Is that really how it was? No wonder we broke up. Why did it take me this long to realize how bad it was?
Possible spin-off article title: In Search of the Elusive Orgasm.
Or: When to Stop the Blame Game and Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
Her humor didn’t distract Tony from the importance of her entry. Sarah wasn’t a virgin. Just as she had used Tony’s physical characteristics to describe her hero, she was using her past experiences to write the sexual content. He reread her story with this new information and found his fury growing with each word.
He’d enjoy slamming his fist into the face of whoever Sarah had been sleeping with. Anyone who is that bad in bed should come with a f**king label. What an ass.
Angry yet still aroused, Tony read on, and his blood pressure soared to new heights but for an entirely new reason.
First attempt at mast***ation—fail.
Tony slammed the notebook closed and returned it to the nightstand.
There is a reason God didn’t give men the ability to read a woman’s mind.
Too much knowledge is a dangerous thing.
He closed the door behind him. As he walked down the stairs he saw his house through Sarah’s eyes. It was empty. He’d never noticed that before. He’d lived here for five years, and not one picture or painting graced the walls.
A house, not a home.
As cold as Sarah had described it.
He stopped at the hallway mirror Melanie had put up before he’d forbidden her to leave her mark anywhere in his domain. He looked older than he should, deep lines born from fatigue and sun. He forced a smile to his lips and hated how out of place it seemed on his face.
“What are you doing?” Melanie asked from the door of the kitchen.
“Nothing,” Tony muttered and strode out the front door, angry with her for catching him and with himself for not being able to stamp out the feelings Sarah’s notebook had stirred within him.
Just losing my mind.
Tony was already working with a dark sorrel gelding in one of the ranch’s large wooden round pens by the time Sarah walked out of the barn with David. The horse was loose and walking in circles around him.
Sarah paused, and David stopped beside her. “It looks like he’s just exercising that horse in circles, but it is more than that, isn’t it?” she asked. David pushed his hat back a little from his forehead and rubbed his chin, also studying the scene before them instead of answering her. Tony stopped the horse with a shift of his body. He turned the horse on his haunches with a slight flick of his hand. The closer Sarah looked, the more communication she could see between the man and the horse. “He’s talking to him with his body, isn’t he?” she asked without realizing she had spoken aloud.
David nodded. “You could say that. Watch him here.”
Tony raised his arm above his head and the horse began to lope around him. He lowered his arm and the horse slowed to a jog.
“Amazing,” she whispered to herself.
“See how the horse never takes his eyes off Tony? Some call it joining up, some call it becoming the alpha.”
“What does Tony call it?”
Rubbing his chin again, David answered in a slow Texan drawl, “He doesn’t talk about what he does.”
“Will it bother him if we go closer so I can see better?”
A quick flash of a smile came and went on David’s face as if he were enjoying a private joke. “Only one way to find out.”
They crossed the distance to the round pen and stopped just a few feet shy of it. Tony turned briefly at the sound. Their eyes met in a clash of unexpected heat. The look he gave her burned with promises she couldn’t begin to interpret, so intense that she turned to see if it was meant for someone behind her.
Nope. Just me.
That look had better be meant for me and not him.
Sarah suppressed a nervous giggle.
Or it’ll seriously kill my cowboy fantasy.
When Tony turned back to the horse, his expression was angry. His movements were suddenly rigid and the horse turned fully toward him in confusion. He made some small hand motions, then used his voice to urge the horse on, but the horse began to back away as Tony’s temper soured. He raised his arm and issued a verbal command, which stopped the horse but didn’t seem to improve Tony’s mood. He lowered his arm and Sarah heard the echo of his swears.
She looked up at David, who was sporting a huge grin. Despite the growing heat of the day, Sarah’s hands turned cold from nerves and she tucked them into the front pockets of her jeans. “I should probably go.”
Adjusting his hat to shade his eyes more, David said, “No, ma’am, looks to me like you should accept his invitation and stay for a while.” With a nod of farewell, David left her standing there questioning his conclusion.
Really? What exactly gives you that idea?
Tony whipped off his hat and slapped it angrily against one leg as his eyes raked over her again, burning with a desire that sent an answering heat cascading through her.
Horse forgotten, Tony never broke her gaze as he bent to exit between the metal rails of the pen. He held it until he was standing over her. Sarah looked up at him from beneath her lashes, not bold enough to meet the heat in his eyes head-on. She didn’t trust it to be real. Didn’t trust herself not to squash it somehow. Better to simply savor the idea of it before reality dashed it away.
His tone didn’t match the warmth of his gaze when he ground out, “I know why you’re here.”
Here? Like right here, mooning over you while you try to get some work done? Sarah licked her bottom lip nervously and kept her eyes fixed on his chin. “Because my friends are unreliable and I have no sense of direction?” she asked helpfully.
He shook his head slowly, both of his hands going to her hips and pulling her closer, close enough for her stomach to brush lightly against the physical evidence of his desire. “Look at me,” he commanded softly.
She did and shivered at the intensity of emotion in his eyes. Whatever was between them was sinfully primal and everything she’d wished for but never experienced.
One of his hands came up and cupped her cheek, his thumb tracing her lips with a tenderness that was in direct contrast to the harsh set of his jaw. “I thought you were a reporter.”
His words made no sense. Sarah shook her head silently, giving herself over to the wonder of his touch, the feel of his arousal pushing against her. She opened her mouth to defend her reason for being there, but fell silent when his thumb took advantage of her open lips and softly caressed them more fully. Unable to control herself, she snuck a lick at the tip, and they both froze from the shock of the connection.