Excerpt from The Cowboy’s Claim by Nina Crespo
“All right, people,” the DJ called out over the mic. “I’ve gotten a few requests to change it up.”
A country song pumped through the speakers, and Adam, Bethany and other couples paired up.
Well, the fun was over. Chloe reluctantly started to head back to her seat and almost ran into Tristan. A small shudder of awareness zipped through her.
She stared up at him, suddenly unable to speak, searching his face for a sign or an inkling that she wasn’t the only one who’d felt it. Chloe didn’t realize her hand was raised in his or that his other hand rested on her back until a dancing couple bumped her closer to him.
Chloe held on to his arm for balance. He wanted to dance with her. “But I don’t know this one.”
Tristan leaned in near her ear. “I’ll teach you. Trust me. It’s not complicated.”
Not complicated? Every cell of her being was awakened by his proximity and his familiar scent warming on his skin. She’d probably make a fool of herself. “Okay. I’ll try.”
He moved back a little. “It’s just a simple two-step. When I step forward with my left foot, you step back with your right. Then it’s quick-quick, slow-slow. Quick-quick, slow-slow. I’ll guide you through it.”
Right away, she jumbled the steps.
Tristan chuckled. “Wait. Let’s do that again. Start with your other right.”
Meaning not her left foot. Instead of cringing with embarrassment the humor in his expression made her laugh, and she tried again. A few steps later, she followed his lead finally easing into the smooth easy movements without stepping on the toes of his boots.
He caught her off guard as he released her and twirled her around. When he took her back into his arms, her leg slid between his, aligning their hips and melding her to his chest...just like during their kiss in the pasture.
Nearby, Adam and Bethany danced just as close. When Adam spun her around, in one deft move, Bethany snagged his brown cowboy hat from his head and put it on hers. Bethany wound her arms around Adam’s neck, and he rested his forehead to hers as his hands slid to her waist.
A hint of envy filled Chloe as she longed for that kind of intimacy with Tristan, but unlike Bethany and Adam, that kind of closeness would put all eyes on them, making people wonder about them, and raise questions that she didn’t even have the answer to about her relationship status with Tristan.
Needing to change focus, Chloe looked to his cowboy hat. His other hat was in the front seat of her rental, parked just off the road near the pasture gate along with the cars of other Spring Fling attendees. She’d planned to hand it over to him after the party.
“Your Stetson reminds me, I need to give you your ball cap back.”
“Or you could trade up.”
“What exactly does ‘trade up’ mean?” The huskiness in his voice made her look directly into his eyes.
Tristan’s slow lean in near her cheek brought her closer to him, and she drew in an unsteady breath as his lightly whiskered cheek grazed hers. “You tell me.”