“What do you want to see?”
“I want to do cheesy tourist stuff. Go to a western shop to try on cowboy hats, walk around the downtown area to see if there are any art galleries.”
He cocked his head, making me think he had something already in mind. “How do you feel about flowers?”
Excitement shot through me. “Should I bring my camera?”
Colin winked. “Definitely.”
I hurried back to my room, pulling out my camera before joining him by the front door. I was excited to have this time with Colin. He had a couple of days off before he’d need to get back to work, but I’d enjoy every second.
At the botanical gardens, we wandered with no specific purpose in mind. I kept my camera ready to take a picture at a moment’s notice. I wanted to catch that moment when a butterfly settled on a leaf or a bee nestled in the petals of a flower. Colin patiently waited off to the side while I did my thing, getting the right angle and snapping a bunch of pictures.
Lowering my camera, Colin reached for my hand.
I smiled up at him. “Thanks for bringing me. This is great.”
Colin had been a friend since the moment we met, easily sliding into the role of confidant, then lover. My emotions were all over the place, a part of me just wanted to enjoy this moment with him, not overthinking it. Another part of me wanted to hold on tight and never let go.
An overwhelming feeling bloomed in my chest. I wanted him.
“It was worth it to see you in your element.”
His admiration was evident in his gaze and tone. I loved the way he saw me.
“You’re addicting, Colin Winters.”
His smile widened. “That’s the idea.”
I laughed at his boyish grin and the mischievous glint in his eye.
We wandered through the gardens, holding hands, then sat on one of the benches by the lily pad pond, enjoying the day. I couldn’t remember a more perfect day. The only difference between my trip and now was him.
My stomach rumbled. Groaning, I said, “Sorry.”
I didn’t want to leave this tranquil space. I didn’t want to think about the future. I just wanted to enjoy the present.
He stood. “Dinner?”
I took his offered hand. “Sure.”
“We can walk around Larimer Square.”
“That sounds perfect.” Larimer Square was the historic downtown area where the original bank, post office, grocery store, bookstore, and theater still stood.
I should have said he didn’t have to show me around or take me to dinner, but the words stuck in my throat. I wanted him to. I wanted this time with him. Soon we’d have other things to worry about, but right now, it was just him and me.
We slowly walked through the square, the lights strung across the streets came on as night fell, giving the street a warm glow. We walked into several of the shops, eventually ducking into a store sporting western clothes.
“Don’t you have a cowboy hat?” Colin asked when I tested a few out in front of the mirror.
“Not since I was a girl.” I’d eschewed anything ranch-related when I became a teenager.
“You look sexy in that hat.”
I rolled my eyes even as his words warmed me. “Maybe I need to get some boots.”
I wandered through the store, looking for something to attract my attention. Red boots sat prominently on one of the shelves. “Maybe these.”
I sat down on a bench in the back of the store to slide off my flip-flops and pulled on the boots. Standing, I posed in front of the mirror. “These are perfect.”
The red boots looked great with my blue dress and jean jacket. “What do you think?”
I turned to face Colin. Alone in the rear of the store, he tipped the brim of my hat. “Sexy.”
He bent his knees so that his face was aligned with mine.
I sucked in a breath. Was he going to kiss me?
My eyes fluttered closed as his lips brushed against mine in the softest of touches. His hand went to my neck, gripping it lightly. His other hand rested on my hip, gently pulling me into his body until I was leaning against him, my chest pressed against his.
He pulled away slightly, his voice low and raspy. “You should get the boots.”
“Yeah?” My voice was husky, a foreign sound to my ears.
My mind flashed to wearing daisy dukes with red boots and a white peasant shirt. “Yeah, they’ll go with so many things.”
“Or nothing at all.” He tapped the hat. “Get the hat, too.”
Nothing at all? Was he imagining me naked wearing only the boots?
He stepped back, his eyes darkening.
I licked my suddenly dry lips, wondering what just happened.
I moved to take them off, but he said, “Wear them.”
I crossed my arms over my chest. “You’re awfully bossy right now.”
His eyes drifted down to my pregnancy-enlarged breasts.
I liked his reaction to me.
“I don’t think you mind.”
Nope. Not at all. “I guess I’m wearing the boots.”
When I sashayed past him, he swatted my butt.
“Hey!” But I didn’t mind his hands on me. Not at all. Blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but being around him was intoxicating.
“Maybe you should replace your baseball cap with a cowboy hat,” I teased.
“I don’t think so.” His voice was low, hitting a frequency that made my blood pump harder through my veins.
His ball caps were frayed and sexy as hell. “I think they’re sexy.”
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When my employer Henry Aldridge is set to claim a large inheritance from his deceased father, he drags me along with him - because he needs his assistant. I have no choice but to move across the country with Satan’s bastard and stay with him for over a year in order to pay for my mother’s debts.
Henry drags me to a small town where everyone knows your business and to a family that’s more broken than close. The Aldridge brothers are handsome, arrogant, and sinful.
They’re also too much to handle.