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Even wounded and fast asleep he was distractingly handsome, and I felt a sudden urge to touch him again, but without the piece of linen beneath my fingers this time. Assuring myself he would be none the wiser in his present state, I traced a finger along the fine angles of his face, around his ear and down along the strong jaw. He stirred, and I yanked my hand away.
His eyes fluttered open, revealing overly dilated pupils. Focusing the best he could on my face, his brows creased in agitation. “There’s been a mistake,” he slurred.
I gave an undignified snort of laughter. “Precisely which one are you referring to?” I asked, torn between vexation and amusement, as our list of mistakes seemed only to be growing today. Did he mean our being attacked by a group of scoundrels or how my dress was covered in blood from two different men? Or maybe that he had been shot in the back and should actually be dead by now rather than traveling on to the next inn? Really, he needed to be more specific.
“It’s my name,” he said, growing more agitated. “I am not Mr. Alan.”
“Of course you are,” I said soothingly. “It’s written right on your contract for indenture.” Henry wasn’t my first patient to suffer delusions. Once he was rested and the shock worn off, he would return to normal—memories and all.
“No,” he said and tried to push up. Barely making it to his elbows, he winced in pain from the effort. “I shouldn’t be here.”
“Lie down before you cause more damage,” I ordered, placing a hand on his chest to make him obey. The initial healing had been exhausting, and I didn’t want to start again anytime soon. It was a wonderful gift, but as with everything great, there was a price. Supper and a good night’s sleep would restore my physical strength. The fire, though, could only be replenished in another world.
Henry lay back down and stared up at me intently. “I’m not who you think I am.”
“So you’re not the King of England?” I teased. “I was hoping to call you Georgie once we got to Brighmor.”
He fell silent, and I thought the fit had passed when he reached over and took my hand. “You are so beautiful,” he said, his green eyes boring into me. “Just like an angel.”
My spine stiffened, and I pulled my hand free. “Shush now,” I said, this time with real urgency. “No more talking.”
I don’t know if it was the tone of my voice or just plain fatigue, but he closed his eyes and fell back to sleep. Overcome by a heavy weariness, I slumped against the bench, feeling as though all my bones had been turned to lead. In his present condition, Henry would retain no memory of the words that now echoed inside my head.
Just like an angel…
This time it had meant nothing.
In the future it could mean my death.