Willing Love Excerpt #2

He hadn’t meant to tell his former valet about the girl, but for the first time in his life, he found he wanted to talk to someone. Almost needed to. It was as if she might be a figment from the storm. If someone else knew about her, it would make her real.

A flicker of lightning lit the sky, illuminating gray clouds for the briefest of moments before they disappeared into the dark once again.

“With who?” Stu set the bucket of oats in front of Demon. “Rachel Ashcroft?”

Willing Love
“No. We arrived so late this afternoon, and I had almost as much mud on me as Demon. I thought it best to wait until tomorrow to begin my employment.” 

He ran a hand across Demon’s blue-black flanks. Stu must have used the
shedding blade to finish the job he had been about to start when Prudence
interrupted him. 

He patted Demon’s side. “I’ve only met her twice, but I confess that I rather like the old lady. I’m looking forward to seeing her again.”

“So who did you meet?” Stu leaned against the stable wall.

“A young woman,” Evan answered, deliberately inciting Stu’s curiosity.

“A young lady?” Stu straightened. He could be so predictable at times. “How young, exactly?”

“Too young for what you’re thinking.” Evan suppressed a grin. “I would guess she was not one and twenty, although she couldn’t be far from it.”

“One and twenty?” Stu frowned and considered. “That’s plenty old enough for what I was thinking.”

Evan snorted. “Not if she’s Rachel Ashcroft’s granddaughter, it’s not.”

“If?” Stu asked. “What do you mean by if? Did she not say who she was?”

“No, she didn’t as a matter of fact. She was too busy ordering her new stable master around.”

“Stable master?” Stu hesitated, for a moment, his jaw hanging loose, then gave a barking laugh. “She thought you were the stable master? That is rich. Knowing your need for amusement, I’ll wager you didn’t explain circumstances to her either.”

Evan couldn’t suppress his grin any longer. “Of course not.” He gave Demon one last pat on the flanks before turning to his former valet. “But even so, I could
tell she was Rachel’s granddaughter. She had all the toughness of the old lady, even though she looked like she might blow away in a stiff wind.”

“A scarecrow then? That’s too bad.” Stu glanced about at the well-kept stable with its stone floors, oak beams, and brass fixtures. “Still, I don’t suppose she’ll
have any trouble making a match considering what she stands to inherit. I hope you put in a good word for me.”

A scarecrow?

Evan considered. He would not have characterized her as such. To be sure, his hands nearly circled her slender waist when he lifted her onto her saddle, and he
barely registered her weight when she snuggled against his back. However, thanks to her stubborn refusal to ride sidesaddle, he had been treated to more than one glimpse of a softly rounded calf and shapely knee. No, she didn’t resemble a scarecrow. Not in the slightest.

Besides, her eyes were a mossy green and full of life, not the dead eyes of a straw man. During most of their encounter, she had been frowning, her full lower
lip tempting him to steal a kiss even while her displeasure was on full display.

“I’m sorry, Stu. You were saying?” Evan had not heard a word his friend had uttered for the last several minutes.

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