Trace McGonagall’s quiet life on his Houston stud ranch is shaken up when gorgeous Macy Veralta arrives to claim an inheritance left to her in his uncle’s will. Trace sees her as just another gold digger, but he also can’t resist her curvy body. When she hints at being the perfect submissive to his Dom, he has to have her.
Macy wouldn’t have been three months late to claim her inheritance if she’d known Trace was sin in jeans. The cowboy’s dominant bearing and the smoldering glint in his eyes send shivers to her toes and stirs images of being bound in his bed and disciplined at his hand. But could Trace’s perfect seduction be part of his plan to reclaim her inheritance?
The evening sun eased close to the horizon when Macy Veralta stepped out of her rental car onto the packed dirt driveway in front of a big old rambling ranch house. Its long, covered porch held a cozy grouping of wicker furniture on one end and a charming porch swing on the other. She took it all in.
McGonagall Ranch was as beautiful as she’d imagined it. Corralled horses grazed under the endless sky. Big red barns stood with their doors open to catch the fresh spring breeze. Exactly the way Silas McGonagall had described it.
With her first deep sniff, she caught the scent of grass and the not—completely—unpleasant odor of horse manure. She smiled and closed the car door. For a city girl, the two-hour drive through the wide-open spaces of Texas provided a new experience. It eased her busy mind and settled a peaceful stillness in her chest.
A metallic squeak from the house alerted her that she was no longer alone. Oh, God. This was it. She was finally coming face to face with him. Trace McGonagall, the cowboy she’d been fantasizing about for nine months. She swung around as the screen door slapped shut. A big man strode onto the porch, settling his tan cowboy hat on his head.
Magnificent. The only word she could find to describe him. His Uncle Silas had shown her his photo. She’d seen his picture online when she’d researched him, but, wow, the living, breathing man was extraordinary. Her stomach jittered in excitement.
His handsome, strong-jawed face showed a dark five-o’clock shadow. The expected boots, jeans, belt with buckle, and light plaid button-down shirt were present. The way he filled them out—hot. Plenty of muscles and not a sign of a beer gut. The flip in her belly spread, escalating into a thrum that reached down low into her pussy, shocking her with its intensity.
Damned if her feet didn’t choose that moment to stumble over themselves, sending her flailing backward to smack her ass against the car door. Thank heaven the car was there, or her white capris pants would now be collecting a sample of Texas dirt.
While she busily made a fool of herself, he stopped his confident stride at the top of the steps. His full lips twitched. Under the brim of his hat, his dark eyes glimmered briefly as he rubbed his scruff. Was he laughing at her? That’s what she got for wearing her sexiest spike–heeled sandals to try to impress her fantasy cowboy.
He dropped his hand from his face and grumbled, “You’re late.”
Macy frowned. Not very nice, was he. Which was not at all what she expected. Silas had gone on and on about how courteous his nephew was. A true gentleman, but completely alone, no family to speak of except Silas. Too hard working to find time to date. Evidently rusty at dealing with women, too.
She lifted her arm to check her watch, informing him succinctly, “Actually, I’m early. I told your housekeeper I’d be here by six and it’s only—”
“You’re three months late, Miss Veralta.” He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the pillar that held up the porch roof. “My uncle died in January, and you’re just gettin’ here now?”
Macy sucked in a breath as she pushed herself back to standing. That voice. Deep and strong, slow with a sensual Texas drawl, sending jolts of heat to her core and evoking the daydream she’d been indulging in for three quarters of a year. The fantasy where cowboy Trace McGonagall held her close and murmured low, sexy promises in her ear.
“Are you even listenin’ to me?” The snap in his voice obliterated her daydream and stirred up her need to bite back.
“There was nothing in your uncle’s will that said I had to pick up my bequest by a certain time.” Ouch, that came out a little too bitchy.
The cowboy’s lips thinned. “What do you mean, ‘pick up’? And how did you know my uncle?”
Macy heaved a sigh. This was turning out so terribly wrong. Here they were, sniping at each other, when she’d spent hours planning how this meeting would go. Her, in her designer sandals, capris, and strawberry-patterned halter top. Her shoulder-length blonde hair blowing in the soft breeze. Yes, she would be irresistible.
In her dream, he’d be startled by her sexy charm, pull out all of his seductive cowboy tricks, and by sunset they’d be sharing a kiss right there on the porch.
“Miss Veralta. Are you still with me?” He sounded exasperated.
Oh, crap, she’d been staring again. Wondering how his lips would taste. Heat rose to her cheeks as she muttered, “Um…” we
He gestured with his head. “Maybe you should come up here into the shade. The Texas sun can be rough—”
“No,” she croaked. Her, up there on the porch with him? It would take all her willpower to keep from pulling him to her and rushing into that kiss a couple hours ahead of schedule. “I’m sorry, can we start over? I’m guessing you’re Trace McGonagall?”
He grunted, uncrossed his arms, and clomped down the wooden steps, all loose limbed and masculine. “My apologies, ma’am. I’m usually not lackin’ in manners.” He walked right up to her and tipped his hat. “But this whole situation has got me riled.”
He stood at least a foot taller than her. She had to look up into his eyes. They weren’t brown as she’d thought—they were a perfectly inky blue. A few strands of brown hair escaped from under his hat, looking like they might be wet. His scent surrounded her, clean, like soap and rainwater. Had he just showered? Was there anything sexier than a freshly washed cowboy? Every nerve in her body tingled and urged her to get closer. As close as possible. Right into his arms.
