Blade stamped around his first set-in, stepped back and raised his arms as if he’d just roped a rodeo calf in seven seconds. “One post down. How many to go?”
“Thirty. Before lunch,” Stormy said caustically. They’d never finish if he took this long with every one. “If you want to eat, you’ll have to work faster.”
He crossed the fifteen feet span, crooked his arm around the post she held upended and looked down. Broad shoulders blocked her view of the sky. “Doesn’t that break the all-you-can-eat promise?”
His deep brown eyes had gold flecks--why had she not noticed that before? Her diaphragm fluttered, and she stepped back so she could breathe. “This affects me, too, buster. So quit wasting time.”
After three more tries, he set in a post before she had the next one ready. He stripped it from her arms, lifted and let it drop into place. His denims hugged his hips, and his shirt clung to his sweat-soaked back, revealing contours the great Michelangelo might have wanted to sculpt. A lock of his hair slipped free of its leather binding and danced on his shoulder as he packed the dirt.
After setting the twentieth post, he stretched his arms over his head. “I need a drink.”
Stormy was more than ready, but she’d waited for him to suggest a break. She wanted him to know she could outwork him.
Blade whistled for his mare. When Belinda trotted up, he unslung two canteens.
Stormy pulled out the stopper on hers and took a long, welcome drink. Then she removed her bandanna, drenched it with water and retied it around her neck. She took another big drink and popped the stopper back into place with a slap of her palm. “Want to switch jobs?”
Blade didn’t answer. His gaze was fixed on her chest.
She looked down. Her cotton work shirt darkened as moisture crept across the thin, green material. Her nipples stuck out like ripe berries.
Brownie, Running Bear and Zed had never fussed about her body parts or attempted to hide theirs. Had Blade grown up in a prudish family?
She felt a stab of pity for him, but this was quickly superceded by a heady sense of power. She rolled one shoulder and then the other. Stretched her arms behind her back. Waited for his reaction.
Blade’s lips parted. The tip of his tongue moved across them like he'd just spotted a desert oasis.
The world shrank to just him and her. She touched her collar. What would he do if she undid her top button?
“Fergit the fence?” Brownie’s shout was followed by a cackle that mimicked the cry of a lost goose.
The canteen slipped from her hand and crashed onto the toe of her boot. Face flushed, she whirled around and saw Brownie riding along the rise.
“I’m going to git lunch ready,” he hollered. “Don’t be late.”
She turned back to Blade. “You carry. I’ll pack.”