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Connor covered her hand with his, and they sat for a while, sipping their drinks in silence. He took up her hand and turned it over. “Do you draw?”
“Oh, that.” She pulled her hand free and wiped it on her jeans. She could feel her face heat. “Yes, I dabble.”
“And watercolors… a few oil paintings.”
“Jayce’s new girlfriend is a sculptor. She’s a serious artist, a pro. You’ll meet her at the wedding. You’ll probably have a lot to talk about, art and stuff.”
She wanted to tell him she planned on being a serious artist, too, but again, now wasn’t the time. And he’d brought up the wedding, which they both would be attending. If only he’d put two and two together and ask to escort her, she’d be doing cartwheels around the pool. Well, not really, not cartwheels, but she’d be happy if he showed some interest. She didn’t like doing the pursuing, but he was hard to resist.
Damn, he was good-looking with his emerald-green eyes, chiseled chin, and decadent-looking lips. And he was effortlessly charming. Not to mention rich. The triple threat—no wonder he had women all over the state and beyond.
She didn’t say anything, and he seemed content to sit, drinking his beer. But despite lounging in the shade and the cool vodka tonic, it was still hot out. She gazed longingly at the turquoise-tinted water in the S-shaped pool and noticed the tile around the rim matched the other tiles.
It was a nice pool, although she’d seen fancier ones in Dallas. Ones with fountains, waterfalls, swim-up bars, slides, and lots of expensive trappings. Her family’s pool in Highland Park was beautifully designed with both a fountain and a waterfall, as well as a built-in hot tub. But his pool, though plain, looked very inviting.
He finished his beer and rose. “I’m going to get another Corona. Want me to freshen your drink?”
She lifted her almost-empty glass. “Would you? Though I think this one should be my last.” She purposely blinked, fluttering her eyelashes. “I haven’t ridden horseback, uh, under the influence, in a while. Wouldn’t want to fall off, getting back to the Springers’ ranch.”
“That won’t happen.” He grinned, lighting up his way-too-handsome face. “I won’t let you drink and… ride. I’ll put your horse in a trailer and drive you home.”
“A true gentleman.”
“I hope you mean that. Some of my reputation isn’t fairly earned.”
She half-closed her eyes, remembering him swimming with some woman, both of them naked as the day they were born.
“Laney wonders why you don’t put up a privacy fence.”
He stared at her for a moment, the corners of his mouth twitching. Then he threw back his head and laughed. “She’s definitely Les’ daughter.”
“Laney says you shouldn’t be scaring the help.” She felt the bubble of laughter beneath her breastbone forming. She swallowed, trying to stop the welling of hilarity, but she couldn’t help it. The laughter built and fizzed, pouring out, making her laugh so hard, tears streamed from her eyes. She lowered her head, gulped again, and ended with a series of not-so-glamorous hiccoughs.
He swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing in the muscular column of his neck. It was obvious he was determined to not start laughing again, but he had a shit-eating grin on his face.
“Let me get you some water, along with another drink,” he said.
She nodded, covering her mouth with her hand and holding her breath, willing the hiccoughs to stop. By the time he returned, she’d managed to hold her nose and cease making obnoxious noises.
Their hands brushed when he gave her the drinks. An electric arc of sexual tension leapt between them. She could almost hear the dry air crackle.
She set down the vodka and took up the water bottle, slugging it back, drowning the hiccoughs for good. “Hmmm.” She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
He perched on the edge of his chair and leaned forward, tucking a stray tendril of her hair behind her ear, which had escaped her ponytail. “I believe you’re lusting after my pool.”
At his touch, she flushed with heat and goosebumps formed on her arms. She grabbed the vodka and took a drink. But the way he described her wanting to get in his pool had caught her off guard, and she almost spewed out the drink, hilarity bubbling again.
With an effort of will, she swallowed and leveled her gaze at him. “Am I that obvious?”
“It’s hot out here.” He plucked at his shirt, splotched with wet stains. It was sticking, in places, to his impossibly broad, muscular chest. “Maybe it’s just a projection on my part, but I wouldn’t mind taking a dip.”
Chris patted her sleeveless shirt and then her jean pockets. “I don’t have a bathing suit on me.”
“That’s no problem.” He looked her up and down, as if he was taking measurements. “About a size six. Am I right? I think I have a couple of bikinis that will fit you.”
“And why would you have women’s bikinis lying around?” She knew the answer, but she wanted to see what he’d say.
He shrugged. “Friends come over, change clothes, and then forget, leaving them.”
“Oh, I see. You want me to wear some strange woman’s bikini?” She wrinkled her nose. “Why, Mr. McCullar, I’m not certain if that suggestion is—”
“Why not? They’ve been laundered. I have a very efficient housekeeper. She can’t cook like Eva, but she does great laundry.”
She giggled and rolled her eyes. “I’m glad she keeps you in clean socks.”