EXCERPT Harriett looked at what remained of the cake. Appar-ently, he didn’t intend to finish it off after all, so she collected their forks and stood. “Forgive me for saying so, but you look quite done in, Chris. If you do not go up to bed now, you will probably fall asleep here. Only imagine what Mrs. Caddy might say if she discovers you here with the mostly-eaten cake. For your own sake, you ought to retire. I will do my best to tidy things up.” Before she could move away from him, he grabbed her hand and guided her to sit back down, keeping hold of her fingers. “Not so fast, my lady. I meant it when I said that I’m in desperate need of the distraction that only you can provide. Thus far, all I have done is burden you with my troubles.” “I do not feel at all burdened, sir.” Indeed, Harriett suddenly felt breathless and somewhat giddy. The effect this man had on her was something of a wonder. “Sir?” he asked. “I thought we were beyond that.” “I thought so as well, but you only just called me ‘my lady.’” He frowned and blinked as though he hadn’t realized he had. “Forgive me, Harry. I fear my exhaustion has muddled my thinking.” This time, she did not let the name slide. She snatched her hand free and frowned at him. “Obviously it has.” He laughed—not a tired attempt at a laugh, but a real one filled with the richness that warmed her straight through. Only this time, it did not bother her at all. In fact, it felt wonderful, almost like a compliment. “I knew you’d come through for me,” he said, leaning close enough to touch shoulders with her. “You have no idea how much I needed to laugh or how good that felt. I could honestly kiss you right now.” Harriett tried her best not to blush or appear astonished by the suggestion—he had obviously made the comment in jest—but when his smile widened into a devilish grin, she knew she’d failed. He leaned in closer, and his gaze wandered briefly to her mouth before returning to her eyes. She could smell vanilla and lemon and a hint of something else—leather perhaps? A delightful pulse whipped down her arm, and she was hard-pressed not to shiver. “Admit it,” he said. “You have missed me.” Author Rachael Anderson A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
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