The Officer and the Southerner (Historical Western Romance) (Fort Gibson Officers Series, Book 2)

The Officer and the Southerner (Historical Western Romance) (Fort Gibson Officers Series, Book 2) by Rose Gordon

Book: The Officer and the Southerner (Historical Western Romance) (Fort Gibson Officers Series, Book 2) by Rose Gordon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rose Gordon
more of a reaction to him or even recognizing him, he went about preparing to clean her wound. When he had everything laid out, he walked over to her and took a deep swallow to steady his nerves. “Ella?”
    No response.
    For the best, he supposed. At least if she was sleeping, she wouldn’t feel the pain.
    He took a deep breath and reached for the liquor he’d bought from Charles. With one last glance at Ella’s face, he began to pour the liquid over her wound.
    “Aaaaah!” Her leg kicked wildly, planting her knee right in his jaw.
    Clenching his jaw, he put his hand above her knee and used just enough pressure to keep her leg still, but not hurt her.
    “Stop!” she wailed, now kicking at his hand with her other foot.
    He repositioned his body so that his chest was leaning over her thighs, pinning her legs to the bed. “Just a bit more,” he said raggedly.
    “No. No more. Stop, you brute,” she cried as she struggled against his hold.
    Suddenly a fist hit him in the back. Then another and another.
    He chanced a glance at her but quickly turned back to avoid a fist in his eye. “I know it hurts, Ella,” he said softly, hoping his voice would soothe her, even just a little. “I’m sorry, but I have to clean it. We’re almost done.”
    He didn’t know whether she heard him or not for her cries and sobs continued, making his chest hurt just as much as he was apparently hurting her leg. But it couldn’t be helped and he continued to talk to her as he wiped away the excess alcohol around her wound.
    When he was finished, he straightened and ran his gaze from the gaping hole in her leg to the wrinkled chemise that was bunched around her waist then up to her tear-stained, bright red cheeks. Her eyes were shut now, but he wasn’t sure if she was asleep or not. She’d likely worn herself out with her cries and thrashing. He righted her chemise as best he could, then sat down beside her.
    “ Ella?” he whispered quietly, brushing the hair from her forehead.
    She didn’t answer and he sighed. She might not like him at the moment, and truth be told, she didn’t seem overly enamored with him before he’d dumped alcohol on her open wound; but if it would save her life, he’d gladly take her kicks and screams and punches to the back. He mindlessly ran his hand to a spot on the back of his shoulder where she’d delivered a blow and a small smile touched his lips. It was actually tender and a small knot was forming. Good for her! She was a fighter after all.
    ***
    After their...er...incident earlier in the morning, Jack waited patiently for her to awake from her slumber so he could prove to her he wasn’t the monster she thought him to be. She might not be able to actually place who he was, and he couldn’t fault her entirely for that. They’d barely shared company before her fever. However, he was certain he didn’t want her to recover equating his image with that of great pain. Hopefully as her leg started to heal, it wouldn’t be so painful when he cleaned it.
    He picked up a piece of torn sheet and folded it into a square. He hoped his presence wouldn’t disturb her, but her skin was very warm and it might make her feel better if she was cooled off. He dunked the folded cloth into the basin of water at his side, then sparing her as much modesty as he could, he took his time running a cool cloth over her exposed skin. Her skin was so warm, it only took a few minutes for the cloth to lose its coolness, prompting him to rewet it with each part of her he covered. When he finished with her feet, he started over, making sure to spend the most time on her forehead and neck.
    After he completed his second pass over her body, she began to stir. He waited quietly a few minutes to see if she was truly awake.
    Her series of partial grunts and groans gave him hope.
    “Would you like some water?” he asked softly.
    She nodded with what might have been vigor had she more energy.
    He helped her move up in the bed and

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