“So, Iz,” said Mac, “what do you know about the redhead who has John’s attention?”
“That’s Mandy Adams.” She smiled. “She works for Willa Reynolds. You know, the gal who does the gourmet packing trips. I’m surprised Willa isn’t with her. The two of them usually take great enjoyment out of pool sharking any unsuspecting assholes, like Chaz there. I think he earned Mandy’s ire, treating the wait staff so poorly. Willa’s good with a stick, but Mandy’s better. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her miss a shot unless she intended to.”
“What’s she drinking?” asked John.
“Killian’s is her usual drink of choice.”
“If she likes her steak rare, I could be in love,” he said with a grin.
“Then you’re out of luck,” said Izzy. “She likes her steaks medium with no red.” Izzy left them to take Mandy the proffered drink.
“Not to sound like a completely inappropriate jerk,” John said, lowering his voice, “but for an ass like that, I could live with overcooked meat.”
John grinned at Mac as his buddy tried desperately not to spit his beer across the table. It wasn’t the kind of comment John normally made about a woman, but he was beginning to think that Mandy might be something special.
With the horses settled in the canyon, Willa headed home, where Gus, her ranch foreman and long-time friend, greeted her.
“The marshal know you’ve been out stealing horses again?” he asked, nodding toward the house.
“I’m not stealing them, Gus. I’m helping them find their way to safety, and, no, I didn’t want to wake him.”
The grizzled cowboy shook his head. “In other words, you snuck out before dawn and are hoping you can slip back into his bed before he even knows you were gone.”
“That’s not it at all,” she said, handing him Gator’s lead rope. “Would you mind taking care of him?” She headed toward the cabin. “And it’s my bed he’s sleeping in.”
“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, missy. At some point, that marshal of yours is going to put the hammer down on you and your nonsense.”
Willa eased into the house, hoping she could slip back into bed with Mac none the wiser. So far, so good, she thought as she removed her clothes and crawled in to lie beside him. Mac rolled up against her back, his arm draping her waist.
“Where the hell have you been?” he growled as his arm tightened like a vice.
Croft was trying to remind himself the woman was a paying client, probably worried about her brother, and clearly out of her league. He was just turning away from the log to apologize when he realized she had closed the distance between them—realized it as her open palm struck him across the face. Damn, the girl had some serious strength in her arm.
“You brat!” he snarled, losing sight of all the things he’d just told himself and giving in to the urge to give this East Coast princess the spanking she so obviously needed.
Grabbing her by the arm, he put his foot on the log and jerked her across his raised thigh. Without giving her time to react, he brought his hand down hard on the denim-clad rump. A very satisfying gasp—part outrage and part pain—escaped her mouth. A small part of his brain told him he needed to stop, but that part wasn’t in control. He swatted her ass again, and she yelped. That felt and sounded even better.
“Coward,” he heard a feminine voice call with a hint of amusement.
Turning towards the sound, he found himself him looking at Zara Hughes. He’d recognize her anywhere. She was tall, with cascading dark brown hair, luminous blue eyes and delicate features. Those eyes were laughing … at him.
“What did you call me?” he growled trying to banish the image before him.
“You heard me … I called you a coward. Not that I think you are afraid of danger or are anything less than honorable, but you’re still afraid.”
“Of what? You?” It was his turn to be amused.
“Not necessarily, but of a woman like me. You tell yourself you want some nice quiet girl who will do as you tell her, spread her legs whenever you want, give blowjobs on demand and wait at home for the great warrior to return.”
“What if I do?”
Zara laughed. “You’d be bored out of your mind within a month.”
“Christian!” she cried. Her hands grasped the bedclothes as she came, her pussy pulsing all along his length as he increased his thrusts.
Surging forward, he drew her body up, so she was pressed against him, her back to his front. He squeezed her breasts with one hand, pinching her nipples as the other kept her trapped against his torso, a slave to his orgasm. Holding her tight, he pumped his cum into her as she came again. He nuzzled her neck and nipped her ear.
Sighing, she leaned back against him, relaxed and replete.
“I hate to remind you, but the season opens today, and we have a full house—paid guests as well as the Wild Mustang bunch.”
Christian groaned. Bad enough, his sister and Croft would be here, but Zara and Avery would be as well, and they were a terrible influence on Aliya. He grinned—that wasn’t necessarily the worst thing. Spanking Aliya always ignited her libido.