Gentling the Cowboy (Page 40)

Gentling the Cowboy (Texan Nights Series #1)(40)
Author: Ruth Cardello

She had fumed and stomped into the house and up the stairs. Feeling pretty proud of yourself, aren’t you, Tony? She whipped the zipper of another piece of luggage open. Think you have the upper hand?

She smiled when she came across the jean shorts she’d impulsively purchased for the trip, imagining she might one day have the confidence to wear such a revealing pair.

She searched through Tony’s closet until she found a blue, plaid cotton shirt and tied it in a knot just below her br**sts. She buttoned it, then smiled mischievously at her own reflection in the mirror and unbuttoned two more than she’d ever dared to.

You shouldn’t have taught me poker.

I’ll see your blackmail and raise you one deliberate seduction.

In your bed whenever you want me? Sarah arched her back and widened the open collar of the shirt a bit more, revealing just a tease of her lace bra.

Really?

Oh, you’ll want me.

And then I’m going to help you.

Whether you want me to or not.

No ponytail, this called for a bit of hair tussling. She teased and sprayed her long curls until they hung wild and free in a casual, sexy style that looked natural—slept on. She applied just the right amount of makeup and pink lipstick to accentuate her full lips and studied her reflection, kicking up one heel in mock flirtation. She put a hand over her mouth and rounded her eyes with forced innocence. Perfect.

She made a quick phone call, then with her head held high, she walked down the stairs, past an open-mouthed Melanie, and out the front door of Tony’s house. She saw him in the distance, talking to David near one of the round pens. Without sparing them more than a glance, she walked into the barn.

Her ego received a boost as all activity instantly ceased. All five young men stood absolutely still, as if they were animatronics whose power source had just been pulled. She walked down where they were working and hid a laugh when one of them dropped the pitchfork he’d been holding and didn’t take his eyes off her to retrieve it.

She’d never felt particularly beautiful, but the past week had brought a side of her alive that she’d never expected. For once, she was aware of the power of her femininity.

“I’m looking for Tony,” she lied huskily, almost bursting into laughter when none of them moved except for one red-haired young man who pointed wordlessly toward the side door. I’ve spent twenty-five years dressing fashionably and have never gotten this reaction. No wonder women do a little flash and tease now and then. Holy crap, men are easy.

“Sarah,” Tony growled from the main door of the barn.

Sarah didn’t turn to face him, instead she bent slowly at the waist to pick up the pitchfork that one of the men had dropped. She was fully aware how high her shorts rode up her ass cheeks during that move and the view it probably gave him.

He was beside her in a flash, and Sarah smiled up at him before slowly straightening. His eyes were flashing with a mix of passion and anger. She leaned against him, loving how his eyes were drawn to the cle**age she’d purposefully revealed. “I was looking for you,” she said and laid a hand on his tense forearm. He knew she’d seen him outside before she’d entered the barn. Her words hung like a playful taunt between them. “But luckily you found me. Now we can invite them together.”

His eyes narrowed and between gritted teeth he asked, “Invite who—where?”

Sarah looked around at the rapt audience. “Do you remember how we talked about how nice it would be to have a dinner to thank everyone who helped search for Scooter the day he got loose? Why not tonight? Melanie and I can throw something together.” Sarah asked the young men around her, “Would you be able to make it on such short notice?”

The men looked to Tony as if their responses were dependent on his reaction to her offer.

And for a painfully long pause, everyone waited.

His men all knew that he didn’t want them in his house. Hell, some of them had worked there for years without being this close to him. This was the exact opposite of the way he ran his ranch, and his temper rose even as he bit back the initial impulse to shoot her idea down without discussion.

It wouldn’t change anyone’s opinion of him in the slightest if he gave Sarah a verbal thrashing right in front of everyone for suggesting this. In fact, that was the behavior they expected from him.

And Sarah knows it.

This is her attempt to stick it to me.

Let her have her one dinner. It won’t change a thing.

And it won’t bother me because it doesn’t matter.

She’s here until I work her out of my system, until I dull the edge of my need to kiss those pink lips she’s pursing so seductively at me right now. Let her invite whoever she wants to dinner. Knowing that I can sink my teeth into that ripe little ass that’s she’s deliberately waving in my face right now will more than make up for the aggravation.

Stone-faced, Tony addressed the men. “Y’all be at the house tonight at seven.”

“Yes, sir,” they said practically in unison, then continued to stare at him wordlessly.

“Now get back to work,” Tony ordered and almost smiled as the men scrambled to do just that. One paused in front of Sarah as if he were about to ask her for the pitchfork, then changed his mind and hurried off.

When they were alone, Tony pulled her into his arms, his hands instantly claiming the curve of her ass just above the high hem of her shorts. Her soft flesh felt just as good as it had looked and he claimed her mouth hungrily, impatiently wishing they were somewhere more private. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pressed herself wantonly against him and moaned in pleasure. He kissed the side of her neck and threatened, “You put me in a difficult position there. You’ll pay for that tonight.”

She rubbed herself against him, sending a throb of need through him in a punch of lust. “I’m counting on it,” she murmured, throwing her head back and moaning softly.

He bit the lobe of her ear in gentle chastisement and said, “You need to learn who is in charge here. I don’t mind putting time into training you.” She froze in his arms, then relaxed, and he chuckled. “Good girl, you’re starting to understand, Sarah. Don’t challenge me again. You won’t win.” He kissed her deeply, not stopping until she was sagging with need against him. Then he said, “I’m going to enjoy making you beg for your orgasm tonight. Beg until I forget how deliberate this setup was.”

Sarah pulled back a bit and flipped her long mane over one shoulder. “Sounds like it’s going to be a long night, especially since I invited your brother.”