Laird of Ballanclaire

Laird of Ballanclaire by Jackie Ivie

Book: Laird of Ballanclaire by Jackie Ivie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jackie Ivie
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
your idleness.”
    “Oh.”
    She lay on her back and scooted her head beneath him. In little time, she had the upper chest uncovered and was ready to start on what looked to be solid bumps of muscle beneath the skin of his abdomen. Only it got more difficult the longer she worked. Constant’s entire left palm kept tingling where it was propped against him, and her right was having trouble gripping the knife properly. He also smelled suspiciously like rose water, but that was impossible.
    Her head was wedged against his stomach, placing her bodice beneath one of his armpits as she finished the area about his rib cage. She was as careful as possible, but still he tensed as she scraped at his ribs. She ran her fingers along the shaved skin, feeling for any uneven bones as well as thoroughly enjoying how the striations of muscle seemed to tense and release with the slightest touch of her fingertips.
    “Looking for something?” he asked, his voice tight and sarcastic-sounding.
    She rotated her head along the ridges of his shaved chest to look at where he’d tipped his head down to watch her. “I’m testing your ribs. They appear to all match up, although this one—and maybe this one here—have swelling on them. I think they’re cracked. We probably should wrap you.”
    He sucked in air as she touched the lumps. She didn’t have to guess at the pain she caused him. His body tensed with it. She scooted out from under him and waited as he eased back down onto the log again.
    “Cracked.” He finally repeated the word when the silence grew to absorb even the sound of her breathing.
    “I think so. It’s bad, but could be worse. You’re lucky you’re a man. We’ve put down animals for less.”
    He turned and put those beautiful lips into a smile. “You certainly do dampen a man’s enthusiasm, Constant, my love.”
    “What . . . does that mean?” And it couldn’t be what it sounded!
    “More than I’ll admit at present. So . . . you think two of them are cracked?”
    She nodded. “They’re healing straight, though. As far as I could tell.”
    “That’s truly what you were doing?”
    “Uh . . . yes.” She wasn’t going to say a thing about how much her hands were still tingling from the experience of touching him as intimately as she had. “Why?”
    “I appear to have developed an overactive imagination”—he paused before finishing—“obviously.”
    Constant’s brows drew together. She knew she wasn’t the type to make any man enthusiastic, especially a man like Kameron. There had to be another meaning. She just couldn’t decipher it.
    “What have you brought for me to eat tonight?”
    She searched his face. He had a blank look on his perfectly formed features.
    “There’s turkey pot pie with peas and carrots and potatoes. Um . . . gravy . . . some pickled beets, and rolls. Buttermilk to drink. Honeyed cranberries for dessert. I think.”
    He was grinning. “You think? You certain you’ve na’ forgotten anything?”
    Constant had to look down at the straw-covered floor. “You wish to eat now, or finish with your chest?” She spoke to the hay, her voice halting and stupid-sounding to her own ears.
    “Your choice.”
    She glanced up. He had his head cocked toward her, resting it atop the log, his arms in the position to lift again, putting definition to the muscle. And those golden-brown eyes were impossible to look at for any amount of time. Constant dropped her gaze again. She should have run for the scissors.
    “Well?”
    “We’ll finish,” she whispered.
    “Fair enough.” He took a huff of breath and pushed up.
    This time when she ran her knife along the array of muscles in his abdomen, the knife shaved more than hair. Constant had to stop her ministrations and wait to see if the area darkened with blood. She didn’t tell him of it, though. She was watching her own handiwork with wide eyes. She shouldn’t have dimmed the light as much as she had.
    “What color is your hair,

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