Authors: Laurann Dohner
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fiction
Raine on Me
Book two in the Riding the Raines series.
Brit wants to get on with her life and leave her rough past far behind. Most of the cowboys who end up in her care are cranky old ex-rodeo stars. But not the new guy.
He’s a tall, mouthwatering hunk with the hottest body she’s ever seen. And she can see it all, since not one inch of that incredible flesh is hidden from her gaze. The blunt, crude man shocks Brit a bit when he flat-out tries to get her into his bed…immediately.
Brit is the sexiest woman River has ever come across. Every time he thinks he’s starting to tame her, she tries to bolt from his life. He’s a man who always gets what he wants and the more time he spends with the mouthy, stubborn woman, the more convinced he becomes that he can never give her up. Good thing for him he’s not above chaining a woman to his bed if that’s what it takes to keep her right where he wants her—under him.
Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Raine on Me
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Raine on Me Copyright © 2011 Laurann Dohner
Edited by Pamela Campbell
Cover art by Syneca
Electronic book publication February 2011
The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
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.
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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.
RAINE ON ME
To Mr. Laurann, who proved to me that it’s possible to find true, lasting love despite having to kiss a few frogs before you find a prince.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Harley: H-D Michigan, LLC
Velcro: Velcro Industries B.V., LLC
Brit studied the beat-up old motor home and wondered if it was still roadworthy since it looked like something from the early seventies. She glanced down at her folder to make sure she had the right address, verified it, and dread pitted in her stomach. She knew how cantankerous some of those old cowboys could be. She reached up to pound on the metal door.
She turned her head to glance around the trailer park. She wished she could say she’d visited worse but unfortunately this one happened to be the winner of that title. Other old trailers were parked around her. The neighbor had a well-weathered travel trailer. He or she had put up a torn awning between the spaces littered with broken furniture as if it were an outdoor living room, complete with old TV and extension cords running out a broken window to said TV. A dog barked and someone coughed loudly.
Her hip buzzed, startling her. She reached for her cell phone, clipped to the front pocket of her jeans, unclipped it, and jerked it to her ear.
“Did you find him?”
The voice made her flinch. Her boss had to be one of the worst cantankerous old cowboys she’d ever come across. “I found it but he doesn’t appear to be home, Dale. I tried, but no dice, so I guess I’ll come back to the office.”
“Nope,” the man’s voice sounded raspy from too many years of hard drinking and heavy smoking. “He’s there. Trust me. Just let yourself in. He usually keeps a key under the broken step, hidden beneath a rock.”
She clenched her teeth, irritated. “I can’t just walk into someone’s…” She curled her lip while she stared at the old hunk-of-junk box on wheels. “Home.”
“His family and I go way back and he’s a friend of mine. They kept me in horses when I rode in the circuit. This guy got busted up bad and he could be too hurt to move so get your little ass in there to check on him for me. I want you to get that man on his feet. I gave Darcy and Eve all your appointments today so he’s your only concern. Do whatever it takes but get him up and about. Tell him I called his family so they know what he did. You tell him all that and that they are expecting him to get his ass back to the ranch pronto.”
She sighed, realizing the pointlessness of arguing. “What did he do? You just shoved a file at me, so what am I looking at? I just drove and haven’t had time to read it since you told me to get here immediately.”
She heard Dale’s chair creak as he leaned back. She could imagine him propping his cowboy boots on his desk as he so often did. Dale stood six foot four and had to be three hundred pounds of retired rodeo champion. He’d started the physical therapy center she worked for after he’d busted the hell out of his body in the years he’d nearly killed himself on the backs of wild animals. He’d seen a need, hired the best therapists he could find, and started his own company.
“He’s got a slew of injuries. Three years ago he got thrown into a wall and it busted his leg in four places. I think he’s got two pins in the right one and had to have hip surgery. One of my boys called me to tell me four days ago that River went back into the arena even though the damn fool knew his days were over. He’s too busted up but the prize money tempted him, I guess. It was one of those low-ass outfits that don’t follow the rules. They wanted a good show and were putting anyone crazy enough on the backs of their bulls. He won but nobody has seen him since. If he ain’t showing up at the bar or at work, that means he’s injured. Get in there to see how much damage there is.”
“Maybe he used the money and got the hell out of here to set up somewhere else.”
The motor home looked as though a good wind would trigger it to fall apart. “You know how these guys are. They’re drifters.”
“This one has got a job and he loves his horses. He is steady as can be. He’s special to me, Brit, so get your ass in there and find him.” The chair creaked. “Shit. Randy just walked in. It’s tax time and he’s going to ream my ass good about how I keep records.
