Psychologist Dr. Tess Autrey would much rather spend a weekend interviewing the hands on the Triple RC Ranch for a newspaper article on buckle bunnies than endure another of her matchmaking society mother’s setups.
And it doesn’t hurt a bit that the ranch owner is Wyatt Crowe, a wickedly sexy former bull-riding champion intent on convincing her that there’s nothing crazy about the sparks flying between them from the moment they meet.
“Edgy and intensely heated, this cowboy story is especially good.” — Laurie D., Amazon reviewer, 5 stars
“Holy cow!! Just hot, really hot!!” — Christel, Goodreads reviewer
The man giving the orders was equally impressive, his shoulders broad, his torso tapered, his biceps tight as he pulled back, left, right on the reins. Though it was late winter with spring on hovering on the horizon, the damp fabric of his shirt clung to the small of his back above jeans that rode low on his hips, that sat against his flat belly. And then there were those thighs.
She shook her head, slid her sunglasses back into place, wrapped her tunic-length cardigan more tightly around her body even though she wasn’t particularly chilled. The early February morning was surprisingly bright, the temperature mild. But this was the Texas Gulf Coast; there was no guarantee tomorrow wouldn’t be stormy and dark.
She supposed the cowboy knew that, too, and was taking advantage of the day, though she imagined he spent plenty in the rain doing exactly what he was doing now, putting both himself and the horse through their paces. Whether the horse was his or part of the stock he supplied for rodeos, Tess had no way of knowing from here.
What she did know was that he was the source of the shivers tickling her skin, and that just wasn’t like her. She was more attracted to a man’s brain than his brawn or the roman numeral after his name, and all she knew of this one was that he looked damn fine on a horse and could turn her to jelly with a low-spoken word.
Except that wasn’t all she knew, was it?
It took more than powerful thighs and a talented tongue to coax the horse beneath him to obey. He had to use the head on his shoulders in concert with his body which rolled fluidly with the animal’s quick moves.
That’s what Tess was responding to. That package. That combination. The skill he showed off with each order given, with the anticipation of each response.
She looked away, across the pasture that was on the verge of being swept from winter brown to the green of spring, reminding herself that this was work, not pleasure, and that a fling with a cowboy would not be worth what her mother would put her through should she ever bring one home.
And then she looked back, feeling once again in control, more centered, only to find him looking at her, his hat pulled low on his forehead, just not low enough to hide what he was thinking, or the words her imagination heard. Silly, the things going through her mind, this intense reaction tightening her skin, the hairs on her arms tickling.
Was this what sent the women she’d interviewed into one cowboy’s bed after another? Was it this physical pleasure as much as the thrill of bringing the arena’s conquering hero to his knees? Even if it wasn’t her thing, she understood the psychology of the latter, the power and confidence such a triumph instilled.
But the former?
Pleasure she could get from a man wearing Armani as easily as from a man in chaps, boots and jeans. For that matter, she had no problem taking care of those needs herself – yet even as she had the thought, she realized that the things his look had her imagining went deeper than sex.
Okay . . . where had that come from? She could relate to being physically itchy; the women she’d talked to held back nothing when describing their sexual encounters – the quickies with boots on in pickups, the blow jobs in country western dance halls, the hands inside clothing in broad daylight offering sexual relief.
But none of those titillating depictions should have done more than temporarily raise her temperature.
They should never have her thinking that this cowboy was looking at her like she had more to offer him than her body, or have her wanting to give him – this man she’d never seen before, this man with dark and dreamy bedroom eyes – anything he had on his mind.