Excerpt from HER ONE TRUE LOVE:
Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”
She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”
“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”
“No, I do not need your––”
“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”
“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”
“My offer still stands.”
She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”
“You are being stubborn.”
She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”
The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”
The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.
She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”
He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”
Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”
Empathy and passion swirled in eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.
He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all.