Curves and the Russian Wrangler (BBW Romance - Coldwater Springs 6)

BOOK: Curves and the Russian Wrangler (BBW Romance - Coldwater Springs 6)
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Curves and the Russian Wrangler (BBW Romance - Coldwater Springs 6)

by

Jenn Roseton

Copyright © 2015 by Jenn Roseton

All rights reserved

No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced in any format, by any means, electronic or otherwise, without prior consent from the copyright owner and publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places and events are the product of the author's imagination or used fictitiously.

 

This is a sexy contemporary romance short story/novelette of 13,000 words

Amber hurried past the small stores lining Main Street in Coldwater Springs, Wyoming. Her mother
had called for a quick chat that Saturday morning, just as she’d been about to leave the house
,
and now she was running late. She prided herself on her punctuality, and always having the Coldwater Country Boutique open at 9.30 every morning, Tuesday to Saturday.

Glancing at her watch, she saw she only had two minutes to reach the shop, unlock the door, and turn the closed sign to open.

She quickened her step, almost jogging in her haste to reach the boutique. Luckily, she wore a supportive sports bra that helped contain her generous breasts, the bane of her existence.

“Look what I’ve got!” A small boy, running along the sidewalk, yelled to his friend.

“Let me see!” The second boy raced beside his friend, looking into the paper bag at the same time.

“Oof!” Amber and the two boys collided, Amber flailing for balance. Before she could fall, a pair of strong arms caught her.

“Those boys were not paying attention,” a decisive, delicious European accented voice murmured in her ear. “Are you all right?”

Amber slowly turned around to look at her rescuer. His hands still clasped her arms as she gazed up at him. He was tall, dwarfing her height of five foot six. He must be six foot, she thought dazedly, taking in his midnight black hair, threaded with the tiniest hint of silver at his temples, his piercing dark brown eyes, and his straight nose, high cheekbones and determined jaw.

He seemed to be in his mid-thirties. His dark denim jeans and plain navy, long-sleeved shirt fit his muscular build well and gave him the appearance of a rancher.

She blinked, then realized he’d asked her a question. “Yes. Thank you.” He’d caught her before hit the ground and hurt herself. She swallowed. “I’m fine.”

“Are you boys okay?” The stranger
addressed the kids, who had managed to stay upright during the collision
.
“You must look where you are going in future.”

“Sorry,” the first boy apologized, picking up his paper bag that was sprawled on the sidewalk, marbles rolling out everywhere.

“Sorry,” his friend said, shifting uncomfortably under the man’s frowning gaze and hurriedly scooping up the stray marbles.

“Very well.” Her rescuer inclined his head. “Off you go.”

“Sorry,” the first boy repeated to Amber, before walking quickly down the street. His friend followed him.

The stranger turned to her. “I am Mikhail--”

“Amber!” Emma Winters called out, dashing up to them, her blonde braid bobbing. “I saw what happened but I was further down the street. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Amber smiled at her curvy friend. Emma was in her early thirties, and happily married to Cade Winters, a horse trainer. Amber realized with a stab of guilt she hadn’t seen Emma for a while. Now that she’d been promoted to manager of the small boutique, she wanted to prove to her newly retired employer that she could handle the job easily. She’d been so busy with her extra workload that she hadn’t had time for anything else.

“Mikhail!” Emma smiled at the stranger
.
“I’m glad you were here.”

“So am I.” His serious face broke into a smile as he looked at Amber. Butterflies somersaulted in her tummy. “Perhaps you can introduce us, Emma?”

Emma grinned. “Amber, this is Mikhail Stepanov, our new neighbor. Mikhail, this is Amber Dawson. She manages the boutique over there.” She gestured to the clothes shop a few feet away, sporting fresh white paint and a green awning emblazoned with the name, Coldwater Country Boutique. The mannequins in the window wore spring clothes - t-shirts in appealing colors, capris and cargo pants in neutral palettes.

“It is a pleasure to meet you.” He held out his hand, and Amber realized that until now, his large, strong hands had clasped her arms. Now, she suddenly felt bereft, the warmth of his touch no longer there.
“Although I wish it had been in more pleasant circumstances.”

