After taking a job on a quiet Montana dude ranch, ex-cop Rylan Frederickson finds herself surrounded by unbelievably sexy cowboys. Too bad the one she wants is her boss...and the single dad of a four-year-old. It doesn’t matter anyway, because after a recent tragedy, there’s simply no more room in her heart.
Letting a new woman into their life is the last thing Cole Haywood wants for him and his daughter, Birdie. But as Rylan’s presence at Paint River Ranch breathes new life into his family he can’t ignore his growing attraction.
When the sparks between them turn into fireworks in bed, Rylan’s torn between the family she’s lost and the one she may have found. Now she must decide if something that feels this good is worth the risk.
“What the hell?” Cole turned to fully face her, grumbling something about a man not even being able to get drunk without work interrupting. His snug shirt dipped into the lines of his chest, creating a tempting outline of firm pecs, narrow waist, and tight abdomen. A thick leather belt with a square silver buckle set the tone for the well-worn jeans clinging to his long legs. Rylan hitched an eyebrow. At least there was one good thing about this trip—the hype about cowboys being sexy as hell was true.
More than a little irritated with how her lust was playing tennis with itself, Rylan crossed her arms. “Hell is appropriate, actually. Now down the drink, and give me your keys.” She had one hand on her hip—habit, she supposed, from reaching for cop toys to make jerks like Haywood behave. His eyes fell to her lips again and stayed there.
“You were supposed to take the bus to Greenbrook. Tomorrow.” His tone implied she was an idiot.
“Right, well, sometimes things just don’t work out the way they’re supposed to.”
His hand cupped the beer glass while he studied her. Rylan stared right back, wishing the butterflies would take a hike. What was this reaction about? Cooped up too long with too little interaction with the outside world, she guessed. Her body was reacting to the first enticing man she’d seen in too damn long. Good thing Cole was her boss so she wouldn’t be tempted to act on her brain’s internal “look at the pretty cowboy” jumping and pointing.
Cole pulled his lower lip between his teeth and narrowed his eyes. “You’re a little ornery.” He reached one hand to her shoulder and flipped a chunk of her hair.
Rylan’s breath ran away as the back of his hand brushed over her collarbone. A shiver raced over her body, warm and sweet. She leaned away from him. “Excuse me?”
He shrugged, a slow smile crossing his face at her reaction. “That’s okay. Ornery is good.”
Her lips parted to sling an insult, but she refrained. No sense in wasting perfectly good angst on a drunk who wouldn’t remember it in five seconds. “I’ll play along. Why is that good?”
Cole took a slow breath, his eyes darkening. “Because you’re pretty. I like pretty. But I don’t like ornery. So we should be just fine.” He nodded as though he’d just made a deal with himself and was quite pleased about it. Before she could even think of a response, he shoved his beer away, untouched, and moved from the bar.
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Elizabeth Otto grew up in a Wisconsin town the size of a postage stamp, where riding your horse to the grocery store, and skinny dipping after school were perfectly acceptable. No surprise that she writes about small communities and country boys. She's the author of paranormal, and hot, emotional, contemporary romance, and has no guilt over frequently making her readers cry. When not writing, she works full-time as an Emergency Medical Technician for a rural ambulance service. Elizabeth lives with her very own country boy and their three children in, shockingly, a small Midwestern town.
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