Enjoy this sneak peek of my novel, Cowboy Up.
The stranger outside my door wore a battered Stetson and a black tee tucked into jeans that looked worn in all the right places.
“Excuse me, Miss,” He said, his smile irresistible, “my truck went out on me a little ways down the road and I was wondering if I could use your phone?”
Although I politely returned his smile, I bit back an oath. I was trying to get to work on time, but was running late as usual.
“Sure, I was just on my way out so,” I paused as the light jacket I’d just shrugged into settled around my shoulders and I slid my feet into a pair of ballet flats. “you can use my cell.”
I watched in amazement as his handsome cinnamon-hued face scrunched in confusion and he rubbed at the nape of his neck while turning the phone, which looked tiny in his big hands, back and forth.
I don’t have time for this, I thought. Who in this day and age didn’t know how to use a cell phone?
“Gimmie.” Holding out a hand to take my cell back, I swore and then led him into the living room. “You can use this.” As he took the cordless phone from my hand I stood off to the side to give him some privacy while surreptitiously studying him.
He had rich, cinnamon-tinged skin, wide shoulders, a compact body, and muscular legs that filled out his faded Levi’s quite nicely. Releasing a sigh, I reluctantly decided it wouldn’t hurt if I were a tiny bit late.
Lost in my musings, I startled when he thanked me. As he spoke, he took out his wallet. “Here’s something for any inconvenience I may have caused you.”
“Oh, no. Really, put that back.” I said while shoving the crisp bill back his way. I let out a nervous little twitter as our hands met. “It was no problem.”
With a slight shrug, he replaced his money with a smile and then took a step back. We stood staring awkwardly at each other for a moment before he cleared his throat, dropped his gaze to my candy-apple red ballet slippers, and then brought it back up to my face. Giving me a small nod, he replaced the Stetson he’d removed upon entering and began to back away towards the door.
“You can use me—” I blurted out, “I mean my phone anytime.” Blushing furiously, I swore again before asking, “Did I just say what I think I did?”
“Yeah.” He nodded, his smile threatening to break into a full-blown laugh.
“Sorry…” I brushed a stray braid behind one ear and grimaced, “Now would be a good time for the ground to open up and swallow me.”
Still smiling, he gazed at me with eyes the color of warm honey and asked, “Over a simple slip of the tongue?”
I shrugged my shoulders and watched as he waited a beat and then turned away from me saying, “Thanks again…”
Not in the least bit worried about being late now, I gazed longingly at his retreating form and asked, “Do you need a lift—hold on a minute okay?” I rummaged through my purse, pulled out my ringing cell, and held a finger up to indicate he wait as he turned back to face me.
“Yeah, El… I was just on my way out…Umm…no, never mind, just come on in; I’ll wait.” As I spoke, I leaned against the sofa while watching the play of muscles in the cowboy’s thighs as he stepped farther away to give me some privacy. “I’m glad you remembered, El. Thank you.” As he turned back to me, I quickly transformed the lusty look of longing on my face to an innocent smile while explaining, “My sisters on the way so if you could wait a second, I’ll get her settled in before I drop you off.”
He removed his Stetson, ran a hand over his low-cut curls, and asked, “Are you sure, ‘cause I could walk back to the truck.”
“Yeah I’m sure. Here, have a seat.” I let a hand trail across the coarse fabric of the sofa.
“I really appreciate this—”
“It’s no problem.” I cut in.
The cowboy nodded and then took a seat on the edge of the sofa, his hands resting on his knees.
Slightly uncomfortable in the silence that ensued, I spoke, “I’m going to put on some music.”
“Sounds good.” He smiled.
“Do you like it fast or slow?”
He chuckled to himself and rubbed the nape of his neck again.
Grimacing, I pushed play and wondered if every phrase I uttered had to sound like something from a phone sex-line.
“My sister gave me this CD. It’s supposed to be really nice.” Shrugging my shoulders I continued, “I haven’t checked it out yet, but—Damn it.” I swore as slow sensual music flowed from the stereo’s speakers.
My eyes widened as his heavy-lidded topaz gaze settled on me and I quickly pressed stop and searched for another CD.
“Umm… that wasn’t the mood I was looking for, I’m sorry.” taking a deep breath, I fanned myself I asked, “Is it hot in here because I’m burning up.”
I could have sworn the temperature had risen by at least ten degrees at the intimate setting the music had created. His gaze rested on me and I moaned softly.
“I’m fine, but are you all right? You look sorta light-headed.” Getting to his feet, he closed the distance between us and came to a halt in front of me. Taking my hand, he slowly rubbed my wrist with his thumb.
“Wow…” glazing into his eyes I whispered, “I think I do need to sit down.” I took a few unsteady steps and then sat heavily onto the sofa.
“Anything I can do to help?”
Yeah, strip and then follow me into the bedroom…
Arbrillia Willis Author of Cowboy Up
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