“Tequila shot. Silver, please. Hell, make it two.
It had been a long day on the ranch. My back and legs ached, my arms felt heavy, and I could tell by the dull sting and stiffness in my face that my long day in the sun was going to hurt like hell in the morning. Having been up since dawn every day for the last few months had made for rough sleep, but I was never fed with a silver spoon.
Today was quite busy, a bit more than most, but the majority of the routine remains the same. My alarm screamed at five-thirty, pulling me away from my peaceful slumber and into the start of my day. Shower, dress, and to the barn by six-fifteen to meet the farm hand at six-thirty. Ben, our nineteen-year-old farm hand, and I split chores and had the cattle, pigs, and horses fed by seven-thirty. Ben then left for his local community college classes, leaving me to do rounds on my own for a few hours. Once the farm rounds were finally done, I cleaned out trailers and stalls. Then it was time for lunch, and I headed to the office to work on paperwork. We would cut and cull some cattle out in a few weeks, so I needed to get organized before we got to that mess.
A bit after two, Ben came barreling down the driveway in his old blue Ford pickup. Today, the two of us saddled up and started our cattle rotation. Cows, heifers, bulls and calves were rounded up and moved from one grazing plot to another, just like we do every few weeks. When that was all finished, it was nearly four. Ben helped wash down the horses, put away the tack, and then dinner rounds. By six, livestock had been taken care of for the day, only to be tended to again tomorrow.
Good Lord, this shit was getting old fast. I was twenty-three and felt like I was forty! But, that was what I got for trying to help Dad run the ranch here in Willow, Texas. At eighteen, I graduated high school thinking I would travel the world and leave this town behind me. However, life had other plans. Dad was in way over his head with bills for this place, and apparently had been for a while, and he was close to losing the farm. I just couldn’t watch all that he had worked for slip through his fingers, not after all he had done for me growing up. Especially after Mom passed. Now, five years later, the ranch has been doing very well, and I was still here working my ass off. Boy, did life have those other plans.
Thank fuck it was finally Friday! Dad would be able to handle feeding rounds in the morning, which would give me a much needed reprieve.
SLAM! The sound of two glass shot glasses hitting the bar top pulled me out of my head. The bartender poured the clear elixir into the two glasses, set slices of lime on a napkin and smiled. “There ya go, Lex.” I slid a bill her way and she waved it off, “Eh, I’ve got these, hon. Don’t you dare. You look like you could use it.”
“Linda, you are my hero,” I sighed. She let out a small laugh and walked away. Linda was a petite older lady, short grey hair that paired well with her laugh lines and pale blue eyes. Now in her mid-fifties, she could still hold her own and kick ass if she had to. Tough as nails. She ran the bar with her husband, Mick. The two of them had something special going for them. Mick bought the bar for Linda when they got engaged, damn near thirty years ago, and the two of them have ran this place side-by-side since. “I owe you a pack of steaks! Maybe two,” I hollered in her direction. She smiled and gave a quick nod before helping another customer wanting a beer.
Saltshaker in hand, I laughed to myself. Grabbing one of the glasses, I licked salt off my hand, tossed down the shot and bit into one of the lime slices. The burn of the tequila going down my throat made me moan and my eyes roll back. I felt the warmth all the way to my stomach; that hit the spot.
To my left, I heard a low chuckle. I opened my eyes, which I hadn’t realize I had closed, and jerked my head back up. God, that was embarrassing. I looked over at the origin of the laugh and had to almost physically lift my jaw off the bar top, if not the floor. Tall, dark, and handsome did not begin to describe the hunk of testosterone that was responsible for the smooth sound.
Sitting on the barstool next to me must have been a god, or at least he had been hand sculpted by one. He must have been at least six foot three, dark hair tossed in just the right way. His cobalt eyes seemed to bore their way into my soul and his amazing smile was like staring into the sun. He had broad shoulders and muscles that were defined by his thin t-shirt. Dark jeans, leather belt, and cowboy boots completed the rough and ready look. One foot perched on the barstool foot ring, arm draped over the back, he looked like he belonged here.
Wow, the tequila must already be working. I looked back at the other shot glass sitting in front of me, my face reddening more under my sunburned skin as I realized I must have looked absolutely ridiculous ogling this gorgeous man. I downed the other shot and bit into the other lime, trying to gain some sort of composure or, well, something. Something would be good.
“You look like you’ve had a long day.” A deep, rich voice poured from his mouth. I looked back in his direction, mentally telling myself not to stare, and gave him a small smile.
“Yeah, it’s uh, been one of those days.” I sat the empty shot glass next to its buddy. “Sorry about staring. Like I said, it’s just been one of those days.” Shut up, damn it.
He chuckled again, that megawatt smile peeking through. “Ah, it’s okay. Now I don’t feel as bad for checking you out on my walk over.” We both let out a small and awkward laugh. Linda came back into view and he waved her down. “Two more shots of tequila please,” he glanced back at me with a smirk, “and a Bud Light for me when you have a moment. Just put it all on my tab please.” Linda grabbed the bottle of tequila from the shelf behind the bar and refilled both of the shot glasses on the bar, also setting out new lime slices. She reached into the cooler and pulled out an ice-cold bottle of beer, popped off the cap and set the bottle in line with the glasses. With a knowing smile, she winked and walked away.
