LEARNING TO FLY (Rated R, Adult Content)
“I can take you.”
Her front teeth sank into her lower lip and her green eyes widened. “Oh no. I mean—no thank you. I’d like to go alone.”
His brow rose; suspicion glimmered in his eyes. Too late, she realized how her response must seem both rude and inappropriate. She needed to buy enough clothes to last through her stay and wanted to do so without drawing undo attention to her predicament.
She turned red. “It’s just—I’m going to be a while. I have a lot to do.”
His lips curved up in a bland smile. “I only thought you might appreciate a ride, Ms. Claeys, since you don’t have a car.”
Crap. He had her.
She swallowed and quelled the urge to apologize. She doubted her attractive employer heard the word “no” very often. She sensed he wasn’t trying to gaslight her on purpose. However, he made her nervous, and as her boss, he had power over her. If he changed his mind about having her here and told her to leave, then she had nowhere else to go. She didn’t like it at all.
“Thank you, Mr. McCleod. That’s a very thoughtful offer, but I’d hate to take up your entire day with trivial errands. Perhaps someone could drop me in town?”
He gulped the rest of his orange juice and set down the glass, regarding her with unblinking brown eyes. “I appreciate your concern for my time, but I don’t mind at all.”
Approaching the table, the housekeeper stopped and surveyed them, curiosity written all over her face. Cassie felt Shelly’s eyes on her face and she avoided eye contact, well aware of how her expression gave everything away. She sucked in a deep breath and tried to quell her rising panic. The last thing she needed was to make a scene, but thanks to Kyle’s stubborn determination to have his way, they were well on the way.
She forced a smile. Time to resort to scare tactics. “I’m going shopping.” She paused and lingered on the S word, allowing the implication to sink in. “I’ll be trying on clothes and shoes. I love shoes. I’m going to be a long time. Hours, I imagine.”
Kyle licked his lips and Cassie stared at the tip of his tongue as it emerged past his teeth. Her cards were on the table. If he refused to back off, then she resolved to drag him through every store in the entire town, especially the embarrassing ones full of frilly things.
“No problem, I’m not in a hurry,” he said.
Cassie flushed. All too aware of Shelly’s amusement, she made one final try. “That’s funny. Most men I know hate shopping. You’re an unusual man, Mr. McCleod.”
He smiled and replied, quick and glib. “I assure you, I love to shop, Ms. Claeys.”
Shelly chortled hard enough to knock her off her feet. Startled, they turned toward the housekeeper who pressed one hand to her side and grasped a chair back with the other for support. “Good Lordy, Kyle! My boy!” Shelly wiped tears from her cheeks with her apron. “That’s the biggest lie I’ve heard pass your lips since you were twelve ‘n claimed a lumberjack put that pick axe through the dining room table!”
Kyle’s ears turned red and his lips compressed. Cassie hid a smile behind her hand. Thank goodness for Shelly Arthur.
“God should strike you down in your tracks. You’re a terrible liar.” Shelly lectured with a wagging finger.
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