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Authors: Sandy Sullivan

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Cowboy Love

BOOK: Cowboy Love
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Cowboy Love

Amy Russell has sworn off men, but then she runs into Tanner Lewis. His muscular chest, soft brown eyes and drop dead gorgeous, sexy dimpled smile make her rethink her decision. Can she learn to trust again, especially a cowboy, after her ex broke her heart? Will she let Tanner penetrate the shell around her heart?

Tanner's been burned. Yeah, he was in love once, until he caught his fiancée in bed with his best friend. Now all he wants is to get his singing career on the right path. Just when he thinks things are going perfectly, he runs smack into Amy Russell, horse tamer extraordinaire and registered nurse. As he watches her take a difficult horse and turn it into a docile pussycat with nothing more than soft words and a kind touch, he's fascinated, but Amy doesn't want a relationship. Can he convince her there's nothing better than a cowboy's love?

Genre:
Contemporary/Western/Cowboys
Length:
80,445 words

COWBOY LOVE

Sandy Sullivan

EROTIC ROMANCE

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK

IMPRINT: Erotic Romance

COWBOY LOVE

Copyright © 2009 by Sandy Sullivan

E-book ISBN: 1-60601-557-5

First E-book Publication: September 2009

Cover design by Jinger Heaston

All cover art and logo copyright © 2009 by Siren Publishing, Inc.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

PUBLISHER

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

DEDICATION

To my husband Shaun - Your support has been invaluable. You are my own Cowboy Love.

To Cathy Gehret – We did it girl! Thank you for everything.

COWBOY LOVE

SANDY SULLIVAN

Copyright © 2009

Chapter 1

The orange glow of the morning sun streamed over the hillside, infusing color over the pale blue above her head. The cool air lifted the tendrils of her hair, brushing the ends across her cheek in a caress, while the heat of the sun warmed her skin.

The heady scent of the roses budding along the fence filled her nose with their sweet perfume. Her muscles began to relax in the familiar surroundings of a working ranch. Growing up riding, roping, handling horses and cattle alike made this feel like home, but the noises coming from nearby drew her to find out what was happening on the other side of the bushes.

"Damn it!"

Amy cocked her head to listen, but only the jingle of spurs met her ears. The familiarity of the sound made her heart skip a beat. Frown lines settled between her eyes as she tried to figure out where the noise came from. When curiosity got the better of her, she pushed open the small gate, letting it click behind her.

Coffee cup in hand, Amy moved through a small walkway obviously used many times over the years until she could clearly see a round pen a short distance away. The structure caught her attention the night before as they had driven by the neighbors' house on their way to Chris' parents' ranch, only now it had an occupant.

As she moved closer, she saw a noticeably angry cowboy lying in the dirt as the brown and white mare stood over him, shifting uncertainly. The young man's black Stetson lay a good distance, where it apparently landed when he got unceremoniously dumped in the center of the corral.

While she watched, the cowboy jumped to his feet, a stream of expletives coming from his mouth as he stomped to the railing at the side of the pen, oblivious to his audience.

Amy smiled into her cup, amused at the cowboy's predicament. Able to sympathize, she had the insane urge to rub her hip, remembering her own butt in the dirt more times than she cared to admit. She took a sip from the cup of hot liquid warming her hands and the heat spread through her as it slid down, settling in her belly.

When she raised her eyes, her gaze found the cowboy again across the expanse of the pen and her breath caught as goose bumps rose along her arms. The upper body revealed to her stare as he stripped off his t-shirt was perfect, with the right amount of dark curls spattered along the sculpted lines. His well-muscled body, tanned from many hours in the hot Texas sun, greeted her as she stared, tracing the line of hair to the waistband of his jeans. His washboard abs rippled when he moved and she licked her parched lips as he tossed his shirt over the railing. A single droplet of sweat cut a path from near his ear, along his torso, stopping to rest on the end of his male nipple for a moment, before dropping off into the dust at his feet. The insane urge to follow the line of salty liquid down his body with her tongue zinged through her, wetting the piece of silk between her thighs. She shivered at the thought. His almost black locks curled a little at the ends where it touched the back of his neck and a two days' growth of whiskers gave him a scruffy appearance.
Whisker burn? Interesting.

Completely unaware of being observed, the cowboy stomped toward the horse, his frustration evident by his stride. He grabbed the reins of the reluctant animal, swung back into the saddle and jammed his boots into the stirrups, just as the mare started to sidestep.

And the ride was on.

