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The Temptation of Savannah O'Neill Molly O Keefe 2022/8/3 13:53:04

“I know that,” he said. “I just don’t know how to convince her.”

Margot stepped into the room and sat in the wing chair, the moonlight pooling in her lap. “When she first came here, after her mother dropped her off,” Margot said, “she was like one of those cats you bring home from the humane society. She hid for about two weeks. For a few days I left out food. Then, once I discovered where she was hiding—in the closet behind all the coats—I opened the door and sat outside in the hall. I didn’t say anything, I just sat there and read. Day after day, trying to let her know that I was here. That I was always going to be here.”

“What happened?” Matt whispered, feeling his heart break for that girl.

“One night, I felt a cold little body curled up next to mine in my bed.”

Matt took a deep ragged breath.

“She’s been left a lot,” Margot said. “Her mother, her brothers, Katie’s father.”

“I want to come back,” he said, defensively. “I want to be with her, but there are—”

Margot held up her hand. “I understand that,” she said. “You need to make her understand that.”

Matt stood. “I love her,” he said.

“That’s a start,” Margot answered and Matt took off for the stairs and Savannah’s room.

SAVANNAH WAS STARING at the ceiling.

She was one of those stupid women in movies after all, wasting so much time ceiling gazing. Ridiculous.

The only problem was she couldn’t seem to stop. Her body was so heavy, her head so full of Matt, there wasn’t room for anything else. All of her energy was concentrated on keeping a grip on her heart.

Suddenly, the door to her room pushed open and she sat up to find Matt, stormy and dark, in her doorway. His green eyes widened as he took in the room, the pillows and lace, the giant four-poster bed and the canopy.

“What are you doing here?” she snapped, pitching herself off the bed.

“I’m here for that talk,” he said, stepping inside, all long-legged grace and masculine energy. God, he was so attractive her body hurt with wanting him. “You know—” he touched the edge of the canopy “—when I first got here I made a map of the house and I inspected every room looking for any clue of the gems.”

“I never got in here.” His gaze leveled her. “You keep it locked.”

“That’s not a crime.”

“I thought you were hiding the gems.”

She laughed, on edge and nervous simply from his being here.

“But you’re hiding yourself, aren’t you? All this lace, these silly little details. It’s all you.”

“Architect, gardener and now psychologist?”

“Every night for the past four nights we’ve slept in the sleeping porch and you were going to let me leave tomorrow without ever showing me this.”

“My bed?” she asked, laughing because he was so right. He saw right through her and that grip she had on her heart was slipping. “Here it is.” She shifted sideways and flung out her arms. “I asked for a princess bed on the first Christmas I spent with Margot and she got me this monster, the most elaborate princess bed known to man.”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “Satisfied?”

His eyes flared and her body got hot. Damp.

“You should go,” she said, wishing her voice was stronger. “You’re leaving tomorrow—I really don’t understand why you want to draw this out.”

His body crowded hers, his chest touched her crossed arms and she had to turn her head or drown in his scent. God, she wished he’d just go. Just leave so she could—

“I love you,” he said.

And her heart slipped right out of her hands, shattering into a million little pieces.

“Savannah?” he said, tilting her face up, forcing her to look at him. She couldn’t bear it—he was the brightest thing she’d ever seen and looking at him blinded her. Ruined her.

“I have to go,” he said, pressing a kiss to her neck. “I have to fix some things I’ve let fall apart in the last six months. I’ve made promises—”