Authors: Myla Jackson
This book is dedicated to women out there who’ve dreamed about landing a bad boy, but were drawn to the good boy at the same time!
Rosalyn Smythe stood at the dock in West Helena, Arkansas, trunks stacked two-deep beside her. She wore her best gown and hat as she waited to board the Marie-Dearie riverboat bound for Memphis, just a few hours upstream.
“Ma’am.” A riverboat porter in his crisp uniform stepped up beside her. “If you’d like to go to your room, I’ll bring your trunks to you.”
“Thank you.” Rosalyn walked the gangplank, the gentle sway of the riverboat bringing back so many memories she had to remind herself to breathe. The last time she’d seen Dalton Black had been on the Marie-Dearie nearly a year ago when he dove into the Mississippi and swam away to avoid the marshal and his deputies.
Rosalyn remembered that night as though it was yesterday. That was the same night Dalton had proposed. Two shocks in one fateful night.
As she stepped onto the deck, Rosalyn fingered the engagement ring she kept on a chain around her neck. She told herself it was a reminder not to let herself fall for a card sharp, cheat and thief ever again. Deep down, she knew it was a lie. In the darkest corner of her mind her body trembled at the prospect of being with such a bad, dangerous man. But then, she knew Dalton hadn’t been the thief the marshal claimed he was. That he hadn’t stolen the U.S. Army payroll and run. Her heart skipped a beat. That he hadn’t used her as a front to get to the soldiers in charge of transferring the money.
The gambler had blinded her to a lot of things. His way with words had made her think he cared. The wicked things he had done with his hands made her blood flow like liquid fire throughout her body, spurring desires so combustible she had burst into flaming passion every time she was alone with him. She hadn’t been a naive miss, prone to believing every sweet-talking man, yet she’d fallen for him completely.
Aboard the Marie-Dearie, memories flooded over her, reminding her of the temptation that was Dalton Black, from his glossy black hair and rakish good looks, to his body of a god, strong and beautiful.
Rosalyn hurried to her room, the sunshine suddenly too bright, too revealing. Damn it.
As the owner of a very successful bordello, she’d seen it all, done it all and knew the odds of gambling with a gambler. Yet she’d fallen for Dalton Black harder than a teenage girl in love for the first time. And not because he was all that nice to her, but because he had the air of a rake, someone who would use her deliciously and walk away. Only he hadn’t walked away, he swam away.
She’d been so in love that she’d turned over her business to a manager, left her home and followed the man onto the river to live the life of a gypsy. Hell, she’d given up everything, and what did she have to show for it? When the marshal had come for Dalton, the lawman had tried to implicate Rosalyn as the gambler’s accomplice. It took some fancy talking and a slick escape plan to elude the law and escape to the wilds of Colorado gold rush country.
But she knew she couldn’t run forever. Rosalyn wanted closure on this particularly dark chapter of her life. And if it meant finding Dalton Black, so be it. She trembled, her core heating, the warmth spreading throughout her body at the thought of seeing the gambler again.
She stepped through the door of her stateroom, tugging the gloves from her fingers, anxious to touch herself, to relieve the ache building deep inside. She didn’t need a man, she didn’t need Dalton. Hell, she knew how to pleasure herself.
The door swung closed behind her, closing with a click.
Rosalyn spun, her heart hammering against her rib cage, hope burgeoning. “Sweet Jesus!”
“No, not Jesus.” The man chuckled. “Has it been that long that you’ve forgotten me?”
Rosalyn’s pulse slowed only slightly as she got a good look at the man dressed in brown trousers, matching jacket, crisp white shirt and a dark cowboy hat slung low over his eyes. The mustache had been trimmed and a few lines had appeared next to his eyes, but there was no mistaking James McKendrick the bounty hunter.
“Oh, it’s you, James.” She turned her back on him and tossed her hat and gloves onto the quilt-covered bed, her heartbeat still galloping. Ah, dear, sweet James. She should have married James when he’d asked three years ago. But besides great sex, he didn’t bring quite the spark Dalton did. “What brings you to the river?”
