READ EXCERPT - It Had to Be You

IT HAD TO BE YOU by Linda Windsor

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It Had to Be You
by: Linda Windsor

Multnomah Publishers Inc.
ISBN: 1576737659
June 2001


 

From Chapter 1

"When I flirt with a cowboy, you'll know I'm flirting."

Contrary to what the driver said, the bus started before she sat down. She'd no more than spotted an empty place when the vehicle lurched forward, throwing Sunny into the seat. On her way down, she glimpsed a long, denim-clad leg curled in a lazy sprawl. Sunflower hat clashed with Stetson, both knocked askew. Sunny scrambled in an attempt to get out of the startled man's lap, accompanied by the echoes of concern and amusement surrounding them.

"You again." The disgruntled cowpoke folded his legs in front of him. He shifted and wedged his knees against the back of the next seat to make room for her. Annoyance all but erased his drawl.

"Yep, it's me. . . the ma'am," she mimicked, venturing a toothy grimace. "Sorry I held everyone up. I had to get my things put under the bus and--"

"I shouldn't have been sprawled over two seats. My fault."

By golly, he almost smiled. A sensation akin to striking her crazy bone rushed through Sunny, the same jolt she'd felt when he'd smoothed the snag of her blouse over her shoulder. Disconcerted, Sunny forced a grin to her suddenly stiff features.

"And I wasn't flirting. If I was flirting, you'd know it."

"Say what?" The man clearly had no idea what she was talking about. He'd been in a world of his own--until she fell on him.

"My niece just accused me of flirting with you--" a tinge of embarrassed heat was creeping up her neck--"and I told her that if I'd been flirting with you, everyone would know it."

The more she said, the more ridiculous she sounded.

The corner of the man's mouth twitched, while the sunlight did a little dance in his eyes. They were brown, no, more than that. Flecks of amber gave them an added warmth. She supposed the color befitted the slight reddish cast of his dark brown hair.

"Oh, how's that?"

She felt like hiding beneath her seat. Instead, she volleyed back without hesitation. "I'd grab you, throw you down, and give you a kiss." After retrieving her hat from the floor, she leaned against the seat. "Yes, sir--" she tugged it John-Wayne fashion over her forehead, so that she had to look down her nose to see--"when I mean business, pardner, you'll know it."

"Hey, there, cowboy," one of the seniors sitting behind them teased, tossing Daniel's runaway hat back into his lap. "I think you've met your match."

Buoyed by the laughter surrounding them, Sunny raised the brim of her straw bonnet and cut Daniel a sharp look. "You married?"

"Nope."

"Me, neither." She leaned over and lowered her voice. "Them youngun's up there belong to my sister, but she lends 'em out every once in a while, kinda like watchdogs. They don't bite, mind you, but they do make a lot of noise."

This time he laughed, right along with the half dozen or so couples who'd been eavesdropping. Outrageous always worked when she was backed into a corner.

"Lady, you are a real piece of work."

Sunny nodded solemnly, her lips twitching with the urge to join in. "Yep, an' I aim to keep it that'a way."

Looping her thumbs in the belt of her slacks, she sank against the seat in retreat. Her face was probably as red as her knit tank top, now that she'd managed to make a total fool of herself in front of a complete stranger. She couldn't help it. That's just the way she was when she was on edge--and there was something about this guy that made her feel as though she were on the brink of a very large leap...or fall.