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Authors: Brandi Michaels

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A Cowboy's Charm

BOOK: A Cowboy's Charm
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An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

www.ellorascave.com

A Cowboy’s Charm

ISBN 9781419916427

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

A Cowboy’s Charm Copyright © 2008 Brandi Michaels

Edited by Ann Leveille.

Photography and cover art by Les Byerley.

Electronic book Publication June 2008

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/)

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

A Cowboy’s Charm

Brandi Michaels

Trademarks Acknowledgment

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Stetson: John B. Stetson Company

Chapter One

Callie Menger’s first sight of the tall, sun-bronzed cowboy wielding a sledgehammer made her heart skitter to a halt and then race out of control. He was dressed in a Stetson, boots and faded jeans that molded his slim hips, tight rear end and long, long legs. His back was to her, a broad back that was gloriously bare and smooth. Muscles, corded and well-defined, rippled in his arms and shoulders as he swung the heavy hammer.

More than a ripple of awareness shot through Callie. A veritable avalanche of emotions engulfed her. Every cell in her body reacted to the sight of Rylan Masterson, her Aunt Molly’s stepson but no blood relation of hers. It had been four years since she’d seen him. She’d never forget the last time they were together. He’d been passionate and insatiable one minute, terse and aloof the next minute, and then totally furious with her.

His sheer male beauty stole her breath and made her pulse hammer erratically. She’d thought the years of separation might dull her acute physical responses to him but she’d been wrong. He wasn’t the sort of man a woman easily dismissed from her mind, heart or dreams—even if he’d made it clear she shouldn’t entertain any hopes for a future together.

To her somewhat biased eyes, he was one of the most perfect specimens of man she’d ever known. He had a body to die for. Just the sight of him generated the most primitive response within her, making her happy not to have immediately drawn his attention. She needed a little time to control her riotous emotions and unsettling physical reactions.

She’d missed him. The knowledge of just how much slammed into her. For the past few years she’d deliberately become too involved with college and plans for her future to visit the Masterson ranch. She hadn’t wanted to see or even think about Rylan. Or maybe she’d just protected her sanity by limiting wayward thoughts of him.

By the time he sensed her presence and turned she was within a few feet of the fence he was repairing. His hat shielded his eyes from her but she knew they were the same tawny gold as his hair. What she could see of his face, the hard, prominent jawbones, solid chin and full, firm mouth were enough to send her heart rate into overdrive. It took her a few long minutes to catch her breath.

“Where the hell did you come from?” he asked, glancing toward the highway. There was no sign of a vehicle.

The deep baritone kicked Callie’s pulse into a higher gear. There was no warmth or welcome in the sharpness of his tone so she had to assume he wasn’t pleased to see her.

“Nice to see you too, Masterson.” She masked her uncertainty with an attempt at humor. “If that’s your usual greeting for weary guests, you’re never going to win any congeniality contests.”

When there was absolutely no change in his tight expression her lungs constricted painfully and she tried to fortify her defenses with flippancy.

“A friend of mine was flying his 747 to the coast and I decided to bail out over Wyoming.”

Rylan still didn’t respond, just glanced at the road behind her. She assumed by his silence that even after all this time he wasn’t ready to bury the hatchet. He was too proud and too stubborn to forgive her.

She spouted nonsense to cover her nervousness. “If you’re looking for my parachute, I dumped it a ways back.”

He didn’t bat an eye or crack a smile. The attempt at humor failed miserably, making her feel even more foolish.

“I thought your degree was in education, not comedy,” he countered roughly. “Are you alone?”

“Yes.”

“Where’s your car?”

“On the main highway.”

“How far back?”

The question was so sharp it had her snapping back at him. “I don’t know. I don’t have a built-in odometer.” All she knew for sure was that she’d been walking in the dust and heat for way too long. She was hot, sweaty and growing more irritable by the minute. “I suppose it was three or four miles.”

She wasn’t exactly dressed for hiking, Rylan thought grimly. She looked more like the centerfold of a girlie magazine. Her very short shorts left an expanse of long, shapely legs. Her sleeveless white blouse was knotted under her breasts, emphasizing their lush fullness. Sweat made the fabric transparent, outlining her bra and then accentuating the rounded curves. As he studied her, he watched her nipples tighten into dark buds. The sight had his cock stirring in eagerness.

