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Authors: Ashley Johnson

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BOOK: Spurs & Stilettos
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“I’m Wesley.” That drawl in his voice is almost making me swoon but I stop it. He extends his hand out to me. I can practically hear Amber scoff and I’m agreeing with her. Why isn’t this guy talking to her? I am no-where near ready to speak to another guy.

 

Baffled, I just stand there trying to decipher what’s going on. “I’m Amber, this is Hope.” Amber interjects and I shoot daggers at her begging her to shut up. She’s smiling, and I know exactly what she’s doing.

 

“Nice to meet you Hope. I won’t bite, I swear. I may nibble and that’s it.” Oh man, Wesley sure has some nerve! I’m rolling my eyes again and I’m really praying he doesn’t notice because I’m not trying to be rude.

 

“Nice to meet you too,” I mumble.

 

“I hope you like the rodeo tonight.” He says never taking his emerald green eyes away from mine. The intensity of his stare takes my breath away.

 

“I’ll try.” I manage to squeak out. Amber’s smile is almost scaring me. I want to ask her what the hell she’s smiling at but I figure I’ll wait until he walks away. I’m sure she’s going to tell me anyway.

 

“Well, it was nice to meet ya’ll. I’ve got to go. Can I get a good luck kiss Hope?” He’s smiling, it’s almost a genuine smile but I don’t give him the satisfaction. I go to reach for my ring but quickly remember I helped it meet its demise the night I caught Brad. That’s right, I’m single and it’s hitting me more and more.

 

“I, um, no I’m sorry.”

 

Wesley extends his hand like before and my hand moves forward to at least shake his and get this over with. Our hands touch, joining together in what I want to be a quick handshake, but he holds onto my hand about a moment longer than I want him to and brings my hand up to his mouth placing a kiss on my knuckles. My world goes fuzzy for a split second and this amazing feeling creeps up on me. A feeling I can’t recall ever feeling before. The touch of his lips on my hand send my body in a frenzy. My knees buckle almost bringing me to the ground.
Go away stupid butterflies!
I don’t even know this guy!

 

“That’ll have to do then.” He winks, holding onto my hand a little longer before letting it go. My muscles fail me. My hand falls limply to my side and I’m dying trying to control myself here. “Hope to see you later, Hope.” And he turns to walk away.

 

Mother. Of. God. I can’t catch my breath. I close my eyes trying to pull myself together but all I see are those piercing green eyes looking at me. My knuckles feel tingly from his kiss. I pull that hand back up to my lips and close my eyes once more. When I open them, I take in a deep breath and let it out. Wow.

 

I bring the cup of beer up to my mouth and drink like it’s the only beverage left on this earth. As I pull the cup away, I turn to face Amber whose jaw is back on the floor.

 

“What the hell was that?!” She screeched practically jumping up and down.
 

“I have no idea! I thought he was talking to you at first! He’s, oh god I don’t even know what to say!”

 

“Someone has a crush on Hope! And you were totally digging him too. Don’t even try to hide it.” She’s smug and I hate that. I manage to get my feet moving so we can find our seats. We find them with ease and I gladly sit trying to compose myself.
My mind is blown. I haven’t had any time to barely sort through this fucked up break up that seems like it just happened and someone’s already hitting on me. Best part is, I’ll most likely never see this Wesley guy again and that’s the only thing keeping me sane right now.

 

Chapter 4

 

We watch steer wrestling first and I feel so bad for the poor animals that are getting drug to the ground by their horns and tied up like nothing. All of these guys are fast and apparently they’re winning damn good money if their score is right. Unfortunately, I know nothing about scoring. I gasp every time a steer goes down although by now I know to expect it. My mind races back to Karlee. We had such a blast watching all this. She loved cowboys and anything to do with the rodeo. She loved cheering for them all, but especially the bull riders. She loved to watch bull riding. She would even tune in to watch the televised bull riding competitions religiously as if they were Sunday football games. I would roll my eyes at her and put my ear buds in to tune it out although secretly I would try to watch some of it. I miss her so much. I need her now more than ever.

 

Just to stick the knife in a little deeper, the announcer calls out that the bull riding is the next event. Tears spring forward and I beg for them to go away. I’m tired of feeling sad. I just want to be able to be truly happy again and it’s hard as hell when one of the people who made me that way is no longer here.

 

“I’m fine.” I say before Amber can ask. She’s looking at me a little too closely waiting for me to break, but I refuse. I won’t in front of all these people.

 

“I know.” She responds, grabbing my hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. It’s the same hand Wesley kissed and I want to rip it from her grasp but I don’t. She just wiped any trace of him away and no doubt I’m a little pissed. I’ll recover though, it’s not like he’s a big deal to me.

