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Danica Chandler
A Cowboy Romance
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Bully (The Fall Away #1)

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Bullshit, Pt 1

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By Danica Chandler

This book is a work of fiction and is for your personal enjoyment only. Any similarities to names, places, or events are coincidental. This book may not be resold or given away to another person. It may not be transmitted in any way without written permission from the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Danica Chandler

Cover art by Danica Chandler

Reader discretion is advised - contains adult content.

Olivia Hayes is a good girl – she doesn’t go out, she doesn’t drink, and she doesn’t mess around with bull riders. Her focus is on barrel racing - until a handsome cowboy crosses paths with her one random night. He’s the person her father warned her about – a womanizing, fast moving man who has left his share of women broken-hearted. He has an immediate power over her, killing her ability to say no – his sexual charm proving to be her kryptonite.

Cale Warren is aware of his reputation as the bad boy on the rodeo circuit. With his bad past haunting him, he knows he has to overcome it to fight the stigma placed over his head. When he spots the beautiful cowgirl in the crowd, he’s faced with a new challenge – capture the heart of a lady that doesn’t fit his usual interests. There’s something about her that he can’t explain and the mystery inspires him to pursue her.

As the attraction grows, they learn things about themselves, strengthening the bond they once thought was impossible. Olivia’s hidden desires are awakened and her sexual hunger grows for the man she once avoided. Cale opens his heart to love for the first time, longing for more than just a physical release with Olivia.

With the dangers of rodeo lingering, their relationship is put to the test. Olivia doesn’t want to lose Cale, and they are faced with a decision – is bull riding worth losing everything, or is the love they share what matters most?

Chapter One

“Next up, Cale Warren from Saw Mill, Texas. Let’s give this cowboy a hand!”

Cale edged up to the chute, eyeing the muscled animal. No matter;  how many times he lined up for a ride, the nerves came on just as strong as the first time he hopped on two tons of bull. The crowd went wild – it always did. Bull riding was a rodeo favorite. It was thrilling, it was intense, and the result of the ride was always unknown with everyone wondering – can that cowboy pull of eight seconds and take home some money, or will he get bucked off and face impending doom?

Taking one last look at the crowd, he adjusted his Stetson and straddled the bull they called Dillinger. He gripped the rope, wrapping it several times around his gloved hand. The bull was already attempting to get him off his back, and Cale tightened his thighs around him, steadying himself for the next eight seconds, not only wanting that prize money, but also needing to stay on for his pride. It was his time to shine. It was his time to conquer this ride and move up in the standings.

The cowboy working the chute patted him on the shoulder as the bull jumped sideways, crashing into the metal gate that locked him in with the unruly beast. Cale’s leg slammed against it and a searing jolt of pain coursed through him. Gritting his teeth, he fought through it. The angrier the bull got, the more determined Cale grew.

“You ready, Warren?”

Cale nodded, confirming it was fine to open the gate and let him fly. The bull groaned as he was freed from his prison. Cale latched onto the rope as tight as possible, his body being jerked from side to side as he fought to stay on top. His legs provided leverage and balance and his right arm flew up in the air, moving from front to back, staying in perfect rhythm with the bull. One wrong move and he’d be flipped off into the dirt below.

Twisting and turning, he heard the dull roar of the crowd crescendo into screams and yells as he continued to conquer Dillinger, a bull that hadn’t gone eight seconds in months. The buzzer echoed throughout the arena, signaling that Cale had done what he had planned. It was time to dismount and get out of the arena before the bull finished the job.

Releasing the rope, he slid off the back of the angry animal, landing on his knees in the mud. A cowboy on a horse came and diverted the bull, preventing any charge toward Cale. Running to the edge of the arena, Cale was able to jump up on the railings and out of harm’s way as the bull ran past, making one last attempt at hurting him. The crowd’s cheers were breathtaking, and Cale tipped his hat in response, thanking them for the showing of support.

It was a blur as everyone patted him on the back and offered their congratulations. He had pulled an eighty-seven-point ride, putting him in first place with only three more cowboys left to ride. If he could finish top three, that would help financially, but he wanted first. He had rode his heart out and deserved it.

Joining everyone else at the chutes, he watched his ride replay on the jumbo-tron. Had his dad been watching, he’d have criticized him for several things he had done wrong, but thankfully hadn’t been penalized for.

“Don’t look at that, Cale. You know better than that!” Sammy, his long time traveling buddy, pulled his face away from the screen.

“My weight was all on the wrong leg,” Cale said, still watching like it was a wreck he couldn’t look away from.

“You stayed on eight. Enough said.”

“I’m lucky the judges are so blind. Never should’ve pulled an eighty-seven after that.” Cale ducked his head, unsure if his nerves could take watching the last three cowboys.

“You sound like your father, now shut up! I only went three seconds. If anyone has a right to complain, it’s me.”

Cale took his hat off and wiped the sweat from his brow. The Texas sun was beating down on them and he was glad the rodeo was almost over. He wanted an ice-cold beer and a cool bar to play some pool in.

He diverted his attention behind the arena when he saw her. She was beautiful, leading a horse around, her dirty blonde hair flowing from under her cowboy hat. It was the distraction he needed, and rather than watch the last few rides, he paid close attention to the long legged beauty tending to her horse. She laughed at another woman who passed by, her simple beauty flawless, her menial task breathtaking.

Was she a barrel racer? Cale cursed himself for not paying better attention to the other events. He had been around his fair share of women in the rodeo, all of them ending in quick relationships and one night stands, but none of those girls were quite like her. There was something different about her and she didn’t compare to the buckle bunnies he was certain they would run into later. He didn’t even know her but could tell there was something unique about her.

“Hey, earth to Cale! Did you hear! You just took home second place! That’s a pretty penny!” Sammy gave him a small shove, his gaze following to where Cale had been staring. “Who you looking at?”

Cale pushed away from him, adjusting his hat. “Second place?” A twinge of disappointment hit him. Sure, the money would be enough to hold them over between rodeos, but he wanted first. It was no mystery that he was a sore loser.

“Yeah, cowboy. Second place! Not bad considering all of the criticism you were just giving yourself a few minutes ago. With all the flaws you found, I should’ve placed higher than you. I wish I could put your dad in his place for doing that to you all these years.”

Nodding, Cale looked back toward the woman, watching her through the crowd that now started to trickle out of the arena. He tried to see what direction she was going in, but lost her as she weaved through a group of people. Would he see her again? If she was in the rodeo, maybe she’d go to the next one on their road trip.

“Who in the hell has your attention?” Sammy asked.

“Nobody. Don’t worry about it. I need a beer.”

“And lucky for us, there’s a bar right down the street. First round is on you, Cale.”

“I stay on, you fall in the mud, and I have to buy your drinks. That’s bullshit if you ask me.” Cale smirked as he gathered up his duffel bag, chaps, and rope.

“I guess you better stop making eight then.”

“Then who’d pay for your motel? We’d have to sleep in the damn car.” Cale finally began to relax, though he couldn’t get the beautiful cowgirl out of his head. He had to find her. He had to know more about her and why she was so captivating.


Olivia Hayes patted her horse as she edged him into the trailer. Another rodeo down, another check won, and another step closer to saving up for the riding school she had wanted to open for several years. Pausing, she admired the sun setting on the horizon. The purple hue of the Texas sky was mesmerizing, and the blanket of stars flowed for miles. Why would anyone want to move to the city were this view was hindered by smog and streetlights?

Her horse neighed, pulling her from the view. Her brother waited for her by the truck, his arms folded over his chest. “You improved two seconds today from practice. Not bad, Olivia. But that first place girl is six seconds faster. I think we’ve got some work to do.”

Rolling her eyes, her half-hearted attempt to ignore her brother failed, and she let out a sigh. “My ride was good enough for third place.”

“You think we might ought to start training a younger horse?”

“Chance isn’t old. He’s still got a lot of speed. I think he’s fine.” She had ridden with Chance in the rodeo for a while, and it broke her heart to even consider putting him out to pasture. “And besides, how much time will we lose training another? I’m comfortable with him.”

“It’s something to consider, Olivia.”

“I love you, Oscar, but sometimes I don’t like you.”

She appreciated that he went on the road with her, traveling to rodeos and helping with expenses, but sometimes his negativity grated on her last nerve. Part of the reason he continued to tag along was to live vicariously through her. He had tried his hand at rodeo himself, only to not make it and quit before he ever really got started.

“Chance is a good horse, don’t get me wrong. But we need speed. We need you improving more than two seconds if you want to take the big checks home.”

“Oscar, you forget why I’m even doing this.”

Oscar nodded. “For your riding school. But just think – the bigger checks will get you more money faster, and then you can stop with the rodeo and run the school.”

“I’m in no hurry to quit rodeo. I’m having fun and earning a little money while I’m doing it. Let’s just leave it at that right now. Let’s go do something. I don’t want to go back to the motel yet.”

“Like what?”

Olivia thought about it for a second. They were in a small Texas town – what exactly was there to do? “Let’s go dancing. I’m sure there’s plenty of bars and dance halls around here to choose from.”

Oscar cocked his head to the side. “You’re suggesting a night of dancing and drinking? Who are you and what have you done with Olivia? Isn’t it past your bedtime?”

“Who knows? Maybe you’ll find the love of your life and you can focus your attention on something other than my ride times. You never know!” She let out a giggle. “Let’s take Chance back and see what we can get ourselves into. Come on! It’ll be fun!”

Olivia gathered up her saddle and tossed it in the truck bed, eyeing her brother as he put the pickup in gear. He never was one for going out, but then again, neither was she. It was always the same thing – get to the rodeo, put in your ride, go back to the motel, sleep, head to the next town. Something was different that evening. She was bored and though she was bashful, she wanted to go dance.

“The look on your face tells me you’re not wanting to go.”

Oscar shrugged as he merged out onto the road. “No, not really. What makes you want to go so bad all of the sudden?”

“I’m not sure. Just sick of looking at motel walls. They all start to look the same after a while.”

“Don’t you think you should rest up for your next ride?”

Holding her hand up, Olivia stopped him. “Before you start lecturing me about how many seconds I have to shave off of my time, I’ll do you a favor and let you know that I’m completely aware of it. But our next rodeo isn’t for a few days. One night out dancing isn’t going to kill me.”

Oscar parked the truck and guided Chance out from the trailer. “Suit yourself. And hey, how convenient. Looks like there’s a bar right over there.” He pointed toward a small building next to the motel’s swimming pool. “By the sounds of it, the music is already pumping loud. If you get wasted, you can just amble right back over here.”

Olivia was used to his sarcasm, but it struck a chord with her. Ignoring him, she went inside and freshened up. Dabbing some perfume on her neck, she smoothed a small hint of pink lipstick on and ran her fingers through her hair. Hopefully she’d see a few of her barrel racing friends there – they always tried to get her to go out and she declined, partly to appease Oscar and partly from having no desire to do it.

