Excerpt #2 from JESSE, Bk 3 The Secret Life of Cowboys...
The rumble of deep voices surprised Danielle as she was coming down the stairs. Her heart fluttered when she recognized Jesse’s smooth baritone. He was here! Taking a deep cleansing breath, she prayed she would keep her cool and not demand he tell her why he hadn’t kept his promise to Lacy.
His eyes met hers and something shifted deep inside of her. She felt different when he looked at her. Not quite able to put her finger on just what it was, she told herself she would worry about it later.
“Lacy will be so sorry she missed you,” she said. “She was really looking forward to it.”
“I’m sorry I got held up today. I was shooting to be on my way to town by three o’clock this afternoon,” he said with a shake of his head. “But we had a steer go loco on us.”
“Crazy,” Jesse and her uncle said at the same time.
“Damned steer broke through a section of fence we’d just repaired and we had to chase down the rogue and his buddies.”
It seemed like a reasonable excuse, but the fact remained that Lacy had been just as heartbroken yesterday when he didn’t show up. Although she hadn’t wanted to bring it up, she just couldn’t get the image of her little one’s sad face from her mind. “About yesterday—” she began.
He pushed his Stetson to the back of his head and smiled down at her, a look of relief on his face. “I’m glad you understood why I didn’t want to interrupt.”
“When you were all out back with the delivery.” He frowned. “Didn’t you understand my note?”
Perplexed, she asked, “What note?”
“I left you a note on the table explaining that something came up and I’d be stopping by this afternoon for Lacy’s lesson.” He paused then shook his head. “Only, damned if I couldn’t get away like I’d hoped.”
“So you left me a note,” she repeated, unable to hold back her smile. When he echoed that smile, she asked, “Did you leave it in the mailbox?”
It was his turn to frown. Funny, but up until that point, he seemed pretty relaxed. “I took a piece of paper off the clipboard and left the damned note in the middle of the table.”
She looked at her uncle who shook his head. “Well, we didn’t find anything.”
He took his hat off and worried the brim with his hands. “Then Lacy and you thought I forgot about you?”
Uncle Jimmy patted her on the back, winked, and then left them alone.
Not trusting her voice or wanting him to know how close to tears they’d both been, she shrugged and a lock of hair tickled her nose. She tossed her head to get it out of her eyes, but it slid back down in her face.
Jesse reached out and smoothed the strand behind her ear. Pins and needles of awareness prickled just beneath her skin where his fingers had brushed against her.
Her sharply indrawn breath had his gaze zeroing in on her face. “You two were on my mind all day.” Something dark and desperate bubbled in the depths of his eyes as he rasped, “I never break my word, Danielle.”
“I was hoping you wouldn’t,” she admitted. She didn’t know what else to say. She’d been so churned up before he arrived and now that he was here, she was all but tongue-tied.
As if he could sense the turmoil within her, he closed the gap between them and slid his arms around her. Her breath caught as the blood rushed through her veins.
“Dani darlin’,” he whispered, pulling her flush against him until she could feel the pounding of his heart. Her gaze flicked to his and he lowered his head. “I’ve been dying to taste you.”
“Oh, I—” Jesse’s lips claimed hers and every thought drained from her head as his mouth took command of hers in a devastating kiss.
He slid his hand down to the small of her back and pinned her to him, the hot, hard length of him straining against the denim that held him in check. Her startled cry was echoed by the triumph in his as his tongue swept into her mouth to tangle with hers.
He would never be satisfied with one mind-blowing kiss. Delving deep, he stroked his hands up and down the curve of her supple spine, stopping to mold her curvy backside with his hands. When she gasped a second time, he swept his hands up her sides, cupped her face, and tipped her head back. “I want more.”
Desperate to take, a heartbeat away from sweeping her into his arms and kidnapping her, he drew up short when a jubilant voice cried out, “Cowboy Jesse!”
He dropped his hands and turned just in time to catch the tiny missile aimed at his knees. He bent down and snagged Lacy before she banged her head on his knee bone. “Hey there, little darlin’.”
“I knew you’d come,” she crowed as he lifted her up into his arms. “I told Mommy you would.”
Dazed from the absolute trust shining in her blue eyes, he looked from daughter to mother and shook his head. “I always keep my promises.”
“But you din’t yesterday,” Lacy reminded him.
“I left your mommy a note at the diner.”
“I knew it!” The little girl shocked the shit out of him when she threw back her head and gave a rebel yell. He couldn’t help it; he laughed and suddenly Danielle and Lacy were both in his arms, laughing with him.
