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“You can’t be serious.”
Dustin knew he was acting like an ass, but he couldn’t help it. He was positive there was something else. Something she wasn’t telling him. He wanted her to admit her coming to Nashville had to do with that one night six years ago. “Serious as a bull rider with boils on his butt, baby. So you better start talking.”
“I can’t believe…you have no right…I won’t tell you…” she sputtered, her eyes shooting purple fire at him. “Let me out of here now!”
His stomach twisted with nerves, but he leaned back against the hallway wall like he had all the time in the world. He studiously examined his fingernails before sliding a glance back to her.
“Damn it! You can’t do this.” Whirling around, she stalked to the door and pounded on it. “Let me out!”
“No one’s going to come,” he offered with a grin. “The guys know who you are now. They wouldn’t dare interrupt.”
“Nope. Just stubborn. Like someone else I know. So why did you choose to come back to Nashville, Heather. Tell me.”
“You better tell me, sweetheart. I’ve got all night and neither of us is going anywhere.”
“Because,” she shouted, her voice cracking as he pushed her over the edge of her control. “This place is important to me! The memories I had of that night…of the music, were all that kept me going sometimes. Knowing y— The Wildhorse Saloon was here gave me the strength to walk away and start over again. Why shouldn’t I come back to the place that helped me make that change? Why not?”
Heat rolled through him, her words making his pulse race and his cock go hard. Now they were getting somewhere. “Was it the place, honey? Or was it someone you met here?”
“Of course not! Don’t be ridiculous.”
She tossed her head in scorn, but not before he’d seen the truth in her eyes. It might be six years later, but the attraction and need were still there. Thank God. A huge weight fell off his shoulders. “You’re lying.”
Fury made her clench her fists. “How dare you! I don’t lie.”
“You just did,” he pointed out unrepentantly. He wanted to shout with triumph. “You came back here because of me and how I made you feel. You’re trying to cover it up with all this other crap. But the truth’s all over you, sweetheart.”
“It’s a wonder you make it through the door with that ego,” she said icily. “Sure, I thought about you. In my nightmares!”
He couldn’t decide whether to laugh or shout at her. It wasn’t until that minute he realized how much he’d missed her. Six years ago, he’d barely had an hour with her, yet when she walked away, somehow she’d left a huge gaping hole in him. Not a day had gone by he didn’t think of her….want her…wish he’d have handled things differently. He’d gone on with his life, always knowing something was missing. Something important. He’d wound up comparing every woman he went out with to Heather.
And they’d all come up short.
It hadn’t made sense then and it didn’t now. But until he figured it out, the last thing he was going to do was let her put up walls between them. So why was she being so stubborn? Why not just tell the truth? It was obvious to anyone with a brain she’d come back because of him.
“Fine.” Her furious voice cut through his thoughts. “You won’t let me out through the door, I’ll go this way.” Heather brushed by him and made for the stairs to the stage.
“You head up there and you’ll give all of them a good show.”
She glared at him, but didn’t stop. “I’m going to climb off the stage and get back to my job. If I don’t, my tables will wonder what’s become of me.”
“They’ll know what you’ve been doing when I follow you up and drag you back here,” he threatened mildly.
“And I’ll scream bloody murder,” she snarled. “I don’t want to be here with you and I’ll let everyone know it. Don’t you get it, you arrogant cowboy? I didn’t come back to Nashville for you. I came back here for me!”
There was truth in that statement. He knew it. But it wasn’t the whole truth. As she turned away again, he lunged forward and caught her before she was able to make the first step. “Oh no, you don’t. We’re not done here.”
She fought him. “I say we are.”
“Hell,” he growled, his temper flaring as her knee came dangerously close to his groin. “I should know better than to try and talk to you. This is a lot easier.”
When his hand wrapped in her ponytail, her eyes widened. “No, Dustin. Don’t.”
“I’ve been waiting for this for six long years, Heather. So shut up and kiss me.”
***end of excerpt***