 

The first bull rider is announced. He briefly talks to the man on the floor before climbing on top of his bull in the chute. The bull is wild as they open the chute door and he begins bucking uncontrollably. The poor guy is holding on for dear life trying to survive the whole eight seconds but not even three seconds in, he’s thrown off the angry animal and runs for the gate trying to escape the fury. The clowns were able to distract the bull giving the cowboy the safe escape he was aiming for. This is the first time I think I’ve basically understood why Karlee was so into this. I tried to understand the night we came to the rodeo but in reality I had too much fun watching her reactions. It’s a damn adrenaline rush, full on adrenaline pumping through my veins faster than a rocket in space. My heart is pounding as if I were just on the massive bull. No way in hell could I even survive half a second on that beast. His score seemed decent to me but the crowd thought otherwise because apparently it knocked his ranking down.

 

“How do they get the bull so angry?” I ask out of pure curiosity.

 

Amber looks at me laughing, “Well, wouldn’t you be angry if they had a flank strap on you? Didn’t Karlee tell you any of this?”

 

My eyes are as wide as saucers as I process what she just told me. “Seriously? Wait, a what? And, uh no we never discussed it.”

 

“Yep. It doesn’t hurt them I promise. It just works off pressure. They do the same thing to the broncos.” She sat there assuring me no animals were hurt but I still couldn’t help but feel sorry for them.

 

I’m having fun, this is one decision I’m glad I made. Memories do resurface and I’d do anything to be able to relive that night again but of course with a different outcome. We’ve seen three bull riders so far and only one of the three has made it close to eight seconds. He made it to five and took the spot of the other guy.

 

I take a small sip of beer as they announce that the bareback bronco event is next. Amber looks over and smiles, “This is my favorite.”

 

I can clearly see why. I look up on the screen to see a young cowboy dressed the part being interviewed before his turn. I never fully looked at any of the others from previous events. It made me dizzy to look from the screen then onto the ground which seemed so high up from where we were seated. His hat is firmly in place, he has just enough stubble on his face to drive a woman mad and his smile no doubt is melting panties all throughout this arena. He’s good but not good enough because he only lasts six seconds and dammit that bronco is pissed. He also lost points for letting his free hand touch himself. Amber had to explain that part to me, I felt like a deer in the headlights. The cowboy’s pretty face almost meets its end when he hit the ground and the bronco’s hooves touched down right beside him. The bronco settles down and moves an inch away giving the cowboy time to get up and get out of there.

 

My heart is in my throat after watching that unfold before my eyes. That guy could have been severely hurt and I’m still trying to decide what makes this so entertaining. It feels like I’m at my first rodeo ever, it all feels so new to me. I don’t quite think I feel like the adrenaline junkie I felt like during the bull riding. Right now, I just feel terrified. I feel my phone vibrate pulling it out to find Brad calling. Amber eyeballs me before grabbing the phone.

 

“Quit calling asshole, she’s not talking to you.”

 

I’m not sure what he says but she’s quick to retaliate and shut him down. “Fuck you. Grow a dick and learn how to treat a woman. It’s your fault you ruined a good thing. Who knows, maybe I’ll help her find a real man tonight.”

 

My eyes bug out of my head after hearing her. If I know Brad, he’s fucking livid right now. I swear I can hear him yelling on the other end of the phone but she politely smiles at me and ends the call. The phone is tucked back safely in my pocket before he can try to call back. “I can’t believe you told him that.”

 

“Yeah, that was mild. He’s lucky I didn’t tell him worse. I’m sorry Hope. I shouldn’t have done that, but I can’t help it.”

 

“No, thank you. I mean it.” I meant it more than she could ever imagine. She has the guts to say half the things I wish I could to him.

 

Amber gets ready to open her mouth and say something else when a certain voice comes over the speaker sending my heart into a thousand somersaults.

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, joining me right now is two time title winning bareback bronco rider Wesley Tyler. Good to have you here Wesley.”

 

“Thank you, it’s good to be back.” He politely tips his hat as he speaks. Holy moly, where was this hat earlier? He caught my attention without it, but I can’t take my eyes off of him now. He’s incredibly sexy with it on, I’m a big fan.

 

“Rumor has it tonight you’re going for another record. What do you think your chances are?” At this point I’m hoping for the guy to quit talking so I can listen to Wesley again. I can’t get enough of his voice.

 

“Well,” he begins, “hopefully the chances are good. I’m confident I can pull it off. I got a good luck kiss so I hope that helps too.” He’s staring at the monitor and it feels like it’s just the two of us in this arena. Mother. Of. God. I can feel my heart pounding wildly in my chest. My jaw is on the ground as the butterflies begin to assault my stomach.

 

“Sounds like a lucky girl.”

 

“You have no idea. She had me at hello.” He’s completely wrong. I didn’t say hello, I said hi and I didn’t kiss him. He kissed my knuckle, that’s not the same either. That’s two totally different things, so he can’t be talking about me but his eyes are back on the screen and I touch my knuckles where his lips were searching for just a hint of the electricity I felt then.

