Lucinda doesn't care that she is close to being "on the shelf"; she has more serious pursuits in mind. She enjoys the friendship she and James share over their love of photography, but she leaves dreams of romance to silly young ladies like her sister. James does manage to find a match for Lucinda, and his efforts to get them together are about to succeed...until James comes to the distressing realization that he doesn't want Lucinda in anyone's arms but his own.
“Thank you,” she said softly. “I don’t know why I can’t dance like that with other men. With you it was . . .easy.”
Lucinda was always so truthful, so sincere, that it pained him to see how she was looking at him. He was in no way deserving of her trust, and yet she had given it to him. “Perhaps it was because you were listening to the music inside you. Inside here.” He lightly placed a forefinger just above her heart. It was edging on indecent to do so, but she didn’t object. She just kept looking at him, and beneath his hand he could feel her heart pounding wildly.
Around them, the stillness seemed to settle, even as specks of dust floated in the sunshine coming through the window. James could not seem to move. He really should not be so intensely attuned to the allure she did not even realize she presented. Without question he should not be touching her at all, let alone in a private room. And yet she remained tantalizingly close. She must be, as he was, either unable or unwilling to move away. One hand remained in his, cool and soft. Its light, gentle touch sent powerful sensations through him. They were both watching each other intently, and he felt, right down to his core, the moment their gazes dropped to each other’s lips. What kind of a man was he, to be giving serious consideration to such a clearly wrong action? He was either a cad or an idiot. Most probably he was a good mixture of both, because slowly, deliberately, no longer caring to resist, he closed the distance between them and kissed her.