Never trust a good kisser…
Yoga teacher LeeAnn Walker has no desire to see the unspoilt beauty of her grandmother’s ranch violated by a greedy oil company. But unless she finds the paperwork confirming she owns the mineral rights, that’s exactlywhat could happen. The worst part? The guy spearheading the whole mess is none other than the hot and sexy stranger LeeAnn just kissed to make her ex jealous.
Jonah Hamilton thought his day was looking up until he found out the gorgeous blonde who kissed the hell out of him is the same stubborn woman he came to town for. And she’s not too happy to find out she might be forced to allow drilling on her land.
But Jonah has a job to do, even if LeeAnn tempts him to turn his professionalism into something much more personal…
What an ass-hat.
LeeAnn Walker pushed herself up onto her hands and feet, leaning into downward dog until she felt the stretch across the backs of her calves. She tried to concentrate on perfecting the pose in an attempt to push the memory of the previous night’s teary phone call out of her mind.
I can’t believe Darrell cheated on me.
Angie, the instructor, called out directions in a soothing voice. “Push up onto your toes, then slide your torso along the ground and between your arms.”
Pay attention, LeeAnn.
Shifting into cobra, she shook several loose tendrils of blond hair out of her eyes and arched her back enough to glance up at the wall clock.
If we wrap up in the next ten minutes, I should have time to take a quick shower and grab breakfast at the new diner. What’s it called? Wagon Yard? Chuck Wagon? Something like that.
“Back up to down dog,” Angie intoned.
Damn Darrell all the way to hell and back.
The two-timing bastard. I can’t believe he’s marrying someone else.
Time to rein those thoughts back in. Bursting into tears in the middle of yoga class would defeat the purpose of the exercises, right?
There were lots of things about her life that were great.
She had good friends.
Her part-time job working at Cowbelles, her best friend Kylie’s gift shop, covered her immediate expenses.
She was getting better and better as a yoga teacher and had almost finished her instructor’s certification—in only two or three months, she would be able to run any class TexZen offered. Hopefully, the studio would give her a full-time position.
So it doesn’t matter if Darrell Cheating Jerkwad Vincent broke up with me to marry someone else.
I am calm and centered.
Follow Angie’s instructions.
Move. Don’t think.
She closed her eyes and leaned back on her mat, though she certainly wasn’t in the right frame of mind for the meditation session that ended the class.
At the front of the room, Angie crossed her legs lotus style. “Om,” she intoned, holding her thumbs and forefingers together.
LeeAnn blew out a sigh, then crossed her legs and joined the chant.
Reaching into the battered leather bag on the seat beside him in his green ’56 Chevy, Jonah Hamilton pulled out a file and flipped through the pages.
He needed to know more.
She wasn’t the first person who’d refused to let Natural Shale Oil and Gas drill on their land. But this was the first time he hadn’t been able to figure out why.
Driving past her ranch this morning and staring over the fence at the property he so desperately needed access to hadn’t given him any new insights, either.
It’s not like she can’t use the money.
The house and main barn seemed sturdy enough, though they needed a coat or two of paint—but the outbuildings were practically falling in on themselves. And looking at the state of the boundary markers made him itch to saddle up and ride the fences.
When he’d spoken to the woman on the phone the first time two months ago, she’d been polite, but firm, in her refusal to meet with him.
By last week she’d been downright hostile, even going so far as to hang up on him midsentence.
But every survey that Natural Shale had done suggested that her land was the perfect place to drill. And as the company’s landman, it was his job to arrange for drilling access.
Jonah Hamilton did not fail. That’s why the company had put him on the job. He always got what he wanted, what the company wanted, in the end, no matter how much the landowner initially protested.
LeeAnn Walker was no different.
Time to do a little research, and then apply some in-person charm.
But first, breakfast.
Grabbing the well-worn Stetson from the passenger seat and settling it on his head, he slid out of the truck and headed into the diner.
As she walked out of the studio, LeeAnn’s stomach rumbled at the smell of bacon frying. Even as she reminded herself that vegetarians shouldn’t crave pork products, she followed the smell around the corner to the diner that had only recently opened.
