Dazzling in a strapless blue and white dress and red sandals, her light brown hair curled into loose ringlets and gathered into a low side ponytail, Kathryn is the picture of a genteel southern lady. Only the piercing intelligence in her green eyes betrays the sharp edge of her personality.
“Rebecca suggested we come,” Devlin says, sliding his arm around my waist in a familiar, intimate gesture. “She thought I would enjoy the music.”
Kathryn blinks and her head swivels in my direction. “You came together?” If Kathryn’s blank astonishment wasn’t so damned infuriating, I might’ve laughed.
“You know how I love the Bluegrass Jam.” Responding to the way Kathryn’s mouth tightens with displeasure, I lean closer to Devlin. “You and Barbara have outdone yourselves this year.”
“Thank you,” she says.
I wonder what hurts Kathryn worse—that I’m here with Devlin or that his presence at my side means the president of the Bluegrass Belles can’t deliver the scathing condemnation wanting to work its way free of her clenched teeth.
“We’re on our way to get some barbeque,” I’m eager to escape before I say something I’ll regret. “I’m sure we’ll see you later.” A relieved sigh escapes me as we move on. “I don’t know if that just helped you or hurt you,” I say.
“What do you mean?”
“There’s nothing a Bluegrass Belle loves more than a challenge. It might not seem like it, but they’re a competitive lot.” It’s another reason why I don’t fit in. I lack the cutthroat quality required to survive membership. “You are going to find yourself pursued harder than ever.”
“Then we’ll just have to demonstrate for them that you’re the only woman for me.”
Before I have any idea what he intends to do, Devlin spins me in a lazy arc that ends when my back comes into contact with a sturdy oak. Overhead, the canopy of leaves rustles, soft soothing sounds that I can barely hear over the rapid thump of my heart.
“What are you doing?” I demand, staring past his shoulder to see who might be watching us.
“Put your hands on me.”
Currently I’m clutching the tree bark, digging my fingers into the rough surface to stop their trembling. “What?”
“You heard me.” His breath flutters the curls at my temple. “Let’s give them a show.”
This isn’t real. He’s acting.
I’ve spent much of my life pretending one thing or another. That I didn’t dread going home to bear witness to my parents’ unhappy marriage. That being different is okay. That I don’t feel one hundred percent out of control all the time.
“Where would you like me to touch you?” I ask, silently cursing when I can’t raise my voice above a whisper. This man thinks I’m having an affair with a married man. My mind rejects his charismatic pull. My body, however, has a mind of its own, and it wants Devlin.
“Normally I’d say anywhere you want, but this is a public park. You might want to make it above my waist.”
Heat starts at my core and races upward to explode in my cheeks. My bones turn to mush. I lift a hand, intending to set it on his chest and push him away, but my palm lands on his heart and lingers there.
His body twitches to stillness at my touch. All amusement vanishes from his face. In his eyes surprise flickers like a camera flash. He isn’t immune to me. My initial delight fades as he covers my hand with his, holding it against the steady thump of his heart. My pulse slows, keying to match his rhythm. It unnerves me how fast my body syncs with his.
“No matter what you think,” his voice rasps across my raw nerves, “I’m not heartless.”
He’s right. The proof lies beneath my fingers.
“No, you’re not.”
He plucks my hand off his chest, drops a searing kiss on my palm, and places it against his cheek, inches from the tempting luxury of his hair. Before I can question my impulse, I bury my fingers in the black waves. Silky strands slip against my skin, a decadent pleasure. I want to tighten my grip and bring his lips to mine.
Leaning into the caress with the enjoyment of a big cat, his gaze engages mine, sliding deep into my soul. For several seconds we stare at each other. Devlin shatters the moment with a sardonic grin.
“That should get the tongues wagging.” His gaze flickers with triumphant mockery to a spot behind me. He takes my hand in his and backs away, enabling me to catch my breath. “Now, let’s go get something to eat.”
I’m mortified. The purpose of our being together in public is to play to an audience. Instead, I’ve tumbled headfirst into a foolish fantasy where he actually finds me attractive. Awash in humiliation, I let him tow me toward the line of food trucks. That’s a mistake I swear I won’t make again.
Get Your Copy Today: Amazon: http://mybook.to/WCM1 About Caitlyn Blue: Voracious reader with an overactive imagination, chocolate addict, lover of fancy cocktails and tasty edibles, sucker for adventure movies and any music with a beat. When not writing, Caitlyn loves to connect with her readers for whom she's extremely grateful. Join her VIP list to stay up to date on giveaways and exclusive offers. Connect with Caitlyn: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorcblue Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/authorcblue Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorcaitlynblue Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorcblue Newsletter: http://bit.ly/CaitVIP Website: http://caitlynblue.com/index.html Enter Caitlyn’s Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway