Ropin' Trouble (Cowboys of Nirvana Book 2)

BOOK: Ropin' Trouble (Cowboys of Nirvana Book 2)
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Cowboy Paradise

 

2015 Rhonda Lee Carver

Copyright © 2015 by Rhonda Lee Carver

All rights reserved.

 

Published in the United States

Published by Rhonda Lee Carver

Cover Art by Samantha Holt

Cowboy Paradise (Cowboys of Nirvana)

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations used in articles and reviews.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

Cara Rae looked up from behind the counter as Cleo, her employee and friend, walked into the room. “Hi, Cleo.”

The seasoned woman looked over the top of her glasses at Cara. “Are you still working on the books?”

Cara sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “I think it’s time I hire a bookkeeper.”

“You did go home last night, right? Or did you sleep on the couch again?” Cleo picked up the blanket from the arm of the sofa and folded it.

“It was late when I called it a night. I just decided to stay here.” Cara laid the pen down and yawned.

“Yeah, and that means you’ll be no good today. No one can think on a tired brain. I’ll open the store and you can go home to take a nap.” Cleo was a motherly figure, and Cara appreciated her kindness.

“Thank you, Cleo. But I’ll stay. I would appreciate if you’d open the store and watch things while I finish up here. It shouldn’t be too much longer.”

Cleo sighed, nodded, and left Cara alone.

Her brain hurt. She wasn’t sure how much she’d accomplish this morning, but she was on a deadline.

Picking the pen back up, she started punching numbers into the calculator when she heard a muted voice outside of her closed door. She listened closer and realized who it was. She clutched the pen so tight that her knuckles ached.

The door came crashing open. James stood in the doorway, his face flaming red and his hands balled into fists. Cara stood up so fast that the chair hit the wall.

“James, what are you doing here?”

“Where were you last night?” He forced the words through tight lips.

“I was here. I worked late and thought I’d—“

“I told you to never lie to me!”

She stayed behind the desk, clasping her hands together. “I’m not lying. And this isn’t the time or place. Cleo is here and I have customers.”

“I sent Cleo home. And you’re officially closed for the day.”

Her throat constricted. “Is that why you’re here? To find out why I wasn’t home last night?”  She knew she’d have to deal with her husband sooner or later. “I told you I am on a deadline.”

He stomped across the short space of the office, his steps muffled by the carpet. She took a step back but he was on her before she could move around the desk. “You bitch! I’ll show you to never go against me again!” James grabbed Cara by the wrist, his fingers dug into her skin and a sharp pain crawled along her strained muscle. He pushed her down until she was on her knees at his feet with her arm turned at an odd angle. Her stomach rolled. Taking a long breath that burned her lungs, she exhaled slowly, hating that she was scared—always had been when it came to James and his—what she called—ugly streak. Over the last year, she’d seen more of his ugliness than the charm he’d once adorned her with. “Do you understand what I’m saying, you lousy whore?”

Her mind twisted. Did he expect her to reply? If she responded wrong, and she probably would, things could only go sour—worse than they already were. She knew this fact all too well. At times she thought this was his way of testing her or pushing buttons until he found a reason to hurt her, although he seemed to have a lot of reasons—almost all fabricated in his warped brain. He liked the power her fear gave him. She was certain that he could sense it.   His enjoyment was evident in his glazed-over eyes and sickening grin. His malevolent expression disgusted her.

He grabbed her long hair with his free hand, tightening the strands around his knuckles, pulling the roots until she heard popping in her skull. Her scalp tingled, tears flowed down her cheeks, and bile rose in her throat. He was angrier now than he had been in a long time, yet she thought this every time. More veins bulged in his neck and she wondered if they burst would he die instantly?

The ‘ugly streaks’ were getting closer together and the calm times were far less. And his drinking had become an everyday occurrence. The advantage of his binges meant less time that he was home with her. Even now, he smelled strong of whiskey, burning her nostrils with the stink. Apparently he’d enjoyed a liquid breakfast.

He wobbled and she wondered if she gave him a hard kick to the ribs, would he fall? She’d pay a heavy price. Her days were spent walking around on eggshells, waiting for the hammer to drop.  And it always dropped.

“You’re lucky I give you the time of day. I could have done so much better for myself than settle for trash like you. No man will ever want you. No man will ever find you appealing, especially after I’ve used you all up until you’re a sack of useless skin. You’re ugly and not worth the dirt on my shoes.”

She remained silent—sometimes it was best—although she wanted to scream the roof off. She wanted to fight back, but learned he was physically stronger than her.

“Did you allow that Baker boy to come into
my
house?” He sniffed loudly.

“What are you talking about?” She tried pushing away but he held her tight.

“Sandy Millner told me she saw him in my house yesterday.”

Sandy Millner was their neighbor, and James had the woman manipulated by his fake charm. However, Cara doubted that the woman told him anything.

Cara knew denying that she’d ‘broken’ another rule wouldn’t help. “It-it was raining—pouring—he had the groceries in his arms and they were getting wet.” It was an honest answer, but would it suffice James’s inane suspicions and put them to rest? The truth never seemed to solace him any other time.

