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Spotlight: Ann Gimpel’s Witch’s Bounty (The Witch Chronicles Book #1)

Spotlight

witchsbounty

Witch’s Bounty

The Witch Chronicles, Book 1

By Ann Gimpel

Publisher: Taliesin

Release Date: 3/6/14

Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance

63,000 words

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A demon-stalking witch teams up with a Sidhe, but their combined power, never mind their love, may be too late to make a difference.

Blurb:

One of only three remaining demon-stalking witches, Colleen is almost the last of her kind. Along with her familiar, a changeling spirit, she was hoping for a few months of quiet, running a small magicians’ supply store in Fairbanks, Alaska. Peace isn’t in the cards, though. Demons are raising hell in Seattle. She’s on her way out the door to help, when a Sidhe shows up and demands she accompany him to northern England to quell a demon uprising there.

Duncan swallowed uneasy feelings when the Sidhe foisted demon containment off onto the witches two hundred years before. He’s annoyed when the Sidhe leader sends him to haul a witch across the Atlantic to bail them out. Until he sees the witch in question. Colleen is unquestionably the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Strong and gutsy, too. When she refuses to come with him, because she’s needed in Seattle, he immediately offers his assistance. Anything to remain in her presence.

Colleen can’t believe how gorgeous the Sidhe is, but she doesn’t have time for such nonsense. She, Jenna, and Roz are the only hedge Earth has against being overrun by Hell’s minions. Even with help from a powerful magic wielder like Duncan, the odds aren’t good and the demons know it. Sensing victory is within their grasp, they close in for the kill.

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Book Trailer: 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Dyrl06IANo

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…The bells around the shop door clanged a discordant riot of notes. “Crap!” Jenna shot to her feet. “I should have locked the damned door.”

“Back to cat form.” Colleen flicked her fingers at Bubba, who shrank obligingly and slithered out of clothing, which puddled around him. She snatched up his shirt and pants and dropped them back into the canister.

“I say,” a strongly accented male voice called out. “Is anyone here?”

“I’ll take care of the Brit,” Colleen mouthed. “Take Bubba to the basement and practice.”

She got to her feet and stepped past the curtain. “Yes?” She gazed around the dimly lit store for their customer.

A tall, powerfully built man, wearing dark slacks and a dark turtleneck, strode toward her, a woolen greatcoat slung over one arm. His white-blond hair was drawn back into a queue. Arresting facial bones—sculpted cheeks, strong jaw, high forehead—captured her attention and stole her breath. He was quite possibly the most gorgeous man she’d ever laid eyes on. Discerning green eyes zeroed in on her face, caught her gaze, and held it. Magic danced around him in a numinous shroud. Strong magic.

What was he?

And then she knew. Daoine Sidhe. The man had to be Sidhe royalty. No wonder he was so stunning it almost hurt to look at him.

Colleen held her ground. She placed her feet shoulder width apart and crossed her arms over her chest. “What can I help you with?”

“Colleen Kelly?”

Okay, so he knows who I am. Doesn’t mean a thing. He’s Sidhe. Could have plucked my name right out of my head. “That would be me. How can I help you?” she repeated, burying a desire to lick nervously at her lips.

“Time is short. I’ve been hunting you for a while now. Come closer, witch. We need to talk.”

***

Duncan Regis eyed the grim-faced woman standing in front of him. She was quite striking with such stunning bone structure—high cheekbones, square jaw—she could have been a runway model. Her unwavering pale blue eyes held his gaze. Dressed in brown wool slacks, a multicolored sweater, and scuffed leather boots, she had auburn curls that cascaded to waist level. A scattering of freckles coated her upturned nose. Her lips would have been full if they weren’t pursed into a hard line.

He knew he was staring, but couldn’t help himself. Colleen was tall for a woman, close to six feet, with well-defined shoulders, generous breasts, and a slender waist that flared to trim hips. He smelled her apprehension and was pleased she was able to cloak it so well with the defiant angle of her chin and the challenge in her icy stare.

Despite his earlier command, she didn’t move. Annoyance coiled in his gut. He could summon magic and force her, but he wanted—no, make that needed—her cooperation. Compulsion spells had a way of engendering lingering resentments. He smiled, but it felt fake so he gave it up. “I like women with spirit, but I’m used to being obeyed.”

She frowned and tilted her chin another notch. “I’ll just bet you are. I’m not coming one angstrom closer until you tell me why a Sidhe is hunting for me.”

