Authors: Sherri Thomas
“Ow, damn you.” He moved his sore limb and chuckled. With the danger over, he felt like a weight was lifted off his chest.
April glared at the three of them, spitting and sputtering profanities.
“Will you shut up already,” his brother yelled.
Realizing Jordan hadn’t said a word, he crossed the room, grasped her hands in his, and pulled her to her feet. She stared over at the crazy woman on the floor, and Trent nudged her chin up with a finger. Her eyes were wide, but she smiled, giving him all the encouragement he needed. Not able to stand any distance between them, he slid his good arm around her narrow waist and pulled her tight to his chest. Lowering his head, he brushed her lips with his for what was meant to be a quick kiss, but one taste was not enough. Pressing his mouth fully onto hers, his tongue swept in, tasting sweet heaven.
A throat cleared. “Hey, can you two save that until after we get this one in police custody?”
Reluctantly, Trent pulled back and faced Nick. “How’d you know where we were anyway?”
He nodded toward Jordan. “She texted Darcy. Four words: shack, April, gun, help. I was headed over the ravine on my way back from a trail ride when Darc called me. Wasn’t too hard to figure out. Lucky for you, my horse knows this area well enough to travel in the dark.”
Trent hugged Jordan tighter. This time he got it right, this time he fell in love with an amazingly smart lady. Yep, he was one lucky man.
“You stupid bitch. You will pay for this,” the mad woman hissed.
“You’re the only one who’s going to pay.” Trent informed April.
“I didn’t think the message went through. I couldn’t get signal,” Jordan mumbled.
“The signal was plenty strong,
you choose to receive the message.” His brother caught his eye and winked. “I’m going to take this one outside to wait for the police. I had Darcy call them. They should be here any second.”
He watched him haul April out the door, then pressed his forehead to Jordan’s. The nightmare was finally over. Now, all he wanted was to go back to his cabin and hold the love of his life all night long.
“You okay, darlin’?” He ran his palms up her arms and to the sides of her cheeks to reassure himself.
Jordan couldn’t believe all that happened and couldn’t seem to find her voice. Her heart beat wildly in her chest and her hands trembled, but she managed to nod her head, then hid her face in the front of Trent’s shirt absorbing his strength.
“Shh. You’re okay.”
His masculine voice washed over her as his palm smoothed over the back of her head. How could he be so calm? The crazy woman had killed her parents. All these years, Jordan took on the blame, and this nutcase was the murderer. She balled her fingers into his shirt, making fists. All the guilt and heartache, the pain she suffered, all because this deranged lunatic wanted to keep her from Trent.
And April planned on killing her, too. Thankfully, her hero stopped that from happening, putting her out of harms way over and over. Even standing in front of the loaded weapon. She sat on the mattress and looked up at the most courageous man she knew. “She…she killed my parents.”
He picked up his switchblade from the cot and placed it in his pocket, then enclosed her hand with his warm one.
“And she was going to kill me?”
“I wouldn’t have let that happen.”
Trent glided a finger along her chin; his love-filled gaze caressed every inch of her face.
No, he wouldn’t
. He proved that by stepping in front of the pistol. He’d give his own life for her. The potency of that realization shocked her. This man, who couldn’t commit to marrying her, was willing to die to keep her safe.
“I love you.” The words tumbled from her lips before she could stop the flow. “Oh, God. I didn’t mean to say that out loud.” Silence filled the air. Fearing his reaction would be worse than facing down a gun crazed ex-fiancée, she stood and would’ve darted across the room, but he grabbed her wrist. “Forget I said anything.” She prayed someday his mind would accept what his heart already showed her.
Sitting on the edge of the mattress, his hands slid to her hips and pulled her to stand between his legs. “Do you know how scared I was when I thought I might not get a chance to tell you? How scared I was to say the words?”
He rested his forehead on her belt buckle for a second, and she leaned over, pressing her lips to the back of his head. “It’s okay. You don’t have to say anything you aren’t ready to.”
Dark eyes met hers, as he rose. “Thing is, I didn’t think I was ready for any of this.” He laughed. “But this last half-hour—”
Did they really only come to the cabin a half-hour ago? Felt like hours to her.
“I couldn’t stop thinking how much you mean to me, how my feelings for you are so different from any other.” His grip tightened on her hand. “Jordan, I’m not ready to propose, but I am ready to love you, to erase all the hurt, to make new memories, more explosive than the first ones. And someday, I
marry you, because I plan on spending the rest of my life with the woman I love.”
“Wh-what are you saying?” Her chest grew heavy with anticipation, and she didn’t know if she wanted to laugh, cry, or slug him.
“Jordan Lynn Reece, I can truly say without any reservation, I love you, and someday we will be married,” he repeated. “For now, I’d like to build on what we’ve started, that is, if that’s what you want, too?”
She threw her arms around his neck. “I want that very, very much.” Staring into the warmest brown eyes, she said around the lump in her throat, “Mr. Trent Matthews, I love you. I always have, and I always will.”
Not able to wait any longer, she kissed his lips. Somehow this man who showed her understanding and tenderness as a teenager, came back into her life and offered her love and forever. And she knew now, deep in her heart, her parents would be happy for her. It only took one hot, slow-swaggering cowboy to show her it was okay to be herself.
She stared into his eyes. Dreams she thought gone forever were now mapped out in his tender gaze. The explosive heat they shared one night six years ago had erupted into a love so great she looked forward to every day of their future together.
Also from Sherri Thomas
and The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
…the first story of the Matthews Dude Ranch…
When your past is a blank, it’s hard to trust the future…
A car accident leaves Darcy Brooks with amnesia, but she’s determined it won’t ruin her life. She finds a job on a dude ranch—hiding her brain trauma to get it—and falls in love with her work. Now if she can just avoid falling in love with her boss.
Nick Matthews knows his new employee is hiding something, and he’s determined to discover what. He’s failed to protect his family from disaster in the past and won’t let it happen again. Now if he can just keep his attraction to Darcy from clouding his judgment.
Nick soon comes to value Darcy as an employee and a friend—even as the heat between them builds. But when a man claiming to be Darcy’s husband shows up, Nick realizes just how much he wants to keep Darcy for himself.
A word about the author…
Sherri Thomas has always loved country living, from the animals on a ranch to the cowboys who care for them. Throw in a good romance and that’s why she became an author. When she’s not reading or writing a romance you can find her caring for her many animals with her own cowboy and four children.
She can be reached at:
or follow on her on twitter
Thank you for purchasing
this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.