You know I’m going to tease you right up until release day! If you like my Westerns, you will LOVE this story. And you’ll want Gabe and Tommy’s stories next. So go ahead, don’t fight the urge another day.
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Seeking sanctuary could be the hottest mistake she ever made.
The TripleHorn Brand, Book 1
A lifetime ago, Zuri Prescott kicked the dirt off her boots and ditched her small-time small town for the glam city life—and lived to regret it. When she’s framed for a bank job, she lights out for home, seeking refuge with her old high school sweetheart while she figures out her next steps. Only she discovers that the boy she left behind is the last man she should trust.
Sheriff Colt Triplehorn knows trouble when he sees it, especially when it comes in the form of a familiar trespasser, caught naked between an angry bull and her underwear. Sure she’s up to her usual no good, he grants her sanctuary at his ranch—the better to keep an eye on her, and purge her from his system once and for all.
Reconnection is sweet and hot, but the heat can’t hide the truth. When Colt inevitably finds out what Zuri’s running from, it’s too late to put the fire out, and he’s got a career-compromising choice on his hands. Follow the letter of the law, or follow his heart.
Product Warnings: When a sheriff captures the girl who got away, expect revenge so hot it leaves brands on two lonely hearts…
“You still want to stay?”
Her head came up, her gaze clinging to his expression, which was set in firm lines that didn’t give away a thing he was really thinking. “You haven’t changed your mind? Your brothers didn’t talk you out of it? I’m bad news, remember?”
“I don’t answer to them. You willin’ to stay on my terms?”
She shook her head, not understanding him—angry and unbending one moment, offering her a carrot the next. “Why are you doin’ this?”
One side of his sexy mouth curved upward. “I haven’t a clue.”
The screen door creaked opened behind them. They both turned. Gabe gave her a hard, pointed stare, and then turned to Colt. “You have a call. It’s the station.”
Colt sighed and shot her a look that said he wasn’t satisfied, not by a long shot. “We’re not done.” Then he stood and walked back into the house.
Gabe lingered on the porch, standing behind her, making her uncomfortable enough with his silent disapproval that her hackles raised.
She kept her gaze resolutely on the roofs of the outbuildings just beyond the paddock. “You have somethin’ you want to get off your chest?”
“He’s not a kid anymore. He won’t be fooled twice.”
Zuri shook her head and aimed a narrowed glare over her shoulder. “You sound like I did somethin’ to him.”
“Just givin’ you fair warnin’.”
She lifted her shoulders. “I’m not here to start anything with him. I just ran into some trouble and need a place to stay for a couple of days.”
“Where you plannin’ to sleep?”
She arched one brow. “Why don’t you ask him?”
“I don’t want him gettin’ stubborn.” Gabe snorted. “He never had a lick o’ sense when it came to you.”
“I don’t get it, Gabe. I never did a thing to you.”
“You mess with one of us, you have the whole family to answer to.”
“Again, I’m drawin’ blanks. I never hurt your brother. I couldn’t. He didn’t give a damn about me.”
Gabe’s lips tightened. “Your father back in jail?”
Leave it to Gabe to say the one thing sure to get her back up. “I don’t know where my stepfather is. Haven’t talked to him in twelve years.” She lowered both brows, letting him see just how much he’d angered her. “You know, I never would have taken you for the prejudiced kind. I shared his roof. Not his bad habits.”
“So Colt always used to say. Funny how he suddenly stopped defendin’ you.”
Both of them froze as Colt stepped onto the porch.
He was still dressed in blue jeans, but he’d swapped his tee for a button-down shirt. His badge hung on the breast pocket, and he carried a cream-colored cowboy hat in his hand. “I have to head into town. Wade’s on call and has his hands full with a wreck on Silver Tree Road. I’m headin’ into the office in case anything else goes down.”
Gabe nodded and then gave Zuri a one-sided smile. “Colt keeps pretty busy. You might not see a lot of him while you’re here.”
“That’s all right,” she said, keeping her voice even. “I don’t need babysittin’.”
Colt ignored Gabe and grabbed her hand, pulled her up and kept hold of her while they walked toward the garage at the side of the house. When they stood beside a blue and white Sheriff’s vehicle, he dropped her hand. “The bed’s all yours tonight. Get some sleep.”
“But I thought…” She bit her lip, wishing she hadn’t reacted at all. He’d think she was disappointed they weren’t going to make love.
“I was just seein’ how far you’d go. How desperate you really are. Makes me wonder if you’ve told me everything, or if you’re still keepin’ secrets.”
Zuri closed her mouth, not wanting to dig a deeper hole for herself.
He paused as though hoping she’d tell him something more.
She sighed. “Look, I’m tired. Sleep sounds pretty good to me now.”
He snaked his arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest. “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me everything,” he said, his voice a deep, masculine growl.
“I want to,” she said truthfully, fingering a shirt button. “I really do. But it’s so damn complicated. And like you said, we don’t really know each other.”
Colt’s lips firmed. His chest lifted around a deep sigh. “I’ll see you in the mornin’.”
His head descended, and as though it was the most natural thing in the world to do, she relaxed against the arm cinching around her and melted into his body. His kiss was surprisingly soft and over way too quick.
She must have made a sound of complaint, because he smiled, his eyelids dipping as he studied her face. “Not enough, is it?”
Zuri shook her head.
He bent his head again, but his lips hovered just above hers. He waited until she rose up on her tip-toes to press her mouth against his. Again, like a flame licking at dry tinder, sensual heat exploded between them.
Colt turned her toward the truck, crowding her against hard metal.
She slid her hands up his chest, then snuck them around the back of his warm neck to cling against him.
The kiss deepened, their mouths circling, tongues darting inward to taste. Colt glided his hands over her— cupping one over her bottom, slipping another beneath her shirt and molding it around a bare breast.
Zuri moaned and lifted her leg, sliding it over the crest of his hip as he pushed against her, rutting gently between her legs. She broke the kiss. “This is crazy,” she whispered.
“Agreed,” he rasped into her ear. “Bad idea.”
She raked her nails against his scalp, loving the way he groaned as though his body ached for completion as much as hers.
He slid his hand down her belly, gliding beneath the rolled waistband of the pants he’d leant her. Fingers raked downward, slipping between her moist folds.
“God, Colt,” she moaned.
His mouth slammed over hers again, and he stroked her slick sex, two fingers plunging inside her.
Her body vibrated, bowed backward. Her breath hitched.
Slowly, he circled his thumb over her clitoris, the callused digit scraping and exciting her arousal to full bloom, and she cried out, the sound muffled against his mouth.
Liquid heat seeped from inside her, coating his fingers, easing his intrusion. She pulsed, dragging on his stroking fingers, forward and back, in a slow, sensual ebb and flow.
He caught her lower lip with his teeth, and she opened her eyes, snared by the heat banked in his darkened eyes. “Come for me, Zuri,” he whispered.
Her orgasm exploded—rich, hot, moist. She gasped, her body undulating, inviting his deepening strokes until at last the convulsions rippling deep inside her grew still, and her body quivered in the aftermath.
Colt dropped his forehead to her shoulder and pulled his hand from beneath her clothing. Then he wrapped both arms around her, rocking them together until she breathed deeply, her cheek snuggled against his.
“Gotta go,” he said, his voice rough.
“Wish you weren’t gonna be so long.”
He pressed a kiss against her hair. “Get some sleep.”
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