Read All Hat No Cattle: A Red Hot and BOOM! Story Online

Authors: Randi Alexander

Tags: #rodeo, #holiday romance, #cowboy romance, #4th of july romance, #independence day romance, #red hot and boom, #black hills roundup

All Hat No Cattle: A Red Hot and BOOM! Story (8 page)

BOOK: All Hat No Cattle: A Red Hot and BOOM! Story
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“You’re really, really good, Shaw.” She bit
his chest softly, then licked and kissed the spot.

His shaft instantly sprang to life. “You’re
amazing, Harper.” He took a breath and wondered how much to reveal.
His heart told him to go for it, but his brain made him take it
slow. “I want to stay the night, if that’s okay.”

Lifting her head, she cupped his cheek. “Stay
the night. Remember, I owe you breakfast.” She frowned. “And an
explanation of why I changed my mind.”

He would rather just sink into another round
of sex, but she looked like she had something she wanted him to
know. It probably wasn’t good. “Talk to me, Harper. Tell me what’s
going on.”

She propped her head up on a bent elbow. “I
made myself a promise when I broke up with my last boyfriend. I was
going to hold out for a man who has the same dreams and goals as I
do.”

Dreams and goals. He had those. Big ones,
too.

Running a finger in patterns over his chest,
she took a deep breath. “I told you about my goals.” She shrugged.
“I guess my main goal was just to get out of the city...” She
glanced into his eyes, then down at his chest again.

He couldn’t breathe. She’d said she wanted to
run a ranch. Why was she hesitating? “You told me you’d like a
piece of land. You want to raise cattle? Horses? Grow your own
feed?”

She looked at him, her mouth turning down in
a frown. “Those plans don’t seem as important now. I know you’re a
roughneck, and that’s why I wanted to be just friends. But now that
I’ve gotten to know you, I really don’t care what you do for a
living because I...I really like you.”

This was like winning the lottery.
“Harper.”

She pressed her finger to his lips then
trailed it down his chin. “Wait. Let me say this.” Resting her head
on his shoulder, she sighed. “I told you about my grandparents farm
in Wyoming. How I’d spend summers there.”

“Uh huh.”

She softly stroked his chest hair. “Those
summers were the best days of my life. When they sold the ranch, it
felt like a piece of my heart was ripped from me.” Her voice grew
so quiet, he had to turn his head to hear.

Sitting up, she faced him square on. “I do
like you, and I don’t need an answer right now, but if we make this
work, if we find ourselves going the distance, I’d like to know if
there was any chance you’d want to live that kind of life.” She
swallowed. “Or not.”

His heart double-pumped and his mind raced.
How could he have found someone so perfect for him in personality,
in bed, and in her vision for the future? It was almost as if fate
had a hand in their meeting.

“But Shaw, if you are dead set against it,
and want to work in the oil field, that’s fine. We’ll make that
work, too.”

He couldn’t hold back his grin. She’d give up
her goals for him? What kind of miracle was this? “Hang on.” He
couldn’t keep it from her any longer. Tossing back the covers, he
went to dig his phone out of his jeans.

Her eyes were wide and she looked
confused.

He jumped onto the bed and laid a big, loud
kiss on her lips before a laugh escaped his chest. “I think you’re
gonna like this.” He found his photos and enlarged the one of his
quaint old farmhouse. He tipped his camera toward her. “This is the
Double M Ranch.”

She looked at the phone, then back at him.
“This is, what?”

“Mine. My ranch, Harper. I inherited it from
my uncle.”

Her face paled and she stopped breathing.
“But you said...”

“I’m working the oil field until I have
enough money to buy new implements and a few hundred head of
cattle.” He scrolled to the next picture. “It’s in Lemmon, just up
by the North Dakota border.”

Moisture shone in the corners of her eyes.
“Really?” She looked back and forth between him and his camera.

“It’ll be a while, maybe another six months
or so before I’m ready to get the ranch running.” He took her hand.
“Right now, I got the hat, but no cattle.”

She huffed out a breath. “This is such a
shock.”

“Yeah.” He tugged her toward him, wanting her
lying in his arms. “Isn’t this amazing?”

