Authors: Em Petrova
So he didn’t want a relationship—she got it. He’d had a bad breakup and wasn’t over Anna yet. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t work out some tensions with her in bed, right? Or in a truck.
God, she’d had a feeling he would be the one who could match her darker desires for rougher affection. The way he’d pulled her hair and the need on his rugged features after she’d bitten him…
He set his hands on her waist, sending tendrils of heat up to her breasts and south to her pussy. She dragged in a ragged breath and climbed off his lap. Plopping back into the cold passenger’s seat felt a million ways wrong.
He didn’t move, just continued to stare at her.
“We okay, honey?”
She swallowed hard and met his gaze. “Of course. Best get on to Kansas.”
He made a grating noise in his throat and pivoted to face the steering wheel again. Before he fastened his seatbelt, he reached for his hat, which was on the floor. None the worse for wear, it seemed. As he set it on his head, he put the truck into drive.
“You’re right—on to Kansas. So I can hunt down that camera guy and destroy his tape.”
Her throat closed off as she realized he didn’t want their kiss to be made public knowledge. The fire of her hopes died.
They didn’t make it five miles down the road before Ridge had regrets. He didn’t regret kissing her—no, that was hot as hell. But he did regret what he’d said about the footage. It made him sound embarrassed to be seen touching her.
Sure, part of him was thinking of Anna. If the film leaked out, he’d be the rebound guy, which wasn’t true at all. This was Kashley—he wasn’t about to start a relationship with a girl he’d seen flat-chested as a boy, skinny-dipping in the water tank on her folk’s ranch.
She’s not flat-chested now, though.
He pressed his lips together and watched her from his peripheral vision. She sat still, hands in her lap. She appeared relaxed. Maybe she hadn’t been affected by their actions.
He sure as fuck was. He still couldn’t sit right, and his brain kept leaping back to the way her breasts had felt in his hands.
What he regretted most of all was not finding a better place to pull over, because he wouldn’t have stopped at kissing and touching. But he wanted more privacy when he did it.
Was he seriously thinking of finding a rest stop and ravishing Kashley?
His pulse throbbed in time to the ache in his cock. Yeah, he was. What a dick he was being. He couldn’t touch her again.
“Ridge, I’ve been thinking about…what just happened.”
He jerked from his thoughts, his mind latching onto her sweet voice and remembering those sweeter moans she’d made.
“Yeah?” His throat closed on the single word.
She didn’t wrap her arms around herself or angle in his direction. She sat straight as an arrow, her hands still in her lap. He flicked his glance to them.
No twisting fingers, no fidgeting. She was calm and cool.
“I don’t think we should do that again.”
He met her gaze, and his heart gave a wild tumble at the blank mask she wore. Dammit, now all she’d done was make him want her more. He wasn’t a man for games of cat and mouse, and his ego had taken a helluva thumping recently from Anna. But that wasn’t why he wanted Kashley so bad.
After seeing her in the throes of passion and feeling her trembling with want, he wasn’t willing to go back.
“Maybe,” was all he’d say on the subject.
Maybe we should get this out of our systems—one night of bliss.
And risk losing her friendship for a few spurts of sperm? No, he was being a dick again.
Silence descended over them. He shifted in his seat, both to ease his half-swollen cock and because his leg was getting stiff.
Kashley picked up on it right away. “Your knee’s bothering you.”
Actually, he’d felt it pull when he’d pushed off the floorboards to situate her more comfortably on his lap, but he wasn’t saying that. When he didn’t respond to her, she said, “Maybe we should get out and walk around a little. Do some of those stretches.”
That made him laugh, and her mismatched eyes widened in surprise.
“Why is that funny?”
“Do you expect me to do that headstand thing in a McDonald’s parking lot?”
Her full lips tipped upward. The breath whooshed from him—all he could think about was her biting him. Jesus, how was he ever going to look at her the same way again?
“Okay, that yoga pose wasn’t one of my better ideas. But it
funny. Why don’t we stop at the next exit so you can stretch your knee?”
