“Yes, sir. Will there be anything else? A new slip, petticoat or underskirt?”
He grinned, thinking of his return to the hotel. “Yes, all the under things needed to make a complete new outfit.”
Ten minutes later, as the woman piled package upon package in his arms, she said, “I can help you carry this to the hotel, Major.”
“No, I’ve got it,” he insisted, as she set the last packet on top of the pile and he held it in place with his chin. “But could you get the door for me?”
“Certainly,” the shopkeeper replied.
Mr. Brewster came running to open the hotel door as he spied Seth walking past the front window. The man also opened the door to the room upstairs, and shut it as Seth cautiously tiptoed to the bed.
Careful to keep the crinkling paper from waking her, he set everything down and then moved to other side of the bed, where he eased his weight onto the mattress. A part of him hated to wake her, yet there wasn’t much time before they’d have to board the train.
He smoothed the hair away from her face, tucking it behind one ear as she lay on her side, and then he kissed the cheek he’d just uncovered. Her sleepy, sweet moan had him kissing it again.
She rolled then, onto her back, and blinked several times.
“Good morning,” he whispered.
Stretching one arm overhead, she answered, “Good morning,” as a wistful smile appeared on her lips.
He captured her wrist, kept the arm up to run his tongue down its length, stopping when encountering the edge of the blanket laid across her breastbone. “We have to leave soon,” he said, though the desire to crawl under the covers beside her had his blood ticking in his veins.
“Oh,” she said, popping open her eyes. She grasped the blanket with the hand he let loose and then scooted to sit up. “You should have—” The crackle of paper had her gaze going to the other side of the bed. “What’s all that?”
“That,” he said, touching the end of her nose with a fingertip, “is a present I bought you.”
The tenderness of her sweet sigh floated around his heart. Smiling as she shook her head, she asked, “All that is one present?”
“Why? It’s not my birthday or Christmas.”
“When is your birthday?” he asked, sincerely wanting to know, so he could nail it into his memory.
“Janu—J-June.” Her cheeks were flushed as she shook her head. “You make me fuddle-headed,” she said. “When’s yours?”
“August 18,” he said. “When is yours? January or June?”
“June 12.” She glanced his way briefly, before turning back to the packages, but he’d caught the unease in her eyes.
He took her chin, pulled her face toward his and he leaned down to kiss her, until they were both unable to think of anything else. Which didn’t work, because he was thinking—about things they didn’t have time for right now.
Reaching across the blanket, he grabbed a package, having no idea what it held. “Here, start opening.”
She glanced at the parcel, ran a hand over the paper gently.
“Sweetheart.” He leaned forward and pressed his forehead to hers. “If you don’t start opening, we’re going to be late. I have some pull, but I can’t hold a train for you.”
The first package—containing a white undergarment of some kind—was opened slowly, but by the time she got to the fourth, or maybe it was the fifth, paper was flying. He really had to learn the names of all these ladies’ undergarments. They seemed to delight her to no end. as did the dress, or traveling suit, as he was again informed.
After a quick dash down the hall in the dress Mrs. Brewster had loaned her last night, Millie was back in the room, and as he helped her into each garment, Seth was told its names. Not one of which he remembered. As soon as she was dressed, he longed to undress her again, layer by layer. He couldn’t wait to get to the privacy of their railway car. She was beautiful. Stunning.
“Perfect,” he said, watching as she twirled before him, flaring the luminous brown skirt. “A perfect fit.”
Keeping her eyes locked with his, she sashayed toward him. “How did you know my size?”
“By doing this,” he said, spanning her waist with both hands. “You fit perfectly into my hands.”
A whimsical smile, coupled with the way she slowly blinked those long lashes, had him tightening his hold, pulling her closer.
“You,” she said quietly as their faces grew nearer, “fit perfectly into my heart.”