Feb 2 2013 12:00pm
Cowboy Tough: Exclusive Excerpt
She's hardly a cowgirl...
Cat Crendall left a successful advertising job in New York to teach art workshops in the wild west. The Boyd Ranch is hardly her dream destination, but if the outing's a success, the company will send her to more exotic locations.
But once a cowboy...
Mack Boyd was in the middle of the best bronc-riding season of his life when his mother asked for help with an artists' retreat at the ranch. Mack might be able to ride a wild stallion to a standstill but he can't say no to his family.
Cat and Mack are complete opposites...but when the ranch is threatened financially, can they set aside their differences and work together?
Get a sneak peek of Joanne Kennedy's Cowboy Tough (available February 5, 2013) with an exclusive scene from Chapter 22.
Cat could feel a connection humming between them, as if they were joined by a wire that was electrified and just a little too hot. Up until now, Mack had been a cowboy, something exotic and a little dangerous, a dalliance in a far country. But now he was Mack. A man. And a lover, unless she shut him down right this minute.
That tight fist of fear tugged at her heart again. She had an impulse to crack a joke, laugh, cut the tension somehow. But all she could do was look, and let him look back.
He really did live in the moment—fully and without reservation. In life, that meant he was easygoing and adaptable. But in a relationship, it meant he was fully present. She felt like they were both naked, and they hadn’t shed a single article of clothing.
Impulsively, she kicked off her shoes and twisted in his arms, letting the soft parts of her body meet the hardness of his. Opening the top button of her shirt, she swept it over her head in one quick motion. If he looked at her breasts, maybe he’d stop probing her thoughts. Maybe he’d skim the surface instead of plumbing the depths with those dark, intense eyes.
A button snagged on a bobby pin and she tilted her head back, tugging her bun so her locks uncoiled down her back. She didn’t know how it looked to him, but to her it felt graceful, quick, and wonderfully wanton.
She’d been right; the breasts changed everything. His eyes went suddenly soft, his gaze reverent. He reached for her as if he couldn’t help himself, tucking a finger under the delicate strap of her bra and tracing it down to the lace that cupped the swell of her breast. She was glad she’d worn lace that day, ivory with a thread of gold running through it. In the light of the moon, it looked like a fairy garment spun of silk.
She leaned back on the pillows and let him look and touch. He stroked his finger gently along the edge of the fabric and set every nerve in her body to flickering. She felt like she’d come alive in a new way, waking from the sleepwalk of the everyday into a world of possibilities.
While she stroked his hair, he found the clasp at the front of her bra and undid it, sweeping the halves to either side and cupping her flesh in his hands. She wasn’t exactly Marilyn Monroe, but he made her feel soft and round and wonderfully feminine. He stroked his thumbs over her nipples and she arched her back, closing her eyes.
She opened them to find him watching her again. There was a faint note of triumph in his smile. He’d knocked down a few walls and he knew it.
It was time to play defense.
She knew this wasn’t a fight. They didn’t need to dominate each other or settle who was boss; that was something that wouldn’t matter in the short time they’d be together. But she wanted to tussle with him, wrestle and tumble and play. Grabbing the collar of his shirt in both hands, she pulled. It was something she’d been wanting to do since the morning, when she’d noticed the shirt was fastened with snaps, not buttons.
It clicked open with a satisfying series of pops, revealing a tanned chest with a veil of dark hair fanned over hard swells of muscle.
“Mmm.” She let out a wordless purr and lowered her head to run her mouth over the blade of his collarbone. Her left hand skimmed down the side of his face, swept past his neck, over his shoulder and chest. She stroked one flat nipple with her fingertips and was rewarded with a sharp intake of breath. Looking up, she saw his eyes weren’t focused on hers anymore. They weren’t focused at all. She’d won this round, stroked him into stunned silence.
Cat one, cowboy zero.
Well, that wasn’t quite true. The cowboy had scored a few points himself, but she wasn’t about to admit that—to him or to herself. She was enjoying herself too much to keep score.
It was about then she realized her pants were gone. Just gone, in some fabulous cowboy stealth move. How had he done that? The giggle burbled up again as she thanked God for matching lace panties. His admiration of the little bow that decorated each hip was giving her some time to regroup.
But once she was fully grouped, she realized the bows were gradually making their way down, down, down. Down her thighs, past her knees, over her calves, and off.
He was way ahead. It wasn’t fair. Her clothes slipped off by themselves; his required a wrestling match.
It was time to get to work on that belt.
Copyright © 2013 by Joanne Kennedy.
To learn more or to pre-order a copy of Joanne Kennedy’s Cowboy Tough, which will be released on February 5, 2013:
Joanne Kennedy has worked in bookstores all her life in positions from bookseller to buyer. A member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, she won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second in the Heart of the Rockies contest. Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming.