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Authors: Honor James

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BOOK: Cowboy of Her Heart
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Staring down at her, he realized she didn’t
know.
 
She truly didn’t know.
 
Leaning in, he pressed a kiss to her
lips.
 
“Give me a moment to get rid of
the condom and then we’ll talk.” Slipping free from her body was not his
favorite thing, as he’d much rather have stayed buried inside her.
 
Getting up from the bed he quickly went to
the bathroom and disposed of the condom.
 
Joining her in his bed again, he pulled her into his arms and covered
them both with the blankets.

“I have never hated you, Jacqueline,” he said
quietly.
 
“Not once, ever.
 
I had a bloody crush on you from the moment
we met and all through school.
 
Garland
was, and is to this day, an asshole.
 
One whom I no longer associate with.
 
If he hadn’t been on the football team with
me, I wouldn’t have then either.
 
He
liked his little mind-fuck games too much for my taste.”

Pressing a kiss to her soft cheek, Grant
closed his eyes and just breathed her in.
 
He loved the faint scent always on her skin. It was light and pleasant
and reminded him of a summer’s day.
 
“I
don’t know what he told you, and I don’t even remember you asking me that
question.
 
All I remember from that
particular day, the last day you ever came close to me, was that I’d just been
to the principal’s office to find out I was accused of cheating and plagiarism
on a paper.
 
He wouldn’t tell me who, but
I knew.
 
I wasn’t giving
you
any look, but the asshole that had
been right behind you, smirking.
 
Garland
fucking set me up to take a fall but only screwed
himself
up.
 
I was able to prove my innocence
easily enough. He, however, ended up booted out of school.
 
The damage was done though, wasn’t it?” he
asked quietly.
 
He already knew the
answer.
 
She’d given him the cold
shoulder, and he’d, in all his teenage wisdom, reacted in kind.

****

“Yes, because I was so sure.
 
I had asked you when you came to me that day
if it was true.
 
If what you felt for me
was true and you nodded.
 
You glared at
me.
 
I didn’t see Garland behind me, just
you.
 
He had just finished telling me that
you hated me, had always hated me and hated that you had to step between your
friends and me because I was such an ugly duckling.”
 
She curled in closer to him. She couldn’t
help herself.
 
“When you said yes, it
broke my heart,” she admitted quietly.
 
“It killed me inside to know that the person I had given all my heart to
had hated me all along,” she whispered.
 
“All this time, all this time we have missed on being friends or
hopefully more, because of an asshat that loved playing games.
 
What now?” She turned her face up to
him.
 
“What happens now, Grant?”

“Now it’s up to us, no one else, no outside
forces or people to screw us up.
 
We get
to decide where we go from here,” he said softly.
 
“And, for the record, I didn’t hear your
question and my ‘yes’ was actually a question itself.
 
I’m sorry for my part in the
misunderstanding.
 
I should have tried to
clear it up sooner, and I really have no excuses.
 
I can blame hormones and stubborn pride, but
in all honesty, I just didn’t want to feel the pain of you shutting me out
again if I was wrong.”


Which is why we have both
been at odds with each other our entire adult lives.
 
Neither of us wanted to be hurt by the other,
neither of us wanted to face that pain, did we?” At least she knew she hadn’t
wanted to do that.
 
“I don’t know about
you, but I really, really don’t think that I want to give this up.
 
Now that we have been together, I don’t think
that I
could
give you up,” she
whispered honestly.

He was silent for a long time, long enough she
started to reconsider her words.
 
“I
don’t want to give this up either.
 
I
don’t want to give
you
up,
Jacqueline.
 
I’ve wanted you for so long
and yet we would get in the same space together and…” he trailed off on a
sigh.
 
“I do not want that to happen
again, ever.
 
I can’t do anything about
the past and the misunderstandings, but I also don’t want the future to be
bogged down by that either.”

Shifting their positions he got so he was nose
to nose with her, both of them on their sides.
 
“Can we move forward?” he asked quietly.
 
One hand was stroking up and down her arm lightly, like he couldn’t stop
touching her, needed to touch her.
 
“Can
we get past it all and have a life together without it hurting us in the
future?
Because I want to have a future with you.
 
A long and happy one, I hope.”

“I would like that very much, Grant.
 
I really and truly do want to know if there
is anything that we can do to become more than we have been, to have a happy
life together.
 
I’ve hated arguing with
you.
 
I really have.
 
And I swear to you, Grant, on my life, I
honest to goodness didn’t mean to hit your truck.”
 
She had to bring that up because it still
bothered her, a lot.

“I know,” he said.
 
Pulling her closer, he hugged her to
him.
 
“It’s okay. I already have it
booked in to get fixed.
 
I’d do it
myself, but I just don’t have time right now.” Loosening his hold, he drew back
so she could see his face again.
 
“Don’t
look so distraught. It’s just a truck, a piece of metal with wheels and
wiring.
 
At least you didn’t run me over,
though. Considering what you just told me, I could fully understand you doing
so.”

That had her laughing, and she shook her
head.
 
“Well, I want to pay for it.
 
And please don’t tell me no.
 
I felt terrible when I did it, and I had
planned on taking care of it regardless.
 
Let me do this for you, please?”
 
