Only a few weeks left until No Accounting for Cowboys releases and you get to find out more about Jake–or as Paige first meets him, JT.
Cam gestured to the crowd. “Come on, y’all, let’s convince JT here that he can’t weasel out of singing for us. I promise, you’re in for a treat when he gets his lazy ass up here.”
He lifted an arm and began a chant of “JT—JT—JT” that was picked up in one corner and swirled around the room until the glasses hanging over the bar rattled.
Though she couldn’t hear what he said, Paige could read his lips well enough to know he swore at his friend. The singer grinned in response and waved his arms, revving up the chants even louder.
Caught up in the room’s energy, Paige clapped as she chanted “JT” along with them.
The room exploded when JT finally hopped off his stool and sauntered to the stage. He picked up the guitar by the empty stool. Before he sat down he leaned in to the microphone. Paige caught her breath at his sexy bad-boy smile. “Well, now, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Cam barked a laugh and winked to the crowd. “Don’t let him fool you, ladies.”
JT strummed a few chords on the guitar, then frowned and adjusted one of the tuning keys. After a few more tweaks, he nodded to himself and looked up again, his gaze roving over the crowd as if searching for someone.
Paige’s breath stuttered in her throat when their gazes met. One dark brow lifted, and his lips tilted up as his gaze raked over her. Her body reacted with a familiar tingle at his slow perusal. At least from that far away, there was no way in hell he could know how her heart raced. She smoothed her hands over her hips, wishing she could ease some of the ache settling there as he launched into Zac Brown’s “Keep Me In Mind.”
JT sure could sing. His rugged good looks—all broody, with that hard-working cowboy image—didn’t hurt either. All that was missing was a dusty cowboy hat.
When the song finished, hoots and hollers erupted around her, a pair of girls in the booth behind her whistling so loud Paige wanted to cover her ears. Once the applause died down, Cam whispered something to JT and grinned.
It may have been Paige’s imagination but she could have sworn JT’s shoulders relaxed. He took a deep breath and strummed a few notes as he settled in to another song, this one quieter. A few bars in, Cam blended his voice in harmony, not overpowering JTs.
This is what she’d wanted. Time to kick back, to unwind. Not worry about what tomorrow would bring. Just to exist, here and now. To have fun.
Forty-five minutes later, JT cleared his throat and downed the last half of the water in the bottle set by his stool. “Last one for me in this set.”
Ignoring the sounds of disappointment around him, he strummed the guitar and locked his gaze with hers once more. He launched into Blake Shelton’s “Who are You When I’m Not Looking.” As he sang, the lights on the rest of the band faded, until he alone was illuminated. Unsure if it was his singing or the lyrics that moved her, the hairs on the back of Paige’s neck raised, spread down her spine and along her arms. The clank and clatter of the other patrons faded away until it was just him, her and the music. As if he sang to her. For her.
Copyright © 2014 Leah Braemel