“I make you nervous,” Jasper said.
Chelsea frowned. “Of course you don’t.”
He clearly did, and that, perversely, made him feel as relaxed as if he’d just had a full body massage from someone very curvy and morally questionable. He felt lazy and something far darker, far more intent, as he studied her.
“Is it this bar? Doesn’t look like you come in here much.”
“For all you know I dance naked on the tables every night of the week,” she snapped at him, and he wasn’t the only one who noticed how the word naked seemed to sit there and spin on the dark wood tabletop between them. She swallowed, hard, like she couldn’t think about anything else. He knew he couldn’t.
“Every night except the last two, then.”
“You spent your first two nights in town at the saloon?”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing. I consider it my own, personal welcome wagon. Only without cookies.”
There was something about the way strands of her blonde hair kept falling out of that twist of hers that made him… edgy. Hungry, maybe, like he wanted to reach over and pull the whole mess of it down just to see it swirl around her shoulders, thick and bright.
“I wouldn’t dream of judging you,” she said, and then her lips twitched as the tone she’d used—the very definition of judgmental¬¬—echoed there between them. “Not too openly, anyway.”
He raised his shot glass and waited. She picked up her own shot glass and he watched her chin rise and her shoulders go back, like she was talking herself into it.
“To history,” he said.
Her blue eyes narrowed.
“To history,” she replied, and then held her shot glass still while he gently tapped his to the side.
Jasper tossed the whiskey back, then had the pleasure of watching her do the same. Her eyes watered, her face reddened.
“Do that a lot, do you?”
He was mocking her, and she obviously knew it. She blinked until her eyes lost that hectic glitter, then glared at him.
“I love nothing more than a shot of whiskey at the end of a long school day, thank you,” she retorted.
“Tell me, Triple C,” he murmured, leaning in close, feeling daggers in his back from across the room but unable to care about anything but that frankly carnal mouth of hers and the way it parted slightly as he took up too much of the space between them. “Is this your big rebellion? Tossing back shots in the middle of town with a stranger?”
He didn’t know what he expected. Her to laugh, maybe. Or to suggest a more satisfying form of rebellion the way his usual sort of woman would. “It sounds so pitiful when you say it.”
“Not at all, darlin’,” he heard himself say, more drawl than sense. “I’m an excellent way to start a downward spiral. We’ll have you table dancing within the week.”
End of Excerpt