Molly had a plan. But when her almost-fiance opts for a surprise Plan B, she’s left with no boyfriend, no money, and nowhere to live. Accepting an offer for freebie rent on a sleepy Wisconsin farm feels like a giant step back from all her ambitions…until a captivating cowboy turns out to be more than just a fun distraction, spinning Molly’s life in a direction utterly unplanned.
~ check prices before you buy ~
A fluttering call ripples through the darkness.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“Loons. There’s a lake not too far.” I can’t see him, but I hear the affection in his answers. These sounds have deeper meaning to him. He hands me the flask again, and I take a large sip.
“Who taught you all this—your dad?” I picture little Cal in his overalls, trekking out here with his pops.
“My mom.” The gravity in his tone makes me curious, but I resist the urge to dissect its meaning. I have no right to pry into the guy’s personal business. Instead, we sit silently, taking in the cacophony of night sounds and handing the flask back and forth.
After a while, he screws the cap back on and murmurs, “Uh-oh.”
“What?” I tense at his tone and shift closer toward him.
He slides his arm around my back and cups a hand over my shoulder, enveloping me in his protection. “Hear that?”
I train my hearing outward, willing my sonar range to widen, and then I hear it. First, it’s a mewling, like a cat, then a high-pitched whine and a yelp, followed by barking and a continuous screech that wails like a siren.
I gasp and reach a hand out from under the blanket to clutch at Cal’s collar. Keeping an eye on the blackness of the open land in front of us, I hiss, “Coyotes!”
Cal chuckles. “Are you feeling like a Chihuahua now that we’re out here, exposed?”
“We’re bigger than sheep. They wouldn’t attack us…would they?”
“I doubt it, but I’d kinda like to keep you thinkin’ that they would.”
I become keenly aware of his other hand curved around my bared calf. His warm thumb traces slowly back and forth. Still clutching at his collar, I now notice that I’ve turned my body into him and have lifted one knee onto his lap. The movement forced my skirt several inches up my thigh. Dang whiskey.
His arm drops from around my shoulders to the small of my back, and he pulls me against him. I can barely see his face right in front of mine, but his sweet, apple-scented breath tickles my lips.
“Just so you know, I’m not lookin’ to be anybody’s boyfriend.” The growl beneath his low voice vibrates all the way through me. His words are cold, but the heated way he says them is an invitation.
“I’m not looking for a boyfriend.” I hope I don’t sound as frightened and conflicted as I feel. My heart taps a painful rhythm against my ribcage as I stay plastered to him, still gripping his collar, keeping him close. But at the same time, I’m shouting at myself to push him away.
The thick clouds above us choose this very moment to let loose their first drops. One smacks onto the middle of my forehead, and my rigid body relaxes—this is more what I’m used to: a comedy sketch rather than a romance novel.
Certain that the rain has put an end to our flirtation, I loosen my grip on his collar. But he slides a hand over my jaw to the back of my neck, and before I can prepare for it or even predict it will happen, he plants his mouth on mine. Random drops of rain thump and ping off the bed of his truck. He keeps on kissing me, and I melt into him, letting his tongue slide over my lips and devour me.
Now I know what they mean by the term “thoroughly kissed.” There isn’t one inch of my body that’s not affected by the power of his mouth moving against mine. Glen never made me feel like this.