Taking one last glance at herself in the mirror, she ducked past Oscar without saying another word and walked across the parking lot to the bar. A man checked her ID at the door and waved her inside. Looking across the room, she tried to spot a familiar face, a sigh of relief escaping her when she saw Leslie at the far end of the bar with a group of other barrel racers.

“Is that… Olivia?” Leslie stood up and patted her on the shoulder. “My word. What is the special occasion?”

“What do you mean?”

“How many times have we begged you to come out with us and now you’re here?”

Olivia sat down and ordered a beer, scanning the room for other people she might know. There was a small dance floor but not much going on, and a group of cowboys in the far corner caught her eye. Just from the look of them she could tell they were bull riders. They all had that same look, but man, how they filled out those Wranglers.

“Cowboy catch your eye?” Leslie leaned in.

“No one in particular. Besides, they’re bull riders,” Olivia replied as she nursed on her beer. She wasn’t a drinker, but the beer went down well, calming her nerves.

“And? What’s wrong with that?”

“Bull riders, Leslie. Arrogant man whores with skinny butts.”

“Sounds like something you need, Ms. Hayes.” Leslie winked and grabbed her hand. “Lets get out on the dance floor.”

Olivia finished her beer and followed her friend as they began to two-step to a George Strait song. It had been forever since she had danced, but the moves came back to her like it had been just yesterday. The crowd thickened, and she noticed several of the bull riders were standing on the edge of the dance floor, no one fully committing to dancing, but watching as the women showed their stuff.

Leslie nudged her and gave her a light shove, pushing her toward a man in a black cowboy hat. She tried to fight against her, but her friend caught her off balance and she found herself looking right up at the man. It was dark, and the only hint of what he looked like came when the lights shifted, giving her a quick preview of his handsome face. He smiled, revealing his perfect white teeth and his cologne flooded her senses.

“I’m sorry,” she said, hoping he’d hear her over the loud music.

“For what?”

“For running into you.”

The fast song changed to a much slower song. That figured. Just like in movies, Olivia thought.

“How about you dance with me to make up for it?”

Looking at him again, Olivia felt her cheeks warm up. “I’m not sure.” Her instincts screamed, telling her to run the other way. She didn’t need any complications in her life right now. She was close to getting enough money for her riding school. And just like with the song changing, a handsome stranger swoops in to send her life in a complete derail off of her path to her goals. She couldn’t allow his good looks to detour her.

“Not sure?” He cocked his head to the side and pushed his hat up, revealing more of his face. It took her breath away. Damn, he looked good. “What are you not sure about?”

“I guess one dance wouldn’t hurt,” Olivia replied, her heart racing as he led her out on the dance floor.

His hand shimmied around her waist and he pulled her close. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, feeling intoxicated, though she only had one beer. Glancing up, she saw Leslie in the crowd, a huge grin on her face as she pointed toward her. He met her friend’s approval at least, but she was still very nervous.

His other hand moved against her and with as tight as his hug grew, Olivia wasn’t sure if it was possible to get any closer than they were at that moment. They swayed together to the music, and she wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone what song was playing. Her attention was on everything else – his hands and how they seemed to move lower, the way his hips ground into hers, and his whiskers that rubbed against her cheek as he leaned his head into her. Oh, and his scent – it was musky, leathery, and manly. So manly that it was sending her over the edge.

“So, what’s your name?” he asked, his breath tickling her ear.

“Olivia. Yours?”

“Cale. You from here?”

“No. I’m here for the rodeo.”

He looked down at her, his smile making her heart skip a beat. “Yeah? Me too. You a barrel racer?”

Nodding, she felt the corners of her mouth turn up in a grin. “Yeah. And let me guess, you’re a bull rider.”

“Guilty as charged. How’d you know?”

“I’ve been around rodeo my whole life, Cale. You all have this swagger about you. You’re what our daddy’s warn us to stay away from.”

His smile faded. “Ouch.”

“It’s the reputation. I’m not saying you’re that way.” She felt guilty for bringing it up, but it was the truth. The song faded and the lights flickered on. Her first real look at him was better than the others, and his green eyes popped against his tanned complexion, not to mention the dark hair shooting out from under his cowboy hat. If she stayed much longer, she’d be in trouble. Bull rider or not, the man was gorgeous. “Thanks for the dance, Cale.” Olivia started to walk away, hating herself for being offensive, but she had to make a beeline and get back to her room safely.

His hand clasped in hers, hindering her from getting any closer to the exit. “Where you going so fast, Olivia? It’s not even last call yet.”

“I thought I offended you.”

Cale scoffed and took his cowboy hat off, twirling it in his finger. “Ah hell, if I got offended at every preconceived notion about guys like me, I’d be curled up in a corner somewhere with my thumb in my mouth. You’re right, we’ve got a reputation. But you wanna know something else?”

He pulled her in again, his hand cupping the back of her head as another song belted through the speakers. They stood in the middle of the dance floor, though neither of them moved to the music. Others pushed beside them, but Olivia was lost in the moment, not even caring that they might be in the way.

“What?” she asked, feeling a deep hunger she had never experienced course through her.

Dipping his head, he pressed his lips against hers. Tasting a subtle hint of whiskey on his breath, she opened her mouth, inviting his tongue to slip inside, searching her, tasting her, as his hands skimmed her sides. A moan escaped her, but she was certain he couldn’t hear it over the thumping bass.

Pulling away, he rested his forehead on hers. “I bet you never knew great kissing came with the reputation we have.”

Shaking her head, Olivia felt weak in the knees. Had she not been leaning against him, she probably would have fainted. “No. No, I didn’t.”

He looked at everyone near them and laughed. “I guess if we’re not gonna dance we should probably move.”

“Yeah.” Olivia didn’t know what else to say. She had just kissed a man she barely knew in a bar she never went to. What was happening?

Grabbing her hand, he led her through the crowd and looked over his shoulder at her. “We’re good at other things too, if you know what I’m saying.” His thick eyebrows danced as they got back to the bar. “What do you say we get out of here?”

Olivia wanted to scream out that it was a bad idea. She wanted to say no. But her legs didn’t do what her brain was telling them to. Instead, she continued to walk, allowing him to get her to the door and out on the porch. Kissing him was enough. What else did he have in mind?

“I have a room just down the way here.” He quickened his pace, and to her surprise, Olivia followed. She didn’t do things like this. She should turn around and go the other direction, back to her room where she was certain Oscar was snoozing away.

Cale grabbed the key from his back pocket and slid it in the door. It creaked open, exposing a single bed with a duffel bag on the floor. Say no! She was on the verge, but when he turned to face her, any voice of reason had faded, and she had no intention to end this. Kicking the door shut, he pinned her against the wall, kissing her deeply as his hands trailed at her waist. Damn it, he tasted so good and it felt amazing.

Rather than do what was right, Olivia fanned her hands through his hair, knocking his cowboy hat to the floor. His lips moved down her neck and to her collarbone, sending a chill down her spine. She missed his hands when he pulled away and began unbuttoning his shirt. It slipped off to the floor below, and she aided in getting the white cotton t-shirt underneath off, exposing his muscled chest. She slid her hands over his taut muscles, feeling his smooth skin under her fingertips.

Cale guided her hands and her index finger circled around one of his nipples. Closing his eyes, his Adam’s apple bobbed as he growled in pleasure. Stopping, she stood and stared, admiring his perfection in front of her.

“What?” he asked as the corners of his eyes crinkled and his lips parted in a half smile.

“I was just thinking about how I never do things like this,” Olivia replied as she placed her hand on his chest, feeling the rise and fall as he breathed.

“Never do things like what? Have sex?” Cale reached out, looping his finger in her belt, drawing her close. “You’re an adult. I’m an adult. What’s to be ashamed of?”

So many things, yet Olivia didn’t say anything. She wanted this to happen, even if it meant regretting it in the morning. Raising her arms, she felt the cold air of the room hit her as he pulled her shirt over the top of her head, it joining his pile of clothes at their feet. Cale stared for a second, but wasted no time in unclasping her bra. Her top half was completely exposed, but he gave no chance of her feeling vulnerable. Slouching, his mouth clamped down on her breast, his teeth biting at her nipple. She leaned back against the wall as his other hand massaged the other. His small nips were painful, but arousing all at the same time.

“Ahh,” she hissed between her teeth as Cale continued to pay attention to her nipples, sucking, biting, and massaging. His hands cupped her ass, spreading her legs. Her body felt weak, and with the heightened pleasure he was giving her, she was certain she’d collapse at any second.

As if he could hear her thoughts, he guided her to the bed, edging her back against the mattress. With him standing over her, she felt safe. How could she? She didn’t even know him, yet she was allowing him to have his way with her. Suddenly feeling exposed, she crossed her arms over her naked breasts, yet still didn’t feel the desire to get up and leave. Instead, she welcomed him as he worked at her belt and zipper on her jeans.

They slowly slid down her thighs and she kicked out of them, her lacy panties the only article of clothing left, blocking him from her. It didn’t stop him, and his fingers traced into her folds, the friction from the silk and the pressure from his hand arousing. His other hand spread her legs and she closed her eyes, excited about what was to come, pushing back any doubts about moving so fast with him.

Wet warmth took over where his fingers were, and she propped herself up on her elbows, relishing the sight of his head between her thighs. Olivia reached down and ran her fingers through his hair as he flicked his tongue all over her sensitive area. It was erotic that he hadn’t taken her panties off. Her hips bucked upward and she moaned as he finally slipped her panties down, making complete contact with his tongue. Crying out, her head fell back. Cale didn’t let up and she was on the verge, only to be left there when he stopped.

“You ever have someone do that to you, Olivia?” Cale asked as he freed himself from his pants.

“No.” It was a whisper, and about all the energy she could muster.

He spread her legs again, probing two fingers inside. It was the most sensual thing she had felt, and again, her body was out of control. Opening her eyes, she watched him send her heightened pleasure with just his fingers. She noticed his erection, huge and throbbing, and it scared her. She wasn’t a virgin, but it had been a long time since she’d had sex with anyone. His size alone was incredible even if she had been sexually active.

Pulling his fingers away, he walked to where they had left his pants near the door and grabbed his wallet from the back pocket. Sifting through it, he grabbed a condom from it. At least he practiced safe sex. That made Olivia feel better.

Rolling it down over himself, he kneeled on the bed, taking his time. “I’ll go slow, Olivia. I don’t want to hurt you.”

Now was her last chance to say no and end it where it was. It had already gone way too far. It was too fast when they kissed, and now here she was, lying in his motel room, on his bed, and he was about to push deep into her. It was exciting, it was terrifying, and it shocked her that she was allowing it to happen.

