Big-city free spirit meets small-town cop. And a symphony begins…
A homestay in Oak Hollow is Alexandra Roth’s final excursion before settling in to her big-city career. Officer Luke Walker, her not-so-welcoming host, isn’t sure about the "crunchy" music therapist.
Yet his recently orphaned nephew with autism instantly grooves to the beat of Alex’s drum. Together, this trio really strikes a chord.
But is love enough to keep Alex from returning to her solo act?
Alexandra Roth stumbled back when the Acorn Café door fired open, and a tall cowboy rushed out with a large bag of ice over one shoulder and a twelve-pack of beer under the other. He sidestepped just in time to avoid sending her sprawling onto the hot sidewalk, and his obsidian eyes sprang wide.
“Pardon me, ma’am. So sorry.”
“It’s…okay.” She barely managed to squeak the words out past her surprise and a flare of attraction.
Were all the Oak Hollow residents this polite? And this smoking hot? She adjusted the guitar case over one shoulder, pulled out her cell phone and snapped a photo of him walking away. The historic town square created the perfect backdrop to frame his powerful form. Tight maroon T-shirt over bulging muscles, worn jeans, hat, boots and enough swagger to get a girl’s motor revving. A genuine cowboy in the flesh. Not something she often saw back home in Manhattan.
He paused, and she thought she’d been caught taking his picture, but after a few beats he continued across the street to a black truck. Attempting to look nonchalant, she leaned her large rolling suitcase against a post and sat on top. Her movie-star sunglasses were the perfect concealment for stealthy observation. The cowboy handled his purchases like they weighed nothing, but his flexing muscles told a different story as he put them on the tailgate and leaned in to drag over a cooler. Ice cascaded and chimed like musical notes over the glass bottles.
Alex didn’t want to take her eyes off him long enough to dig out her sketch pad, so she’d have to use her memory and the one photo to paint his image. A hot breeze fluttered her billowy sleeves, and she wished for some of his ice to cool her heated skin. Beer wasn’t her drink of choice, but putting a cold amber bottle to her lips sounded pretty good about now. Maybe she’d run into him again, and they could share a drink, or a meal, or…
The star of her developing fantasy slammed his tailgate. His eyes were hidden in the shade of his cowboy hat, but the wide grin he shot her way was as clear as Waterford Crystal, and she knew she’d been caught staring. Rather than looking away in embarrassment, she returned his smile. He gripped the brim of his hat in a sort of cowboy salute, then climbed into the cab and started the engine. It wasn’t the first time she’d been caught observing someone whose likeness she wished to capture with paint.
Once he’d driven down Main Street, Alex studied the covert photo on her phone, only feeling a smidge guilty about taking it without permission. But you couldn’t see his face, which was unfortunate because it had been a really nice face—all angles and strong lines, tan skin and a bit of dark, sexy stubble. It would be the first watercolor painting she’d work on once she got settled. If she didn’t melt in this oppressive Texas summer heat. She gathered her long mass of auburn hair, twisted it into a messy bun and secured it with two paintbrushes from the front pocket of her guitar case.