The Breaker (Erotic Country #1.)

BOOK: The Breaker (Erotic Country #1.)
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub








The Breaker



Erotic Country











Text copyright © 2013


All rights reserved by the author.





Cover design by


[email protected]











For my Poppa Smurf


















‘You’re a
bastard,’ she seethed, through ragged breaths.

always,’ he muttered into her ear, still breathing heavily and inhaling the
scent off her neck. She felt the hardness in the front of his jeans press
against her and she knew she was in trouble.

trouble …



Sophie made her way to the rickety
table underneath the flame tree where the station hands usually had lunch. She
winced as she sat and poured a cuppa from the dented aluminium teapot. After
mustering a couple of decks of steers off the property, her backside was numb,
despite the cold shower she’d just had. But at least she felt fresh, in a clean
pair of faded blue jeans and one of her dad’s old work shirts – it was too big
for her and had to be tied at her navel with the sleeves rolled up. Her light
brown hair, still wet from the shower, was brushed back into a ponytail. She
looked up at the cover of red flowers overhead, which seemed too pretty for the
filthy mob of men sitting beneath it.

Next to her old Sam,
one of the station hands, dunked a biscuit into his tea, shoved the whole soggy
thing into his mouth and reached for another one. He stank of cow dung and
clothes that hadn’t been washed for a week. Mick the mechanic sat on the
opposite bench seat, laughing and comparing hangovers with the two young cow
hands, Pete and Paul, Liz, the children’s portly nanny, reached for the teapot
and found it empty. She frowned and looked around towards the house. Nance
Carney, the boss’s wife, placed a fresh pot on the table. Up the other end, Jim,
the foreman, showed a pile of papers to the new horse-breaker.

The big guy kept his
eyes down and gave the occasional nod beneath the rim of a broad black hat.
Sophie could only see the lower half of his face. His jaw was strong, his skin
tanned and freshly shaved. His arms were folded and his large, calm hands
didn’t move. The only other gesture from him was an occasional pursing of his

When the plate of
sandwiches arrived everyone dived in as though it would be their last meal. Sophie’s
line of sight was interrupted. As people filled their plates and settled into
lunch, she stole another look down the table.

She’d been intensely
aware of the new guy since he’d stepped out of a black ute at first light this
morning. His clothes and hat told her that he came from the land. But the
backyard tattoos on his large hands were from a different world. The heavy
calluses on his knuckles were not usual either. There was something dark and
yet compelling about him.

He sat quietly, as
though not wanting to be noticed. An unfriendly vibe radiated from him, making
everyone at the normally noisy table a little uncomfortable. When he broke his
stillness to drain what was left in his cup, his eyes caught Sophie’s and she
hurriedly looked down. But in the instant when her eyes had connected with his,
she saw coldness there. His face, with its large, rugged features, was laced
with something mean. She didn’t dare look up again, but she felt his eyes run
over her. For some reason that gave her the shivers, and her breath became uneven.
She closed her hands more tightly around her mug of tea when she felt them
tremble slightly. Whoa. This guy was a hard-arse. He was intimidating.

But he was also
smoking hot.

She exhaled slowly and
kept her eyes down. It had been too long between men for her. They were few and
far between on this huge cattle station; clingy, egotistical, too old or just
plain ugly. Stoneleigh Station was also a very small community if things went
wrong. Privacy was rarely an option.

Up to this point,
Sophie hadn’t cared. She would rather take care of herself. She didn’t want all
the complications and insecurities that came with a relationship. Some called
her a ball-breaker. So what? She liked being her own person – answerable to no
one, in charge of her own life.

‘They prison tatts,
mate?’ said Pete, in a voice tinged with awe.

The table went quiet
and everyone stared at the guy’s hands.

The breaker’s eyes lifted
slowly and scanned the people at the table. They stopped at the kid with a
flash of ire that warned him not to continue.

‘What were you in for?’
asked the other kid, Paul, oblivious to the breaker’s cold glare. The
atmosphere at the small outback homestead became edgy.

The breaker turned his
eyes to Paul and Sophie watched the young man squirm in his seat as he ran his
eyes over the size of the older man’s arms. Rope-like veins ran over those muscled
forearms, across the wrists and large hands.

Realising his mistake,
Paul bleated out a quiet, ‘Sorry.’

The breaker nodded,
then stood and looked at his watch. He was tall, heavy-set and looked strong
enough to lift a horse. He left the table without a word. Sophie watched him
walk to his ute. From the back he lifted two stock saddles and sat them on his
hip, one on top of the other. With the other hand, he pulled out a tangle of
bridles and straps and slung them over his shoulder. He walked to the horse

‘Arrogant prick,’
mumbled Mick.

