Rise Childers frowned at the package.

Rise Childers frowned at the package. Wrapped in bright, colored paper, and tied with a satin bow, it sat on the table waiting to be opened.

“I can’t accept this.” She glanced toward Lorraine and folded her arms across her chest. Her friend could afford to be generous, but Rise had no need for expensive gifts. Especially ones given for no reason. Christmas was months away, and her birthday had come and gone long before.

“Of course you can.” Lorraine Conway pushed the present forward a few inches. “Please, open it. It’s not like it’s going to bite you.”

Rise pushed it back. “I don’t need this.”

“You don’t even know what it is, silly!”

“Whatever it is, I don’t need it.” Unwilling to meet Lorraine’s determined gaze, Rise glanced down at the faded shirtwaist she wore. Most likely the package held a new dress. Or maybe some ridiculously extravagant hat, possibly a pair of fine leather gloves or shoes. But Rise was not ashamed of being poor. She had no need for charity, no matter how carefully disguised.

From “Irresistible” – Chapter One

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