Harper pulled back. “No. It’s not amazing.”
She scooted toward the edge of the bed as wrinkles formed between
her brows. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

Ah, shit. He hadn’t counted on her being
angry. “Probably because I’m a big, dumb roughneck, and I didn’t
think this through to the end.” He reached for her.

She slid off the bed, looking at him with
pain in her eyes. “You were testing me? Is that what this was?” She
reached for her shirt.

“Hold on a minute.” He rolled to the edge of
the bed and sat, his feet on the floor. “At first, I was going to
tell you right away, but then I thought about it, and I wanted to
give us a chance to get to know each other as people first. Not
possible candidates for ranch co-owners.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You knew exactly who I
was.” She pointed to her sternum. “A woman looking for someone who
had what you had.” She jabbed that same finger into his chest. “But
I wasn’t given the full picture, Shaw. You lied to me.”

He lifted his hands then dropped them to the
bed. “Hell, when you put it that way, yeah, I guess it was a damn
stupid thing to do.” He shook his head. “It seemed like a good idea
at the time.”

Puffing out a loud breath, she pulled on her
pants.

How was he going to make this right? He could
beg forgiveness, act like the big idiot she thought he was. Or he
could use his brain for a change and convince her he hadn’t done it
to hurt her.

“Harper, listen.”

She turned to him, crossing her arms. Her
lips pressed tight together.

“Put yourself in my position. What if some
cowboy came up to you and said, ‘I’m looking for a woman who works
for a major beverage distributor’.”

She cocked a brow at him. “As if that would
ever happen.”

“Hypothetically.” He held up a hand. “If I’d
said that to you after we’d spent time together and knew there was
the start of something good between us, what would you have
done?”

Her gaze didn’t shift from his. Was she
following his logic? “That’s how you rationalize it?”

“I’m not rationalizing. I simply wanted to
give us time to know each other, give you a chance to see that I’m
a guy you could fall for one day.” He shook his head. “If I’d told
you I owned a ranch, you would have been focused on that, instead
of on who I really am.” His voice rose in volume. For some reason,
her stubbornness was riling him up. He stood, his hands fisting at
his sides. He looked down at her. “I’m not just a man with a ranch,
Harper.”

“Don’t you get mad at me when I’m mad at
you.” She jammed her fists on her hips, her eyes sparking.

They stared at each other for a few
seconds.

“What kind of argument is that?” He relaxed
his hands.

The corner of her mouth twitched. “I don’t
know.” She tipped her head. “I guess I can see your point. About
clouding my perception of you with the fact that you already own
something I’ve been dreaming of most of my life.”

He glanced down, just realizing he was
completely naked. Fitting, since he felt like he was baring his
soul to her. “Forgive me for going about this in a way that
offended you.” He set his hands on her arms. “And I’ll count on you
to keep me from making stupid mistakes like this from now on.
Okay?”

“From now on.” She set her palms on his bare
chest. “That sounds so nice.” She turned away. “But I need to think
about this, Shaw. Let me have some time to process this before I
decide either way.”

Shit. He’d really fucked up. “Okay. I
understand.” He grabbed his clothes and dressed quickly, tugging
his hat on. “Do you want my phone number? You can call me any
time—”

“No.” She wouldn’t look at him. “I’ll see you
at the rodeo tomorrow night.”

He hated to leave it this way. He strolled to
the door. “Harper. Give me another chance. I didn’t mean to play
games. I just...I like you a lot.”

Opening the door, he waited a second, then
stepped out into the hall. The door closed behind him with a
finality that made him sick to his stomach.

****

Harper watched Shaw leave her hotel room.
Biting her lips to keep from calling him back, she fought a wave of
tears. This was not how it should have turned out.

In her daydreams, he would be honored that
she was willing to give up her goals for him. But he’d promise to
consider ranching because it was something she loved.

Flopping onto the bed, she looked up at the
ceiling. Now, she felt almost betrayed. Lied to. Put under a
microscope and examined.

His rationalization that she would have done
the same thing...

“Crap.” She probably
would have
done
the same thing. If she owned property, and some guy told her he
couldn’t date her because she wasn’t a land owner...

“Yes, damn it.” She closed her eyes. “I would
have taken some time, gotten to know the guy, see if he liked me
for me, or for my ranch.”

Just like Shaw did.

And she’d kicked him out of her life.
“Stupid, Harper.” She sat up, a burst of panic tightening her
muscles. Would he even talk to her, now? Was he through with the
crazy, overreacting woman?

