Trail of Hearts
The woman turned, and her mocha complexion glowed like an oil painting Birdie had seen once, enhancing darkly-lashed eyes and a rose pink, Cupid’s bow mouth. The hostess beckoned and pointed across the room. Yes, apparently the dream woman sipping white wine and sharing a joke with lovely Lizzie behind the bar must be Madame Eve’s choice for her date. The two middle-aged women gossiping at a table and old wanna-be cowboy at the other end of the bar sure weren’t. Dear God! She’s so elegant, so lovely, and I’m…a scruffy cowhand. Lizzie, a buxom redhead in her early twenties, would make a far better choice for the goddess.
She took a step back, then another, and spun on her heel. Why would such an incredibly polished woman want to spend any time with someone like her? She found the doorway blocked by a mountain of a tall, heavyset guest in full cowboy regalia, from the top of his ten-gallon hat to the massive silver belt buckle straining to hold in his girth, and all the way down to boots made from some exotic leather…ostrich? Unable to see around him much less move past, she paused. Hurry, I need to get out of here before she sees me and I’m humiliated even more!
She fidgeted, staring at the gapping buttons on the man’s shirt elaborately fringed shirt, waiting for him to head into the restaurant and let her out into the corral and freedom. Finally he seemed to see whoever he looked for because he raised a hand and moved toward the dining room. She ducked under his arm and slipped outside, breathing a sigh of relief. Immediately followed by a sigh of resignation. What the hell?
Cowardice did not suit a woman of the range. She had no fear of riding a half-broken horse or helping to castrate a bull. She laughed at rattlesnakes. But…a lovely bit of city fluff could send her fleeing into the descending darkness. You are so sad! Birdie O’Neal, you get yourself back in there and take advantage of the only night of fun you’re likely to have in a long time! Not to mention that you spent every spare cent to sign up for Madame Eve’s service—and money doesn’t grow on trees for a girl on her own.
Spinning on her heel, she faced the restaurant doorway, now occupied by her date for the evening who wore a quizzical expression on her face.
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