Being a romantic at heart, Valentine’s Day is always a fun holiday for me. I usually have a nice dinner with my husband and we watch a movie or something afterward. This year, I thought I’d give you all a funny, sweet moment from one of my YA historical romances. Here is an excerpt from Quicksilver to Gold, when Jeannie starts to fall for Clint while she is panning for gold:
Jeannie went back to her panning and worked her way up the stream. A man approached from the east. From his tall frame and Stetson cowboy hat, she knew it had to be Frank’s new partner, Clint. She waved to say hello.
His hat shaded the top of his face, but she could see his ample mouth and strong jaw. He moved with an easy grace as he strode over. No wasted motion or energy, only what was needed in order to cover the distance. He reminded her of a well-bred horse, that grace. She could almost see his muscles ripple under his clothes. My goodness, where did that thought come from? Her cheeks grew hot as she reprimanded herself. She knew that men had impure thoughts all the time, but those ideas got them into trouble. She wasn’t going to give in to them herself.
Clint approached within speaking distance, and shifted his gold pan to his left hand so he could tip the brim of his hat with his right. “Miss.”
“Good afternoon.” She gave him a sunny smile like she would for any nice neighbor and hoped the blush had faded from her cheeks. “Looks like you’re checking color in the river, just like I am,” she said by way of conversation.
He gave her an uncertain look. She wondered if Frank hadn’t been teaching him very well.
She smiled again. “Yep, the boundary should be right by that boulder. So you check your side, and I’ll check mine.”
“Oh.” He squatted at the edge of the water and dipped some gravel into his pan.
Jeannie went to do the same at her next spot, and tried not to notice the huge thigh muscles under his dirt-streaked denim. He did have amazing legs. Long and muscled, definitely like a good stallion. She panned another sample and wrote down the results in the notebook. Clint was staring at her, probably wondering what she was doing. The poor man didn’t know the first thing about mining, so she’d better explain.
“I check every ten feet, and write down the results of each panning, so I’ll remember which areas had the most gold. Easier to follow up on a spot later.”
He nodded, his deep brown eyes blinking in understanding.
“Do you want to borrow some paper?” she offered.
“No.” He swallowed before he went on, his Adam’s apple bobbing a bit. “I’ll write it down when I get back.”
“All right.” She went back to what she was doing. It took more effort than usual. Such a simple task she’d done for years, but it seemed to take all her energy to stay focused on it today. His presence wafted toward her like smoke from a campfire. She stopped and looked his way. His glance slid from her face to the river. She watched as he started to pan another scoop of gravel. He was much slower than she was, but Clint seemed to be swirling his pan correctly. Frank must have taught him some things.
He looked up toward her, and their eyes locked. For one moment Jeannie forgot about the gold, the claim, everything but those liquid brown eyes focused on hers. She’d seen some handsome men in her time, but never anything like those beautiful eyes framed by long, thick lashes. They seemed to call to her, to promise to tell her things she’d never heard before.
Then she blinked, and his eyes blinked in return. She stood, exhaled as she realized she’d been holding her breath, and heard her voice saying, “You have the most beautiful eyes.”
Clint’s skin turned beet red from the neck of his shirt up to the brim of his hat.
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