“Look out, world! There’s a new cowboy in town.” – Carolyn Brown, NYT Bestselling author
Tangled in Texas, book two in Kari Lynn Dell’s Texas Rodeo series, is out now! You can buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
An unearthly screech sent Fudge wheeling away, snorting in alarm. There was a shouted curse, followed by a series of thuds from inside the barn. Heart thumping, Tori jogged across the yard, cut around the back corner of the barn and slammed into a hard male body.
He stumbled backward. “Ouch! Shit!”
“Delon?” She shook her head, dazed by the collision. “What were you doing in my barn?”
His hair stuck up in tufts on one side and his jeans were unbuttoned, gaping open. One ear bud dangled loose. He cast a baleful glare at the barn. “I went in there to take a leak and something jumped me.”
Oh, hell. Tori reached inside the door and flicked on the light. Sure enough, a pair of malevolent eyes gleamed from under the hay manger.
“What is wrong with you?” Tori demanded.
The cat curled a paw and gave it an insolent lick.
“What is it?” Delon asked.
She switched off the light. “A cat.”
“Like Garfield,” she said. “Only with homicidal tendencies.”
Delon brows lowered. “And you own this thing because…”
“Pest control.” She let her gaze slide down to his waist. “You might want to close up shop.”
He muttered another curse and wheeled around. As he bowed his head to zip and button, she saw the punctures on the side of his neck. Damn and double damn. The hellcat had drawn blood. She stepped close, lifting her hand just as Delon turned around. They came face to face, nose to nose. Surprise made her suck in a breath—and a lungful of warm, healthy man. Clean and spicy, with a chaser of engine grease, a combination so uniquely Delon it made her head spin.
She should have stepped back. Instead, she touched his neck, feeling the sharp rap of his heartbeat under her fingers. “You’re bleeding.”
He raised his hand to cover hers. For a long moment they stood, locked in place, as tension revved like an engine from a low hum to a scream. She’d had her hands on him dozens of times at the clinic while she put him through his paces. Why should this be so different? But she felt the matching catch in his pulse, saw the heat build in his eyes. They were so close, and so alone, in this alley between the barn and the arena where no one could see. One step and Delon could have her pressed up against the wall, the way he’d done the night he showed up fresh off a win at San Antonio, so fired up they barely got the front door closed…
She jerked her hand free and stepped back. He stared at her for a beat, his rumpled hair falling over his forehead, those amazing eyes dark in a way they hadn’t been back then. Full of shadows and storms—and desire. Current, or remembered? Best not to wonder.
“Why are you here?” she asked.
“Fixing your tractor, remember?”
She gave an impatient shake of her head. “You said you’d send a mechanic.”
“I did.” He spread his hands to say Here I am,and the gleam in his eyes sharpened, as if he sensed
how her body clenched at the view. “As long as you’re here, you can give me a hand.”
Her mind slipped again, into the quicksand of memories. Oh, she’d given him a hand, all right. And a mouth. And…she ground her teeth, irritated. Damn him, invading her space this way. She wouldn’t have accepted the offer if she’d known he planned to do it himself.
He paused at the door to the arena and glanced over his shoulder as he tucked the ear buds into his pocket. “Coming?”
Not lately, her body whispered. But if you’ve got a few minutes…
Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents' bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.