Yes, they might be a powder keg, but she feared the explosion would have to do with lust, not anger. Just sitting in this small office with Jack, her breathing had changed and her panties were damp. “They don’t give us much credit for self-control, do they?”
“They might have if I hadn’t thrown a punch at your brother. But after hearing about that, they’ve made a request, and I think we should honor it.”
“I promised I’d be in the wedding, Jack. I can’t go back on that promise.”
“Nobody’s asking you to. But Gabe and Sarah want some proof that we can get along like two civilized adults. So they figured if I was the one to teach you how to ride, then we’d work through our differences and be okay for the wedding.”
“Are you insane? I don’t want you to teach me how to ride. That’s a disaster in the making.” She’d never in a million years be able to keep her hands off him if they embarked on a project like that.
“No, it won’t be a disaster. We’ll make it work, and by the time the wedding rolls around, we won’t be as likely to get teed off at each other.”
He was a hottie, but he was an irritating hottie. “What’s all this we stuff? I didn’t throw a punch. Why don’t you just say that they’re worried about you and stop implying that it’s my problem, too?”
He sighed. “All right. They’re worried about me, but in order not to be worried, they’ve asked me to give you riding lessons.”
“I’ve heard that hot baths can lower your testosterone level.”
“Don’t be a smartass. This is serious.”
“No, it’s not. It’s silly. I’ll behave myself during the wedding, and if you can’t, then pop a Valium.”
His gaze grew hot. “Look, I told them I’d do this, damn it. Just go along with it, okay?”
“Why should I?”
“You need to learn how to ride, for one thing.”
“I’ll do what Morgan suggested and use one of the stables. I don’t want you teaching me to ride, Jack, and that’s final.” She could imagine it now. Him demonstrating a proper seat, her fixated on his buns, him astride the saddle, her wanting him astride her body, instead.
She’d take splinters under her fingernails before she’d tell him that. “Because you’re bossy.”
He nodded. “Fair enough. How about this? You’ll be free to tell me to go hell whenever I get too bossy.”
“I’ve always felt free to tell you to go to hell.”
A ghost of a smile flickered. “True.”
That smile tugged at her heart. He used to smile all the time. They used to laugh and joke, even in bed.
Jack cleared his throat. “Tell you what. How about we try it for one lesson? If you really hate it, then we’ll quit.”
She could tell he really wanted her to agree, but she wasn’t sure exactly why. Apparently he’d told Gabe and Sarah that he’d do this, so it might be a matter of pride, but she sensed something else, an eagerness that had nothing to do with his family’s request.
“Why is this so important to you?”
“Well, I said I would, for one thing. But . . .” he paused and glanced down at this hands. “You accused me of only being interested in sex,” he said softly. He raised his head and gave her a soul-melting gaze. “I’d like a chance to correct that impression.”
When he looked at her like that, she couldn’t refuse him anything. He probably knew that, probably had used his powerful charisma to get what he wanted.
She sighed. “All right, Jack.”
Did he really intend to prove that he could be with her and not act on the sexual tension that had always existed between them, that existed even now, in this very room? And if he could be strong enough to resist temptation, could she?
Dismounting smoothly from the chair, he stood. “We should start with just an hour lesson.”
She stood, too, but she didn’t move from behind the desk. Too dangerous. “Just remember, it could be over in five minutes.”
“It won’t be.”
She’d always found his confidence sexy and now was no exception. “If you say so.”
“It’ll be fine. Can you be out at the ranch at nine in the morning? I know that’s early for you, but –”
“I’ll be there. We might as well find out right away if this is a good idea or a colossal mistake.”
He smiled, a full-out, genuine smile this time. “Thanks, Josie. I owe you one.”
“You owe me several, cowboy.”
“Understood.” He pulled his hat forward and touched two fingers to the brim. “See you in the morning.”
After he was gone, she sank back onto her chair with a groan. Heaven help her, she was going to spend an hour with Jack in the morning. And she could hardly wait.