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Kyler looked as if he didn’t believe him.

“Second, I could use a gopher on the house I’m fixing up. I’d expect you to help me out after school, let’s say once a week.”

He nodded vigorously. “Sure, no problem. I can do that.”

The driver’s side door opened and a girl jumped out. “Ky? What’s going on?”

Jocelyn was a very pretty girl—dark hair, dark eyes, a dark hickey on the side of her neck.

Kyler said, “This is my cousin Dalton. He’s gonna give us a jump.”

“Oh. Okay.” She rubbed her arms. “It’s getting cold in there.”

Kyler immediately took off his jacket. “Here. This’ll keep you warm.”

Smooth, kid, real smooth.

Jocelyn offered Kyler a dazzling smile. “Thanks.” Then she crawled back in the cab.

Yeah. Dalton had been thrown for a loop by a smile like that a time or ten in his life. Poor Kyler hadn’t stood a chance.

He clapped him on the shoulder. “Come on. Let’s get that beast running so your girlfriend doesn’t freeze and your dad doesn’t send your Uncle Cam out lookin’ for ya.”

Chapter Eleven

Friday night in the Golden Boot with Rory wasn’t going as well as Dalton had hoped.

She sighed. “We’ve been sitting here alone together for ten minutes and no one has wandered up to chat.”

“Don’t you mean to ask us questions that ain’t none of their business?” Dalton countered.

“It’s Sundance, Dalton. You gotta expect we’re being gawked at and gossiped about.”

“We can leave and go someplace else if you’d rather.”

Rory shook her head.

The stiff way she held herself and the way her eyes darted around the room gave him the impression she didn’t want to be here at all.

“I didn’t mean to chase your friends off.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Yes you did.”

“Was it that obvious I wanted you all to myself?”

“Only to me. And it was sort of pissing me off, the way Vanessa drooled over you.”

“Drooled,” he scoffed. “Right.”

“You are looking particularly drool-worthy tonight, McKay. Nothing sexier than a cowboy in a crisp white shirt, a black hat and a pair of Cinch jeans.”

“How much had you been drinkin’ before I got here?”

“Not nearly enough after the week I had at work.” She drained her drink.

“Special project turning out to be not so special?”

“Frustrating. It’d be easier if all the paperwork came directly to me, but of course it’s gotta be officially stamped in Cheyenne and then forwarded to me so I can log it in which is a gigantic pain in my ass.”

“So that’s what you and your friends discuss on Friday nights? Your crappy work week?”

“No. We’re usually trolling for…” Her mouth snapped shut. “Never mind.”

Dalton swigged his beer, trying really hard not to scour the bar and check out his competition.

“What have you been doing the last couple days?” she asked.

“I worked on the house. They delivered the furniture on Thursday. Planned to do a couple other things but the week got away from me.”

“I know how that goes.”

“Have you eaten?”

“Yeah. Ordering bar food is a habit since I’ve worked in so many bars over the years.”

He sighed. “There goes my chance to wine and dine you on our date.”

“I don’t expect that from you.”

“But you deserve it. And I want to give it to you. How about if we dance?”

“Let’s go.”

He slid out of the booth and took her hand.

She led them to the middle of the dance floor. “None of that fancy two-stepping stuff or western swing you cowboys are fond of.”

“So we’ll just sway together?”

“For a little while. Is that okay?”

“Very okay.”

They didn’t speak through three songs, just moved together in near perfect synch. Their physical closeness and the lack of conversation attuned his senses just to her. The gradual softening of her body against his. The increased tempo of her heart. The quicker intake of her breath.

He brushed his lips over her ear. “I like havin’ you in my arms. Have I mentioned I love that you’re tall?”

She laughed softly. “No.”

“Well, I do. We’re a perfect fit. In every way.”

“Tell me what you’re really thinking,” she said dryly.

“I’m thinkin’ the scent of you so close to me is driving me insane.” Dalton ran his nose along her neck. “Sweet and musky. And goddamn do I want the scent of you all over me.” He wondered if she’d stiffen after that confession, but she melted into him.



