Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic) (2 page)

BOOK: Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
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He looked in her direction for a second. “I don’t dislike you. I really don’t know you.”

“You’ve stayed away from the house. I don’t think you want to become better acquainted.”

“I’m busy, especially in the winter. I can’t take time to socialize and leave all the work to my cousin, Dirk.”

She’d met Dirk a couple of times. He was a quiet man, but unlike Ty, he smiled easily and had a much more relaxed manner about him.

Ty stopped the truck in front of the house and started to get out.

Lily reached for his arm, stopping him. “Please, stay where you are. I can manage on my own.” She opened her door. “Would you come for dinner tonight? There’s something I’d like to discuss with you.”

He frowned. A muscle in his cheek pulsed. She waited for his answer.

“This once, I’ll join you. But don’t expect me every night.”

“Of course not. You’re a very busy man.” She smiled and walked toward the house. The biting cold nipped at her cheeks, but it wasn’t any more frosty than the stare she felt at her back. He didn’t drive away until she’d gone in and shut the door.

Her hands trembled as she fastened the lock, but not from the cold. She hated the effect he had on her body. With one glance he made her aware of herself as a woman. Her nipples tightened and desire coiled in her abdomen. She didn’t want to be attracted to him. Her mind and body were not in sync.

She had enough problems with her father. His impending trial hung over her head like a black cloud. The last thing she needed in her life was a stubborn, irritable, handsome, enticing man, filled with grief, to appoint himself her caretaker.

She’d set down some ground rules this evening and hopefully get him to agree to let her do some work for the corporation. After all, she had a graduate degree in accounting. She’d seen his cluttered desk and suspected his financial papers might be in the same condition. Taking over the paperwork and accounting would keep her busy. And in a way, it would pay back the Terrells for giving her a safe haven to hide in until after her father’s judicial proceedings were all over.

Lily went into the kitchen and surveyed the refrigerator and pantry. She’d better get started on dinner and make it a good one. If the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, maybe she could soften Ty Terrell up enough for him to agree with her plan.

* * * *

 

Ty arrived just on time. Lily had pulled the roast out of the oven and had mashed the potatoes. She carried the bowl to the table. She’d added a red plaid tablecloth and napkins to make the kitchen more festive. The dining room was too big for two.

“It smells almost as good in here as when Mom is home and cooking.”

Lily’s heart warmed at his words. His face had a relaxed look for the first time. He’d obviously showered and changed before coming over. His collar-length hair looked soft and shiny. His blue flannel shirt brought out the color of his eyes, and his jeans hugged lean hips and long legs. Her cheeks heated when she looked back at his face. In his eyes she saw a flash of fire.

He walked to the table. “You didn’t want to use the dining room?”

“It’s so huge for just us. This seemed cozier.”

Ty frowned. “We’re here for dinner and you said you had something to discuss. Cozy has nothing to do with us.”

She never knew what made her do it, but she couldn’t resist the urge. She stepped into his space and looked up at him.

“Don’t tell me a big, strong cowboy like you is scared of being alone with a little woman like me,” her voice purred at him. She watched closely for his reaction. When he stepped back and frowned, she had to laugh.

His eyes darkened. “What’s so funny?”

“You. You’re scared of me.”

“The heat in the kitchen must have gone to your head. There’s not a thing left that can scare me.”

Sudden sadness swamped her. “No, I guess not. Once you’ve lost someone very important in your life, there isn’t much the world can do to you that can hurt any worse. Sit. I’ll put the vegetables on the table and join you.”

Lily never tasted her food. They ate silently, like combatants that had called a temporary truce. Even above the fragrant smells of pot roast and apple pie, his scent wafted across the table, arousing her hunger for him. Her fingers itched to touch his skin.

She’d had a few relationships, but only one had been intimate. She’d been disappointed in the experience and hadn’t met anyone since who’d tempted her to let them get close.

Why did the first man to arouse such strong desires have to be the one who disliked her immensely? She didn’t know enough about men and desire to answer that question. If only Angie and she lived closer. Angie would answer her questions.

“Did you hear from Brent recently?” Lily asked, remembering her recent call from Angie.

Ty glanced up from his plate. “He called and left a message to call him back. I didn’t have time before I came here. Why, is something going on?”

“He should be the one to tell you.”

“They don’t have a problem?”

“No, nothing like that.” Deciding it was best to change the subject, she asked, “Can I ask you a favor?”

His forehead wrinkled. “I guess so.”

“I noticed your full desk in your office. Perhaps I might help by doing the paperwork and the accounts for you.” She held her breath, waiting for his answer. From the look on his face, she didn’t expect a positive reply.

“You want to do the accounts for our corporation?”

Lily nodded her head and stared at his flushed face.

“Hell no.”

“Why not? I want to do something as a thank-you for staying here. It will take some work off of you.”

“I don’t need help. Did you do your father’s accounts?” Ty asked.

“No.”

