Excerpt from THE COWBOY–Blazing Hearts Series, Book 2
Jake spends his days training horses and his nights training women in the bedroom. The women are simply a means to an end—a way to find release. The woman he wants took off like a thief in the night years ago, leaving him wondering each and every day where she is and if she’s all right. It’s her he wants in his bed. It’s her he wants to do kinky things with. When Teresa arrives back in town without warning everything changes. She wants a relationship with him. He wants far more than that. He wants total surrender, but is she really willing to give it?
Rating: This novella contains steamy sex scenes, light BDSM, a hero who is all about getting the heroine into bed and teaching her things good girls just shouldn’t know, and a couple who has had feelings for one another a whole hell of a lot longer than they’re willing to admit. This novella isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t like your sex dirty, your men alpha and your women willing to learn, then this isn’t the book for you.
Disclaimer: This book is a work of fiction and is not meant to be a how-to book or a manual to the BDSM/fetish lifestyle. It is merely meant to be read and provide a mental escape for your enjoyment. Always practice safe sex and never enter into BDSM play without proper knowledge and understanding of the lifestyle and a trained, trusted practitioner to guide you through it all. Serious injury or death could result from improper BDSM/fetish play. Safe, sane and consensual (SSC) is a must. The Raven Books and its authors, owners and operators are not responsible for any injuries or death that may occur from improper use of techniques or information found within this document.
Jake Earhart held the horse’s hoof steady as he picked out debris from the metal shoe. The horse, Churchill, a relatively young gelding yet, was good about the process. He trusted Jake, and Jake in turn trusted him. Since he was little, Jake had a way about him with horses. He understood them and they seemed to get him more than most people. The locals tended to band about the term horse whisperer. He didn’t much care for it. There wasn’t any magic involved. Just patience and a firm, guiding hand. Something he’d learned to have a lot of. He was a trainer. Plain and simple. He wasn’t some horse magic man.
He finished up and then patted the horse on the backside. “Good boy.”
The horse snorted and glanced back at him as if he understood the compliment. He checked Churchill’s water bucket, lifted it and took it from the stall and to the hose. He filled the bucket with cool, fresh water and returned it to the horse’s stall. He winked. “There you go, boy.”
Churchill had a look of gratitude in his eyes.
Jake carefully assured the stall door was latched before heading out of the barn. The rest of the horses had already been tended to and were set for the night. He loved his job. He didn’t mind that it kept him up late at night and started early in the morning. The horses were pretty much his life and he liked it that way. Before he’d come to Garnes Ranch he’d been lost. Training horses gave him purpose. They needed him and he needed them.
The night sky, filled with stars, was as clear as could be. Pausing, Jake stared up at them, taking solace in the fact that somewhere out there they were shining down on her—the one who’d got away.
Lowering his gaze, his eyes grew moist. He wasn’t an emotional guy, at least not that he ever let others see. He wasn’t prone to breakdowns and wasn’t much for wearing his feelings on his sleeves, but when it came to Teresa, a whole lot didn’t make sense. Never had. She’d found a way under his shell when they were teenagers and managed to secure herself a permanent place in his heart.
He snorted, remembering the looks they’d drawn when they’d walked around town hand in hand. She stood nearly a foot shorter than him. She’d always seemed so tiny, so delicate next to him—this mass of dark brown hair with a set of huge blue eyes that, when they looked at him, he could swear saw right through him. And he’d always wanted to protect her. When she’d disappeared without a trace from Middlefield years ago, Jake’s entire life had changed.
He glanced to the side, in the direction her childhood home stood. No one lived there anymore. Her father had passed when she was little, and her mother had taken up with whatever transient she could. Her grandfather had been the glue that held the family together. The same year he passed was the year Teresa had vanished. She’d never said goodbye. Nothing. No hint she was leaving. It hurt as much today as it had the day she vanished.
Jake looked up at the stars once more. “Night, sweetie.”
Others told him he was a fool for continuing to hold out any hope she was still alive. He couldn’t give up on her. He’d been given up on in his life and he knew what that felt like. It wasn’t in him to do it to her. He had a trip set next month for New Mexico. He’d gather his folder of old photos and possible leads and work the streets again while he was there in his downtime. He’d find her or die trying.
Jake shut the barn door and glanced up at the main house, noting the lights were all off. His place was on the grounds but smaller and farther back on the property. He liked it that way. It was actually more space than he needed. He was one man. He didn’t need a three-bedroom ranch house. Unlike Tyson, his close friend and foreman of the ranch, Jake didn’t enjoy being around a lot of people. He preferred the company of horses. They never betrayed your trust or vanished without a trace.
As Jake walked towards his home, he passed Tyson’s place. The bedroom window was open, and he paused as he heard the telltale signs of a woman being pleased.
“Oh, Ty, yes, there. Yes,” Lexie cried out loud enough for anyone in the area to hear.
Jake grinned. Sounded as if Tyson and Lexie were doing well together. Their wedding date was fast approaching. Tyson had been in love with Lexie for years. It was about time the two of them got on the same page and got the ball rolling on the rest of their lives.
“Mmm, baby,” Tyson said. “I’m gonna spank that sexy lil’ ass of yours again.”
“Yes,. please,” Lexie returned. “There. Again.”
Her pleas for rougher bedroom play left Jake’s body responding. He moved off just a bit and stood behind a tree near Tyson’s place. He knew how perverted it was for him to be listening in on his friend having sex with the woman he was going to marry, but Jake couldn’t help himself. He stood there a while longer, listening as Tyson brought Lexie to culmination.
Jake snorted as he continued on towards his place. His cock stirred slightly at the idea of sex. It had been two weeks since he’d last scratched his manly itch two towns over. There was an underground club there that allowed him to find the type of sex he needed—hardcore, kinky with no apologies. The place was a safe haven for deviant types like himself. The people were all likeminded and willing. Just what he required.
