Aimee is the name of my heroine in Fortuna. Do you know what the name Aimee means? It means dearly loved. Do you think the name fits? This scene is at a 19th century garden party.
Cade indicated a built-in bench, which circled the inside of the gazebo. “Would you like to sit down?”
Aimee sat and gathered her skirts around her, admiring the rustle of her long, crinoline petticoat. She patted the space beside her. “Sit beside me.”
Cade bowed. “You honor me, Miss Sherwood.”
“You may call me Miss Aimee, sir.”
“Miss Aimee, then.” He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it.
Aimee’s heart took off in a mad gallop. She felt heat rising from her chest and knew it colored her face an inconvenient shade of red. Oh! My! Goodness! All he’d done was kiss her hand, and she was melting. If only she hadn’t left her fan at Miss Gladys’ table.
Cade kept hold of her hand even though she’d expected him to let go of it. His calloused fingers felt so male, so strong, so warm that another wave of heat washed over her and almost took her breath away.
“You look beautiful tonight, Miss Aimee. There’s not a woman at the party who can touch you.”
Was it her imagination or had he moved a bit closer to her?
“Your eyes sparkle like blue diamonds, and I love those curls of yours. You’ve captured the sunshine.” He reached for her ponytail and bounced her curls in the palm of his hand.
Breathe. She mustn’t forget to breathe.
He had moved closer. She could smell the spicy odor of his shaving cream now. It was the same stuff Rocky used. She’d always liked it, but before this night she’d never realized how sexy it was.
In the background she heard a buzz of quiet laughter from the partygoers, but they seemed to be in another world far away from her and Cade. Her eyes fluttered shut as he squeezed her hand and leaned toward her.
“Hey, hon, so this is where you got to.”
Rocky! Aimee gasped and jerked her hand from Cade’s, praying that Rocky hadn’t seen them holding hands. Not that they were really holding hands, but . . . okay they were holding hands, but . . . “Er . . . isn’t the gazebo beautiful?”
Rocky nodded. “Yep, it sure is. Are you ready to get some refreshments?”
“Yes. Cade, thanks for showing me the gazebo.”
Cade stood and bowed. His eyes bored into hers with such intensity that Aimee barely restrained a gasp. “It was my pleasure, Miss Aimee.”
“Great characterization,” Rocky praised. “I’ll have to find out how they did it in the eighteenth century.”