Excerpt: Never Doubt A Cowboy

Never Doubt A Cowboy by Barbara McMahon

Book Five: Cowboy Heroes Series

Molly Spencer almost hugged herself with glee, giddy with delight. Here she was in Mexico! A month ago she’d faced unemployment, dwindling savings and bleak prospects, now she stood on a terrace of a two-bedroom casita overlooking beautiful Acapulco Bay. The soft corals and pink that painted the evening sky reflected on the calm, shimmering sea. The sun sank lower in the west. Evening breezes felt cool after the sultry heat of the day, blowing in gently from the sea. The salty tang of the ocean washed across her skin in a tangible caress. Across the bay lights were blinking on in the high-rise glass and steel hotels that encircled the shore.

Her eyes delighted in the sights before her, as she leaned lightly against the railing that held her at the edge. It was wonderful, heady. In her wildest imaginings she’d never pictured herself in Acapulco.

Behind her she could hear the soft murmur of her new boss, talking on the phone to someone in Los Angeles. No other sounds marred the peaceful and serene setting. Molly’s eyes again skimmed the horizon, the bay, the city in the distance. It was all so magical–would she ever get tired of looking at the view? Maybe by the end of their stay, but she secretly doubted it.

She turned slowly to survey her own particular bit of Acapulco. Las Casitas D’Oro Hotel was enchanting. Built on the steep side of a hill, each room or suite opened to a private terrace, with its own private swimming-pool.

She was in a two-room suite, her bedroom to the left, her employer’s to the right. The large flagstone terrace united the two rooms. A tall cinder-block wall, painted blue and white, divided their terrace from the room to their left. A half-wall to the right separated the casita from the open hillside. The large, kidney-shaped pool invited her to swim. The pool that was to be shared with Beverley, no one else.

Molly’s grin threatened to split her face. This was the most wonderful place she’d ever been. And pure luck was the sole reason she was here. She’d been a part of the huge layoff at MacInery Investing. Three weeks on unemployment, with few opportunities arising, she’d started to really worry she’d be in financial trouble when her friend Margot told her about this position-temporary personal assistant to Beverley Sampson. She’d applied, been accepted and before she knew it, they were making plans to stay in Acapulco while Beverley worked on her latest biography.

Molly feasted her gaze on the city in the distance, memorizing every nuance, every high rise building, the strip of white sand at the edge of Acapulco Bay. She never wanted to forget this magical assignment.

He stood in the shadows and she didn’t see him until he moved. Startled when she heard him, Molly spun around. He slipped easily around the wall beside Beverley’s room, pausing at the gate that separated their terrace from the wild, untamed land of the hillside. Thrusting open the wooden gate, he walked boldly on to the patio as if he owned the place, a stack of fluffy blue and white towels in his arms. He couldn’t work at the resort, could he? He wore jeans, a blue shirt with sleeves rolled up to expose his forearms, and a cowboy hat. The clothes the staff wore were nothing like this. All she’d seen was the loose Mexican shirts with embroidery.

She glanced into the room where Beverley talked on the phone. Her back was to the window and she was clearly engrossed in her conversation. Molly looked again at the intruder. Maybe there was a legitimate reason he was here.

He stood just inside the colorful blue gate, blending in with the shadows of the early evening staring at her. Was she as unexpected to him as he was to her? The light from the rooms spilled across part of the patio, making the spot where he stood outside the light seem darker, mysterious.

“Can I help you?” she asked. She was hired to help not only with transcribing the tapes Beverley made, but also to assist wherever needed.

Though probably not much over six feet tall, from Molly’s diminutive five feet two he seemed to tower over her. Highlighted by the setting sun, his hat was pulled low, as if to shelter his face from the last of the sun’s rays. Unexpectedly, anticipation flared. She blinked when a curious fluttering sensation arose in the pit of her stomach.

“Who are you?” Molly asked, stepping away from the railing.

His hair was dark where she could see it beneath the hat, and he hadn’t shaved for a couple of days, which enhanced his rugged masculinity. Cowboy boots looked out of place in the heat of the resort. Muscular legs, spread apart, firmly anchored him to the patio. She hoped it was just a case of mistaking their room for his own.

Molly took a breath, her eyes involuntarily drawn to his chest, trailing down to his snug jeans. Raw sex in tight jeans, she thought involuntarily and her senses tingled as awareness of his animal magnetism threatened to engulf her.

She was suddenly hot, and it wasn’t only because of the instant flush when she realized where her thoughts were heading. Compared to him, she was terribly overdressed. The hot, sultry climate required fewer articles of clothing and she still wore the suit she’d traveled in, which had been appropriate for the flight to Mexico.

She took a step closer and peered up, trying to see his face in the dim light, trying to ignore the strong desire to feast her eyes on him, schooling her features to reveal none of her thoughts, trying to ignore the sudden longing to touch him that quivered in her fingertips. Why didn’t he say something.

At the sound of her voice, he narrowed his eyes slightly as he continued to stare at her. She stood silhouetted by the setting rays of the sun. The fading light made it difficult to see her face.

“Are those our towels?” she asked again, her voice holding a hint of annoyance.

His lips twitched as he nodded and strolled over past one of the chairs, carelessly dropping the towels as he passed, staring down at her until he was almost close enough to touch.