He flexed his hand, remembering the sound it had made when spanking the sexy ass of a blonde number with bit tits and long legs. She’d liked it rough and had begged him to flog her. He’d, of course, given in to her needs, paying special attention to her tits. They’d pinked up real pretty with each swat and she’d moaned, wanting more. She was good enough to get him off, but nothing he wanted to wake up next to the rest of his life. Though he might seek her out again soon. She didn’t seem to mind him being rough in bed with her. And damn, he liked his sex rough. Plus, she was good at sucking his dick, which always helped.
He shook the thoughts from his head. There wasn’t much he could do about it all now. It was too late to try driving to the club, and there was a chance the blonde wouldn’t be there. He wasn’t in the mood for wannabes. He didn’t want some newcomer more in need of theory than anything else trying to get him to be her Dom. That wasn’t how it worked, but he’d turn blue trying to explain so he didn’t bother. He’d be jacking off again tonight for sure now. It was just easier that way.
He walked, enjoying the silence that enveloped him. He kept going until he finally reached his ranch-style home. The porch light kicked on and he was happy he’d replaced it. Prior to getting a light with a sensor, he’d taken a few rather nasty spills up the stairs to the porch. It was normally too dark to see at night.
The minute his boots touched the wooden steps, his dog, Charger, was at the other side of the door barking, sounding happy Jake was home. More often than not, Charge roamed the ranch with Jake, but they’d had some coyote problems as of late, and he didn’t want his dog getting tangled up in all that. Charger wasn’t a fan of being cooped up all day in the house. Jake understood that. He knew what it was like to be locked away.
He shuddered at the remembered pain of his past. His childhood wasn’t something he was proud of. In fact, he went out of his way to never discuss it. Luther Garnes, the ranch owner, was fully aware of it and so was Ms. Simmons, the counselor Garnes had employed to visit the ranch as often as possible when all the boys were younger. She still came around, and Jake had a sneaky suspicion it had more to do with visiting Garnes than checking up on their well-being. Other than that, his story was his and his alone. Each boy that had passed through the ranch had one. None were pretty, and plenty of boys had called Garnes Ranch their home.
It had been hard coming to Middlefield when he was just in his early teens. He’d been from the neighboring town and everyone there seemed to know the truth of his childhood. So many knew but none bothered to help. No one cared that the little boy born to the town whore had no one to live with or nowhere to go when she died. No one gave a shit when he was only eleven years old and wandering the streets, looking for shelter on cold or stormy nights. And no one cared when his stomach was so empty that the sounds it made kept him awake. For years he’d lived like that. He’d made his way around the county, learning to live on his own and to steal what he needed. It wasn’t until an older couple from Middlefield spotted him looking for food outside a local truck stop that anyone intervened.
He smiled at the thought of the Kingstons. They were still in Middlefield. He’d see them in passing and occasionally he’d stop by their farm to see if they needed anything. They’d been instrumental in getting him hooked up with Garnes and living in Middlefield. The town was perfect size wise. It had decent amenities without the bullshit that came with living in a larger town. Mostly, no one looked at him as the whore’s boy. They just knew he was one of the men who had grown up on the Garnes’s Ranch, and in Middlefield that meant you worked hard and were a stand-up person, regardless of your past.
Jake opened the door and Charger pushed out past him, darting off the porch and into the night. The dog stopped near the tree line long enough to lift his leg and do his business before he twisted and ran like hell past the side of the house and into a wooded area.
“Stay close,” he said as he headed into the house. A shower and relieving the ache of his cock was in order.
Teresa Lopez revved the engine in her tiny car. It was hardly roadworthy anymore, but it was all she had and it would get her where she needed to be.
Already the sun had set and night had come upon her. She wasn’t a fan of driving in the dark and for good reason. The country roads that littered the area were notorious for sharp turns with little warning prior to the bend. Sure she’d grown up around the area, but that didn’t mean she’d memorized every road in the county. Far from it.
Her stomach tightened as she spotted the signs for the turnoff to Middlefield. It had been years since she’d set foot on her hometown soil. Years since she’d seen her friends and loved ones.
Just thinking of him made emotions well in her. She could only hope he hadn’t settled down and married. If so, she was heading home and tearing the scab off old wounds for no reason.
Not true, she reminded herself.
She glanced to her purse, feeling better knowing it had pepper spray in it. When she’d cut and run she’d grabbed just what she needed and no more. Hale, the sick bastard she’d shacked up with, didn’t know about her past. Didn’t know she was from Middlefield. He only knew what she shared, and long ago she’d taken to sharing next to nothing about herself. It was better that way with as much as she moved around.
But it was time to stop running and put roots down. She just prayed the man she wanted to start those roots with was still available and willing to at least let her explain herself. It was time she came clean with him. Time he knew all the reasons she’d left. It hadn’t just been his desires or her fear that she’d been pregnant that had driven her away. Her mother’s boyfriend had had a hand in it all, and Jake needed to at least hear that, regardless the outcome.
She drove faster than she should on the old road. She couldn’t seem to help herself. She was in a hurry to get home yet terrified all the same of rejection. Jake had earned the right to reject her, and it would serve her right with the way she’d run out on him without saying goodbye.
Her heart ached as she remembered her behavior. She wasn’t proud of herself. Far from it. He’d loved her with all his being, and her response had been to panic and bolt when he’d finally opened up fully to her.
Tears clouded her vision and she continued to go faster than the speed limit. She glanced to her purse, thinking of fishing out the old photo she had of her and Jake and then looked up just in time to see the old bridge far too late to adjust her course or speed. As she struck the old wooden guard rails, she closed her eyes, preparing for the worst, believing she deserved it.