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Authors: N.J. Walter

DebtofHonor

BOOK: DebtofHonor
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Debt of Honor

N.J. Walters

 

“One night in my bed.”

That’s what Derek Montague wants from Kaitlyn Jacobs in
order to pay off the debt her younger brother owes. Now she has a choice to
make.

Derek’s wanted the standoffish Kaitlyn for years. Using her
brother’s debt as an excuse to get closer to her, he gives her one option if
she wants to settle it—spend one night in his bed. He expects her to throw the
offer back in his face but she agrees.

After one long, hot night of loving, Kaitlyn discovers
everything is not what it seems. She’s not sure if Derek has made a fool of her
or if this debt of honor could be something more.

 

A
Romantica®
western erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

Debt of Honor
N.J. Walters

Dedication

 

To my amazing husband!

Chapter One

 

Kaitlyn Jacobs stared at the ripped check sitting in the
middle of the large desktop and then back at the man who’d torn the darn thing
in half. She clutched the pen in her hand so tightly she was half afraid it was
going to crack. It took all her concentration to make herself relax. But then,
Derek Montague always had that effect on her.

He leaned back in his massive leather chair, a big man in
control of his world. He owned one of the largest ranches in West Texas and his
family had made their money from oil, cattle and horses. His empire was diverse
and it took a strong man to handle it all. But Derek did it with ease.

Kaitlyn had been forced to sell most of her family’s land
years ago when her parents had been killed in a car accident. At eighteen,
she’d been ill-equipped to run the place on her own and Daniel had only been
eight, a bewildered, angry child who’d needed her attention. Derek had been
twenty-five then, a man in every sense of the word. He’d bought her land at
fair market value and offered to help her in any way he could. His dark eyes
had pierced her skin and her heart when he’d made the offer. She’d taken the
money for the land but she’d never asked him for anything, not until today.

“Why?” she asked, her voice flat.

“Because your brother is eighteen. He’s a man now, not a
child. It’s time for you to stop bailing him out of the trouble he gets himself
into.” Derek rested his hands on his flat stomach. “Hell, Kaitlyn, you’ve been
pulling him out of scrapes since he was a kid. It’s time to cut the apron
strings and let him grow up before he gets himself into some real trouble.”

“You don’t consider joyriding over your fields and leaving
the gate open so a dozen of your cattle got loose real trouble?”

One corner of Derek’s mouth kicked up. “I did as bad at his
age, but I paid the price and I learned there are consequences for my actions.
He needs to do the same.”

She hated anyone telling her what her brother needed,
especially when she knew they were right. Still, she needed to pay for the
damage to the field and the gate. Thankfully, none of the cattle had been hurt
and had been rounded up easily and returned to their rightful home or the hit
to her checkbook could have been worse.

She knew Daniel was getting out of control. This past year,
the quiet, cooperative brother she’d known had totally disappeared. She was
just glad he was still in school and only had a few weeks until graduation.
That was one hurdle they had to get over before she started trying to prompt
him toward a career of some kind.

“Take the check, Derek.” She started to write another one.

“I don’t want your money.”

She stopped writing and glared at him. “Then what do you
want?”

Something hot and primal flared in his eyes and his face
hardened. “Something you’re not willing to give me.”

“How do you know?” It was foolish to taunt him. Like waving
a red flag at a bull, but she was beyond caution. She’d been cautious her
entire life, or at least since she’d become sole caregiver for an
eight-year-old. For ten years, she’d worked at the local bank, kept her head
down and stayed out of trouble, pushing aside her own dreams to take care of
the only family she had left.

She’d never had regrets until these past few months. Daniel
was slipping away from her and she didn’t know how to stop that from happening.

Anger and frustration pushed her as she shoved her checkbook
and pen back into her purse. “Well, what will it take to cover the debt?”

“One night in my bed.”

