“Are you flirting with me, Mr. Ryland?”
“That would be a skill I’ve not mastered.”
If he read her right, he was closing in on the hunt for the elusive proprietress. What did he need to do to finally snare her?
She moved around to face him, her hair brushing his bicep. Her pink mouth opened as though she’d give him a retort, but her jeweled gaze dropped to his navel, dawdling a long stretch on the indent surrounded by a whorl of brown hair. When she looked up, he met her hungry, fascinated stare with a silent challenge.
Go ahead. Touch.
The light in her eyes wavered. She read his invitation, her slender nostrils flaring when she took a deeper breath of him. She fought their attraction hard, her fair face tilted up to his, fine boned and flushed.
The high tip of her nose and set of her pale pink mouth told him his shop girl’s defensive wall was well in place, but she was like a moth drawn to a candle lantern, bouncing against the glass. What was her self-imposed barrier?
The proper midtown woman stepped back, pulling her cloak about her. “You know, I’ve figured something else about you.”
“Yet another observation?” A light chill swept his exposed torso. “Pray tell.”
He grabbed his shirt off the barrel where his clothes draped. He slipped his arms inside the linen, steeling himself for the worst.
Miss Mayhew’s heavy-lidded stare followed the twitch of his muscles. “You welcome a woman speaking her mind as long as she heeds your words…toes the mark you set.”
“Exactly.” He donned his waistcoat, securing a few buttons. “None have found fault with how I conduct matters. And for those women I’ve shared a—” He paused and slid an arm through his wool coat, searching for the right word. “—connection with…they did not leave unsatisfied.”
Her mouth pinched when he finished the arrogant proclamation. Miss Mayhew’s jeweled gaze flickered elsewhere. Brashness worked for a freehold farmer climbing to his current place in life, but would do little to win the heart of one independent proprietress.
He fixed one sleeve and then the other, his brows pressing in a firm line. Was her heart what he wanted?
The Lady Meets Her Match by Gina Conkle
Book 2 in the Midnight Meetings series
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