Mandy spun around, expecting to find a crate on the boardwalk behind her.
What she collided with instead was a wall of chest. A man. Strong arms fastened around her, preventing her from tumbling backward off the boardwalk into the street. He set her back a bit without releasing her.
"I'm so sorry..." she said. Her words stumbled to a stop as she found her bearings and met the man's eyes. A pair of piercing blue eyes that reminded her of the deepest blue sky.
Adam Booker's eyes.
He stood before her, so close. His face oh-so familiar. Freshly shaven, it looked like. Handsome. Refined. And yet entirely masculine. The ends of his dark, richly brown hair curling to just above his collar. Broad shoulders. That brown Stetson. A bright blue chambray shirt. A pair of nicely worn denims. Polished boots.
A banker in rancher's duds.
All Mandy's breath hitched up in her chest, making her lightheaded.
"Miss MacKenna," he said. She wondered if he was aware that he was idly smoothing his hands down her sleeves in a most familiar fashion. As if checking her for damage. Leaving a trail of tingles wherever he touched.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
She shivered. Not from cold. For she wasn't cold. Not in the least.
"I'm fine, sir. I mean, Mr. Booker. Sir." Oh, why had she said that? She'd called him sir. Twice. She sounded a fool, all breathless and overwhelmed with his closeness.
Mandy felt Miss Judith's curious gaze resting on them from the post office doorway. Miss Judith, who knew Mandy's secret. That she was the real face behind Ask Mack. Mandy had never revealed that Adam was "Banks," but Miss Judith may well have figured it out.
Mandy answered Adam privately these days. And they'd become friends through their letters. A treasure she didn't wish to share with all of Cross Creek.
And here she was, Mack, standing with Banks on the boardwalk.
With his hands clasping her shoulders. Which felt so...right.
Something shifted inside Mandy. The usual butterflies danced inside her stomach, as they always did whenever she saw him, but this time she also felt the tiniest of clicks. Like something broken coming together. And with it came a rush of awareness that just yesterday she'd felt something missing in her life.
Was it this? That she belonged with him, Banks? A rather romantic notion. Especially since they'd only shared a few lovely dances. Adam couldn't possibly know when she looked at him, she saw a dear friend. And she could hardly expect him to view her with the same deep regard. Adam Booker didn't see her as a dear friend. How could he? He was possibly no more interested in Miss Amanda MacKenna than he was in a grasshopper hopping down the middle of Main Street.
He certainly didn't know she was Mack.
Not that she wanted him to know. He'd feel betrayed. Duped.
(Excerpt from Only the Heart Knows, ©2016 Lena Goldfinch, All rights reserved.)
|Only the Heart Knows(The Brides Series)|
Buy a Copy
Print EditionISBN-10: 1541141903