Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Excerpt from Half Hearts

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into coming here.”
She was pouting, Charlie knew it, but didn’t really care at the moment. She hated honkytonks.
She looked around Jack’s Place. It was like all the other cowboy bars she had allowed Rae to force her to. The standard chicken-wire stretched across solid wood beam, closed off the small stage in an attempt to protect the local cover bands from rowdy patrons and wayward longnecks. Sawdust covered a wood plank dance floor that sported couples whirling and twirling in two-step fashion while twangy music blasted from a jukebox in the far corner. The decor did nothing to cover up nor distract from the thick, harsh aroma of stale beer and cigarette smoke, it still assaulted the nose and eyes just the same.
Rolling her eyes at Rae, Charlie continued to pout. “Dammit, Rae, this was supposed to be a celebration for my five years of hard work. Not just another excuse for you to hogtie some poor unsuspecting cowboy.” She stuck her tongue out at her best friend, perturbed.
“Ah c’mon, Charlie, this is about you. What better way to celebrate your success and burn off a little stress than surround yourself by cowboy’s tight asses. If I happen to get a chance to hogtie a sexy cowboy it’s just an added bonus. You know what you need?”
“Oh, do tell.”
“You, my friend, need to get laid.”
Charlie snorted a laugh, nearly choking on her beer. “Ha! If I needed to get laid, which I don’t, the last place on earth I’d look for a date would be one like this.”
Rae lifted an eyebrow at her. How the hell did she do that? Charlie had spent hours in the mirror trying to perfect that look and just couldn’t get it right. It was a look that made the recipients instantly start questioning themselves.
“See, that’s your problem right there. I never said you needed a date, just that you should get laid. What’s it been, like a year? Is that even possible? Honey, what you need is one of these big strong, hot and horny cowboys to work all that tension right out of your system.”
Actually, it had been one year, eleven months and four days--not that she was counting or anything. The image of rope-calloused hands as they stroked up and down her body made Charlie squirm in her chair. She would certainly never admit it to Rae, though.
The idea of having her wicked way with one of these cowboys made her fidget and her stomach tighten. The self-induced celibacy was sometimes even a bit much for her. She had her reasons and knew she had made the right choice not to get involved with anyone physically or otherwise. Dammit, some days were harder than others.
“Besides,” Rae continued. “It would do the locals good to see their new town doctor, her hair down and having some fun.”
“First of all, I’m just an overworked, underpaid resident. I won’t officially be able to call myself a doctor for another two years. Secondly, I don’t really think the “locals” will give a damn whether my hair is up or down when I have my arm shoved up their cow’s asses.”
“Eww,” Rae grimaced, “TMI Charlie, too much information!”
A roar of laughter escaped Rae and Charlie joined her. They laughed until tears rolled down their cheeks and Charlie’s sides ached. They wiped the tears from their eyes as their waitress approached, set down two longneck bottles of beer and two shot glasses that smelled strongly like tequila.
Charlie stared at the waitress through watery eyes. The woman was short, but what she lacked in height, she obviously tried to make up for with the size of her surgically enhanced breasts. They strained against a-size-too-small t-shirt that advertised she got “off” at Jack’s Place. Some might say the coverings she wore across her ass shorts but calling them that would be adding length to the barely there material.
Charlie couldn’t help but wonder how uncomfortable it must be to have to wear such an outfit at home let alone in public. Maybe that was why the woman had a look of disgust in her eyes and a snarl on her bright red lips, though she highly doubted it.
“Compliments of the cowboy at the end of the bar.” the waitress drawled, jerked her head in the direction the bar. She met Charlie’s eyes with a look of pure hatred before she turned and stalked off.
“Jesus, what the hell is her problem?”
“Who cares? Holy shit, Charlie! Turn around and look at the wet dream that just bought us drinks.” Rae murmured. “I think I just came in my panties.”
Charlie picked up her beer and turned toward the bar with every intention of saluting the cowboy with the beer in a gesture of thank you. When her eyes locked on the man standing at the bar, she was too stunned to move.
“Holy shit is right.” Charlie panted.
At the end of the bar stood a curly, dark-haired mountain of a man, a black Stetson pulled down low over his eyes. Olive skin accentuated a strong masculine face with full lips turned up into a sly smile above a strong, square jaw with just a hint of dark stubble.
The man was a God, pure and simple and the look on his face made Charlie realize he knew exactly what effect he had on the opposite sex. Hell, he was gorgeous enough that he probably had the same effect on most of the same sex as well.
Charlie let her eyes travel downward from his handsome face to broad shoulders and thick chest, which tapered beneath a tight white t-shirt to lean narrow hips. His jeans were loose, hung low on his hips and covered tree trunk sized thighs.
Charlie’s eyes took in the sight of him with a deep appreciation as she moved back up the man’s smoking hot body and locked on with those piercing eyes. Her quickened heart rate sped to hummingbird speed and her lungs forgot the need for oxygen as the sexy cowboy’s smile moved from sly to dazzling, then winked in her direction.
Heat rushed through her body like a freight train and heated up every cell of her body, only to merge into one lava hot charge between her thighs.
Turning back to face her friend, Charlie knew the awed, dazed look on Rae’s face was a mirror image of her own. She worked hard to slow down her breathing and squirmed in her seat in an attempt to relieve the ache in her sex.
“Rae?” she whispered.
“Earth to Rae.”
Rae continued to stare in the direction of the bar, never once blinking as if she was under some hypnotized trance until Charlie kicked her shin under the table. “Please tell me I’m not imagining that the sexiest man on the planet is standing against a bar behind me and just bought us a drink.”
Rae jumped with a start, nearly knocked her beer over, and they both burst out laughing at the flushed looks on their respective faces.
“So, what were you saying about not needing to get laid?”
“Well, I do believe that Mr. Yum-Yum might be able to convince me otherwise given the right motivation.”
“Uh huh, might? Riiiight! On that note I think I’ll head to the little girls room to wring out my panties.”
Charlie watched Rae’s exaggerated hip swings as she swished and swayed her way across to the back of the bar and had to giggle. She had to admit that she was having a good time. Since meeting Rachel “Rae” Lang during her first semester in college, the woman always seemed to know exactly how Charlie was feeling and just what she needed.
Tonight, she so needed this. She just wanted to spend one evening without thinking about school or anything else that caused stress in her life. During the semester, she was able to immerse herself completely in her studies with little time to let the loneliness she felt take up residence in her thoughts.
In between semesters, void of the schedule and the endless hours of researching and studying, were the hardest times for her. Rae was the only person on the planet that seemed to give a damn if Charlie existed or not. At twenty-three years old, she had no family and only one friend. Just how pathetic was that? A twinge of pain hit Charlie as she wondered what the hell she was going to do when Rae finally found the cowboy of her dreams and settled down. What then?
You go back to being lonely and miserable like you have been for the last five years whenever Rae was with her family.
Not really a comforting thought. Charlie sighed, realized the truth of it as she took a sip of her beer.
Feeling a heavy hand land on her shoulder, she nearly jumped out of her skin when a deep sultry voice whispered in her ear.
“Dance with me.” The soft command sent a hot thrill through her.
Charlie turned and looked up into the most captivating, chocolate brown eyes she had ever seen.

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