Not all teasers can be about rodeo and lost dreams. Sometimes it has to be about a little bit of fun and romance. It's these moments that get our hearts fluttering, our hopes up, and the reason we keep turning the pages through the drama and the upsets. Because we need to know if these instances of kisses and flirtation amount to anything more. Is there a happily ever after? Well, that I can't tell you, but I can certainly tease you a bit with an excerpt ;)
Ropes & Reins
“A beer, as promised.”
The table was full of familiar faces, people she’d known all throughout school until now. Everyone lived in this small town. That’s what she loved about Coaldale; everyone knew each other. They’d grown up together, and loved and lost together. It was like one big family. Of course, that came with its downside too.
But one face wasn’t so familiar. He sat across from her, his cowboy hat drawn low, hiding his eyes from her gaze and leaving only a strong jaw line visible. Covered in a five o’clock shadow, his full lips were pressed into a straight, uninterested line.
“Hey, stranger,” she said, trying to get his attention.
He looked up and a slight upturn at the corner of his lips was as much of a smile as he could offer.
“I’m Tracy,” she tried again, extending her hand across the table. “I’d give you my right hand, but it’s currently out-of-commission.”
That got a raised eyebrow from him as he glanced at the brace, then up at her. Finally, she managed to meet his gaze. His eyes were soft and hesitant, and the way he held himself told her he was uncomfortable. Either he was stuck up, or shy. But the softness in his eyes made her think it was more likely the latter.
He took her hand and gave it a little shake.
“How’d you do that?” he asked, nodding at her right hand.
“Lost my temper.”
He raised his eyebrow. Then an arm snaked around her shoulder and interrupted them.
“Tracy is notorious for her flying fists and fast tongue. This girl should have been born a redhead,” interjected Shawn.
She swallowed her annoyance. She was actually curious about this newcomer, and the instant Shawn opened his mouth, the stranger seemed to retreat right back into his shell.
“And if you don’t watch where you put your hand, you might just be on the receiving end of that hot temper.”
Shawn laughed, but his arm lifted off her shoulder.
She remained quiet for a while, drinking her beer and listening to the conversation around her. She kept one eye on the stranger seated across from her, however, waiting for an opening to talk to him again. Over an hour passed, and he didn’t say a single word beyond, “Pass the pitcher.”
Finally he scraped his chair back and stood up. Tracy watched him. He was tall. Really tall. She wasn’t a short woman at five-foot, nine inches, but she was fairly certain that if she stood next to him, she’d only reach his shoulders.
“I’m gonna go grab another pitcher,” he said, walking away.
Tracy watched him go. He leaned on the bar, one leg straight, and the other bent at the knee.
Scraping back her chair, she got up.
“Where’re you going?” asked Shawn.
“Grabbing a whiskey.”
She walked up next to the tall cowboy, trailing her fingers across his back, and causing him to stiffen and tense beneath her touch, before she leaned on the bar next to him. He looked over at her, surprise written on his handsome face and a slight blush crept up beneath his stubble.
“I didn’t catch your name earlier.”
“What brings you to Coaldale, Carson?” she asked, putting on her most charming smile as she looked up at him.
“Just passing through.”
“You don’t talk much, do you?”
“I don’t find the need to fill the silence with useless chatter.”
Tracy frowned. She barely said anything tonight, yet he said the words like an accusation.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I annoyed you so much.”
His face softened, and he smiled. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean you. I just meant in general.”
“We don’t have to stay here, you know, if you aren’t enjoying yourself.”
“My ride is here. I’m staying with my cousin, Allen.”
“I’ll take you home.”
Carson raised an eyebrow, but remained silent. It seemed like he was studying her. “Are you trying to pick me up?”
“Would you be upset if I were?”
“I’d think that you’re being awfully bold.”
“If you don’t ask for what you want, you can’t expect to get it.”