Derek stared at the woman facing off against him. She was
full of fire and determination and he wanted her. Hell, he’d wanted her for the
past decade, but she stayed away from him as though he had the plague. The only
thing that made it anywhere near bearable was the fact she treated all men the
same. Oh, she’d had a couple of relationships over the years, but they’d never
lasted long. A lot of men didn’t want to take on a woman who had responsibility
for raising her younger brother.

Right now, his cock was hard as a fencepost and throbbing
like a toothache. If she knew half of what he was thinking she’d run from his
office and never look back. He still couldn’t believe he’d uttered those words
to her.

He should feel like a bastard. Hell, most everyone thought
he was anyway. He liked to think he was tough, but fair. He’d wanted Kaitlyn
for years and wasn’t about to toss aside this opportunity. He’d worry about his
conscience tomorrow.

“Well?” He studied her flushed face. “What’s it going to
be?”

Her fingers were white where they gripped her purse. Even
though she was tense, she was as pretty as a Texas summer day. She was wearing
one of those business suits she wore every day at the bank where she worked.
This one was pale blue and he could just see the hint of lace peeking out
between her lapels. It was driving him crazy wondering what she had underneath
that thin jacket.

Her long brown hair was swept up into some fancy style that seemed
to defy gravity. It left her neck bare and accentuated her face. And she had a
striking face. Not pretty, not beautiful, but striking. High cheekbones and a
strong jaw hinted at the steel beneath the prim exterior. Her eyes were a dark
blue, like the onset of a summer squall. And they were getting darker by the
second.

“You can’t be serious.” If her posture got any straighter he
feared she might snap in half. Kaitlyn was a strong woman to carry the load she
had all these years. But her brother wasn’t a child any longer and Derek had
waited long enough.

“Deadly serious.” He leaned forward and she started to jerk
back in her chair before she stopped herself and leaned forward instead,
challenging him. “If you want to settle this debt, I want you in my bed for one
entire night and you have to agree to do exactly what I want.”

She raised her hand to touch her hair even though not one
strand was out of place. He could see the fine tremors in her arm and almost
relented. Almost. Instead, he tried to reassure her. “No one will know but us.”
He rose, walked around to the front of his desk and crouched in front of her.
He took her hand, bothered by the fact it was cold.

She licked her lips and he almost groaned aloud. “How…how
would that be possible?”

She was going to agree. Derek tamped down his excitement and
kept his voice level and his words logical. “I’d pick you up and bring you out
here and drive you back in the morning.”

Kaitlyn was already shaking her head. “No, that won’t do.”
She eased back in her chair, putting some space between them. “I’ll drive
myself and park up near the road and walk down.”

God almighty, the woman was stubborn, but if that’s what she
wanted, he’d live with it. After all, he was getting exactly what he wanted.
Still, he protested. “I don’t want you traipsing around the ranch in the dark.”

Her chin tilted higher. “I can take care of myself.”

And that had always been the problem. He’d wanted to take
care of her, but she’d never given him the time of day.

He straightened and shrugged. “Suit yourself.” He didn’t
like it but figured she’d be relatively safe on his land. There weren’t too
many varmints around.

“When?” She stood and took a step toward the door.

“As soon as possible.”

Kaitlyn placed one hand on the doorjamb. She looked calm and
composed in her heels and fancy suit. He couldn’t wait to strip her out of her
clothes and discover the passionate woman he’d seen lurking beneath the cool
exterior all these years. “Tomorrow night. It’s Saturday and most of your hands
will go into town.”

He nodded. “What will you tell Daniel?”

The glare she shot him would have felled a lesser man.
“Certainly not the truth.” She nibbled on her bottom lip and his cock swelled.
It was all too easy to imagine that clever mouth on various parts of his anatomy.
“I’ll figure something out.”

Derek slowly walked toward her. He stopped when the tip of
his boot brushed against the toe of her low-heeled shoe. They were so close he
could smell her skin. It was warm with a hint of lavender. Not perfume. Not
strong enough. Probably lotion, which meant her entire body would smell that
good.

