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Authors: Mia Downing

Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Erotic Romance

Just Ask

BOOK: Just Ask
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Table of Contents

Just Ask




Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

About the Author

Also Available

Chapter One

Thank you for purchasing this Wild Rose Press, Inc. publication.

Just Ask


Mia Downing

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Just Ask

COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Mia Downing

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Diana Carlile

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at

Publishing History

First Scarlet Rose Edition, November 2012

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-749-6

Published in the United States of America


This book is for Diana Carlile, who dared me to write it. Sometimes dares are good things.

Thank you to Lucy for reading it when it was a baby book in an email and for not going into shock. I know it’s not your genre. You rock.

Stacey, thanks for your advice, support and hand-holding.


Mia Downing



“Okay, it’s official…Mia Downing now holds the spot as my favorite author who writes emotional angst. [RIPPED] broke my heart with the depth of feeling between these two guys.”

~Christi Snow, Smitten with Reading

“RIPPED is surprisingly deep and emotional for a quick read. I loved the characters and how they figure out how to love one another; the process was entertaining, sexy and hot! Looking for a good quickie? You should pick this book up!”

~Bookie Nookie’s Reviews

“This is truly a story of best friends realizing they want more from each other and finding a way to make that happen. It’s also a story about how verbal abuse can sometimes do more damage than physical abuse. Mostly though it’s a story about hope and healing and the fact that through acceptance, love will find a way.”

~Slick, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Chapter One

This was a huge day of firsts for Jordan Hill and, for a man who had his shit together in an iron clad way, it was unnerving. First time on a horse—the beast swaying underneath him—being surrounded by fresh air and way too much early morning sunshine. The jungle and horse noises were loud, the moist, tropical heat oppressive until the breeze from the nearby Pacific Ocean kicked in.

The world around him smelled earthy from the overnight rainstorm, and everything was so green and vibrant, lush, so unlike Manhattan in late January. That concrete jungle he knew well and loved seemed boring and dim after this onslaught to his senses. For a guy with his shit together, it was almost too much.

Fuck you for dragging me here, Blake.

It was rude to curse the dead, but his half-uncle Blake was probably laughing his ass off right now on cloud nine. Jordan was here, for Blake, suffering the onslaught of firsts, trying not to break under the grief, struggling under the uneven mental footing, the world here on Bendura opposite of his safe one in New York.

But he would do anything for Blake and would do whatever his last wishes decreed, even if it meant traveling half way around the world to dispose of his ashes. Blake had purchased Bendura Island out of college with the money he’d inherited when his parents—Jordan’s grandmother and step-grandfather—had tragically died in a car accident.

A big time first, disposing of a loved one. Only his stupid asshole uncle hadn’t given specifications on that. He’d left a video will, and he’d jokingly said, “Dude, you’ll know where when you see it.” Great. That meant Jordan had to roam the island, looking for God knew what.

It pissed Jordan off. Fuck Blake for up and dying on him way too early. He wasn’t the usual half-uncle, being two years his senior and more of a brother. Blake should be here, exploring with him, laughing, joking. But instead, Jordan had a box of ashes, overwhelming grief, and half ownership of an island that he couldn’t convince himself to keep, even for Blake.

The hotel resort was also his, left to him in the will. And he had not a clue what to do with it all. Sell it, definitely. There was no way he could stick to Blake’s vision and do the place justice. Jordan’s calling was in buying companies and selling at a profit, taking broken, bleeding investments and nurturing them so he could pick them apart and sell the shiny pieces to the highest bidder.

There was a mention of a business partner, Ryan McCale, one he was to contact while here. But Jordan’s first order of business was to scout out where to deliver Blake’s ashes to rest. Hence the brown beast bobbing about between his legs.

He was one of five riders on this island excursion, joined by a family called the Murphys who had sort of adopted him the moment he landed at the resort hotel. Nice people with two older kids, not quite teens but old enough not to be annoying as all hell. Two guides rounded out the tour number, an attractive blonde in her early twenties who kept watch at the rear of the group from her spotted horse and a guy who led them all, probably near Jordan’s age, almost thirty.

Jordan rode immediately behind the head guide, a tall, nameless cowboy-type he’d expect to see in a desert with cactus and tumble weeds. Lean and powerful, he commanded the horse he rode with an iron fist on the reins. The blatant dominance radiating from his hard frame was a good thing, because the golden monster he rode was touched by the hand of Satan himself, probably weaned on the blood of demons.

Despite the rocky start when Jordan’s horse decided to eat a tree instead of following along, it seemed to be patient and not at all interested in the golden horse’s antics. He thought
because he couldn’t tell if the horse was a boy or a girl with a name like Brownie, and Jordan wasn’t checking for equipment.

But Jordan was relaxed in the saddle, liking the sway of his horse’s back as it meandered along the trail, the jungle vegetation giving way to breathtaking beach views before it sprouted up again—wild, spiny, and pokey all at the same time.

“Easy, boy,” Cowboy commanded, that deep drawl sending surprising, tingling fits along Jordan’s spine. Maybe the sensation stemmed from anticipation. Whenever Cowboy said something like that, the golden beast exploded in a fit of hooves and snorts.

Jordan glanced up, through his horse’s brown ears—hence the name, Brownie—and acknowledged another first of the trip. The cowboy in front of him intrigued Jordan in a way that left him uneasy and way too aware of everything the man did.

