narrowed, but his voice remained level. “Ma’am, I suggest you not
say one more derogatory word about my mother. If you don’t like my
behavior now, you certainly won’t like it if you continue.”
He shifted to face
“Miss Millicent, I
believe it’s best I leave now.” He reached for the bags of flour and
sugar. “I’ll take these for now, then be back tomorrow for the rest
of the supplies and to settle Uncle Henry’s account.”
Without another word, he
crossed the store and strode out the door.
Millie hurried to the
window and watched the material pull taught across his thighs as he
eased himself up to the seat on the wagon. Before he flicked the
reins to start the horse in motion, Geoffrey Standish winked at her.
And then he was gone.
Brown eyes and brunette
hair, tied back with a delicate blue bow. That’s what teased Geoff’s
memory as the horse pulled the wagon down the rutted dirt road back
to his uncle’s farm. What a laugh. As if he gave a rat’s ass about a
delicate blue bow. What he did care about was the young woman
wearing it. And he’d noticed every detail of her old-fashioned
dress. Far from the up-to-the-minute fashions his mother received
from London and Paris, this dress looked as if it had been around
since the 1800s. But oh how it had fit her. From the small white
standup collar to the pleating of the skirt as it flared over her
hips, he’d noted everything. Made him want to know exactly what was
beneath that tightly fitted blue bodice. Yet lust aside, it was her
quick wit and smile that made him want to know more.
And that bothered him.
She’d gotten under his skin. Oh yes, in those few short minutes
together, Miss Millicent Baker—with her wide smile and dimples and
the embarrassed flush to her cheeks—had definitely gotten under his
skin. A woman was the last complication he’d planned on for this
What he hadn’t counted
on was a complication in the form of a pretty young woman who barely
came to his shoulders. He’d felt the spark when their hands had
first touched. And when he’d held her while helping her down from
the ladder, Geoff acknowledged he’d felt things he’d never felt
Millie. Beautiful Millie
with the long dark hair and expressive brown eyes. He’d thought of
her every day as he worked in the field, tilled the dirt. And he’d
certainly thought of her every night as he tossed about in bed. He
couldn’t get her out of his mind.
He never should have
gone back to town the second day to settle the bill. Although he had
to, since he hadn’t gotten all the supplies his aunt and uncle
She’d been alone in the
store then, too.
That day she’d had on a
beige dress with a gingham checked apron over it. Not the best color
on her, but his body had responded at the sight of her nevertheless.
He’d had to shift uncomfortably as his pants had become considerably
She’d had everything
boxed for him and she showed him where they were in the back of the
store. He might have been okay if they hadn’t touched again, but as
he bent to pick up a box she’d done the same for the one beside it.
Their shoulders had brushed and she’d jumped back like she’d been
Burned? Hell, she’d
practically singed him. He’d had to grab the supplies and get out of
there before he did something he’d regret forever. Like kiss her.
And there was the crux
of the problem. He wanted to kiss Millicent Baker. Wanted to do a
whole lot more to her.
There was something
about this simple young woman that made him feel like an untried
schoolboy, and he didn’t like that thought.
Spreading out a blanket,
she sat on it and leaned back against a tree.
A shadow falling over
her made her glance up.
His arm outstretched
against it, Geoff leaned indolently against the tree. A hint of a
smile touched the corners of his mouth.
“Avoiding me, Miss
“Avoiding you? You
were…never mind. I just don’t feel like being around people today.”
Geoff inclined his head
to watch her. “After telling my aunt how much you were anticipating
Not one to back down
from a challenge, she met his eyes. “Then I was. This is now. Do you
never change your mind about things, Mr. Standish?”
actually, but in New York we have far more to choose from. When very
little goes on in a town, I would think you would wish to partake of
every event that happens.”
“Which goes to show you
don’t know me very well, sir,” she said frostily.
While continuing to gaze
down at her, he shifted position so his back rested against the
“Actually, Millicent, I
don’t know you at all.”
“I told you I hate the
name Millicent. I prefer Millie. That’s what everyone calls me.”
“I’m not everyone.”
“And clearly you do
whatever you wish.”
He smiled. “Usually.”
“And what do you wish to
do now, Mr. Standish?”
Startled, she jumped up
and stared at him.
“K-kiss me? I…I…I have
absolutely no intention of marrying you, sir. What made you say such
a ridiculous thing?”
Eyes wide, Geoffrey
looked at her like she’d lost her mind. “Marry you? I said—”
“You said you wanted to
kiss me. Do you think so little of me that you think I’d allow you
to kiss me if we weren’t wed?”
“Kissing someone has
nothing to do with getting married. It merely means I’m…slightly
attracted to you.”
“Slightly? Sir, when you
were in Father’s shop you hardly kept your hands off me.”
“You’re quite lovely
when you’re riled, you know.” He reached out to lightly brush her
hair. The corner of his lips curved up when she stepped back.
“Sorry. Been wanting to do that all week. Ever since I held you in
your pa’s store.”
“Mr. Standish, that’s
“Proper. I know.” He
moved to sit on the blanket and pulled her down with him. “What is
proper around here, Millicent?”
Leanne L. Burroughs
short story from Blue Moon Enchantment