Cale inserted the tip, and Olivia’s breath caught in her throat. Looking down at her, he rested his hands on either side of her head, the look of seduction enough to make Olivia finish before he ever got started.

“You okay?” he asked as another bit pumped inside.

It hurt a little, and Olivia spread her legs farther. She shook her head yes and closed her eyes, relaxing as he continued to push in. Though it was painful, it still felt good to have a strong, sexy man on top of her. Burying his face in her neck, his tongue tasted her skin as he stuck to his promise and went slow, going deep until their hips were mashed together.

His pace quickened and the discomfort subsided, replaced by pleasure at new levels. Olivia kept her eyes closed and found herself moaning and making sounds she never knew she was capable of. Cale thrust on top of her, pulling out almost completely, only to shove back in.

“Damn Olivia,” his said as sweat dripped. “Damn…”

He collapsed on top of her and pulled out. She instantly missed him filling her and rolled over on her side as he pulled her in for a tight hug. No one had ever made love to her that way. Technically, it wasn’t making love. You couldn’t make love to a stranger.

His arms were strong and she didn’t want to move. Why did this seem right even though it was wrong? Olivia was confused.

“How was it?” Cale asked, still out of breath.


“First time having sex with an infamous bull rider?” he asked, smirking.

“Very perceptive, Cale.”

“I could tell. Now sex with anyone else will just be mediocre.”

The comment felt like someone had punched her in the stomach. Sex with anyone else. She was crazy to think he’d want more. After all, they did hop in bed fast. Why would it go any farther than what had just happened? Yet Olivia still felt like it should. Maybe it was her old fashioned ways. Maybe it was the fact that she wasn’t used to one-night stands. And the harsh feeling in her gut was the main reason she had never treaded on casual sex. He had left her wanting more, aching for the pleasure he had sent her through.

She had to cover it up. She didn’t want Cale knowing any of that. Thinking quickly, she said, “There’s that arrogant attitude I mentioned at the bar.”

“I aim to please,” he replied. “Gotta live up to the prejudices placed against me. Guess I did just that tonight.”

Olivia didn’t know what else to say. She let the silence linger, and when she looked back at Cale, he was snoozing away, deep into the pillow. Though she already felt heartbroken about what had just happened, she took a few seconds to admire him. His dark hair was sticking out in every direction and his perfect face seemed content as he slept. Why wouldn’t it? He had fulfilled every guy’s fantasy – picking up a girl in a bar, taking her back home, and sleeping with her, only to not have the drama afterward. It was probably a normal occurrence for him.

Kicking her legs off the side of the bed, she gathered up her clothes and made sure not to wake him. She ran her foot over the condom rapper on the floor and smoothed her hands down her hair. If she needed any more of a reason to not go to bars, this was it. She knew better than this.

She had to hope she’d never run into him at rodeos.

She’d avoid bull riding at all costs.

Chapter Two

Cale rolled over, squinting at the small beam of sunlight that streamed through the curtains. Groaning, he pulled the covers up around him. He didn’t know what time it was, but that it was too early to even think to get out of bed. Stretching his legs out, he tried to doze, but jolted awake when he realized that Olivia wasn’t beside him in the bed. Sitting up, he looked around the room. There was no sign of her anywhere. His clothes were scattered across the floor, but hers were gone.

Raking his hand through his hair, a small pang of guilt hit him. Had he scared her? She definitely didn’t seem like the type of woman he usually brought back to the motel. Her innocence was what attracted him, along with the fact that he had spotted her earlier in the day and had somehow managed to track her down. Taking it as far as sex was a surprise, but she gave no hint that she didn’t want it. The instant physical attraction was overwhelming.

Lifting the sheet, he realized he was still naked underneath. Leaning back against the headboard, he thought about Olivia Hayes. Her soft skin, her long legs, her beautiful blue eyes, and her voice were all things he found himself admiring. What was it about her? Most times, if the woman left in the middle of the night, Cale shrugged it off. Nothing lost, nothing gained but a night of sexual release, but it was different with Olivia. This wasn’t a one-time thing. She had left him wanting more.

Ambling to the bathroom, he turned the knob to hot and climbed in, ducking his head against the tile as the water flowed over him. He had a hard time grasping his bearings. What town were they off to today, and would Olivia be there? He hoped so. He didn’t want this to be it. He had so much he wanted to tell her, and he wanted to prove her stereotypical views of him wrong.

What a good start he was off to. Getting her into bed and taking it all the way the first night they had met was in no way helping what she thought of him. Cale quickly lathered up, thinking about Olivia and her supple body beneath him – her heavy breathing, her ample breasts, and the way she tasted – it was enough to feel his arousal growing, and he quickly thought about something else to sway any erotic thoughts from his mind. If he wanted to win her over, he had to get back to basics. He had to be a gentleman.

Hopping out of the shower, he toweled off and took a long look at himself in the mirror. Why couldn’t he just shrug this off and move on? Why was he so upset that she had snuck out in the middle of the night, leaving him alone?

Several knocks pulled him from his frustration. “Hurry up, Cale, we gotta get on the road!”

It was Sammy, and Cale heaved a deep sigh. Grabbing his Wranglers from the floor, he slipped them on and unlocked the door, allowing his riding buddy inside. “Jeez, chill with the knocking.”

Sammy did a double take, a sly smirk flashing on his face. “Well hell, from the looks of things, I’d say someone had a good time in here last night.” He bent over and picked up the condom wrapper. “Was it that girl you were dancing with? She was…”

Cale took the wrapper and threw it in the trash. “You’re very observant, Sammy.” He thought about Olivia using the same phrase on him and how he loved her sarcasm. “Let me just pack up real quick and we can get going.”

“Ah, come on, man, no details? I need some details!”

Cale ignored him and gathered up his things, slipping into his last clean shirt. Usually he wasn’t so clammed up about things, but this was all so different. He felt respect for Olivia, even though he didn’t know her. It didn’t feel right talking about what they had shared with just anyone, even if Sammy was begging him.

“You mean you didn’t grab one of those buckle bunnies for yourself? There were tons waiting at the bar for you, ready to go. Ruminate on what you did last night and I’ll keep mine to myself, how about that?”

Sammy arched his eyebrow and for a second, was speechless. “Guess it didn’t go as good as I thought. By the looks of the place I thought…”

“Think what you want. I don’t wanna talk about it.” Sliding into his boots, he double-checked the bathroom to make sure he wasn’t leaving anything behind. His memory quickly flashed to Olivia, pinned against the wall, her body so inviting as he pulled her shirt off. Blinking, he shoved it aside. He had to get her out of his head.

“Sorry, Cale. I guess we don’t always have the best sex. It’s bound to happen, even to you.” Sammy clapped him on the shoulder and winked. “You’re taking first shift in driving. I’m hung over as shit.”

“Yeah, but you better tell me where we’re going.” He twirled the keys on his index finger, pulling his sunglasses on as the bright sun felt like a nail drilling through his skull. Tossing his duffel bag in the back, he climbed in the cab and the truck vibrated as the engine came to life.

“Denton. It’s about a three-hour drive. We still gotta make registration, so we better get moving.”

Nodding, Cale went to put the truck in gear when he saw Olivia in the rear view mirror, loading up her own truck. She tossed several bags in the bed and went around back to the horse trailer, inspecting the door.

“Give me a second, Sammy.”

Hurrying her direction, Cale had no idea what he was going to say to her. She’d probably think he was a psychopath, but he had to talk to her.

“Hey Olivia.”

She looked up but ignored him, continuing to latch in her horse. She didn’t look amused and it was a punch to his gut. He wasn’t used to women treating him like this.

“Are you mad about something?” he asked.


“Can I talk to you for a second?”

She hurried around the other side of the trailer, pulling him with her. “Make it quick. My brother is here and he’s ready to get on the road. I don’t want him knowing what I did last night. I don’t want anyone knowing.”

“You act like you committed murder or something,” Cale replied. It wasn’t common to run across someone with such traditional views on sex. Maybe that’s why he couldn’t shake her. She was a challenge he had never faced before.

“No, but I never sleep with men I just meet. I’m not sure why you happened to be the exception. I figured what we had is done. You got what you wanted from me. On to the next girl.”

“There you go assuming about me again, Olivia. What makes you think I’m that way?”

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, her frown never changing. Even when she was mad, he found her attractive. “Cale Warren. I didn’t recognize the name last night but I do now. Your reputation precedes you, and here I am, another notch on your belt. Any assumption I’m making is pretty accurate, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s not. You’re going to listen to rumors instead of me? I’m here to ask if I can see you again. Are you going to the Denton rodeo next?” Cale tried to hide his anger. He did have a reputation, but he was trying desperately to get away from it. He just wanted a chance with her. Resistance was a whole new thing for him, which made him fight harder.

“Yes, we’re in Denton, but no, I don’t want to see you again.” She looked him straight in the eye, her blue eyes cold as steel. “Good luck on your ride.” She moved toward the truck, not even taking another glance back at him. “Let’s get going, Oscar. I want to get there in time to ride Chance a bit.”

Cale watched as the truck drove through the parking lot and out of sight. He didn’t even realize Sammy was standing next to him until he spoke up. “So that was the one. I knew it was her! She’s hot! And a hell of a barrel racer!”

“Shut the hell up and get in the truck.” Cale took another long look toward the road, hoping the pickup would come speeding back to him, but there was nothing. She was a hell of a barrel racer. Suddenly, his desire to watch that particular event heightened. Something told him that she was saying no, but she didn’t really mean it. Something in her eyes, in her body language, and the way her voice shook when she spoke.

She had a fence around her heart and Cale was ready to tear it down and get to know everything there was to know about Olivia Hayes.


Olivia fought hard to not think about Cale. Every song that came on the radio seemed to relate to her situation, and had Oscar not been with her, she would have turned it off and rode in silence. She’d never admit it out loud, but the fact that he had chased her down in the parking lot made her heart skip a beat. The Cale Warren she had heard about would’ve never given her a second glance after what he got from her, and there he was, practically begging to go out with her again.

But she couldn’t. The instant physical attraction was too much to bear, and the guilt she was feeling was unbearable. If she gave him another chance, she was certain she wouldn’t be able to resist him, only adding to the horrible feelings of moving too fast.

Resting her head on the window, she continuously checked the mirror. What if he sped up beside them? What if he followed them? Denton wasn’t a huge town. The chances of getting the same hotel were plausible.

She’d just have to be strong. She’d have to ignore those amazing green eyes and that perfect smile. Could she? His smoldering good looks held her captive easily before, and now that she experienced everything he had to offer, she knew he was capable of sending her to heightened pleasure over and over again. The things he did with his mouth made another chill shoot down her spine, and she quickly had to shove it all from her mind, especially since her brother was right next to her in the cab of the pickup. Thank goodness he couldn’t tell what she was thinking. He’d disown her if he knew what she had been up to just a few hours before.

