Duke's Redemption

Page 18

It’s partially because I know I need to pull some weeds to add to the curb appeal of the house.
But it’s also because Duke is out there fixing some loose parts of the siding, and I’m enjoying the view. The sight of his biceps glistening in the sunlight is enough to make a girl drench her panties. The sight even makes the obnoxious heat worth it.
I absentmindedly pull weeds out of one of the flowerbeds as I take in the view. I’m so caught up in my own thoughts that I don’t realize that I’ve just dug my trowel into a colony of ants. I don’t pay any attention when a few start crawling up my arm.
“Ouch!” I cry when something starts to hurt.
Duke rushes over to me. “Shit. Fire ants.” He does his best to flick them off my arm before trying to get the ones now climbing up my legs.
“Fuck,” I mutter. “These stupid little things bite?”
“Yeah, you have to watch them out here. Are you okay?”
“I think so. It just burns.”
He grabs my arm and flips it over to get a better look. “Shit. You’re breaking out in hives.
I look down and see red spots beginning to appear. “What does that mean?”
“It means you’re having an allergic reaction. And by the looks of it, a pretty bad one.”
“Duh, Avery,” I mutter to myself. “I know what hives are. Sorry, my brain’s not working. I’ve never been allergic to anything.”
“Okay, just calm down. Come on, we need to get you to a doctor.”
“What? Why?” I ask.
“Because this situation may get worse.”
I’m about to argue with him, but when I try to inhale, I realize it’s getting harder to breathe.
“Come on,” he insists. “Time to go.”
“Shouldn’t we call an ambulance or something?”
“Immediate care is only a mile down the road. It’ll be quicker this way. I’ll drive like a bat out of hell.”
He walks me over to his truck and helps me inside. When he joins me in the cab, he keeps his word and floors it. We walk into immediate care just a couple minutes later.
Duke walks with his hands around my shoulders to make sure I’m okay. Although there’s absolutely nothing sexual about this, I still get goosebumps at his fingers touching my skin.
The moment we get through the door, the woman behind the welcome desk looks up, and Duke says, “She’s having a pretty bad allergic reaction to fire ant bites.”
Immediately, she stands and hurries over to me. “Can you breathe?”
“Yes, but it’s getting harder.”
She says, “Okay, let’s get you back to a room.”
A couple of people in the waiting area give me dirty looks since I essentially get to skip the line. But I try to just ignore them.
We follow her back to an exam room. On the way inside, I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. Good grief. Between the sweat pouring off of me, my now-swollen face, and the hives, I look disgusting. Granted, I don’t always look like a beauty queen, but I normally look better than an actual pig.
I take a seat on the table as the thin paper crinkles beneath me. The nurse disappears back out the door.
I look over at Duke, who leans against one wall of the small room. His arms are crossed over his chest while his biceps practically bust through the arms of his t-shirt.
My eyes move a bit lower to his forearms, where rope-like veins ripple all the way down to his hands. What about that is so sexy? Have I been without sex for so long that I’m now drooling over a man’s forearms?