He led her onto the floor just as a new song began, the kind of song that called for old-fashioned face-to-face dancing but with a boot-stompin' kick. She knew the words by heart, and after four beats her feet and hips remembered the moves. Missy was intensely aware of Lee's large hand on her left hip, and the warmth of his grip as his fingers curled around hers. He knew how to dance, and once they found their rhythm together, Missy let go and enjoyed the pleasure of dancing like she hadn't in several years. She focused on him and let the pounding rhythm of the song guide her steps. As the song thundered to a close, Lee pulled her against him and spoke near her ear, "Dip," just in time for her to shift her weight and let him roll her back. She came against his chest, laughing. His deep rumble cut through the muffled sounds of the crowd, the clarity setting chills up her spine.
"Missy Colton, you are one hell of a dancer."
She smiled and tried to catch her breath. "I'm an out-of-practice dancer."
"Could have fooled me." He took her hand and led her off the dance floor as the next song began. Once off the floor and back at the entrance to the hallway, he turned to face her. The music was loud, so she focused on his mouth as he spoke. It wasn't as necessary as she expected; his voice rang clear over everything else. "Will you be here for a while?"
She shrugged. "I don't know how long we'll stay. I'm with friends."
"I'm playing in a bit," he said, leaning in closer as was usually necessary in honkytonks like this. "I'd like to see you before you leave, though."
Shouldn't she say no? "I can try."
Lee smiled, slight dimples popping in his stubble-roughed cheeks. "Okay." He winked. "I've got to go--"
"The set up," she finished, nodding. "Not sure if I should wish you luck or not."
His grin made her cheeks heat, and she glanced away. When she looked back, he watched her with an expression she couldn't quite interpret, only that it did funny things to her stomach. Then he squeezed the hand he still held, and let go before heading toward the stage.
Missy waited until he disappeared into the crowd, then drew in a deep breath. His cologne clung to her clothing. She huffed and shook her head, maneuvering through the crowd toward the table where she'd left her brother and friends. They had ordered more drinks and bar food, a tray of wings and a basket of tortillas in the middle of the table. Thayne popped a chip, dripping with salsa, into his mouth as she slid in beside April.
"You were gone a while," he said around the food.
"Long text," she answered, avoiding the rest.
Thayne looked past her into the crowd, then slid from the booth with a grin, apparently greeting someone as they approached and extended his hand. "Hey, man. Good to see you."
In her peripheral, Missy caught sight of someone reaching the table just behind her, approaching from the dance floor. She turned to look, but Thayne blocked most of her view. Tall man, wearing dark clothes...
Missy's eyes popped wide and heat infused her from toe to hairline.
"Lee, you know Leone's wife April, right?"
"Oh, yeah," he said with a wide smile, his voice clear and sharp. He extended his hand to Leone on the other side of the table from Missy. "Good to see you, man." Then he turned enough to see April.
Lee's casual smile eased into a grin that melted Missy's toes. She was sure she might burst into flames with her next breath. His smile was enough to warm her by its power alone, but that warmth battled with the fury at her brother when she realized she was the dreaded "set-up."
"Lee, this is my sister Missy," Thayne said from past Lee's shoulder.
"We've met." Lee leaned over at the waist, pressing his warm lips to her burning cheek. She closed her eyes, and tried not to make a sound when he whispered just loud enough for her to hear, "Best set-up ever."