Gable Matthews, a.k.a. Cowboy, has been waiting patiently for Janie to notice him. Bringing her in from the storm gives him the chance to move their relationship into something a whole lot more romantic than his current status of go-to-handyman.
The weather cooperates, leaving them snowbound together in Gable’s apartment where, in spite of the dysfunctional furnace, sizzling passion keeps them warm. But lurking outside in the raging blizzard a killer waits, planning to silence Janie forever.
I woke up in Gable’s bed. I didn’t want to turn my head to look, but I suspected I wasn’t alone. Either that, or I’d slept with a teddy bear—a really big teddy bear.I eased my eyelids open. Ouch. Oh God. My head. I must have moaned.
“You going to live?” Gable’s gravelly voice murmured the question into my ear.
I winced. Under my head, his chest moved. Not a stuffed toy. I drew in his scent, an aphrodisiac cocktail that sent my pulses pounding—alcohol, that tantalizing spicy cologne, sweat—pungent shrieking male.
When my nose brushed his chest, I greedily inhaled the essence of man, blended with the musk of arousal. Well, that certainly jolted me awake.
The chest under my ear moved again, and I heard his rumbled laughter.
This is awkward. I mean… In stealth mode, I eased my hand lower. Oh God. I no longer wore the red dress with the sassy fringe. But… I wasn’t naked. My fingers touched silk camisole. Another delve discovered no bra. I squirmed. I had on my panties.
“Something wrong?” Gable reared up on his elbow. My gaze remained fixed on his chest.
“Uh. I don’t remember too much,” I admitted.
“Is that right? Might have been those Moscow Mules you were throwin’ down.” He ran his finger up my arm and I shivered. It proved to be his own stealth move. He reached my chin and forced my gaze up.
“You want to ask me something?” Gable growled.
I closed my eyes guiltily. “What did I forget?”
“You don’t remember kickin’ Cheryl’s ass?” he drawled.
My eyes flew back open. “I don’t know a Cheryl.”
“You called her Yeehaw Girl.” Gable was clearly enjoying my misery way too much.
“I fought her?” I didn’t remember that. I might have poked her shoulder. But…
“You don’t remember downin’ three more Moscow Mules after that, dancin’ until everyone left, then draggin’ me back here and takin’ me to bed?”
“I… I…” I gnawed on my lip, staring up at him, trying to remember.
“You don’t remember strippin’ down and bumpin’ uglies with me until we both passed out?”
Bumpin’ uglies? No. I most certainly did not remember that. Gable didn’t have an ugly spot on his body.
It hurt like hell, but I managed to wrinkle my forehead in a frown. “None of that happened, did it?” I glared at him.
“Nope.” Wearing knit boxers stretched by a prodigious morning erection, he rolled out of bed and strolled to the bathroom.
I admired his backside and assured myself that men usually sported woodies in the morning. There was nothing significant about Gable climbing from bed wearing a hard-on.
“Did anyone ever serve the cheesecake?” I asked weakly.
As soon as he closed the door, I scrambled up and pulled his gray flannel shirt over Maxine’s sexy underwear. I needed coffee.
I communed with Gable’s Keurig, and by the time he emerged from the bathroom, I was sipping from a cup and had my wits about me. He tossed a bottle of aspirin my way, picked up the mug I’d brewed for him, and said, “Gotta check the furnace. And until I get the water heater going again, we’re talking icy showers.”
I nodded and stared into my cup, avoiding his gaze as I contemplated coffee grounds in the bottom. I thought he’d gone. Instead, he did the chin thing again, lifting my head until I had no choice but to gaze into his eyes.
“Trust me, Harley-Jane?” he asked.
I took a moment to admire the way my full name sounded when he got serious, then nodded. Of course I trusted him.
He’d fixed my tractors so I could sell them. Last fall, when a section of shared fence collapsed, he’d fixed that, too. I’d tried to pay him and he’d done his cowboy thing, tipped his hat, and drawled, “We’re good.” Beth had pointed out half of it was her responsibility since we were neighbors and I didn’t argue further.
He’d even babysat Tucker, my hundred-pound German shepherd, in June when I’d gone to visit Bud.
“Of course I trust you.”
He took the cup from my fingers, set it on the counter, and moved into my space, well, actually, his space, but my space in his space. I gibbered mentally as most of the oxygen left my brain.
He stared down at me pensively as his hands came up, cupped my jaw, and angled my head. My eyes crossed, trying to track the descent of his mouth. I quit looking when he covered my lips with his. Oh yeah. I remembered this.
Too soon the kiss ended, leaving me feeling bereft. I blinked, trying to reorient myself and find reality.
“I’m glad you trust me, sweetheart.” He brushed his thumb over my mouth. “Trust me on this. When we do do it, and that will commence happenin’ soon, there won’t be anything ugly between us, and you sure as hell won’t be forgettin’ what we do.”