Raising Kane Page 7


If Ginger was surprised by how quickly she acquiesced, she was even more surprised by Kane’s thoroughness. His gentleness.


He rinsed her hair. Her face. Her eyes.


“I can take it from here,” she said curtly.


“Like hell. I’m gonna help you to your feet whether you like it or not.” He wrapped his arms around her midsection.


She sucked in a breath when the muscular backs of his forearms brushed the underswell of her breasts. Her nipples constricted. Her whole body quivered.


“Steady. I know you’re cold. Let’s get you upright first. Then we’ll see about getting you dried off and warmed up.” He lifted her with almost no effort. Instead of letting her go, he held her tightly against his body.


She whimpered.


“Am I hurtin’ you?”


“No. I’m just…mortally embarrassed.”


“Listen to me. I am here to help you. With everything. Including this kinda stuff. So all you need to do, Ginger, is let me help you. Can you do that?”


“No.”


He laughed. “Tough shit.”


She nearly smiled through her chattering teeth.


“No more of this ‘you don’t need my help’ attitude. From now on, I’m gonna stick to your goddamn side like glue, understand?”


“Uh-huh.”


“Good.” He released her. “Now brace your hand on the sink and I’ll dry you off.”


With brisk, but calm efficiency, Kane toweled off every section of her wet body. She had to admit that he didn’t let his gaze linger on her naked body parts. Until he had to help her get dressed. He muttered something about going straight to hell.


Kane slipped the straps of her favorite lime green bra up her arms and pulled the cups to cover her breasts. After he snapped the front clasp of the separate sections together, his fingertips swept the deep “V”


of her cleavage, lingering on the upper curves.


Her nipples hardened at his touch, despite the echo of her father’s warning about Kane’s deftness with female undergarments. He’s helped plenty of women out of their clothes.


He lifted a brow at her shirt choice. “A button-up, long-sleeved western shirt?”


“I thought it’d be easier to put on.”


“Not easier to snap with one hand. Let’s start with your bum arm.” Once he had the shirt snapped, he slipped the sling over her head. “Careful.”


Ginger fought the urge to tell him to hurry, because hello? She was naked from the waist down. The glint in Kane’s eye warned that if she complained, he’d take even longer dressing her.


When he dropped to his knees, she couldn’t tear her eyes away from his dark head so close to her pussy. If he moved his face, just a couple of inches, he could put his mouth right where she most wanted it.


Would he comment about her being a natural redhead?


But Kane didn’t say a word. He didn’t slowly, sensuously ease the soft cotton yoga pants up her legs.


One fast tug and the waistband hugged her hips.


Not only did Ginger feel ashamed of her less-than-perfect body, she was embarrassed by her conflicting emotions—on one hand wanting Kane to notice her, on the other hand wanting to cringe away from his scrutiny.


Kane stood and hung up the towels.


How much of a freak did it make her that she felt more vulnerable dressed than she had stark naked?


Keeping her head bowed, she whispered, “Thank you.”


Then Kane was right there, tipping her face up to meet his gaze. “Hey now, what’s with the waterworks? I just got you dried off.”


“I’m sorry I’m such a pain in the ass.”


He studied her. “Why do you have such a hard time askin’ for help?”


“Because I’ve never needed it before.”


“Well, you need it now.”


“Thanks for pointing that out.”


“I’m gonna be pointing it out over and over until it’s through that thick skull of yours, so suck it up.


Get used to takin’ my help, Ginger, because I’m just as goddamn stubborn as you are. And I ain’t gonna wait for you to ask me for it.”


Hayden knocked and rushed in without waiting for the obligatory “come in”, oblivious to the fact she and Kane had been within kissing distance.


“Mom? You okay?”


“Yeah, baby, I’m fine.”


Hayden squinted at her hair. “Except you look like a mad porcupine.”


Her hair snarled like a Brillo pad if she forgot to put conditioner in, which she had. Combing it without the benefit of conditioner? Near impossible, especially since she’d be forced to use her left hand.


The thought of hobbling around her house with her hair looking like an electrocuted porcupine made her want to cry.


“Hayden, buddy, why don’t you give your mama a minute?”


“I didn’t mean to—”


“She knows. Go on.”


If Ginger couldn’t even look at herself in the mirror she couldn’t imagine what Kane saw when he looked at her.