Surprise registered. He tried to mask it, just like he’d attempted to disguise himself in a human glamour. Duncan tamped down a wry grin, wondering if his second ploy had worked any better than his first.

“Not really.” She tapped one booted toe. “I read minds. You’ll have to do a better job warding yours, if you want to keep me out.” Colleen exhaled briskly. “Look. Maybe it would be easier if you just told me why you’re here. I’m sort of busy just now and I don’t have a bunch of time to spar with you.”

“You don’t have any choice.”

“Oh yes I do.” Anger wafted from her in thick clouds. Along with it a spicy, rose scent, tinged with jasmine, tickled his nostrils and did disconcerting things to his nether regions. He resisted an urge to rearrange his suddenly erect cock. Colleen unfolded her arms, extended one, and pointed toward the door. “Out. Now.”

“You’re making a terrible mistake—”

“Maybe so, but this is my turf. If you force me with your magic, you’ll have broken the rules that bind your kind—and the covenant amongst magic-wielders.”

Duncan’s temper kindled, but it didn’t dampen the lust seeping along his nerve endings. Rules be damned. He could flatten this persnickety witch, or better yet, weave a love spell and bind her to him that way. Maybe he should do just that and have done with things. He clasped his hands behind him to quash the temptation to call magic. The movement stretched his trousers across his erection, making it obvious if she chose to look down.

Something dark streaked from the back of the shop and planted itself in front of him, hissing and spitting. Gaia’s tits. A cat. He stared at it. Hmph. Maybe not a cat after all. Duncan reached outward with a tendril of magic. Before it reached the creature, Colleen bent and scooped it into her arms. The not-a-cat wriggled and hissed, but she held fast.

“Leave him alone,” she said through clenched teeth. “He’s mine.”

Duncan narrowed his eyes. “Damn if it isn’t a changeling. How’d he end up with you?”

Her foot tapped the scarred wooden floor again, its beat so regular it could have been a metronome. “I asked you a whole lot of questions.” She took a step backward. “But the only one I want to know the answer to is—”

“What the fuck are you doing?” Jenna wavered into view, having teleported in from somewhere. Her gaze landed on the cat. “Thank Christ! For a minute there I thought the little bastard got away from me.”

“Jenna,” Colleen snapped. “The Sidhe have deigned to call.”

The other woman whipped around and stared at Duncan. He stared back. What was it with these witches? Had they taken some sort of potion to supersize themselves? She made Colleen look positively petite. Jenna sidled closer to Colleen; part of her height came from high heels, but she was still an imposing woman. “What does he want?” she growled.

Duncan cleared his throat. “I’m right here. You can ask me.”

“Fine.” Jenna put her hands on her hips. “What are you doing here?”

“How do you know I want anything?” he countered, trying to buy time to figure out what to do now. He hadn’t counted on two witches, and a changeling.

“Because if you didn’t, Colleen would have shooed you out of here by now. You really do need to leave. We’re busy.”

He snorted. “Yes. Colleen made that abundantly clear.” He looked from one witch to the other. At least his erection was fading a bit. Crowds always had a dampening effect on his libido. Many other Sidhe thrived on group sex, but he’d never appreciated its appeal.

“Either tell us what you want right now,” Colleen moved toward him, cat still in her arms, “or leave. I’m going to count to three—”

“Maeve’s teeth, witch! We’re on the same side.”

“Generally speaking,” Jenna joined Colleen about three feet away from him, “that’s probably true, but the Sidhe have never helped us.”

Colleen quirked a brow. “No, they haven’t.” Her eyes narrowed. “And I have this prescient feeling that Sidhe-boy here is about to ask for a pretty big favor.”

“Sidhe-boy?” The dregs of his lust scattered; he crimped his hands into fists. “Show some respect.”

“You’re not respecting me,” Colleen said. “I’ve asked you to leave—twice. No, make that three times.” The not-a-cat finally twisted free. He skimmed over the distance to Duncan and buried his claws in his leg.

“Why you changeling bastard!” Duncan shook his leg. The thing didn’t even budge. He bent, curled his hands around the furred body, and tugged. The thing bit him. Anger flashed. Magic followed. The changeling howled and fell into a heap on the floor.

“Goddammit!” Colleen shrieked. “He was just trying to protect me. If you’ve killed him…”

“I didn’t. He’s only stunned.” Duncan rubbed his ankle, glanced at the puncture wounds on his hand, and directed healing magic to both places.

