Texas Two Step: Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 1 (5 page)

BOOK: Texas Two Step: Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 1
2.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

She was in heaven…and hell.

Mitch slid his chair back and stood. He rapped his water glass for attention then rested his hand on the back of Olivia’s chair. His fingertips brushed the nape of her neck. She pressed her thighs together as arousal dampened her panties. She glanced down, wondering if anyone besides her could see the material of her dress moving with the pounding of her heart or the arteries in her neck pulsing rapidly at the simple brush of his fingers.

Mitch cleared his throat. “Wes. I was with you the night you met Emily. At the end of the evening you said, ‘Mitch, I’m going to marry that woman’. I thought you were just drunk.”

Everyone laughed and Wes said, “I was.”

Mitch smiled. “But obviously not too drunk to recognize the only woman who could live with you the rest of your life.” He lifted his champagne glass. “Many years of love and happiness. Cheers.”

“Cheers,” the group repeated and drained their glasses.

Flutes were refilled and the toasts continued, each toast a little more bawdy than the last as the collection of empty champagne bottles grew.

By the end of the third round of toasts, Mr. Benton, Wes’s father, stood. “The night is young, but Wes’s mother and I are not. Eat, drink, have fun, but don’t be late for the wedding.”

Both sets of parents along with the chaplain said their goodbyes and left the immediate wedding party sitting in the wine cellar with six more bottles of Cristal Champagne. After downing two more bottles and one final round of toasts, the party broke up.

Olivia breathed a sigh of relief. She’d done it. Made it through the evening without making a blathering fool of herself. One night down. One day and night to go. She might make it yet without melting into a puddle of sexual frustration at Mitch’s feet.

A reluctance to leave offset her relief the evening was over. Part of her—the part she considered to be her sane side—demanded she rush to the safety of her home. A larger part—the bubbling cauldron of sexual frustration—wanted desperately to stay close to Mitch. This weekend would be the last time she’d see him for a long time, maybe forever.

She wasn’t ready to let go. Not yet. Just a few more minutes. There was nothing demanding her attention at home. Adam was well cared for, spending the night with her assistant manager, Nancy and her husband, so she didn’t have to pick him up.

The two factions battled inside her brain like a tennis match.

Mitch grabbed Olivia’s hand. “Can you stay a while?” His voice was deep and seductive, sending wave after wave of heat pulsing through her body.

She pursed her lips. “I really should be going.” She heard the equivocation in her voice and wondered if he’d heard it too.

“C’mon up to my room. Let’s talk. It’s been too long since we’ve had any private time.” He squeezed her hand. “Besides, it’s still early.”

Talk? About what? She hesitated. Was he finally going to apologize for ripping her heart out and running a herd of cattle over it? That’d be nice, almost as good as falling at her feet and begging her forgiveness.

Her mind hiccupped. Adam? Adam couldn’t be the subject of their conversation. He didn’t know anything about her son—at least he’d better not. Everyone who knew had sworn to keep the boy a secret from Mitch, and she planned to keep it that way. Plus, he was a little too calm for someone who’d had a bombshell dropped on him.

When she hesitated, he said, “I don’t bite.” He flashed her one of his patented smiles designed to weaken any woman’s defenses.

“Yes, you do,” she retorted.

He grinned. “Yeah, but you liked it.” His face grew serious. “Stay. Just for a while. I’d like to catch up. I’ve missed you, Livie.”

She tried to stir the embers of pain and anger she’d suffered when he’d left her. Tried to stoke the fires of hate to propel her out the door. Nothing worked. Sexual desire overrode the dissenting voice in her head. She didn’t want to go. It was that simple…and maybe that complicated.

In a couple of days he’d go back to the Lazy L ranch and her life would continue here in Dallas. Separate lives. A huge swatch of Texas dividing them. Tonight was her chance to be with him, touch him, get passed the emotion that held her heart in a death grip.

She nodded. “Okay. Just for a little while.”

