Aug 27 2017 11:04am

Maisey Yates Excerpt: Wild Ride Cowboy

Maisey Yates

He's come back to Copper Ridge, Oregon, to keep a promise—even if it means losing his heart…

Putting down roots in Copper Ridge was never Alex Donnelly's intention. But if there's one thing the ex-military man knows, it's that life rarely unfolds as expected. If it did, his best friend and brother-in-arms would still be alive. And Alex wouldn't have inherited a ranch or responsibility for his late comrade's sister—a woman who, despite her inexperience, can bring tough-as-iron Alex to his knees.

Clara Campbell didn't ask for a hero to ride in and fix her ranch and her life. All she wants is the one thing stubborn, honorable Alex is reluctant to give: a chance to explore their intense chemistry. But Clara has a few lessons to teach him, too…about trusting his heart and his instincts, and letting love take him on the wildest adventure of all.

Get a sneak peek at Maisey Yates's Wild Ride Cowboy (available August 29, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“You ruined it. You’ve ruined this. You were in my head the entire time, and it isn’t fair.”

“Do you want to know why the date was terri­ble? It’s because you don’t actually like him. And he doesn’t like you. You don’t know him, and you’ve never given him a chance to even find out if he might want to know you. All he wants is locally sourced kale-based bullshit. And you,” he said, taking a step toward her, reaching up and pulling off his hat as he did, “you have the palate of a five-year-old.”

“Yeah, so what? You make fun of me for having the palate of a five-year-old. It’s not like you accept me for who I am.”

“But you’ll tell me to fuck off. With him, you drink coffee you hate and go to some fancy dinner that serves nothing you eat, when what you really want is a hamburger. With him, I imagine you listen to music that sounds like coyotes being beaten to death by a classical guitar, even though we both know you like Luke Bryan. You don’t do anything you like with him, you can’t eat anything you like with him, you’re not even a person that you like with him. How can you possibly be surprised that you didn’t have fun with him?”

“I wanted to!” She was screaming at him now, right up in his face. “I wanted to enjoy that stupid din­ner. And I wish I liked kale. I want to like it. I prob­ably would have if I didn’t grow up eating canned food. I want to be normal. I want to be like other peo­ple my age. People like him. I wanted to go on a date and get a kiss. Maybe more. But you know what? I didn’t want the stupid kale. And that dessert…it was an abomination. It was my one and only hope, and they served fruit and cheese. That isn’t dessert. And I was surrounded by people who acted like that was somehow preferable to a piece of cake. I know what I should want. I should want kale. But I just want the cake, Alex.”

Suddenly, she felt exhausted. She felt sad. She felt defeated.

“This was supposed to be my moment to eat honey with the spoon,” she said, not even entirely sure what she was trying to say anymore. “But it wasn’t.”

Alex took another step toward her, his green eyes glittering, the raindrops rolling down his face. And then he reached out, curving his arm around her waist, his hand, big and warm on her lower back. And he was looking at her, really looking at her, like he could see inside of her.

Like he could see that she had fantasies about his mouth that she hadn’t even allowed herself to fully comprehend. Like he could see that her breasts were aching and her nipples were tight. Like he could tell that she ached between her thighs in a way that was entirely foreign to her.

“Honey is for beginners,” he said, his voice rough. “If you want the cake, Clara, have the cake.”

“I don’t… I can’t…” She didn’t know what she was trying to say, and more than that, she didn’t know quite what she wanted to do. But then, she didn’t have to.

Because then, Alex closed the distance between them and captured her lips with his.

Insanity. That’s what it was. At least, that’s what he should think it was. But the moment his lips touched Clara’s, he lost the ability to care about sane, crazy, right or wrong.

Her skin was slick with rain, and hot with her—so perfect and alive—and he didn’t much care if it was crazy.

The entire time she had been on that damn date, he had been burning rage off like a man possessed. He had pounded nails, chopped wood and ripped fence posts out of the ground with his bare hands. And when a sliver had driven itself deep in his palm he had been glad. Because at least that had forced his mind clean for a moment. Blank.

Had given him a few moments’ peace instead of the mental torment that came with imagining Clara out with that douche bag.

Captain No Dick and his too-tight pants.

He should be glad for her. Glad that she was out on a date with him. Because he was exactly what she needed. Probably. Close to her age. The kind of guy who didn’t take things too seriously. In a good way. The kind of guy she could have some fun with.

Except that had forced him to think about the kind of fun a guy like that would want to have. And how there was no damn way he was worthy of a woman like Clara.

Not that Alex was either. And he shouldn’t be thinking about her in those terms. But every time he imagined Asher putting his hands on her, put­ting his lips on her, Alex couldn’t help but imagine himself beating the hell out of the guy, then pulling Clara into his arms.

And now he had done it. Well, he hadn’t had to beat up her date, but he had pulled her into his arms. And now he was kissing her, exactly like he had forced himself to never fantasize about.

Oh, he had started to. Had wanted to. Had felt that hard, tight knot in his gut demanding that he turn that vague arousal into a full-fledged fantasy. But he hadn’t allowed himself to do it. No. He had embraced denial. He had embraced good behavior.

Screw that.

Now he was kissing her. Deep and hard, and ex­actly the wrong way to kiss a woman who’d just con­fessed that she had never been kissed before.

She’d never been kissed before. That reality roared through him like a triumph and that should make him feel ashamed. But he didn’t. He couldn’t.

Rain was pounding against the back of his neck, rolling down his shirt collar, soaking him clear through to the bone, but he barely felt it. He was on fire inside, so if the rain did anything, it just kept him from turning to ash right where he stood.

Maybe the kiss had started out as an attempt to show her something. To teach her a lesson about at­traction. To show her that no amount of pretending to like kale and coffee would ever replace real, raw desire.

But the moment their lips touched that had burned away. And it became about him. About what he wanted. About what he had barely allowed himself to admit he wanted.

Except, no matter how firm he’d been with him­self when it came to not forming the words in his mind, he’d always known it would be like this if he touched her.

Copyright © 2017 by Maisey Yates.
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New York Times Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

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