‘Doesn’t say much,’
said Liz, sounding unimpressed.

‘Give him a break,’
said Jim. ‘He’s just done four years.’

‘So, what
he in for?’ Mick said. ‘If you don’t mind me asking.’

‘Not the kind of guy
you want to upset, put it that way,’ said Jim. And that’s all he said. He stood
and made his way back to the yards, where more cattle waited to be tagged. He
looked over his shoulder. ‘Back to work, hey?’

There were weary sighs
and the scraping of chairs as the team rose from their seats. Liz helped Nancy
gather the dirty cups and plates and stack them onto trays.

Sophie made her way to
the shed where she’d left her horse to cool down. She’d give him a hose off, then
saddle up a fresh one before joining Jim at the yards to help draft out any underweight

Tomorrow she would
start breaking in the yearlings with this new guy. Why they employed a second
horse-breaker was a mystery. She had been doing the job for the last three
years without incident. She couldn’t help feeling this guy was stepping on her
turf. On top of that, he struck her as a misogynist kind of bastard.

If he thought he was dealing
with some girly pushover, he was wrong. She could buck out a horse as well as
any bloke. She could break it in and have it riding on a muster within a week.
Horses were her thing. Always had been. Having the honour of starting some of
the best stock horses in Australia was a job she wasn’t about to hand over to
the first beefcake in wranglers that came along.

He was the newcomer and
he’d have to start by doing things her way, even if he was six foot four and
built like a Clydesdale. She made her way to the horse shed, determined to set
things straight with him from the onset.

* * * * *

All horse business went on under a
large iron-roofed shed with open sides and a frame of timber that had been cut
from trees on the property. The floor was earthen and cool and Sophie loved the
smell of horses and cattle that always wafted through on summer afternoons.

Several horses stood
in the open stalls, their backs sticky with saddle sweat from the morning
muster, tails swishing at the relentless flies. Sophie reached for the youngster
she’d ridden that morning and noticed the new guy leaning on the steel rails of
the round yard, eyeing a dozen or so yearlings. The gate creaked as she opened
it, startling her horse. The new guy didn’t turn or acknowledge her. This would
be good. How was she going to work with a man who was surly and rude? Never
mind the fact that he was fresh out of prison.

She ignored the
horse’s jumpiness and unclipped it from the cross ties. As she led it through
the gateway it scraped its hip on the latch. The horse, which had only weeks of
handling on it, panicked and catapulted out of the stall, shying violently and
reefing the reins from her hands. She tried to run with it, but it reared over
backwards, then scrambled to its feet and bolted towards the yearlings in the round

The new guy turned
slowly, saw the colt and walked to the middle of the aisle, blocking its path.
Sophie stood blocking her end and waited while he walked over, calmly took it
by the reins and ran a hand over its neck. It instantly relaxed and he led it
back towards her. But rather than hand the colt back, he walked past as though
she wasn’t there. He led it in and out of the stall a few times until it did so
calmly, and then handed the reins back to her.

‘He caught his hip,’
she tried to explain.

It was the first time
she had dared look into his eyes. They were dark, almost black, and set behind
thick lashes; the kind that made a girl’s heart beat a little faster. But
behind them lurked something cold and menacing. He gave her a calculating stare
and then moved his eyes questioningly to the horse.

‘Did I break him in?’
she clarified. Her voice took on an annoyingly high pitch.

He nodded.

‘Yeah, but he …’

He lifted his chin towards
the gate as though she should go back and lead the horse through it herself. There
was no warmth in his gestures. He was bad-tempered, rude and Sophie instantly bristled.

‘You’re not my boss,
mate,’ she said. ‘I don’t care who you are or what prison you just got out of.’

She looked straight
into those dark eyes and saw hatred in them. Then he dropped his gaze to her chest.
The look was belittling, enough for her to want to slap him. Hard. He lifted
his eyes again and gave her a challenging stare.

She glared back. ‘You
got a name?’

He reached down and
she was alarmed when he took hold of her arm. His hands were strong and
surprisingly gentle, so unlike his eyes. He led her to the steel cattle rail
that made the round yard fence. Then he lifted her hand, folded her fingers
into her palm and guided her pointer finger over the dusty rail, tracing the
into the dust.

At least the
Neanderthal could spell his own name. She moved her hand beneath his and wrote
Then she ripped her hand away, uneasy with how quickly he had taken control of

He looked at her
again, this time with a face that was less threatening.

‘Don’t you speak?’ she
asked, confused.

When he didn’t answer,
she figured the answer was no.

BOOK: The Breaker (Erotic Country #1.)
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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