Authors: Cheyenne McCray
CLAY: Armed and Dangerous
Copyright © 2015
Clay: Armed and Dangerous by Cheyenne McCray
All rights reserved. No part of this e-Book may be reproduced in whole or in part,
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reproduced in any manner whatsoever, or by any information storage and retrieval system
now known or hereafter invented, without express written permission of the publisher,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events,
locales, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
E-book conversion by
Bella Media Management
Cover by Scott Carpenter from
Published by Cheyenne McCray LLC.
13-Digit ISBN: 978-1-939778-63-5
Clay: Armed and Dangerous
was published in print only with St. Martin’s Griffin.
has its foundations in a novel titled
that I wrote years ago for Ellora’s Cave. If you read that short novel, you will
find this endeavor different. This novel is longer than the original book and richer
with more action, adventure, and mystery.
is easily the most erotic of the
Armed and Dangerous
series. Rylie Thorn and lawman Clay Wayland take their passion beyond the limits.
Rylie was a fun free spirit to write about and Clay a hunk in Western jeans. I hope
you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Rylie Thorn pulled at her earlobe as she guided her battered ranch pickup into the
parking lot of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department. The stupid wreck bucked and
hiccupped like it wanted to die, then steam billowed out from under its hood as she
slammed on its bad brakes and threw it into park. The poor old work vehicle wasn’t
meant for driving distances, but it wasn’t like she had a whole lot of choices.
None, in fact.
Rylie wished she could spit smoke like the wreck. Just driving the piece of shit was
an unwelcome flashback to childhood. They had struggled so much. And her mom, the
doormat... She shook her head.
Then and now. Big difference. Life wasn’t easy, but it was nothing like her early
years. Rylie knew things would get better soon, and she’d damned sure never be anybody’s
She used an old rag in the seat to wipe sweat off her forehead. Air-conditioning?
Of course, the beat-up hunk of junk didn’t have any air. She jerked the keys out of
the wreck’s ignition and slammed the door as she got out. She’d had it up to here
with the damn truck thefts, and she was determined to give the new hotshot sheriff
a piece of her mind.
Rylie had been pissed about Skylar MacKenna’s cattle being stolen last year, and now
trucks were going missing all along the border. The Thorn Ranch had been ripped off.
Things had definitely gotten
She marched across the parking lot to the sheriff’s office, her boot heels clattering
against the pavement and her jeans skirt bouncing against the back of her knees. She
had on short sleeves, and it was past hot already. Spring never could hold off summer
in Douglas. Even though it was only April, the second the night’s chill burned away
in the morning, she started to sweat. Being furious didn’t help that situation one
She shoved the glass doors open and stomped into the reception area.
A busty brunette raised a sculpted eyebrow, her scarlet lips set in a what-the-hell-do-you-want
smile. “May I help you?”
“I’d like to see Sheriff Wayland.” Rylie propped her hands on her slim jean-clad hips.
“I don’t think he’s available.” Boob Queen gave a don’t-you-wish-he-was-available
sniff as she picked up the phone. “Let me check.” Her temper escalating beyond eruption
level, Rylie glanced past the reception area. She looked into a room that was empty
save for desks sporting computers and equipment... and that sorry excuse for a deputy,
Hazard Quinn. Young, dark-haired, too good-looking for his own good—Quinn was more
country-music-star-to-be than skilled law enforcement—at least in his own mind.
Without so much as a by-your-leave, Rylie headed straight for Quinn. She set her gaze
stun with shoot-to-kill
as an alternative if the deputy didn’t give her satisfaction.
“You can’t—” Miss Mega-Tits spouted behind Rylie.
“I need a word with you.” Rylie strode right up to Quinn, propped her hands on her
hips, and frowned up at him. At just five feet four, she only came to the deputy’s
shoulder—but her glare was enough to cut down a man three times her size. And Rylie
knew how to wield her icy gaze like a sword.
Quinn’s Adam’s apple bobbed and he diverted his eyes, waving off Boob Queen, then
turning his attention back to Rylie. “What do you need, Ms. Thorn?”
“I’ll tell you what I need.” Rylie poked one finger at his deputy’s star, punctuating
each word with a jab at the metal. “I need my trucks back. I lost five last night.
At the same time! Four of the ranch hands’ vehicles, and my personal truck, too.
I need you guys to get off your asses and figure out who the hell is stealing everybody’s
Quinn stepped back. “We’re working on it. It’s a border-wide problem.”
“Don’t give me that crap.” Rylie advanced on the deputy as he retreated. “Get me the
“What can I do for you?” A deep rumbling voice startled Rylie out of her tirade and
sent shivers down her spine.
She whipped her head to the side and her gaze locked with the most amazing crystalline
green eyes—and the hottest man she’d ever seen. Her entire body shivered, every coherent
thought fleeing her mind as she got lost in the pull of those magnetic eyes.
He had his hip and shoulder propped against the doorway of an office, his thumbs hooked
in the pockets of his snug Wrangler jeans, and a copper sheriff’s star on his shirt.
The man raised one hand to push up the brim of his tan felt Stetson as he studied
her. His sable mustache twitched as he smiled.