“Great.” Mitch placed a quick kiss on her knuckles before letting go to lift two unopened champagne bottles. “Hate to let these go to waste.”

“Criminal,” she said, picking up two clean flutes off the tray.

His plush suite was huge, almost as large as her entire house. Her heels sank into thick flesh-toned carpet.

Mitch slipped off his jacket and tossed it casually on the back of a chair. He’d loosened the knot in his tie but left it hanging around his neck. “Want me to open a bottle?”

She glanced at him then to a pair of French doors. “Sure,” she said and headed across the room to the double doors. She opened one and walked out onto a private balcony. Fresh floral scents wafted up from a rose garden below. She drew in a deep breath, enjoying the bouquet.

Leaning her hip against the railing, she looked up at the stars. They twinkled more than usual tonight. Everything around Mitch appeared brighter, better, tastier. Would being with him everyday be like that, or was it only now and only tonight? Was his life always this easy, this charmed?

Her life started at four every morning, and sometimes she didn’t get to bed before eleven. In between was filled with sweaty workouts, financial demands and a five-year-old son who needed her as much as her business did. She hadn’t had a date or a night out with friends in months.

Was his life similar? Early mornings, hard work all day, then a late night after taking care of all the ranch business?

She thought about his ex-wife. She’d never been able to see Joanna St. Claire as a rancher’s wife, at least not a working rancher’s wife.

Mitch had jokingly referred to his brother, James, as the gentleman rancher, because his brother had loved the idea of ranching, but not the actual dirt and grime that went with it. James had had the business aspect of ranching down to an art, keeping the cattle breeding records, maintaining the financial records, the social glad-handing with bankers. His boots had been expensive and rarely scuffed.

Mitch, on the other hand, loved the daily ranching grind. Loved getting his hands dirty and his jeans dirtier. She’d seen his boots on many trips to the Lazy L Ranch. They were sturdy, scuffed and usually muddy.

A socialite like Joanna St. Claire would have fit into James’s gentleman-rancher world like a hand in a glove. Joanna living and thriving in the bloody, muddy world of real ranching seemed out of character for the sorority sister Olivia had known in college.

The pop of a champagne cork caused her to turn toward the living room. Mitch poured the bubbly wine into two glasses. As he started across the room toward her, he reminded her of a mountain lion tracking a new born calf—gleaming predatory eyes, a lean body with muscles bunching and releasing as he walked toward her. Unlike the mountain lion’s prey, maybe she didn’t mind all that much being caught tonight.

Her heart throbbed in her throat as he neared. Heaven help her, she wanted him now as much as she had years ago.

Mitch joined her on the balcony and passed her a champagne flute. A slight tremor shook her fingers as she grasped the stem.

“It’s beautiful out here,” she said, biding time. Time to get her raging desire under control. Time to remind herself that
anything happened tonight, it would be a one-time deal. Mitch was her past, not her future.

No matter what her mind said, her heart heard only blah blah blah and ignored it.

“Yeah,” he said, but his gaze never left her face. “Beautiful.” He leaned his hip on the railing next to her. A cougar settling in for the kill.

Olivia’s cheeks burned under his constant stare. The fervor of his gaze melted her last ounce of resistance. She took a sip of champagne and hiccupped.

He laughed softly. “I remember how much you loved champagne. You used to giggle when the bubbles tickled your nose as you drank.” The tan lines on his face deepened when he smiled. “You had the sexiest laugh. Used to drive me nuts.”

Her bones liquefied beneath his smoldering look and words. The region between her thighs ached with desire. Her breasts throbbed with longing to be touched, stroked, sucked.

Oh Lord, she wanted him, more than she’d wanted anything in a long time. She’d cared deeply for her ex-husband, but never, in all their lovemaking, had Drake brought her to this point with a mere look and a few words.

Why couldn’t she have Mitch, if only for tonight? Yes, probably not the best idea, but as long as she went in with her eyes open she could be the one who walked away. With more than four hundred miles of vast Texas landscape separating them, there’d be no weekend quickies in their future. No dates. No reconciliation. No future.

