The Forgotten Daughter - Page 77

She frowned. “Why I did it?”

“Yes, why.” He reached up to cup her cheek with his other hand. “The young girls have been rescued, Josie, and Francine is in jail. Once her last gunman is captured, it will all be over. You’ll never have to worry about any of it again. Not even Gloria. Your father is talking to her right now.”

She lifted her chin while looking at him deeply, thoughtfully. “And he said you are to deliver me to him when you’re done.” Her brows knitted together as she asked, “Done with what?”

He may never before have experienced the bout of nervousness that raced across him at that moment. He knew there might be a better time, but he was too impatient to wait. “Asking you to marry me.”

She took a step backward. Except it was more of a stumble, and he dropped the hand from her cheek to catch her shoulder so she wouldn’t fall.

“Marry you?”

The astonishment in her voice wasn’t exactly what he’d hoped for. Still, he nodded.

“Oh, that’s ducky, Scooter,” she said. “Just ducky.”

Annoyed at her insolence, he dropped his hands to his sides. “What kind of answer is that?”

“A no,” she snapped. “I won’t marry you. Not now, not ever.” She shoved at his shoulders with both hands. “Have fun telling my father that.” Spinning around she started marching toward the resort.


“You don’t know why I did anything. Neither does my father.” She spun around to face him. “Just stay away from me, Scooter. Just stay away from me.” Turning toward the resort again, this time she ran.

He took a step to follow, but stopped. It wouldn’t do any good. Not to him or her.

Chapter Seventeen

For someone who’d claimed sulking never did anyone any good, Josie now acknowledged that was yet one more thing she’d been wrong about. She’d made a list. Might as well add sulking to it. While sulking, one could come up with a hundred and one reasons why they were right and the rest of the world was wrong. People also tended to ignore sulkers, and that was not a bad thing.

Everyone thought she was sulking because of the extra cleaning chores her father had given her, along with forbidding her from attending society meetings for the next two weeks. That was her punishment for her Duluth runs. Everyone knew about them, right down to Moe, who looked upon her sadly and shook his head.

In truth, Josie had expected more penalties for being a part of Gloria’s cause, and accepted everything with her head held high. Even while her father had her closet cleaned out.

She felt no regret or shame for what she’d done. If not for her trips to Duluth, those girls would still be locked in that warehouse. True, she owed their rescue to Scooter and Forrest’s real father, Clyde, but it wouldn’t have happened if not for her.

It had been two days since she’d seen him, since he’d asked her to marry him, but the pain inside her was still as raw and real as that night. Yet she continued to tell herself she’d given him the right answer. He’d never understand why she’d done it all. Why it was something she had to continue to do.

She may have considered not answering the knock that sounded on her bedroom door, but her father didn’t leave that as an option. “Josie,” he said, pushing the door open, “we need to talk.”

Turning, she dropped her feet to the floor but didn’t rise off the cushioned window seat. “About what?”

He walked in, closing the door behind him. “I just got a call. Francine Wilks’s last man was just arrested in Duluth.”

“That’s good,” she said.

“Yes, it is.” He sat down on her bed. “It also means you can leave the resort if you wish.”

Lifting her chin, she said, “I thought I couldn’t attend meetings for two weeks.”

“You can’t attend society meetings for two weeks, but you can go and visit people if you want to.”

She turned to glance out of the window. “Who would I visit?”

“Your sister, for one,” he said. “I’m sure there are others.”

“None that I can think of,” she muttered.

“Gloria would like you to look at some property in town. She’s thinking of opening a dispensary there.”

“I don’t know anything about being a doctor,” Josie said.

“But you know plenty about pouting.” His black-and-burgundy suit stood out boldly against her white bedspread.

“I’m not pouting,” she said. “I’m simply accepting my punishment.”

“Rubbish.” He shook his head. “I may not be very good when it comes to broken hearts, but I know a lie when I hear one.”