Patience: Bride of Washington (American Mail Order Bride 42)
work.” He set about explaining the system they used.
    His close proximity unnerved her more. Each time his arm brushed hers, she lost track of his train of instruction. She simply had to get herself under control and concentrate on what he said.
    He raised an eyebrow and gazed at her. “Are you listening, Miss Eaton?”
    Drat the man. He knew she wanted to be called by her given name. She would fix him. “Yes, Sonny, I’m listening.”
    He stared at her agape a few second and then snapped, “What did you just call me?”
    “I believe you heard me, Sonny. If you insist on calling me Miss Eaton, I’ll have to remind you I prefer to be called Patience by calling you Sonny. Or would you prefer Stoney?”
    His ears reddened and his jaw clenched. Without answering her question, he lowered his gaze to the ledgers. “Back to your job.”
    She suppressed a smile as he continued his tutoring. He was assigning her easy duties and she believed she could accomplish them with no problems. She’d still have to ask the occasional question, of course. And this man was anything but one of the eight-armed octopuses she’d encountered working as a housemaid.
    But then, he disliked her intensely. At least he was considerate enough to leave the door open when he went back into his office. She worked steadily until almost noon.
    Andrew came out of his office looking suspiciously as if he’d been napping. “Time for dinner. Stone, I hope you’ll join us for the noon meal. Emily’s expecting you.”
    Brushing his hair off his forehead, Stone looked up from his work. “Dad, I need to finish this schedule.”
    “All work and no play will age you far ahead of your years. Come with us to humor me.”
    With a weary exhale, Stone stood up and joined them.
    As they walked toward the house, Patience looked up at the sky. “I can’t get over how lovely your weather is.”
    Andrew said, “It’s your weather, too, my dear.”
    Walking with his hands in his pants pockets, Stone glanced at her. “Wait until August. You’ll hate it then.”
    “Not with all these trees around me. I had no idea how dismal a factory town was until I had this for comparison. Such clean, fresh air and your view must be glorious all year long.”
    Andrew patted her hand where it rested on his arm. “I agree, Patience. I love this orchard and the life we have here. I hope you’ll come to love it as much.”
    “Since you had to build up your livelihood, you have the sense of ownership a newcomer never can, but I’ll try.”
    Under his breath, Stone muttered something about “little Mary Sunshine” but she couldn’t understand more of what he’d said. She was almost certain he hadn’t intended her to hear.
    Lunch was a congenial event with Andrew talking about his business interests. She tried to be cheerful and attentive. Stone was silent unless his father asked a question—except when he spoke to Emily. Then he smiled genuinely and his tone was kind and respectfully teasing.
    Two people resided in Stone Kincaid and she was determined to make friends with both of them. Maybe not today or even this week, but she would if it killed her. Or, as she inwardly smiled, if it killed him

 
     
     
    Chapter Five
     
    After dinner, Stone Kincaid walked back to the office beside the attractive woman who was scheduled to become his stepmother, heaven forbid. How was he going to keep that wedding from happening? He’d made no headway trying to talk sense into his father’s head. And no matter what he said or did, Miss Patience Eaton just plowed ahead.
    Yesterday she’d obviously dressed to impress his father. He’d wanted to rip from her hands that ridiculous parasol with all that lace and ribbon dangling and break it over his knee and stomp the pieces. A woman actually using the thing would be blinded and bump into walls or, if she tried to cross the street, walk in front of a moving carriage.
    Today, even in her plain work clothes, her beauty shone through. He

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