Blurb: High school librarian Jana's best friends Kim and Tracy accuse her of being a professional spinster, still single at twenty-seven. On a bet with them, the weekend of the big rodeo, Jana goes to the favorite nightspot of the rodeo crowd to try to pick up a cowboy. Before the night is over, she knows the steak dinner she'll win from her friends is by far the least of her prizes. Once she gets acquainted with Ty, the phrase "ride 'em cowboy" takes on a whole new meaning. She just might run her brand on this one!
Excerpt: : This details Jana and Ty's initial meeting. She's dressed much sexier than usual and not quite comfortable in the tight jeans and t-shirt she's wearing to fit in.
Damn, I feel like everyone is looking at me and they all think I'm a hooker.
Dodging departing dancers and hurrying waitresses, she made a bee-line for
He's hung like a Brahma bull, too, from what those tight jeans showed today.
At that brazen memory, Jana felt the heat wash over her face. Thank goodness no one could see her blush in the dim light. But she'd noticed. She couldn't help it, just as half the female population of Riverbend had also. At today's rodeo, she could hardly take her gaze off him. Whether he won or not, he was one hot hunk of cowboy.
But today hadn't been one of his good days. Coming out of the chute his bareback bronc had stumbled. When the horse fell in a leggy awkward heap, Ty had barely scrambled clear. He'd get a re-ride tomorrow morning, but that wasn't much consolation. Then with one of the bull's infamous tricky moves, Big Trouble had unloaded him in the seventh second, hardly a heartbeat short of the whistle. Up until then, he'd had a good ride. Not that it mattered. No money, no points, in either event. He was clearly taking the run of rotten luck hard.
Finally reaching him, she slid onto the stool at his side. He ignored her.
"Lousy luck today." Her voice came out gritty and low, like she needed a drink.
"G'wan," he slurred. "Buckle bunnies don't hang around losers."
Somehow, she sensed he wasn't really all that drunk. "I'm not a buckle bunny and you're damn well no loser."
He turned then, raked her with a pair of pale gray eyes, every inch of her from the fire-hued Stetson with the rhinestone band to the toes of her scarlet boots. His gaze held a heated tactile intensity. God, what eyes. She went hot and cold under their steady gaze. People said he was part Apache. With that shoulder length black hair clubbed back by a rawhide thong, he looked the part.
"And just how would you know, little girl? I've never seen you in here before. How come you're here tonight, and why are you hitting on me?"
"I'm here 'cause I like to dance, to soak up the atmosphere. Anyway, one day doesn't make a loser," she retorted. "There's always tomorrow and the next rodeo."
He snorted. "Tell that to Tawny."
Who's Tawny? Then Jana recalled the petite blonde. The girl had been plastered to Ty's side at the last several rodeos she'd attended. Tonight, the blonde was conspicuous by her absence. Jana wanted to make a snippy comment about blondes not being known for their powers of reasoning, but she suspected that wouldn't go over well, especially seeing as how her hair was dark auburn.
Just then someone crammed some coins in the jukebox and Trace Adkins' latest began to play. She took a sip of her beer, fighting a grimace at the unfamiliar bitter flavor. The harried bartender had simply shoved a mug her way, not even asking. Was beer all they served in here? Given a chance, she would have opted for just about anything else cold and wet. She seldom drank alcohol, but when she did, her beverage of choice was a nice dry wine.
When Ty turned away as if to dismiss her, she felt a surge of panic. Oh no, I can't fail! I wouldn't have guts to try this again. Reaching out, she put a hand on his shoulder. Under her fingers, his flesh felt hot and hard as the tight muscle of a good Quarter horse.
"Come on, cowboy," she said in her lowest husky voice, the voice that was totally inappropriate for a high school librarian. "Let's dance. I didn't come in here to sit around and be someone's crying towel."
"You don't know one goddamn thing," he muttered, but he stood and followed her onto the dance floor, walking as steadily as if he were stone-sober. "One bad day--or a dozen..."
As she turned to face him, he looked at her again, really looked. As that fierce gaze slid over her body, she felt it as keenly as a touch. Her nipples hardened, thrusting against the clinging tee and her knees wobbled. She could see he didn't miss any of her reaction, which proved he wasn't nearly as drunk as he'd pretended to be at first. Bet he's nursed that one beer for quite awhile.
His angular lips quirked into a parody of a smile. "Okay, little girl, if you came to dance, I'll give it a try. In that outfit, you're looking sexier than Dolly Parton at her best with a little Shania Twain on the side. I hope you're not just for show 'cause I could sure use a dose of warm woman tonight."
In answer she snuggled close to Ty's big hard body as they stepped off to the music. Take his mind off the blonde, off anything except me. She'd bet he was just lonely and angry enough to let his guard down. In fact, she was counting on it.
As they moved around the floor, Jana thanked her lucky stars that all the tunes someone had chosen were slow ones. That kept her close to Ty, body to body, in a contact that felt more intimate with each passing second. Still, in the heat of the crowded bar, she began to perspire.
The moisture heightened the scent of her musk perfume which rose up in an invisible cloud around them. With every breath, they both inhaled the sensual odor. Before the set was over, she sensed him growing hard, felt the unconscious tightening of his embrace. His hand slid from the middle of her back to the swell of her bottom. She relaxed and let her body meld to his.
"I don't know who you are, gal, but you're coming across as one hot mama. How about we go outside?"
Jana nodded, too pleased and too anxious to reply. When he turned her to walk directly in front of him, she smiled inwardly. Bet the zipper and denim of his jeans are stressed to the max. The notion that she, plain timid little Jana, could arouse a hard-bitten cowboy to that extent was headier than a whole pitcher of beer. They made their way through the shifting crowd to the door through which Jana had entered a half hour or so ago. Outside it must have been close to a hundred degrees at ten o'clock. Dry heat or not, she felt it and sensed he did, too.
He turned to the side once they were clear of the door and propped himself against the wall, drawing her close. She opened her mouth to ask what he was doing, but before the words were out, his lips closed over hers. He gave her a hard, urgent kiss, tasting of beer and cowboy, a kiss that hit her like striking a match over a dish of gasoline. A flare of desire surged through her so fiercely she went weak all over. She clutched at his shoulders for balance, for something to hang onto in a world that whirled crazily around her.
"I've got a room in the motel across the highway," Ty said, finally lifting his mouth clear of hers. "It's there or my truck. Truck's closer but not as comfortable."