The First Kiss

Long before Colt and Hope’s happily-ever-after, there was a kiss . . . .

“Hey.”

Colt Lomax turned from the dirt bike carburetor he’d been adjusting to look at the fifteen-year-old girl who stood in the doorway of Jones’s Garage. She wore a felt cowboy hat, tight Wranglers, and a tiny t-shirt that barely covered her stomach. The leap his heart took at the sight of her had him throwing out the first mean thing he could think of.

“Why if it isn’t little Miss Hog-caller of Haskins County.” He leaned back to look behind her. “Did you leave your hog at home? Or did Slate Calhoun have football practice?” He couldn’t see her eyes beneath the brim of the hat, but he didn’t need to see those baby blues to know his words had hit their mark. Her body tensed before she tipped up her chin and strutted over.

“You know your jacket ain’t real leather, right?” She placed a hand on the grip of the handlebar and her shirt hiked up, flashing her cute little belly button and causing Colt’s heart to rev. “I think they call it pleather,” she continued, completely unaware of his racing teenage hormones. “Which is pretty much just some kinda plastic. And that name you wrote on the back—Desperados. How can you call yourself Desperados when there’s only one of you? Although Desperado don’t even work because it’s not like there can be a motorcycle gang of one.”

It was hard to think up a good comeback with her soft, bare skin only inches away. So he gave up trying. “What do you want, Hope?”

She blinked before her mouth pressed into a hard line. “Nothin’. I just came by for a strawberry soda, is all.” She held up the pink can, revealing more of her stomach.

Figuring he was about to do something really stupid, Colt tried to end their conversation. “So you got one. Now quit pesterin’ me.”

“Fine, Colt Lomax.” She backed away. “Lord knows, I wouldn’t want to pester a Desperado. Not when he might sic his entire pleather gang after me—” Before she could turn to leave, she tripped over the tire jack in the middle of the floor and landed hard on her butt. Strawberry soda shot from the can and her cowboy hat went flying.

“Shit!” Colt dropped the wrench and hurried over to kneel down next to her. “Are you hurt?”

It was hard to tell with her long brown hair draped down in her face. He reached out and, awkwardly, smoothed it back, the soft strands clinging to his greasy fingers like a silken web. Once it was out of the way, he tipped up her chin. Angry blue eyes glared back at him. And he couldn’t help but smile. Especially with strawberry soda splattered all over her face and a smudge of grease on her chin from his fingers.

“You said you came by for strawberry soda,” he teased. “You think you got enough?”

An eyebrow cocked before her tongue slipped out to catch the bubbly pink droplet at the corner of her mouth. His smile faded, and everything inside him tightened into one hard knot of need that grew even tighter when another drop trickled down the tip of her nose to rest in the pocket of her upper lip. It trembled there, a tiny droplet of temptation he was too weak to resist.

Colt only planned on a sip—one tiny sip of flesh-warmed soda. But then his lips touched hers, and suddenly it wasn’t a sip he wanted as much as a guzzle. A deep, thorough, thirst-quenching guzzle. And it didn’t help that the bottle he wanted to guzzle from willingly offered her hot mouth up for the drinking.

The kiss grew wet and deep as his hands burrowed into her hair. He tugged her up to her knees, and their mouths greedily fed on one another, their bodies straining for release from the hormones that clamored around inside them like a bunch of trapped bees in a jar.

“Hey, Colt!” They jerked apart, their breathing hard and uneven. “I need some gas sometime this week, son,” Harley called from out by the< pumps.

Jumping to his feet, Colt stared down at the pile of messed hair and wide blue eyes, realizing too late that one taste of Hope would never be enough.

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