It was just because the house was so large and she was on her own that she felt a little anxious about being there, she reassured herself as she drove home. That was all!

* * *

‘I’m off now,’ Piers told his partner, briefly popping his head round Jason’s office door.

‘Mmm... Thanks for sorting out that problem for me,’ Jason told him. ‘Sorry to drag you away from your house-hunting. Have you found anything suitable yet, by the way?’

‘I’ve got the details of a couple of hopefuls,’ Piers told him cautiously.

He had, in fact, made appointments to discuss both properties later in the afternoon with the agents, prior to making appointments to view them, which was why he was so anxious to leave the city and drive back to Wrexford. Both properties were large and set in extensive grounds. One of them was a modern home, purpose-built by an architect for contemporary living, whilst the other was a large Georgian farmhouse set in several acres of land and badly in need of restoration.

Common sense suggested that the modern property would be the one to go for, but Piers couldn’t get out of his mind a mental image of Georgia’s face if she were asked to choose between the two properties. There was no doubt which one she would go for. The farmhouse just cried out to be filled with a happy tumble of children and pets, and there was certainly enough scope within the existing muddle of neglected rooms to convert one of them into a large, welcoming, family-sized kitchen, complete with flagged floors and a heart-warming Aga.

Flagged floors! Agas! Children! Pets! Since when had any of those been on his particular priority list?

What was happening to him? Why should one kiss shared with a woman whom logic told him he had absolutely nothing whatsoever in common with suddenly contaminate his plans for the future in much the same way that a bug could contaminate a computer system?

It had initially irritated him and then bemused him just how often Georgia had stolen her way into his thoughts over the last few days, appearing in them when she had no right to do so, when there was no logical or rational purpose in her being there.

On several occasions he had been on the point of telephoning her—just to check that that irresponsible hound hadn’t totally wrecked his godmother’s home, of course. There had been nothing personal in the impulse wilfully whispering to him that he needed to speak with her. It was just his sense of responsibility, his duty that had urged him to do so.


Just as it was his sense of responsibility that had urged him to return to Wrexford earlier than he had planned and to view a property which rationally he knew was totally unsuitable for his purposes.

Older property always sold well, though, he argued with himself. Prospective buyers fell in love with the notion of a traditional country farmhouse and a traditional country lifestyle. And so, mentally, Piers rationalised his decision to view a property which intellectually he knew filled none of the criteria he had drawn up for his house purchase.

By rights Georgia had no place in his thoughts at all other than as the scheming young woman who had palmed Ben off on his unsuspecting godmother. By rights he had every reason to feel suspicious and wary of her, and that, of course, was really why he had cut short his time in the city to return to Wrexford. His decision was in no way whatsoever connected with those vivid mental flashes he had had of Georgia’s tousled curls and her violet-blue eyes, nor with the innocent sensuality of the arousal he had seen so openly expressed in the shocked darkness of those eyes after he had kissed her. No way at all... Not one tiny little bit...

The very idea of repeating that unplanned kiss was a complete anathema to him, and as for those other and far more intimate thoughts and desires which had somehow or other wormed their way into his subconscious—well, they were most definitely not anything he had any wish whatsoever to pursue—ever—either in the mental privacy of his own thoughts or the physical privacy of his bedroom.

* * *

‘Good boy...oh, good dog, Ben,’ Georgia praised enthusiastically as Ben obligingly sat on command.

They were on their way back from a long walk along the river and then through some fields, following the well-marked footpath. Now, though, it was time to get down to some serious work, and as they got within sight of Mrs Latham’s Georgia told herself happily that Ben was quite definitely showing signs of improvement.

Next week she had actually booked herself off some days’ leave so that she could spend even more time working with him, and now, as she paused to bend down and stroke him and praise him a third time, she was beginning to feel increasingly optimistic about the outcome of the challenge she had accepted.

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