Read Goodnight Kisses Online

Authors: Wilhelmina Stolen

Tags: #prequel, #texas cowboys, #sexy contempory, #novella romance, #contemporary cowboy, #teaser for book, #proposal of marriage, #texas ranch, #contemporary romance western, #love and romanve

Goodnight Kisses (8 page)

BOOK: Goodnight Kisses
12.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Damn right, they had.

“I’m meeting my date here.”

He lit the cigarette and took a long draw. “Oh,
yeah,” he mocked. “The guy you’ve fallen in love with.”

Sneaking up behind her, Scotty
looped an arm around her waist and twisted her around.

Hellooo
, baby.”

“Now, Scotty.” She wedged her hands against his
chest and pushed. “Don’t make me tell Amy you’ve been
misbehaving.”

The threat didn’t stop his drunken advances. “It
could be our little secret.” He smoothed a hand over her ass only
to have her smack it away.

“Damn it, Scotty, stop!”

“Oh, come on,” he jeered.

“Get your goddamn hands off of her
before you get your ass kicked,” McCrea warned, knowing Scotty’s
rowdiness wasn’t caused
by
alcohol. He was an asshole
twenty-four
seven,
and his reputation went beyond
that of a ladies’ man.

Scotty flipped him the middle finger. “Screw you,
Coldiron.”

McCrea took another draw and exhaled before drawing
a knee up to stand. “Fine by me.”

“Don’t, McCrea,” Eleanor cut in. “I can handle
this.” But before she could react Ben snagged Scotty by the
shoulder and spun him around.

“You son of a bitch!” Ben rammed
his head into his stomach. “My sister trusted you!” The knock drove
Scotty
backward.

The scuffle knocked Eleanor
backward
with
a
“Whoa!” and into McCrea’s lap, landing her ass
hard against his crotch. He winced from the pain of having his hard
dick
hit
but recovered quickly. A soft ass could work
wonders.

The fight escalated, out
to the entryway and through the doors to the parking
lot.

“Hoo! Wee!” Jess yelled and followed the fight
outside.

McCrea grinned and took another draw from his
cigarette. “Damn.” He slid a hand up her calf and across her knee.
“Things have changed.”

He expected her to make a shy
getaway, with blushing cheeks and downcast eyes, but she didn’t.
Instead, she placed both palms on the floor behind
her
and leaned
backward
across his lap as if she were
lying on the beach.

That made him take another long draw.

“You say you’re not the man everyone thinks you are,
but yet….” The arch of a single brow spoke of her doubt.

Shit. How could this sweet, young
thing unravel him so easily? Behind the expulsion of smoke, he gave
her curvy body a once over and noticed the outline of her breasts
under the thin yellow dress. He’d gotten a glimpse of the
tantalizing pair when she’d twisted around to look
in
the
back
for
a gas can. Not too big and not too small. They
were just the right size to fill his palm, round, firm and…. He
swallowed. Is she wearing a bra? “Here we are with you in my lap
and my hand on your leg.”

“Yes,” she agreed and removed his
hand from her knee. “Here we are.” The ease of her voice and the
friskiness in her eyes was almost sinful. She sat up, her lips
passing close to his as she slid off his lap and onto the balls of
her feet. She tucked the edges of her short dress into the bend of
her
knees,
and drew a finger across his bottom lip before she
slowly rose to her feet.

His throat constricted. “Aren’t you the little
flirt?”

She pressed a hand to her
chest
and offered an innocent look. “Me? Flirt?”

Sweet, Jesus, there was an
innocence about her despite her best efforts to look sophisticated
and mature. She was ripe for the
picking,
and he’d be damned if
he let another man get the first taste.

To hell with her date. Eleanor
would be his tonight and if he played his cards right, his wife in
a couple of weeks. His palms itched. He wanted the deed in
his
hand
and Eleanor in his bed.

With his mind set on seduction, he crawled to his
feet and walked back to the bar just in time to hear Jess yell,
“Damn, what a fight!” as he came back in.

By now, the ruckus had
settled,
and the men were nursing their black eyes, busted
lips,
and wounded pride. To avoid Ed’s blistering stare, McCrea
turned his back to the bar and braced his elbows against the
edge.

