West (Chapter Seven, page 1 of 13)

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The house was beginning to wake up when I sneaked back in. I barely made it to my room, pushed off my boots and riding habit and checked my phone for messages when Nell knocked on the door.

"Just a minute!" I yelled. Without changing out of the clothes I'd left in, I scrambled to jump under the covers of my bed.

Nell opened the door and glanced around. Ever the astute nanny, she noticed the boots in a place other than where she left them and raised an eyebrow at me.

My mind raced. "Okay. You caught me," I said. "I was, uh, trying to dress myself." Tucking the phone under my pillow, I flung off the blankets and stood.

"I see." Nell frowned. "It's clear you need my help." Without another word, she opened the door to the dressing room. "Would you care for a bath, Miss Josie?"

I snorted. I was beat and tired from the long night. "That sounds divine."

"Very well. I will prepare it for you. Breakfast will be in the parlor with your father and cousin. The storm didn't scare him off, unfortunately."

Storm? I went to the window. In a matter of ten minutes, the brisk wind had pushed in a line of clouds that were devouring the sky. "Great. So he'll be here all day," I muttered.

I retrieved my phone. The sound of running bath water came from the dressing room, and I put my back towards the direction where Nell was to check my messages. Carter had sent back long responses, though his first was the one with all the emojis.

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