Colleen sprang forward and gathered the creature into her arms. Duncan felt her magic quest into its small body. She blew out an audible breath. Cradled against her, shrouded by her long hair, the changeling mewled softly.

Duncan shook his head. He’d hoped to be subtle, accommodating, encouraging, so the witch would at least hear him out with an open mind. The time for that was long past. “All right.” He spread his hands in front of him. The flesh wounds on the one were already nearly closed. “I’m here because we’ve had problems with Irichna demons—”

“Christ on a fucking crutch,” Jenna cut in. “Seems like they’re on everyone’s mind these days. We were just—”

Colleen rounded on her. “Shut up!”

“Oops. Sorry.” Jenna held out her arms for the changeling. “I’ll just take him and—”

“No.” Colleen’s voice was more like a growl. “You’ll stay right here.” She placed the changeling in the other witch’s arms and turned to face Duncan. “I know you’re Sidhe, but who are you?”

“Duncan Regis.” He held out a hand. She ignored it, so he let it drop to his side.

“Regis, Regis,” she mumbled, her eyes narrowed in thought. “Ruling class from somewhere in Scotland.”

He nodded, impressed. “Northern England, at the moment, but the border has moved around a bit over the years. I do lay claim to Scottish roots. I didn’t know witches studied our family lines.”

“Witches don’t, but I did.”

“Any particular reason?” He was almost sorry he’d asked. She had strong feelings about the Sidhe, and he was about to find out why.

The changeling yowled, obviously recovered from his semi-comatose state. Jenna cursed and set him down. “Damn it! He scratched me.”

Duncan thought about saying something cheery, like welcome to the club, but bit back the words.

Colleen rolled her eyes. “He wants to talk. There’ll be no peace until he shifts.” She flicked magic toward the creature winding itself between her booted feet. The air shimmered and a rather large gnome took form.

He rocked toward Duncan with a bow-legged gait that made him look like a drunken sailor; his open mouth displayed squared off teeth. “I’ll tell you why she knows about you.” The changeling drew himself to his full height of about three-and-a-half feet. “She came to the Old Country looking for help during the last demon war. You Sidhe were too high and mighty to get your hands dirty, so she had to settle for me.”

Colleen snickered. “Not exactly the way I might have described it, but close enough. Hey, Bubba! Get some clothes on.”

“Later,” the changeling snapped without looking at her.

“Which of us did you approach?” Duncan made the question casual. Whoever turned Colleen down had broken the covenant binding magic-wielders to come to one another’s aid in times of need. He wondered if she knew.

“Of course I do.” She sneered. “Your thoughts are as transparent as a child’s. Even Bubba here,” she pointed to the changeling, “does a better job masking his feelings when he puts his mind to it.”

“Thanks.” The changeling glowered at her before transferring his attention back to Duncan.

“What kind of name is Bubba?” Duncan linked to the changeling, and was surprised by the complexity of his thoughts. Maybe the witches had been a good influence.

“You didn’t have to just push your way in.” The changeling screwed up his seamed face in disgust, but didn’t draw back. “My true name is Niall Eoghan.”

“Clothes,” Colleen reminded him.

Bubba made a face at her, turned, and walked behind one of the display cases. When he emerged, he wore wide-bottomed green trousers and a black shirt.

“Irish.” Puzzle pieces clicked into place and Duncan transferred his attention back to Colleen. “You never did tell me who you’d asked for help. It appears they not only turned you down, but chased you across the Irish Sea.”

“We left voluntarily,” Jenna said.

Colleen’s lips twisted in distaste. Whatever she remembered apparently didn’t sit well. “We spoke with two Sidhe at Inverlochy Castle outside Inverness. They refused to give us their names, but said they were princes over your people. They heard us out and sent us packing. Gave us twenty-four hours to leave Scottish soil.”

“I was all for staying,” Jenna chimed in. “After all, we had passports.”

“Was it just the two of you?” Duncan asked.

“Roz was with us,” Colleen said.

Understanding washed through him. “Three. You brought three to maximize your power.”

Colleen’s full mouth split into a chilly smile. “We were under attack by the Irichna. Would you have done any less?”

“Probably not. So after we, that is, the Sidhe—”

We worked fine,” Bubba said flatly. “Unless you’ve decided to renounce your heritage.”

