|Excerpt from HELL ON WHEELS
Yeah, what? What was he about to say? Nate simply shook his head. “Nothin’.”
“Back to playing the strong, handsome, silent type?” she asked, her head tipping teasingly to the side.
“Handsome?” She thought he was handsome? Not that he should be too surprised, he supposed. He was no Brad Pitt, but he wasn’t necessarily Quasimodo either.
She shrugged. “Of course. You do know you’re, like…sorta drop-dead hot, right?”
Did he? Maybe once, years ago when he’d been young and carefree. Innocent of the world. But not now. Not with the years spent battling the elements. Not after having carried around the weight of what he’d been forced to do three months ago. He felt like an old man.
“Wow,” she shook her head, clearly surprised. “You really don’t get it, do you?”
“That you’re beautiful.”
“Beautiful?” Okay, now he knew she was blowing smoke up his ass.
“Yes,” she slid her tongue into her cheek, her eyes bright with amusement as she leaned toward him. “Men can be beautiful.”
He laughed even as his spine snapped ruler-straight. He clasped his hands behind his back, gritting his teeth with the effort not to reach out to touch her. She muddled his thinking on a good day. And now, standing so close, especially when she lifted a hand toward his face? Well, that caused all conscious thought to stop dead in its tracks. Every single cell inside his body focused with a capital F on the feel of her sweet, pink-tipped fingers.
When she said his name like that, he wanted to take on the world. “Hmmm?”
“You just laughed.”
“I do that on occasion.”
He didn’t just want to take on the world when she said his name like that, he wanted to take on the whole friggin’ galaxy. “Yeah?”
“I’m touching you.”
No doubt about that. “I noticed.”
“You’re not jerking away. Acting like I’m carrying around a double whammy of hepatitis and bubonic plague.”
Double whammy of…he could only shake his head and fight a grin. She was simply adorable. No bones about it. And, yeah, that warm feeling slowly seeping through his veins could only be happiness. He remembered the sensation…vaguely. “What are you jabbering on about now, woman?”
“That fact that you don’t like for me to touch you.”
Was she insane?
“You don’t like it when I touch you, do you?” she asked.
“I never said that,” he muttered through clenched teeth because she was in the process of running her hands over his shoulders. “I like it too much.”