“Cat got your tongue?” Oscar glanced at her from the corner of his eye.

“No, just tired.”

“I figure after going out you’d have some interesting stories.”

“No, nothing really.”

“You didn’t get back to the room until long after the bar closed. Y’all go do something else?”

Olivia balled her fists up, feeling the sweat on her palms. Did he know? Had he overheard Cale at the trailer? “Yeah we all hung out in the parking lot a bit. I probably shouldn’t have. I’m paying for it now.”

“Yeah. Looks like early to bed tonight. Big ride tomorrow.”

Olivia left their conversation at that. She didn’t have the energy to say anything else, and sometimes Oscar was hard to read. If he knew he would either go confront Cale or he’d let it fester under the surface for God knew how long.

Her forehead pressed against the glass and she closed her eyes, trying hard to get some sleep. She needed to refocus her attention on her riding school and all of the goals she had made for herself. Cale was just some guy that would become part of her past like the other men in her life.

But why couldn’t she have a relationship based on sex? Some of her friends did. But they were also unhappy, jealous, and had too much drama going on. She didn’t want that. And maybe Cale wanted more. It wasn’t fair for her to shoot him down based on his track record, but she also couldn’t let her guard down and come out broken hearted. She wanted to scream out her frustrations to the world.

Why did he have to come into her life right now and push her off her straight and narrow path? She had to avoid Cale Warren and keep her focus. So what if he was perfect. So what if her heart and her head weren’t telling her the same thing. Her dreams and aspirations were her future. Cale was a temporary bad judgment call based solely on physical attraction and lust. There was nothing more in it for her and she had to be an adult about it.

Chapter Three

After registration, Cale went straight to the hotel. He wouldn’t admit it out loud, but he was hoping he’d spot Olivia’s truck and horse trailer parked outside, but there was no sign of it. Sighing, he gripped his duffel bag and heaved it over his shoulder, ducking past some other familiar faces he saw at all the other rodeos he went to. He ignored the comments from a few of the women – normally he’d flirt back, but his mind was on other things.

“What’s the matter, Cale? You stay on eight and think you’re too good for us now?”

Cale kept his head low, but knew it was Justin, a previous traveling buddy of his. Turning on his heel, Cale flashed him a quick glance, but before he could respond, Sammy grabbed his arm and pulled him toward their room.

“Let it go. Save your edge for your ride. You drew Cochise. Best to get your head wrapped around that rather than fight with Justin.”

Cale jerked his arm away and slammed the door. “Since when are you the levelheaded one, Sammy?”

“Since I saw that look on your face. You wanted to kill him and honestly, he didn’t say anything all that bad. What gives? I can tell there’s something bugging you.”

Cale pulled the bag of dirty clothes out and tossed them on the floor. The last clean clothes he had were the ones he was wearing. Pulling a wad of cash from his wallet, he made sure he had enough to cover a couple of loads at the laundry mat.

“Who says there’s something bugging me?”

“You said maybe two words to me during the entire drive here. You’re usually the first to turn the radio station when a corny ass country song comes on about your dog and your love. Just doesn’t seem like you, that’s all I’m saying.”

Maybe Olivia was a bigger factor than Cale had expected. He thought he was hiding it well, but for Sammy to catch on, he was like an open book.

Grabbing his dirty clothes, he headed for the door. “I’m fine. I’m gonna go get these clothes washed. I noticed a wash room near the pool.”

He passed by Justin and his group again, but thankfully, no one said anything to him. Sammy was right – he was on the verge of decking the guy and for no true reason. His fuse was short and he had to get a handle on it. He couldn’t allow a woman to affect him so bad – he had a rodeo to win, plain and simple. She spoke her peace. She didn’t want to go out with him again. He had to cut his losses and move on.

Tossing his bag of clothes on the counter, he stuffed as much as he could in the washer and inserted several quarters in the slot. Leaning against the machine, he glanced up at the TV. A typical daytime soap opera was on and he tried to think about anything other than his night with Olivia.

He had drawn Cochise, which meant he had quite a challenge ahead of him. He’d definitely give him a good score if he could master the ride.

Those legs. Those eyes. Her soft skin and the way she moaned in his ear. Damn it! It was like someone had turned the channel in his mind, and Cale tried to change it back to his ride tomorrow. What words of advice would his father have to offer?

Her taste, her tongue, her firm breasts in the palm of his hand and in his mouth. Kicking the washer, he muttered a few curse words under his breath. There was no shaking this woman. And why? What was so special about Olivia Hayes that held his every waking thought hostage?

As if the universe put a curse on him, she walked into the laundry room, a large basket full of clothes balanced on her hip. She didn’t appear to spot him as she went to a washing machine on the far wall. Or maybe she was damn good at ignoring him. Cale fought the sudden urge to walk up to her. The last thing he wanted to do was scare her.

Turning, he pretended to watch TV, though he was watching her from the corner of his eye. Even in a faded t-shirt and worn out jeans, she still looked incredible. Her hair was tied back in a loose ponytail and a few strands fell loose around her face, providing a relaxed and casual appearance. Those jeans – how could they fit a person so well? They hugged the roundness of her ass like they had been specifically made just for her.

Looking up, she made eye contact with him. Shit. Even pretending not to watch her had backfired. Her cheeks reddened, but she made no indication that she wanted to speak to him.

Cale imagined himself pushing her against the wall, wrapping her legs around him, and feeling every inch of her again. Those were the thoughts that were going to get him into trouble. His arousal grew in his boxers and he tried his best to focus on the horrible TV show. If anything would be a mood killer, the cheesy acting would do the job.

“Fancy seeing you here.”

Cale almost didn’t hear her over the loud machines, but just the sound of her voice was music to his ears. Turning, he glanced at her over his shoulder, trying to play it cool. If he turned around, she might notice the raging hard on he was now carrying around.

“I was here first,” he replied, smirking.

“What, you think I’m going to accuse you of stalking me?”

Shrugging, Cale lifted his ball cap and raked his hand through his hair. “Seems I’ve freaked you out pretty good. Can never be too careful with the women-folk.”

“I had a feeling we’d end up booking the same motel.” She continued to sort her laundry, and Cale couldn’t help but notice the pile of panties. The red silky pair stuck out to him. He imagined her sprawled out on his bed wearing only that pair and nothing else. His erection was now pressing against his zipper and he craved release. He couldn’t do this here. He couldn’t even suggest it to her, especially since the sex angle seemed to only be a one-time thing with her. If he wanted to win her over, he had to be a complete gentleman.

“Great minds think alike, I guess.”

Olivia arched her eyebrow and started the washing machine. “I’m sorry I was such a bitch this morning. I just… my brother was there and I’m ashamed of myself.”

Cale finally turned to face her, hoping his jeans were baggy enough to do him a favor. “Like I said, you act like you killed someone. What happened between us was perfectly normal. You mean to tell me that you’ve never done anything like that before?”

“Jump in bed with a man I barely know from the bar? No, I can’t say that I have.” She tucked the strands of loose hair behind her ear.

“I find that hard to believe, Olivia Hayes.”

“It might be your normal thing, Cale, but some of us still believe in the sanctity of marriage and waiting. I still have respect for my body. I don’t just let anyone…” She trailed off, her eyes moving to the floor.

“That’s respectable. I can respect that.” Could he? After all of the things his imagination conjured up about getting her in his bed again, could he really respect what she just said? If he had any chance with her, he’d have to.

“Not that it matters. You and me got it all backwards.”

“How so?” Cale asked.

“Last night. I don’t think I have to go into any further detail about it, do I?”

Cale pointed his index finger at her, a small laugh escaping him. “Something tells me you’re not so sure. You say you don’t want to see me again, but there’s a small bit of hesitation. I think you’re interested, but you’re too damn scared because of all of the bullshit you’ve heard about me.”

Olivia lifted her gaze, quiet for a few seconds as his words sunk in. “You’re cowboy charm won’t change my mind, Cale.”

“I plan to watch you ride tomorrow. I heard you’re pretty damn good. If you’re half as good as you were in bed last night, you’ll take first place with flying colors.” He winked and moved back to the washing machine, noticing it had finished. It probably wasn’t the best thing to say to her, but the comment made her flushed cheeks even redder, and he loved getting a rise out of her. It wasn’t the romantic stance he had planned on, but there was no taking it back.

Aside from the hum of the appliances running and the TV, the room fell silent. Cale transferred his clothes to the dryer and started it. Looking up, he smiled as he waited for her comeback, but she just stared at him, her blue eyes wide.

“I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.”

Shaking her head, she folded her arms over her chest. “You’re just living up to that reputation I’ve heard so much about.”

“Yeah? How about you watch my ride tomorrow?”

Olivia scoffed. “And what good would that do? I’m not a fast tailed buckle bunny. If you think that of me, you’ve got the wrong idea.”

“Oh, you’re far from that, Olivia. Maybe watching will help break down some of these stereotypical beliefs you have about me and every other guy who rides bulls. It’s my first line of defense to show you that Cale Warren isn’t the chauvinistic pig you think he is. Just watch. Even if you’re set on never having anything to do with me again, just watch it this one time.”

“I’ve watched bull riding before, Cale. This ain’t my first rodeo.

“But have you watched me?” He patted his chest.

“No. Can’t say that I have.”

“One time and you’ll be hooked. Will you watch?”

Sighing, she stared at him for a few seconds, contemplating it as if it was a life and death situation. “Maybe.”

“Maybe,” Cale repeated. “I guess if we have to compromise, I’ll take it.” Now he had to stay on eight seconds. She had straight up shot him down. Hopefully his ride would pull her in since nothing else was working for his favor.


Olivia balled her fists up as she put her saddle on Chance. Oscar had been lecturing her all morning about the importance of this ride, but her mind was on Cale. Would he really watch her? That alone made her breath catch in her throat and she wasn’t sure why. She had to stick to her guns. She didn’t need a future with him, so why did it matter if he’d be in the audience or not? And why was she even considering watching his ride? She never stuck around for the bull riding.

Climbing on Chance, she gripped the reins and prepared herself. She was up next and got the go ahead from the judge to start. Digging her spur into Chance’s side, his paced quickened as he sprinted into the arena, rounding the barrel to the right, clearing it with ease. She directed him around the second barrel and then the third, and before she knew it they were galloping back to the finish, pulling in her quickest ride she had ever had. Turning the horse, she eased him to a slow trot, and as she looked up at the crowd, immediately spotted Cale in the stands.

Damn, he looked amazing. His blue plaid pearl snap shirt was unbuttoned at the top, exposing the perfect amount of his muscled chest and the glow of a silver chain exposed a small view of a necklace. Olivia wanted to trace her tongue along it. No! She couldn’t think like that. She couldn’t let him have that control over her.