Unconsciously, her feet carried her closer to the pen until she stood at the rail and watched in silence. The reins gripped tight in his fist, he hung on as the horse whirled and kicked, trying desperately to dislodge the rider on her back. A few short minutes later—
thump
, in the dirt he went again as his curse ripped through the air.

"Son of a—"

Once he realized he had an audience, dark brown eyes fixed on her as he pulled himself up from the ground and the air snapped and crackled like an approaching thunderstorm. He stared for a moment before picking up the rawhide and leading the horse toward her, a questioning raise of his eyebrow and a slight smile gracing his lips.

She met his stare, her heart pounding in her chest like a jackhammer on overdrive, as his long stride brought him closer, until he stood at the railing.

Taking a deep breath, she stepped between the split rail fence and greeted him as he reached her side.

"Mind if I try?"

Without waiting for an answer, she handed him her coffee cup, ignoring his glance as she took the rawhide from his hand. The brush of her fingertips against his sent ripples of heat shooting up her arm and their eyes met for a split second before she turned away. She gathered up the piece of leather and walked the skittish mare several feet even as his gaze rested on her. The unspoken challenge hung in the air. She 'had a gift' as her dad called it, and helping this handsome cowboy just felt right.

While Amy stroked the mare's nose, rubbing along her neck, talking quietly, and whispering sweet words of encouragement, the horse began to calm under her hands. The animal stood utterly still as Amy talked and touched, flicking her ears with each word she spoke.

The world stopped spinning as Amy worked, calming the mare, encouraging her and touching her. The soft hair across her palm soothed her own soul and calmed the skittish mare.

When Amy reached for the reins and moved them over the horse's neck, the cowboy took a step in her direction, but her raised palm stopped him, not wanting him near as she stepped into the stirrups. A very real possibility existed the animal would buck, throwing her in the dirt, too.

The reins in her hand, Amy slid her foot into the stirrup, pulled herself up and swung her leg over the saddle, settling firmly on the seat. She let the mare get used to her weight before she attempted any movement. Amy started from the beginning, only wanting the animal to allow to her sit and possible walk without getting thrown.

The mare turned to peer at the rider on her back. Her big doe eyes shone bright with trust, but looked at Amy like she was trying to figure out how the rider got up there. Amy whispered to her, stroked her neck and shifted in the saddle.

The cowboy’s shirt back in place helped her remain focused, but she found the penetrating hot stare of the brown eyes across the corral intoxicating. She did her best to ignore him even as her nipples hardened into little nubs and her pussy throbbed. The sight of those finely sculpted muscles and plains of his chest, forced the ache between her legs to intensify with a need for something that hadn't been satisfied in a while.

I wonder what licking would do.

Shaking her head, she pulled her thoughts back to the mare. She squeezed with her knees and clicked her tongue, urging the skittish animal forward. The mare took several uncertain steps as Amy encouraged her with soft words and a stroke to her neck.

She walked the horse around the corral, surprised when the animal appeared to be amazingly attentive and cooperative, making it much easier. Deciding to test her abilities a little, Amy nudged her with her knees and clicked her tongue, hoping the mare would canter. Breaking into a slow gallop around the pen, Amy could see the astonished impression from the side of the arena out of the corner of her eye.

After riding the span of the pen several times, she pulled her back to a slow walk and rode in the direction of the young man. Dismounting, she tugged the reins loose from the mare's neck, walked the few feet to his side, and handed him the reins.

"A gentle hand and soft words win the woman's heart."

She smiled at the cowboy's stunned expression as she made her way between the railings and headed back the way she had come.

Just as she reached the fence connecting the two houses, the low timbre of his voice met her ears. "Wait! What's your name?"

Looking over her shoulder, she gave him a secretive smile, a small shake of her head and a sexy wink, before moving through the gate and disappearing.

She reached the back door of her friend's parents' house with a smile on her lips.
That was fun.

Stepping through the doorway, she saw Chris sipping her coffee at the kitchen table.

"Where have you been?"

"Just checking out your parents' property." She poured herself another cup before she sat down, stirring the contents before bringing it to her lips.

"Find anything interesting?"

"Um…you might say that." She allowed a small smile to flitter across her mouth prior to changing the subject. "So what are we going to do today?"

"Well, I thought we could go shopping at the mall in town this afternoon, get dinner at The Grill and then hit Pete's tonight."

"Pete's?"

"Yeah, it's one of the local cowboy bars. Nice place, good dance floor and most important, strong drinks."

"Sounds fun."

Chris gave her a curious glance as she said, "You aren't one for bars, Am."

