Her eyes dropped to the notes beneath it. The handwriting was cramped and unfamiliar, and yet it felt familiar, comforting... Curling her feet up under her thighs, she started to read.
She recycled her plastics and tried not to use taxis when she could walk—but, truthfully, the environment had always been just another of those unfathomable, slightly intimidating big-concept words like ‘the economy’.
But as she deciphered Arlo’s notes she found herself not just curious but engaged. He wrote simply but eloquently, balancing the necessary use of scientific terms with obvious, unapologetic passion, so that she could almost see the frosted fields of ice with their exquisite lace of cracks and crystals. And Arlo, his grey eyes narrowed against the polar winds, his mouth—
His mouth... What about his mouth?
Pushing the notebook away, she picked up the snow globe instead, balancing it in her hands as she leaned back in the chair.
Her heart was still beating fast and out of time, as if she’d been caught in the act of doing something wrong. Which, in a way, she had, she thought, her brain tracking back to what had happened in the drawing room.
Only it hadn’t felt wrong. Quite the opposite.
She tipped the snow globe upside down, watching the flakes swirl. Back in London, she had thought work, or rather too much work, was her problem, so she had come up here to relax and get some perspective.
Instead, she had nearly drowned, and then she had kissed Arlo, and now her head was even more overloaded.
Her chest tightened. It was stupid that he affected her this way. What she needed was to keep busy...
Her eyes flickered to the notebook, and she remembered what he’d said last night about writing up his lectures.
Could she work for him?
Her whole body stiffened in outrage at the question.
Absolutely not. Who in their right mind would want to work with Arlo?
He was rude and arrogant and high-handed. It would be like working for a dictator.
But, then again, it would be more a favour than actual employment...and only for a day or so. It would give her something else to think about other than his mouth... Plus, it would mean that he’d have to take her a little bit more seriously. Stop treating her like a cross between a disobedient child and some poor relation who had turned up uninvited for dinner.
And he had saved her life...
Pushing away from the desk, she let the chair swing slowly round in a slow circle until she was back where she started.
Her chin jerked up. Arlo was standing in the doorway, his mouth a thin line of contempt, Nero at his side.
She felt her stomach flip over.
He was scowling, and his dark hair looked as if he had run his hand through it too many times. A laptop dangled open from his hand.
‘I was just—’
‘Just what?’ he snapped. His dark gaze swept around the room like a searchlight. ‘You shouldn’t be in here.’
‘The phone was ringing.’ She tried to smile. ‘I came in here to answer it...’
She had been trying to do him a favour. Honestly, she wasn’t sure why she’d bothered. But, then again, it probably did look as if she was snooping... Likely because she had been, she thought, a flush of heat creeping up to her ears.
‘So who was it?’
‘I don’t know. They rang off just as I picked up.’
‘How convenient,’ he said coolly.
She glowered at him. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’