She had to catch him. He’d be walking back to
his hotel, or meeting the guys somewhere... Grabbing her purse, she
ran toward the door, stopping to slide her feet into sandals.
Yanking open the door, she dug in her purse for her car keys and
ran—

She tripped over something big, her purse
going one way, her keys another, and her body sailing toward a hard
fall.

Strong arms grasped her, pulling her against
a hard chest.

“Shaw?” He’d been sitting in the hallway
outside her door. She looked up into his sexy eyes.

“Harper?” His grin crooked up one side of his
face. “What’re you doing running through the halls at this time of
night?” He eased her up until she sat on his lap.

She caught her breath. “I was looking for the
man I was dumb enough to let walk away from me.”

“Oh yeah? Anybody I know?” His hands cupped
her cheeks and he pressed his lips to hers, softly, just for a
second.

“Yep. And he’s someone I want to know a whole
lot better.” Setting her palms on his hands, she blinked back
moisture. “Forgive me, Shaw. You were right to do what you
did.”

He shook his head with a sigh. “I don’t know
that I was right, but at the time, it seemed the wise thing to do.”
His gaze ranged over her face. “Now that I know you, I can see it
wasn’t.”

“Would it help if I said I probably would
have done the same thing?” She kissed each of his hands.

He released her face and stood up, helping
her to her feet. “It’s a bit of a relief, but I learned a good
lesson from it.”

She picked up her purse as he grabbed her
keys from the floor. “Did you?”

“Yeah.” He tugged her close, brushing his
lips over hers. “When it feels like the start of something really
good, don’t hold back.”

“You’re a wise man, Shaw Donahue.” She fisted
her hands in his shirt. “And I’m not going to let you go.”

“Hold on, Red. You and me, we’re going to
have one hell of a ride.”

####

Connect With Me

When I attended the Black Hills Roundup at
the invitation of a friend, I had no idea how much I’d fall in love
with the town, the rodeo, and everyone I met there. Shaw and
Harper’s story was fun to write, and I’m excited to bring you Pete,
Huck, and Dax’s stories in future Red Hot collections.

I'd love to hear from you. I've listed all
the places I hang out, and I hope you'll connect with me at one or
more of them.

All my best,

Randi

"Rode Hard and Put Up Satisfied"

RandiAlexander.com

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About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Randi
Alexander, is an adventurous spirit with a naughty imagination.
Prepare yourself to be rode hard and put up satisfied on the sexier
side of happily ever-after!
http://randialexander.com/

Other Books by Randi Alexander

Redneck Romeo: Red Hot Valentine
- When Genevieve Riley
sneaks onto the O’Bannon Ranch to return a stolen heirloom, the boy
she’d fallen in love with as a teenager, Nick O’Bannon, catches her
before she can slip away. The problem is, he’s now a big, rugged
cowboy, and those feelings from a decade ago resurface. She can’t
concentrate on anything but picking up where they left off.

Nick can’t believe what his dogs cornered.
Beautiful ‘Jellybean’ Riley, all grown up and sexier than sin. He
never knew what tore her from his life when they were teens, just
as their relationship was starting. With the heat radiating between
them, he knows he can seduce her, but can he make her stay this
time?

Double Her
Fantasy
- At a comic book convention, artist Megan Shore
is amazed to find action movie hunk Garret McGatlin sharing the
same elevator. Usually reclusive, she jumps on the rare opportunity
and flirts shamelessly with the man who has starred in more than
one of her sexy fantasies. He responds strong and seductive, and
she agrees to meet him for a drink—in his suite. When she arrives,
it's his rancher brother, Trey, who opens the door and unleashes
Megan's cowboy fantasy. Both men pour on the charm, and she's
uncertain which of them she desires more.

The McGatlin brothers have shared many women,
but Megan is an irresistible combination of brains, beauty, humor,
and sensuality. They want her, need both of their cocks sliding
deep inside her. Working together, they execute a potent seduction.
When one hot night turns into an amazing week, the three-way
relationship becomes emotionally charged. But some bad publicity
sends a terrified Megan running, and Garret and Trey have to devise
a way to make the headlines disappear. Can they pull off the
impossible, or will they lose Megan forever?

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