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I shake my head in confusion. “What words?”

His hand goes to my jaw, and I couldn’t look away from him if I tried. “You said I was yours.”

I huff out a breath. “Brett, you met me last night. I’m so messed up, you don’t mean that. You’ll be tired of me by the end of the week.”

He shakes his head. “I won’t be.”

So unsure, I don’t even know what to think. The first man I meet, and I’m going to fall for him? Shouldn’t I date and live a little before I commit to anything? But looking at Brett with feelings already bursting inside me, I couldn’t imagine going on a date with someone else.

He points at me. “That. What’s that look?”

I try to hide my face, and he catches my chin. “No, tell me. You’re looking, I don’t know, whatever you’re thinking, it wasn’t good. Talk to me about it.”

“You don’t want to know.”

“I do. I want to know everything about you.”

I lean closer to him. “I was thinking about how you’re the first man that I’ve ever really been around. I was thinking I should probably date or something.”

His hands tighten on my arms, but just as quickly, he loosens his hold. His jaw tightens. “You want to date other men?”

I shake my head side to side. “No, that’s why I looked that way. I thought it would be what I should do, but just thinking about it, well, honestly, I just don’t want to date someone else.”

His chest deflates, as if he had been holding his breath. “Good. I don’t think I could have handled that.”

This time I don’t pull from his arms. “So I’m sleeping in here...”

He nods. “Sleeping. That’s all we’ll be doing. I’m not going to take advantage of the situation, but I do plan on holding you all night.”

A tremble goes through my body, and I know he notices. He takes the back of his hand and goes up and down my arm, feeling the goosebumps that are raised there.

“I’m going to shower. I’ll be right back,” he whispers against my ear before he puts a kiss there.

He’s in the shower for less than 15 minutes when the door opens. He’s naked except for the towel around his waist. He’s all muscles and handsome. “Sorry, I forgot to take clothes in. Bathroom’s yours.”

I grab my backpack and almost run and close the door. I can hear him laughing behind me.

I don’t need to shower, because I did that after I cleaned the house, so I change into my T-shirt that hangs to my knees and brush my teeth and wash my face.

When I’ve stalled all I can stall, I walk out of the bathroom. The overhead light is off, and there’s a small light by the bed. Brett is already lying down, and he pulls the covers back, and I walk stiffly to the edge and slide in, doing my best to stay on my side.

His voice is husky and close next to me. “I promise you. Nothing is going to happen.”

I let out a breath and relax a little.

We talk about his trip to my Mutton Hollow, and I talk about Peter and Raymond. “They are really sweet guys,” I tell him.

He laughs out loud. “Sweet? I’ve never heard anyone describe Raymond and Peter as sweet.”

“But they are. They were really good to me – well – when your girlfriend showed up.”

He grunts as if the thought even disgusts him. “She’s not my girlfriend.”

“Well, Raymond and Peter seem to like it here and they couldn’t say enough good things about you. They said they were lifers. That they’d stay on this ranch as long as you had a job for them.”

He runs his hand across the stubble of his chin. “Yeah, they’re good workers and they’re loyal. I’d trust them here with you, if I ever needed to.”

I nod. “Plus, I think I won them over with the tacos and cookies.”

He raises his head. “Cookies. You made cookies? I didn’t get a cookie.”

I cover my mouth and try to hide my giggle. I completely forgot I wasn’t going to mention that. “They came out of the oven just as she”—I point to the next room—“got here. Peter wasn’t having it. He came in, dumped them all in a bowl, and brought them out for us to eat. Before I knew it, we’d eaten all dozen of them.”

He doesn’t say anything, and I bite my lip in worry. “Are you mad at me?”

“Over the cookies? Honey, I’ll never get mad over something like that. Plus, I’m sure you’ll make me some cookies soon.”

I promise I will, and we talk about everything else that happened today. Well, everything except his ex-fiancée. We completely stay off the topic of Sophia.

When I can feel my eyes fluttering closed, he says, “Tomorrow we’ll go into town and get you some clothes.”

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