Home > Captivated by the Cowgirl(7)

Captivated by the Cowgirl(7)
Author: Jody Hedlund

Ugh. He really was too good-looking, especially standing above her in her house and looking at her with concern.

She tried to frown at him. “Don’t be so nice to me.”

His brows rose. “Has it become a crime to be nice?”

“I like you better when you’re not so serious.”

“You like me.”

A grin worked at the corner of her lips. “Absolutely not.”

“You just said so.”

There. She breathed easier. They were back on more familiar ground. “I suppose you’re here to torment me?”

“Yes, exactly.” He bent and tucked the blanket around her tighter. “I’m here to torment you by making sure you stay off your feet.”

“Don’t you have someplace else you need to be?”

“I’ve postponed leaving town until tomorrow.”

“You’re leaving?” Her question tumbled out before she could stop it, her pulse tumbling right along with it.

“Do I detect a note of sadness in your question, Felicity?” His eyes suddenly took on a twinkle.

Irritation welled up, mostly at herself for giving him any ammunition to use against her. “There’s no sadness, Mr. Berg. Only curiosity.”

“You’re hoping I’ll tell you where I’m going so that you can follow after me?”

His response was so ludicrous she could only roll her eyes and scoff.

“Since you insist on knowing, I can tell you I’ll be staying in Denver for a few weeks.”

She shouldn’t have been surprised he was moving on. He and Declan had made it clear all along that they were only in South Park for a short time. They’d come to see the sights, hike the mountains, and experience the high country. Philip was an amateur photographer as well and had been taking pictures every place he visited.

She could admit she envied their ability to travel the country, that they could go wherever they wanted, even this remote little town. Of course Healing Springs Inn, with the hot spring, probably had enticed them to the area. And apparently Declan’s family also had a connection to Mrs. Bancroft—something about the older lady being a godparent to one of Declan’s parents, which was another reason the two had stopped in South Park.

Whatever the case, Philip had hinted often enough over the past weeks that his life was back in his country, that he had no choice but to return at the end of his travels, that he had obligations and didn’t have the freedom to veer off course.

Philip took a tentative step back from the sofa and eyed the door, almost as if he was anxious to escape the house and leave the high country at that very moment.

“Please, don’t let me keep you from your next exciting destination.” Now that he’d revealed his plans, she finally understood why Declan had been standing in front of the livery next to a stack of bags, including Philip’s camera equipment. They’d been readying to leave.

Had Philip planned to say goodbye to her? Or had he intended to leave town without even a distant farewell?

Why did she care at all?

“Declan is going on ahead.” Philip stuffed his hands into his pockets, his shoulders suddenly stiff. “But I decided to stay to make sure you got home adequately.”

His statement sounded a little bit like an embarrassed confession. She wanted to tease him, knew he’d tease her if their roles were reversed. But for a reason she couldn’t explain, his admission filled her with a strange pleasure. He’d put off leaving in order to help her. That was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for her.

She ought to thank him.

She fidgeted with a loose thread on the blanket covering her, afraid to give voice to the gratitude for fear he’d hear her pleasure.

“Miss Courtney?” The timid call of Mrs. Keller came from the stairwell.

The waif of a woman moved soundlessly in her slippered feet and always seemed to be taking Felicity by surprise. She stood on the middle step, still in her robe at midday. Her gray hair was flattened on one side, and blanket creases lined her cheek.

Felicity didn’t blame the woman for sleeping whenever she could, even at midday. She was up at all hours of the day and night caring for her husband and never seemed to get any good length of sleep.

Felicity pushed herself up to her elbows and immediately fought against a dizzy wave. “How is Mr. Keller?”

“He’s awake.” Mrs. Keller clutched her robe closed, her tired eyes upon Philip warily. “I was coming to get the warm water for his bed bath.”

Felicity released a tired groan and tried to sit up, but Philip was at her side in the next instant, gently easing her back down. “No. You’re not going anywhere.” His voice had that note of authority that came out from time to time. It wasn’t bossy. Rather, it was an unquestioning assumption that she would do as he’d declared. The firmness of his tone was matched by the determination in his eyes.

“Is something wrong?” Mrs. Keller’s soft voice wavered.

Felicity wanted to stand up and declare that she was perfectly alright. Mrs. Keller had enough to worry about with her husband’s care and didn’t need the burden of Felicity’s health issues upon her too.

Before she could figure out how to answer, Philip was already providing an explanation. “Miss Courtney has fainted twice this week. The physician believes she needs more rest as well as more help here at the boardinghouse.”

Still halfway up the stairway, Mrs. Keller shook her head sadly. “This is my fault. I never should have agreed to let you take a shift with my husband each night.”

Philip’s brows shot up, and his gaze pinned Felicity. “What is the duration of such shifts?”

Felicity glared back, unwilling to let Philip intimidate her. “I’m doing so to give Mrs. Keller time to sleep.”

“I realize that. But how long are you awake?”

Mrs. Keller wavered before clutching the rail. “Felicity has been more than gracious to allow me four hours of uninterrupted sleep.”

Philip’s expression didn’t have a trace of humor, was as deadly serious as Felicity had ever seen it. “So exactly how much sleep are you getting?”

She tried to calculate, but she honestly couldn’t remember. Her days and nights had become so jumbled that she didn’t know anymore. Regardless, she had to get up and fetch water for the Kellers. Mr. Keller had bed sores that needed bathing every day, open wounds that would fester if not taken care of properly.

She swung her legs over the edge of the sofa.

Philip made a dangerous growly sound. Then he lifted her feet off the ground and swung them back on the cushions.

“Philip, stop. I have work that can’t wait.” Ugh. She’d done it again. Used his given name.

He wrapped the blanket snugly around her legs. Hopefully he was too caught up making her a prisoner inside the quilt and hadn’t heard her. “Give me a list of what needs to be done, and I’ll do it.”

“There’s too much.”

“I’ll be the judge of that.”

“I didn’t think you liked to work. And even if you did, you probably wouldn’t know how to complete the tasks.”

He straightened, and the slant of his brows warned her not to move again. “I might surprise you with how much I’ve learned to do this past year of traveling.”

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Den of Vipers
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Sweet Temptation
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» Wreck & Ruin
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Twisted Hate (Twisted #3)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)