His forceful words startled her, and she didn't know how to respond.
His words startled Kim almost as much as the way he'd addressed her.
I'll marry her, he said and the words startled him.
The words that came out of his mouth startled him.
The words so startled her that she stopped shivering.
My words startled her - as well they might, for I had never spoken like this before, to her or to anyone.
The words startled him into continuing his path toward their table.
And so, with absent queries, she led him on, till suddenly his words startled her.
And then he stopped and said it again, as though the words had somehow startled him.
The voice was female-familiar, but he couldn't put a name to it immediately, for the words startled him so much.