The woman stood on tiptoe in the baggage-claim area of theDallas/Fort Worthairport looking for all the world like someone who’d been sent to collect the devil. Mitch Landry had expected Wes or one of the other groomsmen to come for him. Instead, his gaze found a statuesque blonde arching up on her toes, a white T-shirt with Jim’s Gym in black script stretched across her lushly curved breasts and long tanned legs extending from tight denim shorts. His heart stumbled then roared into a gallop.
Blood rushed from his brain to below his waist. His nostrils flared in a deep breath, as though he could smell her unique fragrance across the crowded lobby.
She hadn’t looked in his direction yet, which gave him an unfettered opportunity to study her without having to camouflage his reactions.
No make-up covered her creamy rose complexion, not that she needed any. Not then and not now. No eye shadow was required to bring out the deep blue of her eyes. Nor did her mouth need any enhancement. Her lips radiated a natural pink, although the bottom one grew redder as her upper teeth gnawed on it.
Six years had passed since he’d seen Olivia Montgomery, but he’d swear she was more beautiful today. She had an appeal that came only with age and maturity. A smile edged onto his mouth. He was surprised—pleasantly surprised—to admit how glad he was to see her.
He watched as her glare bounced around the room, searching faces until it fell on him. As a look of resignation flashed across her face, she frowned.
His smile faded. Not exactly the reaction he’d hoped for.
If the burning acid in her stomach was any indication, Olivia Montgomery Gentry was not happy. This was not how she wanted to look when she saw Mitch Landry for the first time in six years. Her stomach pitched and her hands fisted when she got her first view of him in the DFW luggage area. Damn Emily and Wes and their last minute wedding emergencies.
Olivia had been at her gym when her best friend—and this weekend’s bride—Emily, had called frantic over a wedding snafu. Someone had to go to the airport and pick up the best man and would Olivia be a dear and run to DFW?
Olivia had knocked her head against the wall at the request and begged Emily to send someone else—anyone else—pleading work and appointments and any excuse she could dream up to avoid being alone with Mitch Landry.
She couldn’t face him…not yet. But nothing could dissuade the determined bride, who’d appealed, cajoled and blackmailed. As the deal cincher, she’d sprung the you’re-the-maid-of-honor guilt trip and Olivia’s resolve had collapsed like a cheap lawn chair.
With no time for a shower, she’d made do with a quick sponging off, a fresh pair of shorts and a clean T-shirt. Leading this morning’s vigorous kickboxing class had left her long hair in a sweaty mess, which had given her no option but to slick it up into a damp ponytail.
Thanks to Emily’s last-minute notice, Olivia had raced across town, lucky not to add another speeding ticket to her growing collection. Typically by mid-morning at DFW airport, all the closest parking spots were occupied. Today was no exception and she’d found herself in the last row of the most distant lot.
Mother Nature had decided to ignore the calendar, which clearly indicated the season was spring, and launched summer a little early. The morning temperature had vaulted to ninety-three with a forecasted high of ninety-nine by afternoon. By the time Olivia had hoofed it across the blistering asphalt parking lot under a bright and vicious scorching sun, her minimal powder and blush had melted in the heat. Her clean shirt had molded to her body like an entry in a wet T-shirt contest.
A blast of cold from the airport’s air conditioning had smacked Olivia’s sweat-dampened neck when she’d blown into the baggage claim area. Chills snaked down her spine and she shivered, unsure if the shiver was due to the shot of cold air or the anticipation of seeing Mitch again.
Arching up on her tiptoes, she scanned the crowd. Years had passed since she’d seen him, but she remembered every inch of his six-foot-four-inch body.
Sometimes at night, if she closed her eyes and concentrated, she could still feel his naked body spooned around hers. Hot chest flesh and chiseled abdominal muscles pressing against her back. Strong thighs cupping her legs. A muscular arm wrapped tightly around her waist, making her feel secure.
She forced her shoulders down and locked her jaw. She didn’t—couldn’t—allow her thoughts to wander into those memories. They were too painful, like having a tooth filled without Novocain.
Her gaze met his blue-eyed stare and her gut tightened in response. Her lungs seized, making breathing almost impossible. She gritted her teeth, angry at herself for being unable to calm her racing heart.
Sometimes life wasn’t fair. This was one of those times.
Mitch sported a natural tan, not the sprayed-on kind manyDallaswanna-be cowboys boasted. Sexy stubble dotted his cheeks, one that made her ache to run the palm of her hand along his chin. His long dark hair, tied at the nape of his neck, begged to be freed. Her fingers twitched, ready to slide through his silky strands as they’d done many times before. Of course, she’d have to remove his ever-present Stetson before she ruffled his hair. Olivia doubted there was a woman in the world who wouldn’t enjoy taking the hat off this cowboy’s head. Hell, even the wrinkles in his shirt and jeans looked sexy. In short, Mitch looked as though he had been ripped off the cover of a western romance.
She, on the other hand, looked like someone who’d been yanked from a Sweating with the Oldies video. Self-consciously, she touched her hair, tucking a stray piece behind her ear. Not only wasn’t life fair, sometimes it outright sucked.
The smile on his face slipped as their gazes met. For a moment they just stared at each other, then his lips pulled into a toe-curling grin and she sighed. He lifted his chin in acknowledgement and strolled toward her, a carry-on in one hand and a garment bag in the other. Olivia’s stomach flipped and her heart dove into a roller-coaster freefall.
Thick thigh muscles bulged through his jeans as he walked. A white oxford shirt stretched taut across broad shoulders. Brown cowboy boots clacked on the tile with each step.
A number of female heads turned as Mitch walked past. She wasn’t the only one who noticed this Texas cowboy.