“I’m the lucky man to test your stamina? All night?” He grinned. “I’m all over that.”

“I’ll bet a guy like you has plenty of stayin’ power,” Chassie shot back with a sexy growl. “I’m lucky, showin’ up with the two hottest guys in the county. That uppity Brandy Martinson is so gonna eat her heart out.”

“I’m sure she’s used to no one noticing her when you’re in the room, sweetheart,”

Edgard drawled.

“Ed, stop flirtin’ with my wife.” Trevor pointed at Chassie. “And you better behave, missy. I ain’t opposed to puttin’ you over my knee and paddlin’ that badonkadonk if the situation warrants it.”

She stood and started stacking plates. “You threaten to spank me but you never follow through.” She paused, looking thoughtfully at Edgard. “Since I’m not Trevor’s usual type—a big boobed blonde—I wondered if Trevor’s claim is true or if he’s feedin’ me a cowboy line.”

“What line would that be?”

“That he’s always had a thing for asses and it’s the first body part he notices.”

Right. How could he answer that? Edgard’s eyes darted to the clock on the microwave. “Wow, look at the time. Need help cleaning up?”

“Chicken,” Chassie taunted. “I will get to the bottom of all these secrets you two have.”

Trevor’s face read, I hope not.

“Let me finish them supper dishes, sassy woman.” Trevor snapped the air by her butt with a dishtowel. “Get yourself gussied up and remember, we ain’t got all night.”

The bowls crashed in the sink. “Trevor Glanzer. Are you implying I’d need all night to make myself presentable?”

Edgard grabbed the spatula in Chassie’s hand and stepped between them, effortlessly herding her toward the stairs. “No, he’s reminding you to hurry up because he’s anxious to show you off. I imagine Trev gets a kick at seeing those poor suckers drooling over you, knowing you’re gonna be mattress dancing with him at the end of the night.”

“Such sweet bullshit, but I’ll take every bit of flattery fallin’ from those sugar lips, sugar.” Chassie left a loud, smacking kiss on Edgard’s cheek.

Edgard experienced a beat of utter pleasure, even when a sound resembling a jealous growl drifted from the sink.

“I like him, Trev. He can stay as long as he wants.” She darted an arch look over her shoulder at her husband. “However, you might be sleepin’ in the barn.”

The band started off the first set with a cover of Dierks Bentley’s “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do” and the dance floor filled.

Chassie parked herself between Trevor and Edgard and thoroughly enjoyed the questioning glances sent their way. With his swarthy good looks, it was pretty obvious Edgard wasn’t from around here.

“I wanna dance.”

“Chass, can you wait until I finish my beer?”

“But I love this song.” When the chorus kicked in, she joined in, “Before you go and turn me on…make sure that you can turn me loose.”

Both men stiffened.

“What? You don’t like my singing?”

No answer from either one.

“Well too bad,” and she sang along a little louder.

“Christ. You’re in a feisty mood,” Trevor grumbled.

“Yeah? Guess that counters the bad mood you’re in.”

“No need to bicker.” Edgard set down his bottle. “Come on, I’ll dance with you until your feet blister and the cows come home.”

The bass line started for Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown” and Edgard swung her into position.

Oh he was smooth. He glided them from one edge of the dance floor to the other, never missing a beat, never stepping on her toes, never once checking out any of the other female dancers. His focus was solely on her.

When the song segued into Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t Blink” Edgard smiled down at her. “Go again? Or would you like to stop?”


“Somehow I knew you’d say that.” He pulled her body closer to his and they swayed to the slower tempo.

While Chassie was squeezed against Edgard, she couldn’t help but notice how good he smelled, a subtle scent that intensified when her nose brushed the gap between his shirt collar and his skin. She inhaled several times and wondered if the dizziness was just from the spinning.

“You okay?”

She tilted her head back. “Yeah. Why?”

“You were sniffling.”

“Not sniffling, sniffing. I hope you don’t think it sounds dorky, but man, you smell great. Really great.”

Edgard actually blushed. “Ah. Thank you.”

“I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

“I’m not used to such genuine compliments.”

“Really? I’d think you’d be immune, considering the way you look, because you probably get them all the time.”

“Not so much lately.”

Chassie peered into his face. “I might be totally off base, but you seem kinda unhappy. On guard. Like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Is that so? How can you tell?”

