Although eager to accept her brazen offer, Angus is suspicious, thinking it's some kind of prank and she's been put up to this to embarrass him. After all, what would a lady like Rachel want with the likes of him? His work is hot and dirty, and his lineage doesn’t exactly have the pedigree ladies look for.
When he realizes she’s sincere, his heart won’t let him refuse her, but even the road to a quick, convenient marriage isn’t smooth. Angus keeps his feelings for Rachel hidden. After the ceremony, Rachel finds a distance she can't bridge…until tragedy strikes.
Will they ever find the courage to declare their love, or will their stubborn need to protect their hearts prevail?
Angus had finished washing the last of his supper dishes when he heard a soft knock at his back door. Who the devil could that be?
He opened it cautiously, seeing the hem of a fancy lace-and-lemon dress in the slice of light from his doorway, quite similar to the one he’d seen Miss Dunn wearing tonight. Of course, it wouldn’t be her.
“Who’s there, Miss? Show yourself.”
“It’s Rachel Dunn, Mr. Brody.” Her voice held a slight tremor, but she made no move to obey him. “May I speak with you?”
His heart thumped faster upon hearing her soft reply. Rachel here? “And John? Is he with you?”
“I come unchaperoned with a matter of some importance.”
She risked her reputation to speak with him? “I see.”
But he didn’t see, couldn’t fathom why she would seek him out. The fact that he was this close to her, alone and having a conversation, stunned him.
“Might I gain entrance before someone happens along and sees me, Mr. Bro—”
“Angus. My name is Angus.” His breath hitched at the thought of hearing his given name pass her lips. Calling himself all kinds of a fool, he stood aside. Rachel rushed past him like a flash of sunshine, and he shut out the night.
Her gaze darted around the room much like a rabbit seeking the nearest escape route. Angus stifled a sigh and moved from between her and the door. His size frightened most women.
The oil lamp he’d placed on the bedside table threw a dim glow around the room. He turned up the wick, enough that he could see color had risen high in her cheeks.
“Oh, dear! This is your…”
“Uh, yes.” He grabbed the lamp and gestured to the doorway on the opposite wall. “The kitchen is through there. I’m sorry. This is a shotgun house. I built my room at the back, as far away from the heat of the smithy as I could get.”
And he was running off at the mouth. Not his finest hour.
She turned to him with a tight smile. “Not your fault I turned up unannounced at the back door.”
Damn, but she was a pretty thing with her large, upturned eyes and high cheekbones. Not a short bit of fluff that hit him mid-chest like most, but willowy. Sturdy and soft at the same time.
“Nice place you have here, Mr. Bro—” She pressed her lips together. He held his breath. “Angus.”
“Thank you.” He praised whatever had sent her to his door.
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