She moved in closer to him and sighed.
 
“I never would have hurt you, but I never would have talked to you.”
Grinning up at him, she said, “I guess it took Mother Nature forcing us to
spend a little time together to work out our issues, huh?”

He just made a humming noise in his
throat.
 
“Fine, but
only half of it.
 
I was too far
over even if I had no other options, so you only get to pay for half the
repairs.
 
And if you argue I’ll paddle
your rear until you can’t sit on it for a month.” He kissed her then, not
giving her a chance to reply one way or another for a good, long time.

She forgot all about what they were discussing
when he kissed her.
 
She licked her lips
and moved in closer to him, her body rubbing against his, and smiled.
 
“I really, really think that you should do
that again.
 
In fact, I really think that
I desperately want to make love with you again, please.”

Laughing softly, he brushed a kiss to her
lips.
 
“Whatever the lady wants,” he
said, and set to giving her all she wanted, demanded and needed.

Epilogue

 

One year later - Valentine’s Day

 

The last year with Jacqueline had been
amazing.
 
Oh, they’d had troubles. They’d
argued, but the love that he felt for the woman only grew each and every
day.
 
They’d made it a full year just a
few days earlier, but they were celebrating their first “official” Valentine’s
Day together now.
 
He had a few surprises
up his sleeve for her.
 
Nothing gimmicky
or commercial, it was all thought out by him and carefully planned.

All he had to do now was get her to stop
working.

Checking his watch, he shot another look
through the front window of her shop.
 
She was doing up some woman’s hair in an up-do, as she called it.
 
Likely
someone going
out for a grand date.
 
His Jacqueline’s
own hair was a bit more of a mess, just the way he liked it.
 
Of course, he also preferred it spread over
the pillows of their bed while she was in it naked, but, for being out in
public, this was a very close second.

****

Jackie smiled and waved at Grant.
 
“God, I love that man,” she told the woman
whose hair she was just finishing.
 
After
spraying the woman’s hair with lots of hairspray, she patted her shoulder.
 
“All done, Rhonda.
 
Thanks for coming in.
 
Don’t worry about the cost.
 
Just go and have fun.”
 
She was ready to get out of the salon.
 
She was ready to go home with her
cowboy.
 

Grabbing her jacket she locked up and walked
out into the brisk February air.
 
“Hey, you.”
 
She
stepped in close to him, her hand sliding into his and giving it a
squeeze.
 
“I didn’t think you were
meeting me here today.
 
I thought I was
coming out to the ranch?”

“I know that was the original plan, but it
sort of mucked up my plans, so here we are.
 
Plan B.”
 
Smiling, he drew her in
closer to his body and leaned in to kiss her.
 
“Besides,” he murmured, brushing back a strand of her hair, “I missed
you and this gave me an excuse to come and see you sooner.
 
Are you trying to tell me you’d rather I
wasn’t here?” he asked, barely suppressing a grin.

“Not even a little,” Jackie told him with a
smile.
 
“I’m so very, very happy.”
 
Lifting her face up to him, she winked.
 
“How about you kiss me, so the gossips have
some more to talk about?” They were already the talk of the town.
 
She’d heard that people were taking bets on
when they would go back to being bitter enemies.
 
But if Jackie had any say in it, they would
never be that way again.

“A kiss for the old biddies, huh?” he
asked.
 
Grinning, he pushed his Stetson
up with a finger before wrapping her in his arms.
 
“I think I can manage that,” he murmured.
 
Dipping her over his one arm, he kissed
her.
 
Not a small peck or a slight,
lingering kiss.
 
Hell, no, the man flat
out nailed one on her lips that was scorching, with tongue and sent too many
sensations ricocheting through her body.

“Yes, please,” she said only a moment before
he kissed her.
 
And what a kiss it
was.
 
This man was never one to skimp on
anything, thank the good Lord!
 
When he
pulled back, she was
gasping,
her hands wrapped around
his neck the only thing keeping her from melting into a puddle at his
feet.
 
“Heavens,” she whispered and
licked her lips.
 
“Amazing.
 
Wow.
 
Just.
 
Wow.”
 
Words simply wouldn’t come to her because
this was just too good.
 
Way too
good.
 
“I think that they might get the
point that we aren’t going to break up anytime soon, don’t you?”

“Well, if that doesn’t send the message, then
we’ll just have to come up with something else,” he said with a smile.
 
Pulling her upright, he brushed a kiss to her
lips.
 
“Come on, I have plans and it’s
not to stay in the middle of town all night kissing you.
 
Even though it is extremely enjoyable, I have
much better plans in mind for us.”

“Oh, I love it when you get plans,” she said,
assuring him with a smile.
 
“Because you
typically have the best ideas ever,” she added and moved so that she could link
her arm with his.
 
“I love the way you
think.
 
Have I ever told you that?”
 
This year had been amazing.
 
She had moved out of her place and onto his
ranch with him.
 
She helped him where she
could, even
helped
him get a mare through the birth of
a foal.
 
It was amazing, and she loved
spending time like that with him.
 
“So
what are your plans, Grant?”
 
No more
Mr. Franklyn
or
Ms. Hunter.

BOOK: Cowboy of Her Heart
12.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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