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“Hey, I’ve had him going in circles for at least an hour. Look, he’s getting lathered. What in Sam’s Hill are you looking for?” Rusty asked.
Camila pulled her cell from the back pocket of her short-shorts. “More like thirty minutes. And besides, he needs the exercise. You’re not worried about the horse. It’s you who looks like you’re working up a lather, Pops.”
“Really, Squirt?” He pushed his sweat-stained Stetson back with his free hand.
“Don’t call me Squirt.”
“Then don’t call me Pops.”
She stuck her tongue out at him. “Whatever you say. We’re not supposed to quarrel, remember.”
“Think you can get him to canter?”
He took the light switch and cracked it. Clucking his tongue, he urged, “Come on, boy. Giddy-up. Come on. Giddy-up.”
She burst out laughing and leaned over, resting her hands on the fence rails to keep her balance.
“What are you laughing at?”
“Your citified ways, gringo.”
“Don’t call me that either.”
“Oh, my, we are touchy. What should I call you?”
“My name would be great.”
“Okay, Rusteee, how’s that?”
“Better,” he panted. He cracked the switch again and started turning in a faster circle, urging the gelding on.
The sorrel picked up speed, but she wasn’t watching the horse anymore. She couldn’t drag her gaze from the way Rusty’s tight jeans fit his butt. And especially the way the muscles in his ass flexed when he was half-running in the middle of the corral.
A coil of heat started at her toes, curling them. Watching him, the heat slithered its way up her legs and lay heavy between her thighs. Her breasts grew achy and her nipples puckered. She could feel her neck and face heating up.
She looked down at the bleached-out caliche dirt.
“I’ve got him cantering. Look! He’s got a great gait.”
She raised her head.
He dropped the tether line, letting the yearling run free. He planted his cowboy boots in one spot and hitched his thumbs in his belt loops. His hips were angled forward, and she could see the slight bulge in the crotch of his jeans. Thinking about his obvious erection when she’d entered the dining room, her face flamed hotter.
Not with embarrassment, but with long-suppressed desire.
“What in hell were you doing,” he demanded.
She’d never tell. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“I worked my ass off, getting him to canter. And you can’t be bothered to watch.”
“I was watching.”
“No, you weren’t. What’s so damned interesting in the dirt? Mining for gold or something.”
“Oh, Rusty, get over it.” She wiped her forehead with the back of her arm. “I was just resting my eyes.”
“Yeah, and do you mind catching him before he gets tangled in the tether and manages to lame himself.”
“I can see being your assistant is going to suck,” he muttered loud enough to hear. “And we can’t keep calling this horse ‘him’.” He stretched his arms wide and cracked the switch again, driving the sorrel into a corner of the corral.
He bent over and grabbed the rope.
The breath stopped in her lungs. Por Dios, was he one gorgeous hunk of man. Forget his age or that he’d lost too much weight. Just looking at Rusty made her heart go pitter-patter. So much for a girlhood crush that refused to go away.
“What are you going to name him?”
“Huh?” She’d lost the thread of concentration, wishing she and Rusty were in bed together, rather than hollering across a dusty corral at each other. “Oh, name him. Hmmm. How about Calypso?”
He ran one hand over the stubble on his jaw. And she wished she could run her tongue over his jaw and neck and lower. Wished she could explore every inch of him with her mouth and tongue.
“Not bad. I like it,” he said.
“I’m glad you approve.”
He pulled the gelding forward by his halter, stopping on the other side of the fence. “Calypso, meet your new trainer.”
She fished a slice of apple from her pocket and handed it to the yearling. “Never too soon to start rewarding him for good behavior.”
Calypso lipped the apple slice and crunched it. She stroked the white blaze running from his forehead and tapering off at his muzzle. He had three white socks, too.
Rusty hooked his free arm over the fence post and gazed at the yearling. He stood within inches of her but towering over her by a half a foot. He was so close to her, she could smell his perspiration and the earthy man-smell of him. His down-to-earth scent was far more arousing than the expensive cologne he usually wore.