“Annelise, Ty Rawlins has posted a no trespassing sign. My guess is he’s still in love with his dead wife.”
“There is that possibility.”
“Yes, there is.” Sophie swung open the door and marched out, straight into Ty.
He put his hands on her arms to steady her.
“Sorry,” she mumbled.
“Don’t be. My fault. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“Ask the girl to dance, Ty.” Annelise stood behind them in the narrow hallway.
“I—” He raised his hands.
“That’s okay.” Sophie moved to skirt around him.
“No.” He reached out, caught her hand. The jolt was instantaneous, and she knew he felt it, too, when he momentarily broke contact.
“It’s all right. I don’t need to be entertained.” She heard the snap of temper in her voice but couldn’t control it.
“Understood.” Ty nodded toward the jukebox. “But here’s the thing. Cash fed the machine enough coins to fill a good-size swimming pool. All those quarters. All that music. Why waste it?”
He held out a hand; heat flooded her face.
No way to avoid it. If she refused, she’d come off as a prickly snob. He had to think the worst of her anyway. Whatever social graces her mother’d drummed into her seemed to have flown out the window.
She had no idea why he’d want to dance with an idiot, but who was she to deny him that dubious honor?
“In that case, I’d love to.” She smiled, took his hand, and they walked together to the small center square reserved for dancing. She refused to so much as look at her cousin. Refused, for that matter, to meet any of the eyes in the restaurant watching them speculatively.
A slow number came on and Ty turned her to him, put his other arm around her waist, and drew her in.
“‘The Keeper of the Stars,’” he said quietly. “Quite a song.”
Her heart hammered as Ty very skillfully swept her along to the music. It was different from any dance she’d ever experienced. Night and day from the one she’d shared with Brawley. He’d been fun. Ty? Intense was the only word she could come up with to define the aura surrounding him.
Totally unfamiliar with country songs, she listened to the words over the beating of her heart. “It was no accident me finding you…” Her temperature spiked ten degrees. He was right. The words were captivating. Intense, just like him. And, oh, so romantic.
His hand holding hers was callused and strong, the one at her waist firm. Hot.
Ty did not, in any way, make her think brotherly thoughts. Instead, heat pooled low. Yearnings stirred. Thoughts and desires she’d doubted she’d ever feel.
The man was dangerous. She’d do well to remember that. But for now, she’d simply enjoy the moment. The dance drifted into a second, then a third. Sophie vaguely registered others on the dance floor with them, smiled when Annelise and Cash brushed past.
Ty stood over a foot taller than her five-three, and her head rested on the strapping cowboy’s chest. She heard the steady beating of his heart and surprised herself by wishing the song could go on forever.
She was deathly afraid she wouldn’t say no if this man wanted to park his cowboy boots beneath her bed. For one night, of course.
“Sophie?” Ty’s voice whispered against her ear.
“The music’s stopped.”
Visit Lynnette on Facebook and Twitter.