It’s that time again! Time for another visit to the UGLY STICK SALOON!
****Karen Bradford is the winner of the prize below!!****
BOOTS AND ROSES
Nothin’s hotter than summer in Texas unless it’s the Annual Cowboy Auction!
Coming once, coming twice…SOLD!
Bunny Leigh really shouldn’t care that her ex is days away from getting remarried. Yet the fact he’s getting hitched to the woman he cheated on her with stings more than she cares to admit.
It’s that sting that drives her to impulsively throw a bid in the annual Ugly Stick Saloon Cowboy Auction. To her surprise, she lands not only one of the best-looking men in the tri-county area, but two. The prospect of keeping up with two younger men has the shy florist quaking in her flower pots.
Little does she know, best friends Cory McBride and Jack Monahan made doubly sure their favorite florist won them both. But now they have their work cut out for them, convincing her they want more than one steamy night. They want a chance at forever.
A cop, a cowboy and a flower shop owner make the petals fly! And look what happens when the Ferris wheel stops at the top. Bring a fan, the heat’s rising at the Ugly Stick Saloon.
Copyright © 2013 Myla Jackson
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
For forty-five minutes, Bunny left the paddle on the bar, refusing to give in to her loneliness and bid on a paid-for pity date. One by one the men paraded around the stage, women bid and the gavel banged. One by one the chance for a date passed and Bunny slipped deeper into a blue funk.
Her lips still tingled from the contact with Cory’s and Jack’s, and she raised her hand to touch her mouth. No vibrator had affected her as much as those earth-shaking kisses. Once again, Bunny considered Audrey’s words. Maybe it was time for her to get out in the dating pool again and give love a second chance.
“Hold on to your belt buckles, ladies,” Charli said with a flourish. “Here to introduce the final act, the woman who made the Cowboy Auction possible, Audrey Anderson.”
Audrey stepped up on the stage with Deputy Monahan holding her arm. The owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon took the microphone from Charli and faced the crowd, her face straight, serious. “Ladies, it’s been brought to my attention that we’ve had several instances of sexual misconduct against our own Deputy Jack Monahan. I ask you to please keep your hands to yourself and respect the man who was brought here to keep the peace.”
One woman yelled, “Boo!”
The room full of women joined her, all shouting, “Boo!”
Bunny smiled. If she wasn’t mistaken, Audrey had something up her sleeve and she was playing the audience.
Audrey winked. “Oh, so you like playing dirty?”
As one, the women yelled, “Hell, yeah!”
“Then let’s raise the stakes. For the first time in Cowboy Auction history, we’re offering up a two-fer.”
The ladies roared their approval.
Despite her resolve to remain unaffected by the goings on in the saloon, Bunny leaned forward, a tingle of anticipation rippling through her body. Cory hadn’t been offered up for auction yet and he’d hinted at a surprise. Was this it?
“All our cowboys have been fabulous sports about this auction, but the last bidding opportunity we’re offering tonight is special and near and dear to my heart. Please welcome the two-fer deal of Cory ‘The stripper so hot you’ll singe your fingers’ McBride…”
Cory danced out on the stage, wearing a vest, boots and leather chaps over a black G-string. The only thing not showing was his package, and it was swelled enough to give every woman enough information to go on. The man was hung.
Bunny sucked in a breath and held it while her pulse pounded so loud she could barely hear herself think. Her deliveryman had been in her sex dreams and fantasies more and more often lately. Now this… Holy smokin’ cowboys!
Audrey continued, “The other half of this dynamic duo is our very own man of peace, Deputy ‘Pull over and let me frisk you’ Jack Monahan!” Audrey handed the microphone back to Charli.
Deputy Monahan joined Cory center stage, slipping his uniform shirt off, exposing shoulders as broad as Cory’s and equally tanned and gleaming with a fine layer of oil.
Holy rock stars! Between the Adonis blond beauty that was Cory and the dark, rugged sex appeal of Jack, Bunny could barely breathe.
The crowd exploded in a frenzy, all the paddles raising in the air as the bidding started.
