Happy release day to my alter ego, Annabelle Weston! Yesterday the 3rd book in the Desert Heat series released!
Kate has a bad reputation. Since her pa’s murder, she’s been a whip-wielding, ball-busting hellcat, determined to prove she can run a ranch just as well as any man. Then her little sister goes and hires a new foreman—a foreman who makes Kate tingle in places she shouldn’t be tingling, not if she wants to keep up a tough façade. When Jake takes liberties by kissing her—never mind where he kisses her—she clocks him in the chin then hopes he’ll kiss her some more. What’s happening to her?
Jake isn’t just at the ranch to help run the place. He made a bet he could tame Kate, a bet that would give him the money he needs for his own piece of land. He never expected her to be so ornery…or taste so sweet. And he never expected to like her more when she’s cantankerous. Unfortunately, it’s a bet he can’t afford to lose, even though he’s already lost his heart.
Inside Scoop: This historical romp is a sexy Western take on The Taming of the Shrew.
An Excerpt From: NOTORIOUS WOMAN
Copyright © ANNABELLE WESTON, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
About a quarter mile from the gate, he came upon a farmhouse, what appeared to be a bunkhouse on the left and a shed for a farrier on the right. Both could use a coat of fresh stucco. As Jake rode up to the house, he came to the conclusion these ladies were over their pretty little heads.
A chicken coop listed to one side. A few chickens scratched the dry earth. He doubted they laid a decent egg to breakfast on. The first winter storm would most likely knock the coop over. No self-respecting coyote would have any trouble breaking in and helping himself to a not-so-plump chicken dinner.
There was a good-sized barn with an empty corral behind it. Beyond the corral, a pasture where livestock should be grazing. He frowned. The girls had no idea how to run a ranch and obviously that idiot of a foreman who had worked for their pa didn’t either. Nobody had done a lick of work in a long time. Damn good thing he’d come along when he did. He’d fix the place right up.
Whoa there, boy! What was he doing? Thinking like that would have him trying to make a permanent home out of Crowley ranch. That wasn’t how it was going to be. He was going to win this wager and then get on to Texas where the real cattlemen lived. In his pocket would be a fat purse—enough to buy his own place.
Best to keep his goal in mind, else he’d wind up draining his blood and sweat on this spread with nothing to show for his effort.
Kate Crowley came out on her porch carrying a lit coal-oil lamp as the sun was about to set. She wore riding clothes and a hat. Thankfully, he didn’t see any whip or other weapon.
A gust of wind whipped her loose hair and reddened her cheeks. He had to admit she made a picture of Western country womanhood any man would be itching to come home to. The fact that for a split-second he thought of coming home to her disturbed him greatly.
Her eyes met his and he couldn’t help but notice taut nipples beneath her blouse. Jake sucked in a breath, his own body reacting with sudden lust. She drew a wool shawl tighter around her shoulders. It hugged her curves and gave the impression of vulnerability. She appeared sturdy enough, he reckoned, but there was no mistaking she was holding her own against a stacked deck.
“You found us,” she said kindly. In the dying light, Jake could see the gratitude reflected in her eyes.
“Yes ma’am.” Jake tipped his hat. He couldn’t afford to be sorry for her plight. Like he’d told the boys at the saloon, her dilemma wasn’t his concern. In six weeks, he’d be a man of means. Most likely, the sisters would be on their way back East, where ladies belonged. “You here to check on my sobriety?”
“Do I need to?”
He chuckled. She gave as good as she got.
“Come with me,” she said and stepped down from her perch. “I’ll show you where to put your gear.”
Like a general who’d just given orders, she marched off, her head high. He couldn’t help but watch the sway of her hips. No matter how much she tried to be one of the boys, this woman had virtues no man could ignore.
Resolve twitched his lips as he pictured her walking like that without any clothes on. Her ass would sway and dimple with each step. He imagined the curve of her bottom as he held her. Damn if he didn’t wonder what she’d be like underneath him. Would her fire scorch him?
His cock grew hard, pressing uncomfortably against his denim. He adjusted his stance, giving himself a chance to settle down.
Jake led Rascal to the bunkhouse where Kate stood waiting by the open door. She went inside, hung the lantern on a wooden peg and set the bedding on the nearest bunk. Her hands lingered a moment on the rough mattress, and seeing her bent over like that, Jake had the urge to come up behind her and press his aching cock against the curve of her buttocks.
Clearing his throat, hoping to gain some control of his lust, he asked, “Where are the other wranglers?” Jake poked his head inside.
“There aren’t any others,” she said, furrowing her forehead.
He raised a brow. She had to be joking. “You hired me to be a foreman. You mean to tell me I’m the only hombre working here?”
Her lips pressed together as she watched him, almost as if she was annoyed that he would question her. But question her he would. This was not the job he’d agreed to. Foreman was one thing. Doing the job of a dozen wranglers wasn’t.
“You’re our only employee. We can’t afford to hire any more help right now.”
“How in the heck do you expect to get the considerable amount of work that needs doing finished by the time winter rolls in?” He stared hard at her. “Which will be sooner than you think.”
Kate stepped forward, her shoulders pulled back, breasts pushed tight against her blouse. The intent he knew was to appear taller, stronger, but instead she looked hotter than hell and had him thinking of hauling her into his arms to feel the softness pressed against him. “I intend to do my share of the work. My sister too.”
Jake let out a whistle. “You must be joshing. I can’t bring cows down from these hills with a couple of women.”
Her eyes glowed in the lamplight. “That’s exactly what we are going to do, Mr. Madden. Are you telling me you’re not able to do the job?”
Jake pushed his hat back on his head. Was she questioning his abilities? He didn’t like what he saw but he wasn’t going to back down with so much at stake.
“I didn’t think so.” She rested her hands on her hips. Ample, curving hips. “You can put your horse in the barn.”
“No thanks. He’ll do fine in the corral. No use spoiling him.”
When she brushed past him, heat encompassed him. Instinctively Jake reached out, stopping her. She glanced up at him, fire filling her eyes. He breathed deep. She smelled of flowers, sugar. Gripping a tendril of her loose hair, he twirled it around his fingers.
“What are you doing?” Her voice was soft, husky, giving away that she was more affected by his simple touch than her words showed.
What was he doing? He wanted to kiss her. To touch her.
Instead Jake shook his head, pulling himself from whatever spell had overtaken him. He blinked a few times, dropping his hand to his side.