Champagne & Chaps(4)

By: Cheyenne McCray

She realized they had come to a stop in the shadows of the bar. “How about getting a little fresh air outside?” he asked.

For a moment she hesitated then thought, Why not? “That would be nice,” she said.

He touched the base of her spine and guided her out through the front door and onto the long and wide covered porch and then down the stairs to the gravel driveway. People were everywhere, talking and laughing, some more raucous than others. Sabrina wondered if there was even the opportunity to be alone with anyone.

Gravel crunched under his boots and her shoes as they started walking away from the building to the parking lot. It was a warm summer night but the desert was starting to cool and the perspiration dried on her skin.

Wyatt kept his hand at her waist. “We might be able to hear each other talk a little better out here.”

She laughed. “It’s a possibility.”

With a smile he opened up the truck bed of a big red king cab truck. He picked her up by her waist and she gave a little gasp of surprise before he set her on the tailgate. He seated himself beside her and she smiled up at him.

“This looks Celtic,” he said as he reached up and touched the silver medallion at her neck. “Does it have a meaning?”

“It’s the Celtic knot, a triple spiral.” She felt the warmth of his hand lingering on her throat even as he moved his fingers away. “It’s a symbol of female power… Especially power through transition and growth.” She paused. “Carly gave it to me when she was helping me get through a tough time in my life.”

Before Wyatt could ask her more, Sabrina decided to change the subject and rubbed her palms on her jeans as she spoke. “Carly made it sound like you have a fairly big family.”

“I have three brothers and a sister, along with our Aunt Grace.” He braced his hands on the tailgate. “Other than that our family is not real big. Grace raised us from a young age when our parents died and she never married. She sacrificed a lot for us.”

Sabrina nodded. “She sounds like a pretty incredible woman.”

“She sure is.” Wyatt looked down at Sabrina. “What about you?”

“I have a good-sized family—three sisters,” she said. “My parents are divorced but they get along. I also have a big extended family. Lots of cousins, uncles, aunts, and all four grandparents.”

“Where’s your family?” he asked. “Here in southern Arizona?”

“Tucson.” She nodded. “I’ll be going to visit my mom at least once a week while I’m in Patagonia because she’s not doing so well.”

“What made you decide to spend the summer in Patagonia?”

“It makes for a nice getaway.” She cleared her throat, not wanting to give an explanation. “I’d better get back inside. Carly is going to wonder what happened to me.”

“You’re probably right.” He jumped off the tailgate, grasped her around the waist, and she laughed as he swung her down so that her feet landed on the gravel. She liked the feel of his hands on her, the warmth of his touch.

She met his gaze and she swallowed hard as she looked into his vivid blue eyes. He was all power and virility, a strength in his presence that she could feel through his touch. She wondered what his hair looked like beneath his Stetson, what he might look like with no shirt on. She imagined the way his muscles would flex as he held her and the warmth of his arms around her.

Tingles ran through her body as she tried to clear her mind of those thoughts, but it was almost impossible.

For a long moment he held onto her waist and looked down at her like he wanted to kiss her and she wanted it so much. Too much.

“I want to see you again,” he said as he reached up and touched her hair.

“I…” She looked down at her feet then met his gaze again. Unable to think of some way to tell him no, she took a step back, separating them.

“Don’t let this make you think I’m taking ‘no’ for an answer.” He gave her a soft smile. “I think there’s some kind of connection between us and we need to explore it a little more. A lot more.”

“Carly’s probably worried about me,” Sabrina said, trying to think of some way to put Wyatt off.