He leaned down and brushed his lips over hers. Her breath
caught in her throat. “Sealed with a kiss.” He took a step back, otherwise he’d
sweep her into his arms and carry her up to his room right now. “Everything
will be okay.” For some reason he felt the need to reassure her. In spite of
her outward composure, he knew he’d shaken her with his unconventional demand.

Her eyes darkened and she frowned. “I’m not so sure of
that.” Turning on her heel, she strode down the hallway and out the front door
of his home. He watched her the whole way, his eyes glued to the gentle sway of
her perfect ass. He reached down between his legs to adjust his cock, trying to
find a more comfortable position. It didn’t work.

“Damn it.” Derek stalked back to his desk and swept the
pieces of her check into the garbage. He didn’t regret what he’d done. He
couldn’t. He’d waited ten years to get Kaitlyn where he wanted her, and he
consoled himself with the knowledge she could have said no. He’d told her she
didn’t owe him anything. It was pride making her come tomorrow night, her need
to feel as though she’d paid the debt owed him. But it was still her choice and
she could always call off the whole thing.

That notion didn’t make him feel any better. He grabbed his
Stetson from the corner of his desk and jammed it on his head as he headed
toward the back of the house. Work was the best thing for him. Anything to get
his mind off the hours between now and tomorrow night.

 

Kaitlyn was shaking as she drove off the Double M ranch and
hit the blacktop that headed toward town. It was anger making her shake, she
told herself. It wasn’t arousal. It couldn’t be.

But it was.

She eased over to the side of the road and put her car in
park. She sat there, gripping the steering wheel until her knuckles were white.
“What have I done?”

Her voice sounded strange, almost as if it wasn’t hers. She
felt disconnected from reality. Had she just agreed to spend the night in
Derek’s bed, doing whatever he wanted?

Another shiver racked her body and goose bumps raced down
her arms. She felt cold one moment and hot the next. She completely ignored the
fact that her nipples were puckered and her breasts felt heavy.

She’d known Derek all her life and had been very aware of
him for the past decade. How could she not? Derek was a prime male specimen and
she was only human. But female intuition had warned her to stay clear of him.
Derek was a hard man and he’d gone through a lot of women over the years. Not
that he was ever mean or lied to them—word got around fast in a town this
small. No, every woman knew that his first and only love was his ranch. Any
woman would play second fiddle to that.

And he never made any promises either. The gossip grapevine
was alive and well in their small town. In spite of the way he never stayed
long with one woman, Derek had managed to remain friends with most of them. Not
an easy feat.

And she’d promised to spend a night in his bed.

What had she been thinking?

Obviously, she hadn’t been thinking at all. Not about the
debt Daniel owed Derek. Not about making things right. The only thing she’d
been able to think at all is that she had a chance to make all her sexual
fantasies come true.

For years, Derek had starred in all her late-night sexual
fantasies, both when she’d been awake and sleeping. He was big and strong, his
hands calloused and hard.

She licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry at the thought
of having those hands on her body. Her phone rang, jolting her back to reality.
She dug through her purse and grabbed it, groaning when she saw the number.

“Hey, Daniel.”

“I won’t be home tonight.” No hello or how are you, just
straight to the point.

“Where will you be?” She did her best to keep her voice
level. They did better when she didn’t yell.

“I got a job.”

“Really? Where?”

“I can’t talk now. I’ll tell you about it later.”

“Daniel,” she began, only to realize she was listening to
dead air. He was already gone.

“Damn it.” She tossed her phone back in her purse, put her
car in gear and slowly pulled back onto the road. She couldn’t afford to just
sit there and daydream about tomorrow. She had to get back to the bank and
finish her shift. After that, she had to try to track down her wayward brother.
Tomorrow she had housework and chores to tackle.

And tomorrow night… She shivered again and then shook off
all thoughts of Derek Montague. At least by the end of tomorrow night her
family’s debt to him would be paid and she’d finally have lived out all her
sexual fantasies. Only time would tell if Derek would live up to them.

She very much feared he would.

BOOK: DebtofHonor
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