Duncan traded pointed looks with the changeling. “Speaking of magic, you’re stronger than any changeling I’ve ever come across.”

“That’s because you’re used to our feeble Scottish cousins. They were stronger before you stripped their magic and diverted it for your own purposes.”

“Enough.” Colleen snapped her fingers. “Or I’ll change you back into a cat. We don’t need a history lesson just now.” She shook her hair back over her shoulders. The movement strained her sweater tighter across her breasts. Duncan dragged his gaze elsewhere.

“About the Irichna—” he began.

“We can’t help you,” Colleen said flatly.

“Why not? We’d pay you well.”

“It’s not a matter of money, although I’m not sure you could afford us.”

“We have an, um, previous engagement,” Jenna offered.

“Whoever it is, we need you more than they do.” He looked from one witch to the other.

Colleen dropped her gaze and rubbed the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index fingers. When she looked up, the skin around her eyes was pinched with worry. “I’m not sure it’s a matter of who needs whom more.” She speared him with her pale blue gaze. “Do the Sidhe know why the demons are so much more active here of late?”

He debated how much to tell her. Given her ability to burrow inside his head, it was unlikely he’d be able to hide much. If he told her everything, though, it might piss her off. Hell’s bells, it annoyed the crap out of him. “Not exactly.”

Her nostrils flared. “You can do better than that. If you can’t, the door is behind you.” She folded her arms beneath her breasts. “Talk now or leave now. It’s all the same to me.”

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About the author

Ann

www.anngimpel.com

http://anngimpel.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/anngimpel

http://www.facebook.com/anngimpel.author

@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)

Short Bio:

Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent.  Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing.  A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. She’s published 20 books to date, with several more contracted for 2014.

A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.

Long Bio: 

Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.

Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.

In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.

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Sinful Surrender Coming Soon!

DID YOU MISS ME?

I’ve been working hard to bring you my first e-book!

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShop

It’s a Romantic-paranormal, Ménage, Futuristic-fantasy, Dystopian  

SINFUL SURRENDER

will be released on March 17th 2014!

Perfect release date for an Irish lass like me … now, I’ll have even more to celebrate on St. Paddy’s day!

HERE’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT:

Top psychic spy Fay Avalon saw too much on her latest mind traveling mission and is now on the run from her post-catastrophic dystopian government, searching for the truth and proof. She escapes but is shot down, landing in the arms of the enemy.

In Drakker and Arlo’s world, women are so rare the men have accepted a polyandrous lifestyle. When the brothers stumble upon Fay unconscious in the wreckage of an aircraft, they are immediately attracted to her. Arlo wants to keep her, but Drakker knows they can’t. They must take her to their brother Logan Abán, leader of their people.

Logan struggles with trusting anyone, even himself. When a beautiful, intelligent, and intriguing woman falls into their laps, his denied desires for intimacy challenge his need to trust the spy. He’s frustrated by romantic Arlo’s claims of her innocence.  When pragmatic and dominating Drakker defends her as well, Logan refuses to trust his gut.

Can one woman satisfy the diverse desires of three men? Will Logan’s fears be realized by betrayal? Is Fay to be sentenced to death as a spy, suffer a fate worse than death by being returned to her government as a traitor, or will she find a new life and love as the wife of three sexy brothers?

Check out the trailers at LSB or on youtube

Kisses

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Part Two – #RHINESTONE COWBOY

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Oh my god…the man was about to reject me. “Shoot.” I gulped fearing the worst.
“Do you want to take that ride now or in the morning?”

Was he talking about my riding the horse or him? “To be honest with you Vance, I’d like to ride now and in the morning. Will that be too much trouble?”

He slid his hands up the outside of my legs. “Not at all Ms. Havens.”

“Call me Houstie.”

I felt his fingers slide around my rhinestone hips and pulled me closer to press his warm lips to my stomach then murmured, “Houstie, you sure know how to put a surge in a man.”

I gave him a smile ~ you know that special smile every girl uses when she’s roping in her cowboy. He pushed his back into the sofa as he stretched his long legs out, guess he was feeling a little taller, because he smoothed his pants down his thighs like he needed more room.