Wagon Wheel Diner, she read on the sign as she drew nearer. She glanced at her watch.
Half an hour ought to give me enough time to grab breakfast and still open Cowbelles on time. I can stick to pancakes.
Of course, she hadn’t counted on the line of people snaking up to the order counter. She should have known better—anyplace new was bound to be even more crowded than the usual Stockyards District restaurants, and few places served breakfast.
Shifting from one foot to the other, she checked her watch, then froze as a familiar laugh drifted through the restaurant. Her gaze followed the sound back to its origin.
Darrell Jerkwit Cheater Vincent.
Sitting right there at a table with a group of businessmen, as if he had every right to smile and laugh and act as if he weren’t a despicable example of humanity.
Her stomach clenched. It wasn’t like Fort Worth was a small town, even if working in the Stockyards District sometimes made it seem as if it were. She had options. She didn’t have to stick around.
In fact, it would be better if she got out of here before he saw her at all.
She spun on her heel to march out the door and smacked into a muscled wall of masculine chest—then bounced right back off, her arms pinwheeling for a moment, before the toe of her sneaker caught on a chair and she landed flat on her butt on the hard, ceramic tile floor.
As if the impact had knocked it out of her, her next thought about Darrell popped out of her mouth in a breathy whoosh as she landed.
“Pardon me?” Although the collision had rocked him back on his boot heels a little, the man she had careened off seemed otherwise unaffected as he held out his hand to help her up.
The guy looming over her reminded LeeAnn of someone, though she couldn’t figure out who.
Maybe an actor or a model? He’s that hot.
Part of her realized that her stare was turning rude, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. And he knew exactly what effect he was having on her—she could see it in the way his deep, dark blue eyes sparkled in amusement. His hair matched his eyes—it was a black so deep that it seemed to have blue highlights.
A cleft chin that movie stars would kill for.
And a muscular chest that a girl could bounce right off.
“Like Superman comics,” she whispered.
“Are you okay?” He leaned in closer and reached out with both hands as if to steady her as she scrambled up.
No ring, she noted. Not that I care.
“I’m fine.” LeeAnn backed away. “Sorry about that.”
Everyone in the Wagon Wheel was staring at her now. Although she wanted to, she didn’t risk looking at Darrell. Bad enough he had dumped her. She couldn’t bear the thought of him watching her as she made a fool out of herself.
The burn of a deep flush crept up her neck, then flashed across her cheeks.
“Excuse me,” she whispered, brushing past the gorgeous man who was now blocking the exit.
“Really, are you okay?” the beautiful man said, once again reaching out as if to touch her shoulder.
She froze for the barest instant, then turned her head just far enough to look into those navy blue eyes.
Almost against her will, her gaze flicked back toward Darrell.
He was watching, but he was far enough away that he almost certainly hadn’t heard their conversation.
And the sneaky, lying, cheating son of a bitch was smirking.
Swinging back around to fully face the man in the doorway, she acted on impulse. She might not know who this amazing, beautiful, Superman-looking guy was, but in that instant, she didn’t care.
Maybe she could, for a moment, show Darrell…something.
This is probably a bad idea.
She ignored the tiny voice in the back of her head.
“Work with me,” she whispered to the man in front of her.
He had only a second for a confused look to flicker across his face before she stood up on her tiptoes, wrapped her arms around his neck, threaded her fingers through the silky hair just brushing the nape of his neck, and pulled him down to kiss her.
It took one interminable heartbeat for him to respond, long enough for LeeAnn to realize that this might have been the worst idea she’d ever had.
Or maybe the second worst idea, right after Darrell.
And then he took over.
Arms banded with muscles circled her waist, crushing her against that unbelievably broad chest. His tongue teased at her lips, and she found herself melting into him for a long, blissful moment.
When he finally pulled away gently, setting her feet back on the ground, she blinked. Slowly, she unwrapped her arms from around his neck, breathless and dazed.
“Let’s skip breakfast,” he said in a suggestive tone, loud enough to be heard through the suddenly silent diner.
“O-okay,” she stammered, following as he tugged her out the door.
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins writes urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She lives in Texas with her daughter and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them.
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