He pushed a button on his truck dash and brought up the GPS. He’d driven this stretch of road to this very rodeo for years, but he was hoping there was something even closer than what he remembered. No such luck. Guess he’d have to try to concentrate on anything but getting Kashley undressed.
“When was the last time you’ve been to a rodeo?” he asked her.
She hesitated and when he glanced over, her face was beet red.
“I detect another secret. Tell me, Kash.”
She threw him a desperate glance, her blue and brown eyes pleading. “I was actually at the Tulsa Invitational when you took the prize last year.”
He opened his mouth but nothing came out. “You were there? You never came to say hi.”
She just shook her head, but the action made him wonder what she was hiding. Had she gone to see Jake Rawlins? Had they been dating back then?
“I saw a few of your brothers and waved, but all of you are so popular that you were swamped for autographs.”
“But you know about the Calhoun circle, right?” Before any event they all gathered to bow their heads and placed thanks where it was deserved. They also added a “for Dad” that was being repeated all over because of the TV show.
“Of course. Everybody knows it.”
“You would have been welcome. You should have come to find us.”
The redness in her cheeks got a little hotter but she kept her lips sealed. Damn, a dew of perspiration had broken out at her hairline, which only drove his thoughts toward getting her in bed.
He had to stop thinking about it. She’d suggested they didn’t try it again.
Pushing his mind toward the rodeo, he named a few competitors who might outperform him, especially if his knee gave out.
“I’ve read up on their latest scores, but I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” she said.
“No? I’m not so confident this time around.”
She reached across the space and touched the back of his hand. He jerked as an electric shock ran through his skin and up his arm. When he swung his gaze from the road to her, he saw a similar expression on her face. She’d felt it too.
“You’re…” she faltered as if still stunned by their exchange, “lacking in confidence all around right now. It’s understandable. I think you need to get on that bronc and clear your mind. Forget about everything but the horse and the ride. Don’t think about your knee or Anna or even Taylor Swift.”
Strangely, Anna’s name didn’t steamroller him as it had every single time it was mentioned. He nodded at Kashley. “You’re right. It’s not easy, but I’ll try.”
“I knew I should have made you meditate. It’s not too late, you know.” She gave him a mischievous grin that made him think of her on the back of a four-wheeler, covered in mud, hair streaming. While all of them had been enjoying some springtime fun as teens, she’d run to his ATV, jumped on and taken off before he could. Then she’d reveled in riding back and forth in front of him, taunting him and throwing mud on him.
They had a lot of history. A good reason not to smash it to smithereens. But it was impossible not to see her as the beautiful, sensual woman she’d become after he’d ground his cock against her.
“Maybe meditating is a good idea,” he said.
She laughed, sounding like a bell going off in his head. “Are you serious?”
“Yeah. Athletes do it, right? And I’m an athlete. I gotta keep my head on straight, and I feel like a freaking mess lately. Cameras are bad enough, but fans throwing out questions about Anna plain sucks.”
She didn’t stumble over his mention of his ex either. “Don’t forget the marriage proposals you’ll get.”
He scrubbed his knuckles along his jaw, creating a rasping noise though he’d just shaved this morning. “Maybe I’ll stay drunk up until the time I ride.”
“Because you do so much better hungover,” she teased. “Ridge, it’s going to be all right. I’ll find something to keep you focused.”
He shot a look at her long hair, smoldering eyes and curves for miles.
That’s what I’m afraid of.
* * * * *
Kashley watched Ridge cross the parking lot of the gas station, focused on his gait and whether or not his knee looked unstable. It was pretty damn difficult to remain focused when his entire body called out to her to do very bad things to it.
His jeans hugged his buns, his broad shoulders reminding her of how feminine she’d felt in his arms. A shudder ran through her. She leaned against the truck and watched him until he disappeared inside the convenience store.
A low whistle caught her attention, and she looked up to see a man wearing a hat and boots staring at her while he pumped his gas.
She gave a small nod before turning away. But he called out, “Was that Ridge Calhoun I saw getting out of the truck?”
“Uh, yes.” There was little point in denying it when he had rodeo stickers plastered across the tailgate.
his license plate said bronc1.