I raked my fingers over the back of his neck before gliding them up to remove his black Stetson and placed it on my head. He glanced up, raking his eyes over his ‘city’ cowgirl in rhinestone panties and his cowboy hat. I kicked my Marabou bedroom slippers off as I said, “I’m looking to take a nice…” I straddled my legs around his knees as I stood before him. “long ride…” I moved in using my hands on his broad shoulders to balance myself as I slipped down to straddle my knees to his hips and let my pussy rub over his jean covered erection, as I  conveniently brought my breasts temptingly close to his mouth.

“Are you comfortable, Ms Havens?” His deep voice usually clothed in proper cowboy manners was now naked with a lust he couldn’t hide.

I wiggled my ass, enjoying the feel of his hard on pressed against my clit. “To be honest Vance, no I’m not.”

He cleared his throat. “I’ve always found an unhappy woman to be trouble, Ms Havens. And I know most women when asked what the problem is, usually won’t come right out and say so. They tend to sulk if the man can’t figure it out on his own. So, let me take a wild guess at your problem.” He circled his hands around my waist and lifted me off his lap. He set me down to the side of him and stood up. Like a sexy cowboy, he reached down, tipped his hat back on my head and placed a warm kiss on my wanton lips.

On standing back up, he reached for his tobacco and hand rolled another cigarette while I anxiously watched. He knew I was itching to get to his cock, but he was playing with me, seeing how long he could make me wait for his impaler.

Once the cigarette was secure in the corner of his mouth, squinting his left eye against the smoke, he reached up and ripped the snaps on his western shirt open. I gasped as he pulled the tucked ends free from his jeans; exposing his beautifully tanned chest. Skimming my hungry gaze over every bulging muscle that formed his six pack stomach.

“Ooh, very nice.” I cooed as the moisture between my legs heated up.

His sexy eyes twinkled as he took a long drag off his cigarette. I felt faint, my heart was beating so hard. He blew the inhaled smoke out through his nose looking like a bull in heat as he slowly undid his silver-buckled, Mesa County, Rodeo Champions’ belt.

Unable to contain myself I reached for his jeans and he tapped my hands away. “I realize you city folks do everything in a hurry, but here…we do things different. Ms Havens I intend to take my time with you and make sure you’re happy when I’m done.”

My blood zipped to running at warp speed through my veins. He crushed out his cigarette, unbutton and then unzipped his dungarees. He opened his fly to reveal his very taunting lower stomach muscles, but didn’t drop his jeans, nor did he release that huge lump pushing against in his Levis that was making my pussy so hot.

Disappointed, I pouted. “Ah, come on Cowboy. I want to see.”

Only Vance could use such an unpolished maneuver like nudging my shoulder to get me to lay back onto the sofa in total surrender as he moved in to lay on top of me. Just the weight of him was arousing me in ways I’d never felt before. His voice was deep with hunger when he said, “Is that all you want, to ‘see‘ ? Well hell, why didn’t you say so. I thought you wanted a ride.”

As he pulled back most of his weight to balance up on his beautifully bulging muscled arms, I locked my leg around him, not giving him the chance to back out. “Saddle up, cowboy. you’re in for a very long ride.”

He abutted his cock to my pussy, but didn’t enter. “Hot damn, you’re already wet,”  he groaned as he slipped the head of his cock over my clit, making me gasp at the delicious pleasure of his touch, as he used the head of his dick to play in my moisture, driving me mad with a greedy yearning for more.

I pushed forward with my hips and his cock slipped in deep. He groaned at the warm entry, and passion enveloped me; I’d roped my cowboy!

Lowering the top half of himself down towards me like doing a push up, his head dropped forward and sucked at my already hard nipple. He swirled his tongue around my bud and nipped it before releasing it to find my lips. He possessed my mouth like a driven man; perhaps my silent cowboy had carried a torch for me that I hadn’t noticed before. Our breaths pumped in and out, the only sounds in the room were my craving moans, his heavy breaths, and the slapping taps of our bodies as the came together in dreamy bliss.

I surrendered to the desire in his touch, and gave into the burning urge of his kisses as he placed them along my neck, while thrusting his throbbing cock in and out of me with the need of a man on fire. I reached down between our plunging hips and cupped his balls, they were heavy with seed. He groaned, holding back his more fervent thrust as I rolled and fingered them in my palms.

“I like the way they feel. I want to suck on these.”

His only answer was to shove his cock deeper into me. He was a man on the edge. I pumped back against him and squeezed my breast together. His eyes turned smoky with a lecherous gaze that watched my hot pink nails intently as I pinch at my nipples and squeeze my breasts, taunting him.

