Author Leah Smith has fantasized about her neighbor, Houston’s pro baseball player Marcus Slade, for years, but thinks it’s unlikely she’d catch the cowboy’s interest since her IQ is bigger than her bra size. Having already been hurt by a man who wanted size over substance, she’s not in a hurry to play in that ball field again.
When an unexpected opportunity gets Marcus inside his favorite author’s apartment, he’s not about to let a second chance at love pass him by. Their attraction is quick and electric and has him instantly thinking about something more long-term. But when a woman from his past intrudes, his hopes of a cozy Christmas with Leah are buried beneath her cold shoulder.
The mouthwatering scents of seared steak wafted around Leah as Marcus escorted her into the world famous Kemah Steak House. Her stomach grumbled, a reminder she hadn’t eaten since early morning.
The hostess greeted Marcus by name and he smiled warmly in return. Leah glanced at him, wondering how often he came to the restaurant. Celebration dinners should be rare, not weekly—unless you found an excuse to celebrate every little thing. But what made them special then?
She slid into the booth and mentally shook her head. No matter what Marcus did in the past, this was her celebratory dinner. She smiled as he sat opposite her and determined to enjoy his company for as long as she had it.
The hostess handed them menus. “Would you like something from the bar, Mr. Slade?”
Marcus placed his Stetson on the booth cushion and raised a brow to Leah.
“Whatever they have on tap will be fine,” she said.
He grinned and nodded. “Two beers, please.”
Glancing at his ‘celebration clothing,’ she was glad she’d summed him up right. She’d nearly put on the nine hundred dollar designer gown she planned to wear to next month’s charity fund raiser. However, at the last minute, she went over what she knew about Marcus Slade. Celebrity though he may be, he was still a cowboy at heart. Instead of the silk and satin confection she’d thought to wear, she pulled on crisp blue jeans and simple button-up blouse. The result matched his jeans and western-styled shirt well.
Leah opened the menu and glanced over it. “You’re a man after my own heart. There’s nothing better to celebrate with than a cold beer and a good steak.”
He jerked back as if surprised. “You mean to say you’ll actually order a steak?”
“Of course.” She laughed, pushing her hair behind her ear. “What’s the point of going to a steak house and not ordering a steak?”
He opened his mouth, but then shut it for a moment before uttering, “Truth be told, most of the women I know don’t eat much meat.”
That was no surprise. Most of the women she’d seen him with were the size of twigs—except in the bosom area—and probably ate weeds.
“Well, I hope you brought along your charge card,” she teased. “I haven’t eaten much today and I’m starving. I plan to order a really big steak with all the fixings to celebrate.”
Marcus laughed. “Honey, the day I can’t afford to buy a pretty lady a steak is the day I’ll hang it up for good.”
Her heart fluttered at the endearment. Sure, it was common enough for Texans to drop honey and darling like hello and good-bye, but still, hearing it from Marcus made her insides quiver.
When he glanced down to study his menu, Leah released a small sigh. Since she was a Roughrider’s fan and a season ticket holder, she’d known who Marcus was before he moved into The Towers. To say she had a crush on him was probably an understatement, but she’d never suffered from delusions, either. Leah Smith, plain, average daughter of nomad archeologists just wasn’t the type of woman the major league outfielder dated. As much as she wished differently, she shouldn’t read more into this ‘date’ than what it was—a friendly, celebratory meal.
A COWBOY'S DREAM - coming November 2008 from The Wild Rose Press