Ignoring his wave, she rode Chance back to the horse stall, hoping Cale wouldn’t meet her there. If she knew what was best for her, she wouldn’t watch his ride, but something was telling her to go check it out.

“Hell of a ride, Olivia!” Oscar patted her back as she got off of Chance. “I guess going out really relaxed you. I’ve never seen a smoother ride.”

“Chance did all the work.”

“Hell no. You pulled your weight too.”

Ignoring her brother, Olivia saw Cale in the distance, his smoldering gaze so hot underneath his Stetson. It took every ounce of her willpower not to go talk to him, and when he turned back to his group of friends and disappeared in the crowd, she felt a loss when he was no longer standing there.

“Earth to Olivia! You think we should do that?”

Turning to Oscar, she tried to play it cool. “I think I’m gonna stay and watch the bull riding. If you don’t wanna stay I’ll meet you at the motel and we can go grab a bite to eat later.”

Did she really just say that? Was she going to watch Cale’s ride? Something about him held her captive and she feared there was no turning back. But she couldn’t be that easy. She had to make him work for it, even if it meant keeping up the act of not being interested. Her pride depended on it.

“You’re gonna watch bull riding? Since when do you care about it?” Oscar arched his eyebrow, looking at her as if she had just spoken in another language.

“I want to give it a chance. Stay or leave, but I need to get back to the arena so I don’t miss it.”

Ignoring her brother’s expression, she weaved through everyone, finding one last seat near the front row. That’s how the rodeo always went – the crowd thickened whenever bull riding was next up. It was the popular event, and though she always envied the fact that it was the main attraction, she could understand why it was the most viewed.

Adjusting her weight, she kept her eye on the chutes where several cowboys gathered around. It was hard to spot Cale – they all looked the same with their hats on, but she finally saw him, standing at the edge of a group, his arms folded over his chest, looking down at the ground, appearing to be lost in a daydream. Could he see her from where he was? Would she look like a complete idiot if she waved?

No. She had to play it off as not really caring about any of this. Hopefully he didn’t see her. If he approached her later, she’d lie and say she didn’t stick around. Looking up, he scanned the crowd, his eyes stopping on her. Damn! There was no doubt that she was spotted, and his lips turned up in a sexy smirk that made her want him again.

How was that possible? She didn’t even know him. How could she desire a person who was pretty much a perfect stranger to her? It was like he reached inside and pulled out a different woman – a woman who craved everything he had to offer physically, sexually, with emotions being shoved to the back burner.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, her pulse quickened as he shimmied down into one of the chutes. The bull bucked instantly, trying to get Cale off before the ride even started. Her heart thudded and when the announcer said his name, it almost did her in. As she had told Cale, she had seen bull rides before, but never got this worked up about them.

Taking another look up at her, he winked before refocusing on the ride. Olivia leaned forward, watching closely. Cale nodded toward the other men and within the blink of an eye, the gate flung open and the bull busted out. Cale’s left arm moved in the air as he tried to maintain balance. It was like Olivia had tunnel vision. The large crowd disappeared, and all she saw was Cale take on the huge beast. He was beautiful doing his job and staying on top. He made it look like art, guessing which way the animal would turn, defying nature as the eight second buzzer sounded, queuing him to jump off and take cover away from the bull.

He dismounted and landed in the dirt, crawling to safety at the edge of the arena as two other cowboys diverted the bull back out of the gate. Standing, Cale took his hat off and waved to the crowd, ducking his head as he thanked everyone for the cheers of support.

Again, he made eye contact with Olivia, and though she tried her best to hide it, the smile she was wearing wouldn’t fade. Clapping, she laughed as he waved in her direction, his dark hair matted on his forehead, his demeanor content on putting in a ride worth eighty-four points. It put him in first place for the day, and though Olivia knew she needed to run from him like a burning building, she was proud of him.

Bull riders – what was it about them? Or better yet, what was it about Cale? How was he able to pull her in? She got lost in his gaze as he stared at her. Neither was unwilling to break the eye contact, but with another bull rider in line to take his turn, Cale had to leave the arena. Sitting back down, Olivia took a deep breath.

How in the hell was she going to keep her distance? Her willpower was faltering and with each encounter, he was getting harder to resist.

Chapter Four

Cale’s adrenaline was pumping. He was hoping to pull at least a score over eight-five, but at least he stayed on eight with Olivia watching. It was a close ride and he was lucky to have not fallen off right from the beginning. Swatting the dirt from his jeans, he felt a hard slap on his shoulder, and had it not been Sammy, he would have been pissed.

“Safe to say it has been a good day, yeah?”

“Eighty-four. Probably won’t hold me in first place for long,” Cale replied as he cupped some water from the bathroom faucet and sloshed it over his face.

“Shit, Cale, when are you gonna get your father out of your head? We both stayed on eight and placed today. Round one down. Three to go.”

Taking a hard glance at himself in the mirror, Cale watched as the drops of water slid down the bridge of his nose and to his lips. Sometimes the multiple day rodeos were harder, but if he could be as lucky as today, he’d pull one of the best checks he had ever earned.

“What do you say we go celebrate? You see all the women in the stands? The bars are bound to be packed with them.”

All Cale could think about was Olivia. She had been there. She watched his ride. That had to mean something, especially since she held no reservations in letting it be known that she rarely stuck around for his event. Why was the woman so damn hard to read? The mixed signals were driving him crazy, which made him want to fight harder for her.

“Maybe,” Cale said, grabbing a towel and wiping his face dry.

“Maybe?” Sammy snapped his fingers in front of his face. “Earth to Cale. What, did that damn bull rattle your brain? There’s a bar right down the road full of fast ass women. Why aren’t you jumping on this?”

Cale swatted Sammy’s hand away. “Head that way. I’ll catch up with you in a little while, okay?”

Sammy shook his head, his eyes wide. “I’m not sure what the hell is going on with you, but I can’t wait to get my old buddy back.”

“Just give it a rest, would you?”

Sitting on the bed, he waited until Sammy made his exit and headed to the lobby of the motel. He wasn’t sure if they’d give out information on other people staying there, but it was worth a shot. There was a woman on the phone, and he stood aside until she ended the call. Flashing a smile, he noticed her nametag said Tanya.

“Can I help you, sir?” She chomped on her gum, crackling it between her teeth.

“That’d be great if you could, Tanya.”

“I’ll certainly try.” She leaned forward, and Cale wasn’t sure if it was an attempt to make her low cut shirt expose her cleavage even more than it already was. “What do you need, hon?”

“I’m trying to locate a friend of mine. I think they said they were staying here at the Silver Spur for the rodeo, but I forgot what room number they told me.” His attempts to find Olivia felt like they were bordering on being a stalker, but he needed to see her, despite feeling completely psychotic for doing it.

“I’m really not supposed to give room numbers out.”

Moving closer, Cale leaned over the counter. Time to turn on the charm. “They are rodeo buddies of mine. I have a lucky saddle that they’ll need. I know I’d be devastated if I didn’t have my lucky saddle, you know?” Reaching out, he patted her hand and smiled again, feeling dirty for leading the poor woman on, but it was apparent that he had no limitations when it came to Olivia.

Tanya blew a large bubble with her gum and popped it as she turned to the computer. Her long nails clicked against the keyboard. “Well I guess I can make an exception for you. What’s the name?”


It was almost as if she wasn’t even spelling anything with all of the typing she was doing. Looking up, she said, “Room thirty-six. How nice of you to make sure they have their gear.”

“Thanks, Tanya. I appreciate it.”

He didn’t wait around and shoved through the door. Hopefully she’d be there. Stopping in midstride, it hit Cale hard. How would he explain how he found out what room was hers? He saw her in the laundry room. Could he be sly and say he saw her come out? He had to tread lightly – she was already apprehensive about him.

Kicking a rock, he took a deep breath. He could take the high road and just go to the bar with Sammy. That would eliminate any drama or chances of looking like a complete moron. Maybe Olivia would be there too, but something told him she wouldn’t be. She had said she wasn’t usually a bar patron, and after all of the regret she had no problem telling him about, a bar was probably the last place she’d want to be.

Walking down the sidewalk, he took note to the room numbers on each door. Thirty-two, thirty-three. As her room got closer, he slowed down. What did he have to lose? She’d already rejected him. He’d give it one last chance, and if she denied him again, he’d move on. It’d be painful, but he’d give her the space she wanted.

Approaching the door, he balled his fist. No turning back now. Knocking, he took a few steps back as he waited. A man answered and it threw him for a loop. Was this her brother?

“Can I help you?”

“I’m… I’m looking for Olivia.”

“And you are?” The man’s tone was accusatory, and Cale tried not to take offense to it.

“Cale Warren. She’s not expecting me, but,”

“Cale Warren,” he interrupted, sizing him up. “Heard a lot about you. You’re becoming quite the big shot on the rodeo circuit, aren’t you? What does my sister have to do with you?”

Taking another few steps back, he considered just walking away. “It was a mistake coming by. Will you at least tell her I say hello?” Turning around, he went back toward his room.

“Cale, wait!”

Turning on his heel, he was shocked to see Olivia approaching him. “Sorry to bother your brother.”

The wind blew her hair in her face and she swiped the strands back. “You didn’t bother him. He’s just an ass sometimes.”

“So you watched my ride.” It felt good seeing her, and he took note to the form fitting white tank top that heightened all of her best qualities. Pushing that thought aside, he tried to focus on other things. He had to keep his sexual desires under wraps. He had to prove to her that there was more about him than just sex.

“I did.”

“I appreciate it. I was glad to see you in the crowd.”

The wind continued to blow her hair around, and she pulled it back with her hand as smaller strands continued to whip around. “I’ve never seen such a beautiful ride, Cale.”

His face heated up. “Really?”

“Yeah. It’s a ballsy thing you do, you know?”

“So is what you do. Riding a horse that fast in such a cramped up space. Very admirable.” There were more mixed signals coming from her, but it inspired him to press on. The woman was a mystery, and one he wanted to solve. “Go to dinner with me?” He cocked his head to the side, loving how gorgeous she looked with her hair blowing in every direction. It was so natural and she didn’t even have to try.

“I don’t know, Cale.”

“Just dinner. That’s all I want. Nothing else.”

A small grin parted her lips. “Just dinner? I don’t know, is the infamous Cale Warren capable of just dinner?”

“Infamous? Ouch.” He tried to play it off as hurtful, but it was a stain he had lived with for a while.

“It’s just an observation. I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“What if I told you I want to change? What if I told you that you’re the first woman who has ever made me consider slowing down some?” It was a bold move, but it was the honest truth and he couldn’t keep it to himself.

