“Where did you find her?” He put his hand out to Sarah, and his heart swelled when she took it between both of hers.
“Dean found her. The people that owned her bought her at an auction in your town from your father. They remembered him. She’s been at their farm ever since. All their children learned to ride on her, but they retired her when their kids moved out. If I hadn’t told them your story, they would have let her graze in their back field for the rest of her life. They loved her, Tony, just like you did. And they would like to come visit her at your ranch if you’ll let them.”
Whatever wall had been left around Tony’s heart crumbled, and he pulled Sarah into a bone-crushing embrace. He didn’t even try to hide the happy tears that ran down his cheeks. He wasn’t sure he’d ever done a single thing to deserve a woman as kindhearted and loving as Sarah, but he knew he’d spend the rest of his life trying to. “I love you, Sarah Dery,” he said.
Sarah wrapped her arms around Tony’s waist. He loves me! “It took you long enough to realize it.”
He pulled her to his side, kissed her upturned lips softly, and said, “From the moment I found you in my shower, I knew my life would never be the same.”
“In a good way?”
He kissed her cheek. “In the best way. When do you want to get married?”
Sarah laughed. “You’re not going to ask me first?”
He kissed the tip of her nose. “I’m not giving you the option of saying no. But you can pick the date as long as it’s soon.”
“You are one pushy cowboy,” she teased.
For a long moment, he looked down into her eyes, and she glimpsed the sadness that had originally drawn her to him. “I love you, Sarah, and I am a better man because you came into my life.”
Sarah hugged him possessively. “Well, don’t change too much. I have a few things left on my list, and I don’t think they are nice-guy approved.”
A huge smile spread across Tony’s face. “List?”
Looking down at his chest, Sarah said, “It’s a bucket list.” Or more accurately: My Fuck-It List. Sarah chuckled at the thought that she wasn’t quite brave enough to share out loud. I should write that down.
Tony held her just a little away from himself and waited until she looked up at him. “Tell me.”
My notebook can wait.
“Let’s go home,” Sarah said playfully, then whispered seductively against his lips, “I’d rather show you.”
The next morning, dressed only in one of Tony’s plaid shirts, Sarah left him sleeping in their bed and slipped away to the bathroom for a moment. She looked in the mirror and smiled. Her hair was loose in a tangled mess. The makeup she hadn’t taken the time to remove was smudged beneath her eyes.
I look like we spent the night doing exactly what we did. Eventually, one of us will have to go downstairs for food, and I can’t look like this if there is any chance it might be me.
She turned on the water and slid out of Tony’s shirt. A few moments later, Sarah closed her eyes and sighed as she relaxed in the full tub. She smiled as she replayed every wonderful, hot moment of the night before. They’d barely made it in the door before they’d ripped each other’s clothing off and had sex on the stairs while heading to his bedroom.
Eventually, temporarily spent, they’d cuddled in his bed and talked. He told her about the changes he wanted to make at his ranch, and she told him about her plans to self-publish her stories. Her heart nearly burst with pride when he explained that he’d given a house to Melanie and Jace. He wasn’t a man who boasted about what he did. He told her because there were no more barriers between them. No more secrets.
“Did you hear any more from Lucy about her ranch? I made the call. Don’t know if it did much good. I figure we should send David out there to see what’s going on. He’s good with the business side of ranching.”
“You’d do that?” Sarah had asked in awe.
He’d kissed her and said, “I would do anything for you or those you care about.”
And she believed him because, as frustrating as he sometimes was, Tony was a man who didn’t say a word more than he meant.
Breshall Haas is sure going to be busy, because book three is already coming alive for me. My two broken characters will finally bring each other as much comfort as they do passion. She smiled as she remembered how Tony had looked tied to the bed at the cabin, as willing to be taken as she ever was. She sank deeper beneath the warm water and watched the book play out in her imagination, like a movie.
It keeps getting better and better.
Wrapped only in a towel, Sarah walked back into the bedroom and saw Tony happily reading her notebook. He put it down on his lap and said, “That will always remind me of the day we met.”
Sarah looked down and laughed. “Let’s not tell anyone that story, deal?”
He smiled and held up her notebook, revealing the evidence of his excitement standing erect beneath the sheet. “I see you have been busy. I like your new story, but I have a few questions.”
Sarah sat and turned to face him, knowing that when she lifted her leg onto the bed she’d give him an intimate view. He sucked in a breath, his attention no longer focused on her writing. “What did you want to know?”
He met her eyes, desire sizzling the air between them. “What?”
Sarah ran a hand down the sheet, caressing one of his thighs through the smooth cotton. “You said you had questions.”
He reached behind her head and pulled her closer, murmuring against her lips. “It doesn’t matter.”
The temptation to sink into his arms warred with the need to know what he thought about her writing. She put a hand on his shoulder and said, “I want your feedback. My writing isn’t a hobby to me—it’s a part of me. What do you think?”
He shifted and pulled her down beside him in the bed and tucked her into his side. “First, why does he have to be a billionaire? Are millions not sexy enough?”
Sarah ran her hand across the light hair of his chest. “Don’t be jealous. He’s not real.”
Tony kissed her lightly on her forehead. “He’d better not be, because he and I share some similar techniques.” Despite his obvious hard-on, he reopened her notebook and pointed to a scene she had written. “I think I could do this better than you described it, though. I had some ideas while I read it.”