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|Melody of the Heart(Runaway Train #4) by Katie Ashley|
“Aren’t you generous?” Mitch remarked, with a wolfish smile.
“Mitch,” I growled in warning. I knew my cousin all too well, and if I had a breath left within me, I wasn’t going to let him work his usual sleazy numbers on Lily. Even though I had just met her, I could tell she wasn’t like one of his usual conquests. And I sure as hell didn’t want him corrupting her. Even if I wanted to corrupt her seven different ways, I didn’t want Mitch to.
Ignoring me, Mitch closed the gap between him and Lily. “Mmm, yeah, baby. I want that sweet, warm pie that’s between your legs.”
Lily’s eyes widened in shock. “You’re disgusting!” she shrieked. Throwing down the hem of her dress, the remaining apples bounced onto the ground before she turned and fled up the hillside.
“You’re a fucking jerk,” I muttered.
Mitch grinned. “Just wait. I’ll be tapping that ass before homecoming.”
Ignoring his comment, I swiped up four apples and then ran after her. It had been a long time since I had done any running. Within seconds, my body ached from the exertion and my lungs burned. When I started to feel a little lightheaded, I debated stopping. But then Lily’s enraged and embarrassed face flashed before my mind, and I trudged on.
Just when I reached her, Lily abruptly stopped and threw her arm straight out, clotheslining me at the throat. I flew back, tripping on my own feet and stumbling. I got my bearings again just as the world cloaked dark around me.
Something warm and soft cradled my aching head while someone was stroking my cheek. As my eyelids fluttered, I tried desperately to bring myself around. Where was I? What had happened? At the pain throbbing through my skull, I groaned. “Shh, you’re okay. I’ve got you.”
My eyelids snapped open. When my vision finally focused, it was Lily I was gazing up at. It only took me a few seconds to do the math that if I was staring up at her I was flat on my back. It also meant that I had come off looking like a fucking pansy in front of the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. “Oh shit,” I grunted, trying to pull myself into a sitting position.
“Easy now,” Lily murmured, her fingers stroking through my hair. At that moment, I realized I was a fool to try to get up when I had such an angel of mercy looking after me. Her blue eyes locked with mine. “You had me really scared there for a minute. I mean, I didn’t think I had hit you that hard, and then you were passing out. I thought about going for help, but I didn’t want to leave you.”
“Yeah, well, what the fuck were you doing closelining me anyway?” I demanded a little too harshly.
“Y-You were chasing me…After what your friend said, I thought you were going to try and do something…,” she swallowed hard as her cheeks reddened. “Nasty to me,” she whispered.
“First of all, I would never, ever hurt you. Second, that guy is not a friend—he’s my cousin and generally a pain in my ass.”
“Oh,” she murmured.
“I came after you because I wanted to give you the apples.”
She gave me a sheepish grin. “I realized that a little too late.”
I couldn’t help smiling back at her. There was no way in hell I could be angry with her considering her delicious thighs were pillowing my head, and her fingers threading through my hair felt amazing.
“I really am sorry,” she said, softly.
“It’s not your fault—” When she started to protest, I shook my head. “Really it’s not. Most dudes wouldn’t have had that reaction to being hit by a girl.”
“Is that right?” she questioned icily.
“I didn’t mean it like that. You see, six months ago, I got hurt playing football.” My hand automatically went to my neck. “I guess that’s putting it lightly. After getting tackled, my helmet sorta malfunctioned, and I got a major brain injury along with a cervical fracture. A few more inches and I would have been paralyzed.”
Lily gasped in surprise. My heart did a funny little sputter at the concern and empathy that washed over her face. “I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah, I was lucky in some ways, but it means no more contact sports like football. If I got hit hard enough again, I could end up in a wheelchair.”
I nearly jumped out of my skin at Lily’s shriek of horror. “Oh my God, what if I hurt you that bad when I hit you? Or what if when you fell, it caused more damage?” Her blue eyes left mine to gaze below my waist. “You haven’t moved your legs yet.”
Remorseful tears streaked down her pretty cheeks before she buried her face in my shoulder. “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”
“Hey now, stop crying. I’m fine. I can move my arms and legs. Everything is fine,” I reassured her.
With a sniffle, she pulled her head up and then peered down where I was shaking my legs and feet. A long exhale of relief escaped her lips. “You had me so scared.”
“I’m sorry I scared you.”
“It’s okay,” she sniffled.
I reached one of my hands up to brush away some of her tears. With my head still throbbing, there was no way to censor my thoughts. “God, you’re so pretty.”
Lily giggled. “Is that you or your head injury talking?”
“It’s me,” I replied. The moment between us seemed to be broken, so I sat up. Glancing at her over my shoulder, I said, “Guess a compliment like that doesn’t mean much to you.”