“I’d say words are cheap. I’d say that men say whatever they want to get what they want.”

Damn it, she was stubborn. “Without sounding too harsh, Olivia, I’ve already gotten that from you. If I’m really the infamous person you think you know, I’d have already moved on to the next woman.” He paused, letting it sink in. Her stoic expression didn’t fade. She stood strong, but there was a small hint of emotion and he could tell by the change in her posture that he was getting to her. “But here I stand, practically begging you to go to dinner with me. Only dinner. I’ve asked you several times. Now it’s time you come up with a fresh answer.”

Olivia hesitated as she brushed the hair out of her face again. Looking down at the ground, her chest rose and fell as they stood in silence – only the roar of the wind could be heard around them.

“Where do you want to go eat?” she asked.

Cale felt his stomach flutter. This woman was turning out to be his kryptonite. Desperately trying to hide it, he asked, “You like pizza?”


What in the hell was she thinking? Olivia was terrified. Not of Cale himself, but of her fading willpower over the man. Her best bet to not allow another night of sex with him happen was to completely stay away from him, and here she was, sitting across from him at a restaurant. He was so freaking handsome. The way his dark hair curled out from under the brim of his baseball cap made her want to run her fingers through the soft locks, much like when his head was between her thighs, working wonders with his tongue. And his lips - so soft, so plump, and she’d never forget how they tasted.

Holy crap, she couldn’t have thoughts like that, especially since she had made him swear that this would go no farther than pizza. How would he take it if she wanted to have a repeat of their rendezvous?

“What do you want on your pizza?” Cale asked as he skimmed over the menu. Even that simple act was a turn on. The man could read a damn phone book and Olivia would be a puddle of goo on the floor.

“I’m not picky. Just no anchovies.” Thank goodness he couldn’t read her mind or they’d both be in trouble.

“Pepperoni sound good?”

Nodding, she sipped on her Coke. “Sounds good to me.”

He put in the order and took a long pull off of his beer. “Thanks for coming out with me.”

“I had you pegged for going out with your buddies. This town is full of bars, and here you are at a pizza place with me.”

Shrugging, he smiled, his white teeth perfect. Olivia thought about the way he nipped at her with those perfect teeth, the small bouts of pain so pleasurable.

“Bar hopping isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be, especially when the person I’m at the pizza place with is as beautiful as you are.” Looking up, his green eyes were bright under thick, dark eyelashes. “Besides, I told you I’m trying to change. Gotta defy all of the gossip that seems to go around.” He flashed a pained expression, and Olivia felt bad. Who would’ve thought a man would be hurt over assumptions about his promiscuous sex life?

“I wouldn’t say you’re the brunt of everyone’s conversations, Cale. I’ve just heard things here and there.”

“Enough that I’ve scared the shit out of you.”

“That doesn’t matter. I’m here with you tonight.”

Leaning back in the booth, he stretched his legs out and his boot made contact with hers. There was an instant connection, and Olivia felt the heat between them. She wondered if he felt what she had, or if it was just her lustful thoughts clouding any form of good judgment she once possessed.

“Enough about that,” Cale said, clearing a spot as the waitress brought them their pizza. “How long you been barrel racing?” He slid her a cheesy slice and her mouth watered.

“Gosh, since I was old enough to ride horses, I guess. My parents asked if I wanted to do it and the rest is history. What about you? By the way you handled that bull today, I bet you’ve been doing it since you were little too.”

Cale dished him up a couple of slices and took a bite. Chewing, he thought about her question. “Been around rodeo my whole life. Started with mutton busting, moved up to bronc riding, and when I got in high school the bull riding bug bit me.” He took another bite, his brow creasing. “I guess it was expected of me.”

“Why is that?”

“My grandfather was a bull rider. So was my dad. Anything less from me was a disappointment. But hey, I can’t complain. I live and breathe it. I can’t imagine doing anything else right now.”

“That’s really neat. I always admire family traditions. I was the first in my family to ever consider doing barrel racing, so my parents sort of went into it blind. Turned out pretty good though.”

Nodding, Cale finished his beer and ordered another. Something seemed to be bugging him, and Olivia was worried she had said something wrong. There was definitely more to him than she had originally given him credit for.

“My dad taught me everything he knows. Sometimes he can be overbearing, but I guess I owe my success to him,” Cale said as he clenched his fists. “He’s hard on me, but like I said, I wouldn’t be the rider I am today if it wasn’t for him.”

“That’s good, Cale. You definitely have the passion for it.”

“And your brother? He ever do any riding?”

“He did for a while, but now he’s just along to help me with expenses and things. I guess you can say he’s my coach. I’m glad he offers what he can for me. I don’t think I could handle the traveling all by myself. It can be tedious at times.”

Cale held his mug up and smiled. “Amen to that. Beautiful, smart, and a hell of a barrel racer – how am I so lucky to be in the presence of such perfection?”

Olivia laughed as the heat from her belly crept all the way up to her cheeks. She should be asking the same question about him, but the other part of her screamed to keep her guard up. She had gotten a good look inside Cale, but it was still too soon to be thinking about anything else. This was a marathon and not a sprint. If Cale really wanted to change, he’d have to stay right on pace with her, and right now, though she felt desire for him right in the pit of her stomach, she had to be careful. This had potential to be the biggest heartbreak she had ever been through, and she swore she’d never put herself through something like that again.

After dinner, they went for a short walk around the motel, and though Olivia had never planned on any of it to happen, she didn’t want the night to end. A chill shot through her when Cale slipped his hand against hers, not fully holding on, but the touch proved seductive enough to make her weak in the knees. His callused palms provided a sense of pleasure, and she remembered the feel of them against her most intimate parts, longing for that again, but knowing it was forbidden.

“Thanks for tonight, Olivia.” Turning, he looked down at her.

She didn’t realize they were right in front of her motel door. “It was fun. Thanks for the pizza.” Why didn’t he want to stick around longer? Was it out of respect for her? If so, she admired him even more.

Dipping his head, his warm breath tickled her skin. Their lips were inches apart, and if she’d just lean in, she’d have him against her again, his amazing tongue working in her mouth, but to her surprise, he pulled away. His resistance was impressive and it showed Olivia a lot.

“I promised you nothing kinky.” Winking, he stepped back. “I’m a man of my word.”

Had she not been leaning against the door, Olivia would’ve fallen down. Her legs felt like noodles, and watching him walk away made her fight hard not to run to him and allow him take her right there and then.

“Goodnight, Cale.”

“Goodnight, Olivia. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She hoped so, but she couldn’t say it. She had to appear strong, though deep inside, she wanted Cale more than she could ever put into words.

Chapter Five

Cale couldn’t believe he was able to resist Olivia. Opening the door to his room, he was glad Sammy wasn’t back yet. Sitting on the edge of his bed, he raked his hand through his hair. Damn, she had a way with him. He had never been able to hold it together so well, but at the same time, he was a mess. Standing, he eyed himself in the mirror. His arousal bulged in his pants and he craved release. It took all he had not to bend her over and fill every inch of her, and the very thought of her ass slamming against his hips made his erection grow, the friction rubbing against his boxers, pressing against his zipper.

He went to the bathroom and closed the door. Reaching for his buckle, he undid the snap and unzipped his jeans. They slid down to his ankles, followed by his boxers. Stepping out of them, he gripped his erection, rock solid in the palm of his hand.

“Damn it, Olivia,” he whispered through clenched teeth.

He stroked himself, closing his eyes as he thought about her. Leaning against the wall, he rested his head back, moving his hand up and down, his taut skin throbbing. He imagined it was Olivia - her soft hands working magic, replaced by her mouth over his nine inches. A deep and guttural moan escaped from his throat. His pace quickened along with his breathing, growing labored as his other hand cupped his balls, wishing it were her. Opening his eyes, he hoped Olivia would be there, on her knees before him, her mouth wide, ready to take him, deep down her throat.

He was alone in the bathroom, on the verge of finishing. Grabbing a towel, he continued to stroke himself as sweat beaded on his forehead and down into his eyes, stinging them. He slowed his rhythm, imagining her again, her breasts bouncing as he slipped inside her, feeling her warmth, her wetness, tasting her salty skin, her luscious lips, every bit of her under him.

Positioning the towel around him, he finished, groaning as he lost his balance and slid to the floor. He kept his eyes closed, thinking about her legs wrapped around him, her head resting on his chest, flushed from the sexual passion that was just endured. It was a good release, but of course, missing the one thing he desired most – Olivia Hayes.

“Cale, you in there?” Sammy knocked hard, pulling him from his fantasy.

“Yeah man, give me a second.”

“Everything okay?”


How long had Sammy been back? How much had he heard? Reaching for his boxers, he slid them on and opened the door.

“You got someone in there with you?” Sammy looked over his shoulder.


“By the sounds of it, I could swear you were having a good time.” Sammy’s eyes widened and he laughed. “I guess you can do that without anyone, huh?” He nudged Cale. “There were plenty of women at the bar to take care of that for you.”

Cale ignored him and fell into his bed. Pulling the covers up around him, he stared at the blank TV. Olivia was turning into more than just something he wanted. It was a longing need he couldn’t shake. Even in their short time spent together, he was feeling things he had never experienced before. The sexual intensity was a given – he was used to that. But she was interesting, she was funny, and he enjoyed talking to her and getting to know her. He never really gave anyone else a chance, and now he couldn’t wait to see her again, even if sex was out of the question.

Was it love? It was definitely too early to tell, but Cale hoped she’d stick around long enough for him to find out.


Olivia woke up early the next morning. Sleep was on and off and with her mind on her next ride and Cale, she was lucky to get the rest that she had. Kicking her legs off the side of the bed, she got dressed and felt her stomach growl. The motel advertised a free continental breakfast, and though she usually didn’t care for donuts, they sounded good. Walking to the lobby, she should have expected Silver Spur’s version of what they considered a wide selection of food.

There was a couple of boxes of donuts from Wal-Mart, a carton of milk, and two different choices of cereal, neither looking appealing. Lifting the box of pastries, she noticed the grease rings on the bottom and mentally declined them.

At least they had coffee, and she poured a cup along with a package of creamer. Sipping the warm liquid, it was decent, and since it was free, she wouldn’t complain.

A part of her was hoping she’d run into Cale. It was funny how that worked – first she had plans to avoid him, and now she wanted to see him. Butterflies flitted in her stomach when she thought about their near kiss, and why? It wasn’t like she had ever kissed him. She’d had sex with him – complete, sweaty, uninhibited sex. Why was this all feeling like a first time?

She gave it a few more minutes and sighed. He wasn’t there and she needed to get Chance ready for her ride. Both her and Cale were holding strong in first place. It would be awesome if they could both pull it off and win the rodeo.

Oscar waited for her by the truck. “Bring me some coffee too?”

