She’s looking for a story about a billionaire. He’s the
park ranger standing in her way.
Poppy has done her research on Marcus. She knows how
connected he is—and she knows he’ll be a very reluctant source even if she can
get him to talk. What she isn’t expecting is to fall head over heels in
insta-love with a grumpy, bearded mountain man who wants nothing to do with
Poppy stiffens on the passenger seat beside me, and despite
my best efforts to glare straight ahead, I see her out of the corner of my eye.
I see her glance down at her recorder, and turn it off. I see her jaw tighten,
then relax, and I see her sigh and turn to look out the window.
I see her cross her legs, flashing me another few inches of
Damn it. Now my jaw is tight, too.
That’s not to say I don’t like it. I do, but it’s a
If a woman is going to slide her skirt up her thighs for me,
it’s gotta be because she wants me to chase the hem with my tongue. Because she
wants to get lost for a few hours, and part company with a mutually fond
Not because she thinks I can be distracted by my dick.
She taps her fingers on her knee, then sighs and lifts her
hand to her mouth. Her lips part, pink and shiny, and she sinks her perfect
white teeth into the fleshy pad of her thumb.
This was a mistake. I can’t drag her around the park with
me. Another few hours of this antagonism and who the hell knows what will
Maybe you can chase her through the forest and convince
her to let you peek up her skirt.
I slam on the brakes and jerk the truck off the path. She
scrambles to hang on to her recorder, her skirt, her plan of seduction.
I don’t care. I point to her door. “Get out.”
“Excuse me?” She spins around, looking back up the road.
Yeah, we’re a few miles from where she left her car.
Not my problem.
“You get out,” she says hotly.
I leap out the driver’s side and stalk around to her door.
More thigh greets me as she holds up her hand—clearly, she’s
figured out I’m serious, and she doesn’t want me to touch her.
Fine by me. I don’t want to touch her either. Not much,
anyway. Definitely not in anger.
I actually want to touch her way too much for a stranger
who’s poking around my life.
I step back and cross my arms over my chest. “What are you
She slithers to the ground and straightens her dress.
“With your little display in the truck.”
“Letting your skirt ride up. Biting your thumb. Turning off
Her eyes go wide as I list what she did. She stares at me,
stock-still, then gasps again and shoves her hands hard against my chest. “You…
I step back, and she shoves me again.
“You… beast!” She laughs, and shakes her head, but when her
gaze collides with mine, there’s no humor there. Just angry, pissed-off woman.
“Okay, let’s start at the top. I’m wearing a skirt. Yes. I have legs, that’s a
fun fact, too. And you saw part of them. Whoop-di-fucking-doo, Ranger Boy.
Second, if I was biting my thumb, it was to keep from criticizing your reckless
fucking driving. And finally, I turned off my recorder because this interview
is a waste of my fucking time. And if you think for a hot second that I might
use my feminine wiles to get a story out of you, you’re a fucking asshole who
deserves to be hunted down by paparazzi. I’ll make sure that happens just as
soon as I get off this fucking godforsaken mountain.”
“You’re going to give up, just like that?” I move forward
again, crowding into her personal space. “Lose your story?”
“There’s no story here,” she spits, her jaw set and her eyes
glittering. “Not one worth writing.”
“Because I barked at you?”
“Because you leered at me.”
I had done that. Twice. Maybe three times. And I’d done it
mostly to scare her away, but also a little bit because she itched at me. That
itch now flares up, hot and red and annoyingly principled. “I was trying to
scare you off.”
She laughs again without humor. “It worked, you pervert. How
the fuck am I supposed to get back to my car now? Because I’m sure as hell not
getting back in your truck.”
Mom by day and filthy romance writer by night, Ainsley Booth
is super grateful for caffeine, blueberry muffins, and yoga pants. She is the
USA Today bestselling author of Hate F*@k and Prime
Minister. She also writes sexy, small town and military romance as Zoe