Eyes open. Reality realized.

No reason to bring up Adam, or Mitch’s marriage, or anything else that might put a damper on their short time together.

“To old and dear friends,” she said, clinking her glass against his.

“To lovers reunited.”

She dipped her head in silent agreement.

He drained his glass in one long gulp.

She downed about half her champagne and moved back into the suite’s living room. Mitch followed.

“Nice room,” she said, slipping from her shoes then digging her toes into the carpet pile. She turned in a full circle, taking in a décor that screamed expensive. She shut her eyes as the walls undulated around her. A low groan escaped her lips. Maybe she’d spun too quickly.

“You all right?”

His deep voice resonated inside her mind. If only she could store his voice in her memories, be able to hear him by shutting her eyes and concentrating. Be able to call on it when she was alone.


She opened her memory vault and stuffed in her name spoken in his rough, rumbled voice. She shivered as a bolt of sexual lightning rippled through her.

Nervously she chewed her bottom lip. “I spun too fast. That’s all.”

“Uh huh. Come on,” he said, holding her arm. “Sit down.” He pulled her onto the sofa.

Her bottom hit a cushion. She bounced. And giggled.

His deep throated chuckle gave her chills. He refilled their glasses. “What shall we drink to?”

“Friends with benefits?” She was tipsy, but not from the champagne. At most she’d had maybe three or four flutes. Her intoxication came solely from Mitch, his closeness, his touch, his scent.

He smiled and nodded. “Friends with benefits.”

She finished her drink then sat the glass on the side table. Resting her head on the back of the sofa, she said, “You look good, Mitch. Really good. Life on the ranch must agree with you.”

He snaked his arm under her head and around her shoulders. “It’s good…now. The first couple of years were difficult. After James died, everything seemed to land on me at one time. But I missed you terribly.”

Years she’d waited to hear him say those words. Years.

And tonight, she wanted to believe him.

Needed to believe him.

Did believe him.

“I missed you too.” And to her surprise, she meant it.

The cushions on the sofa shifted as he slid closer. The heat from his chest roasted her skin as he leaned over her. His seductive pull drew her toward him. She had no doubt that she wanted him. But she feared that making love with him would chisel a hole in the wall she’d built around her heart after his betrayal.

Deep inside she knew she should run home, lock her doors and never look back. She should leave now, before it was too late…before he kissed her, because she worried—no, she knew—if he kissed her, she was lost.

Looking deep into his eyes, she met his gaze and held it. God help her, but she craved his kiss, his touch.

The sapphire blue of his irises deepened as his desire flared. She licked her lips. Lost her ability to think logically, to remember all the reasons making love with Mitch was a bad idea. She swallowed and fought her emotional panic as nervous quivers strummed in her gut. Once again, she licked her lips, preparing herself for a kiss she knew would come. A kiss she simultaneously craved and feared.

Chapter Three

He kissed her and the world stopped revolving. She swayed into him. Ran her fingers into his thick, wavy hair. Stroked his tongue with hers. Tasted the champagne inside of his mouth. Sucked gently on his tongue. Soaked him up like an arid desert in an unexpected rainstorm.

Olivia could have blamed the dim lights, or the romantic setting, or even Mitch’s raw animal magnetism for her response to his kiss. Instead, she admitted she wanted this night, this man, his touch, his kiss. All of her fantasies started this way.

Could reality be as good as her imagination?

What would it be like to be with him again? Make love with him again?

There was curiosity, but that wasn’t what was driving her response to his kiss. Desire ran rampant through her veins. A soul-deep lust consumed her.

Their love story was history, so she’d waste no time planning a future that would never come. She’d take what he offered, take what she wanted. Here and now, not a future. Tonight was all there was. She’d not walk away from his arms until she’d gotten what she needed.

BOOK: Texas Two Step: Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 1
2.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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