William should have stepped away when Maggie came to him. He’d already told her the promise he’d made to her father. She hadn’t been happy about it. Her tears nearly ripped his heart out. It was the right decision. Even though he still couldn’t bring himself to ride out.
In the morning.
That’s why he hadn’t pushed her away. Why he said he’d wanted to take a walk with her. He wanted to tell her first. He couldn’t put it off any longer. After he tracked Thomas down and made sure he paid for his crimes, he could return. He’d marry Maggie if she wanted him. After that, he didn’t really know. He was almost afraid to even plan that far ahead.
When she pressed her lips to his, a walk was the last thing on his mind. If George hadn’t been standing on the porch watching them, he may have pulled her away to do more than kiss. He couldn’t risk it. He’d kept his hands to himself for more than two days. He wanted to touch her so bad, but he wouldn’t go back on his word. Still, a kiss was innocent enough.
He broke away after a moment but kept his hands on her shoulders. “We need to talk, Maggie.” He cast a glance over her shoulder at her father. “Will you walk with me?”
A nervous look fluttered through her eyes then she nodded, and he reached down to take her hand. They turned away and walked toward the corner of the barn. “What’s going on, Will?”
His stomach twisted into knots. He didn’t want to leave her, but it had to be done. The fact Thomas remained out there ate away at him. He couldn’t rest easy until this was over. He cleared his throat but didn’t look over at her.
“I’ll be riding out in the morning.”
She gasped and tore her hand away from his. He finally looked over at her and the hurt in her eyes. “Maggie.”
She shook her head. “You brought me out here to tell me that? Why didn’t you just leave then?”
He reached out for her again. “I don’t want to go. I have to finish this with my brother though. I can’t live with myself if he remains free. I can’t start a life with anyone else either.”
Something bloomed in her eyes. “You want to start a life with me?”
He took her hands. “I don’t have anything to return to back in Lander. My family’s gone, my ranch is gone. The land’s the only thing, and Patrick can take care of that. My heart’s here with you, Maggie.”
And watch for it March 11!