“Aren’t you coming in with me?”
“Have you taken a good look at me? The last thing you need is them seeing me tracking mud and shit across their brand new carpet. I’ll stay in the truck.”
Ben sank into his leather seat and pulled his hat down over his eyes, wishing he could take a catnap. He’d had a restless night, thinking about Angel. Wondering if he’d recognize her without that funky-ass wig. Wondering how her real hair would feel wrapped in his fists as he fucked her mouth. His flashbacks made the crotch in his jeans uncomfortably tight, forcing him to redirect his thoughts.
He studied the building’s clean lines. He’d built his log house himself and appreciated how form and function affected design, yet retained an artistic feel. As he thought about art, he remembered his cousin Carter had been commissioned for a large sculpture for this bank. Ben always loved seeing what works his crazy-talented cousin created. He was already here. He might as well sneak in and have a quick look-see.
The inside of the bank was as impressive as the outside. The place was busy and no one took notice of him as he stopped in front of the massive sculpture, prominently displayed beneath a circular skylight. A rusty chain enclosed the art—a horse head carved from wood, surrounded by twisted sections of metal of varying heights, sizes and finishes that gave the impression the horse was running through tall, native grasses.
“It’s magnificent, isn’t it?”
He recognized that sultry voice immediately. Ben spun around so fast he made himself dizzy and couldn’t believe his eyes. “Angel?”
Her jaw nearly hit the floor. “Bennett? You… What are you doing here?”
Before he could answer, a hearty hand landed on his shoulder. “Ben! I haven’t seen you in a coon’s age.”
Dazed, he glanced at Bill, his insurance agent, who’d inserted himself between him and Angel.
Bill said, “What brings the elusive Ben McKay to town?”
“Checking out Carter’s latest piece of art.” Now go the fuck away.
“So you’re not shopping for a new bank?”
“Maybe.” Ben kept his focus on the woman he hadn’t been able to get out of his head.
Bill kept yapping. “I reckon Steve Talbot would take issue with that, since the McKays have always banked with Settler’s First. Although this bank president is much prettier than Steve.”
“You’re president of this bank?” Ben said with total shock.
Her eyes turned frosty.
“Look, Bill, how’s about you don’t mention to Steve you saw me in here and I won’t mention to him I saw you?”
“Deal. See ya around, McKay.”
Ben moved close enough Angel had to look up at him. “We need to talk, Madame President.”
“I’m very busy—”
“I don’t wanna make a scene, but I will.”
The pink on her cheeks deepened.
Ben’s gaze wandered over her tousled golden-brown hair, streaked with amber, that fell past her shoulders. “Don’t ever wear that ugly-ass wig again. Jesus, woman, I like the look of you. So real. So pretty and soft.”
“Don’t what? Pay you a compliment?”
“Don’t come into my place of business and act like you control me here.”
Stung, he bit off, “Then I would appreciate ten minutes of your time in private.”
“Really? You’re gonna turn away business? Because I want to open an account.”
“Fine. Bonnie can help you with that—”
“Nope. I want you to help me. Only you. So we doin’ this or what?”
Her eyes still held a warning. “Five minutes.”
As they headed toward her office, a voice called out, “Ben?”
He faced a miserable-looking Rielle. “You done already?”
“Give me ten minutes.” He extracted his keys from his pocket and handed them over. “You can wait in the truck.”
Rielle’s gaze moved between them. “Okay.”
Inside a glass-fronted office, she skirted the desk, offering a curt, “Shut the door and have a seat,” and slid into an oversized chair.
“I’ll stand, thanks.”
“I’d think you were a gentleman, saving the chair for your wife or girlfriend, if I didn’t just see you order her to sit alone in the truck.”
Any veneer of calmness fled. Ben cut across the room and placed his hands on her desk, looming over her. “First off, I wouldn’t have been in the Rawhide Club screwing around with other women if I was married or seeing someone.” Breathe, man. His gaze dropped to the nameplate. Whoa. Her name wasn’t Angel? “Maybe I oughta be questioning you and your motives, since you, oh, lied about your damn name and wore that ridiculous wig.”
