How could Cassandra refuse Emilio’s request for a dance when the night had cast a romantic spell on her?
The slow country ballad was one of her favorites, and the young woman belting out the chorus sang about love lost and love found with all the feeling of someone who’d been there before. The setting sun gave the sky a moody pink-and-violet light. What was it about the end of a day that made Cass feel like she needed to grab hold of the moment and squeeze before more time slipped away?
Then again, maybe her heart simply beat faster because the most compelling man she’d ever met was holding his hand out to her, asking her to share the moment with him.
“I’d like that,” she told him honestly, slipping her hand into his and savoring the feel of his strong fingers wrapping around hers.
Emilio led them onto the floor of a small wooden pavilion where other dancers shuffled in slow circles. A few couples twirled to a country waltz step on the perimeter, but Emilio simply wrapped his arm around her waist and drew her close, swaying with her in the center of the floor.
Her body felt like someone had flipped a switch on her senses, every inch of her skin hyperaware of him. Her eyelids fluttered at the feel of his hand palming the base of her spine, his thigh brushing against hers in a way that made her think about what it would be like to lay with him. To twine her naked body around his and take this attraction to the place she’d always dreamed about with him.
“Whatever it is you’re thinking about,” he began, leaning closer to speak the words against her ear. His bristled jaw catching on strands of her hair as his mouth moved. “I want you to keep that thought in mind.”
Her heart pounded harder. How could he read her so easily? She’d sent him home the night before because she’d felt the need to assert her independence, to show him that she wasn’t going to simply nod and agree with him the way she might have done as a teen. But that had been a knee-jerk reaction born of her own fears. The tractor backfiring had put her on edge.
Tonight, she didn’t want to send him away. Because even though she didn’t want to stay in Silent Spring, she couldn’t leave without finding out if Emilio’s kisses were as potent as she remembered.
“I’m not sure we’ll see much more of the rodeo if I keep thinking those particular thoughts,” she confided, liking the way his gaze darkened as he understood her meaning. “It might be better if you told me about your life as a bronc rider.”
She followed his feet as they swayed together, her fingers resting on one broad shoulder. Twinkle lights flicked on in the pavilion overhead as the twilight shadows deepened.
“After what you just shared with me?” He tucked her closer, his gaze never leaving hers as his fingers flexed against her back. “There’s not a chance in hell I’ll think about anything besides getting you back home.”
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