Nola’s mind lost track of Molly’s words. Everything around her vanished but those two dark eyes pinning her down.
A movement from Molly snapped her out of it. She looked up in time to see her sister had raised her glass in greeting to Mr. Thigh-Clenchingly Hot.
She wrapped her fingers around Molly’s arm. “What the hell are you doing? Don’t draw his attention.”
“Why not? Have you scored in the past six months? You’ve gotta be feeling the weight of that stare, sis. Why not invite him onto the dance floor?”
“No, I—” She glanced up to see him pull away from the wall and make his way across the floor. “Oh fuck. Now look what you’ve done!”
She tried to duck and run into the masses, but Molly hooked a boot around her shin and sent her careening off-balance. Her beer sloshed over the floor, spattering the boots of some dancers.
“So sorry,” she mouthed, her voice lost in the stampede of boots and the cry of appreciation as someone took the microphone for an old Hank Williams song.
Two long, denim-clad legs slid into her vision. She followed the lines up, up, up to the thick chest sporting the white and gray western shirt. And hell, the fabric had a small embroidered flower design next to the pearl buttons.
A man who wore embroidery was very comfortable in his skin. Not a boy. A man.
If she’d had any question about this, she didn’t now as she stared into his face. Small lines framed his eyes and lips, and a few threads of silver wove through his beard.
“Wanna dance?” He offered a hand to her, and she gaped at it for two heartbeats.
Before she could think, Molly had divested her of her beer. Then her sister shoved her from behind, and Nola jerked forward. Taking her movement as acceptance, Mr. Thigh-Clenchingly Hot wrapped his fingers around hers and tugged her onto the floor.
Before she could suck in air, she was whipped into his embrace. When she did, she filled her head with his personal musk—man and clean soap. Leather.
He was smiling at her. She returned it, then gave a laugh and dropped her gaze.
He leaned in. “I’m Griffin. And before you ask, this is the first dance I’ve had in over a year. So don’t laugh at my jumbled up feet.”
How could she remain aloof to that? Everything about him charmed the pants—or mini-skirt—right off her.
“I’m Nola.” She inhaled deeply and didn’t catch a hint of beer or whiskey on him. “You’re not drinking tonight?”
The corner of his mouth tipped up. “Nah. I’m a designated driver. Love to help out the cause and my ma has the—” He bit off the rest of the sentence with a shake of his head. “My ma taught me to give back to the community.”
For several heartbeats, she lost herself in his deep, chocolate gaze. God, were those golden flecks in his eyes? And the creases around each corner enhanced the image that he perpetually squinted into the sun or smiled. Or both.
“Crowded in here,” she said a little breathlessly. The bodies hemming her in tighter to Griffin were unwelcome. Weren’t they?
Damn, she needed to get away from him, and fast. One more upward quirk of his mouth and she’d be wearing a wedding band and apron.