Falling for the Flyboy(3)

By: Trish Milburn

“Sorry about that, ma’am. I didn’t see you coming.”

The deep, caressing voice sent shivers across her shoulders. Startled, Amanda looked up. That wasn’t any brick wall she’d bounced off. She’d careened into more than six feet of disturbingly attractive man. Close-cropped hair the color of hazelnut coffee. Eyes that reminded her of pools of honey. A chiseled, tan face that made her lungs spasm.

Heat burned her cheeks. Shame twisted her gut. How could the mere sight of a man affect her so? A flash of David catching a Frisbee on their honeymoon in the Virgin Islands nearly propelled her down the hall. She wanted to run until she got back to the safety of her farm. Why hadn’t she called the school instead of appearing in person?

“That’s okay,” she said, looking down at the floor. “I wasn’t watching where I was going. If you’ll excuse—”

“Cam! What are you doing here?”

Janet hurried out of her office and hugged the man as if she hadn’t seen him in years.

“Came to make sure you’re behaving yourself,” he said as he lifted Janet in his arms then set her back on her feet.

Amanda bit down on the unexpected surge of jealousy the sight of Janet in the stranger’s arms caused. She should take the opportunity to make a dash for the door, but her southern upbringing rooted her to the spot. Fleeing like a purse snatcher would be rude.

Janet stepped back from the man, her smile even wider than it’d been in her office. “It’s good to see you.” She glanced at Amanda. “Amanda Perry, I’d like you to meet my big brother, Cameron Blue.”

Amanda nodded and offered a weak smile, all she could muster while fighting the odd sense of relief the disclosure of Cam and Janet’s relationship brought. She wished her heart would stop thumping in her ears.

“We’ve met,” Cam said as he smiled at her. His smile beamed more brilliant than his sister’s, making Amanda a bit dizzy.

“Amanda bought Gram and Gramp’s old place,” Janet said.

Cameron’s smile dimmed a bit.

“It’s a great place,” he said as he stuffed his hands in the pockets of his denim jacket.

“I like it,” Amanda said, feeling supremely stupid, like she could no longer carry on a decent conversation. Heck, as much time as she spent alone it was a wonder she didn’t talk to herself. Maybe she did and didn’t notice.

“If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to come out sometime and just walk around a bit,” he said. “It holds a lot of good memories.”

Her breath wedged halfway up her throat, like it had forgotten where it was supposed to go. The last thing she needed was to see this man again. But how could she refuse such a simple request?

“Sure. Whenever.” She couldn’t stand facing guilty temptation anymore. David had died nearly two years before, but twinges of guilt still pinched her whenever she noticed a nice-looking man. And Cameron Blue was definitely that, the most attractive man she’d seen outside of movies in ages. “Sorry to have to rush, but I have a ton to do.”

Before either Janet or Cameron could respond, she turned and rushed down the hallway and out the door. She welcomed the crisp spring air as it smacked her, helping clear her head of the strange magnetism that had gripped her in the hallway.

Out of sight of Cameron Blue, her breathing gradually slowed to normal. She headed for her truck, which she’d bought her first winter in North Dakota. The necessity of owning a four-wheel drive had been made abundantly clear when she’d gone out one morning to find her economy car buried in snow.

After slipping into the driver’s seat and closing the door, she realized how cold it still was outside — by southern standards anyway. Back in Georgia, the fields and yards would be alive with bright patches of daffodils. But here, the cold breath of winter refused to recede until it was good and ready. Stubborn patches of snow hung on in shady areas. Between the endless snow and the lack of David’s warmth next to her at night, she’d almost shivered herself to death that first winter.

Though she wasn’t a social butterfly by any means, her move to Cedar Bend had been the only thing that saved her. The combination of breathing life into her neglected farm and a few fledgling friendships had kept her from drowning in depression.