Amusement danced in the stranger’s eyes, and the smile that had threatened claimed a set of kissable lips she had the sudden urge to taste. Her heart rolled in her chest. Dammit. He needed to stop doing that or she was never going to catch her breath. An instant later, his gaze dropped to her mouth, and what little air was left in Jovy’s lungs took a hike, leaving her with a racing pulse and fluttering stomach. No man had ever affected her this way, especially a stranger. But at the moment, she didn’t care. An odd, new, tangible current coursed between them.
If the heat entering his gaze was any indication, the stranger felt it, too. Good. She’d hate to be the only one stuck in this crazy-ass haze. The good-looking Texan was hard. Deliciously hard. And dead sexy. Heaven help her, it took all of Jovy’s willpower to fight the impulse to press him onto his back and check his body for injuries…with slow and very thorough precision. That would be foolish. So damn foolish. Need trembled through her like a rampaging cow, but she continued to resist. The urges were so far out of her character she remained stunned.
And completely at his mercy. All the cowboy had to do was make a move, one little move, and she would lean forward and accidentally catch his lips with her mouth.
“Is everyone all right?” An older man approached, rope dangling from his hand…on a tractor?
She wasn’t in Pennsylvania anymore.
He was a welcome interruption. Her heated, sensitized, need-filled body wholeheartedly disagreed.
The cowboy blinked the desire from his eyes before he turned his attention to the newcomer. “Yeah.” He gently pushed the cow back so he could stand. “We’re okay, Skeeter.”
Skeeter? There was a name she didn’t hear every day, but it fit the senior citizen’s friendly, weathered face. Her sexy rescuer turned and held a hand out to help her up, but before she could grab on, Lula Belle rushed forward to shove between them.
“Possessive much?” She scooted backward on her butt.
Skeeter chuckled and passed the rope to the cowboy, who quickly fashioned a loop and harnessed the cow. “Don’t mind Lula Belle. The old gal is sweet on Stone.”
She smirked. “Never would’ve guessed.”
Nor would she have guessed the cowboy’s name was Stone. Although whether it was his first, last, or nickname, it was 100 percent fitting, considering the rock-hard body that had just covered hers on the sidewalk.
Still chuckling, the older man held out his hand, and this time, the cow didn’t interfere as he helped Jovy to her feet.
“Thank you, Skeeter. I’m Jovy.”
“Welcome to Texas, Jovy.” He smiled and released her hand.
She glanced up and down the street. “Are there any other rampaging cows or livestock I need to worry about?”
“Not unless you count cowboys as livestock.” He winked, then grabbed the rope from Stone. “Come on, Lula Belle. Let’s get you home. I bet Mr. Rawlins isn’t even aware you’re gone.” With a nod and a few hard tugs on the harness, Skeeter led the protesting cow away.
She was definitely not in Pennsylvania anymore.
Jovy turned, intending to thank the stranger for saving her, but he was busy affixing her dangling sign to the hooks above the door. Without the use of the ladder.
Jeez. Just how tall was the guy?
“Small” was not a word used to describe Jovy’s five-foot-nine-inch frame. Tall. Sturdy. Curvy. Heck, despite her dark hair, she’d even been nicknamed Marilyn by several guys back in her college days. But tiny, delicate, and small were all antonyms.
Until now. Compared to this man. He had almost a good half a foot on her, with broad shoulders and muscles bulging under the rolled-up sleeves of his denim shirt. The lean Texan made her feel delicate…and feminine. Not an easy feat.
He finished hanging the sign, stepped back, and frowned. “V-Spot Café?”
For a small, stupid moment her mind heard G-spot and her body responded with another damn tremor. Bet he knew where a woman’s…
Stiffening, she gave her head a small shake to get her mind back on track before thrusting out her hand. “Thank you for catching me.”
Warm and strong, his fingers curled around hers and tiny tingles of heat skittered up her arm. She glanced from their hands to his bewildered gaze.
That was new.
He cleared his throat and released her. “It was nothing.”
Unsure if he was referring to his heroic act or the current flowing between, she pushed both thoughts aside. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t staying in Texas any longer than necessary. This crazy, weird attraction was best ignored.
“Well, I appreciate what you did. Thanks for your help.” She glanced at the shop and shuddered. “Man, my jackass of a landlord would’ve had a cow if that window had smashed. I’m sure he never would’ve believed the cause. Heck, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s even real. He won’t give me a phone number. I have to do all my dealing with him through emails. He even made me come down here a few days early or he threatened to give the place to someone else. Talk about difficult. And strange.” She turned back to face him, noting that the amusement had disappeared from his eyes. “Oh, wow. I take it by your sour expression you’ve had dealings with S.B. Mitchum, too. I bet the S stands for ‘stubborn.’ Or maybe it stands for ‘strange.’”
Again, she was alone in her merriment. The cowboy didn’t crack a smile. Nothing. Zilch. In fact, his expression turned as hard as stone. Ah, crap. This was a small town. He probably knew the guy. She sighed. Great. Now she had to backpedal.
“Well, we’ve all been called stubborn and strange. Even me.” She shrugged. “Speaking of called…we haven’t been officially introduced. I’m Jovy Larson. And you are…?”
His chin rose a tick, and he leveled her with a cold gray gaze. “Stone Mitchum. Your jackass of a landlord.”
Donna Michaels is an award winning, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Romaginative fiction. Her hot, humorous, and heartwarming stories include cowboys, men in uniform, and some sexy, primal alphas. With a husband in the military full time, and a household of nine, she never runs out of material to write, and has rightfully earned the nickname Lucy…and sometimes Ethel. From short to epic, her books entertain readers across a variety of sub-genres, and one has even being hand drawn into a Japanese translation. Now, if only she could read it.