The Millionaire's Snowbound Seduction

By: Sandra Marton

‘You hear me, Mister? Don’t even think about moving.’

It was a boy’s voice, young and unsteady. Well, hell. Nick felt pretty unsteady himself. On the other hand, the last thing he wanted to do was lie here, at the mercy of a dangerous kid armed with a gun and some kind of animal that attacked people.

He had to sit up, if he was going to get out of this in one piece.

Nick forced another groan, which wasn’t very difficult, all things considered.

‘Gotta sit up,’ he said thickly. ‘My head…’ He swallowed. ‘If I don’t sit up, I’m liable to toss my cookies.’

‘No!’ The kid’s voice cracked. ‘I mean…okay. Sit. But no fast moves. You got that?’

Nick nodded. A huge mistake. His head felt as if it might fall off. On the other hand, that might not be such a bad idea.

Carefully, he eased himself up with his back against the wall.

‘Damn,’ he said, ‘what was that thing?’

‘What thing?’

‘That animal. The cat.’

‘Cat?’ Holly said. She swallowed dryly. Oh, boy. This was bad. He was hallucinating again. First blood, and humans. Now cats…

‘Yeah. You know, the one wearing the perfume.’

Holly took another step back. ‘Cats don’t wear perfume,’ she said carefully.

‘This one did, when it attacked me.’

He was crazy, all right. And you didn’t argue with a crazy man, you just acted as calmly as you could.

‘There’s…’ Her voice slipped up the scale, and she cleared her throat. ‘There’s no cat here, Mister.’

‘Dog, then. Was it a dog? I hope to hell you’ve locked it in another room.’

On the other hand, what could it hurt to let him think she had an attack dog by her side?

‘It’s a, uh, a…’ Think, Holly, think. What kind of dog was big and tough? All she could come up with was an image of the cocker spaniel that had lived in the house next door, in Tuscany. ‘It’s, uh, a Rottweilder.’

‘A what?’

‘A Rottweilder.’

Nick hesitated. ‘You mean, a Rottweiler.’

Holly shut her eyes, then opened them again. ‘That’s what I said. A Rottweiler, and don’t you even breathe funny or I’ll turn him loose on you.’

What she’d said was Rottweilder. Nick was sure of it. And a very well trained one it must be, for it not to be making a sound, not even a growl or a pant.

‘Where is it?’

‘Where is what?’

‘The dog?’

‘It’s—it’s here, right beside me. You want a closeup look? I’ll let go of its collar.’

‘No,’ Nick said quickly, ‘no, that’s okay…’

There was no dog beside the kid, not a Rotter or even a poodle. The kid was standing in the shadows but his outline was visible and there was nothing beside him, except for a chair.

Slowly, ever so slowly, Nick brought up one leg and then the other.

‘Don’t move, I said!’

‘I have to. My head’s bleeding.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Positive.’ Nick touched his scalp gingerly, expecting to feel the warm ooze of blood, but all he found was a huge bump. ‘Yeah, it’s bleeding, all right. Listen, I’ve got to get to a doctor.’

‘No! I mean…’ What? What did she mean? ‘I mean, I’ll get you a compress. After I call the…’ Oh, Lord. She couldn’t call anybody. She couldn’t even tie the intruder up, without rope. And how was she going to search for rope? Was she going to ask him, politely, to just lie still and wait until she made a circuit of the cabin?

Nick’s eyes narrowed. Call whom? Did the kid have an accomplice?

‘Look,’ he said carefully, ‘I’m willing to forget this, okay?’ Slowly, holding his breath, he shifted his weight again. ‘I don’t know who you are and I don’t care. You just turn around, walk out the door, and we’ll pretend this never happened.’

‘Me? Walk out the door? You must think I’m crazy. I’m not turning my back on you for one second, Mister. And I’m not going out into that blizzard, either.’

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