ROARING FORK WRANGLER
“Juni’s here,” I heard someone say when my phone beeped, signaling an arrival requesting access to the estate.
I looked down at the screen and caught a glimpse of her before she rolled up her window and drove through the gate. Just the briefest of glances of Juniper Chance had my pulse racing and the crotch of my jeans tightening.
I’d had the same reaction the first time I met her and every time I was in her presence since.
Yeah, it had been a while since I’d been with a woman, but none I’d met since I arrived in this small Western New York village had the same effect on me. Plenty had been damned attractive too.
“What in the world is going on?” Juni asked, jumping out of her car and running over to where several of us stood. I heard her say her brother called with news that something was going down at the Lilacs estate.
While I could hear her words, they weren’t registering with the same intensity as her plump red lips. Damn if I didn’t want to wrap my arm around her waist, pull her body close to mine, and kiss the living shit out of her.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
I looked into her eyes when I realized she was speaking directly to me. “Yeah, why?”
Her cheeks flushed. “Just…um…nothing.”
I followed her gaze and turned to watch everyone but the two of us go inside.
“Should we join them?” she asked.
I stuffed my hands in my pockets. “Not too sure I’m welcome.”
Her eyes widened. “Why not?”
I kicked at the snow with my boot. “I shot Jimmy Rooker.”
I had no idea what I expected her reaction to be, but it wasn’t the board smile that cracked her face. “He was such an asshole. Way beyond that, actually.”
“Still is, darlin’. I shot his kneecap out.”
Her eyes scrunched. “I guess it makes me a terrible person that I was happy thinking he was dead.”
I smiled and shook my head. “I’m sure plenty of people would agree with you.” I motioned toward the porch steps. “You wanna go inside?”
Juni nodded and I walked in that direction.
“Wait,” I heard her say.
When I turned around, she was right behind me.
“What were you thinking about before? You know, when I asked if you were okay.”
I sighed and looked up at the canopy of trees above us. If I said I couldn’t remember, I’d be lying. “Might not be somethin’ you’re interested in knowin’.”
“You’re wrong. I mean, I am interested in whatever it was.”
My eyes bored into hers and I took a step closer. “You’re sure?”
She moistened her lips with her tongue.
I raised my fingers to her chin. “Don’t do that, darlin’.”
“Because me lickin’ those lips was what I was thinking about.”