More Than Willing

More Than Willing by Laura Landon

Book: More Than Willing by Laura Landon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Landon
whispered. “That was uncalled for. It’s just that—”
    She stopped on a heavy sigh and walked to the wooden cupboard behind her desk. Gray watched her fill one glass nearly to the top with Bradford’s excellent ale, and another with just a swallow in it. She turned and when she reached him she held the full glass out to him.
    Gray lifted his arm, but instead of taking the glass, he wrapped his fingers around hers and held steady. For several long seconds their gazes locked, as if neither of them wanted to be the first to break the hold. The room grew warmer, the heat that passed between them turned to a raging fire, and Gray knew it would only be a moment more before he burst into flames. “Briars is interested in selling.”
    Her eyes popped open and her mouth dropped. “What?”
    “He wants to sell.”
    “Are you sure?”
    Gray nodded. “As sure as I can be without having anything in writing. But like any wise man he asked for a little time, no doubt to talk my offer over with his wife.”
    “How much did you offer him?”
    “Nothing, yet. I just listened to him tell me how hard it was to own an inn, and tried to keep up with him while he drank tankard after tankard of very inferior ale.”
    “And he offered to sell you the inn?” she asked, pulling her hand away from his.
    Gray’s hand felt strangely cold without her skin touching his and he took a swallow of the liquor in his glass although he barely tasted it. “Not exactly. He told me that his daughter had married well and had a cottage waiting for him and his wife where they could live out their lives in comfort. I asked him why he hadn’t moved and he said he couldn’t until he found a buyer for his inn.”
    He watched as Maggie’s face turned a warm pink and he fought the urge to brush his fingers down her rose-tipped cheeks. “I told him Bradford Brewery might be interested in buying the King’s Crown.”
    “What did he say?”
    Gray took a larger swallow of the liquor in his glass, this time hoping it would dull his senses and soften her reaction to what he had to tell her.
    “What did he say?” She repeated her question and this time her voice sounded more anxious.
    Gray emptied his glass in one swallow. “He asked who’d given me the authority to speak for Bradford Brewery. He said everyone knows your father’s been gone for months already and there’s no one in charge but you.”
    “And of course it’s impossible to take any offer a woman makes seriously.”
    Gray saw Maggie’s temper rise and refrained from telling her Briars said a great deal more than that.
    “So how did you convince him to consider your offer?”
    “I told him that you weren’t making the offer. I was.”
    “He took an offer from a common brewery worker seriously? I can’t believe it.”
    Gray cleared his throat. “Well, he doesn’t think I’m a common brewery worker— exactly.”
    “Then what – exactly – does he think you are?”
    “Exactly who I am,” Gray said with more confidence than he felt at that moment. “The Earl of Camden’s second son.”
    “And that made your offer more credible? Didn’t he want to know what connection you had to the brewery that enabled you to make such an offer?”
    “Well…yes he did,” Gray hedged, wishing at that moment that she weren’t so astute when it came to business matters. “That seemed to be important to him.”
    Gray didn’t wait for her to offer to refill his glass but walked to the cupboard and poured another inch into his glass.
    “I’m sure it was. So what did you tell him?” she asked, foolishly stepping over to the cupboard.
    Gray turned around and she was there, close enough to notice that the frown on her forehead lowered her dark brows nearer her beautiful dark eyes, and that her pretty mouth seemed deliciously kissable when it puckered in frustration. For a moment he couldn’t think, he couldn’t do anything but stare into her face and wonder what it would be like to kiss

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