Wednesday Whisper ~ With This Ring

Climbing down the stairs, she wished for some sunglasses. The entire house was bright, which normally didn’t bother her. Quite the opposite actually. Right now, she wanted to hiss and scurry to the closest, darkest corner and never leave so long as the sun shone.

She pinched the bridge of her nose, took a deep breath, and walked into the living room. Standing behind the handmade wooden sofa frame was Dustin. A moan of desire almost escaped as she took him in. Black shirt—tight black shirt—hugged his powerful arms. His jeans only emphasized the leanness of his waist and the muscled legs which more oft than not were around a horse.

Lucky damn horse.

She knew he wore cowboy boots. In all the years she’d known him, the only time he hadn’t was for football. Wiping her hands along her jeans, she went to her father’s side and kissed him.

“Sorry you had to come get me, Daddy.”

He patted her hand. “Mr. Kane was just telling me how pleased he is with the work you’ve done on his horses.”

Flushed, she ducked her head. “You taught me all I know, Daddy.”

“Never was good with compliments, this one.” Her father rose and moved from the room. “Good to see you again, son.”

“You too, sir.”

His voice, so mesmerizing, had her biting the inside of her lip. They were alone in the room, and she slowly met Dustin’s gaze. He watched her, amusement on his face.

“Rough night? Or has it been that long since you’ve drunk so much?”

She sat on the arm of the nearest chair, unsure how long her legs could hold her. “You come all the way out here to ask me about my drinking habits?” Rubbing her temples, she wished the pounding would ebb. An easy grin lifted the corners of his entirely-too-kissable mouth.

“Nope. I thought you might like a ride to retrieve your truck.”

Her truck. Crap. Still parked outside Denim & Spurs, alerting to everyone she went home with someone. More specifically, Dustin Kane, as he took her out of the establishment. She groaned. “You sure you don’t mind?”

“Not at all.”

She pushed up and yawned. “Let’s go then.” He nodded once, sharply. “Back in a bit, Daddy, and I’ll take care of the horses.”

“Need some help?” Dustin asked as she shut the door behind her.

“With what?” Why couldn’t she focus on something other than how amazing his ass looked in that denim, or how he moved, smelled, anything like that?

“Horses,” Dustin said.

“I only have to throw out some hay.”

“I’ll help. Let’s go.”

She found herself headed in that direction before she realized he’d issued an order and she’d followed it.

“How many bales?”

“Six.” She started the Gator and pulled it up to the hay shed. “Damn,” she muttered, watching Dustin stride down with a bale in each hand. Flashes of being in his arms as he carried her up the stairs hit her. Then came the recollection of her asking him to sleep with her. Oh, God. I can’t believe I did that. How the hell do I go forward from here?

Dustin didn’t say a word about it to her, just put the hay in the back and went for more bales. Didn’t take them long to load the Gator and head for the pasture. He got the gate and easily hopped back into the utility vehicle beside her. She watched him in her periphery as she drove to the first stop where they’d set out some hay. How did he manage to smell and look so good?

“Sorry about waking you.”

She slid out, met him at the back where he flicked open his knife and sliced through the twine with ease. They each took two flakes and spread it around.

“I needed to be up anyway.” They progressed along the next spots, the horses coming up at a slow trot. “Did I do anything last night I need to be worried about? Or apologize for?” He grinned at her over the remaining hay. Her belly tensed as what felt like a thousand head stampeded through. It was a grin that boasted a secret of sorts. Something private. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

He shrugged easily. “A bit.”

They spread out the final hay and left the pasture. Dustin wasn’t what anyone would call chatty and normally neither was she, but she found herself craving the sound of his deep melodic voice.

In his truck, after disposing of the twine and parking the Gator, her body calmed a bit. Not a lot but in her state she’d take anything. Soft strands of country music poured through the cab. She wasn’t surprised. He had country on in his barns as well.

He had a dark green F-350 King Ranch, and she shifted along the smooth brown leather. A standard—like she had—and she observed him surreptitiously as he maneuvered them down the nearly deserted road.

“You plan on answering me?” She rested her head against the seat and closed her eyes.

“Before or after the kiss?”

That soft-spoken statement caught her attention. She jerked up only to cringe and take a sharp breath at the exploding pain in her head. “Kiss?” she croaked.

A sexy smile flirted with the corner of his mouth. “You don’t remember?” He stared at her, making her take a sharp breath for an entirely different reason. Those eyes, those incredible eyes burned with heat that singed her.

She thought she’d dreamed kissing him.

“No dream, beautiful. It happened right at Denim & Spurs.”

Can’t even keep my mouth shut for an internal thought. Yet, her girlish side latched onto the fact he’d called her beautiful.

“I kissed you?”

“Long and passionate.” He winked as they slowed, entering town. “Rocked my world. I’m hurt you don’t recall it but guess that means I’ll have to ensure next time it’s memorable for you. I’ll never forget it. The feel of your lips, the intoxicating taste of you, a moment I’ll never forget.”

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