Bunny perched on the edge of her stool, her body trembling.
The two men danced around the stage in sync to bump-and-grind music barely audible over the cacophony of women yelling and whistling.
Bidding started at five hundred dollars and shot up from there.
Not that I’m interested in bidding. Bunny mentally calculated what she had in her bank account.
Audrey handed the numbered paddle to Bunny. “I’ll match you dollar for dollar.” She shrugged. “I won’t keep one of them, but I want to contribute to the cause. This way I can, and Jackson won’t have heartburn about it.”
“I can’t bid on those two. I wouldn’t know what to do with one man, much less two!”
Audrey’s brows rose. “Seriously? Oh, honey, you really do need to get out more often. Did I ever tell you about the day I danced for Jackson, Mark and Luke on Jackson’s thirtieth birthday?” She tugged at the front of her shirt. “And I don’t mean two-stepping.” Audrey fanned herself. “Making me hot just thinkin’ about it.”
“Audrey, you’re much more free-spirited. I’m…I’m…” Bunny glanced down at the paddle in her hand. “Not.”
A soft hand rested on Bunny’s shoulder and Audrey leaned close. “How do you know if you’ve never tried to be?”
Bunny shrugged. “I’ve always focused on getting my business going, getting my finances straight—”
“Puttin’ your lousy ex-husband through school. Yeah, I can see where that gotcha.” Audrey shook her head. “That’s all well and good when it comes to running a business, but what about givin’ yourself a second chance at love?”
“I don’t need a second chance. Once was bad enough. I don’t think I’m ready to float that boat again.” Although the two men on the stage could more than set her sails. Holy hell, they were built like brick houses, all muscle—hard, finely chiseled muscle.
“If not for love, then date for fun or a release from stress.” Audrey threw her hand in the air. “Why not satisfy your sexual fantasies? Anything to get you out of your shell, girlfriend.”
“One thousand dollars!” Charli shouted into the microphone. “Ladies, this is twice the spice for the money. Don’t stop now.” She nodded toward the throng. “One thousand one hundred from number forty-one.”
“A thousand dollars?” Bunny did the math in her head. “I’d have to sell a lot of roses to afford those two.”
“Raise your paddle. Remember, I’ll double whatever you can afford.”
Even as Bunny shook her head, her fingers tightened around the paddle’s wooden stick. “I can’t.”
“Yes. You can. It’s just a date,” Audrey insisted. “Think about what Cory can do with that whip. And Jack has handcuffs.”
Cory cracked the whip, and number thirty-seven raised her paddle, bumping the bid up another one hundred dollars.
Bunny’s heartbeat accelerated. She had over two grand in savings for a rainy day and maybe to pay off her ex when she got a little more saved. That money was not earmarked for a hot date with two sexy men.
It still galled her to no end that Ray got half of her business in the divorce, Texas being a community property state. Out of the “goodness of his heart” Ray had let her keep the flower shop, as long as she paid him for his half over time, as a loan. He never let her forget it either, always giving her his unwanted opinion on how to run the flower shop. Spending so much money on a date would have him questioning her ability to stay in business. He might even foreclose on his loan.
“Going once,” Charli said.
“What?” Bunny’s breath caught and she leaned so far forward on her stool she almost slid off.
“Going twice.” Charli paused. “They’re a steal at twelve hundred dollars. Come on ladies, won’t one of you bid thirteen hundred?”
Bunny’s hand shook, her grip clenching on the paddle. Before she could analyze her actions, she raised her paddle.
“Is that Bunny Leigh back there near the bar?” Charli shielded her eyes from the glare of the stage lights. “Y’all gonna let Temptation’s best florist go home with the two most drool-worthy men in the county?”
Cory and Jack stared across the room, straight at Bunny, both smiling.
Her pulse accelerated until she thought for certain her heart would jump right out of her chest. Her gaze panned the room, praying someone else would raise a paddle quickly before she bought the cowboy and the cop.
Charli grinned, and before anyone else could get a paddle above shoulder-high, she pounded her gavel on the podium and shouted, “Sold!”
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