Shoulda Been A Cowboy

BOOK: Shoulda Been A Cowboy
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Shoulda Been A Cowboy

 

 

 

Lorelei
James

Dedication

To all the men and women in uniform, we owe you for
your dedication and sacrifice. And to all the families of military
personnel, who hold it all together at home…this book is for
you too…

Prologue

Crash.

Bang.

Thump thump thump
.

Silence.

Another loud thud followed the distinctive sound of
breaking glass.

Not good.

When the whole building seemed to shake with the next
crash-bang-thump
combo, Domini Katzinski panicked.

Call the police, dummy.

Good plan.

She scrambled for her cell phone on the nightstand. She
dialed and hunkered underneath the covers, counting the rings.

Pick up. Please pick up.


Domini?” Cam McKay said with a surprised
tone. “What's goin' on?”

The deep timbre of his voice allowed her to focus on
something besides her fear. “I think someone is breaking into
the restaurant. There's loud noises and breaking glass—”


Are you locked in your apartment?”


Yes. Should I—”


No. Don't move. Stay right there, do you
hear me?”

Domini started to answer but he beat her to the punch.


I mean it,” Cam said sharply. “Stay
put and stay quiet until you hear from me. Keep your phone close to
you and on vibrate. Promise me.”


I promise.”


Good. I'm on my way.”
Click
.

For the next thirty minutes, Domini cowered in her bed,
hating that the incident had transported her back to the sleepless
nights of her childhood. Hearing the violence in the streets below.
Sirens in the distance.

As terror beat in her chest like a living thing, trying
to claw its way out, she realized she hadn't exorcised that
scared little girl at all. No place on earth was far enough away from
those horrid memories because she carried them inside her.

Domini's phone buzzed in her hand and she nearly
screamed. The caller ID read: Cam. Thank God. “Hello?”


I'm outside your apartment. Let me in.”

She tossed back the quilt and raced to the living room.
After releasing the deadbolts, she opened the door. The gigantic
silhouette slunk into the room and she instinctively backed up,
because the guy took up a serious amount of space.

Cam McKay was imposing, even in near darkness. The
dominant male animal. The ultimate guardian. A pillar of strength. A
bona fide warrior.

His deep frown and shrewd gaze read all business. “You
okay?”

I am now
. “I guess.”

He kept looking at her as if he expected her to get
hysterical. “Domini—”


I'm fine. Really. Just shaky. I'll
umm…make tea.”

Tea?
How lame. But she was so
flustered from being scared, and from Cam being right
there
,
she wasn't thinking straight.


Maybe you need a shot of whiskey,” he
muttered as he followed her into the kitchen.

Maybe I need a shot of you to settle me down.

Domini filled the kettle and fired up the stove. Her
hand shook like crazy when she put a jasmine teabag in each mug
before she faced him, knowing she looked calmer than she felt. “I
didn't hear sirens. Does that mean there wasn't a break
in?”

Cam watched her carefully and shook his head.

Her relief warred with frustration. “I didn't
imagine those noises. I'm not the type of woman who just—”
she gestured distractedly, searching for the right phrase, “—who
just calls the law on a whim.”

But Domini hadn't called 911…she'd
called Deputy McKay. At home. Did Cam think she'd tricked him
to get him to show up alone at her apartment at midnight? On a night
she knew he hadn't been on duty? Her chin fell to her chest.


Hey.” Cam shuffled closer. His warm fingers
tipped her face up. “Don't you think I know you'd
never cry wolf? Don't you think I know what type of woman you
are, Domini?”

No. I don't think you have a clue.


You didn't imagine anything. You heard
somebody throwing stuff in the Dumpster. Inside the container were a
bunch of broken glass and rotten wood from old window frames. Either
the Dumpster rolled away as they were loading the bigger stuff into
it, or they used it as bumper car, because it's crossways in
the alley.”


Really?”


Yep. There are a couple of big chunks out of the
sandstone where the Dumpster smacked into it.”

She blinked at him. “But that was it?”


For the most part.”


You probably think I'm just another
paranoid woman who overreacted.”


Not even close. I heard the fear in your voice
when you called me. That's what got me over here so damn fast.”

And despite her resolve not to act wimpy, Domini
launched herself at him. She circled her arms around his neck,
pressing her face into his sturdy chest as she shuddered with relief.

It took a minute for Cam to respond. Then one hand
stroked her hair with gentleness that belied his size, and his other
hand gripped her hip.

At five foot ten, Domini had always been considered
tall. But sheltered within Cam's height and breadth, she felt
positively petite. Surrounded by his warmth and his scent she felt
completely…safe.

Neither one said a word. But their body language spoke
volumes. Cam's heart thumped wildly beneath her ear. Her
breathing was as choppy as his.

Domini angled her head back gradually, not wanting to
scare him away from touching her. When he sensed her looking at him,
those sinfully long eyelashes lifted and he studied her from beneath
the half-lidded gaze.

Here's your chance. Take it.

She stood on the tips of her bare toes until their
mouths were a breath apart. “Thank you for coming, Cam.”
Without breaking eye contact, Domini brushed her lips over his.
Slowly the first time. Even more leisurely on the second pass. The
third time she'd intended to leave her mouth pressed to his,
just to see if he'd kiss her back.

