Authors: Lucy Gordon
Two hours, she'd said. He could be up on his feet with her little home fully restored before she even made it from the front of the bus back to the rear doors. As if no one had ever been there.
Two hours to rest. Recover. And enjoy the roads he loved from a more horizontal perspective.
* * *
âWho's been sleeping in my bed?' Eve muttered as she stood looking at the bear of a man fast asleep on her little sofa.
What was thisâsome kind of reverse Goldilocks thing?
She cleared her throat. Nothing. He didn't even shift in his sleep.
For the first time, it occurred to her that maybe this wasn't sleep; maybe this was coma. Maybe he'd been injured more than either of them had realised. She hauled herself up into the back of the bus and crossed straight to his side, all thoughts of dangerous tattooed men cast aside. Her fingertips brushed below the hairy tangle of his jaw.
Steady and strong. And warm.
âMr Sullivan,' she said, louder. Those dark blond brows twitched just slightly and something moved briefly behind his eyelids, so she pressed her advantage. âWe're here.'
Her gaze went to his elevated foot and then back up to where his hands lay, folded, across the T-shirt over his midsection. Rather nice hands. Soft and manicured despite the patches of bike grease from his on-road repairs.
The sort of hands you'd see in a magazine.
Which was ridiculous. How many members of motorcycle clubs sidelined in a bit of casual hand modelling?
She forced her focus back up to his face and opened her lips to call his name a little louder, but, where before there was only the barest movement behind his lids, now they were wide open and staring straight at her. This close, with the light streaming in from the open curtains, she saw they weren't grey at allâor not
grey, at least. The pewter irises were flecked with rust that neatly matched the tarnished blond of his hair and beard, particularly concentrated around his pupils.
She'd never seen eyes like them. She immediately thought of the burnt umber coastal rocks of the far north, where they slid down to pale, clean ocean. And where she'd started her journey eight months ago.
âWe're here,' she said, irritated at her own breathlessness. And at being caught checking him out.
He didn't move, but maybe that was because she was leaning so awkwardly over him from all the pulse-taking.
âWhere's here?' he croaked.
She pushed back onto her heels and dragged her hands back from the heat of his body. âThe border. You'll have to get up while they inspect the bus.'
They took border security seriously here on the invisible line between South Australia and Western Australia. Less about gun-running and drug-trafficking and more about fruit flies and honey. Quarantine was king when agriculture was your primary industry.
Sullivan twisted gingerly into an upright position, then carefully pulled himself to his feet and did his best to put the cushions back where they'd started. Not right, but he got points for the effort.
So he hadn't been raised by leather-clad wolves, then.
He bundled up his belongings, tossed them to the ground outside the bus and lowered himself carefully down.
âHow is your leg?' Eve asked.
Okay. Man of few words. Clearly, he'd spent too much time in his own company.
The inspection team made quick work of hunting over every inch of her converted bus and Sullivan's saddlebags. She'd become proficient at dumping or eating anything that was likely to get picked up at the border and so, this time, the team only found one item to protestâa couple of walnuts not yet consumed.
Into the bin they went.
She lifted her eyes towards Sullivan, deep in discussion with one of the border staff who had him in one ear and their phone on the other. Arranging assistance for his crippled bike, presumably. As soon as they were done, he limped back towards her and hiked his bags up over his shoulder.
âThanks for the ride,' he said as though the effort half choked him.
âYou don't need to go into Eucla?' Just as she'd grown used to him.
âThey're sending someone out to grab me and retrieve my bike.'
âOh. Great that they can do it straight away.'
As opposed to her lack of...?
âWell, good luck with yourâ'
It was then she realised she had absolutely no idea what he was doing out here, other than hitting random emus. In all her angsting out on the deserted highway, she really hadn't stopped to wonder, let alone ask.
ââwith your travels.'
His nod was brisk and businesslike. âCheers.'
And then he was gone, back towards the border security office and the little cafÃ© that catered for people delayed while crossing. Marshall Sullivan didn't seem half so scary here in a bustling border stop, though his beard was no less bushy and the ink dagger under his skin no less menacing. All the what-ifs she'd felt two hours ago on that long empty road hobbled away from her as he did.
And she wondered how she'd possibly missed the first time how well his riding leathers fitted him.
Copyright Â© 2015 by Nikki Logan
Reunited with Her Italian Ex
Copyright Â© 2015 by Lucy Gordon
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