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‘No need to rush; she’s my sister.’

Holly looked embarrassed. ‘Oh. I thought…’ She tailed off.

‘You thought she was a girlfriend?’

‘Yes. Sorry. Not that it matters to me one way or the other.’

‘Naturally not,’ he murmured.

She eyed him over her glass. ‘You know, I can’t quite make you out.’

He allowed his dark gaze to drift over her in a way that caused her skin to shiver of its own accord. She’d been inwardly congratulating herself on not having this happen to her during this encounter—an involuntary physical response to this man—but now it had.

‘The same goes for me,’ he said quietly. ‘Can’t quite make you out.’

Holly made an effort to rescue herself, to stop the flow of messages bombarding her senses. How could it happen like this? she wondered a little wildly. Out of the blue across a little glass-topped table on a terrace in the fading light of day.

But her rather tortured reflections were broken by a canine yelp, a squeal then howls of pain as, limping badly, a dog skittered across the terrace and disappeared into the shrubbery.

Chapter Three

HOLLY jumped to her feet but Brett Wyndham was even quicker.

He plunged into the shrubbery, issuing a terse warning to her over his shoulder to be careful because the dog, in its pain, could bite.

The next few minutes were chaotic as Brett captured then subdued the terrified dog, a black-and-white border collie. How, Holly had no idea, but he did, and a lot of people milled around. None of them was its owner, or had any idea where it had come from, other than it must have got loose from somewhere and possibly got run over as it had crossed the road.

‘OK.’ Brett pulled his phone out and tossed it to Holly. ‘Find the nearest vet surgery.’ He pulled out his car keys and tossed them to her. ‘And drive my car down here as close as you can get. It’s the silver BMW.’

Holly grabbed her tote and did so, and ended up driving the four-wheel-drive so Brett could attend to the dog on the way to the surgery. He was staunching a deep cut on its leg with his handkerchief and she heard him say, ‘You’re going to be all right, mate.’

She found the surgery with the aid of the GPS and helped carry the dog in. ‘Is he really going to be all right?’ she asked fearfully as they handed it over.

‘I reckon so.’ He scanned her briefly then looked more closely. ‘You better sit down; you look a bit pale. I’m going in for a few minutes.’ He turned to the receptionist, who was hovering. ‘Could you get her a glass of water?’

‘Of course. Sit down, ma’am.’

Holly was only too glad to do so. A mobile phone with an unfamiliar ring sounded in her tote. She blinked, remembered it must be Brett’s phone and after a moment’s hesitation answered it.

‘Brett Wyndham’s phone.’

‘Where is he and who are you?’ an irate female voice said down the line.

Holly explained and added, ‘Can I give him a message?’

‘Oh.’ The voice sounded mollified. ‘Yes, if you wouldn’t mind. It’s his sister, Sue. I’m waiting for him at Southbank, but I’m going out to dinner so I won’t wait any longer. Could you tell him I’ll catch up with him tomorrow?’

Ten minutes later Brett reappeared and held his hand out to Holly. ‘Let’s go. He’s got a broken leg, as well as the cut, but he’ll be fine. He’s in good hands, and he’s got a microchip so they’ll be able to track down his owner.’

‘Thank heavens.’ She got to her feet.

‘How are you?’ he queried.

‘OK.’

He studied her narrowly. ‘You don’t altogether look it.’

‘I…I once lost a dog in an accident. He was also a border collie. I called him Oliver, because as a puppy he was always looking for more food. He was run over, but he died. It just took me back a bit.’

Brett released her hand and put an arm around her shoulder. He didn’t say anything, but Holly discovered herself to be comforted. Comforted and then something else—acutely conscious of Brett Wyndham.

She breathed in his essence—pure man—and she felt the long, strong lines of his body. She was reminded of how quick and light on his feet he’d been, how he’d used the power of his personality and expertise to calm the dog—but above all how he’d impressed her on a mental level, and now on a physical one.

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