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


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In the next month, her schedule became routine. Once the floors had been waxed and the furniture polished, the house sparkled - in an empty kind of way. The work was rewarding, though, as the house began to take on a homey atmosphere. If only there were some curtains on the windows and rugs on the floors.

The house wasn't the only thing changing, though. Both occupants were gaining a healthy glow...and gaining was the operative word. Cade had put on enough weight to take the hollows out of his cheeks, making him look a good ten years younger. As for Cynthia, her cheeks weren't the only things filling out. All her dresses now fit snugly across the bust, and even her skinny legs were beginning to have some attractive curves. Some of the money she had saved would have to go into new clothing - and soon.

Cade was slowly emerging from his shell, but the cat was still as wild as ever. Scraps from the table coaxed him out even during the daylight hours - but only when she stepped back into the house. She watched from the family room window as he wolfed the food - a habit that had prompted Cade to dub him Scruffy. It was another indication of that underlying humor. If only he would smile with something besides his eyes.

The weather grew intermittently warmer and on one of those sunny warm days, Cade invited her to pack a lunch and join him in a ride on the ranch. The idea was especially welcome, as she had become so organized that cleaning took no more than half the day.

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