His accent sent sensual thrills down her spine. How could just his dark, velvety, deliciously accented voice do that to her? She placed her small, plump hand in his. His tanned fingers closed over it. A shot of heat raced up her arm.

Breathe.

After a few seconds, she heard Emma clear her throat, and she became conscious that her hand was still in Mikhail’s and she’d been gazing up at him like a star-struck teenager.

“I was going to pop into the boutique this morning to look at the new clothes that came in,” Emma said, her gaze switching between them.

“I must not keep you.” Mikhail relinquished her hand
,
his fingers brushing against her palm.

“Thank you.” She couldn’t help her breathless tone. “For … for catching me.”

“My pleasure.” He nodded. “Emma.” He smiled in farewell.

Both women watched him stride down the street.

“Wow,” Amber whispered.

“Yeah.” Emma caught her friend’s arm. “We can talk inside the shop.”

Once inside the boutique, Emma fanned herself. “If I wasn’t married to Cade …” Her eyes softened with love. “Who am I kidding? Cade is the love of my life.”

“I know,” Amber murmured. She’d never seen her friend happier than when she’d fallen in love with Cade Winters, an ex-rodeo star. Now they were married and lived on Cade’s ranch. Emma bred quarter-horses and Cade had a herd of cattle as well as his horse-training business.

Emma smiled. “I wanted to buy a new nightgown for my vacation. Cade and I are going to Hawaii for a couple of weeks.” She wiggled her eyebrows impishly. “I want to surprise him.”

“That’s right.” Amber bit her lip. She’d been so caught up in her promotion that she’d forgotten her friend was going next week - to Maui!

“It’s okay.” Emma must have seen her flash of guilt. “I know you’ve been busy with all this.” She waved her hand at the interior of the boutique.

One section of the small shop contained elegant nightwear and pretty lingerie, while at the opposite end, practical denim jeans and riding boots decorated the displays. In between, adorable floral cardigans, blouses for work and play, and flatteringly cut plus-size dresses dominated the space. Two small changing rooms were tucked away in a corner.

Amber frowned. “You haven’t mentioned Mikhail before, have you?” Although she didn’t think she would have forgotten her friend telling her about a sexy European arriving in Coldwater Springs, a small Wyoming ranching community.

“Nope.” Emma smiled. “He’s only been here a couple of months. He bought the Johnson ranch, Green Pines, down the road from us. Cade’s hired him to look after the horses while we’re away. Mikhail didn’t want any payment, but Cade insisted, since it won’t be a five minute job.”

Amber looked at her friend in dismay. “Do you mean we haven’t hung out for two months?”

Emma shrugged. “Pretty much.” She patted her friend’s hand. “But now you’ve got a handle on your promotion--” she looked around the boutique “--I’m hoping we can catch up when I get back from vacation.”

“It’s a date.” Amber smiled, looking forward to it already. She’d neglected all her friends lately, and vowed not to do so again.

“Speaking of dates,” Emma said casually, strolling over to the nightwear section, “I think Mikhail would be perfect for you.”

“Emma!” Her cheeks heated at the remembered touch of his hands on her arms, and the clasp of his hand around hers. She hadn’t had a boyfriend for a while - a long while - or even a date for that matter, but that didn’t mean she would automatically be interested in the first new man she met, did it?

Although … Mikhail wasn’t like any other man she’d met - ever. It had only been a few minutes, but she had an impression of strength, decisiveness, and tenderness. She’d always told herself not to judge a person solely on their appearance but there had been something about Mikhail that had appealed to her on every single level.

She studied her figure in the full-length mirror in the corner of the shop. The taupe wide-leg pants and plain mauve t-shirt with matching cardigan suited her curves.

Her shoulder-length mid-brown hair (boring brown, she privately called it), waved teasingly at the ends. Green-flecked hazel eyes stared back at her. Today, her large bust didn’t look too bad, encased as it was in a secure sports bra, while her hips and tummy were rounded -
too
rounded, she thought despairingly.

