Law of Attraction

By: Alison Bliss
Chapter One

I grasped the door handle firmly but couldn’t bring myself to open it. Not yet, anyway. If I was going to head into this stupid building to do something…equally stupid, then the least I could do was take a moment to think it through first.

The annual Liberty County Livestock Show and Rodeo had always attracted a large crowd, and judging by the congested parking lot, tonight wouldn’t be any different. Even for a small, amateur event that wasn’t part of the professional circuit, the cash prizes were large enough to draw in a few big-name headliners…and plenty of viewers who wanted to watch the rodeo stars get kicked in the face by a bucking bronco or stomped on by a raging bull. The weird things that entertain people.

In the past, I’d always come to the rodeo with a group of friends to cheer on Cowboy, since he was the only one of us who ever entered the events. But after falling off a bucking horse last year and fracturing two ribs, he’d finally decided to hang up his spurs for good. Thank goodness for that. Watching one of my best friends get hurt didn’t sound like my idea of a good time.

Neither did sitting at home alone on a Saturday night in a big, empty house. Which was exactly why I was here to begin with. The rodeo had a history of drawing in a lot of fresh man meat from the surrounding tri-county area. Men I hadn’t grown up with my whole life. Guys that I wasn’t at all related to. And hopefully at least one of them who would be interested in a no strings, no attachment one-night stand…with me.

I cringed but stopped myself and shrugged it away. There were some times in a lonely woman’s life where she wanted to relieve some pent-up sexual frustration without everyone she knew finding out about it.

God, Bobbie, quit stalling and go inside already.

I blew out the deep breath I’d been holding in, planted a fake smile on my face, and swung open the heavy wooden door. The loud, upbeat country music blasted through me at full volume, vibrating into my chest, as cool air washed over my skin and provided me with a relief I hadn’t even realized I’d needed until now. It must’ve been more humid outside than I thought.

I paid my entry fee at the door and made my way through the dense crowd. A few of the locals—people I had grown up with—stopped me several times for a chat, but I ended the conversations as politely and as quickly as I could. I kept going, heading for the area behind the arena where the beer stand was always set up. That was usually where a lot of the single guys lurked. If only I could make it there without running into…well, everyone I knew.

That was the worst thing about growing up in a small town. Everyone knows everything you’ve ever done your whole life, and even if you had secrets, they always had a way of coming out. I’d spent the last four years keeping my nose clean, though, in hopes that the town gossips would move on to a new subject, one that hopefully didn’t involve me.

Hadn’t really worked, though.

Now all the older folks just constantly asked me when I was going to find me a “nice, young man” and settle down. Although I usually bit my tongue, the answer to that question was about as simple as they come. Never. Because that was the other bad part about living in a small town. Slim pickings in the dating pool.

Then again, there was Slick Willy. He was still available. The man might be in his seventies, but the way the bingo ladies primped and patted their hair whenever he was around probably said a hell of a lot about his skills with women. So did the fact that his real name wasn’t even Willy.

An abundance of men in cowboy hats surrounded the beer stand, and I stopped over to the side to gaze at all of them before blowing out a hard breath. Maybe it was just a matter of coming to terms with what I planned to do. Or maybe it was just a matter of not thinking about it at all.

“Bobbie?”

I turned toward the sound of the voice and spotted Emily walking toward me with a beer in her hand. Well, there goes my night. I slid a fake-ass grin onto my face and greeted her enthusiastically. “Hey!”

“What are you doing here? Where’s Austin?”

“He’s spending the weekend at his grandma’s house, so I thought I’d come out here for a bit.” Not bothering to elaborate, I flagged down one of the workers behind the beer counter and asked him to bring me a water. It was about the only thing I could afford at the moment. “Um, where’s your little one?”

“Lily’s spending the night with Floss. They’re going to watch a Disney movie, make homemade fudge, and paint each other’s nails. You know how much she loves her great aunt Floss.”

“What about Jake? You didn’t come by yourself and leave him at home, did ya? The last time you pulled something like that, he about skinned you alive.”

Emily grinned and gestured to where her handsome dark-haired husband stood chatting with Harry Sikes, the owner of the local meat market. Jake met my gaze head-on, gave me a friendly nod, and then took a long pull off his beer.

His wife settled in next to me, leaning on the counter, and glanced around. “So did you come with Brad? Do we finally get to meet him tonight?”

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