Call me back in a few hours to let me know how River is. I need a new office manager,”
he muttered. “One who looks cute when she starts yelling.” He hung up.
Cursing under her breath, Brit snapped the phone closed, and clipped it back onto her hip. She bent over, peered under the drop-down steps of the motor home and sure enough saw a rock.
No one could be fool enough to
… She was wrong. She saw the key as she lifted the fist-sized object. The single key fit into the door. She turned it, feeling the lock twist, and took one more deep breath.
“Don’t shoot me,” she called out. “If you have a gun, I’m not an intruder. Dale Hass sent me. Hello? Anyone home?” She opened the door wide, climbing the steps, praying they didn’t collapse under her from excessive rust. “Hello?”
She sniffed. The smell wasn’t bad at all considering that most of these guys took their cleaning tips from the local garbage dumpsters. She could only detect a faint smell of beer. Her eyes quickly adjusted to the dim interior as she hovered just inside the living room area.
Her gaze took in the ancient, green shag carpet, the built-in couch that really needed a throw over it to hide the hideous, starburst, once-yellow-but-now-rusty-orange pattern. It was surprisingly clean for a cowboy. She’d worked for Dale for five months. She’d met a lot of his old rodeo tramp friends in that time since he’d assigned her to them, most of whom were pigs when it came to living.
She had to admit to being a little impressed at the neatness she saw. This one obviously had a girlfriend. She glanced around the room and decided no woman lived with him though, since one with eyesight wouldn’t live with that ugly-ass couch without at least tossing a sheet over it.
She turned, staring down the hallway. The bedroom door was ajar. She really hoped, if the guy were home, he’d at least be alone. She’d hate to walk in on two people in bed together. It had happened once. She softly groaned at that horrible memory of the sixty-something couple in bed. It wouldn’t have been so bad except they’d asked her to join them. “Rodeo sixty” looked like eighty miles of bad road.
Sighing loudly when she got no response, she slowly walked toward the bedroom.
A horrible thought struck her.
What if the old guy has passed?
She paused in the hallway and turned her head to glance in at the clean but tiny all-in-one room. Yeah, she decided, the guy definitely had someone in his life looking after him. That probably meant he wouldn’t be days long gone if he had died. She forced her attention to the crack of the bedroom door, forcing her legs to move.
As she tapped on the door it moved. A large bed dominated the small room. As the door slowly opened she saw a black bedspread on the floor with black silk sheets. A tan, bare leg came into view.
The door stopped. Brit stared at the back of a tan, muscular calf trailing down to a naked foot. He obviously slept on his stomach from the position of his leg. She took a deep breath. If he were breathing, her day would be a hell of a lot better.
He didn’t move.
“Shit,” she muttered.
She prepared for the worst as she took a deep breath and pushed the door wide open, expecting to see a dead guy. Instead what she found stunned her. She blinked once, twice, and then hard a third time as her gaze took in the body sprawled on the bed.
Most of Dale’s friends were sixty plus but this guy wasn’t old. A pair of tan, muscular legs were spread a few feet apart. She followed those naked legs up to the nicest ass she’d ever seen. He had a firm, tan, rounded ass. She could see it all since the guy was butt—literally—naked. Her gaze flowed over the nice curve of his bottom to a broad back, higher up to muscular, broad shoulders and thick buff arms that were stretched above his head. Long, black, silky hair spread across one of those arms, blocking her view of his face and the area from elbow to wrist. His big hands were curled around a pillow, his fingers out of sight.
Her gaze raked down his body again as she swallowed. He definitely wasn’t past his prime. Now that the initial shock had passed, she took in his body one more time, an inch at a time, studying him. That’s when the other factors registered.
His right knee appeared a little bigger than the left. She spotted an ice pack—the kind that wrapped around—at the edge of the bed. He’d had ice on that knee but even from the back she could still see the swelling. A thick scar ran along his hip and he had scars on his left leg near his knee on the inside. She took a step into the room and inched through the foot of space between the wall and the bed to get a better look at his hip scar.
He’d had surgery all right. They’d sliced into his hip, just missing his ass cheek, leaving a pale scar a good four inches long that contrasted against his darker skin. The guy either liked to sunbathe naked or his heritage had to be something that gave him that tan-looking skin naturally. She tried to remember his last name but came up with a blank. She just remembered his first name—River.
He took up a lot of the bed and his toes were off the end of it. He had to be at least six feet tall. He wasn’t as tall as Dale, who was six foot four, but he came close. Her gaze left the great sexy body on the bed and she took a deep breath. She saw he had a built-in, pull-out shelf that he used as a nightstand. Part of the mystery of why the guy didn’t wake sat on it.