Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Release Date: June 1, 2019
Rancher Xander Currin won’t commit to anyone after tragedy broke his heart. But when his feisty ranch hand Frankie Walsh puts herself at risk to secure her future, his protective instincts kick in. He offers her a ticket to the rich and connected at the Texas Cattleman’s Club gala. But soon combustible desires consume them both…and someone’s going to get burned.
Touching her had been a mistake—he knew it as soon as soon as his fingers landed on her sleeve that he wanted to linger. To glide his hand up her arm and around her shoulder to draw her closer. But he could hardly yank his hand back like he’d gotten scalded without revealing just how damned much she affected him.
So he let his fingers rest lightly where they were.
“I was hard on you tonight. Let me at least walk you to your door so I can tell myself I made an attempt to be a gentleman.”
“You’re my boss, not a gentleman,” she argued, then frowned. “That came out wrong. What I mean is–.”
“But as you pointed out earlier, we’re not on the clock tonight.” His fingers grazed her bare skin on the underside of her wrist, a surprisingly tender spot where he could feel her pulse thrum fast.
Her green eyes were wide in the glow of the dome light.
“Right.” Her voice was all rasp and no substance. She cleared it. “Okay.”
He slid his hand away and stepped out of the truck, walking around to her side.
He reached up to help her down, but she hopped out on her own. Wary of his touch? Or stubbornly proud?
Maybe a little of both. She was an intriguing woman.
“Thank you.” She chewed her lower lip and peered up at him in the moonlight. “What time will I see you tomorrow?”
His gaze zeroed in on her mouth, his own suddenly dry as dust.
“I’ll pick you up at seven.” He was already questioning the wisdom of this bargain he’d made with her.
If she was affecting him this much now, what would it be like tomorrow night when they had a whole evening together? Already, the memory of the feel of her made his hands itch to touch her again. He hadn’t thought this through well at all.
She nodded, her dark braid sliding down her shoulder. “And, just so I’m clear, will we be off the clock tomorrow too?”
Was she flirting with him? Or was he reading too much into it because he wanted her?
The tension of holding himself back was quickly knotting his shoulders and they’d been together less than an hour.
“I’m going to let you make that call. You can tell me how much of the evening you want to be business and how much should be…” He couldn’t think of any way to say it that didn’t sound like a come on. “Pleasure.”
She must have heard it too, because her lips parted in soft surprise.
“Good night, Frankie.” He was already imagining her in an evening gown and liking what he saw.
He played a dangerous game letting his thoughts wander there, but he’d be damned if he could stop himself.
And with a silent nod, she pivoted on her boot heel and disappeared inside her cabin.