My thoughts have already been flitting around Valentine's Day, even though it isn't until next week. When I have the opportunity to include Valentine's Day in one of my stories, it's always such fun to write the scene.
One of my favorites is a scene between a saloon owner the woman leading the local temperance union. The local saloon committee asks for a volunteer to court her in hopes of distracting her efforts to shut down the saloons. Gideon rises the challenge, unwilling to admit he really likes her. But time and effort he puts into making her a special Valentine's Day gift gives a hint at how much he truly cares for her.
Gideon placed his hand on the package and slid it across the counter. “I brought this for you.”
“Politely, I must decline your gift.” Millie fisted her hands against her skirt to keep from ripping off the paper and seeing what was inside. Unable to recall a time when anyone had given her a Valentine’s gift, she realized it was the first she’d ever received.
“Please, Miss Matlock.” His eyes held a pleading look no woman in her right mind would ignore. “It’s not really anything, just a little something you might enjoy. You could share it with your friends, if you like,” he said, trying to coax her into opening the gift.
“I suppose if it’s something I can share with the others…” Her sentence hung unfinished as she pulled away the paper. A gasp escaped her and she stared wide-eyed at the beautiful box in her hands. Made of silver, the jewelry box bore a faint coating of white, just enough to give it a fascinating sheen. Hand-painted red roses and green leaves stood out in vivid contrast.
Millie had never seen a box half as beautiful and immediately loved it. But she couldn’t keep it. The gift was far too expensive for her to accept.
“I can’t take this, Mr. McBride.” She held it out toward him.
His smile dripped into a hurt frown as he stared at her. “Do you not like it, Miss Matlock?”
“It isn’t that, sir. The gift is too much, too… inappropriate for mere acquaintances.” The smell of chocolate drifted up to Millie’s nose and she battled the urge to open the lid and look inside as she continued to hold the box out to Gideon.
He took the box from her and set it on the counter. “You wound me, Miss Matlock. I thought, after all the Tuesday evenings you’ve spent chastising my customers, we’d become more than mere acquaintances. I hoped you’d consider me a friend.”
“Oh, well… I… that’s to say…” Millie didn’t know what to reply. Even if she vehemently opposed what Gideon did for a living, she couldn’t help but like the man. In her mind, she’d already begun to consider him a friend more than a foe.
“Please accept it?” Gideon pushed the box closer to her and lifted the lid.
Open-mouthed, Millie gazed at the prettiest collection of candy she’d ever seen. More than a dozen pieces, each nestled in its own little tissue paper cup filled the box. Fudge with red candy hearts, pink bonbons with miniature rosebuds on top, chocolate creams adorned with fancy scrolls.
Her gaze snapped up to Gideon’s. “Did you make these? They’re positively splendid. I’ve never seen anything so pretty.”
You can read the rest of Gideon and Millie's story in Millie, book seven in the Pendleton Petticoats series.
Did you ever make or receive a special Valentine's treat? Wishing you a wonderful and very Happy Valentine's Day!
After spending her formative years on a farm in Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
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