AVAILABLE IN EBOOK AND AUDIO
Many many many years ago when I was a folk music addict, I fell in love with a song called The Whistling Gypsy, recorded by Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers as wel as The Kingston Trio. (Does that give you an idea how long ago it was? But I loved the song. Check out the lyrics:
He whistled and he sang, Till the green woods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady. Ah di doo ah di doo dah day,
Ah di doo ah de da-a-why He whistled and he sang, -Till the green woods rang, And he won the heart of a lady.
She left her servants and her estate, To follow the gypsy rover.
With him I’ll stay till my dying day, And follow the gypsy rover.
Gypsy rover come over the hill, down through the valley so shady
He whistled and he sang til the greenwoods rang and he won the heart of a lady
Erin Braddock slipped into the dark bar through the back door, squinty against the darkness and found her way to a tiny booth in the corner. The area was so small a second person would be hard pressed to find room in the space but that suited her just fine. She hadn’t come here looking for company. Unless it was the cowboy up on the postage stamp sized stage, alone in the spotlight with his guitar and his smoky voice. Ebony black hair curled down to the nape of his neck and a work shirt and worn jeans clung to his lean body like a second skin. The muscles in his arm flexed as he picked at the strings of the guitar, coaxing a tune from it.
The lights were dim in the smoky club, a sea of black with only himself in the searing white glow of the spotlight. The air was heavy with expectation as he strummed the melody of a love song that whipped its sound over the crowd only to slow like the stroke of a lover’s caress.
You are so out of your mind for doing this.
So what else was new?
She’d just had to get out of the house. Away from the ranch. Away from …everyone. Her father, Rance, who was suffocating her with his protective kindness. T.J. Elliott, the fiancé she couldn’t seem to break away from. The houseful of people all gathered to celebrate a wedding tomorrow.
A wedding she didn’t want.
The memories of the nightmare with Cal hadn’t yet faded and her father was suffocating her with his protective kindness. The far too wealthy Rance Braddock was, if nothing else, like a tidal wave that swallowed people up. And then there was T.J. Elliott, her father’s choice for a ‘safe’ and well-connected husband. A way to guarantee her future. No danger there.
Not like Cal, the worst mistake she’d ever made. And she’d wanted safe. Needed it. Her father and T.J. treated her like some child too fragile to be let out on her own. Well, maybe she was. Look what she’d gotten herself into. And didn’t want to get out of, until she’d had no other choice. Now, at thirty, she suddenly didn’t seem to be able to put one foot in front of the other any more.
The bad part about being rescued from a situation like the one she’d been in was people were afraid to take their eyes off of you. She didn’t even seem to have the strength to tell them they could look away. She went along to get among, letting herself be swept up in a courtship she didn’t want and a wedding suddenly bearing down on her like a tornado.
She’d come to the bar a few nights ago with her girl friends who had practically dragged her out of the house.
“Have fun,” her father said.
“You’ll be fine with the girls,” T.J. told her. He’d kissed her on the cheek and teased, “Last night out before becoming Mrs. Elliott.”
She was safe with her friends. Girl’s night out was okay. Both her father and T.J. had relaxed.
But her friend Lili had whispered in her ear, ”Wait until you see Grady Sinclair. He’s hot, hot, hot. And his music!” Lili rolled her eyes. “Just listening to him makes your pussy get wet and your nipples poke like diamonds.”
Erin had shivered, skeptical but hopeful. She didn’t think she’d ever have that reaction again. Or want it. The best thing about T.J. was he was nonthreatening. She could always fake orgasms. She’d become a very good actress living with Cal.
So she’d let them coax her out and come to Smoky’s with them and damn but Lili was right. Wrapped in the almost mystical cloak of the music that drifted to her from the stage she’d felt stirrings that she thought long dead. Responses she didn’t think she was capable of anymore. And then she’d come back with them. Again and again, to hear the troubadour with eyes as black as his hair and a rugged face, drawn by the clear, mesmerizing notes of his songs and the sadness in his voice.