Curves and the All-American Male (BBW Western Romance - Coldwater Springs 7)

Curves and the All-American Male (BBW Western Romance - Coldwater Springs 7)

by

Jenn Roseton

Copyright © 2015 by Jenn Roseton

All rights reserved

No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced in any format, by any means, electronic or otherwise, without prior consent from the copyright owner and publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places and events are the product of the author's imagination or used fictitiously.

This is a sexy contemporary romance short story/novelette of 14,000 words

“This will be fun,” Lori told herself, unclenching her hands from the steering wheel. She turned off the ignition and looked at the white weatherboard farmhouse house she’d parked in front of. Sarah McCord, her new friend and fellow teacher, had asked her to babysit tonight. Lori hadn’t had much experience with babies, but she couldn’t refuse her friend. Although she’d only seen baby Jessica a few times, she was sweet. Besides, what else did she have to do tonight besides watch crime show reruns on TV or read a book?

As she got out of the car, she pulled her jacket closer around her to ward off the cool evening breeze. The pink-gold streaks of the September sunset caught her attention for a few seconds, before she walked up the path to the front door.

Pressing the doorbell, she heard its chime echo through the house. Nervous butterflies swooped in her stomach. What if the baby wouldn’t stop crying? What if--

The door opened.

“Lori!” Although they’d seen each other at school today, Sarah hugged her. “Thanks for doing this. I can’t remember the last time Chase and I had a night out.”

“And on a school night,” Lori teased. Her friend’s black dress complimented her curves in a sexy yet tasteful way. Sarah’s long dark hair was curled at the ends and her subtle makeup emphasized her brown eyes. “You look great.”

“So do you.” Sarah urged her inside.

Lori looked down at her own curvy figure encased in black pants and a blue sweater. She’d dressed to be comfortable tonight, including wearing flats, in case she had to change a diaper or feed the baby. She just hoped Sarah would give her a crash course if that was required.

“Hi Chase.” Lori smiled at Sarah’s husband as she stepped inside the house. Tall and ruggedly handsome with charcoal hair, he wore smart gray dress slacks with a blue shirt and matching gray blazer. She’d met him on two occasions, and each time she could tell he and Sarah were blissfully happy.

“Thanks for coming, Lori.” Chase grinned, wrapping an arm around Sarah’s waist. “We’re looking forward to tonight.”

“I’m glad I can help.” Lori glanced around the comfortably furnished living room - cream walls, brown sofa with matching armchairs, and a mahogany coffee table. “Where’s Jessica?”

“She’s sleeping.” Sarah gestured to the hall. “I’ll show you. Hopefully she’ll sleep through until we get home, but if she doesn’t …”

“Don’t worry. Just tell me what I need to do.” Trying to sound confident, Lori followed her friend to the baby’s bedroom.

Sarah and Lori tiptoed inside the white and yellow room.

“Isn’t she gorgeous?” Sarah whispered, love shining on her face as she looked at her sleeping baby.

“Yes,” Lori whispered back, not wanting to disturb the eleven month old.

For a second, a pang of longing clutched her heart. Would she ever meet the man of her dreams and start a family? Although she was only twenty-six and had at least twelve more childbearing years left, sometimes she wondered if it would ever happen to her. The way it had happened for Sarah. And the new friends she’d made through Sarah. They’d all found their Mr. Right. Would she?

“I’ve fed her, so the only thing you have to worry about is changing her diaper. And only if she wakes up.” Sarah gestured to the white changing table near the crib. “Everything’s set out for you. And the diaper pail is right here.”

A stack of diapers, plus wipes and ointment were lined up neatly. By the side of the table was a pail for disposing of the soiled diapers.

“Great.” She hadn’t changed a diaper before, but surely there couldn’t be much involved?

“If you need anything, call me on my cell. I’ll have it turned on. We’ll be at The Petite Duck, the new French restaurant. And help yourself to anything in the fridge.”

“Okay.” Lori nodded. “But I’m sure I won’t need to call you.”