Jordan looked at men all the time, to assess how much they were worth, what they brought to the table, and then to calculate exactly what it would take to get whatever he wanted. This was the first time Jordan watched a man and thought maybe, just maybe, this guy had something he was missing and no amount of calculating would get it.

The cowboy sat his horse like a professional, not that Jordan would know how a professional cowboy would sit. It made him uneasy and…weirdly warm…to watch his ass grind in the saddle, encased in jeans, worn and faded, unlike Jordan’s stiff dark-blue ones. A red bandana hung out of the left pocket, waving like a flag that zeroed his attention back to the denim. Yep, Cowboy’s ass had logged as many miles in the saddle as Jordan had in his private jet. He’d bet half an island on it.

In his defense, where the fuck was he supposed to look? The man and horse were in front of him, for Pete’s sake, that golden demon so evil Jordan feared Brownie would join in and there’d be mutiny.

But still, the obsession made Jordan calculate how long it’d been since he’d gotten laid. Way too long, which was why a perfectly straight man would look at another man’s ass. It was that or too much fucking fresh air. Or grief.

Cowboy turned and flashed him a grin filled with even white teeth, a stark contrast to the deep tan of his face. He wore a baseball hat—a team Jordan hated—his shoulder length brown hair flowing from underneath, his neck protected from the sun.

He was good-looking for a guy, clean-shaven with an intelligent gaze that scanned over Jordan’s head, his deep-blue eyes taking in the status of the rest of the group. He’d done this several times throughout the ride, but his blue eyes always rested on Jordan afterward, making him feel like he was the only one on that ride.

“How are you doin’,” Cowboy asked him in that deep Texas drawl of his, his piercing gaze sliding over Jordan’s form in a practiced scan, as if assessing his stability in the saddle. His gloved hand rested on the back of the saddle, a move Jordan considered brave, even for a professional.

“Good, thanks,” Jordan said, wishing he’d caught Cowboy’s name during introductions, but his mind had wandered off into business mode, calculating what horses had to cost in feed. That was a first, because his mind never wandered off, not when he had this much responsibility looming over him, so many decisions.

It had to be this avalanche of firsts tumbling down on him since arriving yesterday in Bendura. His first time on an island resort, first time on a real vacation, first time having to purchase his own damned jeans and boots to ride the damned horse.

Cowboy’s eyes hit on those boots, still properly positioned in the stirrups. “You might want to get your heel down a bit, out of Brownie’s side. Might be hard in new boots, though.”

“Do they break in?” He shoved on his heel, trying to get it down like Cowboy’s. It wasn’t working.

“Eventually.” Cowboy grinned. “They don’t sell the good ones at the resort boutique, though. You have to order those from the States.”

Yeah, he was going to run right out and buy good boots tomorrow. It was bad enough he had to shop for this outfit. He, Jordan Hill, head of a business empire, did not buy jeans and boots with pointy toes that could squish cockroaches into corners. But he’d needed them to go on the fucking trail ride. The part of him in touch with Blake’s ghost called him a snob, and that pissed him the fuck off, to be chastised by a ghost.

He was rich. People did this shit for him. But the whisper of Blake’s ghost reminded him Blake was just as rich and managed to remain human. Fuck him. Jordan snorted and the horse beneath him tossed his head, as if in agreement.

That’s right. Fuck you, Blake.

He tried to get his parents to come on this adventure, but they wouldn’t. His dad wasn’t well at the moment, and his mom was too stressed. His sister couldn’t get the time off from work, and his friend, Samantha, was swamped, too. So he was here, alone, wishing he hated every minute of it.

Cowboy turned back to him again, his grin encouraging. “You seem to be enjoying yourself.”

“You have a captive audience. It’s either enjoy myself or walk back.” Jordan winced, because he knew he sounded like a dick. Total asshole. He couldn’t help it. Grief seemed to do that to him.

“People itching to walk back don’t smile at their horses,” Cowboy observed.

Was he smiling? Maybe. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d smiled or laughed or instigated doing anything fun. His life was a dark black hole since Blake died three weeks ago.

“I’m glad Brownie isn’t contemplating mutiny with your horse.”

Cowboy belted out a deep, rolling laugh that echoed down to Jordan’s toes, one that drew warmth up his legs, covering him in a flush of something foreign. “Trigger is new to the island. It may take him a bit to get used to the flora and fauna here.”

“Where did he come from?”

“Texas. I have my brother ship horses when I need them.” Cowboy reined in the fractious Trigger and leaned over to lift a branch with a gloved hand so the beast could pass by without another smack. “Your horse won’t mind. He’s a seasoned pro.”

Ha! Brownie
a boy. “I didn’t catch your name earlier. I’m Jordan.”

“Ryan.” The gold horse exploded in a flash of hooves again, and Ryan’s hands were full.

Jordan sucked in a deep breath and swallowed a bug.

Ryan. Ryan McCale? Blake’s business partner?

“Easy, boy,” Ryan murmured.

Jordan wondered if Ryan said it to the horse or him as he coughed the bug back up. He narrowed his gaze on Ryan’s back. Cowboy didn’t seem to recognize his name, but a sneaking suspicion told him he’d found his new, short-term business partner completely by accident.

BOOK: Just Ask
12.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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