“I hope nobody saw you.”

The insolence of his tone and perusal sent Callie’s temper skyrocketing. Propping her hands on her hips, she glared at him. She’d promised herself to stay calm and collected but she’d forgotten how quickly Rylan Masterson could get under her skin.

“And just why do you hope nobody saw me?”

His gaze locked with hers. It was bold enough to steal the breath of the devil. His expression suggested disapproval or possessiveness, she wasn’t sure which, but his explanation was practical.

“Hitchhiking is dangerous, even out here in the country.”

“I was not hitchhiking,” she insisted.

He ignored her response. “Why didn’t you call the house?”

She ground her teeth in frustration. “I tried. Nobody answered.”

Rylan grabbed his shirt off the post, shoved his arms through the sleeves and fastened a couple buttons. Something deep inside Callie went hot and shaky as she watched him. The strength of her response to the simple action heightened her annoyance and warned her to fortify her defenses. She’d only just arrived and she was already feeling too hot and horny.

“What happened to your car?” Rylan asked as he leveled his chilly gaze on her.

“What happened to ‘
Hi, Callie, it’s good to see you? Do you have a problem? Is there anything I can do to help?
’” she grumbled.

He ignored her mocking questions and repeated his. “What happened to your car?”

“Flat tire,” she snapped.

“Why didn’t you change it?”

He knew she could do it. He’d taught her how when he’d taught her to drive the summer she’d turned sixteen. A couple years later he’d taught her all the ways a woman could want a man. She forced that memory to the back of her mind.

“Because I didn’t have a spare.”

“You drove all the way from Pennsylvania without a spare?”

“No, I did not.” It was just like him to jump to conclusions without giving her the benefit of the doubt, Callie fumed. For all he knew she could have run into really serious problems. “I had to put the spare on somewhere in Nebraska.”

“And didn’t take time to have the flat fixed,” he concluded.

“They’re brand-new tires! I shouldn’t have had the first flat, let alone a second.”

“Do you know what size they are?”

What was it about the man that always made her feel immature and ignorant? She’d been dead wrong to believe that four years would make a difference.

“I know what
shape
they are,” she tossed back at him. “Round.”

Tension shimmered between them, as hot and scorching as the midday sun.

“Always the sassmouth,” Rylan muttered, dragging off his hat. He wiped the sweat off his brow with a forearm and then started to replace the hat. A glance at her had him moving closer. Callie’s breath caught as he came within touching distance and unceremoniously plopped his hat on her head.

“What?” she exclaimed, startled by his sudden proximity, the height, breadth, heat and scent of him. For an instant he was close enough to stall her breathing. She swiftly reached both hands up to adjust the brim of the hat, hoping to hide her turbulent reaction to his nearness.

The hat was damp, dusty and too big. She didn’t even consider refusing it. It offered relief from the sun and it shaded her eyes from the piercing intensity of Rylan’s. She didn’t want him to guess at the affect his proximity was having on her.

“Leave it on,” he ordered, raking a hand through the thick, unruly waves of his sweat-damp hair. Callie licked her lips and squashed the urge to touch him.

“Is your car locked?”

“Of course.”

He raked her body with his golden gaze. She felt the flick of fire over every inch of her it touched. She’d left her purse in the car and had her key tucked between her breasts. His gaze settled there, staring intently, but he didn’t ask. More heat suffused her cheeks as her nipples strained against her clothes. Rylan flashed her a knowing glance and then turned his back.

“I’ll take you up to the house and go have a look at it.”

Her attention shot to the Appaloosa gelding tethered to the fence. She recognized Rylan’s faithful equine, Grey Duce. He was a huge horse, easily big enough to carry the two of them. Even though she loved to ride, she wasn’t sure she wanted to ride double. They’d done it in the past but she didn’t need any reminders of one of the most erotic experiences of her life. Her nerves were already jumping with sensual awareness and she didn’t welcome any closer contact.