“Same thing that brought you.”
Rosalyn faced the man, her brows rising. “A little gambling? I thought you’d given up gambling.”
“I have. I didn’t come to gamble and neither did you. I got word a man fitting Dalton Black’s description boarded the Marie-Dearie down in New Orleans. I suspect you heard the same.” His mouth tightened. “Like you, I came for Dalton.”
The look was new to her and gave her a jolt. He appeared almost dangerous when his face drew into a frown. With her body already on fire at the thought of seeing Dalton, Rosalyn pressed a hand to her belly, her pussy pulsing. “You think that’s why I came?”
“I don’t think it, I know it.”
“Well, you’re wrong.” Rosalyn turned her back on him. She’d never been able to lie to James. The three of them, James, Rosalyn and Dalton, had been so close, sharing everything from their dinner wine to their beds.
The sound of boots crossing the wooden floor made Rosalyn tense. Would he touch her like he had so many times before? Would he kiss her throat and run his hands over her body, pushing aside the clothing as he went? Her breathing quickened.
James’s cowboy hat flew across the room, landing on the washstand. His hands slipped around her waist, and he pulled her against his hard body.
Rosalyn sighed and leaned against him. How long had it been since she’d been able to lean on anyone? For six months, she’d lived on a mountain with two couples, sharing their lives and their beds, but not their hearts. All the while her own heart had been back east, aching for a man who may or may not have ever loved her. And another who’d shown her in every way that he did.
He turned her in his arms and bent to take her lips in a gentle, soul-searching kiss.
Rosalyn twined her fingers around his neck, pulling him closer, needing his embrace, needing the strength he represented when she faced Dalton. James was everything a woman should want. Only it hadn’t been enough for this woman.
The kiss deepened, James’s tongue pushing past her teeth to claim hers, sliding along its length. One hand slipped down to her derriere, cupping her through the folds of her traveling gown and dragging her against him.
The ridge behind the buttons on his trousers pressed into her belly. The deep ache surged in her core. She couldn’t forget the nights she’d spent lying with James and Dalton on either side of her, snuggled safely between the two men she’d come to love. Men who accepted her in spite of her ties to the Rose Palace bordello.
When her lips left his, Rosalyn leaned her forehead against James’s chest. “What happened to us, James?”
“You made a choice.”
“I did, didn’t I? For this past year, I’ve asked myself over and over if I made the wrong choice.”
“Did you come up with an answer?”
She sighed. “No.”
“No, you didn’t make the wrong choice, or no answer?”
“No answer. I came up with no answers to all the questions I asked myself.” Rosalyn rested her hands against James’s chest and stared up into his gray-green eyes. “You are perfect in every way. Why didn’t I choose you?”
“Because you loved Dalton more.”
She stood in James’s embrace, unable to look away. “Right now I want to hold you, to be in your arms.” Her fingers went to the buttons on his shirt. “To feel your skin against mine. Make me feel alive again.”
He caught her fingers, and he held them away from his half-unbuttoned shirt. “Are you sure that’s what you want? I’m not anxious to get hurt again.”
“I’m sorry I hurt you. Let me make it up to you. Let me make love to you.”
“And when Dalton shows up?”
“I’ll cross that river when I get to it.”
Rosalyn looked into James’s eyes. “Don’t you want to make love to me? For old time’s sake?”
His grip tightened until the pain made her wince.
He let go and stepped away. “More than you’ll ever know.”
Rosalyn closed the distance, her hands slipping inside his shirt to run across his skin, feathering through the mat of hair covering his chest until she located the hard brown nipples, puckered and waiting for her to pluck. “Show me how much you want me.”
“I can’t make love to you, Roz.”