Forget about Mikhail. Just because you’re attracted to him - instantly attracted - doesn’t mean he’s attracted to you. You were just lucky he was there to stop you falling.

She made a face at herself in the mirror. It would have been so embarrassing if she’d fallen over on the sidewalk. Even more embarrassing if she’d knocked those two little boys over too.

Thank goodness Mikhail was there.

“He’s Russian, by the way.”

Emma’s voice pulled her out of her thoughts. “What? Sorry, I was …”

“Thinking about Mikhail?” Her friend teased.

Amber tried to stem her blush. “No! I was just …”

Emma giggled. “It’s okay. I’ve been there - with Cade.”

“Of course you have.” Amber returned the other woman’s smile.

“Mikhail’s Russian. In case you were wondering about his accent. It
is
kind of sexy.”

“Yeah.” Amber sighed, allowing herself to remember the timbre of his voice when he spoke to her and the way she’d shivered deliciously. Then she snapped back to reality. “But he‘ll only be a fantasy,” she whispered to herself.

Clearing her throat, she addressed Emma. “Have you seen anything you like? The new shipment of silk nightgowns came in yesterday. They’re on display over there.” She gestured to the left side of the store.

Her friend fingered a pale blue nightgown, the revealing neckline edged with fine lace. “I’ll try on this one.” She held it up against herself, then checked the size. “Oh good, it’s in my size.”

“I’ve ordered lots more clothing in larger sizes.” Amber smiled. “And …” satisfaction was evident in her voice, “sales have improved already!”

“That’s wonderful, Amber.” Emma high-fived her friend and winked. “Maybe I should try on some more items while I’m here.”

Half an hour later, Emma left the shop with the blue silk nightgown, a little black dress, and a lavender blouse that set off her skin and hair color to perfection.

“This is going to knock Cade’s eyes out,” the blonde giggled, handing over her credit card.

As Amber rang up the sale, she couldn’t help feeling proud of what she’d achieved in the first two months as manager of the store. Her boss had given her a lot of leeway in choosing the stock as long as it was tasteful and appealed to potential customers. So she’d ordered in the type of clothes she wanted to wear: pretty dresses, alluring but elegant nightgowns, gorgeous shoes, as well as practical and sturdy clothes like jeans, long-sleeved cotton shirts suitable for ranch work, and boots. But in everything she ordered, Amber chose the most appealing option available. And so far, the women of Coldwater Springs liked her taste. Business had improved, and since she’d started stocking larger sizes, her customer base had grown as well.

And as an employee, she received a generous staff discount that certainly helped her budget.

“Have fun in Hawaii.” Amber hugged her friend as they said goodbye.

“Call you when I get back,” Emma promised, waving her plastic shopping bag in farewell.

 

***

 

The following week, Amber sipped a cup of black coffee at the diner. Since the store had always closed for lunch from 12 to 12.45 p.m., she’d eaten the sandwich she’d brought from home in the staff room at the boutique, then decided to go for a brisk walk to the diner and grab a cup of coffee, rather than visit the bakery across the street
.

She felt guilty about not popping in to see her friend Kate, an incredible baker, but that was the problem. She
knew
she wouldn’t be able to resist a slice of something sinful, like her Red Velvet Cake, the softness of the red tinted sponge cake and the lush cream cheese frosting melting on her tongue in an explosion of flavor.

Right now, that was the last thing she needed - extra pounds around her hips and tummy.

Because you can’t stop thinking about Mikhail.

She gripped her mug. Since she’d met the sexy Russian, she hadn’t been able to get him out of her mind. It had to stop. He obviously wasn’t interested in her. If he had been, he could have asked Emma for her phone number.

Five days. That’s how long ago she had met him. Emma had departed on her trip with Cade yesterday, and since Mikhail was looking after their horses while they were away, he knew exactly when they were leaving. So if he hadn’t asked for her phone number by now, it obviously meant he wasn’t interested.

BOOK: Curves and the Russian Wrangler (BBW Romance - Coldwater Springs 6)
6.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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