Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic) (3 page)

BOOK: Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
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It took all his determination not to grab her and kiss her soft, pink mouth. Damn, she was trouble. Just as he’d expected she’d be.

* * * *

Lily had cleaned the kitchen, and then tried to read a book. But after staring at the same page for ten minutes, she decided to go to bed. The empty house seemed cold even with the furnace pumping out the heat. There were shadows in corners. She’d never noticed them when Mr. and Mrs. Terrell were home.

She might as well get used to being alone. Her father probably wasn’t ever going to be a free man again. Angie was all the family she had left, and she was pregnant. There’d be little time for a long-lost sister.

Stop being maudlin. I have a place to stay and people who care about me. What more could I want?

A handsome cowboy with flashing blue eyes and a quick temper came to mind. She didn’t need him, but her body wanted him. She had to find another place to live until her father’s trial, and before all Ty’s anger and her hunger caused an explosion. Someone would get hurt, and it would probably be her.

Chapter Two

A week had passed with Ty only briefly stopping by twice to check on her. She’d pretended to be fine, but actually any moment she expected to go running out of the house screaming. She’d never experienced long periods of isolation. The first few days weren’t so bad. But after deep cleaning the whole house, baking numerous breads and cakes, and reading every available book, she’d run out of things to do.

She stood in the doorway to Ty’s office. The clutter bothered her. It was the only room she hadn’t cleaned. Well, she hadn’t invaded Mr. and Mrs. Terrell’s rooms. Taking a deep breath, she stepped inside. First, she’d clean out the fireplace.

“What the hell are you doing? Can’t I leave you alone for a few days without you invading my privacy?” Ty towered above her.

Lily had never heard him enter. She’d just finished sweeping out the fireplace and was starting to stand. Ty frowned at her. He took hold of her arm and pulled her up to face him.

“It should be quite evident what I’m doing. I’m cleaning out your fireplace.”

“I told you to stay out of here.”

“You said I couldn’t do the paperwork and accounting, not that I couldn’t clean this pigsty.” She frowned back at him, putting her face right up to his.

His woodsy scent filled her nostrils. She was close enough to see the flash of fire in his blue eyes. His nostrils flared. He was dangerous, exciting, and all male. She couldn’t stop the smile that started at her lips and covered her face.

Ty’s strong hands grabbed her shoulders and hauled her against his hard body. “What’s so damn funny?”

“You shouldn’t use cuss words when talking to a lady,” she said in a low murmur.

“You’re just a little girl depending on everyone to take care of you. First your father, and now my parents.”

Although not totally unexpected, his harsh words still surprised her. She gasped and tore herself out of his clutches.

“I don’t want to be dependent. If you’d let me I can help with your work here in the office. You can double-check what I do,” she snapped at him. Anger directed at him had her breathing hard. He towered over her. His blue eyes stared at her face. He held his jaw so tight she expected to hear his teeth grind.

Finally he shrugged, “Do what you please. You’re going to anyway.” He practically ran out of the room.

She heard the front door slam, and then silence. Sinking into the chair behind the desk, she gripped her hands tight to stop their trembling. He’d both frightened her and stirred the feelings she thought she’d gotten rid of since he’d been avoiding her. But no, they were just below the surface, ready to come to life when he got too close.

Lily didn’t believe he would hurt her. Never. At least not physically, but if she lost her heart to him—she didn’t want to think about that happening. He obviously had no feelings for her, except dislike.

The cluttered desk caught her attention. Offhand he’d given his permission, and she intended to accept the offer. He wouldn’t recognize the place the next time he came in here.

* * * *

Ty got on his horse and rode out to check the cattle. He encouraged Night Star to fly across the open prairie. Every muscle in his body had tightened and his jaw ached from gritting his teeth. The woman drove him crazy. What was the matter with him?

Until Candice died he’d never had a temper. But since, it didn’t take much to light his fire and send harsh words out of his mouth. He’d thought he was getting better until Lily arrived. Damn her, she’d upset his life, and he wasn’t happy about it.

Streaking across the land he loved, with the cold wind blowing in his face, his muscles finally loosened. He pulled back on the reins and slowed their pace. Under several clumps of trees cattle huddled together, and snow topped the distant mountains. Drake and Brent had settled in
Texas
, away from the cold winters. But Ty was like his dad. This land was a part of him. He might go on vacation or visit family, but the draw to come home pulled at him before long.

Still, it could be lonely. Dirk deciding to join with him had been good for both of them. He’d been closer to Dirk than the rest of the cousins, who had a huge ranch and conglomerate about a hundred miles away. He hunched his shoulders against the wind and rode back toward the barn.

Dirk glanced over his shoulder as Ty rode in. He threw another pitchfork of hay into a stall before walking across to greet Ty. Ty had a feeling from the look on Dirk’s face he wasn’t going to like what he had to say.

“Saw you riding out of here.” Dirk’s lip curved into a half smile. “Looked like something bad was chasing you.”

“Nothing a good ride couldn’t chase away.”

