Arson, murder, an escaped convict and a scorned ex-lover complicate the lives of a rancher's daughter and the cowboy determined to protect her.
Barnes and Noble
Artist Lacey Owens comes home to her father’s ranch for a long over due visit, and a little R and R. She's not prepared for becoming the means for revenge against him by an old enemy he helped send to prison. Getting involved with her father’s ranch foreman and partner Chase Saunders isn’t in her plans either. But as unexplained incidences occur and Lacey’s life becomes threatened, fate throws her and Chase together when he makes it his mission to protect her. Her independent nature rebels against his arrogant high handed methods and tempers ignite, but it soon becomes apparent their animosity is only a ruse for the intense sexual longing stirring in their blood.
"I want to talk to you."
"Really? And here I thought you stopped to kiss me." What was she saying? Baiting a man like Chase was dangerous.
There was a long pause. Something flickered in Chase’s eyes. His expression gave nothing away, though. Lacey began to feel nervous again, though for a different reason than the one back at the house.
"The cowboy way, ma’am?" His tone was soft, dangerous, carrying the subtle threat of an unspoken promise.
Lacey swallowed nervously. The cowboy way? That was twice he’d used that expression. She wondered what it meant. An explosion of heat uncurled inside her belly, as her imagination ran rampant. Of the two of them locked in a hot, passionate embrace. No longer was Chase’s mouth firm and unyielding, but soft and sensuous. His eyes darkened with smoldering intent. Yet instincts warned Lacey that Chase was just as dangerous now as he had been a moment ago, in anger. She tried to jerk the reins from his hands, suddenly afraid she was about to find out what the cowboy way was.
"Let go." Misty moved nervously beneath her, obviously sensing her growing panic.
In the blink of an eye his expression changed. "Not until you listen to what I have to say."
"You can’t bully me, Chase." The wind blew at her loose hair, and she reached up impatiently to wipe it out of her eyes. "I won’t let you."
He reared back his head and laughed at her comment. "And how do you propose to stop me? I could do anything I want to you right now and you wouldn’t be able to stop me."
Lacey tightened her lips in frustration, even while the thought of what that something could be caused a tingle of excitement to zing through her. As his hard mouth curved upwards in a crooked smile that was sexy as sin, she wished she could wipe that arrogant expression off his rugged face. He was so sure of himself. The look in his eyes told her to go ahead and try. Well, she’d taken self defense lessons a few years back and wasn’t as helpless as he thought.
"Then maybe you should have warned me about you, this morning!" She jerked on the reins again, harder this time. When he wouldn’t release them Lacey reached out and slapped him across the cheek. She caught her breath, realizing a man like Chase might strike back. He didn’t look the type to turn the other cheek, or ignore a challenge. Their eyes clashed in silent battle.
Then without warning he reached forward and pulled her from her horse and into his arms. His gaze dropped to her mouth before returning to her eyes. "I think you need to be taught a lesson."
"Yes!" He hissed. He crushed her to him and slammed his mouth down on hers, locking any protest deep in her throat. Lacey struggled but it didn’t seem to matter to Chase. He over powered her easily, while managing to control his stallion’s nervous movements with ease and expertise. Lacey brought her hands up and pushed against his massive, rock hard chest. But it was like trying to move a mountain. She whimpered beneath his attack, becoming aware of things she didn’t want to notice.
She began to slip towards the ground and ceased her movements, bringing her arms up to cling to Chase’s neck. It brought Lacey closer to him. He growled, forcing her mouth open until he could slip his tongue inside. Unwillingly, she began to melt under his rough kiss, returning the thrust of his tongue against hers. A sharp need of desire uncurled inside her belly, turning her blood hot. She was afraid of not being strong enough to deny him if he should seek more than a kiss.
Lacey had never been handled so ruthlessly by any man before, no one had dared. And while she balked at his arrogance, she couldn’t deny the feelings he roused. The thrill of his mouth on hers, the feel of his whiskers against her tender skin and the taste of something sweet on his breath heightened her arousal. Her nostrils flared, greedily taking in the masculine scent of sweat, leather and horse.
Most of all his arousal.
Lacey’s breasts swelled against his chest, her nipples hardened into painful knots. When his hands traveled down her arms he left a trail of tingles behind. But when his hand closed over her breast, Lacey knew real desire, and fear. For her betraying flesh swelled even more into his caress. She shivered violently and moaned as his thumb flicked across her nipple, and arched her back before she realized what she was doing.
Without warning Chase broke away, promptly ending the sizzling moment between them. Lacey’s lungs screamed for air, and it gave her little pleasure to see Chase was just as out of breath. His expression frightened her a little. Dark like polished stone, his eyes were glazed over with heated passion, his nostrils flaring like a wild animal. Lacey could feel his heart beating in rhythm with her own.
She tried to turn away from his all too seeing eyes but there was nowhere to go. His horse moved beneath them, but Chase kept him under control with the steady pressure of his solid thighs and knees. Realizing her arms were still locked around his neck, Lacey slowly broke her hold and lowered them, humiliated and angry.
"You’re a bastard," she said softly, taking a deep breath and trembling with her emotions.
"You asked for it," Chase rasped indifferently, his breathing almost under control again. His smoldering look went over Lacey’s hot face, a satisfied gleam with what he saw filling his eyes.