Authors: Cheyenne McCray
Tags: #western romance, #western, #Cheyenne McCray, #suspense, #romantic suspense, #Arizona, #Dude Ranch
Champagne and Chaps
Copyright © 2012 Champagne & Chaps by Cheyenne McCray
All rights reserved. No part of this e-Book may be reproduced in whole or in part, scanned, photocopied, recorded, distributed in any printed or electronic form, or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without express written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
E-book conversion by Bella Media Management.
Published by Pink Zebra Publishing
First Edition e-Book
Wyatt Cameron’s gaze slowly traveled the room as he leaned up against the bar, one elbow and forearm on the polished hardwood surface. The lights were low, the wood-bladed fans stirring the air that carried smells of bar food and beer.
Stampede Bar was warm from all of the bodies packed into it and filled with music, laughter, and chatter. Wyatt tapped one boot in time with the song the live band, El Rio, was playing. Cowboys and cowgirls danced a lively two-step on the sawdust-strewn dance floor.
A pair of pool tables took up one end of the massive room and it looked like some serious games were going on while a couple of cowboys were throwing darts at a dartboard at the other end of the room. Most of the high tops were filled and every stool at the bar was taken.
“See anything you like?” Mike Sharpe said over the fiddle playing.
Wyatt gave his buddy a quick grin then took another drink of his longneck beer. “Still looking,” he said after a swallow. “I’ll know her when I see her.”
“Damn.” Mike glanced toward the door and gave a low whistle. “Take a look at that tall, sexy drink of water.”
Wyatt turned his attention to the door. His gaze went straight past the curvy woman to the petite gal behind her and his gut tightened. Light brown hair with blonde streaks, big eyes, and the type of smile that lit up even the dim bar. She was so damned pretty that he couldn’t take his eyes off her.
Wyatt said as he studied the woman who’d caught his eye. “I think I just fell in love with that little thing next to her.”
Mike looked amused. “Why don’t you turn on that Cameron charm and go meet the lady?”
Wyatt considered it for a moment. He didn’t want to pounce the moment they walked in the door. Well, maybe he did, but it wasn’t the real smart thing to do. “I’ll give them a moment to settle in.”
He watched the two as they made their way to the only available high top in the room. The petite woman wore a red blouse and blue jeans that hugged her cute little ass. A silver chain with a small medallion was at her throat and small silver hoops on her ears.
He couldn’t get himself to look away. She must have felt his gaze on her because she looked up and gave him a little smile before turning back to her friend.
“If that isn’t your cue, I don’t know what is,” Mike was saying. “I think you’d better get your ass over there before someone beats you to it.”
Wyatt grinned to himself. Damn, that woman was cute as hell. “I think you’re right.”
He set his empty longneck on the bar and headed toward the woman he had to have.
“That cowboy you just smiled at is on his way over.” Carly’s startling lavender eyes met Sabrina’s gaze. “I knew you’d be flirting from the moment you walked in.”
“I was not flirting.” Sabrina’s heart beat a little faster. “And you know I’m not ready to meet any guys.”
Carly combed her fingers through her dark hair. “You’re plenty ready. It’s been seven months since you and the idiot broke up.”
Idiot was right. Stephen was definitely one of those not-so-rare breeds.
Sabrina shook her head. “That’s not all. You know what I mean.”
“No, I don’t know,” Carly said. “There’s no reason you can’t get out and start living
Sabrina held one palm to her belly. “I don’t know. I think it’s too soon—”
“That is one incredibly fine cowboy,” Carly interrupted. “Fine, fine, fine.”
That was so true, Sabrina thought as she watched the man’s easy approach from the corner of her eye.
He was tall and had a cowboy’s build with broad shoulders and lean hips. He wore a white dress shirt and a white Stetson along with Wrangler jeans. The shirt in no way disguised his muscular chest and arms.
Sabrina’s stomach flipped as the cowboy held her gaze and walked up to their table. He touched the brim of his hat as he looked from Sabrina to Carly.
“I’m Wyatt Cameron,” he said with a sexy smile that made her stomach drop to her toes.
Carly extended her hand. “Carly Abbot.”
Sabrina jumped when Carly elbowed her. Sabrina cleared her throat and offered her own hand. “Sabrina Holliday.”
His touch was warm as he gripped her hand for a few moments and held her gaze. A shiver ran down her spine as she met his gorgeous brilliant blue eyes.
“Are you part of the Cameron crew that I hear so much about over in the San Rafael Valley?” Carly tilted her head to the side. “You have a bunch of brothers.”
“That would be me.” Wyatt had a spark of amusement in his eyes as he released Sabrina’s hand. “Three brothers and a sister.”
Carly smiled. “I figured.”
“Mind if my friend and I sit with you?” Wyatt nodded in the direction of another good-looking cowboy who was leaning up against the bar.
“We don’t mind at all,” Carly said.
Sabrina felt mute. Wyatt Cameron had all the makings of a man she could really enjoy being around. But she didn’t want that… Didn’t want to get close to any man. She was all for Carly’s determination that tonight was all about flirting and fun.
Wyatt took a seat at the high top and gave a signal to the other cowboy who started coming their way. When the cowboy arrived, Wyatt made introductions.
“Mike, this is Sabrina and Carly.” He gestured to each of them. “Sabrina and Carly, this is Mike Sharpe who’s also from the valley.”
“A pleasure.” Mike smiled and shook each of their hands.
Carly gave a slow nod. “I think I’ve heard of your family, too,” she said to Mike. “You own Sharpe Feed and Tack in Patagonia?”
“My cousin, Ty Sharpe, owns the feed store,” Mike said. “I have a ranch on the other side of Wyatt’s.”
