Possessiveness was strong, unexpected. Definitely not something he was used to. He allowed her to squeeze his hand, amazed at how naturally they fit together.
He had to get this over with. “Are you ready?”
“I-I don’t know.” She released his hand. “Yes. I guess so.”
He took her hand back. “Hold tight. When it hurts squeeze as hard as you can, all right?”
“I’m going to do this as quickly as I can.”
He laid the red-hot blade over her wound. She didn’t cry out like he’d expected, but her sharp gasp cut him to the core. He didn’t think he’d have any feeling left in his hand when it was over.
He removed the blade. “Done.”
Her whole body was shaking.
“It’s over now. You did good.”
She released his hand and he stood and set the smoking blade on the stone hearth to cool. He went back to her and paying no mind that she was naked, he helped her lie on her stomach. The room smelled of burned flesh.
“Try not to move.” He draped her hair over her good shoulder and pulled the quilt up to her waist, leaving her back exposed. “The wound needs to breathe for awhile.”
She said nothing. Just laid there still as death. He knelt so that he was eye level with her. A single tear rolled down her cheek. He had all he could do to keep from brushing it away. “Are you hungry?”
“Do you want more rum?”
He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. “Try to sleep. You’ll feel better.”
“Were they your children I heard?”
“My nephew and nieces.” He gave in to the need and brushed her tear away. “You can meet them later if you like. Now get some sleep.”
“My name’s Constance…but everyone calls me Cat.”