“Yes, you can. Pretend I’m one of the ladies at the Rose Palace. You can close your eyes if you like.” She left his body and flicked the buttons loose on her jacket, one at a time, her fingers sliding back and forth over her breasts. James liked her breasts while Dalton had craved her ass. Her lips twitched. Each man had their preference. Dalton liked it when she was on top, James liked to fuck her from the rear, like a stud mounting his mare.
Rosalyn liked making love with them any way they pleased, because they’d taken the time to please her in all the ways she craved…good and bad.
“You can tell me how you like it.” She alternated between touching him and undressing herself. “You don’t even have to take off your clothes…except…” She reached for the remaining buttons on his shirt.
James stiffened, closed his eyes and groaned. “This is a mistake, a big mistake.”
“No. It’s not.” She made quick work of the buttons, pushing his jacket and suspenders over his shoulders. The jacket hit the floor, the suspenders hung at his sides. When she popped the buttons loose on his trousers, his cock sprang free, big, stiff and hard.
Her blood ran hot through her veins. She slipped her jacket off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor. “Why do women have to wear so many clothes?” Feverishly, she worked the buttons on her blouse, afraid if she didn’t get it off soon, James would walk away. She wanted him to stay and make love to her.
“Forget the blouse.” James spun her around, lifted her skirt and maneuvered her toward the bed. His fingers searched for the strings to her drawers, loosening the bow with a frantic jerk. The drawers slid down over her hips, exposing her bare white ass to him.
Lust washed over Rosalyn in a warm, wet rush. She bent over the quilt, raising her skirts to her waist and parting her legs as much as she could with her drawers around her ankles hampering her efforts.
James palmed her ass, nudging her with his cock. “How do you like it?”
“You know how.”
“Hard and fast?”
“Fuck me, James. Hard and fast.” Rosalyn braced herself, the anticipation building like a flame racing toward a powder keg. “Now, please.”
His big, calloused hands parted her butt cheeks, a finger tracing the line down the middle to the fine, tight ring of her asshole. He poked the digit in.
Her cheeks clenched, gripping him, moisture trickling from her pussy. “Please, James.”
“Not until you’re ready. This is my fantasy. I’ll do it the way I want.”
Rosalyn turned to look at him over her shoulder. “My, James, how brash you’ve become.” She liked it. It made him more like…
She squashed the thought, intent on being fully in the moment with James.
He smacked her bottom. “Don’t look.”
She thrilled at the sharp sting and closed her eyes. “Fair enough. I’ll just feel.”
And feel she did.
James dropped to his knees behind her and pressed a kiss to the inside of her thigh. His tongue lapped at the sensitive skin leading toward her aching core.
Rosalyn moaned and wiggled to get that marvelous tongue closer to the center of her womanhood. “Oh, please, James. Fuck me with your tongue.”
That scandalous tongue lanced out, tracing her opening, diving in to the dampness inside. Parting her folds, he dragged juices up to coat the sensitive nubbin, the key to her delight. He swirled round and round, plucking and tweaking until she squirmed, her body rocking to the rhythm of his tongue fucking her cunt. His mouth moved to her clit, his fingers pressing deep inside her pussy.
He tongued her, flicking and teasing. Tingles began in her core, spreading outward, her entire body going rigid as she exploded in a rush of sensations so intense she couldn’t breathe.
James rose to his feet, his cock poised at her entrance, the tip nudging her opening. Then he rammed home all the way until his balls slammed against her.
Rosalyn curled her fingers into the quilt, her breathing ragged as James rode her hard. He slapped her ass, the sting harsh but intoxicating.
“Harder, spank me harder,” she gasped. “I’ve been bad, sooo bad.”
“Is that the way you like it?” He smacked her again, the pain shooting through her as he thrust his rod straight into her, sinking deeper.
“Yes, oh, yes!” She rode the wave of ecstasy, her hands clenching and unclenching as she exploded in an exquisite orgasm like none she’d felt since leaving James and Dalton behind.
James grabbed her hips and held her in place, his cock thick, stretching her insides. Then he pulled free, his come coating her ass, the warm thick juices dripping down the back of her thigh.