One of the men handed Jess his hat. “Grab mine.”
McCrea pointed towards the floor next to his brother, and again,
his eyes found Eleanor. She ran her hands through her hair and
crammed them into the pockets of her short denim jacket.

Jess tossed him his hat. “What’s she doing
here?”

He dusted a peanut hull from the brim. “Maybe she’s
working.”

“She told me Old Ed wouldn’t let her work the party.
Said things might get out of hand.” Jess adjusted the position of
his hat. “And those don’t look like her usual work clothes.”

“Nope.” McCrea followed the length
of her pale yellow dress up to the elastic bodice. She had worn
that same dress last week to his parents’ anniversary
barbecue
, minus the short denim jacket. The dress was
strapless,
and he knew it would be so easy to slide off her breasts.
“Damn.”

“Don’t do it.”

McCrea stopped mentally undressing her long enough
to ask, “Do what?”

“I know that look. Take my advice,” Jess nodded
towards a table in the back. “let Vanessa scratch your itch and
leave El alone.”

“Maybe I want more than a scratch.”

“I doubt that, but if that’s the case take it slow.
El is a tenderfoot and the kind of woman a man wants to settle down
with.”

He grinned. “I am looking for a wife.”

Jess propped an elbow on the bar. “No. You’re
looking for a way to get Granddad’s land.”

“How did you know about that?”

“I knew something was up when he wanted to see you.
So I hung around after dinner.”

“You were listening?” McCrea asked.

“I was.”

“Then you know he wants me to marry her?”

Jess nodded.

“Wade said she had a fire about her,” he said
without taking his eyes off of Eleanor. “Said she was just what I
needed.”

Jess picked up an
over turned
stool and sat down. “El’s not the girl for
you.”

The barnyard chase came to McCrea’s mind, causing
jealousy to speak. “But she is for you? Jesus, that’s rich. I saw
the way you two were carrying on this afternoon.”

“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t indulged in a
fantasy or two, or that I hadn’t noticed how pretty she is, or that
that dress offers just enough cleavage to keep a man looking.” Jess
cleared his throat. “What man wouldn’t?”

He glared at his brother. “Don’t get any ideas about
living those fantasies. Eleanor is mine.”

There was a touch of disbelief and humor in his
brother’s eyes. “Since when?”

He and his brother were close, and if he laid a
claim to Eleanor, Jess would never cross the line.

He watched her dig into her pocket for her cell
phone. “Since I decided Wade was right.”

“That’s your pecker talking,” Jess laughed. “You’re
being ruled by a stronger power than common sense, and lust can
make a man do some crazy things.”

He drew in a deep breath and rubbed his palms
together. “Crazy or not, I have to find a wife. Blame it on
Wade.”

“Is that who you’re going to blame when you break
her heart?” Jess asked, flatly.

“That won’t happen. I’ll explain everything and
she’ll understand that it’s just business.”

“Christ, listen to yourself.” Jess
shook his head. “Marry Vanessa, write her a check and divorce her.
That will be
business
.”

“I don’t want Vanessa.” He watched the redheaded
whore from his high school days flirt with a group of men in the
back. “And a year is a long time to live with a slut like her.”

“Yeah,” Jess agreed and scratched the back of his
head. “But she’d be in it for the money. El won’t. She believes in
love and romance. Marrying you for the sake of a piece of land
won’t be either.”

“I can persuade her,” he said with coolness.

“Trust me on this one. You’re
setting yourself up for a
fall,
and you’re going to take her with
you.”

“You heard Wade. He likes Eleanor.”

“So do I and I don’t want to see her hurt.” Jess
moved closer. “The goddamn land will always be there. El won’t. If
you care for her, let the land go. You’re going to get it sooner or
later.”

McCrea took a deep breath and went back to watching
Eleanor.

“Don’t you see? El is like a new colt, all jittery
and nervous, and if you try corralling her,” Jess smacked his hands
together. “She’ll run.”

“No, she won’t,” he sounded confident, but he
wasn’t. “She’s done a lot of growing up. She’s a woman now.”

