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Authors: Delilah Devlin

Cowboy Heat

BOOK: Cowboy Heat
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COWBOY HEAT

WESTERN ROMANCE

FOR WOMEN

E
DITED BY

D
ELILAH
D
EVLIN

F
OREWORD BY

B
ETH
W
ILLIAMSON

Copyright © 2014 by Delilah Devlin.

All rights reserved. Except for brief passages quoted in newspaper, magazine, radio, television, or online reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Published in the United States by Cleis Press, Inc.,

2246 Sixth Street, Berkeley, California 94710.

Cover design: Scott Idleman/Blink

Cover photograph: Rob Lang/Getty Images

Text design: Frank Wiedemann

First Edition.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

E-book ISBN: 978-1-62778-050-6

Contents

Foreword
• B
ETH
W
ILLIAMSON

Introduction

Mrs. Morgan and the Marshal
• E
MMA
J
AY

Remember
• M
IA
H
OPKINS

Cowboy Downtime
• C
HEYENNE
B
LUE

Coming Home
• M
EGAN
M
ITCHAM

Her Captured Cowboy
• L
AYLA
C
HASE

Backstage Pass
• C
YNTHIA
D’A
LBA

Unfinished Business
• C
AT
J
OHNSON

At the Mercy of the Cowboy
• A
MBER
L
IN

Cowboy Adonis
• M
ICHAEL
B
RACKEN

Denim and Lace
• R
OBIE
M
ADISON

One-Track Cowboy
• D
ELILAH
D
EVLIN

Skin Deep
• R
ANDI
A
LEXANDER

Drop Two Tears in a Bucket
• S
HOSHANNA
E
VERS

A Cowboy for Delilah
• S
ABRINA
Y
ORK

Shall We Dance?
• M
YLA
J
ACKSON

About the Authors

About the Editor

FOREWORD

O
ne of the enduring genres in television, films and books is the Western. People have always been fascinated with cowboys. That has not changed in over 150 years, and I don’t expect it will anytime soon.

Personally, I have been in love with cowboys since I saw my first Western about forty years ago as a little girl. And when I read my first Western romance? I was HOOKED. Utterly hooked.

One of the questions people often ask me is, “Why do you write Westerns? There are better genres out there.”

No, there aren’t any better than Westerns! The reason I write them? Because cowboys are my kinda men. Being a cowboy in the nineteenth century was different from being a cowboy today. Yet, the core of the cowboy remains constant. That’s what appeals to me, calls to my inner feminine side.

Calloused hands, well-worn jeans, broad shoulders, powerful thighs and the lean-hipped swagger. It’s like the secret formula to an addiction I can’t control.

What else defines a cowboy? For me, they are like modern-day knights. I know that sounds a bit corny, but let me ’splain. Knights were fierce warriors, but they had a code that set them apart from other men—honor, integrity, dignity and balls of steel.

Cowboys have to be hard, inside and out, but at the same time they feel as deeply as anyone. If not deeper. How could I not write and read stories about cowboys? I fall in love with them from the moment I type their names, feel their hands and hold their hearts in mine.

The stories in this anthology bring you, the reader, on a wild ride. So grab a glass of ice water, settle back and get ready for some cowboy heat.

Beth Williamson

Bestselling author of
Unbridled
and
Hell for Leather

INTRODUCTION

F
or years, I lived in the Texas Hill Country, where my ranchstyle house was one of many look-alikes in a rural subdivision, with my backyard butted up against a working ranch. After I woke to the insistent mooing of a cow at my bedroom window and her moist breaths fogging the glass, I put up a chain-link fence, which gave me a unique vantage.

My view was panoramic—grassy fields, clumps of wild-flowers, rolling hills, a tall, rugged escarpment in the distance and cowboys riding horses and motorized mules as they herded cattle.

Those cowboys came in all sizes and shapes, but wore “the uniform” well—chambray shirts year round, occasionally torso-hugging T-shirts, if they didn’t expect to be in the sun too long, Wranglers (do cowboys wear anything else?) and scuffed, broken-in boots.

And then there was the hat. Those cowboys I watched from my backyard might have worn the same brand of pale, straw
cowboy hat, but the brims were shaped according to their individual preferences—some draped low over deep-set eyes, some brims curled tight at the sides to tell you the man wearing it was a little wild and likely playful. If I’d known what I was going to be when I “grew up,” I would have learned the language of those hats.

What I did learn was that their muscled frames weren’t honed in any gym—cowboys work damn hard. And they take pride in what they are—a living, American icon. Honest, protective and on the side of justice, they walk the walk.

