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Had she figured out who he was before or after she'd had sex with him?
Because Dr. Lucas Blackman sure as hell hadn't known the petite blonde American wandering around his emergency room was his wartime hero's long-lost daughter. Not when he'd pressed her against the wall in the supply closet and buried himself inside her. Not after it was over. In fact, she'd disappeared as quickly as she'd come.
He groaned at the unintended pun. And then again as memories of his actions yesterday washed over him: the snick of the lock; the fumbling with clothing; along with every second of pounding urgency that had happened afterward. Damn it if he wouldn't do it all over again, even knowing what he did now. That she'd probably used him to get what she'd wanted.
Not that he'd been the slightest bit hesitant at the time.
And that memory made his already sucky day even suckier. Walking to the physical therapy center to see how his friend was doing, and seeing the woman he'd had the best sex withwell, in a long damn timestanding beside him sent shock waves rolling through him that rooted him to the spot. Nick introducing her to one of the therapists as his daughter just made it that much worse.
He decided to back away while he still could.
Then her eyes met his and flitted away, making a painless getaway impossible. He could swear he saw a trace of guilt in the deep blue depths. At what? Their naughty rendezvous? At having coffee with him for the last two mornings, all the while being coy and secretive about her reasons for visiting the hospital?
Nick spied him, calling him over just as the therapist disappeared back into the rehabilitation center. His friend winced slightly as he rotated his upper body, his surgery site evidently still tender. "Come and meet Kateer, Katherine." His friend glanced at her in question. "My daughter."
"Kate," she answered in the same low Southern drawl that had drawn him like a moth to a flame. First in the hospital cafeteria. Then in the tiny supply closet. He could still her soft moans as he'd taken her. Who knew a drawl during sex could be so damned hot. She'd reminded him of warm lazy summers by the lake, of county fairs and high school football games.
All things American.
He'd been homesick yesterday and devastated after losing a patient in the E.R., and there she'd been. As if sent just to ease his pain. And she had. She'd sent him right over the edge.
And she was his hero's daughter. The man who'd once saved his life. His daughter!
Hell, today had officially taken a nosedive.
He moved closer and held out his hand, forcing her to do the polite thing and take it. When she tried for a quick grip and release, he curled his fingers around hers and held on, his thumb gliding over her soft skin.
Where do you think you're going, Miss Kate? No running away for you. Not this time.
She'd taken off out of that supply closet like a bat out of hell. Before he'd even finished catching his breath. Just like Cinderella. Only she hadn't left a shoe behind. Just a pair of lacy panties, which he'd shoved into the pocket of his slacks before heading out the door. By then she had been long gone.
"Yes, Kate and I have already been " he let his deliberate pause and raised brows get his message across, before completing the phrase ".thoroughly introduced."
Her soft gasp said his inference had hit its mark.
Nick glanced from one to the other. "You have? When?"
"Yesterday," she said, stretching the truth. Luke released her hand, watching as she took one step back, and then another. "I was looking for your room and he helped me."
Oh, he'd helped her all right. Right up onto the scrub sink in the corner of the tiny closet. After he'd hiked her skirt up around her waist. He swallowed. What had happened after that was a blur.
One he'd never forget for as long as he lived.
A muscle in his jaw clenched as he stared at her and said, "I didn't know who you were at the time."
"II know. And I'm sorry. I should have said something."
So she had known he was Nick's doctor, and probably that they were friends, as well. A wave of disappointment washed over him. He should be used to it by now. The "being used" part, that was. His mother hadn't thought twice about using him to collect her monthly welfare checks, all the while earning a small fortune on the side by sleeping with other men. His father hadn't hesitated before sending him into a store to pick up a thing or twowithout paying for it, of course. And now Kate.
As cynical as Luke thought he was, he hadn't managed to see past those baby blues to the person beneath her melt-in-your-mouth sweetness.
And, damn, had she ever melted. The second his lips had met hers.
He hardened everything that wasn't already hard. "Yes. You should have."
She hadn't been in the cafeteria this morning, like she had the past couple of mornings, so he'd assumed he'd never see her again. Yet here she was. All twitchy and apologetic. And the only thing he wanted to do was yank her out of the room and find that closet all over again.
Not going to happen.
Nick stretched his back. "Well, I should probably head in to my physical therapy session."
That was his cue to leave. "And I have some patients to see so, if you'll excuse me, I'll head back."
"Wait! I want to "
When he turned his head to look at her, Kate's teeth were digging into that delectable lower lip, as if trying to keep the rest of her sentence from coming out in a rush.
She glanced at Nick. "I'll come back when you're finished with therapy, if that's okay."
"Of course." The other man touched her arm. "It was good to finally meet you in person."
Well, Luke wasn't the only sucker, it would appear. She'd had his savior fooled, as well.
By the time he realized she meant to follow him down the hallway, it was too late to stop her. So as soon as they were a safe distance away, he turned to face her, propping one shoulder against the long narrow wall in the hallway to take some of the pressure off his now aching leg.
Pale silky hair, with just the slightest hint of a wave, fell over her shoulders, caressing her collarbone with every turn of her head. He remembered licking along that very spot.
