag—nothing too complex, but I was exhausted nonetheless. Cases of anxiety and OCD were so very interesting, and I relished the thought of helping the people I worked with. Still, the stress of taking on board someone else’s troubles was an occupational hazard, and although I was trained to remain impartial, I couldn’t help but think outside of work about some of the people I encountered. My mind refused to switch off, and I hoped that this was only a new-doctor issue. But I somehow doubted that.
My eyes were heavy, and every muscle in my body ached as if I’d done a workout with ten-kilo kettle bells. Once my camomile tea was made, I picked up the steaming mug of calmness and slumped onto the sofa. Placing my drink on the coffee table, I rubbed at my tired, sore feet and mentally chastised myself—why I’d chosen three-inch heels today was beyond me. Many hours after that rash decision, and my feet were protesting vehemently. No woman in her right mind would wear such inappropriate footwear when she spent a good deal of time standing and walking around a sprawling hospital. Thinking back to the morning when I’d dressed, I realised I must’ve done so in a daze—or more to the point, a kind of Cameron-fuelled fog of lusty thoughts.
I reached over and flicked on my iPod. I didn’t bother to look for a track I wanted to hear and instead settled for random play. There were so many songs on there that I had no clue what to expect. The intro to “Breathe You In” by Stabbing Westward floated from the speakers and as I leaned back on the sofa my thoughts travelled back to Cameron Iss. His case was so very intriguing. He’d been found near Ben Nevis by a group of walkers and was wearing jeans, black T-shirt, and a sleeveless black leather biker’s waistcoat that looked like a jacket with the sleeves removed. He was slumped by a tree on a well-known walker’s trail. But he certainly wasn’t dressed for walking, considering the October temperature. All that was found with him was a suicide note and an iPod loaded full of what I presumed to be his favourite songs, although I was yet to listen to it. It was all rather peculiar and mysterious to say the least.
The note was another conundrum. I’d read it so many times, looking for clues as to the guy’s true identity, that I’d memorised it…
To whoever finds my body.
I’m sorry to do this to you. To cause you this upset. If I’d had any other way, believe me I would’ve gone down that road.
But it’s all too much. I can’t go on like this anymore. There comes a point in life where you just have to admit defeat. Admit that you’ve done all you can. But that there are some things you just can’t make amends for. I’m done trying now. Done with the pain. Done with the bad memories.
Please tell Rosa I’m sorry but I had no other choice. It’s my time, that’s all.
I was willing him to wake up. I wanted to find out what had driven him to this. What situation had occurred that made him feel he had ‘no other choice’?
And who was Rosa?
The phone rang. Ugh! I just want to be left alone. Grabbing the receiver, I answered without enthusiasm. “Hello?”
“Kelly? Kelly it’s me. Look… I was wondering if you’d like to meet up for a drink maybe?”
Dermott Irons—my dirty little secret.
Handsome. Very handsome. To describe him in one sentence… Well spoken, English, around six two, clean shaven, dirty blond hair, and green eyes. He’d become a surgeon and, at twenty-seven, was already doing very well for himself. The sex between us had always been good, which is why I stayed in touch with him. I loved the release that sex gave me and knew that I could trust Dermott with my body and my safety. Neither of us had the time or inclination to invest in a relationship, which made us quite compatible in a bizarre sort of way. But we both knew where the arbitrary line in the sand was and we knew neither of us would choose to cross it.
“Hi, Dermott. Sorry, I’m a little pushed out schedule-wise right now. Maybe some other time.”
“Come on, Kelly. Surely you’ve got time for an old friend in between your crazies?”
Anger spiked within me at his choice of words. No one, but no one insulted my patients.
“Don’t call them that, Dermott. I mean it. There’s no need to be such a fucking prick.”
“Ah, there she is. My feisty sex kitten. I was only winding you up, you know. I knew you’d bite. Come on, it was a bit of fun, that’s all. What do you say about that drink?”
“Arsehole,” I mumbled down the line as I examined my shabby fingernails. “Like I said, I’m busy.”
“You’re not busy right now. I’m down the street at Johnny Foxes. Come for one drink. Just one? Please?”
I could tell he was pouting and my resolve weakened. I couldn’t help but smile. The fact that I hadn’t been out for such a long time and that deep down I knew it’d probably do me good niggled at me. But I had to work the following day too.
Sighing heavily, I rolled my eyes. “One drink. Just one.”
“Great. See you in ten.”
I hung up and finished my tea. There was no way I’d be seeing him in ten—I needed to shower and change. Dragging myself from the comfort of my old couch, I trudged to the bathroom. The shower temperature was permanently turned up as high as I could stand it, and I switched it to the on position. Stripping out of my clothes, I caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror before the steam distorted the image. I looked tired. The dark circles under my eyes were becoming a bit of a trademark. Maybe I was overdue a facial and some pampering. My nails were definitely in need of some TLC.
I decided that a call to my best friend, Esme, at some point soon was in order. She and I had talked about trying out the new beauty salon in the town centre, and boy did I need it.
Once I was showered and dried, I picked out a pair of dark jeans and a pretty teal-coloured top with spaghetti straps. I quickly blasted my long auburn tresses with the hair dryer and decided on a shaggy, can’t-be-arsed look. It was only Dermott after all. He needed no encouragement where I was concerned. But crazy as it sounds, he was a decent human being when he wasn’t trying to get in my knickers.
We sat in the pub and one drink led to another… and then another. I should’ve known this of old. My resolve was weak and I always gave in. Eventually, when I was feeling rather tipsy and giggling like a teenager, we made our way back to my house. As soon as we got through the front door, he pulled me into his body with one arm and slipped the other hand inside the front of my jeans.
