"We work up an appetite when we run in our fur." The deep voice at Allie's ear made her jump, though she instantly recognized Rafe's warm presence behind her. Still buttoning his shirt, he sniffed appreciatively at the food.
A moment later he was joined by Tim, whose eyes snapped fire as he looked down at Allie. Surprisingly, he seemed less angry than he'd been before and had a few scratches on his face that needed tending. She couldn't draw her eyes away from the drying blood on his cheek and before she realized quite what she was doing, she'd taken Tim by the hand and was leading him down the hall toward the small bathroom.
"Where are we going?" Tim's voice was tinged with a surprising humor she hadn't yet seen in him.
She'd been up all night and perhaps that's why she thought it should be obvious to him that if he were hurt, she would care for his injuries. It seemed perfectly logical in her tired mind, though later she would admit she hadn't been thinking clearly from the moment she saw the twins in that sacred circle the night before.
Tim tugged on her hand, slowing their progress. "I heal faster than a human. You don't have to tend me."
She looked at him as if he were crazy. "You don't want a scar do you? Or an infection? Those scratches have dirt in them, Tim."
His eyes flared as he searched her face. "So you can tell us apart. Why then are you being nice to me? I've haven't been very nice to you so far, as my brother pointed out earlier." He fingered the drying blood on his face and suddenly Allie realized the brothers had come to blows over her. The very idea caused her heart to clench in anguish and wetness to gather behind her eyes. She never wanted to come between them...at least not in a bad way.
"You're hurt," she repeated stubbornly, tugging him into the small bathroom. "I don't like to see anyone suffer needlessly." She closed the lid on the toilet and pointed. "Sit."
Tim actually laughed. "I'm a wolf, not a dog," he protested, but sat anyway, his gaze tracking her around the tiny room as she gathered a small washcloth and some bandages.
She ran warm water onto the small cloth and began gently bathing the long scratches on his angular face. The angry gouges started at his left temple and went down all the way to the corner of his mouth. Dirty, the nasty gashes were crusted already and had bits of what looked like tree bark and moss mixed in with the dried blood.
Tim didn't complain as she scrubbed gently at the mess on his face, and watched her every movement. Hesitating only briefly, she worked towards his firm lips, using the fingers of one hand to stretch his skin and the other to cleanse it so she could cause him the least amount of pain and still be thorough. The heat of his gaze and the warm, firm feel of his lips against her fingers began to distract her from her task.
"I haven't been very nice to you since we met, Allesandra, and I'm sorry."
Rocking back on her heels, she was more surprised by his soft tone than even his words. His expression was tender but his eyes lit with a secret fire as he took one of her small hands in his and brought it back to his mouth. Gallantly, he placed a warm kiss in the center of her palm and closing her fingers around it.
Allie shook her head. She was operating on too little sleep and everything had a fuzzy edge, but she kind of thought this man would muddle her senses no matter what. She had to clear her throat before she could talk at all.
"You don't have to apologize. I think I might understand a bit of what you were feeling. I know I've been overwhelmed more than a few times in the last few hours and have resented it." She resumed her work. Once again she had to place her fingers on his lips, but this time, he sucked them inside his mouth, swirling his tongue over her digits as she gasped.
"So you think you've got me all figured out, hmm?" His eyes sparkled as he held her wrist, placing little nibbling kisses on her fingers and knuckles.
"I didn't say that." She squirmed a little as he sucked on her thumb, letting her go with a wet popping sound as he moved up to her wrist, and then higher to the sensitive valley of her elbow.
"I need to put some ointment on your scratches, Tim."
"In a minute."