Fire kissed her cheeks and she knew she was blushing. Her heart threatened to burst free from her ribcage in helpless anticipation, but she waited, breathless and expectant for more. He flexed his jaw as he stared back at her in silence.
Holly saw a gleam of hesitation and uncertainty flash before his eye, but when he lowered his gaze to her parted lips, all signs of wariness dissolved and he yanked her toward his downturned face.
She stood on tiptoe to greet his hungry lips. When his hand threaded through her hair and clasped the back of her neck, she swooned but didn’t pull away.
She expected a shove or a push in return, but to her complete amazement, the stranger looped an arm around her waist and prevented her fall.
With a cry, she melted into his embrace, thankful just to receive a comforting touch. Her nails bit into his shoulders. Tears seeped into his collar and wet his neck as she struggled for composure against him.
“I’m…so sorry…!” She squeezed her eyes shut in an effort to dam the torrent of tears, but droplets leaked through the corners of her eyes and trickled into her mouth.
The bewildered stranger just stood there, motionless and tense. He said nothing for a moment but then crouched on one knee to peer into her face.
“Do I need to call someone…like…a mental hospital or something?”
The sound of his voice snapped her back into the present, and with an anguished, tear-stained face, she raised her head and looked up into his pale blue eyes.
“I’m not crazy,” she whispered, more for her benefit than for his, but the man’s expression remained dubious and unconvinced. “I’ve just had a terrible day..."