“Given my occupation, I’m sure you understand why I disguised myself. Plus, I had no idea what to expect from an establishment like the Rawhide Club since it was my first foray into such a place. Better to be safe than sorry.”
“Fine. I guess I can buy that.”
She fiddled with a pen. “Can you please sit down?”
“Am I makin’ you nervous?”
“We already established last weekend that you make me very nervous, Bennett.”
“Call me Ben,” he corrected, perching on the edge of the floral-covered wingback chair. “I only use Bennett at the club. Or my mom uses my full name when she’s pissed off at me about something. Which you can imagine is all the damn time.”
“I like it so much better when you’re smiling at me, angel. The name fits you, although that’s not your name.” His gaze tracked over the engraved nameplate. “So, Ainsley Hamilton, you’re a bank president.”
“So it would appear. You surprised?”
“No. I knew you were sharp, and I figured you had a job where you were used to bein’ in charge. You haven’t been in Sundance long.”
“How do you know?”
“I’ve lived in this area my whole life. People talk when a hot single lady moves into town. I’ve haven’t been in town in recent weeks… Shame on me for not introducing myself earlier.”
“You’re part of the infamous McKay family.”
“Infamous is an exaggeration.”
“Not from what I’ve heard. Anyway, I haven’t been out and about Sundance. There’s a lot to micromanage when opening a new branch. I spent the first weekend unpacking and last weekend—” Her blush seemed to annoy her. She squared her shoulders. “I don’t need to give you a play-by-play of last weekend’s events.”
“No, you surely don’t, because I’ve been reliving them in my head every damn hour for the last day.”
“Yeah. Were you gonna show up Friday night? Or stand me up?”
“I hadn’t decided. It was all so…surreal.” She rolled the pen between her palms. “But having you here in my office is surreal too.”
But damn fortunate in his opinion. “You can’t deny something clicked between us last weekend. How about if we talk about it tonight over dinner?”
She gave him a questioning stare. “Dinner? Where?”
“Without adding more fuel to the infamous McKay fire, we’d better stick to my place, because wherever we go in Sundance or Moorcroft, chances are high we’ll run into one of my family members. I’m not sure the new businesswoman in town wants to be associated with a McKay.” When more suspicion flared in her hazel eyes, he realized he’d have to take extra care with her, given how they’d met. “No one knows about my life at the Rawhide Club.”
“I make sure. I promise. It’s only between us.” He leaned closer. “Have dinner with me tonight, Ainsley. It’ll just be us talkin’. That’s all.”
“None of that tying me up and spanking sex stuff?”
Was there disappointment in that snappy answer? “If that’s the way you want it.” Ben tried hard to reconcile this polished, professional woman with the submissive he’d had beneath his hands only two days ago.
“You can cook?”
“I’m a bachelor. Be pretty sad commentary on my life if I didn’t know my way around a kitchen.”
Ainsley smiled again. “Give me your address and I’ll be there after work.”
“It’s fourteen point eight miles south on Bridger Gap Road. Turn left at the cattle guard. It’s a log house. Can’t miss it.”
Three knocks and Ainsley said, “Come in.”
A tall brunette sashayed into the office. “Public relations from the main Denver branch called. I told them you’d call them back as soon as you finished with your client.”
Ben bit back a groan. The brunette was none other than Jenny Timsdale. Town beauty queen, hardcore partier and the last-call bar hookup for his cousin Tell. Or his cousin Dalton. Or both, to hear Dalton brag.
She feigned surprise at seeing him. “Ben McKay. Where have you been hiding yourself? I haven’t seen you at the Golden Boot, Ziggy’s or the Twin Pines in forever.”
“I’ve been busy.”
“Your cousin Tell hasn’t been too busy to come out and whoop it up with me once in a while.”
He muttered, “I don’t doubt that.”
Ainsley said, “Jenny, is there anything else you needed?”
“Would you be so kind as to ask Bonnie to start the new account process? Mr. McKay will be right there, as he’s decided to open an account with us.”
“Sure thing, boss.” Jenny flitted out.
Ben couldn’t help but grin. Ainsley was no pushover. But she’d soon learn he wasn’t either.
“Thanks for the hard sell, Miz Hamilton. I look forward to you meeting my needs.”