Taken, Not Spurred (Page 25)

Taken, Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn #1)(25)
Author: Ruth Cardello

He closed his eyes, and images of her warm smile and trusting eyes twisted his gut. Guilt is available in abundance without inviting more. Before coming into the house, Tony had gone to see David regarding what Dean had said about Russell’s wife. “You should have told me,” he’d boomed at his manager.

David had shaken his head sadly. “A man hears only what he’s ready to hear. Russell’s troubles were no secret.”

“He got himself fired. He betrayed my trust,” Tony had growled.

“And paid a hefty price for it. You’re one of the few steady employers around. A man would have to be desperate to risk a job in this town.”

“That’s no excuse.”

“There’s not a person on the planet who hasn’t made a mistake, Tony. Some greater than others. But sometimes knowing why a person did it makes the forgiving a whole lot easier.”

Dammit to hell. David had a way of reasoning a man right out of a fit of anger. Tony pushed his hat back from his forehead. “How sick is his wife?”

“She has cancer. Doc says she might have a chance if she goes into Dallas for treatment, but who can afford that?”

I can.

I don’t have much of anything else in my life, but money has always come easy.

Tony rubbed one of his temples angrily. “You know that barn we’ve been thinking about building in the far back?” David looked at him blandly, mercifully not addressing the fact that this was the first mention of it. “We’ll need someone to build it. I don’t expect anyone to pay for the material out-of-pocket. Give Russell an advance and tell him there’s no rush on building.”

After a slight hesitation, David said, “I’ll call him tomorrow.”

Tony nodded and started out the door, then stopped. “I don’t want to talk to him about it.”


“And I’ll kill the first man I hear speaking poorly of Sarah—here or in town.”

“I’ll pass the word,” David said seriously, then in a lighter tone added, “but if you want some privacy, you may want to stop calling for search parties.”

Tony had glared at David over his shoulder, but David had merely smiled back at him. The man had a point, but that didn’t make hearing it easier.

Lying in his bed, staring up at the ceiling, Tony admitted the ugly truth to himself. I’m making a fool of myself over Sarah and ruining her reputation while I do it. Nothing matters as much as tasting those sweets lips again. All I want to do is sink my tongue into her wet pussy and lose myself in the scent of her.

He had some serious thinking to do before he spoke to Sarah tomorrow morning, but there was something he’d have to do first. He freed his erection and resigned himself to another night of easing his frustration himself. He emptied his mind of everything except Sarah and how they would have spent the night if he’d chosen to join her in her bedroom instead.

Chapter Ten

I’m over this adventure.

Sarah dressed in simple jeans, a plain navy blouse, sneakers, and lace underwear. Oh yes, today is definitely an underwear day. If I had granny panties, I’d be wearing them right about now. After collecting her makeup and shampoo from the small bathroom attached to the guest room, she placed the toiletries in plastic bags, which she then threw into her suitcase.

I don’t belong here.

It’s time to realize that the reason I haven’t written anything of substance yet is because I’m not a writer. And the reason this trip has gone from the shower to the toilet is because I’m not the adventurous type.

Sarah picked her cowboy boots up and held them sadly before putting them down beside the bed. I’ll leave them behind along with all of my ridiculous fantasies about Texas. Look at them. They don’t fit in here any more than I do. How did I not see that? Sarah turned and zipped one suitcase closed, continuing her inner rant as she did. How could I have been so stupid? He doesn’t want me.

What about the orgasm? All those hot kisses?

Curiosity? A challenge? After all, he knew that I hadn’t had one yet. Maybe he just wanted to see if he could.

Sarah sighed as she remembered the pleasure he’d brought her, then angrily zipped another piece of luggage shut. Well, now he knows that he can, and the mystery is gone for him.

Gone like I will be in just a few minutes.

It took her two trips to get her bags into the front hall. She heard Melanie in the kitchen but didn’t ask her for help. Although she’d probably love to help me load up my SUV, now that she doesn’t have to figure out how to get rid of me.

Sarah dragged her large suitcase out the front door, down the steps, and to the side of her SUV, in the shade on one side of the driveway. She didn’t bother to wave to the men she saw in the doorway of the barn. It wasn’t like they’d wave back, anyway.

How could I have thought that spending any amount of time here would be good for me? With a forceful swing she flung the heaviest bag into the back of her vehicle, using anger to fuel her strength. When she turned to head back to the house for the second bag, she walked right into a wall of muscle.


He steadied her with a hand on either arm, but she shook free and took a step to the side to get past him. He sidestepped with her, blocking her way. “Want to tell me what has you all riled up this morning?”

She glared up at him. “No.” I don’t owe you anything. I already paid for this trip with my pride.

“Did something happen?”

Nothing happened, you big buffoon. A big, fat nothing. How can you think that’s okay when I took a risk and shared everything with you? Hands on her hips, Sarah gritted her teeth and said, “I have to get my other bag.”

He suddenly looked as angry as she felt, but she didn’t care. As soon as she hooked up her trailer and collected Scooter, he and his mood swings could have Texas all to themselves.

“Did someone say something to you?” he demanded, gripping one of her arms.

She ripped her arm away from him, red embarrassment spreading up her neck. Oh my God, tell me he didn’t share my stories with anyone. Tell me he and David didn’t have a laugh over how pathetically desperate I am. Oh no, there will be no evidence left behind when I peel out of this place.

As her anger grew, she continued, “I want my notebook back.”

Those deep green eyes searched hers. “I don’t have it.”


“Do you think this is funny?” she accused.

Tony scratched at his jaw as if trying to unravel a puzzle before answering. “Maybe if you calm down we can . . .”