“Then you have no experience. Book learning and on-the-job work experience are two different things. Anyway I just do the basics, and then send everything off to my CPA.”

“I can do the basics for you. I have a head for numbers.”

“So did your dad, evidently.” Ty threw down his napkin and got up from the table. “Thanks for the meal.” He grabbed his hat and stomped out. A rush of cold air blew in before he slammed the door closed.

Blinking back tears, Lily cleaned the table. His last snide remark about her father had been like an arrow shot straight to her chest. She might be able to hate him for that remark if she hadn’t seen him wince and the regret in his midnight-blue eyes.
Well, that went well. I might have known he’d be too bullheaded to admit he needs help
.

But why did he have to keep throwing anger and mean words at her? Maybe she had been mistaken. Could she have made a nick or two in that stone wall surrounding him? If so, he’d mend the dent in his armor and made it twice as strong. Ty Terrell had no intention of letting her get close.

And she didn’t want to be close. But at least being cordial would be less wearing and not so hurtful. She had to stiffen her spine or by spring he’d have drained away what little confidence she had left. That wasn’t going to happen. The discovery of her father’s secret life had wounded her deeply. She had no intention of letting any man close enough to hurt her that way again.

* * * *

Ty closed his jacket against the bitter, cold wind and headed to the barn. Dirk raised his head when Ty entered and closed the doors behind him.

“Have you been out checking the cattle?” Ty asked.

“And our men at the cabin. They’re all doing fine and the cattle have plenty of feed. You look angry as a hornet. Dinner didn’t go well?” Dirk hung up his saddle and began to rub his horse down.

“She irritates the hell out of me. She just can’t seem to keep her nose out of my business.”

“I’ve never known a woman to bother you one way or the other. That she riles you is interesting.” Dirk grinned.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Ty would have liked to knock that grin off his cousin’s face.

“Well, seems to me you protest too much.”

“Hell, I’m going home. Maybe tomorrow you won’t be talking in circles.” He stormed out and just caught Dirk’s last words.

“And maybe you’ll stop running in circles and face her.”

Ty started to change his mind and go back to punch Dirk in the nose. Instead, he continued to forge across the path to his cabin. Snow fell in large, soft flakes. A million stars sparkled overhead in the dark sky. The air was cold and crisp. He went inside and lit a fire in the fireplace. As the flames began to flare up, he remembered other cold
Montana
nights.

When he was little, he loved to sit in front of the fire with his brothers. Mom would give them each a cup of chocolate that had marshmallows floating on top. Dad, who was a wonderful storyteller, held them spellbound with his tales of the Old West. The wind outside would be howling and blowing snow across the windows, but they were warm and safe and loved. He swallowed around a lump in his throat.

What the hell was the matter with him? He wanted to cry, for god’s sake. He hadn’t allowed himself to cry. At least not for a long time.

He started into his bedroom when he saw the message light on his phone. He glanced at his watch. It was still early enough to phone Brent.

“Hi, Brent. I got your message, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to return your call. What’s up?”

“Angie and I thought we might come for a visit soon. Before long I won’t want her to travel very far.”

A knifelike pain stabbed into Ty’s abdomen. He caught his breath before speaking. “Angie’s doing all right?”

“She’s glowing. But we’ll be staying close to home until after the baby is born. Look, we thought we might fly to
Montana
for a visit in a week or so. When the weather gets a little better. Angie hasn’t seen snow in a long time.”

“We have plenty of it here. It’d be good to see you guys.”

“How’s Lily?”

“Fine. She cooked a good meal tonight. We’re all doing all right.”

“I’m glad to hear it. I’ll be in touch and let you know exactly when to expect us.”

“Good. See you soon.” Ty put down the receiver. Soon he’d have another niece or nephew.

He closed his eyes for a moment. Hearing about another child being expected in the family always brought a flashback of the day he’d lost his unborn son. And each time fear crouched inside him until he heard of his nephew or niece’s successful birth.

His oldest brother, Drake, had two children already. He loved Drake’s children. Drake’s wife, Janice, was very intuitive. She’d seen his concern when she was pregnant. She’d kept in touch, letting him know how well she was doing. After her parents, he was the first person she called when the babies were born. He hated for her to see his weakness and yet loved her for trying to help in her own way. She never said anything about it to him or anyone else.

His emotions had drained him. If it wasn’t so cold he’d take Night Star, his stallion, for a run. Instead, he flopped into the large lounge chair in front of the fireplace and stared into the flames. Outside the wind continued to howl and the snow fell faster.

He wondered if the wind’s noise kept Lily awake, or if she had snuggled under the covers with only her golden hair shining in the moonlight. His cock hardened and strained against his jeans. His desire to be buried deep in her pussy was too strong to deny tonight. Maybe she’d be open to having a brief fling. They could keep each other warm during the cold winter nights. He’d seen her hunger tonight when she gave him that all-encompassing look.

BOOK: Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
8.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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