He’d sworn not to let sexual frustration interfere with business, but all that went out the window almost the moment she’d walked into his kitchen. He’d thought he could hold himself in check, but he couldn’t even be in the same room with her without wanting her.
Hell, she’d only come out for a job. He didn’t even want to think about how many acts of sexual harassment he’d just committed. He didn’t have a clue how to deal with himself—or with Janice. He jerked his jeans up and turned to the sink, feeling like the lowest kind of predator for taking advantage of her.
He wet a towel with hot water for Janice, but when he turned back, his breath seized in his throat. She was buck naked and propped up on her elbows, hair tangled, face flushed, torso smeared with blueberry syrup, and a slow, shy, sexy-as-hell grin on her face. The vision jolted him to the core.
She looked down at herself and shook her head with a chuckle. “You sure made a real mess of me—inside and out.”
He was on her in two steps, marauding her mouth in a ferocious kiss that left them both reeling. He released her just as abruptly. “This towel ain’t gonna cut it, Red. You need a shower.”
“I couldn’t agree more, but I’m feeling kinda sorry for those hungry cows.”
“Another half hour won’t kill them,” he grunted.
“A half hour? I can shower in ten minutes.”
“I don’t think so. Blueberry stains. You’re gonna need some help cleaning all that syrup off. It’s dripped all over your back too.”
“So you’re offering to scrub my back?” Janice’s smile grew, stretching to heart-stopping proportions.
“Hell, I made the mess. Least I can do is clean it up properly.”
“You are such a hypocrite!” She laughed. “If I recall, all this began when I tried to clean up mess.”
“That’s right, sweetheart. I manage my own messes. And believe me when I say I’ve had plenty of experience at it,” he added dryly.
“Haven’t you ever let anyone else take care of you?” she asked, suddenly serious.
“No. Never had to. I manage.”
“But we all need help sometimes,” she argued.
“And that’s why you’re here,” he answered back. “I need help with the ranch…and now you need help getting that syrup washed off.”
Before she could open her mouth to argue further, he swept her up into his arms and carried her toward the bathroom. She looked down at his chest with an expression of mock dismay. “Now there’s syrup all over you too. Guess you’ll have to join me? You wash my back and I’ll wash yours?”
“You mean scratch,” he corrected gruffly, using his elbow to nudge the bathroom door open.
“Doesn’t fit the situation.” She grinned back at him.
He set her down, jerked back the curtain, and turned on the shower. He waited for the water to heat up and then handed her a bar of soap. “Get in.”
“You are too bossy by far, Dirk.”
“I can get away with it because I the boss. Now get in.”
“Aren’t you coming?”
He grinned. “Already did.”
ROUGH RIDER BLURB by VICTORIA VANE
Two Loves …Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure?Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect—until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.
Different Dreams…Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good—roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there’s a void he can’t seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts…but there’s a certain cowgirl he can’t forget.
When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he’s determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?