Cupid’s Dance

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Cody Graham sang to the country ballad on the radio in his truck, trying to stay awake, knowing he was almost home. He'd spent the day at a livestock auction in West Texas and was returning a little poorer, exhausted, but pleased with his purchases. The ranch needed some new bloodlines and he'd found exactly what he'd been looking for. The new heifers would be delivered next week.

Afterward, he'd gone to dinner with some buddies and now the four-hour trip was almost behind him. He could collapse in his own bed and wake up refreshed and ready to clean the barns tomorrow.

A flicker of light reflected off something ahead and he shook his head to clear his eyes staring at what appeared to be a woman hiding behind a tree.

His headlights flashed and he did a double take. Knowing she'd been seen, the naked woman was running down the street her arm stretched across her breast, her hand in front of her vagina. He pulled up beside her and slowed, not certain how to handle this situation, not wanting to frighten her, but thinking something terrible must have happened.

Rolling down the window, he called, "Ma'am, are you in some kind of trouble?"

Kelsey Lawrence turned and glared at him, her eyes widening with recognition and fright.

He hit the brake and put the truck in park. Yanking open the truck door, he strode around the back of the truck to her. Damn, she was a good-looking woman with all those curves and soft, tempting skin just beckoning him. But he remembered the promise he'd made to her brothers, his best friends back in high school.

Stay away from our sister. She's off limits.

If she was hurt, he'd help her brothers find and injure the guy who did this to her.

All their friends were held to the same code. Kelsey was off limits. Yet, here she was naked as the day she was born, her womanly curves, a mouthwatering temptation to even this tired cowboy.

"Cody," she said, stopping.

He slipped off his coat and wrapped it around her. "Get in the truck. Then you can tell me what happened."

He didn't offer her an option. Her brothers were going to have a fit and while he didn't know what sent her fleeing down the street, naked, there would be hell to pay somewhere.

"Are you certain?" she asked.

"Get in the truck before you freeze to death," he said. "Then we can talk."

Opening the truck door, he stood beside it waiting for her to crawl in, wanting to help her, but uncertain as to where to put his hands without appearing a pervert.

She glanced back behind her and then crawled inside.

Cody stalked around to the driver's door and climbed in. When he got inside, he turned up the heater in the cab.

"Oh goodness, I don't think I will ever take heat for granted again."

"What happened? Do I need to call the police?"

Shaking her head, she gazed at him, her big brown eyes pleading. "Please don't. We were dancing naked around the Cupid statue when they showed up."

Stunned, he stared at her, all the fright he'd kept at bay changed to laughter. A warm feeling spread throughout his chest. He wanted to throw back his head and laugh out loud, yet he remembered Kyle and Drew telling him they had just moved Kelsey back to Cupid. But still, who believed that Cupid nonsense?

Managing to keep the laughter inside, he grinned at her. "You that desperate for love? I'd think a fine woman like you would be beating them off with a stick."

She threw her hands up. "It was a dare. A drunken dare until the sheriff arrived."

"Do we need to go back and get your clothes? Your brothers are not going to be happy if I bring you home naked."

While he respected his friends wishes in high school, he'd always thought that Kelsey was a beautiful, whimsical girl. Overprotected all her life, it was like she had no real idea of what hard work and sacrifice meant. Something Cody was all too familiar with.

"No. I think Taylor was getting arrested. If you take me back, they'll arrest me as well. And you know how Jim would react to me calling him from jail."

Her brother Jim was all about family image and doing right and staying out of trouble. He probably believed his sister was still a virgin, but even Cody could tell she was comfortable in her woman's body, even if she was trying to cover up all her beautiful female bits. Bits he really was enjoying glimpses of.

"Okay, can you get in the house if I take you home?"

A sigh escaped her lips. "I don't have a phone, my keys, my car keys, my house key, my clothes. I can't go back to the ranch naked."

Cody stared at her, wondering what she expected? He couldn't leave her out on the streets.

"What do you want me to do?" he asked thinking he was really tired, though the sight of Kelsey had warmed his blood and awakened thoughts and desires he hadn't felt in a long time. Not since his wife walked out the door two years ago. Some people were just not meant for country living and Sarah had been one of those women.

Biting her lip, she stared at him, her eyes wide. "Take me to your house. Let me spend the night. I'll tell Jim I stayed with Taylor and then in the morning when they've all gone out to work the ranch or into town, I'll sneak home." She glanced at him shyly. "If you don't mind taking me to the ranch tomorrow morning."