He masked his surprise at seeing the unfamiliar woman and took a hasty glance at the room number to make sure he was at the right one. He was six-four and towered over her by more than a foot. She had to be at least an inch or two shorter than Faith. The petite woman with honey-brown skin placed a hand on a curvy hip and lifted a brow. “I’m looking for Faith,” he said.
A smile curved her lips and she slowly looked him up and down. “Well, well.”
Not particularly caring for the scrutiny, he felt his irritation rising. “Is this her room?”
Before Brandon could form a reply, Faith appeared in the doorway.
Faith rolled her eyes at the woman. “Stop it, Kathi. Come on in, Brandon.”
The woman chuckled and disappeared into a bedroom.
He followed Faith to the sofa and sat next to her. “How are you?” The swelling on her cheek seemed to be going down and the cuts on her face were healing, but she still favored her right arm.
“Getting better. Sorry about Kathi.”
“No problem. Is she your sister?”
She laughed and shook her head. “No. Best friend and second mother,” she added wryly. “She flew down for the weekend to help me out. What are you doing here?”
Brandon shrugged. “I was concerned about you and wanted to make sure you had everything you needed, but I see you’re being well taken care of.” He had a hard time understanding why he felt such disappointment. A strange reaction since he had never cared one way or another about a woman spending time with a friend, well, except for Lisa Wilson in the ninth grade, but that didn’t count. He made a habit of steering clear of long-term relationships and usually had no problem moving on to the next woman. But there was still more he wanted to learn about Faith.
She placed her hand on his. “I know I said it before, but I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all you’ve done to help me. If you hadn’t been there that night… You are one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I wish…”
“You wish what?” he asked when she trailed off.
Brandon brought her hand to his lips and placed a kiss on the back. “It had to be something. What were you going to say?”
“I was just going to say I wish there were more people like you.”
He had hoped she would say that, like him, she wished they had more time to explore whatever was happening between them. “Thank you.” Not wanting to leave, but knowing he should, Brandon rose to his feet. “I don’t want to intrude on your time with your friend. I just wanted to check on you.”
Faith slowly came to her feet and trailed him to the door. “I’ll see you later.”
“Count on it.” For a man who typically went out of his way to avoid anything more than a casual liaison, he seemed to be heading in the opposite direction.
Faith was glad Kathi had come to help, but would have liked to spend more time with Brandon.
“So that’s Brandon,” Kathi said.
She turned from the door, crossed the floor and reclaimed her seat on the sofa. “Yep.”
“You were right. He’s a gorgeous specimen of a man—tall, nicely built, and that face… Mmm mmm mmm.”
“Is that why you were in the middle of grilling him like a suspect when I came to the door?”
Kathi placed her hand over her heart and feigned innocence. “Who, me?”
Faith skewered her friend with a look. “You really need to stop doing that. Brandon is a nice guy.”
“What’s going on between you two? You just met the man a couple of days ago and you’re all defensive.”
“I’m not being defensive.”
Kathi studied Faith. “You like him, don’t you?”
Faith shrugged. “What’s not to like? Not only is he good-looking, but caring and thoughtful.”
“What kind of job does he have?”
“He told me he works for a home safety company, but I don’t know what he does exactly. And since I’m only going to be here a short time, he probably didn’t think he needed to share all that.” She remembered how quickly he had shifted the conversation when she had asked about it. “If we lived in the same city, I might like to see where this goes.” She shared how he had held her hand while waiting for the ambulance, taken care of her belongings and visited her in the hospital. And when she was released, he’d driven her to the market and pharmacy, and then later brought her food. “I’ve never had a man I didn’t know do such nice things for me without asking. Or one I did know,” she added with a shake of her head. “I can’t explain it, but he’s different. A little bossy, but an all-around good guy. Her mind drifted to the sweet kiss he’d given her before leaving last night. She tried to push it aside and tell herself it meant nothing, but the memory of his firm lips moving sensuously over hers had had her tossing and turning all night and refused to stay buried.