He gave another whistle. “He just got dumped by that other little blonde, and he didn’t waste much time finding another, did he?”
She leveled a glare at him. “That’s none of your business.” She darted a glance at the store. If Ridge came out while this asshole was still here and he said something to Ridge…
Her brain conjured fists flying and exploding gas pumps. Basically an apocalyptic scene that would be plastered over the news and land Ridge in jail—
kicked off the show.
Without waiting for the truck to fill the whole way, she circled the vehicle and stopped the pump. Then she got behind the wheel and moved it up to park at the front door. As soon as Ridge came out, his eyes widened. He opened the driver’s door.
“What are you doing?”
“Oh something’s wrong with the gas pump, and it shut off. I couldn’t top it up, but there’s three-quarters of a tank. We’re good for the rest of the way to Kansas. Want me to drive for a while?”
He narrowed his eyes at her. He always did know when she was telling a tall tale. Well this one wasn’t that tall, but she was saving his ass. “I’m drivin’.”
She shrugged and swung her legs out. His body heat scorched her shins, and she sucked in a breath as awareness hit her system. He stood at eye level where she sat. All she had to do was part her legs and he’d be against her, and she could tug him close and kiss him.
His eyes darkened, and he knuckled his hat back a bit more, giving her a clear view of his expression.
His very dark, hungry expression.
“Fuck,” he muttered and took a step forward.
Her thighs parted on their own, and she slung her arms around his neck. He brought his body flush against hers as he slammed his lips down across her mouth. She opened for him, and he swiped the inside with his hot, slick tongue. Her pussy squeezed, and she wiggled closer.
They were making out in front of a convenience store entrance, and someone was sure to capture it on their phone, but he didn’t seem to care as he slanted his mouth over hers again and again.
When he broke free, they stared at each other, panting.
“We need to find something more private.”
Heat slithered between her thighs, and she nodded. He clasped her waist and pulled her out of the truck. When her boots met the asphalt, she realized her knees may not hold her. She wobbled around to the passenger’s side and got in.
Without a word, he drove across the parking lot to a less busy restaurant and parked beside a tractor trailer. Then he turned to her again.
“C’mere.” His growled demand was fireworks exploding in her core. She launched into his lap, her boots dangling over the console and her hip digging into the steering wheel, but she didn’t care because his mouth was commanding hers again.
She melted into his caress, learning a different side of Ridge. With each flip of his tongue against hers, she understood what a passionate man he was. Each rock of his erection against her ass told her about the lust pounding through him. As he slid his hands beneath her shirt and over her bare skin, she gasped. He explored her spine before running his hands around to cup her breasts.
“Oh God,” she murmured, head thrown back.
He nibbled down her lips and jaw to her neck. Every swirl of his tongue across her skin felt like hot lava. She couldn’t stop touching him, learning every dip and swell of his muscles. And another hard body part dug into the seam of her jeans.
“You’re so fucking hot, honey. These tits…” He kneaded them.
She gave a roughly whispered, “Harder,” and he went still. Pulled back.
Looking into her eyes, he said, “Do you like it rough?”
“I…maybe.” She arched so her breasts were in his palms again. As he searched her face, he did as she asked—kneading her breasts harder until he found the points under her bra and pinched them. Not as hard as she liked but as hard as her nipple clamps.
“Ridge,” she rasped.
“Fuck yeah.” He tugged up her top and dipped his head to bite her nipple through the cloth of her bra. She cried out and locked his head to her with a hand on his nape. He closed his teeth over the bud and held the pressure there for a long minute. She watched his face shudder in the pleasure that he was giving her. Maybe he liked it rougher too?
her mind said.
Reaching between his shoulder blades, she gripped the fabric of his T-shirt and yanked it off. He had to release her nipple as she removed the shirt, but he flashed his eyes at her as he dipped his head again.
“I want to bite you without the cloth between us. Will I hurt you if I do?”
“No,” she panted, mesmerized as he dipped a long finger into her bra cup and pulled the material down. Her breast popped free, her nipple pink and straining and strangely pale next to his tanned digits.