She stuck out her tongue. “I could just go into the house, up to my room and lock my door, now couldn’t I?”
“But you won’t.” He smiled in a way that always managed to tear up her backbone and turn it to mush. “Get yourself one while you’re at it. It’s hot as hades out here.”
She returned a few minutes later and passed him an icy can. He took it, but held her hand at the same time, and dropped a careless kiss on her palm. “Have I told you lately that I adore you?”
She pulled her hand free—her skin scorched from his lips—and sat in her rocker. “You’re incorrigible. No wonder all the men want to thrash you.”
“They know it’s just my way. And no one out here thrashes anyone. They beat the living tar outta ya. Keep to your cowboy talk like I’ve bin ateaching ya.”
She laughed as he’d intended and changed the subject. “Now that they’ve talked you into it, are you going to bring Cathy to the tavern tonight to hear you sing?”
“Might! She’s been frisky as a filly lately and it’s hard to keep her bridled.”
“Not sure how she feels, but I wouldn’t want to be compared to a horse. You might need a bit more finesse to court this girl, Clint. With her looks, she could have any man she wants.” Goading him helped to ease her jealousy.
“True, she does have a dynamite body. But darlin’, it’s her mind that attracts me.” He winked and then guzzled the beer. His throat muscles drew her attention and she zeroed in on his tanned face. If a director for an action movie needed an actor to star in a macho-masculine role, Clint would be the guy he’d hire. No one could ever mistake him for a softie, or a weakling.
He looked at her, waiting, his eyebrow raised.
“You’ve convinced me. Now you just need to spin that story on the girl herself.”
Clint leaned toward her, his beer held in both hands between his open knees. “Annie-love, trust me. Cathy’s not a girl. She’s a woman. And she knows exactly what she wants.”
Excerpt from Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour
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