Nine Months to Redeem HimBy: Jennie Lucas
“What happened to the other two?”
“The other two what?”
“You said you hired four physical therapists.”
“Oh. The third was a hatchet-faced martinet.” He shrugged. “Just looking at her curdled my will to live.”
Surreptitiously, I glanced down at my damp cotton jacket, sensible nursing clogs and baggy khakis wrinkled from the overnight flight, wondering if at the moment, I too was curdling his will to live. But my looks weren’t supposed to matter. Not in physical therapy. Looking up, I set my jaw. “And the fourth?”
“Ah. Well.” His lips quirked at the edges. “One night, we shared a little too much wine, and found ourselves in bed in a totally different kind of therapy.”
My eyes went wide. “You fired her for sleeping with you? You should be ashamed.”
“I had no choice,” he said irritably. “She changed overnight from a decent physio to a marriage-crazed clinger. I caught her writing Mrs. St. Cyr over and over on my medical records, circling it with hearts and flowers.” He snorted. “Come on.”
“What bad luck you’ve had,” I said sardonically. Then I tilted my head, stroking my cheek. “Or wait. Maybe you’re the one who’s the problem.”
“There is no problem,” he said smoothly. “Not now that you’re here.”
I folded my arms. “I still don’t understand. Why me? We only met the once, and I’d already given up doing physical therapy then.”
“Yes. To be an assistant to the world-famous Madison Lowe. Strange career choice, if you don’t mind me saying so, from being a world-class physiotherapist to fetching lattes for your stepsister.”
“Who said I was world-class?”
“Ron Smart. Tyrese Carlsen. John Field.” He paused. “Great athletes, but notorious womanizers. I’m guessing one of them must have given you reason to quit. Something must have made the idea of being assistant to a spoiled star suddenly palatable.”
“My patients have all been completely professional,” I said sharply. “I chose to quit physical therapy for—another reason.” I looked away.
“Come on, you can tell me. Which one grabbed your butt?”
“Nothing of the sort happened.”
“I thought you would say that.” He lifted a smug eyebrow. “That’s the other reason I wanted you, Diana. Your discretion.”
Hearing him say he wanted me, as he used my first name, made me feel strangely warm all over. I narrowed my eyes. “If one of them had sexually assaulted me, believe me, I wouldn’t keep it a secret.”
He waved his hand in clear disbelief. “You were also betrayed by your boyfriend and America’s Sweetheart. You could have sold the story in an instant and gotten money and revenge. But you’ve never said a word against them. That’s loyalty.”
“Stupidity,” I mumbled.
“No.” He looked at me. “It’s rare.”
He made me sound like some kind of hero. “It’s just common decency. I don’t gossip.”
“You were at the top of your profession in physical therapy. That’s why you quit. One of your patients did something, didn’t he? I wonder which—”
“For heaven’s sake!” I exploded. “None of them did anything. They’re totally innocent. I quit physical therapy to become an actress!”
Actress. The words seemed to echo in the dark study, and I wished I could take them back. My cheeks burned. Even the crackle of the fire seemed to be laughing at me.
But Edward St. Cyr didn’t laugh. “How old are you, Miss Maywood?”
The burn in my cheeks heightened. “Twenty-eight.”
“Old for acting,” he observed.