The force of his thrusts were drawing me closer and closer to climax. Two more scorching sorties and I felt my body tremble at the peak…timed perfectly, Vance impaled his cock into me just right and my body tumbled over the edge of ecstasy.

My roped cowboy had just branded me as his.


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Rhinestones and Cowboys: A new #erotic page from my diary #book #romance #author

Vance was the oldest of the hands on Sebastian Osborne’s ranch, but it was his stoic nature and gentle voice that drew me to him every time I visited Denver. I liked Vance, trouble was, he showed no interest in me. But I didn’t care, I just liked being around him when the world became too much to deal with. A model’s life isn’t always a bed of roses.

Anyway, I’d come to accept a high maintenance kind of woman, like me, just didn’t fit his simple needs. Though I was well aware, that same fact sure didn’t stop the younger cowboys from strutting their wares in a contest to see who could rope the city slicker first.

“I said no.” I slipped out from under Cody’s arms. He’d braced his hands against the barn’s siding on each side of my head, thinking that would hold me in. Little did he know, the city boys knew that same move, and I was well practiced in maneuvering out of that hold. But the greenhorn was swift and caught me by the wrist, keeping me from totally escaping him.
“Are ya saying ya too good for me?” His tone carried a bit of arrogance that nursed an  ego I was guilty of wounding.
“No. I said-”
“She might not be saying that about you Cody, but I am.” Vance’s deep voice broke through the darkness in the barn. His large hands grabbed the young cowboy by the scruff of the neck and tossed him to the ground.

It all happened so fast I could only stand there in shock as I watched Vance tower over the man.

“I hired you to attend to the cows, not Mister Osborne’s guests. I catch your hide anywhere near Ms. Havens again, I’ll give you an new set of teeth.” He yanked the cowboy off the ground, going nose to nose to finish. “You best be catching my drift, cowboy, or there will be a bow-whip waiting to meet the flesh on your back the next time.”
“Yes, Sir.” He jerked out of Vance grip and grabbed his fallen Stetson as he stomped out of the barn.

I was about to sigh a breath of relief when Vance gripped my arm and dragged me from the barn as well. “Mind tell me what you think you’re doing in that barn at this time at night, Ms Havens?”
“I-It seemed like a nice night for a ride.”
He dragged me toward the house. “Maybe so, but you should be asking me to get your horse ready, not entering a barn alone with a bunch of cowboys hanging around with nothing to do on a Saturday night.”
“Well seeing that I was on Sebastian’s ranch, I didn’t think I’d be in danger.”
He tilted his black cowboy hat to the back of his head. “Ma’am, this here’s a working ranch. I take on hands during the season for the extra help I need. After that, I don’t see hide nor hair from those long riders again. Most of them have spent some kind of time with the man.”
I gulped. “You mean in jail?”
He exhaled and looked sideways before looking back at me with disbelief in his sexy, steel blue eyes. “Well I ain’t talk religion. You should have told me what you wanted and I would have escorted you on your night ride as well.”
I shrugged as we rounded the corner of the house and spotted three other cow-hands sitting on the porch, all spiffed up like they were going to church. Vance released me and yanked his hat off his head and tossed it on the ground. “Get your asses off that porch!”
He bellowed so loud I jumped. All three men leap up like their pants were on fire.
“Jimmy, you and Bobby-Joe are supposed to be riding fences! And Elmer you’re supposed to be visiting your sick mother tonight. So…would one of you three idiots explain to me why I’m standing here looking at your ugly faces?”

Vance stood there stroking his chin as he watched all three of those cowboys high tail it out of there muttering one thing or another. As the dust from the escaping truck’s wheels settled, Vance heaved a sigh and took my elbow as I walked up the stairs to the front door.

“Thank you.” I looked up into his gentle eyes and wished he’d see me ‘the woman’ instead of the untouchable model.  “I’m sorry to be such trouble.”
With an agreeing grunt, he tilted his hat and turned to leave, then hesitated. “There’s a latch on that door…use it.”
Not wanting to let him go, I said, “Perhaps you should come in and check out the house before I find myself locked in with a few more of your men.”
Vance stopped his descent of the stairs and turned to face me. My heart fluttered. From his pocket, he pulled out a piece of paper and a pouch as his smokey eyes ranked down my blonde highlights to the tips of my painted hot pink toenails. As I waited for him to speak, he poured a small amount of sweet smelling tobacco onto the paper and with his teeth pulled the string that would tighten the pouch closed. I watched transfixed as he licked the edge of the paper with gentle laps and imagined how his tongue would feel on my pussy. His left eye squinted and his brows pressed together as if he knew what I was picturing.

