Home > Dangerous Attraction (Montana Men #2)

Dangerous Attraction (Montana Men #2)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Chapter 1

“I shouldn’t be here,” Kelsie whispered to herself, smoothing her simple black dress down over her hips and feeling painfully self-conscious. She tried to hide her nervousness, but it was apparent since she was still hovering in the doorway, looking out anxiously at the crowd of other guests.

Looking around, she noticed that all the other women were dressed up in beautiful cocktail dresses with sparkling jewelry. The men were less dressy, but that was to be expected in this area of the country. Montana didn’t lean towards tuxedos, even if the ladies wanted to glam things up a bit. Nope, the men were rough and tough, their features hardened by the harsh weather and brutally hard work that came with the life of being a rancher.

Meanwhile, her utilitarian black dress looked dull and sad amid all of the brightly dressed women.

Why had she agreed to come to this party? She hated parties!

Oh yeah, because her new friend and fellow teacher, Fleur DeBron, had convinced her that it would be fun. She should have remembered the primary rule of social gatherings; they were never fun!

Kelsie was trying hard to find her place within the Jefferson, Montana community. Never mind the fact that she preferred curling up in her big chair with a good book over socializing. Going to events like this one were horrible, painful, and miserable. Normally, she avoided parties like the plague, but she was trying to fit in, to meet the parents of her students, and find a place where she belonged.

Well, a place where she could belong for…however long her luck held up.

Okay, even Kelsie admitted that her life had become a bit pathetic lately. It had been two years…it was time to get out and meet people, come alive again. Two years ago, she’d loved socializing. She’d been out with her friends all the time! Happy hours, dinner parties, sports events…okay, not big, elegant parties like this. She really hated big parties. Especially big parties where she didn’t know a soul! Oh, the fun, small gatherings she used to have! It had been so…

A burst of laughter to her left caused her to glance in that direction. It was then that her flight response reared its cowardly, ugly head. Because the man standing there by the bar, looking directly at her, was the most magnificent specimen of masculinity that she’d ever seen in her life! Taller than almost every man around him, with eyes that seemed to see into her soul and know all of her secrets. All of her secret fears and desires!

Kelsie cringed, both drawn to the man and fearful of him at the same time. The sounds of the party quickly faded away and only this man, this moment, this tingling awareness, existed. He’d been laughing a moment ago so the remnants of that amusement lingered in his gaze.

Such an enticing mouth. Her hand instinctively covered her stomach as if it could act as a shield, protecting her from the wicked things that mouth could do to, or for, a woman. She noticed the strong lines around his mouth, thinking they were almost dimples. But that was impossible. Any man that looked so rough and raw, so hard and powerful, could never have dimples. The idea was ludicrous! He was too masculine, too hard and commanding for something as softening as dimples.

He wasn’t wearing a sports jacket like some of the men, which more perfectly displayed his broad shoulders, the material of his light blue shirt straining to cover those muscles. Her body shivered, her mind going numb while heat surged through her face in embarrassing awareness of this man, his presence, and the look in his eyes that told her…warned her, of all the roguish thoughts that she suspected were running through his mind. And now hers!

Pull your eyes away, her mind commanded desperately as her heart thudded loudly, painfully, in her chest. Just walk away with confidence and a casual shrug. Completely ignore him, since he was rudely staring! Pretend you don’t see him! Do anything, but pull your gaze away!

Unfortunately, the hard look in his eyes forbade her from looking away. She couldn’t break the connection, couldn’t look away. Her pulse pounded so hard, she feared he might be able to see it even from across the room.

She wanted to run. She was only two feet inside the door, so it should be a simple matter to turn around and rush back outside. She needed the darkness and the cold, night air because she was having trouble breathing. Intuitively, she knew that only the darkness would give her the relief she so desperately needed right at this moment.

Just turn around and walk out the door. He wouldn’t come after her, she told herself, he wouldn’t be that bold. That arrogant. He would respect her space.

Wouldn’t he?

But as she stared back at the stranger, her fingers tightening desperately on her keys, she knew with absolute certainty that he would try and stop her from running. No, she corrected herself, he wouldn’t try. From the look of him, she suspected that this man wouldn’t try at anything. He succeeded at everything.

Her eyes still captured by his commanding gaze, Kelsie mentally calculated the distance he would have to travel in order to stop her from reaching the place where she’d parked her car. She could make it, she told herself. He would need to extricate himself from the conversations around him, move across the room, and out the front door. She just needed to get to the door and walk to her car. Unfortunately, her car wasn’t parked close. She was obviously one of the last guests to arrive and she’d had to park down the driveway quite a ways. But she could…

Kelsie’s spine straightened and she pulled her shoulders back. She was not a wimp, she reminded herself. She was strong and powerful. Independent and smart! This man…he couldn’t…she would just…

Gritting her teeth, she took a deep breath, fully prepared to simply walk out the door and walk away from the dangerous man, prove to him as well as herself that she was immune to his gaze. But even as her body tensed, bracing herself for the race to get away from him, she knew that she would fail. He was already pushing away from the bar, fully prepared to win the challenge she’d inadvertently tossed out to him.

“You’re here!” a feminine voice called out.

Those two words finally did what she’d been unable to do for what felt like the last hour. They broke the spell the man had over her, allowing her to look away. Kelsie sighed with relief when her friend Fleur walked up and gave her a brief hug. The platinum blonde woman was gorgeous in her periwinkle blue dress with the chiffon skirt that fluttered around her slender legs. Kelsie wasn’t fat, but she could never pull off a look like that. Where Fleur was soft and fragile looking, Kelsie was too round, too curvy. The simple, black dress that skimmed over her figure was all she could hope for. Hiding her curves was her best defense.

Against what, she wasn’t exactly sure.

Her eyes shifted back towards the man who remained at the bar, still watching her. His look warned her that he was poised to stop her if she tried to leave again.

Kelsie couldn’t stop the shiver of…awareness? Excitement? Certainly not, she mentally chided herself. Fear. No, she didn’t like that one either. She didn’t fear men. She avoided them. They weren’t worth her time.

“You look great!” Fleur gushed, and Kelsie smiled with relief.

Smoothing her hands down over the material covering her thighs again, she sighed, while looked around at the other ladies in the room. “I don’t, but thank you for being so nice.”

Fleur laughed, a dainty sound that seemed to flutter like bells. A more feminine woman, Kelsie had never met.

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