The Fearless Maverick. Robyn Grady
and lit her cheeks. This man’s magnetism was a tangible, remarkable thing. His proximity to her on this couch couldn’t be deemed as inappropriate—at least an arm’s length separated them—and yet she couldn’t ignore the pull. Not that Mr Wolfe would purposely be sending out those kinds of vibes. He was simply … well, he was only …
Oh, dammit, he was sexy—beyond anything she’d ever experienced before.
As a film of perspiration cooled her nape, Libby edged an inch away while, holding the sling’s elbow, Alex stretched his legs out and crossed his ankles. His feet were large, the shoes Italian. She noticed those things nowadays.
‘So, Ms Henderson, what do you have for me?’
‘I’ve studied the MRI scans,’ she began, her gaze tracing the line of that sling, ‘as well as the orthopaedic surgeon’s report outlining the details of the injury. Seems your shoulder didn’t suffer a complete dislocation, but rather a subluxation. Do you know what that means?’
‘My shoulder didn’t pop completely.’
She nodded. ‘In layman’s terms, that’s precisely it.’
When that amazing subtle smile lighting his eyes touched his mouth, Libby’s tummy fluttered and she cleared her throat. Yes, he’s an incredibly attractive man but, for God’s sake, concentrate! Her goal here wasn’t to get all starry-eyed but to have Alex Wolfe walk away from this episode fully recovered and bursting with glowing reports of her services. Hopefully, then, more of his ilk would follow and her reputation in her present career would be secured.
When she’d returned to her studies, she’d decided she wanted to work with elite athletes, that special breed that needed someone who not only understood how their bodies worked but also their minds, and who were prepared to do whatever it took to get back on top. Libby only wished she’d been given that option.
Centring her attention again, she threaded her fingers and set them on her lap. ‘Your medical records outline ligament damage to that shoulder in your teens.’
His eyes clouded over for an instant, so stormy and distant she might have mentioned the devil. But then his smile returned, and more hypnotic than before.
‘I came off a motorbike.’
She nodded. A natural thrillseeker, of course he’d have started out on two wheels. ‘I see.’
‘Do you like motor sports?’
‘I was more a water girl.’
That flush returned, a hot rash creeping over the entire length of her body. Feeling colour soak into her cheeks, she glanced down, unclasped her hands and smoothed the centre creases of her trousers. They weren’t here to discuss her history.
‘I have another appointment this afternoon, so perhaps we’d best stay on point.’
His gaze sharpened, assessing her, and he sat back. ‘I imagine your practice keeps you busy, Ms Henderson.’
‘But not on weekends.’
‘I work some Saturdays.’
She blinked. ‘You think you’ll need me Sundays too?’
‘Let’s make it every weekday for now.’
‘Much of the work you can do without my help. Every second day would be sufficient.’
‘Every week day,’ he reiterated before smiling again. ‘Don’t worry, Ms Henderson. I promise my current predicament is extremely short-term.’
Libby’s breath left her lungs in a quiet rush. This man was a living legend. Revered by millions all over the world. He was the sporting hero that boys chasing one another in parks pretended to be. Was he being intentionally snide? Or just plain ‘I am invincible’ arrogant? Libby knew better than most.
No one was invincible.
‘We were discussing your previous injury,’ she went on in an implacable tone, ‘which could well have made you more susceptible to subsequent injuries. Let me explain.’ She shifted back against the cushions. ‘A joint dislocation, or luxation from the Latin, occurs when bones that join become displaced or misaligned usually through a sudden impact. The joint capsule, cartilage and ligaments become damaged. A subluxation, as occurred in your situation, Mr Wolfe, is a partial dislocation, which can occur as a result of previous damage to the surrounding structures of the shoulder. Either way there will be a weakening of the muscles and ligaments which need physiotherapy to help stabilise the joint.’
He was looking at her, his head slightly angled, a peculiar, flattering gleam in his eyes.
She held her breath against an unbidden flare of emotion, cleared her throat and focused again. ‘With your hands on the wheel, the impact from the accident jarred your right humerus, which then sat anteriorly from the—’
His deep soft laugh interrupted her. ‘Rewind a little, doc.’
‘I’m not a doctor.’ She wanted to be clear on her qualifications. ‘I have a Bachelor of Health Sciences with honours and am a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association.’
‘And for now you are the lady who holds my future in the palm of her hand. I’ll call you “doc.” With your permission, of course.’
Libby stiffened. Talk about pressure. But then, he was paying the bill. She gave a hesitant half-shrug.
‘I suppose … if it makes you feel more comfortable.’
His gaze dipped to her lips, then caught her eyes again. ‘So—doc—you were saying.’
‘Your humerus—’ She stopped and bunched one hand to demonstrate. ‘The ball slid partially out of its joint and needed to be manipulated back into the centre of your glenoid cavity, or socket.’ She cupped her palm, pushed her fist in and locked the ‘ball,’ then disengaged it again.
‘Right. The ball—’ his own hand bunched ‘—goes into the socket.’ He fit his big hard hot fist inside her still-elevated palm.
At the instant of contact, Libby’s internal alarm blared and she jerked away.
Their eyes locked—his questioning, hers, she knew, wide and exposed. That tingling in her belly had intensified and the suddenly sensitive tips of her breasts tightened and ached.
But when one corner of his mouth hooked up the barest amount, Libby was brought back. As casually as possible, she scooped some hair behind an ear and willed her cantering heartbeat to slow. Crazy to even consider but …
Was he flirting with her? She couldn’t be sure. He was a superstar and …
It’d been such a long time.
Her last intimate relationship had ended four months after her accident. She’d thought fellow pro surfer Scott Wilkinson had been the sexist man alive, but Scott was an amateur compared to Alex Wolfe. This man’s power to captivate with a simple look, the slightest touch, was palpable. She’d like to meet the woman who was immune to the magic of that smile. Charm was as instinctive to this man as his taking a corner at death-defying speeds. That wasn’t to imply he would in any way be interested in checking her track out, so to speak.
More to the point, she wasn’t interested in a quick spin with him either.
Schooling her features, Libby straightened her spine and focused on business. ‘We’ll need to concentrate on a series of strengthening rehabilitative exercises.’
‘When would you like to begin, Mr Wolfe?’
‘Call me Alex.’