Guilty, I cleared my throat I said, “They make electric ones you know.”
He smirked, “City smokers.” Skillfully, he rolled the paper with his long sexy fingers. Fingers I could see tweaking my nipple to a very hard peak.
“Well, if it’ll make you feel safer…” He indicated with a tilt of his head that he was talking about the house. “I’ll take a gander.”
The minute we entered he wandered through the house, with that slow, easy stride all confident cowboys seemed to have. I followed right behind him. I knew the house was empty but it gave me a chance check out his cute ass. When he stopped abruptly I plowed right into him and got a frown. “All seems fine, Ms Havens.”
“Call me Houston.” I batted my lashes.
He took a long draw on his cigarette. “You got something in your eye?”
So much for subtle hints. “Would you like something to drink?”
He silently made his way toward the door, and my heart fell with disappointment. When he reached it he turned and tipped his hat. “Have a nice evening, Ma’am.”
Damn this man, what does it take? “What about my ride?”
“You’re ride?”
I smiled suggestively. “My ride…I felt like riding tonight.”
“I think you best save that for in the morning ma’am, don’t you?” He glanced around the room. “Isn’t there something else you can do.”
I gave him my most innocent look. “Why now that I think of it, there is.”
“Good.” He cut me short as if he was in a hurry to leave.
“But…” My words stopped him from opening the door. “I’ll need your assistance.”
“Ma’am?”
“It won’t take long. Promise!” I rushed over and grabbed his arm. The smell of him assailed my senses, causing my pulse to race. He smelled like leather, tobacco and the great outdoors. I loved all three of those smells, especially on him. I pulled him over to the sofa in the living room. “I have a print job to do for a top magazine after I leave here. I’d like to get your opinion on the outfit the photographer wants me to wear.”
“Ma’am, I don’t know much about stuff like that. I-”
“It’s okay, I just want a man’s opinion about it. Wait here.” I scurried off to my room to find something sexy. Damn, I hadn’t brought anything sexy? I spun around and raided my jewelry box, finding an old rhinestone necklace. That’ll do it!
Stripping my clothes, I looped the jewelry around my waist. It hung perfectly over my hips. I pulled the end of the necklace through my legs and hooked all the ends together with a pink hair ribbon; tied into a nice small bow. A quick glance in the mirror told me I’d done it. I’d managed to make it look like I had on rhinestone panties. “Watch out Cowboy…I’m about to rope you in.” I murmured as I made a quick swipe of hot pink lipstick across my lips and a finger tossed my hair for that oh so sexy bedroom look. Now I was ready to seduce Vance.

Slipping into my satin robe and clear heeled Marabou bedroom slippers I sauntered into the living room.

Vance sat there whiskey in hand. He must have heard my heels clicking on the wooden floors because he hadn’t looked up when he said, “I helped myself to some of your whiskey. I hope you don’t min–” His mouth fell slightly open the second he looked up. “Ma’am, what are you up to?”

“Why not a thing, Vance.” I turned my ass toward him and lowered my robe to reveal my naked back, but didn’t let it fall below my pink bow surprise. Looking back over my shoulder I said in the sexiest voice I could muster, “This…” I dropped the robe, keeping my pouty-lipped, glance over the shoulder, sexy backside pose. “…outfit will be for the magazine’s main story photo for a real estate mogul’s interview.”

Excitement raced through me when I noticed Vance’s eyes traced over the rhinestone panties then narrowed as his gaze followed the curves of my ass. I wiggled my butt. “Well?”
He downed the rest of his whiskey.

My heart was pounding so hard I felt faint. “What do you think, cowboy?” I turned around and walked toward him. His eyes fell to my rhinestones then up to take in my breasts. He swallowed hard as I sauntered toward him, stopping just in front of him. I stood there in silence.
He drew a deep breath as he smashed his cigarette out. He was anything but calm, I could see his chest pumping beneath his cool exterior.
I was getting nervous. Why wasn’t he reacting like I thought he would? “Do you like it?”

“I got one question for you, Mz Havens?”

Oh my god…the man was about to reject me. “Shoot.” I gulped fearing the worst.

“Do you want to take that ride now or in the morning?”