“The Sharpe family owns this bar, too, don’t they?” Carly asked. “A friend mentioned it the last time I was here.”
“That would be another cousin who owns Stampede.” Mike glanced around the room. “Brady’s probably around here somewhere.”
“Where are you ladies from?” Wyatt’s gaze settled on Sabrina.
Her cheeks warmed at the intense look of interest in his eyes. “Tucson.”
“What part of town?” he asked.
She cleared her throat. “The foothills.”
His gaze slid to Carly. “Whereabouts are you? Tucson, too?”
Carly shook her head. “Patagonia.” She glanced at Sabrina. “Sabrina is staying with me for the summer.”
Sabrina wanted to kick Carly under the table but she was afraid she would kick one of the men. She really didn’t want these cowboys to know she’d be a lot closer to them than Tucson. This Wyatt might think she’d be interested in seeing him more, and all she wanted was a little fun.
But then again, she might be thinking too much into this. She’d barely met the guy. Still, she really didn’t want to seem accessible to anyone. That was part of the reason why she’d let Carly talk her into staying for the summer. She needed time alone.
Wyatt’s smile made Sabrina’s toes curls. Damn, he was hot.
“Dance?” he asked and gestured to the floor as a new tune started.
Carly was busy chatting with Mike when Sabrina looked over at her friend.
I should just let loose just like we planned,
Sabrina thought. She missed her old self. There was a time when she would have been flirting like Carly and just having fun without worrying about the possibility that the guy would want to get into a relationship. She needed that again. She needed to let her hair down and just have fun.
With a smile she looked back at Wyatt. “Sure.”
He surprised her by helping her down from the tall stool at the high top, then took her hand and led her to the dance floor.
Butterflies batted around in Sabrina’s belly as they made it onto the floor, and he brought her close and they started to two-step. “I’m not very good at this.” She raised her voice over the loud music as she stepped on Wyatt’s boot. “To me two-stepping means one step on the floor and one on your boot.”
“You’re doing fine.” He met her gaze, a glint of humor in his eyes. “Just don’t run off is all I ask. I’d like to get to know you.”
She didn’t answer. She didn’t plan on letting any man get to know her well. But it wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun dancing with a cowboy. This was all about a fun night out.
“I’ll think about it,” she said with an answering smile.
By the time three songs had passed, Sabrina was laughing and enjoying herself more than she’d expected. Her skin was covered in a light film of perspiration and her heart was beating a little faster from the fast-paced tunes that they’d danced to.
She’d been having so much fun that she forgotten all about Carly. When she glanced back at the table, her friend was gone. She searched the dance floor with her gaze and smiled when she saw her friend talking with Mike to one side of the room.
Carly looked like she was having fun flirting with the cowboy, which was no surprise. If Carly was anything when it came to men, she was a flirt and a heartbreaker.
, Sabrina thought and mentally shook her head.
You’re in for some heartache if you’re not careful.
Unless Carly actually considered settling for one man.
Ha. That’ll be the day.
Not after Carly’s breakup. Ever since then she’d decided to flirt and play and that was good enough for her.
Sabrina caught her breath as Wyatt brought her into his embrace, catching her off guard. For a moment she wondered what he was doing and then realized the band had struck up a slow tune.
He drew her close and she felt his belt buckle dig into her belly and smelled the clean scent of his aftershave. Her stomach flip-flopped again as she felt a moment of panic. This was close, far too close to be allowing herself to get to a man.
But it felt so good being in his arms. She rested her palms on his shoulders and could feel the power in his body as they slowly moved on the dance floor. About six-three, he was almost a foot taller than she was and she felt more than petite in his arms. She breathed in his warm, masculine scent as they danced and found herself sighing. She loved the scent of a man.
“You’re staying the entire summer with your friend?” he asked.
She nodded against his chest. “I have the summer off.”
He spoke close to her ear so that she could hear him over the music. “That must mean you’re either a student or a teacher.”
She shivered from the feel of his breath brushing her ear. “Good guess. I teach.”
“What subject and grade?” he asked.
“English as a second language for adults at Mesa Community College,” she said.
“I take it you’re fluent in Spanish?”
“Both Spanish and Italian.” She looked up and met his gaze. “The Spanish comes in very handy, living in the southwest. The Italian has been great when I’ve traveled to Italy.”
“I know enough Spanish to get by,” he said. “I’m not fluent by any means.” He rubbed his fingers in small circles over her back and she shivered at the erotic feel of it. “What do you do for fun?”
She shrugged. “I like to backpack around the state in the spring, summer, and fall when I’m able to. Mount Lemon is almost in my backyard, so I pick one of the hiking trails when I need to get away.”
He brushed strands of hair from her cheek with his thumb. “What about during the winter?”
His touch sent shivers through her, as if she felt the chill of winter now. She cleared her throat. “I don’t like cold so I tend to avoid those activities in the winter.”
“Do you ever ride horseback?” he asked.
“I’ve never been around horses so that’s something I haven’t done.” She smiled. “But one day I’d like to give it a try.”
“That can be arranged.” He guided them toward the edge of the dance floor. “I have a couple of horses that are good for beginners.”
Going horseback riding with Wyatt Cameron was something she wasn’t going to commit to. “What kinds of things do you like to do?” she asked.
“Hunting and fishing,” he said. “I like getting together with family and friends and playing cards, barbequing, and whatever else we might be in the mood for.”
“Like a little drinking?” she asked.
“Depends on if my brother, Wayne, is there,” Wyatt said. “He doesn’t drink and my family doesn’t drink around him.”
Likely Wayne was a recovering alcoholic. She liked that his family supported him by not drinking when he was with them.
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,
“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.”