This Feels Like Home is the third book in Debra's The Corral series.
Jake Hawkins spotted the newcomer right away.
Her fancy clothes made her look as out of place as boots on a chicken. No one in the entire state of Texas would wear a fancy sweater and dress slacks to the Corral. Not to mention heels so thin they looked like they’d snap if she tried to walk on them.
But his gaze didn’t linger too long on her attire. Instead, he studied her as best he could from across the bar. She leaned toward her friend, elbow on the table, chin resting in her hand. Her legs were crossed. One foot waved in the air. She wore her dark hair up in some kind of twist. As she gestured, her features settled into a frown. He wished he could tell what color her
He swiveled in his seat to face one of the waitresses. “Hey, sugar, what’s up?”
She blew a strand of hair out of her eyes. “Not much. Busy night.”
He nodded. “Glad I don’t have door duty tonight.”
The bartender approached. “What do you need, Tina?”
“Hey, Nick.” She consulted her notes. “I need four regulars, three lites, a cola, and a cosmopolitan.”
Jake frowned. “A what?”
She rolled her eyes. “Table twenty-two.” She jerked her head toward the back of the bar. “Out of towner wants a cosmopolitan.”
Jake didn’t need to glance in the direction she indicated. He could have guessed anyone dressed like that wouldn’t order anything as mundane as a beer. “Do you know how to make one of those?” he asked.
“Of course. I can make anything,” Nick said.
“What’s in it?”
“Vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and a splash of lime. If I want to be really fancy, I’ll garnish it with a lime wedge.” He grinned. “Want to try one?”
Jake grimaced. “No, thanks.” He glanced over his shoulder. “Do you think she wants a little umbrella in it too?”
“Nope. Those are only for tropical drinks. Margaritas. Daiquiris.”
“Of course they are.”
“So you’re part of the big auction tonight, huh?” Nick opened a cooler behind the bar and took out the beer.
Jake ducked his head. “Yeah.” He shifted in his seat.
“You don’t sound so thrilled.”
“I prefer to get my own dates, thanks. But it’s for a good cause. I couldn’t say no to Sharlie.”
“I thought maybe you were hard up and this was the only way you could get a date.”
“Yeah, right. I can get a date with anyone in this place.”
“How about that guy over there?” Nick pointed. “He looks lonely.”
“Seriously though, you have dated almost every female in this place. In fact, I’ve never seen you with the same girl twice.”
“And you never will.” Love ’em and leave ’em was his motto. And he made damn sure he was the one who did the leaving.
“You ever going to settle down with one woman?”
“Nope.” He’d come close once. Once had been enough. “Where’s the fun in that?” He forced a note of levity into his voice to dispel the unwanted reminder of the past.
Nick’s gaze roamed around the bar as he rocked a silver shaker in his hand. He poured the pink mixture into a stemmed glass. “So, you can get a date with anyone in the bar, hey? Care to make it interesting?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“Fifty bucks says you can’t get a date…hell, make it a dance…with Ms. Cosmo.” He held up the drink.
Jake snorted. “I thought you were going to make it something difficult.” He stood.
“She’s not your usual type. Think you can handle it?”
Jake grinned. “It’s going to be a pleasure taking your money.” He adjusted his hat, settling it into position. “I prefer cash, by the way.”
Nick held out his fist and Jake bumped his own against it. “Break a leg.”
Jake chuckled. “I hope not. I’m riding next weekend.” Anticipation curled in the pit of his stomach. Adrenaline coursed through him as if he were in the ring instead of the bar. There was nothing in the world like facing off against a ton of muscled flesh and sinew.
But for now, a more immediate challenge claimed his interest.
This Feels Like Home is available through The Wild Rose Press and other major book markets.