“You poor thing. Come to Jimmy.” He held out his arms to her.
As tempting as the consolation he offered was, Katrina shook her head. “There is only room on that cot for one of us, and I’ve paid for the right to claim it as my own.”
“All right, all right, I’ll remove meself. But at least let me comfort and keep you company for a time.”
The young man certainly knows how to tempt a woman. “Honestly Jimmy, all I want to do is get some sleep—”
Her excuse to oust him from her hovel caught in her throat as he stood and removed a cloth from a large white bowl next to the bed. By the light of the candle, lovely steam billowed up from the clean clear water therein. Her gaze landed on the handsome young man and his smug grin.
“This is the comfort part.”
“Oh, Jimmy—” She couldn’t help but coo.
“Now just sit down.” He guided her to foot of the cot. “And lay back.” He folded and adjusted her flat pillow so that it supported her head. The next thing she knew he had removed her shoes and peeled off her stockings.
The hot water felt like Heaven on her feet. Katrina’s status at the Den hadn’t afforded her hot water for washing. That privilege, like everything else, had to be stolen, which she did at every opportunity—at the risk of her neck of course. Ever so gently, Jimmy submerged and massaged her sore, tired feet. She moaned when his fingers were joined by a hard, cool, slippery substance. “Is that a cake of soap?”
“Indeed it is. Lavender.” With his slick fingers he gently stretched each toe backwards and forwards, then applied pressure into the arch of her foot with tiny circles.
“God, Jimmy, that’s so…so…”
“What I wouldn’t do to present you with a full tub o’ water.” He whispered and pressed his fingers into soft tendons at the tops of her feet.
“What I wouldn’t do to let you.”
Jimmy’s fingers stilled.
Katrina pressed her lips together. The euphoria of the scent of lavender soap and sensation of hot water lapping against her skin almost made her lose her head. “What I meant was—”
“I know perfectly well what you meant, Katrina. Perhaps one day you will see that you and I could be great together. I’m young, virile. I can pleasure you, Katrina—like you’ve never been before.”
Her cheeks went hot. She hadn’t experienced pleasure before, if truth be told. Not the kind he was speaking of. Receiving said pleasure from a sexual encounter was a fairytale. And besides, ladies didn’t speak of such things. And a childish slap on the bottom from a perfect stranger didn’t count, either. “Jimmy. Our circumstances could never afford—”
“We could leave this place—together. I have a decent amount stashed away—we could start over—”
“What about all that business about crossing Mr Brenner?”
“I’ve mentioned to the bloke that I’d like to quit the Den. Moreover, with you by my side, I wouldn’t care what he and his lackeys did to me.”
Katrina closed her eyes. Jimmy was a kind boy despite the fact that he was a thief and she didn’t want to hurt him for the world. When she first arrived to the Den, he’d attempted to teach her the fine art of thievery. She’d been a poor student at best.
The silence stretched on as he continued to massage her feet. Finally, Katrina opened her eyes and sat up. “It would not work between us. Could not. You must find someone your own age—and for Heaven’s sake, stop living this life.”
He gazed at her with the sort of wisdom that his youthful blue eyes shouldn’t have known. “You mean the same life you’re livin’?”
On that count, he was right. It seemed her attempt to discourage his romantic advances on the grounds that their lives were too dissimilar failed as it had numerous times before. “Jimmy, we can only be friends.”
The trace of a frown crossed his features before his eyes took on that roguish sparkle once again. “Close friends?”
Katrina folded her arms over her chest. “How close?”
“Cousin-close.” He grinned.
She couldn’t help but smile back under his regard. “Oh, very well.”
Jimmy raised and held her ankles above the bowl. “Your water’s gone tepid.” He reached over, took up the cloth he’d discarded earlier and gently dried her feet.
“Thank you. You are very sweet, you know.”
“Remember that little sentiment, cousin.” He winked at her. “Now let me help you off with your gown.”
Find out what happens between Jimmy Lock and Katrina Harwood (if you haven’t already) Get Cat and Mouse HERE
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