"We're here to unwind and relax, right? It sounds a perfect place to start." She shrugged, dismissing Chris' observation. "I want to drink, dance and have a good time. If there are plenty of men and a dance floor, I'm happy."

"Well then, we're set, I guess. Let me get dressed and we'll hit the mall. Buying new clothes always puts me in a better mood, anyway." Chris stood and moved to the sink, setting her cup inside before she went down the hall toward her room.

"Would you like something to eat?"

"Oh, no thank you. Coffee will be fine. I'm not much of a breakfast eater, anyway."

"You were gone quite a while. Did you enjoy your jaunt around the ranch? It is nice and relaxing here. I'm sure you'll forget all about the sleezeball." Catherine's a-matter-of fact tone made Amy smile.

With Catherine's statement, Amy's thoughts drifted back to their arrival at the house the night before, and the words of wisdom concerning her relationship in the company of Jack Miller.

* * * *

The porch light flipped on as the two women walked toward the front entrance. Amy smiled, as they stepped up and Chris' mom peered out at them.

"Hello." Amy reached for the screen.

"You must be Amy." The gray-haired woman on the other side flipped the latch.

"Yes, ma'am."

"I'm glad you're here." Chris' mom wrapped her in a warm hug.

"Me, too." Amy hugged the woman in return.

Chris did the introductions as the two women pulled apart. "Mom, this is Amy. Amy, this is my mom, Catherine."

"It's so nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you."

"It is nice to meet you, too. Chris has told me so much about you over the years. I feel I already know you." Amy groaned. "It's all right. She hasn't told me anything bad, but she did tell me about these men you keep hanging around. I must say, you need to find you a decent man."

"Lord, Chris, did you have to tell her my mistakes concerning my love life?" Amy rolled her eyes, folding her arms under her breasts.

"Of course! She's been giving me advice to give to you!"

"Did you tell that no-good bull-rider to buzz off?" The three women walked into the living room and sat down on the couch.

Amy sighed. "Yes ma'am."

"Trust me, sweetheart, you did the right thing then." Catherine patted her hand in comfort.

"I know."

"A pleasant weekend here in the promised land will do you good, girl. Kick back, relax and enjoy your days. Who knows, you might meet some polite, home-grown cowboy and want to settle down right here."

Amy laughed. "The last thing I need is another cowboy."

As the conversation from the night before faded from her mind, she noticed Catherine’s sly look across the table.

"Um, yes. It was…interesting." Amy tried to hide her smile by taking a sip out of her cup.

"I'm glad. Handsome young man, isn't he?" Catherine said as she stood and headed for the doorway. Giving Amy a quick wink, she disappeared down the hall as Amy sat in stunned silence, the words flittering across her mind. How had Catherine known? Had she seen her next door? Amy wasn't sure, but she loved Chris' mom already. Catherine had to think highly of the gorgeous cowboy otherwise, she assumed Chris' mom would have warned her to stay away from him.

"Ready?" Chris walked into the kitchen a few minutes later, dressed and all set to start their adventure.

"Yep, let's go." Amy returned her cup to the counter and grabbed her purse sitting on the couch as they headed for the door.

Disappointment clouded her mind for a moment when they drove past the round pen, now sitting empty and still. Another glimpse and or an introduction would have completed her morning. She shrugged as she thought,
oh well.

For the rest of the day, the two women shopped, hitting several different stores. Amy found a number of things at one of the local western places, while Chris bought a few things elsewhere. Chris liked to shop at more of the modern locations, preferring the classy style to Amy's comfortable jeans, tank tops and boots.

Numerous times during their shopping spree, the temptation to ask Chris about the cowboy flittered over her mind, but she resisted. Asking would only give Chris the idea she had an interest beyond mere curiosity and she didn't, did she?

Standing in a dressing room in front of a long mirror, turning this way and that as she scoped out the little black dress hugging her curves, her thoughts persisted.
I have to admit, he is down right gorgeous.
The expression on his face when she returned the reins to him, made a wistful smile cross her lips, getting bigger as she pictured their encounter again. She almost laughed at the surprise written on his face. That was the normal reaction from anyone who had never seen her work a horse before.

Her teenage years were spent learning the trade from her dad, and he taught her everything he knew. The ability to break a mare or gelding to rider with little more than a soft voice and a kind hand came naturally.

"Well, what does it look like, Am?"

She came back to the present as she heard Chris call from outside the dressing room. Sighing in resignation, she opened the door and stepped out.

BOOK: Cowboy Love
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