“Sorry, my mind is everywhere. Want me to go back?”

“What’s your mind on?” he asked.

“Nothing. Just on today.”

Oscar scoffed. “I’ve been meaning to ask you about last night. The last thing you need right now is to get involved with Cale Warren, Olivia. I don’t like that he came by here.”

Oh, if you only knew. “Don’t worry about it, Oscar. We just went out for pizza.”

“And in the eyes of a man like Cale, pizza means other things. It’s Cale Warren, Olivia.”

“How many times are you gonna say his name? I know damn well who he is.”

“Then you should know damn well to stick to your plans and not go messing around with a bull rider. He doesn’t care about you. And if he does anything to hurt you, I’ll make sure personally that he gets his ass kicked for it.”

“Spoken like a true big brother,” Olivia smirked as she gathered up her gear. “Seriously, Oscar, you gotta stop. Don’t judge him. You don’t even know him.” She stopped herself, realizing what she had just said. Could she be even more of a hypocrite? How could she lecture her brother over the same thing she had just done to Cale?

“When he breaks your heart, don’t come crying to me.”

“Didn’t you just say you’d kick his ass if he did anything to me? You’re contradicting yourself there, Oscar. I’m not sure what to do.” She gave his shoulder a slight shove and laughed.

“I hope it doesn’t get to the point where we’ll have to find out. Now get your crap and lets go get Chance. We’ve got things to do.”


Cale sat in the stands, watching as several women went through their barrel races, none of them posting the time that Olivia had the day before. All of these years and he never paid attention to the event for the sport of it – just to watch hot cowgirls and the whole mechanics of the process. It took discipline and strict training, and he admired Olivia even more for being so good at it. The way she handled her horse made him envious – he could ride with the best of them, but when it came to making sharp turns with a small area to work with, he knew he couldn’t do it so swiftly.

The mention of Olivia’s name on the loud speaker pulled him from his thoughts. Sitting up, he watched as the horse sprinted through. She cleared the first barrel with flying colors, but when she made her way to the second, her leg brushed the barrel, knocking it over. It was the same story for the third barrel, and Cale cringed. At least she still had her flawless ride from the day before, but today wouldn’t help holding first place if someone else did well.

Pushing through the crowd, he caught her before she got back to the horse pins. He wasn’t sure if it was the best idea to approach her after that – he personally could not stand people flocking around, handing him cliché lines, but his legs worked against his head, and he spotted her near her truck, her brother’s body language showing he was less than happy with her performance.

“You looked like a completely different person out there. What happened?”

“I don’t know. It was just a bad ride, Oscar.”

“I just don’t get it, Olivia. That looked like a bunch of rookie mistakes.”

She dismounted and stood beside the horse, her arms folded over her chest, her head down as her brother lectured her. Cale slowly walked over, not wanting to get into their business, but something struck a chord with him. Maybe Oscar’s reaming reminded him of how his father treated him. He didn’t know – all he was sure of was that he hated seeing her so distraught, and laying into her about a bad ride wouldn’t help.

“Hey, Olivia. You got a minute?” He tried to think of a way to change the subject.

Looking toward him, she adjusted her hat. “Hey Cale.”

“We’re busy,” Oscar chimed in.

“Oscar, chill out. What more can we say? I knocked down two barrels.”

Oscar shook his head as he laughed. “Oh, I see what’s going on here.” Pointing toward Cale, he took a few steps toward him. “This guy comes into your life and suddenly things start falling apart. You come home late, you’re tired, and then you have your worst ride in years. I told you not to get involved with him.” He continued to point his finger at Cale.

“You can’t blame him, Oscar! Just go away. I’m a big girl. It’s my money. It’s my future! You’re not going to dictate who I talk to now.”

Cale began to turn and leave. He didn’t want to interfere with her family or be the brunt of the argument, and most of all, didn’t want to pose as a distraction for her. He’d already been a huge ripple in her life.

Her soft palm grasped his forearm, turning him. “Where are you going?”

Looking down into her soft eyes, he glanced up at Oscar, who was halfway back to the arena. “Is it true?”

“Is what true?”

“Am I distracting you?”

Licking her lips, she looked down. “I can’t honestly answer that, Cale, but I wouldn’t blame you for my ride today. I take full responsibility for that. Have you been on my mind?” She hesitated for a moment. “Yes, you have, Cale.”

So many mixed emotions hit him hard. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about that, Livie.” Livie? Yeah, he liked that. Was it too soon for a nickname? It didn’t matter – he couldn’t suck the words back into his mouth. “But if it means that I’m throwing you off of your game, I don’t know if I can live with that.”

She smiled and bit her bottom lip. “Don’t be stupid, Cale. You should know better than anyone that it happens. We don’t always stay on one hundred percent of the time. And speaking of rides, you better get back. I think they just announced bull riding.”

He wanted to kiss her. When would he feel free to do it again? She came on hot, then she was cold, and if he overstepped his boundaries again, it would definitely prove detrimental to any headway he had made with her. Instead, he caressed her hand.

“You sure are beautiful on that horse. I enjoyed every second of watching you.”

“Do us both a favor, okay? Stay on eight and salvage something out of this day.”

Winking, he pushed aside the butterflies in his stomach. “I’ll do my best, Livie.”

“That’s all you can do.”

Cale felt as if there was an added step as he joined the other bull riders near the chutes. He was still confused about the whole situation with Olivia, but at least she wasn’t running away from him like he was going to kill her. He hoped she had stuck around to watch, but didn’t have time to look toward the stands to see.

“Warren, you’re up!”

Straddling the bull, he gripped the rope, tightening it around his glove. His pulse quickened in his neck, and he tried to control his breathing. The bull was already groaning and kicking around, proving to be a tough ride before the gate even swung open. Gripping his thighs around him, he nodded, giving the okay to start the ride.

He second-guessed the bull immediately, and before he had a chance to gain balance, he was tossed over the front of the bull, flipping forward and onto his back. The world spun, and he instantly curled into a ball to avoid any kicks or head butts from the bull. A sharp pain shot through his leg and he gritted his teeth, his adrenaline aiding him in crawling away before the bull could inflict any other damage to him. Another cowboy helped him to his feet and they moved fast, getting him away from the danger.

“How’s your leg?” Sammy joined the group as they eased him down to the ground outside of the arena.

“It’s still there,” Cale replied. “It’s fine.”

“You might oughta have the medic take a look,” another cowboy spat back. “He came down on you pretty hard.”

Ignoring the advice, Cale stood up and put his weight on it. There was a sharp pain as he walked, but nothing he couldn’t handle. “I’m fine, damn it.”

“Your leg could barely be attached at your hip and you’d say you’re fine, Cale.” Sammy said it loud enough that plenty of people heard, and a loud rumble of laughter erupted. Cale was annoyed by it, and pulled away, dodging any other warnings to get it checked. If anything, it’d leave a good-sized bruise, but he didn’t have time. They’d just tell him he had to sit out a few rides, and he didn’t have the money to let that happen.

“I have to wonder why in the hell a one hundred and eighty pound man would want to ride a bull that weighs over a ton. I just don’t get it.”

Looking up, he spotted Olivia. “Sometimes I don’t get it either.”

“And then when that bull comes down on top of you, you are too damn stubborn to get it looked at. Battle of pride, I guess.” She shook her head. “What’s the shame in being injured? Y’all act like if you show any sign of weakness that you’re less of a man or something.”

He limped toward her, trying his hardest to hide any discomfort. “So much for me salvaging anything out of this day.”

“So what do you usually do after such a shitty day?” she asked, her use of a cuss word catching him off guard.

“What do I do?” He patted his chest with his hand. “Usually go drown my sorrows in some whiskey and find a fine looking woman to help ease the pain. I guess I’m halfway there, but something tells me you’re not much of a hard liquor kind of gal, are you?”

“There’s a first time for everything. I could use a good drink right about now.”

“Well by all means, I wouldn’t wanna keep a lady waiting. Lets get outta here.” Cale wasn’t sure if it was the best idea, especially if he had to keep his hands to himself, but if it meant spending time with Olivia, he’d take his chances.

Chapter Six

Cale drove her to a bar and parked the truck. The place was already packed with tons of patrons and too many familiar faces for his liking. He pulled the keys from the ignition but didn’t get out. She deserved better than going to a bar.

“What’s the matter?” Olivia asked, reaching for the door handle.

“This place is a shit hole,” he replied as he twirled his key ring on his index finger.

“I really could use a drink.”

“This crowd isn’t the best for me to be around right now.” He stuck the key back in the ignition and the truck’s engine came back to life, the diesel rumbling. “I got a better idea. I think you’ll like it better than a smoky bar and loud music.” Pulling back out onto the road, he made a quick stop at a liquor store and bought a small bottle of Jack Daniels.

“You’re just full of surprises, Cale.”

“I think there’s a lake near here.”

He took a county road outside of the town, relying heavily on his memory. It had been a few years since he had been there, but the signs pointing to the small lake confirmed he wasn’t just imagining it. There was a small picnic area on the edge of the water, and he grabbed a blanket from the backseat and spread it on the ground close to the shore.

“You have a blanket in your truck?” Olivia asked, her smile adorable as they both sat down.

“You travel with a bunch of cowboys and you take turns sleeping in the back. Don’t judge.”

He twisted the cap off of the bottle and took a swig, offering it to her. She obliged, her nose crinkling as she swallowed the burning drink. Coughing, she handed it back to him.

“You’re right, Cale. Not much of a whiskey girl.”

“That’s okay. That’s what makes me like you so much.”

She pulled her knees up under her chin and stared out at the water, flashing him a sideways glance. “You like me because I don’t drink whiskey?”

Lying on his side, Cale kicked his legs out and relaxed, feeling a small buzz come on. Deciding he didn’t want to take it farther, he screwed the lid back on and handed it to her. “I like you because you’re not what I’m used to. Hell, I’ve been out with so many women and most of them would’ve already chugged that down. Let’s face it – I’m no angel. And brace yourself, but here’s my corny moment of the night. I guess being around someone like you makes me want to be better. I need to grow out of the rambling lifestyle.”

She rested her head on her knees, her smile so natural. “That’s probably the sweetest thing anyone has ever told me, Cale. A few days ago I would’ve thought you were just saying what I’d want to hear, but now I’m not so sure. I can tell you mean it.”

“You’re damn right I mean it.”

They both sat in silence as the crickets chirped and the small waves hit the shoreline. It was a cool, clear night, almost too perfect for Cale to comprehend. Olivia shifted and lay beside him, propping herself up on her elbow. Her scent was more intoxicating than any whiskey, and the small buzz he was feeling from the booze was heightened from her floral and fresh air smell. Her soft hair blew in the breeze, tickling his skin.

“Do you know how bad I want to kiss you right now?”

