Pressure Rising (Rhinestone Cowgirls Book 2)

BOOK: Pressure Rising (Rhinestone Cowgirls Book 2)
9.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





2014 Rhonda Lee Carver

Copyright © 2014 by Rhonda Lee Carver

All rights reserved.


Published in the United States

Published by Rhonda Lee Carver

Cover Art by Samantha Holt

Pressure Rising (Book 2, Rhinestone Cowgirls)


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations used in articles and reviews.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



To the person who has stuck by me through thick and thin, supported me in my career choice and always ‘knew I could’.




Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven



Chapter One


Pearl couldn’t believe her ears!

“Let me get this straight.” She wrapped her arms over her waist and eyed Scrawny with a narrowed gaze. “You’re telling me you caught Pugly with Charmin?” She slammed the gate to the corral shut.

Scrawny bobbed his head and scratched his scraggly beard with his dirt encrusted fingernails. “Yes, ma’am. They were doing the dirty, yes-siree, they were.”

“I’m going to kill him!” Icy fingers marched down her spine. She’d had enough!

“Who? Pugly?”

“No, that son-of-a-gun DJ Walters. How many times have I told him to keep that donkey off this property? I swear he does this on purpose.” She kicked up dirt with the toe of her boot. “I knew I’d only have trouble with that scoundrel. I’ve dealt with him for years and my patience has come to the very last thread! Just last week I was checking the mail and he drove his truck through a mud puddle, splashing me. Can you believe that? I bet if he was looking down the barrel of a shotgun he wouldn’t be so arrogant.”

Scrawny laughed but Pearl kept a straight face. This wasn’t a bit funny! His eyes widened and his jaw clicked. “You aren’t serious, are you, ma’am?”

“Very!” she snapped. “I should have done something about that man long before now.”

“Come on, Pearl. Don’t go high-tailin’ it over to Walter’s R&R and get yourself into trouble, ya hear?” His thin bottom lip trembled. As a ranch hand at the Rhinestone Ranch, Scrawny was always attempting to keep the peace with Pearl and her sisters. Pearl almost felt sorry for the older man because she knew they never made it easy for him.

But she couldn’t go on as things were.

She had every right to feel the wrath toward DJ Walters and was tired of his shenanigans!

Tightening her hands into fists, her nails dug into her palms. “Will you finish feeding Charmin for me, Scrawny? There’s something I have to do.”

“Rethink this, Pearl. Nothin’ is ever solved in anger.”

She ignored him, turned, and stomped toward the truck. She slipped behind the wheel and slammed the door so hard that the metal rattled. Turning the key, the engine roared alive and she cranked the window down. Sweat beaded on her upper lip and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. “Don’t worry, I’ve got this,” she yelled across the yard to Scrawny who was shaking his head.

She threw the gear into drive and sank her foot into the gas pedal. The large tires kicked up gravel and dust as she steered down the narrow lane causing several hands to look up in curiosity as she sped by them.

Satan DJ had falsely accused her of trying to run him over before, but he just might see how capable she was now. The man had no ethics and she understood just how far he’d go to send her blood pressure spiking.

Pearl reached the main road just as Em, the youngest Rhinestone sister, was pulling in. She stopped and waved.

“No time to talk, Em. I have something pressing to do.” Pearl wasn’t sure that Em heard her, but she couldn’t chance that her sister would convince her not to pay DJ a visit.

Turning right, Pearl drove to the lane on the neighboring property. She looked at the hanging metal sign, Walters’s R&R, and sighed. It was new, which meant DJ’s business was doing good. She guessed there was no chance he would take his R&R somewhere else—across the country preferably.

She cursed as she drove the bumpy, gravel road. Her teeth clanked and clattered, which made the ache at her temples turn to throbbing. She couldn’t believe with all the brawny Walters brothers, not one could fix the dang sink holes. Apparently, they couldn’t build a fence either to keep their damned donkey in. Her anger grew to massive proportions.

By the time she pulled up in front of the two story, white farmhouse she was still steaming. Her knuckles ached from holding the steering wheel for dear life.

She was going to teach DJ a lesson, once and for all! Every chance he got, he pushed Pearl to her limits and she was sick of his pestering ways. If he wanted her furious, then he would get just that—or more.

Grabbing the shotgun from the window rack and not thinking of the danger of carrying heat, she darted from the truck and stomped up the flower-lined sidewalk. She had an urge to kick one of the peonies from the dirt, but she had an appreciation for the neat and pretty landscaping of the property.

“I usually find a woman who carries a gun sexy as hell, but you just ruined that fantasy for me. What do I owe this displeasure, Pearl?”

At the sound of the thick Texas twang, Pearl stopped dead in her tracks and shot her chin upward. She came gaze-to-gaze with Satan—DJ to most folks. Her belly knotted and her knees quivered, but the anger remained burning hot. Her throat constricted. She swallowed hard and didn’t remove her gaze from his. The rocking chair creaked as he pushed himself to standing and walked across the porch, his boots pounding the wood.

