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Rachel Scott cringed at the very thought even as her gaze took in the breadth of Lynx Maddox's chest, his broad shoulders, and dark green eyes that scanned her with blatant masculine approval.

Despite her stern efforts to control it, her heart pounded against her rib cage. She'd seen him sitting at the table with Charlene Davis and Dan Elder before he'd spotted her. Oh, she'd allowed herself to look when he'd walked her way--looking didn't hurt. And it was okay to dream--a little fantasy never harmed a woman. But that was it; that was where it ended. After watching her father die in the arena, Rachel had sworn she’d never have anything to do with another rodeo cowboy. She stopped her train of thoughts and managed to give the cowboy a smile.

"Nice to meet you," she said, accepting his extended hand. She felt the strength in his warm callused fingers. Rachel tried to ignore a fluttering sensation low in her stomach. There was one thing she was certain of as she looked up at his piercing eyes and uncompromising jaw--men like him had trouble written all over them. And she doubted Lynx Maddox would prove to be an exception.

"Rachel, I'm glad you came tonight." His voice was soft as velvet and laced with a Texas drawl.

He smelled of woodsy masculine cologne and the sudden rise in her body temperature clued Rachel to the unexpected twist to this encounter--she was much too aware of this sexy cowboy. So aware, in fact, she had difficulty recalling her own name! She focused on the warmth of his hand against hers and she knew, although his grip was light, he was very strong. Nevertheless, his strength wasn't affecting her nearly as much as the power of his presence; it vibrated everywhere, even from the sawdust-covered floor beneath her feet. His slow, lingering smile seemed to unravel what remained of her composure. For several seconds she seemed incapable of speech, or even movement.

Good Lord, she was having heart palpitations!

Her reaction was so out of character, Rachel was at a loss as to what to do.

"I hope you didn't mind meetin’ us here," he said, easily, oblivious to her inner turmoil.

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