“I suppose I could walk the rest of the way,” she mumbled, her gaze drifting toward a small, wooded area. The house sat another mile or two beyond it.

Rylan’s response was succinct. “You could.”

His indifference had her heading for the horse. If the thought of intimate body contact didn’t bother him then she wasn’t about to admit any problem with it either. She put a foot in the stirrup and grabbed the saddle horn. Leather creaked as she started the upward swing and then his big hands were cupping her behind, searing her flesh as surely as a branding iron. She quickly jerked from his grasp and pulled her foot from the stirrup.

He mounted behind her and Callie forgot how to breathe. Rylan was a furnace, an inferno of heat and muscle that scorched her everywhere their bodies touched. The feel of him sucked the oxygen from her lungs. Instead of sitting behind the saddle on the horse’s rump he wedged himself inside the saddle with her. The action slammed her pussy tight against the saddle horn. His hard thighs and equally hard erection crushed her from the back. The erotic squeeze swiftly ratcheted her desire to an extreme level.

When he wrapped his hard arms around her to take the reins she almost hyperventilated. Her breasts swelled and she silently prayed he wouldn’t feel the other involuntary reactions of her body. Any hope that the years had tempered the fierce chemistry between them swiftly died. The first contact between their bodies sizzled with electric current. It was alive and undeniable, making her stifle a moan.

With a conscious effort she forced the air in and out of her lungs, hoping Rylan wouldn’t realize how needy the feel of him made her. She sat rigidly in the saddle as he gently nudged Grey Duce into a walk. Every slow, swaying movement of the horse’s gait pressed the saddle horn against her clit and his erection against her backside, rocking and rubbing her into a fever pitch of desire. She clutched the horn with both hands, striving for a calm she didn’t feel.

The low rumble of his voice brushed her ear. “It’s been a long time,” he said, his hot breath and seductive tone sending a shudder through her.

“Yes,” she responded on a hiss of air. She exhaled another rush of breath when he reached up and unfastened the clip holding her hair. The wild tumble of spiraling dark curls fell to her shoulders. Old habits died hard, she realized. He’d always preferred that her unruly mane of hair be loose.

Rylan’s hold tightened, forcing her deeper into his arms until she was pressed tightly against his body and he could feel every curve of her slender form. A quiver of masculine reaction rippled through him and blood rushed to his groin. Her scent brought back a rush of steamy erotic memories. He’d sworn off sex with her years ago. He didn’t need untrustworthy, cheating women in his life but he was a normal male who’d been too long without a woman. She was incredibly hot and passionate, so a little afternoon delight might be right up her alley. He felt her shudder and knew her thoughts mirrored his.

“Feeling a little needy, Menger? All the college boys go home for the summer?” he challenged. “Don’t be shy and waste those years of advanced education. Haven’t you learned how to ask for what you want?”

“I’ve learned that not everything we want is good for us,” she said her breath catching as he ground his cock against her in masculine demand. The action, along with the rocking of the horse, made her pussy throb and weep.

“Ah, but we don’t always do what’s best for us do we, little tramp?”

His words stung while they seduced. He still thought her a cheating whore. The taunt reopened old wounds on her heart. She didn’t know how he could be so insulting yet sound so damn seductive at the same time. She wished she could stir up some indignation but her traitorous body had a mind of its own. It remembered the pleasure of having him buried deep inside her. Her vaginal muscles clenched and unclenched at the memory.

They’d reached the cover of trees and the blessed coolness of the shade. Rylan took her a little deeper into the woods and then brought Grey Duce to a halt. He tossed the reins to the ground, giving the big horse a command to stay put. Next he loosened Callie’s death grip on the saddle horn. Grasping her hands, he pulled them up and back until she locked them behind his neck. The position made her breasts jut forward and left her feeling physically and emotionally exposed.

“It’s been a long time.”

His husky, suggestive tone triggered sensual memories that pulled Callie back in time. To a time when their desire for each other had been insatiable. A time when he’d treated her like a sexual goddess. She knew it was dangerous to remember. She knew that succumbing to his attentions would be playing with fire but the flames licking through her veins were impossible to ignore.

BOOK: A Cowboy's Charm
13.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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