As Sydney passed by the bar, a short and stocky cowboy grabbed her hand, pulling her to a stop. "Dance with me, darlin'?"
She glanced toward Cameron and her sister smiled.
"Sure. Why not."
A rousing two-step played as his calloused hand took hers, and he led her out onto the floor. Twirling her before he pulled her to him, he placed one hand at her waist and the other interlocked with hers. Gently, she placed her palm on his shoulder and they began to dance, two quick steps and then two slow ones. With ease he maneuvered her into a turn and back into his arms.
Beneath a large Stetson, he smiled and inched her closer. "Justin Timbers, ma'am. You're not from around this neck of the woods." It was a statement, not a question.
Was her city persona that obvious?
Another turn and they came together, chest to chest, and hip to hip. The cowboy held them in the intimate position, their bodies rubbing as they moved across the floor. Then he twirled her again and they resumed a more decent distance between them.
"I'm Sydney." She inhaled his spicy cologne. Maybe what she needed tonight was a cowboy. It had been so long since she'd had a man in her bed. "I'm from New Jersey."
"Please tell me you're moving here." His brown eyes twinkled in the dim lighting.
She chuckled. "No. Just here for the long weekend."
Dropping their clasped hands down to their sides, so that once again their bodies were touching, he leaned in and whispered, "Wyoming's loss for sure, darlin'."
Sydney's eyelids drooped. She loved to dance. For the moment, she allowed herself to enjoy the rustic atmosphere, the music, and the man in her arms.
When the band stopped playing, Sydney and Justin drew apart. Her mouth opened to thank him, when suddenly a hand on her shoulder spun her around. She shrieked and then froze, coming face to chest with Sean. Her gaze rose. Judging by his frown, he didn't appear happy. He leveled a glare on Justin.
Wonderful. Big brother to the rescue and a pissing contest just for her. Yippee!
When she glanced over her shoulder at the cowboy, he stroked the rim of his hat and grinned. "Later, darlin'."
Sean mumbled something inaudible. Then he wrapped his arms around her waist and crushed her body to his.
Startled, she raised her eyes to his. When they met his, sexual energy leapt between them, stealing the cutting remark she had perched on her tongue. Instead, her insides quivered and the air from the room seemed to disappear. She couldn't breathe.
Uh-oh, her mind screamed. Something wasn't quite right.
"You need to be more careful," he grumbled.
Sucking precious air into her lungs, she desperately attempted to hold on to her control. "Of what?"
The urge to laugh bubbled in her throat, but the merriment never left her mouth as a dreamy melody began and Sean swept her away.
Cocooned in his embrace, she damned her traitorous body for buzzing to life with his touch. One hand nestled in the small of her back, fingers resting lower so that they rode the swells of her ass, while his other palm lay warm between her shoulder blades. Her cheek was pressed to his chest, his heady masculine scent having a field day with her senses. With each trembling breath she dragged in his cologne, a touch of evergreen, amber and musk that made her dizzy.
Shifting his hips, he wedged a knee between her thighs and she went liquid. His jeans-clad leg rubbed seductively against her sex. The developing ache made her nipples pebble into taut peaks. Her breasts swelled, growing heavy with need. This was the last thing she needed.
What was happening? A brother didn't dance with a sister like this.
Sydney attempted to adjust her position, but his palms and leg made the endeavor impossible. Instead, he only increased the pressure, and the tightening low in her belly. Unanticipated arousal dampened her thong, while embarrassment heated her cheeks.
Please. Please. Don't let him discover how he affected her. A damp spot on his jeans when they parted would be the ultimate humiliation. Sydney attempted to swallow, but the lump in her throat prevented anything so simple.
What on earth was Sean thinking, holding her so close, so intimately? And if her active imagination hadn't gone completely bonkers, he was aroused too. Surely that wasn't his belt buckle biting into her hip.
Could it be that he felt something for her?
Laughter almost burst from her mouth. You're such an idiot.
Neither spoke as they drifted slowly across the floor.
Yeah. As if she could articulate a single, logical sentence even if she had dared to speak. Pressed so tightly against him as she was, every cell in her body screamed for fulfillment. In fact, Sydney would be lucky if the second he released her she didn't fall into a puddle of goo at his feet.
On a turn, his knee gave her some reprieve, but before she could sigh with relief that damn pressure was back, teasing and tormenting her. The coil between her thighs wound tighter and tighter, the ache intensifying at alarming speed.
A whimper squeezed from her lips. Again, heat flamed across her face and she found herself praying, no pleading, that Sean hadn't heard the pitiful cry.
What if she was wrong? What if this was just a show to keep the other men away from her?
When the song finally ended, Sydney didn't know if she was relieved or disappointed. Hell. She didn't know which end was up or down. Every tendon and muscle inside her was strung as taut as a bow. His grasp on her lessened, and he stepped back to hold her at arm's length. The emptiness of his touch was bittersweet. Their gazes came together with a magnetic pull.
Without thinking, Sean slid his fingers into her silky hair, dropping his head to capture her mouth, but before their lips met they were interrupted.
"Ma'am, may I have this dance?"
Sean slowly raised his head to see yet another cowboy eyeing Sydney. This one was a little taller than the last and built like a Brahma--and raised by a coyote by the gleam in his eyes.
"The woman's with me." Sean spoke without thinking. Judging by Sydney's widened eyes, his words had shocked her as much as they had him.
"Sean?" His name was almost inaudible on her lips.
"Excuse us." He maneuvered her through the dancers and toward their table. Before they reached their destination, she pulled to an abrupt halt.
"Uhhh...what just happened?"
He bristled, reaching for the only thing that came to mind. "You don't want to get involved with the likes of these men."
"And why not?"
"Look at them, Sydney."
No sooner did he say it than he regretted his words. Because look, or more to the point ogle, was exactly what she did, receiving several interested smiles in return that made his hackles rise to the surface.
"Okay. That's enough," he barked.