Two weeks in a row! We’re going for a new record!
This week we’re changing pace with some Contemporary Romance – Cowboys, to be exact. While this bit holds nothing naughty, I can guarantee you that my little smut-lovers will be rolling in the goods before this story ends.
Here we have Anna and Wesley, a photographer and a Georgia cowboy who met on one of her more dubious assignments – an agricultural fair. After one wild night they’ve been thrown back into each other’s company, and now they have to deal with the fallout, Wes’ ex, and a whole bunch of other crazy problems that remain to be seen. Right now Wes has just picked Anna up from the airport and they’re on the way back to his father’s ranch.
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“Wesley,” she called out, raising her arm to him when he turned at the sound of his name. One corner of his mouth curled up into a half-smile, still heart-stopping, and he pushed his sunglasses up to the top of his head. He wore no hat this time – his dirty-blond curls hanging in a shaggy halo around the top of his head. Even clean shaven, there was no denying that hair.
“Fancy meeting you here,” he replied, opening his arms for a hug. Anna went to him, a natural move considering their relationship. The first thing she registered was that he smelled wonderful – like sawdust and water. The second thing she registered was that being in his arms felt a little bit like coming home. That disturbed her.
“Good to see you,” she said as he kissed her cheek. The sudden awkwardness had her fidgeting like a nervous schoolgirl. It was ridiculous – she’d seen every inch of him contorted in the most primal of ways, yet making small talk several weeks later was nearly excruciating.
“Welcome to God’s Country,” he replied as he shouldered her duffel bag. “You ready to see your home for the next week?”
“A week?” she said, the squeak at the end of the statement turning it into a question. “The assignment only lists three days.” Even in her mixed state of shock and panic, Anna caught the slight downward curl of his lip – she’d already said the wrong thing. “Not that I’m complaining, but Damon didn’t give me all of the specifics before he put me on the plane.”
“Dad set up three different appointments to send you around the ranch, and then a few more of the surrounding land – see, the ranches in Madison County all work together. We breed cattle. Our neighbor to the west breeds horses. The others are mostly farmland and small livestock.” As he talked, Anna realized one thing very clearly – Wes loved his job. The passion rolled off him in waves, and despite her general distaste of rural areas the excitement infected her. She couldn’t wait to see his home.
She followed him to the truck, watching his face as he wrinkled his nose under his dark sunglasses. She pushed her own glasses over her eyes, which made it a thousand times easier to study him without getting caught, and accepted his hand as he opened the door and helped her up. A gentleman to the end.
And sexy as hell.
As he pushed the cab door closed, she pushed her brain door closed. She couldn’t keep thinking about him like that or she was in for a world of hurt. Anna watched him in the side mirror as he stowed her things in the toolbox in the truck bed and disappeared around the back. A moment later he climbed in beside her and started the engine.
Ten minutes later the city was quickly falling away behind them. The dense, gray cloud of smog that hung over Atlanta dissipated, leaving nothing around them but neighborhoods and parks, which quickly melted away into green pastureland, bright sunshine, and a natural beauty she never realized existed in the world.
Anna felt the deceleration of the truck as they left the interstate, and once they were nestled safely onto the back roads of the country Wes downed the windows. Immediately warm wind whipped around Anna’s head, sending her neatly pinned updo into a catywompus propeller-spin. Her first reaction was to fling her hands up and hold it down but by the time she was able to grab hold it was too late. Her city-chic look was ruined, and the wind biting at her face already had her eyes watering.
But she immediately noticed one thing – she could breathe. Yes, she breathed quite well anyway, but out here in the middle of No Man’s Land, the air was lighter, cleaner, and sweeter. Forgetting her appearance in favor of taking in the moment, Anna closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. The sweet scents of wildflowers and pine filled the cab of the truck, and so did Wes’ light laughter.
“I told you it was God’s Country,” he said, and when Anna looked over at him she was surprised to find that he’d lifted his glasses and was looking straight at her. “Even city girls like you have to appreciate the world as it was made.”
Anna bit the inside of her lip to keep from smiling. No way was she going to give in and let him know that he’d one-upped her already. She planned to play spoiled urban child as long as possible.
“It’s alright,” she said. “But then again, anything is better than stale plane air.”
Wes’ grin widened. “Keep telling yourself that, hun. I saw you staring at the scenery. Just admit that it’s beautiful out here.”
She turned away from him because she couldn’t keep the smile in check this time. The dome of sky from horizon to horizon was clear and blue – not a single cloud to speak of. The heat would likely be stifling once the truck stopped but with the rapid breeze the downed windows created she felt quite comfortable. The grass in the hay fields was vibrant green, the sun a blazing yellow-orange orb, but the sky… she’d never seen such a beautiful, perfect shade of blue before in her life.
Anna turned her attention back to the man driving the truck. She had seen that blue one time before. His sunglasses were back over his eyes and his face was pointed toward the highway, which gave her time to study him. It was those eyes that hooked her from the start…that immaculate color, so deep and rich she could feel her heart melting in her chest just thinking about the way he’d looked at her that night.
That one glorious night…
Clearing her throat, Anna turned her attention back to the sky and the thin contrail cutting across the western part of her view. Marred, she thought. Flawed. And she reminded herself yet again that nothing was perfect, and if by chance it happened to be perfect for a moment in time, that moment wouldn’t last.
She couldn’t get tangled up with Wes anymore than she already had. Her heart wouldn’t be able to handle it.
And one more time… check out the rest of the stories on the Tuesday Tales blog!