Jessica Ashbury has lived a life of luxury, so moving out West will be an adventure. Meeting Henry Morrison Beaumont, known to his friends as Hank, was certainly not part of her plans. Since they partners in the hotel and salon, they need to spend a lot of time together. Jessica is not sure what to do with her feelings about Hank and as for Hank, he is twisted in knots and cannot see himself in a relationship. Ms. Burroughs took the world of the 1800s and brought it to life again. Jessica and Hank have to deal with real issues. Sparks fly between them. Can they let themselves go?
Jessie? Had he just called her Jessie? She started to push her chair back to stand, but he stopped her by covering her hand with his.
She pulled her hand from beneath his. If she didn't put some distance between them, she'd probably shame herself with her actions. She wanted him to hold her again. Like he had on the day they'd met. The day he'd rescued her. Only this time she wanted it to be because he wanted to. She doubted he'd ever do that.
"Is this where I get the The Hotel's Haunted lecture?" She offered him a knowing smile.
He looked surprised. "You've heard?"
She laughed. "Of course I've heard. From many people. Some of the visitors who've checked in have actually asked if I've seen the ghosts myself." She glanced up to the top of the staircase banister and gestured with her forefinger. "It appears that area up there seems to be one of their favorite spots. Obviously, I had to tell the guests I was sorry I hadn't, that if that's what they were here for, I certainly hoped they would. I think they were greatly disappointed."
"And you haven't rushed back to Boston?" he asked in disbelief.
Jessica fingered the black ribbon on her arm, looked down at her dark green dress, then back up to Hank. "Nope, appears I'm still here." She smiled. "I don't scare easily, Mister Beaumont. Geoffrey thought coming out here would be good for me. For a time, I strongly disagreed with him, yet I've changed my mind since. I see his wisdom now. It's not easy living in the West, but I rather like it here. You're not going to anger me enough to send me back, and you're not going to scare me away with ghost stories you made up to bring in customers. I own part of this hotel, Mister Beaumont, and you're stuck with me whether you like it or not."
A strange look flitted across Hank's eyes. Surely not desire. No, she was seeing what she wanted to see and it was no more than wishful thinking on her part. This man had absolutely no interest in her as anything other than a business partner.
Hank walked around the table and grasped her arms. "This isn't a joke, Jessie. You may think we're a bunch of uncivilized people, but Angel and Beau are real. They're my grandparents. I may not be as good as some folk, not knowing who my pa was, but I know who my grandparents were. And they were good people. I'd hate for you to…" He dropped his hands and she saw pain in his eyes. "Aw, hell, never mind. You're going to do what you want anyway. Just don't say you weren't warned." He slowly headed for the front door.
"Mr. Beaumont," she called out. He kept walking. "Hank, please…" He didn't look back.
And her heart broke.