“You just arrive?” He looked slowly down her body again, amusement dancing in his gaze as he took in the business suit worn in such a hot, laid-back climate. He wished he could see her better. With the light behind her, her face was in shadow. He let his gaze trail down past feminine breasts, gently flaring hips and continued down to her bare feet. At least she made some concession to the heat.

“Yes, We just arrived. Did you mistake this room for yours? Or do you work here?”

He shook his head slowly, his eyes roaming freely over her trim figure. He could tell it flustered her. He wanted to laugh at her attempts to remain in control of the situation. Where had she come from, he wondered.

“If you don’t work here, what are you doing?” Molly was beginning to get annoyed. One thing she was sure of, her employer would want privacy, not have strange men wandering around at will.

Molly grew determined to take charge. He was trespassing on her patio and she wanted him to leave.

“I’m looking at you, right now, darlin’,” he said, grinning, his eyes clashing with hers. She could see the gleam of his white teeth. He shifted a little and took a step closer.

Molly frowned at his teasing tone yet when he moved she could see him better, but wasn’t reassured. His eyes were still in shadow, hooded by dark brows, a two-day growth of beard covered his lean cheeks. Yet her interest soared. He looked tired, scruffy, disheveled; but not like a vagrant, more like a man on his own, removed from daily routines, doing just as he damned well pleased.

“This isn’t your room, you don’t belong here, you’ll have to leave,” she said hoping he’d do it. If not, what could she do?

“You’re staying in these rooms? I brought you some towels.”

Molly had a moment of doubt. The towels looked right. The entire hotel was done in blue and white, its trademark. But the man didn’t look right. None of the hotel staff she’d seen thus far had been out of the bright blue uniform of Las Casitas D’Oro.

This man looked more like Pancho Villa, wild lawless, free. Definitely not a hotel employee out to please the guests. He looked as if he only pleased himself.

He took a step closer and Molly could see him more clearly in the light from Beverley’s bedroom. She met his eyes with a shock. They were a light silvery gray. Surprising in one so dark. His skin was tanned a dusky bronze, his hair inky in the darkening sky.

“Thank you for the towels. Goodnight.” She waited, hoping her demeanor would encourage him to leave.

He smiled again. “Want me to go, do you?” His eyes danced in amusement at her as he stepped closer, placing his fists on his hips. He looked immovable.

Feeling flustered and rude, Molly none the less stood her ground. “I won’t keep you from…” From what? He’d said he didn’t work for the hotel–what was he doing here?

Her eyes flickered to the short wall to her right. Beyond it was the open hillside. Wild, uncultivated land, restricted to no one. A thief could easily stalk these rooms. In and out fast. Was he here to see who had just checked in? Scope out the place as it were?

“I think you’d better leave.” She tried to make her voice as forceful and confident as she could.

“Your first trip to Acapulco?” he asked, ignoring her command.

“Yes, it is, and this is a private patio.” If he refused to leave, she’d make a dash to her room and call the front desk. It didn’t matter that she’d hate to cause a scene practically the moment she arrived.

He smiled at that. He looked her over slowly, from head to feet, his light eyes dancing as he met her gaze again.

Molly flushed, her skin instantly warm. Suddenly convinced he saw through the trim blue skirt and silky white blouse that hugged her figure, she was startled at the awareness of her own sexuality that he raised. She wasn’t used to men like him-or the reaction of her own body. She tilted her head up to meet his gaze, standing her ground. He was the trespasser, not she. He was the one who should be embarrassed at being asked to go.

‘Are you leaving?’ She blinked through her glasses, wishing illogically that she had worn something soft and feminine. Wishing she had combed through her hair. Wishing he’d look at her with longing, rather than amusement.

How stupid–she was here to work, not flirt with the first man that happened by. And especially not some ruffian who hadn’t seen a razor in days.

“Senorita, here I come to welcome you to this beautiful city and all you want to do is have me leave. I can show you the marvelous attractions of Acapulco, guide you to all the places tourists want to see, fill your days with wonderful sights to see, and fill your nights with warm, loving memories to dream about for years to come.”

His voice was like a dark melody, piercing through to her heart. If she closed her eyes, she felt she could listen to him forever. The tone was low, smooth, sexy. The words seductive. She shook her head. What was she thinking of?

“I’m sorry, I already have plans. Thank you for the towels. Do you want a tip?’ She wanted him to go, yet he wouldn’t budge.

“Are you sure you don’t need a guide? How about to the beaches? I’m sure you’d look great in a swimsuit, and I know where the best beaches are.’ Amusement was evident in his tone. His eyes never left her face.

Was Beverley finished yet? Would she turn and see the visitor and join Molly in getting rid of him? Then she reconsidered. She’d been hired to help the other woman. She couldn’t let her employer start out thinking Molly couldn’t handle things.

Though this was getting out of hand. Molly stepped closer, a look of pure determination on her face.

“This is a private terrace and if you don’t leave, I’ll call the hotel security and have you removed.” She stalked over to him, intending to pass him and head for her room. If he wouldn’t leave, she would. But he casually stepped between her and the door.

The terrace narrowed where he stood, the half-wall on one side, the pool on the other. She stopped abruptly, touched by a flash of fear. She didn’t know who this man was, but he was between her and safety. He was tall, strongly built. It would take very little effort on his part to sling her over his shoulder and take her into the scrub brush beyond the wall.

Molly glanced at the darkening hillside and then looked back at him, confused when she again met his gaze.

He was laughing at her.