From the book
Shane Stryker was determined enough to never walk away from a fight and smart enough to know when he'd been beat. The beautiful redhead dancing on the bar might be everything he wanted, but pursuing her would be the worst decision he could make.
Her eyes were closed, her long, wavy hair swayed in rhythm with her body. The sensual beat of the music hit Shane square in the gut. He shook his head. Okay, it hit him lower than that, but he ignored it and the draw he felt. Women who danced on bars were trouble. Exciting, tempting, but not for him, not anymore.
He might not know her, but he knew the type. Attention-seeking. Deadly--at least for a guy who assumed marriage meant commitment and monogamy. Women like the one on the bar needed to be wanted by every man in the room.
Slowly, regretfully, he turned away from the woman and headed for the exit. He'd come into town for a beer and a burger. He'd thought he could catch the game, maybe hang with the guys. What he'd found instead was a barefoot goddess who made a man want to forget all his hopes and dreams in exchange for a single smile. His dreams were worth more, he reminded himself, glancing over his shoulder one last time before stepping out into the warm summer night.
Annabelle Weiss opened her eyes. "It's easy."
"Uh-huh." Her friend Charlie Dixon put down her beer and shook her head. "No."
Annabelle climbed off the bar and put her hands on her hips. It was her attempt to look intimidating. Kind of a feeble gesture when she considered the fact that Charlie was a good eight or ten inches taller and had muscles Annabelle didn't want to know existed.
She was about to make her case, maybe even throw in a line that it was for the children, when the mostly female crowd broke into spontaneous applause.
"Great dance," someone called.
Annabelle spun in a circle. "Thank you," she called. "I'll be here all week." She looked back at her friend. "you have to."
"I'm pretty sure I don't."
Annabelle turned to Heidi Simpson. "You talk to her."
Heidi, a pretty blonde who had recently gotten engaged, glanced up from studying her diamond ring. "What? Oh, sorry. I was busy."
"Thinking about Rafe," Charlie grumbled. "We know. He's wonderful, you're happy. It's getting annoying."
Heidi laughed. "Now who's cynical?"
"It's not news. I've always been cynical." Charlie grabbed her beer and led the way back to their table. The one they'd abandoned when Annabelle had offered to show them both the dance of the happy virgin.
When they were seated, Annabelle turned to Charlie. "Look, I need to raise money for my bookmobile. Being in the town festival is the best way for that to happen. It's a ride on a horse. You know how to ride. You even own a horse."
Charlie's blue eyes narrowed. "I'm not dancing on a horse."
"You don't have to. The horse dances. That's why it's called the Dance of the Horse."
"mason is not a horse who dances."
Heidi leaned forward. "Annabelle, this is your bookmobile project. You're the one who has the passion. Why don't you do the dance?"
"I don't know how to ride."
"You could learn. Shane could teach you. I've seen him working with the rodeo cowboys. He's very patient."
"I don't think there's enough time. The festival is ten weeks away. Could I really learn to ride a horse well...