“A woman you don’t know a damn thing about. Court
her a while, take things slow and when you get her, don’t let go,”
Jess concluded with a big smile.

His remark warranted a hard look from McCrea. “The
marriage is for a year.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re going into this
with divorce in mind?”

“It’s a business deal.”

A rare irritation came over Jess. “Don’t you dare
sleep with her or- or let her think you care for her- when you
don’t.”

The radiance she gave off was as rare as pearls. The
glow on her face, the sweetness of her smile and the innocence of
her body were his for the taking. He had her within his grasp, a
precious opportunity, and suddenly seducing sweet Eleanor seemed
wrong. He wanted her body, but did he want her heart? Could there
ever be anything more than physical attraction between them?

He let out a shaky breath and ignored the truth. “I
can’t wait to inherit the land. It means too much to me.”

“If you do this, she will never trust another man
enough to give him her heart or love. You’ll ruin her.”

McCrea shifted his shoulders. “Why do you always
bring love into this?”

“Because I have a heart.” His brother had a rare
disposition when it came to women. One which allowed him to relate
to them in a way that confounded other men.

“And I don’t?” McCrea scoffed.

“Obviously not,” Jess answered. “Eleanor deserves a
man who loves her.”

“Did you know she’s meeting a guy tonight?”

Jess looked away. “She mentioned it.”

“Did she mention she was in love
with
him
and had plans on seducing him before she leaves
for college?”

Jess rubbed his face with a groan, “Jesus, McCrea.
Sometimes I think you were adopted.”

“You know who he is, don’t you?”

“Forget the guy. Fix
your
screwed up priorities before you entice El into scratching
your itch.” Jess smacked him on the shoulder before he walked
away.

A high-pitched laugh burst through the noise of the
barroom crowd and pierced McCrea’s patience. Out of aggravation, he
threw a quick glance over his shoulder and made eye contact with
the source. “Shit.”

Vanessa scrunched her freckled covered nose and gave
him a wink to let him know she was on her way up to the bar. The
last thing he wanted to do tonight was draw her attention, but he
knew he had.

The quick tip-tap of her high heels crawled up his
spine, and he felt her ease closer as if she knew he was thinking
about her. He doubted that. Vanessa wasn’t adept at seeing anything
past the end of a man’s checkbook. She had ─ in the words of his
sister ─ the face of a movie star and the personality of a blank
sheet of paper. She was self-absorbed, money hungry and very
protective of the men she considered hers. McCrea was unfortunate
enough to be one of those men.

Jesus. How could Jess suggest he make a deal with
her?

Within seconds, she was sitting on the stool Jess
had vacated and leaning over to wipe blood from the corner of his
mouth. “You’re bleeding.”

He recoiled at her touch. “Don’t.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m not in the mood.” For anything.

Her red lips spread into a smile as she curled up
against him, and slid a hand down to the inside of his thigh. “But,
Babe, I thought we could go back to my place tonight.”

“Not a chance in hell, Vanessa,” he said coolly and
sipped his beer.

She snuggled closer and palmed his dick without
discretion. “I bet I can change your mind.”

He shoved her hand away. “Damn, Vanessa.”

She swiveled around with a giggle and headed towards
the bathroom. “I’ll be right back.”

Hopefully one of the other men
would proposition her, and spare him the job of pissing her off
later. After all, she was there to work the crowd of drunken men.
Every one of them knew what kind of woman she was. Cheap and easy
to come by. She was a convenience McCrea hadn’t indulged in a very
long
time,
and he planned on keeping it that way.

These days, his sights were set a damned sight
higher.

Someone dropped a few quarters into
the old jukebox in the
back
and a slow country tune started.
Jess took Eleanor’s hand and eased her into his arms. With one hand
on her lower
back,
and the other around her waist,
they moved around the dance floor, with perfectly synced
steps.

BOOK: Goodnight Kisses
12.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant
Like a Cat in Heat by Lilith T. Bell
The Flood by John Creasey
Blown Off Course by David Donachie
Uncovering His SECRET by Crystal Perkins
The Fan Man by William Kotzwinkle