Cowboy Heat
including "Skin Deep"

A pretty city girl and a scarred country cowboy discover love waits when you’re ready to look beneath the surface.

Layne Starwood drives all the way from Denver to a barely-there town in rural Colorado to drink away her self-pity in a watering hole aptly-named The Wrong Turn Bar. Taking a seat near one of the three customers, she orders a beer and begins her mission. Starting up a conversation with the quiet cowboy hiding in the shadow of his Stetson, she unburdens her sad story on him then is shocked to learn of his tragic history.

The scar on Kyle’s face mirrors the ache in his heart, and after a long evening of talking, Layne realizes the man is as modest and kind as he is funny. She lets herself indulge in a touch, a kiss, and a wild, hot hour in his arms. Can she convince him to spend the rest of the weekend with her, or are his scars too deep for her to try to heal?

Other books in the Cowboy Heat Anthology:

  • “Mrs. Morgan and the Marshal” by Emma Jay
  • “Remember” by Mia Hopkins
  • “Cowboy Downtime” by Cheyenne Blue
  • “Coming Home” by Megan Mitcham
  • “Her Captured Cowboy” by Layla Chase
  • “Back Stage Pass” by Cynthia D’Alba
  • “Unfinished Business” by Cat Johnson
  • “At the Mercy of the Cowboy” by Amber Lin
  • “Cowboy Adonis” by Michael Bracken
  • “Denim and Lace” by Robie Madison
  • “One Track Cowboy” by Delilah Devlin
  • “Skin Deep” by Randi Alexander
  • “Drop Two Tears in a Bucket” by Shoshanna Evers
  • “A Cowboy for Delilah” by Sabrina York
  • “Shall We Dance?” by Myla Jackson

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Layne Starwood stepped into the aptly named Wrong Turn Bar. If she hadn’t been given detailed directions, she never would have found it. And if it hadn’t been for her ex-fiancé, Mitchell, the jackass, she’d be here with her girlfriends enjoying her Cowboy Country Bachelorette Party.

Outside, thunder cracked and rain poured from the sky. The storm had better pass before nightfall. She’d just walked a quarter mile from the motel on the hottest, muggiest afternoon Colorado had ever experienced just so she could get sloppy drunk and wouldn’t have to drive back.

Her eyes adjusted to the dim interior. To her right, the stage and dance floor took up half the building. Empty booths lined the other three walls. The Wrong Turn boasted a big, square bar of heavy wood but only three stools were occupied. On the left side corner, facing her, a cowboy sat with his head tipped down over a beer. Kitty-corner on the other end, an older couple squinted, probably trying to see who she was.

The bartender looked up from the cash register, his military haircut graying at the temples. “Welcome.”

She stepped forward. “Thanks.” A row of five empty barstools stood with their backs to her. She pulled out the middle one and looked to her left. Bad choice. She was directly in the cowboy’s line of sight, and he was definitely staring. She got that a lot. Curvy with long, red hair and green eyes, guys made a point of ogling.

Too late to move somewhere else, though. She didn’t want to offend the man. She sat and slung her purse strap over the back of the chair while sending a shallow smile to the cowboy.

He touched a finger on the brim of his black hat.

As her vision acclimated to the light, her brain shouted holy shit that man is ugly!

His face was pock-marked from what had to be the leftovers from a nasty case of teenage acne. A puckered scar ran from the side of his nose down through his lip, as if the skin had been ripped in half then sewn back together. The hand wrapped around his beer was missing half an index finger.

Layne looked away quickly. The poor guy probably got stared at far too often. She held in a tiny giggle. The two of them were the perfect pair for people to eyeball.

The bartended tossed a cardboard coaster down in front of her, cleverly getting it to spin a few times. “What’ll it be, ma’am?”

If she’d been here with her girlfriends, they’d be ordering cosmos and margaritas until the bartender wished they’d gone somewhere else. But, that’d been the draw of the place. For six country music-loving girls from inner city Denver, finding this bar only a few hours’ drive, and the cute little motel within walking distance, had sounded like the perfect party.

The bartender cleared his throat.

“Sorry. Um…” After her walk, something cold sounded good. She gestured toward the cowboy. “I’ll have what he’s having.”

Cowboy looked up and a corner of his mouth curved. His lips were full and manly despite the scar. He downed the last inch of his beer.

“Actually…” Impetuous was always fun. “Let me buy a round for the whole bar.”