The Dressmaker's Dilemma – Excerpt

"How am I supposed to sew clothing for people I've never met if those people are allowed to play any character they want to play?" Barb asked.

"She thinks someone will want to be the queen of England," Rose's soft voice broke through the sudden silence. "I told her I doubted that would happen."

"The queen of England," Wyatt said under his breath.

Barb glared at him. "It might be possible for me to do this if someone hadn't chased my last helper away."

"I didn't chase anyone away."

"Right." Barb stood from the chair and looked down at him. "All I asked you to do was take her out to dinner one time, that's all."

He sat forward in his seat, eyes darkened in anger. "Oh, really?"

"Yes," Barb said. "I just wanted her to feel welcomed here."

Wyatt leaped up and glared hard at her. "Then you should've told her that. You should've asked a more willing man to go out with her."

"She wanted you."

Renewed laughter burst throughout the room, even Jack and William joined in this time. All eyes were focused on her, waiting. She wasn't sure what everyone was waiting for, but she didn't plan on giving them anything else to talk about today.

Unfortunately Wyatt wasn't as unwilling. "So you used me?"

"She was a nice lady."

"With twenty hands," Wyatt added. "And a very determined attitude."

"You didn't have to sleep with her."

Wyatt stood up taller, towering over her five foot three inches. "I did not sleep with that woman."

"She told me you did." And you were lousy, she wanted to add. "I believed her."


"Because you're a man." Before she could put a lock on her mouth, she added, "And rumor has it, you haven't been out on a date since your daughter's arrival."

Wyatt froze before shaking his head and turning toward the door. "I'm going back to the station."

Barb followed him, not stopping until she got to the bottom of the steps and noticed the cold air. She gathered her unzipped coat around her and stepped back up the stairs. A hand stopped her forward momentum. A dark, dangerous look stopped her biting comment. She pulled her arm away, but Wyatt only clamped his fingers around it harder. Not enough to hurt, only enough to show her he wasn't going away until he had his say.

"I thought you had to leave."

Wyatt moved and placed his free hand on her other arm. He squeezed his fingers tight and pulled her hard into him. "You're going out to dinner with me."


He ignored her protest. "This Saturday."

She twisted left and right in an unsuccessful attempt to escape his hold. Giving up, she froze on the step and clamped her hands tight near her thighs. "I'm not going anywhere with you."

"We'll see about that." Sliding both hands up her arm, he cupped her cheeks and pulled her against him. Moist cinnamon-scented breath lingered near her mouth, tempting her. "I may have been working at Craine Station for the last couple of weeks, but I have heard the rumors."

"Oh, about you being a—"

His lips touched hers, barely there but enough to steal her breath. He slid his hands from her cheeks and settled one on her shoulder while moving the other over the top of her head. Tingles spread through her body as his fingers combed through her tangled hair, fingertips feathering over her. She melted at his simple touch.

"You believed Carol," he said, trailing his fingers down to her earlobe. "I'm going to prove her wrong."

"No." She pushed against his chest with regret, feeling him yield a bit. "It's never going to happen, Wyatt Campbell."

"We'll see about that, Barb Grant."