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HE SLID HIS fingers deep inside, and a strange sensation washed down her spine. He moved expertly and well. In and out. With rhythmic, sensual thrusts. In and out. Again and again. In and out.
Suzanne focused on the water glistening on the man's strong, masculine hands. There was something about his touch, the way he rubbed the cloth over the smooth glassy surface of the tumbler, as if it were a prized specimen. He forced it over the rotating sponge, dipped it in clear hot water, and started the process all over again.
The man continued his ritual, washing and rinsing until all the glassware was stacked clean and sparkling against the wall. He wiped the damp towel along the mahogany counter until it, too, glistened like the crystal. He glanced at her. For a brief instant, his gaze locked with hers, and she experienced the same flash of heat again. She averted her eyes in an effort to keep her mind from straying in a dangerous direction. Hot, steamy, four-alarm-fire thoughts weakened her resolve. The sudden urge to giggle overwhelmed her. Ridiculous. It wouldn't do for a sex therapist to lose sight of her purpose.
Hoping for a better look, Suzanne removed her reading glasses, batted a wayward curl, and leaned forward. There was something about the way his biceps flexed when he rubbed hard against the surface of the polished wood. He was tall and good-looking, not in a movie-star-handsome way but, subliminally, on another level, a darker and far more dangerous one.
His body had the look of natural strength, not from hours spent in a gym, but from real work. Muscle-forming, backbreaking work. Visions of his shirtless torsoskittered across her mind. She was in the Wild West and he was a cowboy. A sheep-dipped, tanned-hide, dyed-in-the-wool specimen of manly man. Yee-haw!
Desultory strains of Alan Jackson reverberated around the room and warmed the very marrow of her bones. Couples merged, and booted males roamed in search of females.
"Hey, there, sweet thing." A slurred voice from a corner close by drew her attention. "Wanna dance?" Two girls glanced at each other and giggled when a third stood and followed him into the crowd of two-stepping twosomes.
Yes, Cody, Wyoming was the heart of rodeo country and the last bastion of he-men. She'd interviewed jocks in every profession: racecar drivers; bullfighters; wrestlers; pro baseball, basketball, and football players. Contacts from her postgraduate days had proven invaluable for getting inside the sports world. Always it had been the personal physician who'd made the introductions and eased the way for her interviews. And it had been easy. That is, until her colleague, mentor, and onetime lover, William Addison, had laughingly suggested she end her book with a chapter on spinal injuries in the macho of all macho-men, the cowboy.
She hadn't really needed another chapter. Although, she had to agree, it would round the book out nicely. Here she was in Wyoming, sitting in a bar—or was it a saloon? She stared at the knotty-pine walls hung with animal skins while fantasies of best-seller lists filled her thoughts.
Sex books usually did quite well.
Suzanne glanced down at her notepad and jotted a few more lines. Taboo among peer groups, male erectile dysfunction is a subject that has little collected data since males rarely seek medical attention. Dysfunction can have a number of causes from clinical to psychological. It is in extreme cases of spinal injuries—
Suzanne glanced up, straight into the raven eyes of the man she'd been staring at earlier. Staring wasn't exactly the right word. Ogling was more like it.
"Need something?" The hard angles of his face and deep dark eyes stirred something in the pit of her stomach. A thought flashed through her mind. Oh, yes, cowboy. You've got exactly what I need.
"I suppose I should order?"
"It's your call—" A sassy smile crossed his lips as if he'd read her thoughts. "Just want to make sure you're taken care of."
Yeah, she'd just bet he did. Suzanne glanced around the room. She straightened her back and squared her shoulders. Well, that was his mistake. He might be interesting, and if it had been any other time…but she was here for business. Pleasure always complicated things.
"So, you want a drink or what?" His voice had turned into a shout, competing with the excited whoo-haas of the line dancers, who were obviously enjoying themselves.
"I—ah—no. Sure." Suzanne slid her tongue across her lips. "A cold beer would taste wonderful. Yes. I'll have a beer." It wasn't a Cosmopolitan, her drink of choice in the city, but here, in this atmosphere, beer seemed exactly right.
He turned, strode over to the tap, and pulled the handle, tipping the glass as the amber liquid rose to the top with only a slight head. Perfection. Like the guy who poured it.
Copyright © 2005 Diane Kirkle