Courtship of the Recluse (Chapter Seven, page 1 of 10)


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Cynthia was careful not to flirt with Cade again, putting on a professional front when he was around. He couldn't have asked for a better housekeeper, but the atmosphere between them had become strained. Why was it so hard to joke with him without flirting? And Cade had become more solemn in the last few weeks, as if he sensed her dilemma and felt uncomfortable as well.

The tension was taking its toll in another way. Nearly a week early on her monthly cycle, she was caught unprepared. The few supplies she had would barely last the night, especially since the flow was unusually heavy. That meant she would have to drive to town tonight, and she wasn't feeling up to it. She sighed as she set out the supper dishes. Oh well, life was full of unpleasantness and this was a minor one.

Cade came through the kitchen door and pitched his hat on the peg. "Smells good. I'm starving."

"Well, sit down then. It's ready."

He washed and bellied up to the table, proving his statement as he delved into the food. Cynthia picked at her food, pushing it around the plate more than anything else. Nothing looked good and she felt feverish. Finally she put down her fork and gave up the pretense.

"What's the matter?" Cade asked. "Are you feeling puny tonight?"

She shrugged. "I was just thinking. I need to go to town for something so I'd better get started. Maybe I can get back before dark."

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