"You’re--you’re right. I figured if I made you want me, you’d drop your guard. I’m almost glad you saw through my ruse. Kissing you was like--kissing a horned toad on a hot, sticky day." She forced a bright smile. "I’m kinda glad we got that out of the way. Now I can concentrate on escaping without trying to seduce my way free."
His lips flattened into a tight line. "It’s not likely I’d fall for your seductions."
"You kissed me." She planted her hands on her hips.
"You kissed me first."
"First thing you learn in roping is to aim for a point ahead of the running calf. Gotta be one step in front if you want things to happen."
He snorted. "First of all, I’d liken myself to a steer not a calf, and second, no one’s putting a rope around this bull."
A challenge. He’d just issued a challenge, and everyone knew Julia Stanton couldn’t resist a challenge. She smiled. He’d bruised her feelings when he’d rejected her, but he’d also inspired her to keep trying. She hadn’t imagined his initial response to the kiss. Her lasso had fallen short, but a cowboy always got up and tried again.
She leaned back on her elbows. "I don’t aim to brand you, cowboy. I just plan to get under your skin enough that you’ll wish you hadn’t tangled with me, so keep your back to the wall."