“Yep. With a woman three years older than me.”
I stared at him. “What?”
He laughed, then leaned in even closer. “I was fifteen and she was eighteen.”
I was positive my jaw was on the ground.
“That’s…you were a child!” I said with horror in my voice. Had she forced him? Seduced him and made him do something he hadn’t wanted to do? The thought made me both angry and sick to my stomach.
A sexy smile spread over his face. “She thought I was older. I told her I was seventeen because I really wanted to have sex with her.”
“Tanner Shaw. You lied to have sex?”
“At first. I told her the truth before things went too far, and then in her eyes I became a little project. She taught me how to satisfy a woman that night.”
I swallowed hard as his body pressed up against mine. He hadn’t let go of the scarf yet, and I certainly didn’t want him to. My mind raced for something to say. “Did she…I mean, did you learn a lot from her?”
I regretted the words almost instantly.
He leaned in and pressed his mouth to my ear. My entire body shuttered, and I was positive he felt it because a soft chuckle slipped from between his lips before he spoke. His warm breath made my body feel as if I had melted into him. “Yes, want me to show you some of it?”
I needed to take back control. I laughed as I placed my hand on his chest and gently pushed him away. “You are a rake and a shameless flirt, Tanner Shaw.”
He tied the scarf around my neck before he tapped the tip of my nose with his finger. “I don’t know about a rake, but a flirt, most certainly.”
I rolled my eyes and smirked as I watched him step away and open the front door. “Where’s your coat?” I asked as I followed him out the door.
He gave me a mock wounded look. “A coat? Please, I grew up here. I don’t need a coat.”
I shivered when a blast of air hit me, cold enough to steal my breath. “It’s freezing! How can you not wear a coat?” I yelled while I ran past him to the passenger side of one of the trucks in the driveway.
“That’s not mine, sweetheart. This one is.”
When I turned and saw a Jeep, I frowned.
“Disappointed there’s no truck bed?” he asked as he opened the passenger door for me.
“What? No, I mean, I guess I assumed you drove a truck.”
“I do, but the Jeep is easier to get around in the snow, and my truck needs a much-needed break from all the driving I do.”
“That makes sense,” I said as I slipped into the seat.
Tanner turned the Jeep on as soon as he got in. Heat instantly blew out of the vents, and I sighed in relief.
“If you don’t like cold weather, why in the world are you looking to move somewhere cold?”
I took off the gloves, removed my scarf, and pushed them both into my purse. “I love the cold.”
“Really? Could have fooled me with the way you raced over to my dad’s truck.”
“Well, to be honest, I like the cold enough to live where it’s cold. I don’t mind it, but there are some days it feels like it chills me to the bones. If it had been this cold the other morning, I would never have gone riding with you.”
He chuckled. “You’d never make it as a rancher.”
“If I decide to move here, I’ll have to get used to the winters. The perfect winter day for me is sitting on a large, oversized window bench, a cup of tea in my hands, a book nearby, and snow falling outside.”
“That does sound like the perfect day.”
“Really? I would assume you couldn’t stand to be still.”
Tanner let out a scoff. “Why would you say that?”
“I don’t know. From what I’ve seen so far of your family, none of y’all just chill. You’re always going and doing something.”
“I guess we’re just a busy family. There are moments we relax, but this time of year I don’t know anyone who relaxes.”
We drove in pleasant silence for a while, and it felt nice to take in my surroundings. When I was with Kaylee, we talked and talked. I was never really able to experience the Montana landscape while we were out and about together.
It felt good to be with someone who didn’t fill every single moment with words. Not that I didn’t love spending time with Kaylee. I adored her, but sometimes I needed a few moments to just be. Silence was something I valued. My ex never understood that and always thought it was a sign I was mad or frustrated.
I turned to look at Tanner. He was focused on the road and didn’t seem the least bit concerned that we had spent the past ten minutes not uttering a word. “I feel like you have a window or something into my mind,” I said, breaking the silence between us.
Tanner laughed. “Why would you say that?”
“I don’t know. How did you know to give me a few minutes of silence without feeling like I was ignoring you or asking me if anything was wrong?”
He glanced at me with a perplexed look before he turned back to the road.
“It felt comfortable, the silence. I didn’t get the vibe from you that anything was wrong. Just the opposite. You seemed to be enjoying the view, so I let you.”
I stared at him, trying to figure out what it was that drew me to him like a moth to a flame. It was like we had this connection I had never felt with anyone before. How in the world could he read me so well? It didn’t mean anything was wrong; I simply wanted to be alone in my thoughts. Tanner recognized that almost instantly. I frowned slightly as I let that sink in. Then looked back at him. “Thank you for giving me those few moments. I love Kaylee to death, but man can she talk and talk. Sometimes I like to enjoy the quiet and let what’s around me speak. If that makes sense.”
He smiled, but didn’t look my way. “Makes perfect sense to me.”
I found myself smiling as well. “It doesn’t make sense to everyone.”
“I guess not. But I think everyone needs to enjoy a lit
tle bit of silence once in a while.”
I cleared my throat and asked, “What do you do for fun when you’re not roping?”
He let out a quick breath and said, “Hmm. What do I do for fun?”
“Yeah. You know, fun. Things you do for amusement. Entertainment, pleasure.”
The moment the words were out of my mouth, I knew he was going to come back with something sexual.
“I’m not sure you’re ready to hear what my ideas of pleasure are.”
“Dear God,” I said with a chuckle. “Can you be serious for once?”
“I am!” he said, turning onto another road. I remembered from the few times I’d gone into Hamilton that this would lead us right to Main Street.
“You asked me what I liked to do for pleasure.”
“I said fun! Like playing video games, or golf, or something like that.”
Tanner looked at me, his lip curled up on one side. My body instantly felt hot. Goodness, every expression he had was so hot. How was it possible his snarl would make my lady bits go insane?
“Golf? Video games? Do you honestly see me doing either of those things?”
I giggled and shook my head. “Honestly, no. But you know what I mean.”
“Yes, I know what you mean. Let’s see, I like horses, so any free time I get I’ll usually ride or work with them.”
“Work with them?” I asked.
“Yeah, sometimes we’ll have some ready to be trained, and I really enjoy doing that.”
“Really?” I asked as my pulse sped up. To hear that Tanner was interested in something I was had me feeling excited for some reason.
He laughed. “Don’t sound so surprised. The first time I climbed up on Trigger, she damn near threw me over two fences. It was thrilling to break her, though. She’s a damn good horse, and there’s something special about it being the two of us.”
“The two of you?”
“Yeah, I’m the only person who’s ever ridden her. She throws off anyone but me.”
“So even though your job has you on a horse all the time, you still enjoy working with them?” I asked.
“It honestly doesn’t feel like roping is a job. I know I’m blessed to feel that way. I have friends who utterly hate their lives because they’re miserable at work. I don’t ever want that. When I start to lose the love of it, I’ll step away.”