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    But he was in, and stepping across the short distance to the hospital bed where she lay. Her parents must have dressed her in that immature neck-hugging gown. It was longer than he preferred. All prim and proper like some Victorian-era priss. She should be in silk thongs to display that fine ass, and nothing else. Because she had a fine curve to that ass. He gritted his teeth and grimaced in frustration.

    There was a bandage around her head, but all those beautiful curls were still there. They flowed around her like black silk.

    He reached out and touched one, whistling soundlessly at the feel of it. Damn, it felt fine. And in that second his c**k went hard as a rock as he imagined the feel of that hair against his sensitive flesh. That would be some damned erotic sensation there.

    As he stared at her, something besides arousal twisted at his gut though. Something like…regret?

    Hell, had he ever felt regret?

    He shook his head, rubbed the back of his neck in confusion and tried again to figure out what the hell he was doing there.

    Cassandra Sinclair was none of his business. If her father, Dash Sinclair, had so much as a thought of the creature sniffing around her, he’d hunt him down and tear him limb from limb. But this was almost worth it.

    He reached out, ran his finger down the fine, ultra-smooth flesh of her cheek and knew he had never touched anything so soft.

    I dare you.The memory of her pretty pink lips forming those words had his lips quirking. He leaned close, feathered her hair from her ear and whispered. “Never dare me.”

    She jackknifed in the bed. Her eyes flew open, and a scream of pure terror erupted from her lips with such a suddenness that he couldn’t counter it.

    He cursed, jumped for the window, grabbed the rope he’d secured beside it, and in the time it took for her screams to die he was on the ground and running.

    Damn. Guess he shouldn’t have warned her, he thought with a smile. But he had. And he hoped, for her sake, she remembered it.

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