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Authors: Joanna Wylde

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Catherine's Awakening

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An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

Catherine’s Awakening

ISBN 9781419919596


Catherine’s Awakening Copyright © 2008 Joanna Wylde

Edited by Briana St. James.

Cover art by Willo.

Electronic book Publication December 2008

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.  ( Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.



Joanna Wylde


This book is dedicated to Lori, who helped me find the Oxford English Dictionary.

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the

following workmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Levi’s: Levis Strauss & Co.

Catherine’s Awakening

Chapter One

Near Forth Worth, Texas, 1867

“Dammit all to hell, hold the horse steady!”

Wade’s profane shout burned Catherine’s ears.
, she thought, disgusted. But

not her problem, at least for the moment. Putting him out of her mind, she resumed her

stalking through the hayloft, hunting for the newest batch of kittens. From below a

horse whinnied loudly and she froze. It sounded like Ginger, her mare. Catherine ran

over to the hayloft window, standing on her toes to see, and looked out across the

paddock. Sure enough, there was Ginger. Catherine’s brother-in-law, Wade Masters,

had her on a lead, steadying her as one of the ranch hands ran across the dusty ground

toward the gate. Two others stood by in the dust, watching. In the background she

heard a stallion trumpet.

What was Wade doing with Ginger?

She studied him, which was a mistake. His tall form was covered in dust and sweat,

but even from the hayloft he looked better than any man should. The thin fabric of his

shirt clung to his work-toughened body, outlining his every feature. Work-hardened,

strong as the horses he loved so much, unwilling to compromise. Everything about him

called to her, and she hated him for it. Wade made her gut twist with longing, and

watching the play of his body as he held the horse firm didn’t help. Ginger reared up,

and his broad-rimmed hat flew off his head. He steadied her, speaking in gentle,

soothing tones that ran right along Catherine’s spine, making her wonder just how

good he might sound next to a woman in the middle of the night.

She shook her head, warding off the thoughts. She might be a widow, but it still

wasn’t decent, the way she sometimes dreamed about Wade. No good woman would

spend her meals studying his firm, full lips across the dinner table. And a prudent


Joanna Wylde

woman wouldn’t take an extra ten minutes every time she trimmed his sun-streaked

brown hair in the kitchen, running her fingers through the soft locks and imagining

them against her stomach.

The ranch hand swung open the gate and led Wade’s stallion, Baron, into the

fenced area. Suddenly she realized what was going on down there—Wade was going to

breed Ginger to Baron. Catherine’s eyes narrowed in anger.

“Wade Masters, you stop that right now!” she yelled out the window without a

second thought. The men looked up at her, startled, and then a slow grin stole across

Wade’s handsome face.

“You want to help breed the horses, Cat?” he called back, his tone taunting. “I

didn’t know ladies liked to watch these things, but we can use the help.”

Anger washed through Catherine and she gritted her teeth, even as she felt a hot

blush rising across her face. Women didn’t talk about horse breeding. But Wade knew

exactly how she felt about Ginger. They’d discussed it last week. She didn’t want the

mare bred this season. She needed time to recover from her last foal. Not to mention

that Catherine wanted Ginger in good riding condition. If she got that teaching job in

town, she’d need her. She hadn’t mentioned teaching to Wade just yet, but that didn’t

mean she had to just sit back and let Wade wreck everything by getting her mare

pregnant. Catherine stormed across the loft to the ladder, only to find Wade climbing

up toward her.

“What’s happening with Ginger?” she asked, toying with the idea of kicking him

back down to the barn floor if she didn’t like the answer. Perhaps her intentions showed

in her face, because he didn’t answer her until he’d pulled himself up into the loft.

“Go to the window and see for yourself,” he said, nodding toward the opening.

She shot him a suspicious look, then headed back to the window. José, another of

the hands, had taken Wade’s place holding Ginger’s lead, clicking at her as the other

hand brought in Baron.


Catherine’s Awakening

“Wade, you have to tell them to stop,” Catherine said, whirling around to confront

him, too angry to feel embarrassed. He’d come up behind her, though, and she found

herself face-to-face with him, far too close for comfort.

“It’s too late, he already has her scent,” Wade said. His voice was low and smooth,

holding just a touch of condescending exasperation. She hated that tone. Bully. The man

was as full of himself now as he’d been as a ten-year-old taunting her,
“Here, kitty Cat,

Cat, Cat!”
before catching her and pulling her braids. But soon she’d be rid of him. The

teacher’s job came with a

“She’s fine, look for yourself,” he continued, and something in his tone caught her

attention. She looked up at him, really looking this time, and realized her studied her

far too closely. His face was hard, brown from years of sun, his eyes cold with the

shadows they’d held since coming home from the war. Their green color startled her, as

they always did. He focused on her face so intently it was uncomfortable. And he was

too tall, looming over her, making her feel small and powerless.

To avoid facing him, she turned back toward to the window to watch her mare. The

gentle female had gone still as Baron sidled up next to her, intently sniffing, nudging

her with his nose. The ranch hands continued holding the leads, but they kept them

loose, allowing the horses some space. Baron reared up just a little, and Catherine saw

the mare twitch her tail to one side. They were about to mate, right in front of her, and

while she’d seen animals breeding before, she wasn’t prepared to witness it with Wade.

Dear heavens, they had too much tension between them already.

But Wade stepped closer to her, putting one hand on the window frame on either

side of her head, trapping her. She felt his hot breath on the back of her neck as he

leaned forward to speak low and soft.

“Ginger knows what she wants,” he said. “She’s not afraid of Baron. You don’t

need to worry about her, Cat. She’s doing what she was designed to do.”

The words sent a shiver right down her spine, tickling her all the way to her toes.

Enough was enough, she shouldn’t stay here and watch. It wasn’t proper. Ginger


Joanna Wylde

squealed again, and then Baron reared up and covered her. Catherine’s eyes widened as

she saw the dark length of the stallion’s enormous penis lengthen.

“I can’t believe how big it is,” she said softly, and blushed fiercely, damning her

stupid tongue. Why did she always blurt out what she was thinking? Other girls never

said foolish things like that, yet she’d been doing it all her life. Wade chuckled in her

ear, and moved closer in, crowding her body against the wall. She felt the heat of him

against her back, and in that moment her worst suspicions were confirmed.

Wade wanted her, the way a man wants a woman.

The way Catherine wanted him too.

The length of his body was hot against her, all too easy to feel through the thin

fabric of her work clothes. Her mama had always warned her that leaving off her corset

and petticoats would cause her trouble. But who could bear wearing the hot garments

doing chores around the ranch? She’d planned to put them back on after returning to

the ranch house. After all, respectable teachers always wore their stays… And now

would be a real good time to head home and put them on, she thought. She pushed

back against Wade, trying to free herself. Instead of giving, he moved closer, and the

unmistakable feel of his hard erection pushing against her butt grew so prominent that

she couldn’t pretend not to feel it.

“You don’t need to worry about her,” Wade said. Catherine glanced down at the

stallion as he reared up over her mare, then closed her eyes resolutely.

“Ladies don’t see things like this,” she said, hoping it would go quickly. He gave a

BOOK: Catherine's Awakening
8.32Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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