Miracle Under the Mistletoe - Page 35

‘Because on the few occasions when I’ve attempted to dance like this before, I’ve left my partner with multiple bruises.’ He twirled her round, bending her backwards over his arm and leering comically down at her like some fifth-rate gigolo. ‘You, my lovely, have inspired me!’

Molly laughed as he pulled her back up. It was such a load of nonsense and yet she couldn’t help enjoying the way he made everything seem like such fun. When the music changed to a much faster rhythm this time, they remained on the floor, simply enjoying the chance to be together in such an undemanding fashion. They were having fun: it was as simple as that. And if she was having more fun because she was with Sean then Molly refused to think about it. It was easier this way. Less complicated. Less painful.

* * *

Sean collected Molly’s coat from the cloakroom, wishing that the evening didn’t have to end. It had been a wonderful night and he wanted it to carry on but everything had to come to an end at some point. Just for a second he found himself refuting that idea. It didn’t need to end if he didn’t choose to let it. Tonight could be the start of a whole lot more wonderful nights. All he had to do was make the decision and the future could be his. He could move on with Molly at his side...

If he left Claire behind.

The thought sent a stab of guilt through his guts. It was hard to hide how upset he felt as he went back to find Molly and helped her on with her coat. Bert and Doris were standing by the door, seeing their guests out, and he and Molly kissed them both and wished them well before they left. It was freezing cold outside, their breath clouding like cartoon speech bubbles as they hurried to his car. Sean zapped the locks then turned to help Molly into the seat, cursing softly when the car keys slipped out of his numb fingers.

‘I’ll get them.’ Molly bent down to retrieve the keys at the same moment as he did and their heads collided. ‘Ouch!’ she exclaimed, straightening up.

‘I am so sorry!’ Sean declared. He turned her so that she was facing the light from a nearby streetlamp and grimaced. ‘Oh, dear. It looks as though you’re going to end up with a lump on your forehead.’

‘Not to worry.’ She ran a tentative finger over her forehead and groaned. ‘Ooh, that hurts!’

‘We’ll put some ice on it as soon as we get you home.’ Sean helped her into the car then climbed behind the wheel, feeling dreadful about what had happened. It only took ten minutes to reach her house and he was out of the car and standing beside her door before she could protest. ‘No. I am not letting you go without at least trying to make amends for my clumsiness.’ He gave her a severe look. ‘I mean, what kind of a doctor would I be if I left some poor injured soul to her own devices?’

‘It’s just a bump, Sean.’ She rolled her eyes as she slid out of the car. ‘It’s not as though my head is in any danger of dropping off!’

‘You can’t be too careful with head injuries,’ he said, adopting his firmest tone. He locked the car and followed her up the path to the front door. ‘Are there any ice cubes in your freezer?’ he asked once they were inside.

‘No. The best I can offer you is a bag of frozen peas.’ Molly led the way into her tiny kitchen and opened the freezer door. She handed him a bag of peas. ‘Do these meet with your requirements, Dr Fitzgerald?’ she asked a shade sarcastically.

‘They’ll do.’ Sean whipped a tea towel off the rack and wrapped the bag of peas in it then told her to sit down, ignoring her huff of annoyance. Maybe he was going over the top but he intended to make up for having injured her even if she didn’t appreciate it. Taking care of Molly was just something he needed to do.

The thought that he wouldn’t be able to look after her once he left Dalverston whizzed through his brain but he blanked it out. He pressed the makeshift ice pack against her temple and felt her flinch. ‘Sorry, did that hurt?’ he asked, bending to look at her.

‘No. It’s just that it’s so cold it made me jump.’

Her voice sounded husky and Sean felt a ripple of awareness spread throughout his body. Was it the coldness or his nearness that was making her sound so on edge? he wondered as he continued to hold the ice pack against her temple. The thought that it might be the latter made him shudder too and he strove to get a grip on himself, not an easy thing to do in the circumstances. Standing this close to her, he could smell the delicate floral fragrance of her perfume and his heart ran wild. All of a sudden it wasn’t enough to minister to her this way. He wanted to touch her far more intimately, to run his hands over her and let them relearn the luscious curves, the dips and hollows, to lose himself in the wonder of her delectable body. But should he? Could he? Or would he simply be storing up a whole load of heartache for both him and Molly? How could he take what she could give him when he had nothing to offer her in return?

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