Sherry Forrester has her life just as she wants it. No attachments. No pressure from her parents to marry. A little bit of money and the freedom to be the lady she desires. When a stranger rolls into town, mysterious and gorgeous, her interest is piqued. Sherry swore she wouldn't give away her heart, but she longs for one night of passion, and the newcomer is perfectly capable of supplying that.
Texas Ranger Luke "Rip" Calhoun is hoping for a few diverting weeks in Pikes Run. Along with promising to help the local sheriff catch a wily garter thief, he looks for challenging card games, good whiskey and a willing woman. When Sherry Forrester catches his eyeâwho wouldn't want her after stumbling upon her skinny dipping?âhe does the hardest thing ever and waits for her to choose him to warm her sheets for a night. And only one night. For Luke made a long-ago vow never to let love ensnare him.
But what neither plans on is the hand of fate changing their pathsâ¦
Luke caught a flash of pale skin as someone arced beneath the water. His breath stilled when the figure broke the surface, revealing a woman about twenty yards from him swimming to the opposite bank. Luke froze, careful not to move a single muscle lest this be a dream and he woke.
All he could see of the woman was her head as she glided away from his side of the creek. Was she naked? He glanced toward the other side and discovered clothes folded on a rock. He could determine the colors, and white peeked between light blue fabric. He knew plenty about womenâs garments, and most of their underthings were white pieces of angelic sweetness. Which meant the lady enjoying the water was as bare as could be.
A smile tugged the corners of his lips, but before he could be accused of peeking more than he already had, he dismounted and used his horse to hide her from his view. At the moment, he couldnât pull Zeus away for anything, so Luke was stuck until the animal decided he was finished. Of course, Luke didnât want to leave. While he couldnât see, and hadnât seen a damn thing, it was nice being near a woman who courted risk and went skinny dipping.
Hell, there was nothing between her and that water. Not one stitch. His mind conjured all sorts of images as the sounds of her body cutting through the stream reached him.
When a screech met his ears, he knew sheâd caught sight of the drinking horse and perhaps its ownerâs legs. He let out an exhale and waited for the outburst.
âWhoâs there?â she cried. âYou get out of here.â
He should, but he wouldnât. He was never more grateful for his stubborn mount. âI canât, maâam. My horse has a mind of his own.â
âHa! A gentleman would find a way.â
He used his bandana to wipe his brow as he remained hunched over in order to keep hidden. âA man has to take care of his horse, maâam. Canât survive without him.â
There was a splash. Had she left the creekâor hit the surface with an irritated hand?
âA convenient excuse so you can spy on me.â
He chuckled. âMaâam, I canât see, and didnât see, one thing, I assure you.â
âYou assure me? And what good is that? I donât even know who you are.â
Damn, but he wished he could look at her. âNope, you donât.â
A silent moment, then, âThatâs it? You arenât gonna tell me your name?â
âYou gonna tell me yours?â
âNot on your life. Why would I let some drifter know who I am?â
âDrifter? Is that what I am?â Heâd been called worse.
âWell, how would I know?â
âThen whyâd you call me that?â
Zeus lifted his head, looking toward the lady who shared his creek. Luke kept himself from pushing the horseâs nose back to the water in order to prolong this moment normally only possible in nighttime fantasies. Of course, in his dream the lady usually invited him in.
âWould a gentleman spy on a woman as she bathed?â
âIf heâs smart, he would.â
âHa! So you did peek.â
He grinned and watched a grasshopper jump over the toe of his boot. âI admit I looked, but itâs just my luck I couldnât see anything. Youâre too far away.â
Zeus snuffled then turned his head toward his master. He blinked at Luke as if he wondered what the hell the woman was doing skinny dipping in his drinking water. Luke stroked the black then exhaled. Heâd have to leave this sprite.
âI feel sorry for you that you didnât manage to see anything,â she continued, her tone without an ounce of pity. âI donât mind telling you Iâm as pretty as a picture.â
He laughed outright. âIâve no doubt of that, maâam, and I can promise you my mind paints a perfect image, so donât you fret.â He tugged on Zeusâ reins.
She made a noise that was half-laugh, half-disbelief.
He left the idyllic setting, Zeus following behind him. A smile stayed on his lips as he mounted up once he was out of her line of sight. What a damn fine welcome.
Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Please visit me at www.karaoneal.com.
Buy link (right now it is up for pre-order only â Iâll send you the correct link on 9/27) -- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075SVHLDK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506182559&sr=8-2&keywords=kara+o%27neal
My website: www.karaoneal.com.
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