“You’ve got it bad.”

“There isn’t anything the matter with me that won’t be cured when she”—he nodded toward the house—“leaves here.”

“I stopped in after you left. She’s invited us to dinner tomorrow night. I accepted for both of us.”

Ty started to speak, but Dirk stopped him.

“She’s all alone and not used to it. The least we can do is eat with her occasionally. If she really doesn’t mean anything to you, it shouldn’t be a difficult task.”

“Whatever, sure, I’ll join you two tomorrow evening.” Ty walked to the barn door. “Just don’t accept invitations for me anymore.”

“Sure won’t. I don’t have any problem enjoying her company alone. She’s a pretty little thing.”

Dirk’s laughter followed him as he took long strides toward his cabin.

* * * *

The front light was on at the ranch house. It was a welcoming sight in the darkness and blowing snow. Ty and Dirk knocked the snow off their boots and rang the doorbell.

“Seems funny to be ringing my own bell,” Ty said.

When the door opened, Lily stood in the light. Her thick, golden hair fell loose down her shoulders and halfway down her back. She wore a turquoise sweater that hugged her lush breasts, and black slacks clung to slender legs.

“Come in.” She opened the screen door, motioned them inside, and then closed both doors, shutting out the winter cold. Inside the heater kept the house warm, and logs in the big fireplace in the living room and dining room were crackling.
China
plates and crystal glasses shone from the candles lit on the table.

“I know it’s rather elaborate, but I thought, why not? It’s a beautiful dining room and lends itself to pretty dishes.” Lily gave the two men an anxious glance.

“My mother told my brothers and me early on that we’d just have to learn to be gentlemen, because when she wanted to have a fancy dinner she was going to. When Mom spoke, no one, even Dad, said no to her.” Dirk smiled. “This looks very nice.”

Lily’s face flushed with pleasure. “What do you think, Ty?”

He’d been taking in the gleaming table settings, and Lily with her pretty clothes and gorgeous hair. His cock had stirred when he first saw her. Now, with those chocolate brown eyes on him, desire socked him in the gut.

“Looks good and smells good.”

“Thank you. Please sit. If you don’t mind I’ll stay at the end of the table so I can have both of you on either side.”

Dirk went around and sat with his back to the wall, and Ty sat opposite him. Lily hurried into the kitchen to finish dinner. Then returned and poured them each a glass of red wine, before hurrying back to get the food.

Dirk picked up his glass. “To many more dinners with Lily.”

Frustration eating at him, Ty reluctantly held his glass high. “But not too often.”

“I’ll come anytime she asks.” Dirk grinned at Ty. “Alone or otherwise,” he added.

Lily brought in the salads. “We’ll have these first, and then the lasagna.”

“Wonderful, I love Italian food.” Dirk jumped up and pulled out her chair. “And I must say you look beautiful.”

“Why thank you, Dirk.” She gave him a beaming smile.

She and Dirk kept the conversation going. Ty would answer a direct question, but stayed silent the rest of the time.

“Dirk, tell me about your family and how you ended up working with Ty. That is, if you don’t mind,” Lily said.

“My family is big. I have four brothers and a baby sister. She’s grown now, but we still call her the baby to annoy her.”

“I’m sure she must secretly love your teasing.”

“She does, and she gives it right back to us. Anyway, I’m next to the oldest. My older brother and I have always bumped heads. Then when my dad died about ten years ago things got worse between Clay and me. I suppose he felt he had to take over as the boss. We’d never do well together if I’d stayed at the ranch. I guess we’re both too hardheaded.”

“How fascinating. I was raised as an only child, since my mother and sister went away when I was very young. It sounds wonderful to have a large family.”

Dirk shrugged. “It has up and downs, but I wouldn’t trade my family for anyone else’s.”

“What about you, Ty?” Lily turned her attention to him.

“Not much to say. You know I have two brothers. My mom and dad were good parents. We had a good life growing up.”

“You must miss your brothers, being so far away.”

“They made their choice. I made mine.”

“But you could sell and join them in
Texas
,” Lily said.

“Nope. This is where I’m staying.” He’d been trying to not look at her. He turned his head and faced her straight on. “I love this land.”

“It has to be lonely, since your wife died and—”

“I don’t talk about my wife,” he snapped.

“But why not? You must have good memories, and talking both helps with the grieving and to remember her in a good way.”

There went his anger again, rushing through his veins, pounding in his head. He pushed his chair back, knocking it over.

“What do you know about grieving or love? You’re hardly out of the schoolroom.” He leaned his face close to hers. “I’ll tell you about grieving. It tears at your insides and nothing fills the hollow spot, not drinking, nor being with people, or riding fast. There’s nowhere you can escape the emptiness, the regrets, and the pain.” Ty walked out. He took his hat and coat off the rack and strode out the door, walking into the thick fall of snowflakes.

* * * *

Lily watched him disappear into the whiteness. Dirk reached around her and shut the door.

BOOK: Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Cattleman Wins a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 4] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)
10.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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