Resisting the Rancher
The announcer came on almost immediately. “And she does it, folks. Rusty’s time is 17.40, moving her into first place. That was the winning time last year. The other riders are going to have to stretch it to beat her.”
The crowd clapped and cheered. With a grin, Rusty waved to them, acknowledging their support for what had been a masterful ride. Holly had made a fantastic choice when she’d picked this woman to ride her horse. No question Rusty Walker knew exactly what she was doing.
She trotted Mischief back through the gate. Will hopped down from the fence and headed her way. Before he caught up to her, she dismounted and lead Mischief back the way she’d come earlier, right toward him.
“Nice ride, Rusty,” another dark-haired girl getting ready to make her own run called just as Rusty was drawing up to where Will waited.
She turned and waved. “Thanks, Maggie. Go get ’em.”
Rusty was smiling when she turned back around, a genuine smile, and Will could see a pair of deep-set dimples that were downright sexy. Again, that distinct stirring of interest ignited inside him.
“Ma’am?” he called.
Mischief turned his head at the sound of a familiar voice only to be turned back forward by a light tug on the reins.
“Excuse me, ma’am?” Will tried again as he got closer.
Deep brown eyes snapped to his and widened in surprised recognition, at least, he thought that might be recognition. Then the surprise was replaced by a blank wall of cold indifference. The smile vanished, replaced by lips closed tight. She kept walking.
Strangely amused by her attitude toward a total stranger, Will ignored the chill in the summer air, fell in step with her, and held out a hand. “I figured I should introduce myself. I’m—”
“Someone I have absolutely no interest in knowing.” She glanced at the hand he still held out, but didn’t take it, and didn’t stop walking.
“Not getting it. I’m not interested. Quit while you still have some pride, buddy.”
Wow. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been shut down that harshly, and he wasn’t even asking her out. All he’d wanted to do was share his relationship to Holly since Rusty was riding her horse.
He held up his hands in surrender. “All right. Great run. Enjoy the rest of the rodeo.”
He tipped his hat and stopped walking, letting her move on alone, Mischief following along like the lamb he was, though the horse turned his head to peer at Will a few times in a confused horse kind of way.
Will ignored the animal, his gaze pulled to Rusty’s retreating figure and the sway of her hips. Despite her total rejection, desire tightened in his gut, which brought on a frown.
What was wrong with him? What kind of guy found a woman attractive who’d effectively slammed the door in his face before she was even asked? Besides, it wasn’t like him to respond so immediately to a pretty woman. Usually, the personality was what attracted him.
A low chuckle had him turning to find Chase not far away. Will raised his eyebrows in question.
“You’re not the only one to receive that treatment,” Chase commented.
They both gazed after Rusty’s retreating form.