Sophie has just filled Jamie in on their life together in the future. She's emotional and not feeling well, and faints from the overset, and the heat.
* * *
“Sophie!” Jamie fell to his knees next to her. “Wake up.” He felt her forehead, and swore at the heat emanating from her skin. A flash of a hallway, a bed. She groaned and he slipped his arm under her back. “Let’s sit you up.”
Her eyes fluttered open. “What happened?”
“You fainted.” Without warning, she vomited—and then passed out again. Jamie’s heart raced. Standing with her in his arms, he turned several times.
Michael’s tending to the Rogers’ boy, I can’t take her back to the house. Damn it!
“We need to get your fever down.” He knew she didn’t hear him, but he didn’t care. His fear overwhelmed him as he carried her for almost a mile. Finding the small building at the edge of the Wades property, he pulled the door open and stepped inside.
Setting Sophie gently on the straw ground, he removed his jacket and folded it into a makeshift pillow. He was grateful that the room was cool and the floor was dry. Kneeling beside her, he unbuttoned her jacket and then her blouse and pushed them from her body. “Please, please, wake up.” He rolled her onto her side and loosed the laces on her corset then slid the top three hooks on the front.
Sophie drew in a deep breath and opened her eyes. “Jamie?”
He rolled his sleeves up in an effort to stop touching her. “I’m here.”
“Well, you fainted, then vomited, then fainted again.” He sat back on his heels.
She sat up slightly. “Are we in an icehouse?”
“What made you think to bring me to an icehouse?”
“You were burning up. Michael’s several miles away, and I knew I had to get your fever down.”
She flopped back. “Good thinking. This is perfect.” Sophie raised her head slightly and glanced down the front of her body. “Now explain something. How did I get half-naked?”
Jamie shrugged. “You needed to breathe.”
“Oh.” She pushed herself up and leaned on her forearms.
Pulling an orange from his pocket, he peeled it and handed her a wedge.
Sophie took the fruit with a frown. “How did you know I love oranges?”
He wrinkled his brow. “I don’t know, sweetheart. I just did.”
She rubbed the wedge on her lower lip as if in thought. “Hmmm.”
He grimaced. “It’ll settle your stomach.”
Sophie sucked the slice through her lips and let out a quiet moan. “Heaven.”
Jamie’s stomach clenched as he watched a small drop of juice linger on her full lips. Her tongue darted out to lick it off, and her head fell back as though in the throes of ecstasy. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to think of something other than the half-dressed beauty in front of him.
Sophie sighed. “I wish I could stay in here all summer.”
“There’s no rush to return.” Jamie stood and secured the door as best he could.
“Perhaps not the entire summer, but a summer evening would be acceptable.”
Sophie smiled and slipped the remaining hooks on her corset.
Is she trying to drive me crazy?
“What are you doing?” Jamie growled.
“Getting comfortable.” She stood and pushed her skirts and hoops from her body.
“Put your clothes back on.”
“I’m fully covered, Jamie.” She lowered her head and checked her appearance. “Chemise, pantaloons, stockings, and slippers. This is more clothing than I ever wore at home.”
His head dropped back and he stared briefly at the low ceiling. “This is entirely inappropriate, Sophie.”
“Sue me.” She shrugged and her chemise slid off one creamy, white shoulder.
“Sophie, we aren’t in private.” He groaned as he turned his back. “We’re not even in a place with a locking door.”
“I. Don’t. Care.” She sighed. “May I have some more orange?”
He handed her a slice over his shoulder and caught her smile as she popped it in her mouth. “You remember, don’t you?”
He turned his head slightly at the sound of rustling fabric. “Remember what?”
“That oranges were what I craved while I was sick.”
“I definitely remember something.”
Sophie giggled. “How about you turn around and give me some more?” He shook his head and then heard the straw crunch under her feet. “I have a surprise for you. Turn around, Jamie, I won’t bite. Well, not unless you want me to.”
Jamie turned and swore. Sophie stood before him in nothing but stockings and garters. He turned away again.
Sophie moved to stand at his back. “You don’t get to escape, love.” She slid his vest from his shoulders and threw it into the corner. “I have waited a long time for this, and I don’t care what you do and don’t remember, I want my husband back.”
He squeezed his eyes shut and groaned. “Sophie. Don’t.”
“Don’t, what? I’ll stop as soon as you say you don’t want this.” She slid her hands around the front of him and her hands slipped under his shirt.
Jamie clenched his fists at his side. “I won’t do this.”
“Why not?” Sophie kissed his neck.
She sounds breathless. Is she breathless?
Jamie tried to stay her hands. “Sophie, this is highly inappropriate.”
Sophie chuckled. A low, throaty sound that made several muscles tense—muscles he didn’t realize he had. In parts of his body he’d never really paid much attention to before.
“You said that earlier.” She kissed his back, in between his shoulder blades. “I don’t care if it’s inappropriate. I have certain needs, and I’ve decided you’re the man for the job.”
“Needs?” he virtually squeaked the word out.
Not quite the manly disdain I’d wanted to produce. Damn it.
“I’ve shocked you.”
Not shock, so much as blown up any chance of me being able to stop from taking you against the wall, and the ice block third row from the left, and then the floor.
He shook his head. “Not at all.”
Her tiny hands had now slipped up his back and she raked her nails gently over his skin. A low growl escaped between his gritted teeth. “Sophie.”
“I want you naked, Jamie. I have been patient up till now, and I’m done being patient.”
He squeezed his eyes shut with a grimace. “I don’t remember you as my wife, Sophie.”
“Oh, you’re going to remember, baby. I have no doubt. Now, turn around.”
Turning to face her, he rasped, “Are you sure you want to do this? Even if I don’t remember? Even if your reputation will be compromised?”
Her eyes, hooded with desire, seemed on fire as she smiled. “Surer than I have been about anything.”
Reaching behind his back, he pulled his shirt over his head and then cupped her face and leaned down to kiss her. He slid one hand around her waist, pulled her body closer to his, and intensified his assault. He knew now that he was too far gone to do anything but make love to her. “I need you,” he whispered as he searched her face.
Sophie kissed him as she ran her hand down his chest. Stilling her hand, Jamie placed a kiss in the middle of her palm.
As he made love to her, his vision began as a flash. The square pattern on a blue door, his hand knocking, and it opening to reveal the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. The vision brought the memory of her disappearance and the confusion and devastation that followed.
“I love you,” Sophie whispered.
He kissed her before rising to his feet. “We should get back to the house.”
Sophie sat up slightly. “What? Why?”
He dressed quickly and held his hand out to her. She didn’t move, so he gathered her discarded undergarments and clothing. “We need to get back. It’s getting late.”
“Jamie? What’s wrong?”
“Just get dressed, Sophie. I’ll walk you back to the house.”