“I’m sorry,” her tear smothered voice whispered behind him.
“Oh?” He continued his task as his tone turned incredulous. “Why on earth could you be sorry?”
“You know what I mean.” Her voice barely rose above a whisper.
He turned on one knee, his expression stony. “No Amy, I don’t. I’m just a simple, old-fashioned rancher. I don’t understand the complexities of personal relationships. Why don’t you explain it to me?”
He moved to the chair opposite Amy, seemingly paying no mind to her obvious distress. He hunched over, resting his elbows on his knees and folded his hands together. “Explain to me why you think I’m a murdering, thieving coward whose sole purpose is to abuse innocent women. Go on…explain it. I’m listening.”
Amy’s stomach knotted and she stiffened under his withering glare. Even though she could tell he was doing his best to remain cool, pain still lingered in the brown eyes staring so intently at her. Pain and something else. Anger.
“I don’t think that at all.”
“No?” He quirked an eyebrow questioningly. “Then what is it you’ve been thinking?”
“I’ve been thinking I’ve done exactly what I used to pride myself on not doing. If that makes any sense.” A dim heat raced like a fever across her face. “I’ve misjudged you terribly. I know you haven’t done any of those things I keep hearing about, but I made a mistake and got caught up in the town gossip. I know I’ve been wrong to let those influences cloud my own personal opinion. And I’m so sorry.”
“You know? How do you know?”
“I just know.” Her voice was firm, final and she felt as if her dormant wits had renewed themselves.
The great divide in the living room narrowed as he leaned forward in his chair, and reached out to capture her hands in his. The look on his face mingled eagerness and tenderness. “Does this mean you’ve come to your senses about us?”
The shadow across Amy’s heart lifted, and she smiled tentatively. “Now listen here mister.” She lifted a brow and tilted her head. Don’t go gettin’ all cocky on me now. It simply means I’m willing to reconsider my previous thoughts on the subject.”
“Just reconsider?” His voice took on a low, silky edge as he moved closer, dropping down on one knee in front of her. Matt’s hands slipped sensuously up her arms, sending a tingling of excitement racing through Amy.
She trembled, feeling his fingers lightly caress her cheek, then trail along the line of her jaw. Then he slowly moved one finger back and forth over her full lower lip. He was so close she could feel his breath fanning her face.
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