Authors: Renee Ashley Williams
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romantic Erotica, #Westerns, #Short Stories, #Erotic Romance
Renee Ashley Williams
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Renee Ashley Williams
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewilderroses.com
First Scarlet Rose Edition, January 2013
Digital ISBN 978-1-62830-216-5
Published in the United States of America
to KyAnn Waters
who critiques my stories before I submit them.
Thank you to Kemberlee Shortland for
being a “click away” through the good times and the bad! I am thankful the Internet brought you into my life. Thank you for being a good friend from halfway around the world!!!!
to Lisa Alves, my beta reader,
who reads endlessly without complaint!
Maggie Johnson, the coolest editor ever! It is always a blast working with you. I’m honored you’ve chosen
as your first erotic story to break into the genre!
And a special
whose expertise made this story possible
PRAISE FOR AUTHOR
Renee Ashley Williams
AND HER BOOKS
“POOLSIDE PLEASURE is an exciting, sensual romp. Dakota & Cody share sizzling sexual charisma, leaving the reader craving more."
~Melissa Snark, Author of LEARNING TO FLY
“I love a story where there's confusion, missed chances, and white hot beginnings. This story fits the bill. Renee Ashley Williams has a sweet story in UP ALL NIGHT.
I loved the tentative feel of this short. The boys want to touch and yet there's the hesitation. It's sweet and got me involved. I wanted to shove them together. That's one of the great things about this short story. I got involved with the characters. I thought about Seth and Ryan after the book closed.
If you're looking for a change of pace story, where there's love and romance and something hot, then this might be the book for you!”
"UP ALL NIGHT is the story of two young men falling in love for the first time. Although short, the story really nails the uncertainty of first love—the doubt, the desire, the discovery. Both Ryan and Seth are lovely characters and their attraction is so painful, it becomes poignant. The sex scene is sizzling and I'd have loved for this story to have been longer because I wanted to read more.”
“Hello?” Dakota Frances placed her cell phone against her ear as she exited from her air-conditioned sedan into the ninety-degree Texas heat.
“Dakota, it’s Jill.”
She should have checked the caller ID before answering. Her ex-friend’s voice brought back painful memories of betrayal.
“What the fuck do you want?” It couldn’t be Steve since Jill already had him. She’d been screwing him for the past eleven months.
“Dakota.” The woman sniffed. “I’m sorry. Can we please talk?”
Dakota swiped the moisture off her lashes. She’d promised herself not to shed another tear over this situation, to put it behind her and move on. She thought she had.
It’d been three months since she had finally taken the wool off her eyes and confirmed that her best friend was having an affair with her fiancé. The gossip and sympathy in the small New England town had been overwhelming. The smartest decision she’d made in her twenty-eight years had been moving to Deerfield, Texas, with its wide-open pastures, warm and sultry nights, and friendly people.
She had sealed the deal on her choice to rent an apartment and temporarily became a waitress at Ben’s Diner until a local computer-programming position became available. Life was starting to feel normal.
“I trusted you, Jill.” Never again would she be so open in sharing the status of her sexual relationship with a single woman. The sex games and threesomes Steve had always wanted in the bedroom, Jill and her sleazy friends had happily fulfilled behind Dakota’s back. “You screwed me over.”
“It just happened. We didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“Oh, well that makes it okay, then. Why are you calling me? I’ve nothing to say to you.”
“Then I’ll talk, you listen.”
As much as Dakota wanted to disconnect her call, curiosity got the best of her. She gripped the phone. “Make it quick.”
“What?” The news sat on her chest like an eight-ton elephant. The atmosphere thickened and her world crashed around her. Subconsciously, she had thought that one day Steve would realize he’d lost the best thing that had ever happened to him and come looking for his high school sweetheart, but the reality was she could never return to the arms of a man who had lied to her.
For the past ten years, Steve had warned her that he would never want children. She had agreed to forego motherhood to spend the rest of her life making their computer company a success. Had he changed his mind now, or was
not good enough to birth his offspring?
Oh shit. He thinks Jill makes for a better mother.
Dakota placed her hand on her chest to keep the shattered pieces of her heart from spilling out onto the pavement. “Did you guys plan this?”
“Not exactly. You know he didn’t want kids. It was an accident.” Jill sniffed. “Now that I am pregnant, he wants to get married before the baby’s born.”
“You’re kidding me, right?”
After taking a full breath, Dakota puffed out a sigh. Somehow knowing she hadn’t been his reason for not being a father made her feel a bit better. It had taken nine years for him to propose to her. They had never actually set a date, but now that a child was in the picture he was
to the altar. Well, she had to give him credit for doing the right thing by his child.
“So, let me get this straight, Jill…not only are you living the life I should be, but now you’re calling to rub it in my face? You’re a piece of work. Over the years people tried to warn me about your backstabbing and jealousy. This really is a new low, even for you. I was your best friend since the third grade. It never occurred to me I’d be one of your victims. “
“It’s not like that, Dakota.”