“Nobody calls me that but you.”

“I can call you that all the time, if you’d prefer.”

The soft warmth of her breath on his neck sent a tingle down the right side of his body. “I like that you call me that when we’re alone and you’re being romantic.”

Although the band picked up the pace with a faster song, they continued dancing slow.

He murmured, “Will you come home with me tonight?”

Rory tensed but didn’t answer.

So he continued dancing with her, like it wasn’t killing him to have her curvy body plastered to his. His cock behaved as long as he didn’t bury his face in her sweet smelling hair, or fill his lungs with the addicting scent of her skin.

When the song ended, he released her hand and stepped back. “I’m ready for a drink, how about you?”

Rory blinked those beautiful green eyes, confused he wasn’t pressing her on tonight’s sleeping arrangements. “Sure.”

Dalton led her off the dance floor to their booth. He slid across from her rather than next to her.

Since it wasn’t busy, Cindy, the waitress who’d worked there since Dalton could remember, stopped by immediately. “Another round?”

“I’ll switch to Coors Light. Rory, you want another whiskey sour?”

“No. Tell Lettie to make a tall half 7UP, half sour mix with a splash of orange juice.”

“Got it.”

“You’re done drinking for tonight?”

Rory lifted a shoulder. “Wasn’t feeling it right now.”

“What are you feeling?”

“Like I need a clear head before I decide whether or not to go home with you.” She closed her eyes briefly and inhaled a deep breath. “Between you and the booze…”

He fought a frown. “What about me?”

“Being close to you packs a powerful punch, Dalton. The way you move, the way your deep voice seems to burrow into me and sets off these little electric charges under my skin.”

Now Dalton fought a huge-ass grin. “I’m liking the direction this is goin’, sugarplum.”

She slapped her hand on the table, startling him. “And then there’s that.”


“That sexy way you tease me. Sometimes it’s blatant; sometimes it’s sweet. You keep me off balance.”

He reached for her hand, bringing it up to kiss her knuckles. “What would tip you the right way into spending the night in my bed?”

Rory laughed. “See? There it is again.”

“And yet I’m not hearing an answer from you.” He kissed the inside of her wrist and lightly nipped the base of her thumb. “You really haven’t made up your mind yet? After the time we’ve spent together?” He placed a kiss in the center of her palm. “Or maybe I should point out all the time we’ve spent apart. You haven’t imagined how it would be between us now?”

“Of course I have,” she said a little too quickly, which seemed to annoy her.

Cindy dropped off their drinks. “Sorry to bug you, Dalton, but there’s a woman at the bar who says she knows you.”

“Is she a relative of mine?”

“No. She’s a blonde with big…” She paused and amended, “She’s blonde.”

Dalton never looked away from Rory. “What’s she want?”

“To buy you a drink.”

“Tell her I’m not interested.”

“Will do.”

Rory let go of his hand to pick up her drink. “Aren’t you the least bit curious about who it is?”


“Not even to look over there and see if you recognize her?”

“Nope. Now that’s settled, can I please have your hand back?”

She frowned. “What?”

“You have two hands. I’d like to hold one of them.”


“Because I like touching you, Rory. Even if it’s just holding hands.”

Rory exhaled a put-upon sigh that was totally bogus before she slid her arm across the table. “Happy now?”

“Been happy since the moment this date started.” Dalton threaded their fingers together. “How’s your virgin drink?”

“Good. I noticed you haven’t touched your beer.”

“Sorta sorry I ordered it, if you wanna know the truth.”

“I’ll share mine.” She nudged it to the center of the table.

“Thanks.” He slid the straw between his lips and sucked. “Not bad. So what’s your favorite drink to make?”

“Martinis. There are so many variations with all the different flavors of vodka. There’s this bar in Ft. Collins that has one hundred and seventy-five flavors of infused vodka. I had an amazing Skittles martini with such cool presentation—a rainbow-colored sugared rim, a swizzle stick speared with candy and bright blue liquid.”

“How’d it taste?”

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