They returned to the living room. Chase checked his watch and looked out the window.

“I’m ready.” Sarah picked up her black purse. “Chase?”

The doorbell chimed. “I’ll get it.” Chase strode to the door.

Sarah turned to Lori and frowned. “We’re not expecting anyone else.”

Male voices drifted from the hall, then Chase and another man entered the room. The living room seemed to shrink as Lori glanced at the stranger.

Tall. Muscular. Dark brown hair. Tanned, as if he’d spent a lot of time outdoors this past summer. He wore pale blue jeans, a blue and white checked shirt and appeared to be in his early thirties.

“Ty, this is Lori, Sarah’s friend,” Chase said. “Lori, this is Ty Quinn.”

“Hey.” Ty gave her an easy smile, his brown eyes lighting up as his gaze swept over her.

“Hi.” Lori’s voice almost deserted her. He was gorgeous. His nose looked like it had been broken once, and he had a firm jaw, but the whole effect was of one good looking male. Nervous butterflies swooped inside her stomach. Her not flat stomach. She guessed it was too late to suck it in, now that he’d already seen her.

“What are you doing here, Ty?” Sarah threw her husband a questioning look.

“Ah - yeah.” Chase raked a hand through his hair. “It looks like Jessica has two sitters tonight.” He flashed a grin at Ty. “There’s some beer in the fridge. Help yourself. We won’t be too late.”

“We’ll be back by ten,” Sarah added, her brow crinkling as she looked from Lori to Ty. “Excuse us a minute.” She grabbed Lori’s hand and urged her toward the kitchen, closing the door behind them. “Ty’s an old rodeo friend of Chase’s.” She nibbled her lip. “I had no idea he was going to be babysitting as well.” She paused. “Will you be okay with him being here?”

“I guess.” She tried to sound convincing. Right now she was nervous and a little excited about sharing sitter duties with Ty.

“Chase keeps telling me he’s a good guy, although it sounds as if had his fair share of conquests on the circuit.” Sarah looked at her, worry in her eyes. “If you don’t feel comfortable with him being here, I’ll tell him there’s no need for him to stay.”

“No, it’s okay.” Although part of her wished she could be honest and ask for Ty to leave, that was only because she was being a scaredy-cat. She didn’t think she’d ever had such an immediate attraction to a guy before, not even her recent boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend.

She could certainly control herself for three hours. And it wasn’t as if Ty would be interested in her. She’d often been told she had a sweet girl-next-door face, but in her experience, most guys didn’t fall for girls like her, with a smattering of freckles on her nose, and auburn hair. They liked pretty, thin girls, especially if they flashed a lot of cleavage.

Although her cleavage was generous, she’d never felt the need to expose it like that. Except in the bedroom … and even then, she hadn’t had a whole lot of experience in that department.

“Well, all right. If you’re sure.”

“I’m sure,” Lori replied, giving her friend a reassuring smile.

They returned to the living room, the two men breaking off in mid-conversation.

“Time to go, sweetheart.” Chase wrapped an arm around his wife’s waist. “We’ll see you in a few hours, Lori.”

“Have fun.” Ty winked at the couple.

Lori thought she heard Sarah murmur something under her breath, and wondered if their dinner out would be quite as enjoyable as Sarah had anticipated.

The sound of the front door closing echoed through the house.

“So.” Ty turned his attention to her and lifted his eyebrows. “Why haven’t I seen you around Coldwater before now?”

In a flash, Lori realized why she’d felt so nervous and on edge around this man, even though she’d only met him a few minutes ago. He reminded her of her ex-boyfriend, Ron. His easy grin and charm, his air of confidence in himself and the world around him, as if everything would always work out for him.

Everything had worked out for Ron too, she reminded herself, a tiny stab of pain needling her heart. As soon as he’d met her thinner, prettier friend Stacey, she’d never heard from him again. And she’d only found out about him and Stacey when she’d run into them at a coffee shop in Arizona.
Her
local coffee shop.

