All the air escaped Daisy's lungs in a whoosh when the cowboy collapsed on top of her body. She sucked in air and pushed at the weight, but her arms were pinned. She opened her eyes to see a head full of dark hair and felt the sharp bone of his nose pressing into her left breast. He raised his head and looked over at her, his face only inches from hers, his eyes zeroing in on her lips. Hot damn! That's one sexy face, they both thought at the same time.
She shut her eyes and started to lean in for the kiss, then reality hit. She had fallen flat on her back on the floor of the Honky Tonk beer joint and taken the nearest cowboy down with her. She popped her eyes wide open and wriggled back away from the sexiest gray eyes she'd ever seen.
Oh, shit, who saw us? Daisy looked up to find everyone staring down at them, the cowboy's body still touching her from breast to toe, even though he had rolled to one side. The blush that filled her cheeks had nothing to do with afterglow.
The joint was as quiet as a tomb. It was a hell of a time for the jukebox to go silent.
"You all right?" Tinker, the bouncer, asked. He was hovering over the two of them, worry etched in his face as he bent to touch her shoulder.
"I'm fine. Make sure he is too," she panted.
Tinker held out a hand and in one swift movement the cowboy was on his feet.
Tinker picked up Daisy carefully and set her on a barstool. "You sure you're all right?"
"My dignity is in tatters and I might have a bruise or two, but I'll live," she said.
"I'd better get back to the door. Motion if you need me," Tinker said.
She nodded and raised her voice to the customers, who were still watching the whole scenario as if it were an X-rated movie. "I'm fine, everyone. I promise. Get on back to having a good time."
Someone plugged coins into the jukebox and George Strait's song "River of Love" filled the place. Several people started a line dance and by the time the song ended everything was back to normal. All except Daisy's heart. It still raced.
She looked at the cowboy. He was just as sexy sitting on the barstool as he'd been lying on top of her. "Sorry about that. I hope you don't have anything broken." The cowboy barely nodded. "Just a little stunned. Stupid things like that happen so fast it's like it happened to someone else. Might have a bruise-but you broke my fall."
Daisy forced a smile.
"Guess we stepped in that beer at the same time. Where's the bartender? We both ought to sue the hell out of him." Jarod was amazed that he could utter a single word the way his pulse was racing. That was one dazzling lady he'd taken a fall with. One minute he'd been walking toward the bar; the next he was grabbing for anything to break the fall. Then as if in slow motion he'd seen the girl slip in the same slick puddle of spilled beer and grab for him.
Daisy knew every rancher, cattle rustler, and hotblooded male and female in five counties, but she'd never seen that damn fine looking cowboy before. Snug fitting jeans covered one sexy tight butt hitched up on the stool. Bulging biceps underneath his snowy white T-shirt stretched the knit. His black hair and high cheekbones said that he had some Native American blood somewhere, but his eyes were the color of heavy fog. He could have played the resident bad boy in an old movie: maybe James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. She remembered watching the movie with her grandmother back before Granny died. From that day forward, Daisy O'Dell had been attracted to bad boys, and that had been her downfall.
For the first time she seriously considered breaking the rules and taking a man through the door into her apartment at the back of the Honky Tonk. She shook her head to remove the crazy notion. The man could be a serial killer or a drug pusher. Hell, he could be worse than either of those two things-he could be married. She blushed scarlet. She'd been ogling the stranger rudely.
His straw hat had somehow found its way to the bar in front of him and she wished she could pick it up to fan her scorching face. Not that it would have helped a whole hell of a lot. The way her hormones were overreacting, she could have melted ice on the North Pole in December. Why did that dark-haired, broad-chested cowboy give her hot flashes? Maybe it was because when she felt him collapse on her for a microsecond she'd felt as if they'd just finished a hot bout of sex. She reached up and rubbed the back of her head to see if there were bumps or indentations. Something had to have knocked every bit of sense out of her brain. She couldn't find a bump or a sore spot, so maybe he'd rattled her hormones instead of her brain cells.
"Is this a help-yourself bar or is there a bartender somewhere out there?" He motioned toward the dance floor. He thought about asking her for a dance, maybe as an apology for knocking her down. Anything to touch her again and see if the jolt that shot through him was something other than a free fall to the dance floor. She hopped off the barstool. "Guess that would be me. I was on my way back to the bar when we collided." Her heart kept up a steady beat in her ears like the drums in Garth Brooks's band.
Jarod drew his heavy dark brows down in disbelief. Surely she was teasing. That exquisite woman couldn't be the bartender. She looked as though she might be the newest up-and-coming country singer taking a break from the stage. He glanced around the room and saw only two jukeboxes-no stage in sight.
As she made her way behind the bar located the whole length of the back wall of the Honky Tonk, she shook her head hard enough to send her dark brown ponytail swinging. It didn't work. She was still picturing him naked except for scuffed up cowboy boots and maybe the hat.