by Kristin James
Ex-Union colonel Andrew Stone had had his fill of "Southern hospitality." The War had been over for years, but the local townsfolk still held a mighty grudge. His marriage to the respectable Miss Carlisle would make life a lot easier for his young daughter. And love would never complicate this union - no matter how bewitching Margaret's eyes began to look.
Margaret Carlisle was "on the shelf," as the good people of Huxley, Texas, would say. She had spent the better part of her twenty-two years looking after her siblings - and was forced to live off the charity of her carping aunt. But all that changed when the Yankee walked into her life...
This is a true 'marriage-of-convenience' story and they way Ms Leigh brought all the characters together to be a family was beautiful. This is on my 'keeper' shelf.
"You really mean that don't you?"
"What? That women are trained from childhood to deceive? Yes, I mean it. Why? Do you expect all men to remain so fooled by you that they never realize what you're doing?"
Margaret barely kept her mouth from dropping open in astonishment. Her irritation flared to life again. "No. I'm simply surprised that you are so foolish. I had taken you for a brighter man than that."
Now it was Andrew's turn to look amazed. Obviously he had not expected her to answer back to him, Margaret thought. She might be mousy and plain and less than courageous, but she wasn't about to just stand there and let him slander her sex. She braced herself for his explosion.
But he said only, "Indeed?" and gave her a long assessing look. He never would have admitted it, bit was far less interested in their argument than in the way her eyes sparkled in anger. All he could really think about was how much he wanted to take her in his arms, how much he wanted to kiss her.
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