Naomi sighed deeply, and her gaze wandered to her bureau. The moonlight reflected on a white envelope: Gayle’s invitation for Naomi and the others to the Splendor Belle Gala at her country club tomorrow night. It was obviously a last-ditch attempt to keep them together, to strengthen their ties. Either that or—
Or it was a means to say good-bye.
Naomi choked back tile urge to cry her heart aching. She hadn’t felt this alone in this new hometown, the place she’d returned to eighteen months earlier, since Mama died.
"Buffalo Gal won’t You come out tonight?"
Naomi started and stared out the window. She turned quickly, hoping to find her husband of three months still lying in their bed, sound asleep. She hoped the image singing up to her from below was a mirage. The rumpled pile of quilt and linens on the empty bed said otherwise.
"Taylor Boatwright!" Her pulse thrumming, Naomi tried to decide if she was more shocked, upset…or totally charmed by her husband’s behavior.
With one petulant tug, she hoisted the window open as far as she could. A cool breeze whipped at the open collar of her cotton gown. "What on earth are you doing on the front lawn, Taylor?"
"Well, it seems the last couple nights the only thing that interests you is whatever’s out this window. I thought that might as well be me." He folded his arms over his dark blue robe and smiled up at her.
"Have you lost your mind?"
"No, but I seem to have lost your focus. That doesn’t speak well for someone married such a short time. Tell, me, what is it out this window that you find so fascinating?"
"The lunatic on my front lawn."
"There’s a lunatic out here?" He feigned surprise, gazing about him in first one direction, then another. "Where? I haven’t seen one."
"Then maybe you should come inside and I’ll show him to you—I do believe I have a mirror in here somewhere."
"I’d rather see myself reflected in your eyes." He folded his hands over his chest, playing it up big. The breeze ruffled his brown hair, giving him a tousled look—which only made his act more appealing.
"Reflected in my eyes, my foot." She clucked her tongue to keep from seeming to give in too easily to that beguiling Southern charm of his. She loved her husband, loved him like no other man she’d ever known, but there was still something in her that would not let herself surrender her trust too easily to any man. She had to show some spunk to guard herself a little, even if only in jest. "You are going to see yourself reflected in the shiny side of a frying pan if I have to come out there and drag you back inside for your own good."