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.“I detest that man.I hope he chokes on a chicken bone and dies.”“Awe, he ain’t so bad, Kate.” Tony turned sideways to face her.“Are you defending him?”“No darling, I’m not defending him,” he grinned and nudged her with his arm.“But I’d rather not talk about him either.”“What do you want to talk about?” she asked as a smile returned to her face.Tony leaned in.He knew he shouldn’t, knowing the way his employer felt about her.He had great respect for Jack, but he was not about to miss out on an opportunity to flirt with Kate, seeing how she wasn’t all that fond of the boss and she was right here smiling at him.“You being cooped up on this ranch all the time,” he slid his arm alongside the top of the fence and brushed her shoulder with his fingers.“All work and no play makes for a one unhappy gal.”“What do you suggest?” She asked returning a little of her own flirtation.“I think I should take you out for a whirl tonight.Some of us are going drinking at the Washoe Hotel tonight.Why don’t you come along?”Kate wasn’t sure she should accept.She was still dealing with a wounded heart from last week’s fight with Jack.She looked up and saw Jack on the front porch.She would have known that scowl anywhere, he had been watching her the whole time.Her back prickled as she saw him glaring at her and Tony.Kate was no fool.She knew why he was mad, but after last weekend she was determined to keep him at arm’s length.She knew it grated on his nerves to watch her flirt with the help, but she no longer cared what he thought, though it was evident to all that if Jack McBride couldn’t have her then none of his hired hands could either.Kate leaned forward and brushed the stray dark lock from Tony’s face.“I’ll go with you, Tony,” she smiled brightly.“You will?” He mirrored her expression.Tony was nice and he had a good sense of humor.She always had fun when she was with him, and he wasn’t bad on the eyes.He wasn’t a Jack McBride, but he came in a close second.“What time should I be ready?”“How about I pick you up at eight?” He continued to smile like it was planted on his face permanently.He felt an awkward presence and saw his employer glaring at him while making his way toward them.Not wanting a confrontation, Tony stepped away from the fence and Kate.“Here comes trouble,” he whispered to her then headed for the stable.“It’s a date,” she shouted at him as Jack moved closer in her direction.“See you at eight, sunshine,” Tony called out to her as he passed Jack and nodded.Kate didn’t wait for Jack to begin his long line of interrogations.She passed him as if he were a stranger, briefly nodding and continuing on toward the main house to check on her casserole.Jack was fuming hearing their interaction.He turned and caught up to her as she entered the house.“Where are you and my ranch hand going at eight?” He demanded an answer as he followed her into the kitchen.“I don’t know.Why don’t you ask Tony?” Kate pulled the casserole from the oven.“Maybe I will,” stated Jack waiting for a reaction.“The casserole is ready.” She ignored his last remark.“There’s salad in the fridge, and the peach cobbler is on the counter.”“That’s a lot of food for one man.Why don’t you keep me company for dinner?”“I don’t think so.Besides, I have a date tonight.” She rubbed it in like salt to a wound and it stung like hell.“Where is he taking you?” His back stiffened at the words.“If you must know, a few of us are going drinking at the Washoe Hotel.”“I don’t like you drinking with the men,” he barked.“It’s not safe.No telling what they might do once they get a few drinks in them.”“As opposed to being alone with you?” Kate’s sarcasm rang loud and clear.“Thanks for your concern, but I think I’ll take my chances with the men over you any day.”“That hurt, Kate.”“I doubt it.You have to feel in order to be hurt.” It was her turn to go for the jugular and she succeeded.“Now, if you don’t need anything else I am going home to get ready for my date.” With that she left the kitchen.Jack heard the front door open and close.He grabbed a plate from the cupboard and scooped out a heaping portion of the casserole onto his plate.He pulled a beer from the refrigerator along with the salad Kate made and threw them on the table.Jack sat down in his same chair, staring at the same kitchen wall.He moved the food around on his plate with his fork, but didn’t eat.For some reason he lost his appetite.He thought about Kate and the last time they kissed at the party.His lips still burned with the memory of how she tasted.His stomach bunched up into knots just thinking about it.Jack pushed his plate aside and sat back in his chair.He grabbed his beer and drank.God, he couldn’t get the image from his mind, how she kissed him back rendering him powerless to her charm.Never had a woman done that to him before.He thought about the feel of her hand in his when they watched the fireworks together.He thought about her sweet smile and the way her eyes flashed brightly when she looked at him that night.How could he have so royally blown it with her?He had another thought; one of those soft lips pressing against hungry lips, lips that were not his.A vision flashed before his eyes of Kate and not him.He was replaced with another man stealing her kisses, touching her skin, savoring the sweet murmurs escaping her breath that were meant only for him.It could have been any one of his ranch hands, but tonight it was Tony [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]