 

“Well good luck Wesley and before you get out there is there anything else you’d like to say?”

 

He leans into the microphone and when he speaks, my whole body tenses up. “I’d like to say a big thank you for all the support you’ve given me throughout my career and one more thing, if Hope is out there watching, I’d like to see you again after this.”

 

I’m not sure why I picked my jaw up off the ground before because it’s back there again and this time I’m positive my heart is going to beat right out of my chest. I can feel my face instantly crimson in this moment.

 

He did not just say my name in front of everyone. No one in here knows me, at least not until Amber begins shrieking at the top of her lungs. “OH MY GOD! Hope, we have to go see him after he rides! I mean you have to!”

 

“Amber, I can’t. What the hell? I’m freaking out here!” And I am. My hands are all kinds of clammy and I’m at a loss for words. I grab that cup of beer and finish drinking it all in one big gulp.

 

I look up just in time to see the chutes open and out comes Wesley Tyler holding onto the bronco. The whole arena is buzzing with excitement as time seemed to slow down. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven….oh my damn….eight. He did it! I’m excited to the point I find myself cheering, clapping my hands like I actually know what’s going on. I have no idea besides knowing he stayed on the bronco for the whole eight seconds.

 

His hat flies off his head as he throws it up in excitement because he just did it. He broke the record and they are interviewing him once again. I see him on the screen talking but I hear nothing he says, all I hear is my heart beating and I’m praying it doesn’t stop. My heart feels like its beating for the first time in a long time.

 

Suddenly Amber is pulling me up by my arm. “Come on, we have to go down to that section. He’s going to be there!”

 

“What section?” I ask dumbfounded.

 

“Didn’t you hear the announcer? Or were you too busy drooling?”

 

“I didn’t hear and no I am not drooling thank you very much.” But I am drooling; I’m downright swooning over someone that called me out in front of an arena full of people when I should probably be embarrassed.

 

The walk up the concrete steps seems agonizingly long and there’s a slight feeling in the back of my mind that’s telling me not to follow through with this. I need time to myself. I need to find me again and I sure don’t think I’ll find it beneath a cowboy in tight Wranglers. Oh shit, is that what this Wesley guy is expecting? Is he thinking he’s going to woo me back into some empty room and have his way with me? I’m not that kind of girl so I will have no problem bursting his bubble.

 

The next event has started but there are literally tons of people heading down to this one section. What makes him think he’s going to even get to see me with all these women flocking down to meet him and all the other guys? I don’t stand a chance.

 

The tables are lined up, several sweaty cowboys sit in the chairs smiling, signing autographs and taking pictures for all their fans. I’m not looking for Wesley, that’s what I’m telling myself but it’s awfully hard considering that’s the table all the women are running up to. Shit. Amber seems to be on the same radar as the other women when she grabs my arm and yanks me not so gracefully towards the table. The only thing that stops me from barreling into his lap is the table. Thank you God. My breathing is all kinds of screwed up being flung around and it gets worse the second his eyes meet mine and he smiles. “I’ve been waiting for you Hope.”

 

Oh my. I do not believe this. I’m dreaming that’s it. I’m a bundle of nerves right now. The nerves on top of the butterflies make it feel like I’m on top of the rollercoaster that’s getting ready to drop. I take my left hand and pinch my right arm trying to wake myself up. “Ow!” I shriek realizing this is all very one hundred percent real right now.

 

“What are you doing sweetheart?” He looks at me quizzically. I’m mesmerized by those beautiful emerald green eyes.

 

“This has got to be a dream. You aren’t real.” I answer matter-of-factly.

 

His eyes get intense as he grabs the same hand he kissed earlier and pulls me forward to where only I can hear him. “Oh sweetheart, I promise you I am very real.”

 

I can feel my hand get clammy because of the nerves, oh great and now he can too. I want to pull my hand from his but I can’t even pull my eyes away. Amber is all kinds of smug next to me watching all this unfold like a damn soap opera. “Tell me Wesley, what are you doing later?”

 

I shoot daggers at her praying she will just shut up. I don’t need her egging this on. “A whole lot of nothing as of right now. What about you ladies?”

 

He says ladies but his eyes still haven’t left mine. “Oh, I was just going to go lie down at the hotel. My head is hurting, Hope you don’t have plans, do you?”

 

That lying little bitch! She doesn’t have a headache more than I have glass slippers on my feet and I assure you I am no Cinderella. I’m not falling for this, I won’t. My jaw is on the ground and I’m the one to break eye contact as I glare at her. She sighs pulling her hand up to her head holding it for a second trying to play that part. I can’t tell whether or not he believes her when he replies, “Well, that’s too bad.” He clears his throat looking back at me, “Do you have plans Hope?”

BOOK: Spurs & Stilettos
10.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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