“What have I told you? No man steps foot in this house unless I’m home. What is it about that rule you don’t get? But what else would I expect from a slut. From day one you’ve proven you’re only good for one thing and it’s that crevice between your legs.” To prove his words, he reached down and squeezed her inner thighs hard. “And even that is unsatisfactory.”

She cringed at his hateful words, never understanding how he could call her such names when he was the only one she’d ever been with intimately—and her sex life with James was a far cry from being normal. She often wondered what lovemaking was like between two people who cared for each other. What would marriage be like with a man who loved her?

James had never cared or loved her. He never believed in her or their marriage.

On occasion, he would sit in his car down the street, watching the house. During these times, he was supposed to be working. Owning his own private law office afforded him the ability to come and go as he pleased. Without a doubt, that was how he knew she’d let the grocery boy, Tommy Baker, come into the house for merely two minutes. James would really have her head if he knew she gave Tommy an extra fat tip from the stash she kept hidden in a jar under the kitchen cabinet. Cara didn’t consider it a lie,_the stash or the tip.  After all, Tommy was working his way through college and she found it pathetic that James had their groceries delivered. She didn’t get out as much as she wanted and going to work was her only solace. James was slowly stripping away all of her independence. Maybe if she apologized they could end the fight and she could get back to work. “I was wrong. I’ll never do it again. I promise!” Her voice trembled.

“How can I believe a lying cunt like you? Your promises are useless, just like you are!” he hissed the words and pushed her out of his hold, a chunk of hair ripped from her scalp. She didn’t care. She could live without that bit of hair. Little did he know she could live without him too. He was in for a big surprise…

He lifted his hand high and brought it down, thwacking her hard across the cheek—

so hard that she hit her head against the chair. Her vision blurred and her temple throbbed, but victory loomed within her reach. Soon…very, very soon.

 

 

Chapter One

Three years later…

The creaking and popping of the old Victorian house brought Cara to a sitting position in bed. She listened closer, but only heard silence. She was alone.

Rubbing the bridge of her nose and wiping the beads of sweat from her brow, she forced her breath in and out of her lungs, calming the fast beating of her heart. The last panic attack had been months ago and she wasn’t about to have another one. Not tonight.

She’d had a nightmare about James—a nightly event that she had no control over. Three years had passed since the accident, the one that had brought her freedom, yet the damage had already been done.

After James had accused her of sleeping with Tommy Baker, and slapped her around, Cara had blacked out. When she awoke a few minutes later, she’d heard the whirling of sirens. Then what happened was a blur. He was arrested and Cara was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was met by a concerned Cleo. She’d admitted that she’d called the sheriff because she worried about Cara’s safety.  Once released from the hospital a few hours later, Cara went to the sheriff’s department where picture after picture was taken, and statement after statement was given.

Cara went home, packed up all of James’s things and took them to his sister’s house. Early the next morning, Cara went out of town and hired a divorce attorney.

Pulling strings, James was let go from jail. Celebrating his release, he’d gotten drunk at his local hangout and called her threatening that if she didn’t stop divorce proceedings, he’d have to take matters into his own hands. She didn’t need the finer details to understand what he was suggesting. But, she’d decided she would rather die than live another day with him.

When the bar closed and he left, he ran his truck into a tree. A passerby found him dead a mile from Cara’s house. She often wondered if he’d gotten what he’d deserved. Maybe karma had played a hand in his demise.

When she’d opened the door and the deputy told her the news of the accident, she knew she was free at last. Never having to live in fear again was priceless. But she’d felt an unexplainable guilt that stuck with her. Although the love she’d had for James had died years before, a part of her questioned if she could have saved and changed him if she’d divorced him much sooner.

Yet, in her heart, she realized he never would have changed.

A second shock had come when she learned James had bought himself and Cara a life insurance policy, merely two months before his death. There was a certain amount of suspicion why he’d taken one out on her too, but she’d been awarded enough money upon his death that she could do all of the things that he’d kept her from doing during their marriage.

First thing she did was sell his law practice, then sunk the money into her shop, Time is of Essence. She loved working with vintage clothing and jewelry, a challenge she needed to help her get through the healing. The business had grown, especially after she’d opened an online store, and she didn’t have to worry about anything except…

Her future.

It seemed bleak.

There weren’t many prospects for her in Coal Springs, Texas, and she’d thought about packing up and moving to a place where no one knew her past. She hadn’t gotten that far yet. The few single men in town, known as bad boys, who’d asked her on a date, she’d turned down flat. Not only were they not her type, but that jerk of a dead husband of hers messed up her mind—and her heart. He’d told her enough times that she was ugly and worthless and she’d finally believed him.  He’d hypnotized her with his degrading insults and his physical abuse. Certain parts of her brain were malfunctioned—and vital parts of her body.

BOOK: Ropin' Trouble (Cowboys of Nirvana Book 2)
10.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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