Her little gasp was accompanied by another flash of those big doe eyes, and Seth couldn’t help but grin at the sight.
“Had you really thought I’d move in here without you?” he asked, keeping her chin up with his knuckle.
The flush that appeared on her cheeks sent a jolt through his system. The desire to kiss her, taste those sweet lips, feel the way they curved, had been building over the past few days to the point where he thought of little else. It was tough at times, remembering just who she was, or rather, who she wasn’t. He uncurled his finger, ran the tip of it along the graceful curve of her chin.
“This house,” he said, “is for the commander of the fort and his wife.”
A tiny smile pulled at the sides of her lips. He knew this wasn’t Rosemary, but playing along with the game the two sisters had concocted did have its rewards. No harm could come from a simple kiss. Seth slid his hand along the softness of her neck and held her head in place as he lowered his lips to hers, slowly, giving her time to step back if she chose. His entire body sighed with pleasure when his mouth met hers. Soft and precious, the touch was perfect, just as he’d known it would be.
A tiny gasp escaped her lips when he pulled his away, and a bashful smile covered her face. Oh, yes, soon she’d be telling him everything he wanted to know.
Folding his other arm around her, he eased her closer, and this time, when their mouths met, he explored every sweet inch of her lips.
Her hands were pressed against his chest, and the collar of his coat tugged downward as her fingers curled, clutching the material.
He kissed her again, and again, long and hard, short and sweet, delighting in the way her lips moved to meet his, until his lungs screamed for a full breath of air. It would be so easy to forget the past, focus on the future. A chill rippled over him at that contradiction. His past held no women, and his future wouldn’t, either, once he’d found out what she wanted. He needed to remember that. And that this was a game.
“Aw, Rosemary,” he whispered, purposely calling her that. Just as he expected, her entire body went as stiff as a rifle barrel.
She pushed on his chest and spun around before he could glimpse her expression. It didn’t matter. He knew this was Millie, and he needed to find out why she was here.
He caught her hand and tugged her back around. The fingers beneath his trembled, and her cheeks were red. When she attempted to step past him, he blocked her path. “Where are you going?”
“I—I...” She took a breath. “I must pack. My clothes. My trunks. They’re at the cabin.”
The rise and fall of her breasts as she gasped drew his eyes. The low neckline of the yellow-and-brown dress showed just enough skin to taunt his heightened senses. He fought to remind himself that this was all part of a plan. “Your trunks are already here,” he said. “Come on, I’ll show you around.”
Stepping into the closest room, he stated, “This is the kitchen, obviously. It’s up to you if you want to prepare our meals, or continue to...”
By the time the tour ended in the last room upstairs, where her four trunks lined the walls, tension no longer snapped inside him and her easy conversation said the kisses downstairs hadn’t had any lasting side effects in her. They had in him. The pleasure of the connection had him wanting to do it over and over again. And then some. Which would be overplaying his hand, but he couldn’t seem to stop the visions when they started forming.
“I thought this was the storage house,” she said, running a hand over the quilt covering the bed.
“It was,” he admitted. “Until I ordered it cleaned and made ready.”
“When did you do that?”
She was shy and skittish. He had to remember to take it slow. “Several days ago.” Leaning against the door frame, he gestured about the room. “What do you think?”
She glanced at the windows, the walls, the furniture, and then quite nonchalantly, but grinning mischievously, said, “It’s certainly larger than the cabin. I suppose I could get used to it if I had to.”
He chuckled. Her mocking banter never failed to delight him. Hoping she sincerely was pleased, he asked, “So do you like your surprise?”
The way she smiled and kept her gaze locked with his as she walked toward him, led him to believe she did. Charm practically floated in the air around her, a magical essence no one at the fort was immune to. In a sense, Jasper had been right. She was what the place needed. In the short time she’d been here, there’d been changes. The men were showing up at mealtimes with their hair combed and their uniforms brushed, and they’d been watching their language. Their manners had improved, too, as had the overall mood of just about everyone. Seth couldn’t attribute it to anything but her.