Today’s theme is life in a small town. I’ve lived in a few of those. Sometimes, it’s nice knowing your neighbors, but sometimes, it’s a pain in the ass because everyone knows your business. Here, Jackson’s lucky everyone knows his…
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These cowboys ride hard…
There’s a reason Western romance novels never go out of fashion. The cowboy is an iconic figure embodying the dichotomy of the fiercely independent, earthy alpha male crossed with the male as a nurturer and protector. Cowboys take care of their women in every possible way. Wild and wayward women are gentled by the scent of horse and cow and the sight of sun-kissed skin, the feel of work-hardened thighs and arms, and the sound of a deep-voiced Texas drawl.
Contributors at the top of the Western romance genre, including Charlene Teglia, Randi Alexander, Cat Johnson, and editor, Delilah Devlin, have corralled strong and memorable characters ranging from ranch hands to cattle barons, to a rodeo star and a feisty female gunslinger. Traversing romantic settings from Montana, Texas, California, Mexico, and the Outback of Australia, the stories in Cowboy Lust are risky and risqué, full of studs in spurs hot enough to send you to a vacation on a dude ranch!
Jackson Lowry cussed softly when he spotted the blue lights spinning at the roadblock just ahead. Too late to turn back now. He’d only draw more attention.
Squaring his jaw, he rolled down his window and forced a polite smile as he peered into the darkness at the sheriff’s deputy checking IDs with a flashlight.
As soon as the deputy waved the car in front of him to move along and turned to watch the black pickup roll forward, Jackson’s tension eased a fraction.
Maynard Colby’s expression turned from crisply professional to worried in a second a soon as he recognized him. “Dammit, Jackson, where have you been?”
A soft moan sounded beside him, and Jackson reached surreptitiously beside him to tap the tarp covering his precious load.
“You didn’t hear?” At Jackson’s vague expression, Maynard stepped onto the truck rail and leaned toward Jackson. “It’s Sammie Jo. Her car was found in Shooter’s parking lot, the door wide open. No one’s seen her. Looks like she’s been snatched.”
Jackson cleared his throat. “How serious is this gettin’?”
“It’s only been a couple of hours, but Sammi Jo’s daddy is buckin’ to get the sheriff to call in the FBI, the CIA, ATF—and whatever other agency his money can buy to find her. I tried callin’ you, but your phone kept goin’ to voice mail. After the way things went down at the weddin’ last Sunday, I don’t blame you a bit for layin’ low, but I thought you’d wanna know.”
Another sound, this time a snort, sounded beside him.
Maynard’s gaze cut to the dirty tarp folded over a moving bundle on the floor of the cab. A ruddy eyebrow shot up.
“What’s goin’ on, Jackson?”
Jackson rolled his eyes, then pulled up the corner of the tarp to reveal a bound and gagged Sammie Jo whose eyes glittered furiously back at both men.
Maynard barked a laugh, then tightened his lips. “This time you’ve gone and done it, boy. This is seriously fucked up.“ He laughed again, then tipped his hat to Sammi Jo. “No disrespect meant, missy.”
Jackson cleared his throat. “Don’t s’pose you can forget about this?”
Maynard’s gaze shot to Sammie Jo again, raked her once as though ensuring she didn’t look to be in any real danger, then tipped back his cowboy hat. “Tell ya what. I’ll put a bug in the sheriff’s ear, but she better come walkin’ through the po-lice house doors come Monday mornin’.”
“Not a word to her daddy?”
One corner of Maynard’s mouth crooked up. “Man’s already caused enough problems. Deserves to cool his heels a couple o’ days. Don’t do nothin’ I’ll have to arrest you for.”
With a nod, Jackson rolled up the window and pulled past the barricade. In his side mirror, he watched as Maynard crossed to the other deputy’s car and both men bent over laughing.
“See that, Sammi Jo?” he murmured, not expecting an answer because he’d made double-damn sure he’d tied some serious knots and gagged her pretty mouth. “I’m not the only one who thinks you need a good paddlin’.”
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