Taming the Texan - Page 12

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A ghost of a smile danced around her lips. “If that rain doesn’t let up, it could be a long night. Might as well find something to occupy our time.”

The words were completely true, but now that she said them and they were hovering in the air between them, Hayes was having a hard time remembering why he was keeping his hands to himself.

If Alexa ended up being an overnight guest, he better find a project real soon to get started on or he’d have those clothes stripped off her before midnight.

“I plan on doing every room and then starting on the outside,” he told her. “I have no timeline.”

It wasn’t like he was going anywhere. He’d come back to heal, in his own time, and to assist with the dude ranch. Renovating was simply a much needed distraction.

He’d had surgery on his leg in Germany before he came back to the States. Since then he’d done some in-home therapy, but he was stuck with this damn limp, a physical reminder of that horrendous day. So that portion of his healing had gone as far as possible. He wasn’t too sure if the mental healing would make any better progress.

“You’re doing all the work yourself?” she asked, tipping her head to the side.

“Why would I hire for it when I’m perfectly capable?”

Alexa shrugged and crossed to the kitchen table. She took a seat and rested her elbows on the scarred wooden top. “Because you’re loaded.”

Hayes stared for another minute before he let out a bark of laughter. He didn’t remember the last time he’d actually laughed, but his temporary roommate was seriously getting through the wall he’d been hiding behind.

Maybe that was most of her appeal. She clearly knew about the PTSD, she hadn’t offered apologies and she didn’t back down from what she wanted to say. All of that added up to one sexy package.

“There goes that honest mouth again.”

One dainty fingertip traced a scarred pattern over the tabletop. “I mean, I love manual labor, but most people would rather just have someone else do the grunt work. Especially when they could afford to just tear this place down and build from scratch and make it five times the size.”

He met her gaze. “I’m not like anyone you’ve ever met.”

Dark eyes widened at his declaration. The whisky color called to him, but he knew that was just hormones talking. The electricity flickered, pulling him from the trance.

“Are you kidding me?” she muttered beneath her breath, her eyes rolling up to the ceiling.

“Eager to leave?”

Her eyes snapped back to his. “Aren’t you just as eager to see me go?”

There were two ways he could answer that and both of them were honest. Yes, he wanted her to go because he hated visitors.

On the other hand, no. He wanted her to stay so he could watch her body move beneath his clothes a little longer. Masochism clearly had settled in deep here because at this point he’d rather be tormented by her snarky comments and her tempting curves than to see her walk away.

“No,” he said, earning him another surprised face.

Her mouth dropped open and he was moving before he even realized it. Hayes came to stand beside her chair. With one hand on the back of the chair, and one hand on the table, he caged her in and leaned down slightly. “I like how you tried to protect me from the big bad slamming door.”

“If you’re just going to mock me—”

“I’m not,” he clarified. “I haven’t been attracted to a woman in a long time.”

She blinked, those long, dark lashes briefly shaded her doe eyes. “And what do you expect me to do with that information?”

Damn she had a mouth on her. He liked it.

“I don’t expect anything, but just as you are up-front and honest, so am I.”

Her eyes studied him, more his mouth than anything. She was tempted, that much was obvious. She’d been tempted the moment she’d turned to greet him in the stables, but she’d been too ladylike to not keep her thoughts to herself.

Hayes was excellent at reading people. Well, not his ex-fiancée. He hadn’t seen that coming.

“Well, Hayes,” she drawled out and made every nerve ending in his body stand up and beg for attention. “As much as I’d love for you to rip your clothes off me and have your wicked way, I’m afraid I live in the real world and that’s just not something I do.”

Even though she delivered an impressive verbal punch, he had to give her credit. She managed to say that and sound sexy at the same time.

“I don’t either, darlin’, but there’s always a first time for everything. Isn’t that the old saying?”

Alexa pushed to her feet, forcing him to step back slightly. But he didn’t move too far. Her body slid against his. He fisted his hands and willed all of his control to step up and assist a brother out. He couldn’t resist this woman and her sarcasm and the way she called him on everything.

“I recognize PTSD.”

And there went the arousal he’d had since meeting her.

Hayes turned away and headed to the kitchen window above the sink. He’d rather watch the rain come down in sheets than address the proverbial elephant in the room that his brothers had badgered him about for weeks.


Tags: Jules Bennett Romance
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