He forced his gaze back to her eyes. "Yes?"
"I I wanted explain." Her words tumbled over themselves. "I don't normally I don't ever." The flourish of a hand finished her thought.
She didn't normally sneak off and "do" her father's doctors?
"And you think I should know this because.?"
"I don't want you to think badly of me." Her hands caught each other, fingers twisting together.
She was nervous. Embarrassed by what they'd done. He stood upright before the realization could affect him. "I don't really even know you, so why does it matter?"
She flinched. "I guess it doesn't. But you're Nimy father's doctor. I'd rather you didn't say anything to him about yesterday."
"You're not going to tell him?"
"I'm not Nick's doctor. Not anymore."
Her breath hissed out. "So you are going to tell him about us?"
And risk being shipped home to the States on the first available flight out of London? Not likely. He'd fought too hard to get this position. "No, I'm not going to tell him."
"Thank you." Her whole body went slack with relief. "I appreciate it. How's he doing, by the way? Was the surgery a success?"
That same feeling of unease washed over him. Surely she didn't think their time together had been a game-changer? "I'm afraid I can't give out that kind of information."
"But I'm his daughter."
"You're not listed as his next of kin."
"Because I've only just met the man."
And Luke had just barely met her. That hadn't stopped her from wrapping her legs around his waist. And it certainly wasn't keeping him from wanting to relive that moment a whole lot slower this time. Definitely not something he wanted her to know.
"That's not my problem."
"Okay, I get it. You can't give me any details. But his life isn't in danger anymore, right?"
Luke made a tsk noise low in his throat, trying to keep his irritation from showing. The feeling of being used grew at her persistence. "Get him to add you to his list of relatives, and then we'll talk."
"You can't be serious."
"Oh, but I am." Despite his annoyance, his fingers itched to brush across that smooth, pale cheek and watch it come to life beneath his touch. Except he knew her skin wasn't the only thing that would come to life. Something else he didn't want her to realize.
"So, if he'll admit to being my fatherin writingyou can tell me what's going on?"
He inclined his head. "It's a start. As long as he's okay with it." He held up a hand. "Which also has to be in writing."
Her lips thinned. "And if he refuses?"
"Then I can't tell you a blessed thing. Now, if you'll excuse me."
She hesitated, her mouth opening as if ready to argue further, then she snapped it shut again, hitching her purse higher on her shoulder. "If that's the way you want it."
"I don't make the rules."
But he sure didn't mind breaking them. Hadn't he already proved that in the supply closet?
"Of course you don't."
He couldn't prevent the twitch of his lips at her waspish tone. She might be all peaches and cream on the surface, but underneath she had all the fire of a good Indian curry. You didn't notice it until the first three or four bites, but your tongue remembered the flavor long after you'd finished your meal.
Just like he'd remember the flavor of Kate's lips.
She blinked then swung away from him, preparing to walk back toward the physical therapy center.
For some reason he couldn't let her slip away without making her squirm one last time. "Oh, Kate, I almost forgot."
She turned back toward him. "Yes?"
He gave her a slow, wolfish smile. "I still have your panties."
He had her panties.
What had he expected her to do about it? Hold out her hand and demand he give them back to her right there at the hospital?
Kate ran her wrists under the cool stream of water in her hotel room, hoping to soothe her burning skin. It did no good.
God. What had she been thinking? Men like Dr. Luke Blackman were so far out of her league.
What did she do now? Call and make an appointment to pick up her errant piece of clothing? Or did he plan to keep them as a trophy?
And just where did he have them? At home? In his desk drawer? Above the deep sink with the words Kate was nailed here penned beneath them?
She held her wet hands to her cheeks and stared into the mirror, remembering the feel of his fingers on her skin as he'd yanked those very panties down her thighs his eyes never leaving hers. Then he'd tossed them aside and reached for her hips lifted her onto the sink.
A wave of heat rushed over her body. Kate had never in her life experienced anything so frighteningly sensual in her life. It had all been over in a matter of minutes. But she knew instinctively she'd never experience anything like that ever again.
She stared into the eyes reflected back at her.
She didn't look any different on the outside. Not a single scorch mark lingered on her skin, although she could still feel each and every place his lips had lingered.
Little had she known all those months ago that the picture and accompanying letter she'd found in a shoebox in her mother's closetalong with letters from scores of other menwould lead her to discover that the father she'd grown up with wasn't her biological father. Or that all her pent-up anger and frustration over the lies by those closest to her would build to the point that it had sought releaseno matter what the source.
Luke had been the only person handy at the time.
She'd exploded all right. In a most delicious way.
And now she had to live with the consequences. At least, the emotional ones. Luke had taken care of the physical ones, muttering about the need for birth control, even though her mind hadn't exactly been up to the subject of unwanted pregnancies.
But thank heavens he'd taken precautions. Luke wouldn't need to disappear from his kid's life without a trace, like Nick had. And Kate wouldn't have to lie to her own child about his or her originsabout who its father was. Her eyes moistened. She wouldn't have to dielike her mother hadin order for her child to know the truth.
And most important of all, the only person in the entire world who'd have to live with the consequences of what she'd done in that supply closet was herself.