“Do you mind if we go to my place?” Emilio asked as they neared the turn for Wild Horses Ranch. The ride home had seemed interminable when he wanted to be behind closed doors with Cassandra. “It’s closer.”
“That’s fine as long as I can check on the kitties in a few hours.” She pointed to the wooden arch spanning the roadway as he turned beneath it. “You got a new sign since I was here last. It looks great.”
“The place is shaping up fast.” Easing up on the accelerator when he noticed the dust cloud in his rearview mirror, Emilio hoped he wasn’t rushing things with Hope. It had taken all his effort to leave her the night before. Sticking to his game plan of earning her trust again. “The contractors are about finished with the interior except for some molding work in the kitchen. The pool and landscaping projects should come together by the end of summer.”
“It’s a dream home.” Cassandra turned to him as he parked the vehicle in front of the main entrance. “You have every reason to be proud of what you’ve achieved to build a place like this.”
“Thank you.” Shutting off the engine, he remained across the truck cab for a moment longer, taking in the sight of Cass with the backdrop of his mammoth new home behind her. “I had a lot of years to think about the kind of spread I would build when I had the money to start my own operation.”
He was proud of what he’d built, damn it. But seeing her again had him questioning what his life would be like if he’d poured his efforts into something besides winning every rodeo cash prize. Something beyond investing those winnings and searching for ranch foreclosures to find a property he could afford to put his stamp on.
But tonight wasn’t about finding answers to questions like that. He wanted Cass. And at last, he had her here with him.
A few minutes later, they were indoors. The place still smelled like pine. He toed off his boots and she did the same.
“I could show you around,” he offered as he watched her gaze swivel from cathedral ceiling in the foyer to the double staircase leading to the second floor.
With her hands tucked into her back pockets, she studied the whole place, top to bottom. What did she think of the modern art hanging over the stone fireplace? Or the cast-iron bucking bronc figure that had been one of his favorite prizes in his rodeo years?
It was tough to read her expression. Especially when what he really wanted to do was to kiss her until they were both breathless.
“I’d like the grand tour another time,” she said quickly, her attention returning to him as she reached for his hand. Her blue eyes darkened, her lids lowering partway as she settled his palm onto her hip. “Right now, I’m most interested in seeing your bedroom.”
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