Midnight Fantasies(10)

By: Vicki Lewis Thompson

She had plans for that mouth tonight. She had plans for the rest of him, too. And if she expected those plans to work out, she’d have to act totally nonchalant today.

That meant she had to stop staring at him and get on with her chores. She cleared her throat. “Hey, Jonas,” she called as she walked past the round pen. “You’re up kind of early. Did Noah drag you out of bed?”

“I wish I could blame Noah. But I got my own self up early, for some stupid reason. Couldn’t sleep.”

Because he was excited about what would happen tonight. Her stomach flip-flopped. Staying nonchalant wouldn’t be easy. “How’s it going with Imelda?” They’d named the filly Imelda because she seemed to need shoes more often than any of the other horses.

“Oh, like a typical girl she’s teasing me.” He flashed her a grin. “But I have her number. She’ll come around.”

“One of these days you’re going to run up against a female who’ll beat you at your own game, Jonas.”

He winked at her. “Maybe so. But it hasn’t happened yet.”

“Pride goes before a fall, and all that.” B.J. had always found Jonas’s cocky attitude maddening, but sexy. Now that she’d literally brought him to his knees, she loved the challenge of baiting him, knowing she would make him quiver with desire later on. She wanted to believe that she was doing it for all the women he’d loved and left, but in her heart she knew that wasn’t true. She was playing this game for herself.

“I’m not proud,” Jonas said. “Just good. Are the banana and coffee for me?”

She’d forgotten she was holding them. “Nope. It’s my breakfast.” She set her coffee mug on the fence post and peeled the banana. Maybe her experience from yesterday had started coloring her world, because the banana suddenly took on sexual significance.

A banana was a very sexy fruit, come to think of it. She closed her lips and tongue over it and savored the sensation of holding it in her mouth.

“Hey, we’re not making X-rated movies today!” Jonas said with a laugh. “Cut that out.”

She glanced at him. Although he was smiling, there was a spark of awareness in his eyes. Well, that was natural. He was anticipating his evening with Sarah, so ordinary things were sexually charged for him, too. Still, it was the first time he’d ever worn that expression while looking at her.

She bit off a chunk of her banana, chewed and swallowed it. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said. Then she picked up her coffee mug and walked toward the barn. If there was an extra sway to her hips, well, she couldn’t help that, now could she? And if Jonas happened to notice, she couldn’t be held responsible for that, either.

On the far side of the barn, her father and Noah were stacking fresh bales of hay under the open-sided hay shed. They both worked with the economical movements of men who’d been doing such chores all their lives. And they might complain about the hard labor, but neither of them would trade it for the world. Ranching was in their blood, as it was in hers.

It hadn’t been in her mother’s, unfortunately. From what her father had said, her mother hadn’t been very happy here. Arch thought B.J.’s sister Keely had inherited their mother’s high-strung, adventurous spirit, which is why she’d needed to leave. B.J. had always thought of herself as conventional, like her father, but after yesterday, she’d begun to wonder if there wasn’t some of her mother lurking in her, too.

Arch hadn’t remarried after his wife died, although B.J. had watched several local women try to snag him. He was a good catch, still slim and athletic. The gray in his red hair and mustache only added to his appeal, in B.J.’s opinion. But she suspected that Arch’s memory of his creative, sensual wife had spoiled him for women who colored inside the lines, and that described most of the female population of Saguaro Junction.

Her father heaved another bale up to Noah and turned toward her. “Well, if it isn’t Sleeping Beauty,” he said with a smile. “You feeling okay?”

“Great,” she said.

“That’s good. With you going to bed so early I was afraid you might be coming down with something.”

“Fortunately I’m not. Hey there, Noah.”

“Hey, yourself.” Noah smiled down at her from the stack of hay bales. “If you were getting sick, I’d say you sent that bug packing. You look totally healthy. Extremely healthy.”

“Good.” Apparently the glow she felt showed. “Is that your way of telling me to take this healthy body, hitch up the tractor and rake the corral?”