One Texas Night...

By: Sara Orwig

Though he was looking at his iPad, Jared Weston didn’t see the notes he’d entered on the screen. He could only see the dark blue eyes, long blond hair and lush body that still took his breath away. After six years of endless struggles to fight the memories, he still hadn’t forgotten a second of the night he had spent with Allison Tyler....

It had been at a June wedding reception at the then-new Houston country club. In the crowded ballroom, someone had bumped him, causing a chain reaction. As he brushed shoulders with the woman beside him, champagne splashed from the crystal flute she held. A tall, willowy blonde, she wore a pale blue dress with a jacket cut high above her narrow waist. The dress ended inches from her knees, revealing long shapely legs.

He grabbed a flute of champagne from a passing waiter and held it out to her, taking the opportunity to look into her eyes. With thick lashes darkened slightly by mascara, her eyes were an unusual indigo-blue. He was momentarily riveted, feeling a sizzling attraction.

“I’m Allison Tyler,” she said, smiling at him, taking the flute with one hand and offering the other.

As her hand settled in his, tingles emanated from the contact and he silently swore. Shocked, he focused more intently on her. She may look twenty, but she would be about eighteen now. Too young for him.

“That might be good news, and it might be bad news,” he replied, shaking her hand, reluctant to release her, feeling as if he would lose her when he did and knowing that was exactly what should happen. Allison Tyler.

She cocked her head and asked, “Why?”

Her older brother, Sloan, was his lifetime best friend. Sloan was also the world’s biggest worrier. Jared understood his friend’s worrying. Since they had lost their mother and a brother, Chad, in a plane crash, Sloan had become far more cautious and protective of his younger sister.

Jared was torn between what he wanted and what he should do. “I think at this point, I should say goodbye,” he admitted. When she gave him a confused look, he explained, “I’m Jared Weston.”

Her eyes widened and her smile grew bigger as she laughed and tightened her hand on his, startling him. “The forbidden man. I should have recognized you instantly but it’s been a few years.” She stepped back slightly to give him room to view her from head to toe. “Guess what, Jared? I’ve grown up.”

He looked at her...and he was captivated. Instantly. Of all the women on the earth, this was the sole woman he should avoid. So much younger than he was. His best friend’s little sister. Why did she have to be so appealing?

“You have grown up. I didn’t recognize you. You don’t look at all like you did when you were seven or even twelve years old.”

Her dark blue eyes sparkled with amusement. “Imagine that. I don’t quite view you the same way I did then, either.”

He realized then that her hand still rested in his.

“If we’re going to hold hands, we might as well dance,” he said. “One dance. I can’t be a terrible influence in one harmless dance.”

“Maybe it won’t be so harmless,” she said, flirting with him, sending his pulse racing faster.

“Allison, you’re a temptation,” he said, wanting to prolong the moment.

“Sloan does not run my life. We can dance if we want. Forget him.”

Taking a sip of champagne, she set the flute beside his on a nearby table and joined him on the dance floor. When she stepped into his arms, her enticing scent enveloped him.

Looking at her, Jared could easily forget her older brother, his closest friend even now, although they saw little of each other any longer. “Do you still live at home in Dallas?” he asked, curious about her.

“Officially, but since I’m eighteen now and a freshman at the University of Texas, I’m in Austin.”

“I’m twenty-four. Besides having Sloan’s admonitions burned in my memory, I’m a lot older than you.”

“An older man,” she purred, those deep indigo eyes still twinkling. “That makes you all the more intriguing.”

“You’re a little on the naughty side, Allison,” he said, smiling at her, trying to ease his conscience by telling himself a few dances were harmless.

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