My favorite memories are of strolling down the sidewalk in the small nearby town and passing a tall, lean cowboy coming the other way. Without fail, he’d touch his hat and give me a nod. More often than not, he’d say, “Howdy, ma’am.” As corny as that scenario might be, that greeting never failed to make me blush and smile. Back when I wasn’t free to act on my attraction, I had my little fantasies. Maybe cowboys made me what I am.

Seems plenty of writers love a sexy cowboy, too. Narrowing down the choices from the deluge of sexy stories I received for this collection was tough. In the end, I selected the stories that turned me on and made me wish I was the girl enjoying her first cowboy. You’ll meet rodeo cowboys, Outback jackaroos, cowboys from all over the Western states—all of them turning up the heat on the one girl they can’t let go. Enjoy the slow burn.

Delilah Devlin

Central Arkansas

MRS. MORGAN AND THE MARSHAL

Emma Jay

S
ybil Morgan swung down from the wagon, her skirt and petticoat trailing in the stirred-up dirt of the road outside the general store. She looped the reins over the hitching post and tugged at the waist of her bodice. Wearing a dress was only one reason she hated coming to town. Out on her ranch, she could wear britches and move around with ease, not worrying about getting dirty, getting snagged, being so damned hot.

But a respectable widow had to keep up appearances. She straightened her bonnet and measured her steps so she didn’t trip on her skirts as she walked into the general store.

A few townspeople were in the store, which was stifling despite the open doors and windows. Determined to get this chore over with as quickly as possible, she pulled her list out of the pocket in her bodice and waited for the shopkeeper to finish with the other customers. Unaccustomed to standing still, she shifted from one foot to the other.

The air changed and she turned her head to see the town’s
marshal, Addison Taylor, in the doorway, removing his hat. He nodded in her direction and she inclined her head in response before turning her attention back to the shopkeeper, who now stood behind the counter with his hand outstretched for her list.

She passed it over. “I’ll be back for the supplies in a few hours. I have other errands to attend.”

“Yes, Mrs. Morgan.”

She turned, head high, and sailed past the marshal, who stepped aside to let her pass before turning to follow her.

“Mrs. Morgan,” he said, his voice a low rumble, barely heard above the sound of his boots on the boardwalk. “I’d like to have a word about the recent incidence of rustling on your ranch. Would you mind stepping across the street into my office?”

“Of course,” she said, her nipples hardening beneath her confining bodice when he curved his hand beneath her forearm and guided her from boardwalk to dirt street, past riders and other pedestrians. He released her to step ahead and open the door to his office, letting her precede him. When she paused in front of his desk in the empty office, he locked the door behind them, took her hand again and led her into the back and up the stairs to his rooms.

Her heart thundered harder as she absorbed the feel of his rough palm against her bare hand, as she tried to match his determined stride, stumbling on her skirts, damn it.

He tugged her into his apartment over the office, closed the door and latched it in a flurry of movements before he turned to her and loosened her bonnet. He pushed it back from her face so it tumbled to the floor, and curved his hand over her cheek.

“It’s been too long,” he said softly, and covered her mouth with his.

She bowed into the heat, into the strength of him. She curled her fingers into his shoulders, those broad shoulders she loved to
hold. He hadn’t shaved, and the prickles of his beard scratched her lips. Instead of pulling back, she pressed closer, parting her lips, welcoming his tongue.

She loved the taste of him, coffee and whiskey and male, loved the slide of his tongue along hers, the intimacy of it. He was skilled at kissing, her marshal, his tongue clever in its knowledge of her mouth, knowing if he touched her there her nipples would ache, and her sex—he called it her pussy, but she had trouble even thinking the word—would grow hot and damp. She could stand here and kiss him all day, savoring the roughness of his unshaven flesh against her tender skin.

He reached between them as he kissed her, and unfastened her bodice, starting at the bottom. She held her breath as if that would help him, but that made kissing difficult.

Her husband had never undressed her, had always waited in the bed for her to join him. They’d never kissed outside of bed, had never touched, not even in the most casual of ways. That her marshal seemed to delight in it delighted her. She stepped back just a bit to let him push the stiff fabric of her bodice off her shoulders, then he closed his hands around her corseted waist. He didn’t kiss her again right away, just looked at the way his fingers circled her, almost touching, his hands rough against the silky fabric.

“You don’t need this,” he murmured in that rough drawl of his.

“Proper ladies wear them whether they need them or not.”

His gaze flicked to hers, brown eyes amused. “Is there a proper lady I don’t know about under all those clothes?”

BOOK: Cowboy Heat
9.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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