Saved By The Lumberjack

Page 4

Chapter 3
It’s strange to see lights twinkling in my house when I park my car in front of it. I’ve lived alone for years now, ever since—
No. I’m not going down that road. Today was a good day; strenuous, but good. Ever since I took over Ashwood Logging from my uncle, I’ve spent more time in the office than outside with my men. But today, I went out into the forest with them, and the cool air and sunlight made me feel alive. I’m good at the administrative tasks required to run a company, but I was made to work with my hands, outside in the fresh air.
I open the door to see Daisy, curled up in an armchair in front of the fire, her eyes closed and her breathing even. She must have lit the fire, and despite myself, I’m impressed.
She looks peaceful, and I close the door gently behind me, trying not to wake her. After I’ve taken off my jacket, my gaze returns to her, and I allow my eyes to explore her face. Calling her pretty almost felt like an insult. She’s beautiful. And her beauty is like a shard of ice lodged in my gut. I couldn’t ignore it if I wanted to.
I offered to let her stay here because I found her stubbornness endearing. Life has beaten Daisy down, but she refuses to give up. She may not be physically strong, but she possesses a different sort of strength that impresses me almost against my will.
While I watch her sleep, I tell myself her beauty had nothing to do with my offer. Still, I wonder if I made a mistake letting her stay. Because something tells me her presence here will disrupt my peace of mind. If I’m being honest, I knew it when I heaved her into my car and took her to my house. But it didn’t stop me from offering her to stay. Hell, I wanted her to stay, and that just might be the scariest thing of all.
I force my gaze away from her face and walk toward the fireplace to throw on another log, making more noise than necessary. I hear her stir behind me, and when I turn, her eyes are open.
Daisy yawns, making a cute, high-pitched sound. “Sorry,” she mumbles, rubbing her eyes. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I prepped everything for dinner, but I didn’t start. You didn’t say when you’d be home.”
She stands up, stretching her arms over her head and yawning again.
“It’s okay. We can finish it together.”
She looks up at me, a look of surprise on her face. “You’ll help me cook?”
“Sure,” I say, wondering why she seems so surprised.
She blinks, and then a slow smile spreads over her face. I can’t help but notice the dimple in her left cheek, and avert my eyes hastily.
“Awesome. You can sear the steak while I do the veggies.”
She starts to walk toward the kitchen, pausing when I don’t follow. “Aren’t you coming, Burke?” she asks over her shoulder.
My stomach tenses. There’s something about hearing my name coming from her lips, with that bright, clear voice of hers… I nod. “Coming.”
I walk after her, watching her dark hair sway with every step she takes, forcing my eyes not to wander lower.
Working alongside Daisy preparing dinner feels strangely comfortable. The few times I’ve cooked with other people, I’ve disliked it. They always got in my way. But not Daisy. We work around each other flawlessly, and soon dinner is on the table.
“Oh my God, this is perfect,” Daisy says, her mouth full of steak.
“I’m glad you like it,” I say, unable to stop the smile tugging at my lips.
She swallows, looking at me intently.
“What is it?” I ask, suddenly feeling self-conscious. Am I imagining things or does a touch a red appear on her cheeks?
“Nothing. It’s just…” I’m definitely not imagining things. “You have a nice smile, that’s all. It’s kind.”
Now it’s my turn to blush. “Thanks,” I mutter before cutting off another bit of steak.
We stay silent for a few minutes. I reach for the serving spoon at the exact time Daisy does, and my hand closes over hers for the briefest of moments. Adrenaline courses through my veins as I pull my hand back.
“Sorry,” we both say at the same time, and then we smile at each other. For some reason, my heart beats a little faster.
“Go ahead.” I nod at the vegetables, subconsciously running my thumb over the palm of my hand. My skin still tingles where I touched her.
“So what is it you do, exactly?” Daisy asks once we’ve both cleaned our plates. I’m glad to see she has such a hearty appetite.