To Tame a Cowboy - Page 13

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As she slid her hands over the tattoos covering his torso and side, Ryan resisted the urge to reach out and move a wayward curl that had slid down over her eye. Instead he allowed his gaze to journey down to the vee of her cami. The thin material did nothing to hide the outline of her nipples. And those dainty straps could be snapped off with one expert flick of his fingers.

“There’s still some swelling,” she murmured. “But the ibuprofen and the ice will help with that.”

She glanced up at him, and he was totally busted for looking at her chest.

“Are you serious?” she joked with a smile. “You’re checking out my boobs?”

Ryan shrugged. “You put them out there.”

Piper rolled her eyes. “I sleep in this, you moron. Besides, you’ve seen way better racks on the hoochie mamas that chase you all over the circuit. There’s not a lot here to see.”

“Listen, I’m a guy,” he countered. “You should be worried if you’d walked in here like that and I didn’t stare. Boobs are boobs and we want to see them all.”

“Yes, I know. Any hint of skin around the chest area and you guys instantly quit blinking and your mouths fall open.”

Grinning, Ryan took the ice pack she held out. “We only do that with attractive women.”

“Oh, please.” She laughed. “Besides, Ryan, we’re best friends. I’m like one of the guys.”

“Not from where I’m standing. You’re all woman.”

With no effort on his part, his tone had changed. His voice had deepened, his smile had faded. Yeah, he wasn’t kidding about her not being just one of the guys. Yes, she’d grown up around cowboys and now worked with mostly men, but she was far from a guy and all that silk and lace hanging to dry in her guest bath proved his point.

“You’ve seen me in a swimsuit,” she reminded him, her voice softer. “It’s not a big deal.”

He couldn’t stop his eyes from roaming over her bare skin and that valley between her breasts. When he met her gaze again, he didn’t see desire as he’d hoped, he saw uncertainty.

“You must’ve really hit your head,” she joked. “You’ve never talked like this before or looked at me”

“Like what?” he murmured.

“Like you want me.”

“I know exactly what I’m saying and what I want, Piper.” He purposely let his eyes drop to her mouth as he slid his hand up and over her bare shoulder. “You know how special you are in my life and how much I value our friendship.”

“Then why are you looking at me like you want to kiss me?” she whispered.

“Because I do.”

She didn’t back away, but her body froze beneath his touch. The dead last thing he wanted to do was to scare her or to make her uncomfortable. Unfortunately he’d managed to do both.

His plan of seduction needed a bit more work. He wasn’t used to being the one chasing. If he didn’t botch it, this could be interesting.

Ryan dropped his arm and eased back into his propped-up pillows. “Thanks for the pills and the ice.”

Her brows pulled together. “So you get all worked up and then...nothing?”

Shrugging, Ryan grinned. “I’ve been worked up before, Red. Now get out of here before I take what I really want.”

Deep green eyes widened, but she just nodded as she came to her feet. “Good night, Ryan. I’ll be in periodically to check on you.”

He swallowed, afraid that if he opened his mouth, he’d beg her to stay, to crawl beneath the sheets with him and see just how far they could push their friendship.

But in the end he watched her go, and waited for the door to click shut before he groaned out his frustration.

Thank God his injuries weren’t worse. There was no way he could stay here long term and not want to try his hand at playing house with his very sexy, very intriguing best friend.

And he’d been scared that retirement would be boring.

* * *

Mercy. Someone had beaten him with a two-by-four...or his car had flipped and pinned him. Either way, Ryan nearly whimpered when he crawled—yes, crawled—out of bed the next morning.

He’d been thrown from a horse countless times. But normally he’d soaked in a tub of hot water and have a nice rub-down after to help ease the pain that would inevitably set in.

But asking Piper for a rub-down last night would’ve only ended one way...with all their clothes off.

Padding down the hallway toward the kitchen, Ryan rounded the corner. At the small kitchen table, Piper sat with papers spread around her and her hand holding her forehead up while her other hand scribbled something. A tall oscillating fan sat in the corner, rotating back and forth to stir the air.

Tags: Jules Bennett Romance