He scooted the shots my way and grabbed the beer for himself. “To long days, and even longer nights.” He held his beer towards me. I tapped the side of the shot glass to the neck of the bottle. We both drank. And damn, was I suddenly jealous of that beer bottle.
Okay, no more tequila for me.
We sat there for a few moments in awkward silence, just listening to the buzz of the nightlife around us. From somewhere down the bar, I could hear a few of the locals talk with Linda about the rodeo coming to town next weekend. Somewhere behind me, I could here a few guys bickering over a billiards game. This little bar felt like home to me, my relaxing place. Yet tonight, I felt like electricity was building up under my skin.
The song on the jukebox changed from an old rock song to a local favorite, George Strait’s “Here for a Good Time”, causing a few of the local couples to get out of their chairs and dance in an empty area in the middle of the bar floor.
The stranger next to me watched them for a few moments, before looking in my direction with his eyebrows raised, either shocked or confused at the sight. Shrugging my shoulders, I turned in the direction to watch them. Now, there were almost a dozen people up dancing. This was what made this bar special, a place for folks to come out and just have a good time. Our little honkytonk bar.
Standing up, he reached his hand in my direction. I looked up at him, and he jerked his head towards them. “Care to join them?”
“Hell, why not?” I placed my small hand in his larger one and stood up. We walked over to the small crowd and joined in the fun. After a bit, the songs changed, but the dancing continued all around us. He spun me around the floor and we swayed to the music. Not only was he damn good looking, but he was light and smooth on his feet.
The remainder of the night just seemed to fly by. Another drink, a game of darts, more drinks, some pool, and even more dancing. Lots of laughing. Around last call, a slow song found the handsome stranger and me standing in the middle of the bar, surrounded by a few other couples that were still here, swaying to the music. My fingers interlocked behind his head; my arms wrapped around his thick neck. His hands were placed on my waist and his forehead was lowered so it rested on mine. His stunning cobalt eyes stared into my seafoam colored, and I was lost in them, in this moment.
As the slow song came to a close, he leaned down to my ear. “This may be bold of me, but would you like to get out of here?” He pulled his face back and his deep blue eyes searched mine for an answer.
I didn’t know if it was the alcohol or the charge that I felt from his touch, but with a smile I nodded in response, reached my face up and grazed my lips against his. In response, he pulled me closer, sinking into our kiss, deepened it, until our teeth painfully clashed. When he pulled away, his eyes lit up and he grabbed my hand. We walked back up to the bar, he settled his tab, and we walked out to his truck. Being the gentleman, he opened the passenger side door for me to hop in and closed it after me before getting in on his side. His truck roared to life and he hit the gas. The entire ride, there was a quiet buzz between us. He white-knuckled the steering wheel the entire way. It felt as though both of us were afraid of speaking to ruin the moment or making any moves that may end us not making it to where we were headed.
It wasn’t long before we were at one of the only hotels in town. The lobby blurred by as we made a beeline for the elevator. Throughout the elevator ride, which felt like an eternity, my nerves balled up in my stomach. When the doors opened, he grabbed ahold of my hand and we walked down the hallway to his room door. With a swipe of a key card, we were inside of his room.
Before the door even clicked shut, hot lips met mine, sending fire straight to my core. He reached for the door and set the lock, then his hands found me again. Strong hands were at the small of my back, pulling me in closer. My hands slid their way up his chest, around his neck, and dove deep in his hair, pulling his face closer to mine. It was almost as if I couldn’t get him close enough. His tongue and mine seemed to battle to lead for a moment before finding a rhythm. Soon enough, I felt a soft bed against the back of my knees.
Pulling him down with me, we landed on the bed, never missing a beat. My hands moved from their grip in his hair down his chest and to his waist. I yanked hard at his t-shirt, untucking it from his jeans and also unbuckled his belt. He pulled away from me to reach his hand behind his head and pull his shirt off over his head. That damn shirt was now where it belonged, no longer covering the masterpiece that was this man’s chest. Strong pecks and a tight six pack now on display made my mouth water and my center hum with excitement. His mouth found mine again as he fumbled with my shirt to send it with his to the floor. Our jeans followed suit. Soon enough, we were both wearing nothing but a smile under the sheets.
The sun came peeking through the curtains uninvited. My head felt like it was holding a banshee with bongos captive in my skull. I slowly peeled my eyes open, squinting at the light. It took me a second for my eyes to adjust, but that's when I noticed that something wasn't right.
Where in the hell am I?
What sounded like a light snore came from my left. I glanced next to me and jumped. Who the fuck is that? What happened last night? I guess at least he was good-looking.
I jumped out of bed, trying to do it gently as to not wake the handsome stranger that was snuggling into the pillow that was just moments ago next to my head. Dark hair splayed across his forehead and light breathing heaved his torso. I spent a moment wracking my brain, trying to come up with something. A name? Did I even get it? This was so unlike me.
I spotted my bra laying a few feet away and picked it up, then did the same with my jeans and shirt. My panties were nowhere to be seen and sudden stirring on the bed caused me to forget the lost undergarment. I quickly threw on my located clothing, slipped on my boots, grabbed my phone, and walked out of the room clicking the door shut behind me.
Okay, Lennox. No more tequila for you. I chastised myself all the way down to the lobby and out the front door. After making a quick phone call to my best friend, Dixie, I soon had a ride and could put this whole thing behind me.
Or so I thought.
** Author's Notes: Hey Y'all! Please leave feedback in the comments below. I appreciate all your support.