“At times your pretty smile doesn’t quite reach your pretty eyes.”

“You are a flirt, Missus Glanzer.” He smiled softly. “But you are a perceptive little thing.”

She bumped him with her hip. “Hey. Who you callin’ little?”

“You. What are you, about five foot nothin’?”

“Hah! I’m five foot two and a quarter. Bein’ small in stature doesn’t mean I haven’t been filled to the brim with my share of sadness, that’s for damn sure.”

“So that’s why you’re so good at recognizing it in others?”

“Yeah. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I could just be a happy-go-lucky bubblehead with nothin’ on my mind. It’d be easier.”

“It’d be easier for me too, sweetheart.” Edgard urged her to move a bit faster as his polite way of ending the discussion.

When the song finished, Chassie latched onto his shirt as she stood on the tips of her boots. “Any time you need to talk, track me down. I may be a lousy singer, but I’m a good listener.”

His warm lips brushed her forehead. Twice. Then he pressed a kiss to her mouth.

Twice. “You are beyond sweet. Thank you. I’ll keep that in mind.”

Back at the table, she released his hand and grabbed her purse, booking it to the ladies room. Didn’t it just figure the next woman to walk in the bathroom was none other than Brandy Martinson? Chassie plastered on a fake smile when Brandy sidled up to her.

“Chassie! I was just looking for you. Who is that good-lookin’ guy you were dancin’ with?” Brandy applied a coat of shiny orange lipstick, and smacked her lips together in a self-kiss before smiling cagily at Chassie in the mirror. “Because you were awful familiar with him.”

Chassie jerked a paper towel from the dispenser. “So?”

“So, you two look so much alike with your darker skin tones and dark hair I figured he had to be a relative.”

A relative? Chassie patted Brandy’s shoulder in a false show of comfort. “Aw, honey, you oughta wear your glasses all the time so you don’t get so confused.”

Brandy retorted, “You tellin’ me the gorgeous guy you were cozied up to ain’t your kin?”


“Good Lord.” Brandy’s smooth white hand stopped mid hair fluff. “And Trevor didn’t mind you slow dancin’ so suggestively with another man?”

“Trevor encouraged it actually.”

“Did he encourage that man to kiss you too?”

Damn. Chassie didn’t have near the experience with the female game of cat and mouse as the catty Brandy did. She tried a breezy laugh. “Oh that? It didn’t bother Trevor in the least.”

“How very…interesting.” Brandy leaned into the mirror to check the concealer under her eyes. “So who is this mystery man who’s allowed to kiss you in public?”

“A friend of Trevor’s. They used to be ropin’ partners on the circuit a few years back.”

Done with her hair and face, Brandy spritzed on perfume. “He’s just visiting?”

“For now. But I don’t mind tellin’ you I hope he sticks around. He’s really good with his hands.” When Brandy froze mid-thirty-ninth spritz, Chassie bit her cheek to keep from laughing. She amended, “I mean, he’s a good hand.”

“Oh.” A malicious spark flared in Brandy’s eyes. “I’m not surprised he’s the wayward type. You seem to have a thing for picking up, ah, stray former rodeo cowboys.”

Brandy might as well have sneered washed-up rodeo cowboys. Chassie allowed another smug grin. “Yeah, it’s a terrible chore watchin’ all those big muscles bulging as my strays are workin’ up a sweat. I especially hate the way they strut around in old, tight-fittin’, faded Wranglers as they’re loadin’ haybales or bent over machinery. It does get tiresome, them constantly tryin’ to take care of me.”

“Yes, I can see how the orphaned country girl scenario might be appealing to men like that—for a while. But we both know how easily cowboys get bored and move on.”

Chassie nodded. “That is the sad truth. Which reminds me, didn’t your boyfriend Stevo go back to his pregnant wife?”

“Ex-wife,” she spit. “And for your information, I ended it before he crawled back to that low-class breeder bitch.”

“Good for you. Nice chattin’, Brandy. See ya around.” Chassie made a beeline for the door before things deteriorated.

Chassie didn’t hate many people, but snotty Brandy Martinson topped the list. From the first day they’d wound up in the same first grade class, Brandy had turned her pert, freckled nose up at Chassie. Brandy was a pampered town girl; Chassie a poor rural girl.