Looking into his eyes, she ran her soft hand down the side of his face, her palm smooth against his whiskers. It made him shiver, and her touch shot electricity through him.

Leaning as close as she could, their bodies pressed together, and her lips skimmed over his, her kiss sweet. Cupping the back of her head, he opened his mouth, inviting her, and to his surprise, she responded as her tongue dipped between his teeth. He savored the flavor, remembering how it was the night they had made love.

Her fingers fanned through his hair, trailing down his check, his neck, and slipping under his shirt, her silky touch mesmerizing. He broke the kiss first but he moved, burying his face in the nape of her neck. He held his breath when her hand moved even lower, resting on the buckle of his belt, tugging at it.

So bad did he want this to happen. He had imagined it, craved it, and now that they were on the brink of allowing it, he scooted away, completely breaking the physical contact with her. Earning her respect meant having self-control, even if it was the hardest thing he ever had to do.

“Sorry,” he whispered.


“I really want to prove to you that I’m about more than just sex. I know you want to wait. I know you would regret this if we let it happen again so soon, Livie. We can’t let our desires take over.”

Reaching out, Olivia ran her thumb over his lips, her eyes welling up with tears. “Oh my gosh, Cale. I said it earlier and I’ll say it again. You’re full of surprises aren’t you? You really do care. You really are trying to change.” A tear trickled down her cheek, and Cale wiped it away with his index finger. She leaned into his touch, her eyes closed.

“I’d never lie to you. I meant what I said. I won’t do anything you don’t want me to.”

“We just have it all backwards,” she said, laughing as she wiped more of the moisture from her face. “Sex and then dating. Go figure.”

“What can I say? I’ve never been a conventional type of guy.”

He placed both of his hands on either side of her face, resting his forehead on hers. For a second he forgot that they were sprawled out on a blanket near a lake. Everything was perfect and if he could, he’d make time stop.

Her lips brushed his again and he held her close, enjoying every second, making a memory he hoped he’d never forget.


A few days had passed since their time at the lake and Olivia felt like she had been walking on cloud nine. Cale was not the man she had assumed he was, and though she still held reservations about him, she found herself excited to see him, to watch his rides, and to just be with him. It still scared her, especially how quick she was letting her guard down, and somehow through all of it, she was still able to resist him. They had gotten close at the lake, but thankfully, Cale had stepped in and brought her back down to earth.

Walking through the rodeo crowd, she couldn’t believe it was the last round for everyone. With her second day ride as awful as it was, she was still able to manage to stay in the top three, and it all depended on today on what place she’d actually take home. Oscar had still nagged at her, more about Cale than her ride, and she had found ways to completely block him out, defeating his purpose of even being on the road with her.

Leaning against the railing, she watched a group of kids laugh and play, some pretending to ride on hay bails, others crowding around cowboys, trying hard to be noticed and fit in. She wondered if Cale was that way as a kid. She imagined he was a stubborn child just like now, wanting to grow up long before it was his time.

She hadn’t taken the time to ask if he was going to Killeen for the next rodeo. With so many rodeos happening across the state, the chances of them going their separate ways were a reality. How crazy would it be to change her plans and follow him? She didn’t want to seem like a creeper.

Watching the kids, she saw Cale, leaning over and grabbing a program from one of the boys, signing it for him. He tapped the boy on his hat brim and the kid laughed as he handed him his autograph. The simple act was admirable – so many of the adults ignored the kids, but he stuck around, taking time to talk to each one. It made Olivia smile and feel bad for ever thinking bad about him.

The little boy skipped away, lost in his own world, and Cale went to the next child and she wished she could hear the conversation better. The interaction was cut short when a woman yelled, pointing toward the chutes.

“My son! He got in the with the bulls!”

Olivia stepped forward, not sure how she could help. Cale and his friend Sammy took action and he hopped over the gate as the bull charged toward the small child. The kid stood motionless, like he didn’t know how to react. His eyes were wide with fear and Olivia felt helpless, watching Cale sprint as fast as he could, his leg still not one hundred percent from a few days before.

The bull galloped, his speed much faster than Cale’s. Would he get there in time? Olivia got closer, her heart thumping, fearing the worst for both Cale and the boy. It was like everything was in slow motion as the near future stood in limbo between the charging bull and Cale. Within seconds, Cale scooped him up and guarded him with his body as the bull blew by, barely missing both of them as he rounded the corner to come back for more. Cale wasted no time, lifting the boy over to another cowboy, getting him out of harm’s way. Climbing, he lifted his body at the last second, the bull’s horns brushing him as he fell to the ground on the outside of the arena.

Olivia couldn’t get to him. A large crowd circled round and she was pushed aside, but at least he was okay. It took her a few seconds to calm down. Her nerves were shot and she saw the woman scoop her son up, hugging him and checking him over. How did he get in there? Most importantly, it was amazing how fast Cale and the others responded.

Tucking her hair behind her ear, she went back to the stable where Chance was being held. She’d have to see Cale later. How could she have ever judged him before she knew him? It was small town talk at its finest and it had gotten the best of her. She had to let him know it was a mistake. She had to apologize for the way she had treated him.


The heat from the shower felt good against Cale’s skin. The water poured over him, providing some temporary relief from his aching body. Closing his eyes, he relived the seconds right before saving the kid. His mother had thanked him profusely but now that it was over and done, he had a chance to process it. It had all happened so fast and once it was done, it hit him blindside. Kids crowded around all the time. Not once had he ever taken a second thought in them getting inside with the bulls. A split second difference and they would have all witnessed something tragic.

Stepping out of the shower, he toweled off and pulled on a t-shirt and sweats. They were headed to Killeen in the morning and he wanted to rest. Sammy had invited him out like he did every night, wanting to celebrate both of their top five finishes, but he declined. He wanted to see Olivia, but kept his distance so he wouldn’t wear out his welcome with her.

Lying on the bed, he turned the TV on and flipped through the channels. He grabbed the bottle of whiskey from the night at the lake and took a sip, but scooted it across the nightstand, resisting any more of it. Relaxing into the pillow, he began to doze when he heard a knock on the door. Who could that be? First instinct was to ignore it, but whoever it was knocked again, this time louder.

“Cale, are you in there?”

Was that Olivia? Sitting up, he went to the door, opening it to reveal her on the other side. “Livie.”

“Sorry for coming by unannounced.”

“It’s a good surprise.”

She looked over his shoulder into the room. “Are you alone?”

“Yeah. I don’t expect Sammy back until way later. What’s up?”

She didn’t answer him and pushed through the threshold, slipping out of her light jacket as she moved toward the beds. She wore a tight tank top and Cale tried hard not to stare. Her hair draped over her shoulders, fanning over her skin so perfectly.

“I saw what happened today with that boy.” Turning, she faced him, her face serious.

“Pretty crazy, wasn’t it?” Was she mad? She kept a straight face, and Cale was having a hard time reading her.

“It was, but you saved him. You didn’t even think twice.”

Shrugging, Cale hadn’t realized she had been there. “Any of those guys down there would have done the same thing. I was just the closest.”

She shook her head no, getting close to him. Again with the perfume – it drove him wild. “No, you’re different. You’re not at all what I thought you were, Cale, and I’m sorry for that. I let the small town rumor mill cloud my own judgment of you and I should have never treated you the way I did.” She wrapped her arm around his waist, her body pressed hard against his. “I saw the way you were with those kids. Most of those guys ignored them but there you were, signing autographs and talking to them, making them feel like they belonged.”

It was something simple he never thought twice about, but it seemed to stick out to her for some reason. Her breasts pushed into him and he felt his arousal grow in his pants. If she got any closer he wouldn’t be able to stop himself.

“I remember how it was to be their age. No big deal.”

“Forgive me for being such a bitch?” Looking up, her hand cupped his ass, jolting him forward.

“You were just protecting yourself, Livie. I didn’t take offense to it.”

Her hand continued to massage him and his breath caught in his throat. She tiptoed, her mouth trailing up his neck and to his lips, the kiss firm and sensual as her teeth nipped at his lips. Unable to resist any longer, he followed suit, his hands skimming down her sides, resting in the small of her back. His erection pressed into her belly button and he was certain she could feel it. Her hand left his backside and moved to the bulge in his sweats, stroking him from the outside, the cotton providing perfect friction.

Olivia back peddled toward the bed, pulling him with her. She fell back, spreading her legs, wagging her finger toward him to follow her. He waited at first, standing over her.

“Are you sure?” he whispered. “I don’t want to…”

Reaching up, she grasped his shirt and yanked him down. “I’ve never been so sure in all my life, Cale. I want you to teach me everything you know. I want to come out of this shell of mine. Make me yours. Make love to me however you want.”

Cale laid her back and fluffed the pillows around her, taking his time. Her breasts moved up and down with her breath, her nipples hard underneath the thin fabric that served as the only barrier between his hands and her skin. He massaged each one, slow, enjoying their perfect size. She closed her eyes and bit her lip, moaning from the contact, and he slipped his hands underneath, easing the tank top over her head. There was no bra and he sucked on each pink nipple, bringing them more to attention than before.

Stopping, he moved the waistband of his sweats down, pulling himself from his pants.

“You ever give a man a blow job?” Cale asked as he held himself in his hand.

Opening her eyes, she propped herself up on her elbows, eyeing his hard on like it was a piece of candy. “Not very many. When I was younger.”

Cale lifted her off the bed and laid down where she was. She straddled his legs, positioning herself over him. Her hand gripped the base of his hard on and she dipped her head. He sat up and gathered her hair, holding it back so he could see her better.

“Just go slow. Watch the teeth. Don’t take too much in your mouth if you can’t.”

Nodding, she sucked on the tip and that was almost too much for Cale. The pleasure burst through him and the sudden feeling made him pull her hair. She widened her mouth and adjusted to his size, taking a few more inches in until he hit the back of her throat. Bobbing her head, she continued her attention on him and though she didn’t have much experience, it was one of the best he had ever had.

Growling, he fought his hips, trying not to buck up against her. She wasn’t ready for that yet and he had to pace himself. Gently, he guided her head up off of him, the cold air hitting his wet skin.

“You hustling me, Livie?” Smiling, he laid her back down on her back, slipping her pants down.

“Hustling you?”

“Best blow job I’ve ever had.”

Her cheeks reddened and she laughed. “You’re lying.”

“I’m not lying, I promise.”

His hands skimmed up her thighs and his fingers moved under her panties. Her body shivered and he moved to her ass, trailing down her slit, parting her cheeks as he reached farther between her legs and stroked her. Her panties slowly moved down her legs, joining the pile of clothes at the foot of the bed.

“Cale…” she whispered, her eyes slightly parted as he dipped a finger inside of her. Her legs spread father, lending him even better access to her sensitive folds.

“You like that?” he asked as