Oh. My. God.
For the first time in her life, Rylie Thorn was speechless.
Sheriff Clay Wayland studied the little wildcat who’d stormed into his office and
ripped Deputy Quinn a new one. Damn she’d been cute as she’d spouted off at Quinn.
Clay had enjoyed watching the flush in her fair cheeks, how her short blond hair shimmered
as she spoke, and the way that sprinkling of freckles made her look so damn adorable.
He’d almost hated to interrupt her. And now... well, hell. The desire that sparked
in those chocolate-brown eyes charged up his own libido. Something in his gut told
him this was a woman worth getting to know—in every way a man could know a woman.
He pushed away from the door of his office and strode toward her. “Clay Wayland,”
he said as he held out his hand.
Quinn mumbled something about “work to be done,” and headed on out of the office,
leaving Clay alone with the woman in the empty control room.
“Rylie Thorn.” The petite woman drew herself up and raised her chin as she took his
Her vanilla musk teased his senses, along with the current that sizzled between them
as he clasped her hand in his. He wished he wasn’t on duty so he could make things
a little more personal between them. “A most definite pleasure, Rylie Thorn.”
As though remembering why she was there in the first place, the little spitfire pulled
her hand from his and stepped back. “This bunch of truck thefts up and down the border,
it’s gone on long enough—especially here.”
Clay nodded as he hooked his thumbs in his pockets. “You’re telling me.”
“Well, what do you intend to do about it?” Rylie put her hands on her hips, that fiery
glint back in her eyes. “We just lost all of our functioning ranch trucks. New Fords,
tricked out just like the hands wanted—and my personal vehicle, too. We’re one of
the smaller ranches in the area, and that’s something we sure as hell can’t afford.”
Frustration at their inability to track the bastards down was a fire in Clay’s gut.
“Believe me, we’re putting everything and everyone we can on it.”
“Obviously, that’s not good enough.” Rylie raised her chin. “What’s it been? Six weeks
since the first truck went missing? I know they end up across the border where you
can’t do squat to get them back—but by God, they have to get from here to there. Somebody’s
running point right here in Douglas.”
Clay ran a hand over his mustache. “I know it’s not what you want to hear, but we’re
working on it.”
“Well, that’s just
” Her pretty eyes narrowed even more, and he wondered if she might throw a few sparks.
“You know that bastard Francisco Guerrero’s got a hand in this somewhere. Why don’t
you have him and his expensive hat down here right now, interrogating him?”
Clay kept his polite smile in place, not wanting the woman to see his sudden unease.
Guerrero. That oily bastard was a big fish— and big trouble. He didn’t want her making
noise that might get her in trouble with Guerrero’s thugs. Clay had a plan to bring
down Douglas’s own personal crime lord when he could get enough evidence—and Rylie
Thorn getting tortured to death by pissed-off goons didn’t fit into that plan.
Clay gestured toward the office’s front desk. In his most placating tone, he said,
“Why don’t you file a report about your trucks, Ms. Thorn? I’ll put your case at the
top of my list.”
The little wildcat glared at him. She didn’t spit, but she didn’t kill him, either.
That had to be a win. After a second or two of stripping him down with those hot eyes,
she spun and marched out of the control room.
The natural sway of her slim hips damn near killed him.
She paused at the front desk long enough to snarl, “My trucks got stolen. Send somebody
out.” Then she headed out the front door, muttering something about, “Damn bureaucrats.
If you won’t investigate, I’ll just do it myself.”
Clay shifted his position, trying to alleviate the new ache in his body.
What that woman just did to him, it wasn’t natural.
Or maybe it was the most natural thing in the world.
Looked like he’d have to pay a visit to the Thorn Ranch.
He stood for another few seconds as the fog in his mind cleared— then he realized
what she’d said as she slammed the door.
If you won’t investigate, I’ll just do it myself.
In the movies, when cops said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” it was time to
cue the scary music.
didn’t cover the wave of instinct that hit Clay Wayland.
Do it myself...
He thought about the little spitfire, and about Francisco Guerrero. She thought the
drug lord was guilty—and Clay had a pretty good idea Rylie Thorn thought she was ten
feet tall and bulletproof, too.
That sealed it.
“Ah, shit.” He grabbed his hat and headed out the door, barking orders at everyone
standing in the office.
The brakes on Rylie’s old heap of a truck squealed as she stomped them right in front
of the big display window at Arizona Motors South. She frowned as new clouds of smoke
rolled out of the engine, and frowned harder when the truck let off belches and growls
when she shut down the struggling engine.
She wiped sweat off her forehead with her hand and glanced around. Glossy high-dollar
pickups for sale all around her, new and used, check. Big honking American flag and
tent, check. Wide-eyed salesmen lying on the showroom floor with heads covered because
they were convinced she was about to drive the behemoth right through their gilded
showroom window—check, check, and check.
She got out of the truck, slammed the rusty, squeaking door, and stalked straight
toward the entrance to the car lot’s showroom, heading for the one man who’d had the
guts to keep standing when she barreled in.