The Cowboy Earns a Bride (Page 44)

The Cowboy Earns a Bride (Cowboys of Chance Creek #8)(44)
Author: Cora Seton

Should he buy her something else? He wracked his brain for what that might be. Flowers and chocolates hadn’t moved her. The bracelet and hair clips hadn’t either.

Should he go and reason with her?

Definitely not. Every time he talked he dug himself a deeper hole.

How could he win her without talking to her, though?

The answer to that question made him smile. He didn’t think he could trick her into coming to his place again anytime soon though, and he needed privacy for what he had in mind. Good thing the Cruzes cleared out of the guesthouse every night. Mia was the only one staying there at present.

Which meant that right about now she was probably alone.

Chapter Fifteen

Mia wasn’t sure what woke her an hour or so after she fell asleep. She thought she’d heard a sound that had no place in the house at this time of night. She sat up and listened over the thump of her heart in her chest. Had a door shut downstairs? Was Autumn still down there?

It was awfully late.

Instinct had her climbing out of bed and throwing on her robe. She searched in the dark until her hand closed around the heavy metal flashlight Ethan had given her when she first moved back. She remembered what he told her then. “I like this brand. It’s a good light and it’s heavy enough to use as a weapon if need be.”

Just like a man, she’d thought at the time, but now she understood what he meant. She moved on silent feet to her door and positioned herself to the side that it opened toward. Because now she was sure there was an intruder in the house.

As she pressed her back against the wall and held her breath, straining to hear footsteps or the telltale creak of a stair tread, she longed for the cell phone she’d left downstairs in her purse.

Maybe the intruder would take that purse, steal her money, and go away. Please, she found herself whispering. Please, please just go away.

But when a footfall sounded right outside her door, Mia knew she wouldn’t get off that easy. She clutched the flashlight in both hands, raised it above her head and waited, stifling a scream when the doorknob turned and the door opened an inch, and then another.

“Mia?” a man said softly as he entered the room, and she didn’t wait another instant. She’d meant to smash the flashlight down on the intruder’s head, but instead she flung it at him.

“Ow! What the fuck?” The man swung a hand out to defend himself and knocked the door wide open. It slammed into her, the doorknob bashing her hip.


“Mia? Jesus, is that you?”


The man fumbled around the doorway and found the light switch. In the glare of the overhead lamp, Mia cringed back, one hand on her bruised hip. Luke stood in the doorway, a hand to his head.

“What did you hit me with?”

“What the hell are you doing in my bedroom?”

They faced each other, both of them breathing hard.

“I came… I just wanted to be with you.” Luke looked at his hand. “I’m bleeding.”

“It’s no more than you deserve! You scared me to death! How did you even get inside the house?”

“The front door was unlocked and the lights are on downstairs. I assumed you were still up.”

“So you tiptoed through the house and barged into my room?” And why were the lights on at this hour? Had Autumn meant to come back for something and forgotten about it?

“I didn’t tiptoe. I sauntered.”

“Like hell!” But she moved closer and touched his hand. He was bleeding. “Come on into the bathroom—let’s take care of that.”

“I can’t believe you hit me.” He chuckled. “It’s worth it, though, to get a look at you in that robe.”

“Luke.” She knew all her curves were in plain sight through the soft, silky fabric.

She led the way into the bathroom, turned on the light and tugged him toward the sink. Turning on the tap, she moved his hand under the running water. He jerked his hand back and hissed.

“You have to clean that.”

“All right.” He put his hand under the water again and this time let her minister to him. She cleaned the cut as gently as she could with a washcloth.

“I mean it. You look stunning.” His voice was husky and when she glanced up and followed his gaze, she realized she’d given him an eyeful when she’d bent over his hand. He couldn’t seem to look away from the curve of her breasts exposed by her robe. “I’m sorry I scared you, honey.”

“You did scare me.” She fought against her awareness of him. Tried to stay immune to his familiar, sexy scent.

“Did I hurt you?” His free hand slipped under her robe to her hip. Mia gasped, but not from pain as he smoothed his palm over her bare skin. “You know I’d never hurt you on purpose.”

She did know that. As aggravating as Luke was—as blind to her needs as he could be—the cowboy meant well. And he was so… intoxicating when he touched her like that.

But she had to be strong. She finished cleaning his cut, patted his hand dry with a towel and moved to fetch a band-aid.

“I don’t need that,” Luke said. “But there’s something else you could help me fix up.”


He took her hand, pressed it against the front of his jeans. He was hard below the fabric. Mia’s breath caught in her throat. “Luke.”

“I want you,” he whispered as he reached out to undo the ties of her robe. She tried to cover herself back up. “Mia, don’t.”

She heard the longing in his voice, and she wasn’t sure if it was because she was so tired, the late hour, or the way his body always got her attention, but she found she didn’t want to fight him. She let her hands fall, and he slid the robe off of her, then led her to the bed. “Climb in.”

“What about you?”

He smiled. “Be there in a minute.” He turned off the bedroom light, closed the door and she could hear the sound of him undressing. She knew she was crazy to let him join her—especially after the stupid move he’d just pulled, but she didn’t want Luke to leave. She didn’t want to be alone.

When he slid under the covers, she shivered with the cool air that followed him, but in just moments, he warmed her up again. He scooped her into his arms and pressed her body against his. Mia sighed when her breasts rubbed against his chest.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?”


“I bet I can make you feel even better.”