From the short distance, Pearl could feel the penetrating heat from his hazel eyes that once made her think of tumbles in haystacks and long, scorching kisses. She lost her marbles one hot summer night behind a Rhinestone barn and blabbered her adolescent crush to him. She’d never told anyone about that evening, not even her sisters. Pearl was the only one who knew what happened that night—and of course DJ.

Why was he staring at her like he wanted a repeat? Never!

What the hell had she been crushing on him anyway? Then again, what adult woman didn’t feel a sense of regret over their first stupid crush, especially when the boy was an arrogant jerk?

She abhorred DJ.

Holding the cold metal of the shotgun in her hands, she removed her finger from the trigger and aimed it away from Satan who was now leaning casually against the porch rail, all six foot two, two hundred pounds of egotistical, self-righteous cowboy who sent her temperature rising—and not in a good way.

“Don’t act as if you have no clue why I’m here! Where is Pugly? I’m going to shoot that danged bastard once and for all!” Since shooting DJ wasn’t an option, she could shoot the donkey, or at least take away his ‘tools’ for impregnating her prized horse.

A proud smile spread over DJ’s tanned face making the brackets around his mouth deeper. “Why don’t you put that thing away before you shoot someone. I’ll get you a glass of water to cool you off.”

“Don’t bother!”

“A dip in the pond then?”

He was pushing her every button. “If you can’t keep your donkey in your own pasture then I’m going to take matters into my own hands,” she seethed.

“I’ve been thinking about this.” He hooked his thumb in his front pocket and shifted his work boots. “It seems all of the males here wander over onto Rhinestone to sample the greener grass. Foolish bastards we are.” His words dripped of latent meaning and she caught every implication like a slug into her stomach. She needed to keep her wits.

At times, she questioned whether she truly despised DJ, but the emotion that scorched her insides and made her dizzy told her it was a good possibility. He was a poison she couldn’t seem to medicate or extricate. After so many years she shouldn’t allow fury to consume her, but she had little control when it came to DJ. “Scrawny caught Pugly in the pen with Charmin, again. That makes the second time this month.”

A casual shrug of his shoulder sent an ache through her jaw. “I already heard. Scrawny was nice enough to bring my donkey home. He certainly has a thing for that horse of yours. And from what I hear, Charmin likes the attention.” He winked.

“How can you be so inconsiderate? Does it even occur to you that Charmin is a Thoroughbred, a perfect pairing of sire and dam? I have been preparing her since Thanksgiving to breed with a suitable stud, not with a donkey!”

“Ahh, but wouldn’t their mule be so precious?”

His sarcasm boiled her blood. “I’m beginning to believe you’re walking that ass over to the Rhinestone, opening the gate, and letting him in with Charmin.”

He scratched his jaw and the rasping of his five o’clock shadow made her ears throb—and another place further south she wasn’t about to examine closer. “Why do you hate us boys with a passion, Pearl? We’re your neighbors.”

“I don’t hate you boys.” She sighed.


“I only dislike

The corner of his mouth twitched. The same lips that had kissed her virgin lips when she was seventeen and had brought her more dreams over the years than she could count. She gave her head a shake. One freaking kiss! How was it possible she hadn’t forgotten his taste, his leather and soap scent, and the feel of his hands on her back pressing into her flesh?

She became even madder.

“Aren’t you ever going to get tired of busting my balls?” His velvety smooth voice that made women drool only made her want to vomit. Rumors were spinning that he had an entire following of waiting and willing booty call hopefuls. She wouldn’t be a fish he could hook like he’d done before.

“Probably not.” She smirked. “After all, it only seems you get some sick humor out of provoking me.”

“How have I provoked you?” He pushed away from the rail, tucking his hands into his back pockets. The large silver buckle on his belt twinkled in the sunlight.

“For one, you lied. Your dad told mine that I almost hit you with the truck. We both know that no such thing happened.”

His gaze narrowed and he knuckled the rim of his brown hat. “I guess we just have different ideas of vehicular assault.”

Her mouth dropped. “I didn’t hit you!”

“Yeah, because I jumped into the ditch.” His face turned red.

“I was twenty feet from you. If you hadn’t shot into the grass like a varmint, you would have seen that I was merely passing by. Then you went crying to your dad, telling him a cockamamie story.” She laughed and she quite enjoyed his infuriated expression. Securing the butt of the gun on the ground, she held the muzzle. She realized she wouldn’t be using it today.

“I hope you love that little darlin’ mule Charmin foals. I’ll take it if you don’t want it.”

His words crashed into her sanity. Although she hated to admit it, he got the upper hand because the fact was her Charmin was probably with foal—or rather mule. Not only had she bought Charmin because she was beautiful, but Pearl had researched the most beneficial bloodline to mate with her newest horse. All of the hard work could be for naught. “Charmin is worth ten times what that ugly donkey of yours is valued.”

“Hey, don’t offend my donkey.”

“You know he’s ugly. That’s why you called him Pugly. Now where is he?”

Although still irritated, she wouldn’t shoot the donkey. She hadn’t shot anything in her life. In fact, she wasn’t much of a good shot. Somehow she’d probably miss Pugly and shoot herself in the foot.

BOOK: Pressure Rising (Rhinestone Cowgirls Book 2)
9.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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