“Oh no? Then what
the purpose of this call?”
“To tell you I’m sorry. I miss you, and I hate myself for everything that’s happened. I need you to forgive me because I’d like for you—”
“What else could you possibly want from me, Jill?” Forgiveness for coming between her and the only man she’d ever been with was out of the question. “Steve wasn’t enough?”
“I want you to be my maid of honor.”
Dakota collapsed against the side of her car, unsure if it was the Texas heat or the extreme effrontery of this woman making her feel faint. “You can’t be serious?”
“Of course I am. We’ve been planning each other’s weddings since we were kids. I wouldn’t want anyone else beside me on that day. I can’t do this without you.”
“Looks like you’ll have to. You
have thought about my feelings instead of your own while you were screwing Steve, but your callousness now is unbelievable. I was nothing but a good friend to you all those years. You really fucked up this time. I’m done. Lose this number.”
Hoping Steve might now be regretting his decision to cheat on her put butterflies in her belly and blew away the dark cloud that had hovered since learning of his and Jill’s betrayal.
Jill had not only screwed her over, but was now managing to dupe Steve into living the family life he never wanted. What a bitch. To think she had been friends with that kind of a woman. At least she no longer had to deal with her. Steve, on the other hand, was stuck with her. Poetic justice.
Dakota tossed her phone into her purse as she walked up Addison Rose’s brick walk and rang the bell. Addison might be a recent friend from being a loyal customer at the diner, but she trusted her more than Jill, whom she’d known for many years.
After Dakota had shared the short version of why she moved from the east coast, Addison had opened up and admitted to her wild matchmaking parties. Dakota instantly felt at ease with Addison’s honesty and bluntness. It was then she knew her new friend would never stab her in the back the way Jill had.
Cody was right after all. Her leaving New England and breaking off her engagement had been Steve’s loss, not hers.
She had to wait two long days before Monday arrived, when she’d be able to share this mind-boggling news with him.
Each weekday morning, she looked forward to serving him his black coffee and blueberry muffin before he headed off to his family’s ranch. For the past three months she’d been sharing her story. Not once had he belittled her judgment for dating such an ass. Instead, he had helped turn her anger into humor. He was easy to talk to—the exact opposite of the man she had wanted to marry.
If her low-cut blouses had previously distracted Cody from noticing the color of her eyes, she knew the green in them was branded into his ice blue gaze after this morning’s encounter. He’d held his hug longer than usual before he said goodbye. Their gazes had locked as their bodies parted ways.
She wondered if he, too, loathed the two days before their next café rendezvous. Lately, she’d been wishing for more than their morning flirtations.
She’d considered the warning from the locals about how cowboys kept their hearts to themselves while giving their cocks to any woman who asked them. But Cody seemed different.
He didn’t discuss the women he dated or whether the weekend would be a
one, as some of the men who came into the diner did. He’d said that, at the moment, he was enjoying the single life with no rush to be involved in a relationship.
Gorgeous, kind, and loyal Cody was a man Dakota could fall in love with. She loved his humor and his carefree ways. If their social chemistry was an indicator as to what their sex life might be like, she knew they could set her bed sheets on fire.
But being the heir to one of Texas’ wealthiest families, she was crazy to think he’d be interested in an easygoing northern girl with so much baggage. Maybe their sticking to being friends was for the best. The last thing she needed was another heartbreak while trying to mend this one.
Addison’s front door swung open. “Honey, you’re late.”
“Um…” She’d forgotten where she was. Her mind was still wandering beneath the covers with Cody touching her in the most erotic ways.
“Yes?” She blinked and focused on her friend’s long blonde hair and slim figure. Erasing the image of a certain sexy cowboy from her mind wasn’t going to be easy, but she had to…for now.
“Come inside. Where’ve you been?”
“I went home after work to shower.” She stepped over the threshold. If Jill had called while she was still at her apartment, she would have cancelled helping Addison fix her computer problem and indulged in a self-pity party. That was the last thing she needed.
Right now she had a future to look forward to and a past she needed to put behind her. Closing the book on the life she’d known made a way for her to move on—starting tonight.
“Is everything okay?”
Dakota nodded. “Yep. So, how’s that honky-tonk in town for picking up a decent guy?” After three months of living in seclusion, now would be a good time to venture out to the local bars and meet new people—without her apron and her hair up in a bun.
“No need.” Addison escorted her toward an oblong wooden table. She handed Dakota a glass of red wine from several that sat on a tray. “You’ve come to the right place.”
“Your monthly party’s tonight?” It figured. The one time she might want to accept an invitation to one of Addison’s matchmaking parties, and she hadn’t been invited. How much fun would it be with Cody being at his regular Friday night poker game anyway? “You should have told me when I asked about coming tonight. Do you want me to come back tomorrow?”