“I know it’s late and you have work, but hell, I want to fuck you,” he mumbled as he nuzzled at my neck.
For a moment I remembered Cameron Iss and almost backed away. But the code of ethics kicked in and said Dermott was exactly what I needed in order to drive these unprofessional thoughts from my mind. So I pulled Dermott closer.
Shivers travelled down my spine, spiking at the junction of my thighs, and I moaned as he continued his delicious assault; his fingers alternately circling my clit and dipping into my entrance, making me wet. I tugged at his long sleeved T-shirt and he released me long enough to let me remove it and discard it on the floor. Smoothing my hands down his toned, muscular chest, my fingers found the buttons on his jeans and I began to release them one by one. All inhibitions had gone and I was in a desire-fuelled fog.
He slipped his hands inside my top and freed my breasts from their lace covering, toying with the sensitive flesh where it peaked, making me moan again at the sensations taking over my body.
Stepping back, I released myself from his grip and gazed into his lust-filled green eyes. “Come with me,” I whispered as I took his hand and led him along the hallway and up the stairs to my bedroom. Once inside I pulled off the teal top I was wearing and watched as he slipped his jeans down his thick, strong thighs and stepped out of them. He licked his lips and watched as I slipped my jeans and panties from my body and unclasped my bra. He was devouring me with his gaze and I felt the dampness increase between my legs. I kicked my clothing aside and we stood there in silence observing each other. Only the sound of our ragged breathing could be heard. Anticipation hung heavily in the air.
Keeping my eyes on his, I stepped backwards until my thighs hit the softness of my fake fur throw. I lowered my body to the bed and lay on my back propped up on my elbows and parted my thighs in a brazen invitation to him. His rigid cock flinched as he prowled across the room and loomed over me. He dropped his knees to the bed and his mouth found mine in an aggressive exchange that drew the breath from my body, and as he entered me in one deep thrust, my head rolled back. He began to move, and my eyes drifted closed as I relished the sensations he created. It wasn’t long before the tension inside my pussy was building and I moved my hips in perfect rhythm with his to find the friction I desperately needed.
Slipping my hands down his smooth skin, I grasped his tight arse and imagined the tattoos on his bulky, muscular arms. His deep thrusts driving me toward my delicious release. I trailed my nails down his back and tried to imagine the tattoos there too. He sucked on my neck, and my nipples grazed against his chest, making me moan and dig my nails into his firm flesh. Keeping my eyes closed, I could picture his blue eyes peering down at me as he drove his cock deeper; his shaggy dark hair falling forward as he ground his pubic bone into my clit.
I gasped and my eyes sprang open as I realised what I was doing. I was imagining Cameron Iss. Oh shit! In my mind, it was Cameron fucking me towards ecstasy, not Dermott.
I fixed my eyes on Dermott in a bid to push the errant fantasy away, but as the pleasure built, I could no longer fight the need and my eyelids fluttered closed. His mouth closed around my nipple and he bit down lightly, causing the vivid images to catch alight in me again. And as soon as that happened, it was Cameron Iss above me and inside me once again. In my mind’s eye I watched Cameron’s jaw tick as he clenched it, apparently fighting his own climax, ensuring my release happened first.
One final thrust hit my clit head-on, triggering the most wonderful shock waves throughout my whole body. I cried out incoherently as I clung on to the shoulders of the man inside of me, my pussy clenching around him in the most delicious way. He growled his own orgasm and the thing that brought me back down to earth was the cry of “Fucking sweetness!” Dermott’s usual orgasm induced endearment. After a few moments of resting his weight on top of me and catching his breath, he withdrew and left the room. I heard water running in the bathroom as I sat, pulled the covers up over me and drew my knees up to my chest. The inappropriateness of my heady fantasy seeped into my bones.
Breathing heavily, Dermott returned and sat beside me. He reached out and stroked my cheek. “Kelly… is everything okay? Did I hurt you?”
I shook my head. “No, no, nothing like that. I think… I think I’m just tired,” I lied.
“Are you sure? I mean, I would never force you—”
I reached out and placed my fingers over his lips as guilt spiked in my stomach. “No, honestly, I’m fine. You did nothing wrong. I think I’m just worn out. I’m finding it hard to… you know… concentrate. I’m so sorry.”
He pulled me into an embrace. “Hey, don’t apologise, darling. I totally understand. No one understands the pressures of your job more than me, eh?”
I needed to be alone with my thoughts. “Sure. Look, I know this is really shitty of me but… would you mind if we called it a night? I think maybe I just need to sleep.”
He nodded and stood to retrieve his clothing; his erection had lost its rigidity. Laughing lightly, he said, “Yeah, I know when I’ve been used for sex and I’m no longer needed.”
I dropped my head, covered my face with my hand and groaned. “Oh, Dermott, I’m sorry. I’m such a fucking mess.”
He stood and pulled his clothes on as even more guilt began to weigh me down. Once fully dressed again, he sat on the bed and squeezed my knee through the duvet. I lifted my head and was greeted by his warm smile. “I’m only messing with you. I prefer my own bed anyway. And I might just help myself to round two when I’m there. I’ve got a good imagination.” He raised his eyebrows and I giggled, much to my chagrin.
I hated giggly women.
He kissed the top of my head. “Nighty night, sexy. Sleep well and don’t work too hard.”
“Bye, Dermott,” I replied, feeling relieved. He let himself out and I flopped back on my bed with my hands covering my face.
What the hell was wrong with me?