Silence, thick as steam, floated around them.


Kane curled his hands around her face. “You don’t look like a mad porcupine. Maybe just a rabid squirrel.”


She laughed and sobbed simultaneously.


His too-kind eyes searched hers. “Find me a brush and I’ll comb out your hair.”


“You’d do that?”


His hands fell to his sides. “Why? Don’t you trust me?” he said with an edge to his voice.


Way to insult the man when he’s gone above and beyond. Ginger backtracked. “It’s not that.”


“Then what? Because it doesn’t take a damn doctorate to untangle hair, Ginger.”


What did that have to do with anything? Kane wasn’t feeling intimidated by her…was he?


That was beyond ridiculous. The man was…a super hero—according to her son. And from what she’d seen so far? She’d have to agree.


“Red?” he prompted brusquely.


Keep it light. “I was just wondering if it’d be presumptuous to ask you for a pedicure too.”


“Definitely.” He flashed her that knee-weakening grin.


In her bedroom, she perched on the edge of her bed. Kane followed a beat later, wielding a brush and a comb. He closed the door behind him and propped a knee on the mattress. “If I pull too hard, let me know.”


Ginger let her eyes drift shut, allowing herself to enjoy the feel of Kane’s hands on her head, straightening and smoothing the coarse strands, one section at a time.


“I see them wheels turnin’, counselor. You’re wondering how many heads of women’s hair I’ve combed before yours, aren’t you?”


Was she that transparent? “Maybe.”


“No women, but I have untangled wild child Eliza’s hair a time or two.”


Grateful for the subject change, she asked, “Do you spend much time with Kade and Skylar’s girls?”


“As much as I can. Eliza more than the twins, since she’s older.” He chuckled. “Last year? She was complaining to her parents about them goin’ away for ‘alone’ time and demanded alone time too.”


“What did they do?”


“Sent her to my house for the weekend. We ate junk food and watched girlie movies and played High Ho! Cherry-O and Go Fish. However, I drew the line at playin’ Barbies or painting her nails,” he said dryly. “So your pedicure chances are slim to none.”


Ginger laughed.


“And while I was workin’ on the tractor? Little sneak ran off to play with Shep in the shelterbelt. She came back an hour later with her hair in knots. I figured Kade and Sky would throw a fit if I chopped off Little Miss’s long locks, which woulda been a damn sight easier than combin’ through it. Took me two solid hours to untangle that rat’s nest.”


He couldn’t fool her. Warm amusement for his niece’s antics lurked beneath the words. It appeared the man was great with all kids, not just hers.


“So yesterday when I went to check on Shep, Kade and Miz Eliza showed up. She got teary eyed that my dog was ‘all alone’ and convinced her daddy to take him home for the weekend.” He sighed. “Poor Shep will probably have pink ribbons attached to his collar when I pick him up.”


Ginger had forgotten Kane had a dog. And he hadn’t asked to bring him along, knowing Hayden’s allergies. “I’m sorry you had to make other arrangements for Shep, Kane.”


The brush stopped.


“What?”


“I like hearin’ the sexy way you say my name.”


A blush spread across her cheeks. Her heart pounded. “Oh. Really?”


“There’s no need to apologize since I volunteered to be here and Shep would’ve been fine sleepin’ in the barn.”


Silence stretched. Not uncomfortable. The gentle, yet thorough way his hands stroked her hair was as relaxing as it was arousing. Unconsciously, Ginger rubbed her thighs together. How amazing would those stroking motions feel all over? Her breasts? Her belly? Her pussy? A sound of pure pleasure escaped before she could stop it.


“You like this,” he murmured in her ear.


“Yes.”


“Me too.” Then he didn’t say another word, but he seemed to take even more care, even more time.


The soft sound of the bristles gliding through her hair slowed.


“As much as I like seein’ this red mass down around your pretty face, I’m gonna pull it into a ponytail.” Once her hair was slicked back, he said, “You wanna check my handiwork to see if it’s up to your standards?”


“I trust you.”


“You shouldn’t trust me. ’Cause I’ve been havin’ all sorts of naughty thoughts about you.”


“Since when?”


“Truthfully? Since always.” His silky voice drifted across her ear. “But it’s gotten much more intense in the last hour since I busted in on you in the bathroom.”

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