She’d not only lost her boyfriend or the man she’d thought was her boyfriend, she’d also lost someone she’d
thought
was a good friend.

“I’ve recently moved from Arizona,” she replied politely, edging away from him.

“Oh?” He appeared interested. “What made you leave?”

“The weather.” She settled for a partial truth. “I couldn’t take the summers anymore.” He didn’t need to know she was from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and after graduating college moved to Arizona to take up her first teaching position, tempted by the promise of warmer weather - which turned out to be hotter than she imagined. Then Ron happened. Add to that the fact that she missed Wyoming more than she expected, and she knew it was time to come home. The position at the Coldwater Springs school was the closest job she could find to Cheyenne, where her parents still lived.

“Yeah, the summers can be brutal there.” He sank down on the squashy leather sofa, making himself comfortable.

“You’ve lived there?” she asked politely.

“Not really. Just stayed there for a few weeks now and then. When I was working the rodeo circuit.” His grin invited her to smile too.

“Sarah said you were a rodeo friend of Chase’s.” She resisted the urge to smile back at him. She was
not
going to flirt with him. She didn’t think she was much good at that kind of thing.

“Yeah.” He relaxed back against the comfy cushions, as if he’d settled in for a while and had no intention of moving. “I won the All-American championship twice. Those were good days. But a few months ago I bought a ranch near here and a herd of cattle.”

Lori realized she was still standing, and lowered herself in the opposite chair.

“So you haven’t been in Coldwater long, either?” she asked, trying to keep the conversation going. Otherwise, there might be an uncomfortable silence and she had no idea what to talk to him about. Since Ron cheated on her
,
she’d rarely been in the company of men. She wasn’t a nightclub person, so typically the only men she met were the
fathers
of her students, and usually
married and unavailable.

“No, only a few months. But the longer I’m here the more I like it.” He smiled, his white even teeth flashing, inviting her to wonder if maybe he was referring to meeting her.

Don’t be ridiculous.

“So … Chase said you’re a teacher like Sarah.”

“I teach second grade.”

“I can’t remember having a teacher like you when I was in second grade.” His eyes flickered over her, taking her in, and did
not
appear to find her wanting.

A tell-tale tingle of heat touched her cheeks, and she shifted in her chair, not knowing what to make of him - or his comment. She didn’t exactly beat guys off with a stick.

The sooner Chase and Sarah came home the better. She sneaked a peek at her slim silver watch. 7.20pm.
Only
two hours and forty minutes to go.

There was a pause for a couple of minutes. Lori tried not to look at Ty, tried to ignore the way he tried to engage her in eye contact. Finally, she couldn’t take the build up of tension anymore.

“I don’t understand why you’re here tonight,” she blurted out. “I thought I was the only person babysitting.”

“Chase asked me last week.” He shrugged. “I didn’t have anything better to do, so I agreed. And Jessica is a real cutie.”

“Sarah asked me last week, too. On Tuesday.” Lori narrowed her gaze. “When did Chase ask you?”

Ty leaned back against the cushions. “Ah … Thursday
.”

Lori frowned. Was this a setup? Were Sarah and Chase trying to match make?

She instantly dismissed the thought, positive if Sarah had ideas in that direction, she would have discussed them with Lori first. But what if Chase thought …

No. There must have been a mix-up in communication between Sarah and her husband. Perhaps her friend had forgotten to tell Chase she’d organized a babysitter until after Chase had asked Ty. And then he’d forgotten to tell Ty he wasn’t needed.

That was probably it.

“Jessica doesn’t need two sitters. I’ve got it covered. So if you need to be somewhere else …” she allowed her voice to trail off, hoping he would get the hint. He didn’t.

“I promised Chase I’d watch the baby.” He settled back on the sofa even more. After a moment he added, “But if you’ve got somewhere else to be …”

“I promised Sarah I’d babysit tonight,” she countered, aware that her voice sounded prim.

“In that case,” he said, smiling easily, “how about a beer? Chase said we could help ourselves.”

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