Excerpt: The Wild Half
Chasing her was his first mistake
She grabbed her book and dropped it in the basket. Afterwards she stood and, catching Rick’s eyes, tugged a little on the blanket, silently requesting he move. Shrugging, he stood and watched her fold the blanket. She tossed it over the basket and without a word, turned and walked to the stream.
He followed her. She stopped. “What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Joining you,” he said, smiling down at her. “As your self-appointed guardian it’s my duty to escort you back to the house. Women roaming the woods are fair game for love-starved cowboys, too.”
She scowled. “Something I imagine you have intimate knowledge of.”
Rick chuckled. “Why, I reckon I’ve been love-starved once or twice. How else would I know that—”
“I need protection,” Lilah finished. “You don’t think I believe all this balderdash do you?”
Grinning, he shook his head. “Nah. You’re too smart for that.”
“Then why say it?”
“To make you angry. You know Lilah, there are only three times I’ve seen the ice in your eyes melt. When you smile, which is just about never. And when you’re angry. Then they flash emerald green and the corners tip up, ever so slightly. Beautiful.”
Quite suddenly it was difficult to breathe. “And the third time?”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Third time?”
“You said there were three times. What is the third occasion?”
His eyes twinkled, and he gave her a mischievous grin. “Oh, darlin’, I think you know already,” he drawled, lowering his voice so that it hummed along her nerves.
When he touched her. A shudder shook her body as his eyes grew even hotter and his grin widened to a sinfully seductive smile, promising pleasures beyond her comprehension. She tore her gaze away. She must leave—run.
“Stay, Lilah,” Rick coaxed wickedly. “You know you don’t want to spend a pretty day like this locked in your room.”
Her heart jumped.
She’d return to her room, wait half an hour—
“I’ll be watching the house, you know, in case you should leave.” He paused and leaned toward her. “And I can be very, very patient.” He made the word sound passionate, desirable. “Of course,” he continued, straightening, “you could whistle for that demon horse of yours. You’d be long gone before I could mount up and follow you.”
“I could.” And never learn about patience.
The shadow of victory darkened his eyes. “But you won’t, because that would be cowardly. After all, what is there to fear?”