But Cam stole that third kiss from her. His velvety
tongue snaked out and traced the seam of her lips. She gasped and
that wicked tongue dove straight into her open mouth.

For so long she'd wondered what Cam tasted like.
Now she knew—delicious. All hot musky male. The kiss wasn't
aggressive, but a curious dance of tangling tongues and sliding lips.
When Cam playfully suckled her tongue, her curiosity vanished and
spiraled into hunger.

Cam's fingers tightened in her hair. He tilted her
head,, devouring her mouth with wet sucking kisses. The hand on her
hip slid around to caress her lower back. The heat of his rough palm
on her bare skin was as potent as an electric charge as his hand
glided beneath her pajama bottoms. His middle finger used the crack
of her butt as a sensual guide until just the tip of his finger
rested on her tailbone. Then he urged her pelvis closer to his by
pressing on that bone.

The odd pressure on that erogenous spot, coupled with
Cam's greedy kisses set her blood on fire. The man could
inflame her entire body with just one finger.

He briefly lifted his lips. “More,” he
growled against her mouth. “Give me all of you.” Cam
kissed her harder. Deeper. Plastering her body to his. Grinding their
hips together in a show of raw sexual power. He cranked her need
higher, tighter, hotter with each consuming kiss.

Yes yes yes
. This is what
she'd been dying for.

Domini dug her fingernails into his scalp, returning his
passion. Then she let her eager hands drift down the angular lines of
his skull to cup his face between her palms. She traced the outer
shell of his ears. When her thumb brushed the raised ridge of the
scar on his left cheek, he quickly turned his head away.

The teakettle whistled and Cam abruptly released her.

She understood without looking at him the foray into
testing the water as lovers was over.


Domini. I'm…”

Don't apologize. Don't you dare
apologize.


Look. I didn't mean for that to happen.”


But it did.”

Silence.


Sorry. It shouldn't have,” Cam said
tightly.

Great. He'd reset his persona back to Cam, the
helpful deputy, a far cry from Cam, the demanding man who'd
just turned her inside out with a simple kiss. Now he'd run.
Was he running from her? Or from himself? And would she just let him
go?

After removing the kettle from the burner, Domini
mustered the courage to meet his eyes. “I assume you're
not staying for tea?”

Cam shook his head.


Well, thank you for showing up at this crazy
hour. I appreciate it.”


No need to thank me, princess. That's my
job.”


Forgive me for saying so, but your job sucks.”


You have no idea how true that statement is right
now.”

Cam's gaze scanned her from bedhead to bare toes.
He rubbed his mouth with his knuckle, almost as if he was wiping her
kiss from his lips and his memory.

Enough.

Domini kept her emotions in check as she walked to the
living room. She stood pointedly beside the open door.

Cam said, “Look. Don't—”


I know what you're about to say, Deputy
McKay. I won't forget to lock the door behind you.”


That's not what…” He sighed.
“Fine. Good night.”

Immediately after Cam cleared the doorjamb, she slammed
the door, flipped the locks and stomped back to her bedroom.

Idiotic man. He wanted her. She wanted him. So what was
his problem?

What's
your
problem? Why can't you just tell him you want him?

I did! I kissed him first.

And it hadn't changed anything—unless she
counted how fast he ran out on her. Evidently actions didn't
speak louder than words.

Maybe she should just be patient. Maybe now that she'd
made the first move, Cam would jump on board and take their
flirtation to the next level. Or jump on her.

Domini just hoped it wouldn't take another two
years.

Chapter One

Eight months later…

At times like these, Deputy Cameron McKay suspected his
life would've been easier if he'd stayed a simple cowboy.

Whoosh.

He managed to stop the woman's wild right hook
from connecting with the man's jaw. Grabbing her fist, he
jerked her arms behind her back. “Assault in front of an
officer will get you tossed in jail tonight, Opal, guaranteed, so
knock it off.”


I've known you since you were in diapers,
boy, don't you dare smart mouth me,” Opal retorted.

Yep, riding the range alone, dealing with animals that
didn't talk back…some days Cam regretted not taking the
offer to join the family cattle business. His gun dug into his hip as
he shifted off his bum leg to reach his cuffs.


Opal. Leave the poor deputy alone,” the man
behind him snapped.


Why ain't you arresting him?” Opal
demanded. “He started it!”


I did not, you crazy old bat.”


See? He's calling me names again.”

Cam glanced at the gray-haired man holding an ice pack
to the goose egg on his forehead. “Now, Ralph, you know I won't
tolerate that kinda talk.”


Hah! Told you he'd be on my side,”
Opal said gleefully.

Ralph muttered.


There are no ‘sides' here, Opal. I
haven't made an arrest.
Yet
.
Not until someone tells me what happened.”


She—”


He—” the couple said simultaneously,
and started arguing simultaneously.

Cam tried to listen to the heated exchange, but the
accusations flung back and forth had nothing to do with the issue at
hand: Opal Stancil smacking Ralph, her husband of five decades, with
her umbrella. Why Opal had an umbrella handy when Crook County had
suffered from severe drought for the last ten years remained a
mystery.

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