Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cowgirl Up

Julie Ann is trying to make the best of a bad situation. Her brother mortgaged their ranch to the hilt and dipped into her part of the trust fund their father set up before his death. She's facing certain foreclosure if she doesn't do something. But Julie Ann is nothing if not determined. It's time to cowgirl up and do something about it instead of wallowing in self pity.

Wyatt knows the trouble Julie Ann faces and he's determined to help any way he can. Especially when he realizes the incredible woman he's found with Julie Ann. Knowing Julie Ann would never accept his assistance normally, Wyatt takes matters into his own hands. He'll have Julie Ann and help her keep the ranch, no matter what it takes. All he has to do is prove to her he wants her forever.


“Miss Julie Ann?”

She jumped and swung around. Christ! “I’m so sorry, Wyatt,” she stammered, “I was off in a dream world. You startled me.”

The brawny cowboy grinned briefly, the small smile lighting up his weathered but handsome face that was partially concealed by the Stetson. Funny how the same style hat looked so goofy on James, yet only added to the rugged good looks of this man. “Not a problem. We were getting ready to head home for the evening and wanted to see if you needed us to pick up anything in town for you before we came out tomorrow.”

Julie Ann couldn’t help the smile. Wyatt was thoughtful like that. Once a week, he would offer, usually on Thursday so she’d have supplies for the weekend. Why couldn’t she find a man like Wyatt for herself?

“Thanks,” she said, meaning it. “I’m ashamed to admit I made a list for you. I really didn’t want to go back into the Springs before Saturday, and I do need a few small items that won’t be able to wait.”

Wyatt nodded in the general direction of James’s departing truck. “He giving you trouble?” It was said innocently enough, almost like small talk, but something in Wyatt’s eyes told her differently.

“No. He’s just reminding me I have business with him Saturday.” She tried to sound as nonchalant as he had, but she wasn’t sure she pulled it off.

“The loan your brother took out on the place.” It didn’t really surprise Julie Ann that he knew. It wasn’t a secret, after all. But it still irked her that the hired help knew her personal business.

Wyatt put his hands up in a defensive gesture. Her expression must have been more transparent than she’d thought. “I’ve not been nosing around in your business, I swear. James has been bragging to his inner circle how he is finally getting this place. He seems to think he’s getting you too, though I had my doubts about that from the moment I met you. You’re too classy a lady for the likes of him.”

Julie Ann started to reply, but his words wrapped themselves around her heart and squeezed. All her life, she’d been called “tomboy, she-male, frigid, even bitch, or domme.” Never “classy.” Until that moment, Julie Ann had never realized how much those names had hurt.

“I appreciate you saying that,” she managed. Julie Ann wasn’t the emotional type. She took what life dealt without fussing about it and played her hand as best she could. Julie Anndidn’t expect gratitude or sympathy, and never had.

“I don’t say things I don’t mean.” His piercing blue eyes met hers and seemed to bore straight through her soul. In that moment, she felt more vulnerable than she ever had in her entire life.

With slow, deliberate movements, Wyatt climbed the steps to the porch to stand in front of her. He had several inches in height on her and she had to tilt her head to meet his gaze. For the first time, she was struck at how really large the man was. Broad shoulders blocked out the setting sun and seemed to strain the mud-streaked tee he wore. Faded jeans hugged his lean hips and muscled thighs like a jealous lover, accenting his masculine beauty. She didn’t dare linger on those jeans for fear of embarrassing herself. He had a body honed in hard labor, not the gym. A man’s body. It had been a while she’d had the attentions of a man. Letting Wyatt know that would be as bad as letting James know it. Worse, she had the feeling Wyatt would act on that knowledge where James would be afraid she’d do something really nasty to his privates. Which she would.


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