Gentling the Cowboy(6)

By: Ruth Cardello


Apparently a man could only go so long without sex before he lost his damn mind, because it appeared that she wasn’t the least bit interested in him. Truth be told, as the enormity of the situation sunk in, she wasn’t paying very much attention to him at all.

“I can’t believe I did this . . .” A look of self-disgust crossed her delicate features. “Oh, my God. My brother will never let me live this down. Only I would drive all this way to the wrong ranch.”

She paused and her eyes widened. “The wrong ranch.” Repeating the words slowly with new emphasis. She retightened the top of her towel with hands that shook a little. “I should get dressed.”

Even though the towel concealed more than shorts and a tank top would have, picturing what lay beneath was torturing him. He’d managed to clear his head of images of her writhing with pleasure beneath him, but they were clamoring to return. It was time to make a hasty exit while he still had the mind to. Mustering a nod, he stepped outside and closed the door behind him.

Too soon, she was with him again. No makeup. No shoes. Just wearing a simple flowered sleeveless blouse and a pair of tan shorts, whose midthigh length were likely considered modest. And it still drove him damn near crazy. He wanted to run a hand up one of her long legs, to test if they were, in truth, as soft as they appeared.

She rushed by him and disappeared into the living room. He followed, aroused but trying to remain irritated by the presence of this stranger in his home.

She has to go.

“I really am sorry about this,” she burst out with her rapid-fire Northern accent. “You probably think I’m crazy. I guess I am.” She paced back and forth in front of him, a barefoot beauty. “I knew I should have bought a map.” She waved her cell phone in the air. “It worked the rest of the way down here, but not when it really mattered.”

Leaning against the doorjamb, he felt the stirring of something even more worrisome than lust. A tickle of adrenaline licked through his veins as his high-energy intruder came to a stop in front of him. It had been years since anything had made his heart race and his breath catch in his throat. Something about this woman pulled at a part of him he’d long considered dead.

Oblivious to how close he was to hauling her to him and tasting those tempting, pursed lips, Sarah said, “I’ll get my stuff and be out of here before I cause any trouble.”

“Trouble?” Dammit, now why didn’t I simply agree?

She turned away, bent, and gave him a delightful view of her never-ending legs as her shorts rose up. She didn’t seem to notice, just kept rummaging through her luggage. “With your girlfriend or wife or whatever.”

“No trouble,” he drawled. Crazy must be catching, because he was having difficulty reconciling what he knew he should say with the damn fool things coming out of his mouth.

“There they are,” she exclaimed happily and pulled out the most impractical pair of boots he’d ever seen: knee-high, polished leather, with ridiculously spindly heels and some sort of strap across the top. She held them up next to one leg. “I bought these special for this trip. Do they match?”

Who the hell cares? No man would ever ask her to take them off. No, those were the kind that stayed on all night.

She sat on the couch as she pulled them on. Her big brown eyes studied him intensely. He’d bought horses with less of a perusal than she was giving him. He wished he had taken the time to shave that morning. His plaid shirt was covered with dust and sweat from working in the hot afternoon. The old jeans he’d thrown on without a second thought that morning were layered with grass stains. Not much to look at.

“Could I bother you for one more thing?” Her voice was huskier than before. “May I use your phone?” She held up her cell phone. “This thing is useless here and my friends must be worried by now. They expected me hours ago.”

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