The bottom just dropped out of his stomach as his world spun in circles and his heart skidded closer to the edge, like he had out at Devil’s Bowl.
“Can we go riding now?”
Touching the tip of his finger to the end of her turned up nose, he shook his head. “The horses have all gone to bed for the night, but I wanted to ask if your mommy could bring you to the ranch tomorrow afternoon.”
“Yes!” Lacy answered for her mother.
“Yes,” her uncle added from the living room.
“I guess it’s settled then,” Jesse said, running the tip of his finger along the curve of Danielle’s cheek. “Say yes, Dani. I’ve got something I need to do tomorrow night, so if you drive out in the afternoon it’ll save me time so I can squeeze in a lesson before dinner.”
When she hesitated, he tucked her hair behind her ear and tipped her face up. The look in her eyes warned him not to kiss her. Hell, he never liked being told what to do. He claimed her mouth with a swift kiss that was over far too soon.
“You don’t kiss Mommy like Unca Jimmy does.” Lacy punctuated that statement with a giggle.
“I sure hope not, little lady,” her uncle called out from where he stood in the doorway.
Unable to help himself, Jesse pressed his lips to Lacy’s forehead. “Is he the only man who kisses your mommy?”
He thought he heard Danielle grumbling under her breath, but was distracted when Lacy answered, “Uh-huh… ’specially since Daddy left us.”
“That’s enough for one night, Lacy.” Her mother shifted until Lacy was back in her arms, and she stepped out of Jesse’s. “Time for bed.”
“Can cowboy Jesse tuck me in?”
Every drop of spit dried up in his mouth. He couldn’t have answered even if he wanted to, so he did the next best thing and nodded. Following behind them, he grabbed the handrail to steady himself as they ascended the stairs.
A nightlight shone from the open door at the end of the hallway. Walking toward it, he wondered if this was a passing fancy or if Lacy would want him to stick around and tuck her in every night. Damned if that thought didn’t appeal almost as much as getting his hands on Danielle—only the next time he got his hands on her, there wouldn’t be anything to stop him from satisfying his bone-deep need to make love to her.
Danielle settled Lacy under the covers, kissed her cheek, and turned to reach for his hand. She squeezed it—maybe it was her way of letting him know it was OK with her that he be in her daughter’s bedroom like this, about to take part in their nightly ritual.
His throat tightened, but he ignored it and bent down to kiss the tip of Lacy’s nose. She giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. “I love you, cowboy Jesse.”
A lump the size of Texas filled his throat as moisture filled his eyes. His voice useless, he answered her the only way he knew how, by wrapping his arms around her tiny little frame and hugging her close. The precious life in his arms snuggled close as if she were settling in for the night.
“All right, sweetie, Jesse has to go home and get some rest if he’s going to be getting up at dawn to take care of the ranch animals.”
Grateful that she intervened, yet at the same time sorry that he had to go, Jesse eased back from the little one and brushed the hair out of her eyes. “Sleep tight.”
“…and don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Lacy finished, smiling as she closed her eyes.
Jesse didn’t know how long he would have stayed there if Danielle hadn’t grabbed a hold of his hand and given it a tug to get him moving. When they were in the hallway, she stopped and looked up at him. “Thank you, Jesse.”
After the outpouring of affection he’d received from both of the Brockway ladies, he was the one who should be down on his knees thanking her. “I didn’t do anything special,” he finally grumbled.
“There’s where you’re wrong,” she told him. “You just proved to my daughter that a man can keep his word and can be trusted.” She lifted her hand to touch his face but hesitated, drawing back at the last moment.
He snagged her hand in his and brought it to his lips. “You and Lacy are something special,” he rasped. “I can’t wait until you come out to the Circle G. There’s so much I want to show you.”
“Tomorrow,” she whispered, tilting her head back.
“Tomorrow,” he rasped, sealing his words with a kiss.
Jenn from lovlivlifereviews gave JESSE 5 Stars and said…“If you love those family oriented stories , I know a perky lil’ 4 year old that’ll melt your heart like cotton candy.“ 5 Stars, Jenn, Lovlivlifreviews
Karia from Nocturne Reviews gave JESSE 4.5 Hoots and said…“Cowboy Jesse, quite simply takes her breath away…and mine!”
Terra from Yankee Romance Reviews said… “Oh my have I been missing out. This is really the first series I have read with a Western theme and dear Lord I can only say that I need more. C. H. Admirand has swept my breath away with her trilogy of sexy studs that are more than any one woman could possibly wish for. Oh Yumm!
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