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Josiah stared back at her, until Emma felt her face grow warm.

"If you're just going to stand there, would you please move aside? I have a meal to prepare."

Josiah took one step back.

The bear meat was coming along nicely, but Emma forgot her hymn. Josiah was looking at her strangely, and she couldn't understand why. She was about to get out some sage to season the meat, when Josiah caught hold of her skirt.

"Mr. Brown, don't tear my dress!"

The mountain man reeled Emma in, until she was firmly in his arms.

"What's gotten into you?" Emma looked at him wonderingly.

Josiah didn't say a word, but gazed into Emma's brown eyes. He touched her cheek, and then brushed a wisp of stray blonde hair from her face.

The tender look in Josiah's eyes took Emma's breath away.

"What are you doing to me, Emma?" Josiah laughed softly, but he wasn't smiling. His gaze fastened on her lips, but he didn't kiss her. "Reckon I know what's happening, but I ain't sure I like it much."

Emma was quiet. Josiah looked into her eyes, and then back to her mouth, his breath growing heavy. Still, he didn't kiss her. He kept looking at her pleadingly, and then back to her mouth, until Emma understood that he wanted her to kiss him. Instead of complying, Emma freed herself and then turned back to the fireplace.

"What's wrong, Emma?"

"I don't think I love you, Mr. Brown. I tried to, God knows I tried to, but I don't."

"Yes, you do," said Josiah. "I've been knowing it's been coming on fer awhile now, but when you fixed my hunting shirt, there weren't no more question about it."

"Please, don't mock me," Emma looked into the fire, still sensing Josiah was behind her. Slowly, two large hands encompassed her waist, until she felt Josiah's breath on her neck.

"Oh, Emma, yer like sunshine in my heart. I thought it weren't possible fer a man to have such feelings fer his wife, but I do."

"Please, don't say that unless you mean it."

Clutching Emma, Josiah turned her around until she was facing him. "Could I hold you like this, unless I meant it?"

"I-- I don't know." Emma searched his face, trying to find the truth. "I don't know, Mr. Brown, I just don't know."

"Then kiss me, Emma. Just one kiss. I've been hankering for one all morning."

"If you want a kiss so badly, then why don't you take it?" Emma weakly fought to get out of Josiah's arms, but even she knew she didn't want to leave his embrace.
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