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One Track Cowboy

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One Track CowboyOn Sale (Short Story Release): January 28, 2015

After tracking two lost hikers, a park ranger and a local rancher lose themselves to a wild passion.

This is a 5000-word erotic Western short story. It may be short in length, but it’s not short in passion!

* * *

Cowboy HeatONE TRACK COWBOY is also part the COWBOY HEAT anthology.
Edited by Delilah Devlin
Cleis Press
ISBN-10: 1627780335
ISBN-13: 9781627780339
On Sale: March 18, 2014

They may ride off into the sunset, but cowboys never go out of style. These manly men embody the fiercely independent, earthy alpha male and hero who isn’t afraid to show the gentle, nurturing side of his complex nature when faced with a woman in need. Even when he’s coated with dust from riding behind a herd of cattle or up to his knees in mud freeing a calf from a wallow, this stud still generates a lot of Cowboy Heat. Delilah Devlin’s Cowboy Lust was a sensation, hitting the top ten of romance books and generating a river of praise. Award-winning Devlin is back on the ranch with stories of rugged romantics, rough riders, and rope wranglers sure to satisfy any reader who craves the idea of that gruff, romantic hero, a man of few words but many moves. Cowboy Heat sits tall in the saddle, winning hearts and spurring readers to new heights of happiness.

Excerpt

Note for Readers: You must be of legal age in your country of origin to read this excerpt.

With our horses’ reins tied to tree branches, we stood by their heads soothing them as a helicopter’s blades whipped up dust from above. While the bird lifted the hikers in baskets, one at a time, relief that we’d found the teenagers alive, if hungry, warred with my disappointment the journey was nearly over.

Once the second basket was safely aboard, Zane Red Elk looked over his shoulder at me. As always, his stoic expression was impossible to read. “Want me to signal them to send the basket down to pick you up too?” he asked, voice dead even.

I wondered why he asked. He could simply radio the request; his job was done. If I refused, he’d be stuck getting me back to the park headquarters, two days-and nights-away.

I hesitated. Was he offering me an option because he felt it was polite or because he hoped I’d stay? Maybe he read the reason for my indecision as easily as he had the tracks the boys’ sneakers left in hard rock and sifting dirt. He lifted the radio and told the helicopter to head back to civilization and the waiting ambulance.

I stood atop a bare ridge, my face no doubt reflecting every bit of yearning I felt. The emotion hit me squarely in the belly. As hard as the tracker had been on me, I wasn’t ready to leave him.

The last two days had been a revelation. I’d been working for the park service for three years, and it was the first time I’d been selected to participate in a search for missing hikers. When the boys failed to return to their vehicle and hadn’t talked to relatives in days, we’d feared the worst. A search was organized involving volunteers and members of the park service, local law enforcement and Texas Rangers, and was conducted from the ground and the air.

Zane was enlisted due to his tracking expertise and his intimate knowledge of the area. When he wasn’t busy with his nearby horse ranch, he led photographers and hunters through the canyon.

We rode two of his personal horses-Zane on a tall black gelding and me on an even-tempered bay mare. After two days in the saddle, despite the fact I rode often for relaxation, my ass was numb.

Zane flicked a glance my way, turned off the radio and stowed it in his gear. There’d be no need to keep in contact with the team now the search was over. We’d head back the way we came. I hoped he’d take his time.

I wanted time to savor the silence and my growing attraction to the stone-faced Comanche cowboy who’d begun this journey more than a little irritated I’d insisted on accompanying him. I guess he’d thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I’d earned his grudging admiration the first time we’d taken our horses down an arroyo and I hadn’t freaked at the steep decline. I’d cemented his respect the first night we’d stopped and set up camp. With a quiet efficiency that matched his, I’d cared for my horse and then set about sweeping away brush and rolling out my sleeping bag, never complaining about the lack of a crackling fire to provide comfort in the darkness.

For two days, we’d barely spoken, except when he’d paused to point out the signs he’d found-broken branches, boot scuffs, dried puddles where the two young boys urinated against a tree or behind a boulder.

I trusted his instincts. Not something I did easily. He was so competent and briskly impatient that I’d gone along with his every suggestion, biting my tongue before adding my own two cents. He didn’t need them.

And now we’d be alone. Miles and miles from civilization. For the first time since I’d begun this journey, anticipation rather than quiet dread thrummed in my chest.

If he felt it too, he hid it well. He repacked his gear, ran his hands over his horse’s head and flanks, then lifted his hooves to check his shoes. I followed suit, not wanting to earn his disgust if my horse fell lame because I’d been too moon-eyed to see to the mare’s welfare first.

When I dropped the last hoof to the ground, I straightened. Zane stood closer than I expected. I drew back startled, my eyes widening. His face hovered over mine, so still, his dark eyes watchful, that my breath caught and held. What was he searching for?

I went with my gut, with my own desire. My lips parted as I let my head fall back. An invitation extended with the lowering of my eyelids. Beneath the sweep of my lashes, I noted the tensing of his jaw, the narrowing of his gaze. He was looking at my mouth.

And then slowly, he bent closer, his mouth drawing nearer. “We should head back into the canyon and follow the edge of the stream.”

I drew in a ragged breath. He was so damn close. Just kiss me.

He moved away, but not before I saw one corner of his firm mouth twitch.