Falling for the Flyboy(9)

By: Trish Milburn


Case in point — she’d obviously put a lot of work into restoring the farm. After his parents’ divorce and his father’s subsequent move to California, the farm had fallen into disrepair. As his grandparents got older and less able to perform general upkeep, Cam had already joined the Air Force and was unable to help them. And for that he was immensely sorry. They’d always been there for him as he grew up, but when they needed help he’d been unable to offer it.

It had stunned him when he’d arrived today to see the farm had been given new life. The house sported a fresh coat of white paint. The lawn had been landscaped with vines, shrubbery and decorative rocks. It reminded him of a flowery, fragrant cocoon in the middle of acres of empty, lonely pasture.

The life Amanda Perry had breathed into the neglected farm had made him hesitate — but only for a moment. When Cam wanted something, he didn’t let anything stand in his way. And what little sentimentality he still possessed wanted this farm.

Cam lifted himself to a sitting position and skipped a few rocks across the river like Gramps had taught him so many years ago. He mulled over the two meetings he’d had with Amanda, trying to ascertain how best to approach her about selling the farm. He needed the perfect words that would make his uprooting her seem like a beneficial move for her. With financial backing on the industrial park, he had just enough in the bank to make this part of his dream come true.

He dreaded when this portion of his grand plan got back to Janet. His sister had nothing but good things to say about the pretty little Georgia transplant. Amanda had given a deserving teenager a job in a place with no jobs, and she’d showered his grandparents’ farm with the tender loving care it so desperately needed and deserved.

And now he was going to convince her to start over somewhere else.

He could almost feel the accusing look Janet was sure to level at him. Well, she could stare all she wanted. She’d carved out her life. Now it was his turn.

Cam stood, aiming to present Amanda with an offer before he left. As he crested the hill that shielded him from the house, he was startled to see a young girl who must be Tilly Reed running toward him. Her eyes were wide with fear when he reached her.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Amanda’s hurt.”

Cam’s heart leapt into his throat. He barely knew this woman, but a surge of protectiveness sent him barreling toward the house. He yanked the door open and left Tilly to catch it.

“Amanda?”

“She’s in here,” Tilly said as she pushed by him and led the way to what had been his father’s room when he was a boy. Cam had spent many nights there himself.

Cam wondered what Amanda could have done to herself. When he saw the sewing machine needle pinning her hand to the machine, he winced. Blood had spilled onto the cloth beneath her hand, but not enough to worry about. What did concern him was the stunned expression on Amanda’s pale face. Naturally fair-skinned, she now looked as if her cheeks had been bleached.

He looked back at her hand. He could probably back the needle out of her finger, but he didn’t want to do any permanent damage. Not to mention Amanda might pass out in the floor.

He crouched down beside her. “Do you have any wire cutters?”

It took a moment for the words to penetrate. “In the kitchen. Third drawer on the left.”

Cam strode back through the living room to the kitchen. “Tilly, call the clinic and see if Dr. Waldon is still there. If not, call her at home and tell her I’m bringing in Amanda. Tell her what happened.”

By the time he located the wire cutters and walked back through, Tilly was on the phone talking. From the sound of it, she’d reached Dr. Waldon. It still seemed odd to call one of his old girlfriends Dr. Waldon.

Cam bent down beside Amanda again. “Are you okay?”

Even through her pain and shock, she managed to give him a look that effectively said, “Hell, no, I’m not okay. I have a needle completely through my finger.”

“Never mind. Forget I asked.” Instinctively, he placed his hand on her knee to reassure her. He wasn’t prepared for the shot of sexual awareness that simple touch caused. He glanced up into her green eyes but quickly looked away and removed his hand. “I’m going to cut the needle off and then take you to the clinic so Dr. Waldon can remove it.”