“Ma’am, you do a lot of starin’.” His right brow lifted.
She glanced away. Had he read the longing in her eyes? “It’s been a long week.” She felt the need to explain her awkwardness, and her tardiness. She met his gaze. “I travel for a living. This is the first chance I had to detour to Houston.” She wouldn’t tell him that when she found out Silas had died and remembered her in his will, she realized she was finally going to meet Trace McGonagall. She’d spent every spare moment of the last three months at the gym. Since graduating college, her hectic lifestyle left her a little pudgy and a lot lazy. Today she felt good. Happy with her body. “I’m sorry I didn’t get here sooner, but your Uncle Silas’ attorney didn’t mention any need for urgency.”
Trace scratched his cheek. “I didn’t mean to offend, ma’am, but—”
“Macy.” She smiled, hoping to unfreeze this stiff cowboy a little bit.
He looked at her strangely, as if weighing the benefits of getting to know her on a more personal level.
“May I call you Trace?” She attempted to say his name with a light, teasing tone, but it came out choked. Darn it, what was it about this man that had her so jumpy? A big man, strong and confident. Dominating. The visual of him taking charge in the bedroom made her sigh.
He huffed out a breath, almost as if he was laughing at her again, but he recovered quickly. “Yeah, Trace is fine.”
He was indeed fine. As she lost herself deep in his gaze, a chill of awareness rattled through her.
He noticed, drawing his brows together. He did his share of staring for a minute before steeling his features. “Now, there’re a number of details to be worked out. Things I’ve been handlin’ for you the last three months.” His features regained the frustrated, thin-lipped look from earlier in their conversation. “An offer I’d consider makin’, if you’re amenable.”
She blinked a few times, confused. Silas had left her a spinning wheel. What details did Trace have to handle? Was he going to charge her storage fees?
“If you’re really plannin’ to pick up your…” He looked at her car. “Your rental doesn’t even have a trailer hitch.”
“Trailer hitch?” She glanced into the back seat. “How big is this thing?”
He shook his head. “Average size. It’s not a Draft or anything that big. Just a Paint.”
She had no idea what those terms meant, and why this big, burly cowboy would know so much about spinning wheels. “So, it won’t fit in the car?”
His face registered shock. “Even if it was a Mini, you can’t transport—”
A loud whinny erupted from a corral followed by male shouts. Trace stared over her shoulder. “Sorry, I need to tend to this.” He glanced down her legs. “You bring any sensible shoes?”
She stared at her pink painted toenails. “Yes, I have—”
“Put ’em on and head over to the first barn. I’ll meet you there.” He took off at a lope.
She hoped everything was okay. As she watched him go, her mind blanked. Wow, she could watch him from behind for hours. His form fitting jeans showed off his really nice ass. As he jogged, his thigh muscles bunched. Impressive. Not only was he built like a stud, he owned a stud farm. Ironic? Maybe.
She popped the trunk, dug out her flip flops, and slid into them. Dusting off her “take me” sandals, she set them carefully in the trunk. If all went well, she’d get to wear them again today. It was getting late, the sun nudging closer to the horizon. Would he ask her to stay for dinner? Maybe after, he might offer her a tour and a leisurely walk around the grounds. His hand on her lower back to guide her…
“Ugh.” These fantasies she had going on in her head were getting her nowhere but into trouble. She did not want to appear easy to Trace. Nor would desperate, trampy, or horny be appropriate, either. She needed to get her mind off sex.
“No. Sex.” She stole another glance at the cowboy as he climbed over a fence.
She closed the trunk and headed to the corral where Trace stood holding a rope at the head of a regal black horse. Two other cowboys led a white and black horse toward Trace’s. The big white and black looked wild-eyed, reared up, stomping down hard, baring its teeth, and snorting.
The tail of Trace’s horse was braided. As the white and black horse danced closer, she looked at what protruded between its hind legs and. . . “Oh. My. God.” They were going to breed them. Right there in front of her.
Macy bit her lip as a flush of embarrassment warmed her neck. She glanced around, hoping no one saw her watching. It seemed so public. Shouldn’t they do this in a barn? With dim lighting and maybe—she grinned—soft music?
Breathing deep of the earthy scent of grass and animals, she murmured, “You’re not in Chicago anymore.” This was nature’s way, a beautiful thing. Animals did this in the wild all the time. It was only humans who had issues about the splendor of the body and its inherent sexuality. This should not shock and embarrass her. Especially in her line of work.
Trace’s voice rumbled low and calm as he talked to the female horse. Mare? She knew very little about horses, except what she read in books. The male horse—stallion—seemed out of control. The cowboys each kept a tight hold on their rope as they drew nearer.
The stallion mounted the mare, driving his extra-large penis home while biting the back of the mare’s neck. The mare seemed compliant. Submissive. She liked being held tight. Mischievous thoughts flooded Macy’s mind. Ideas of Trace and her tangled together, leather and ropes.
Macy glanced at Trace, and, of course, he was looking at her. Despite her nature-girl self-talk, her cheeks warmed at his stare. But she didn’t look away.
The act was over in seconds. The stallion dismounted and the two horses brushed their noses together for a short time before going their separate ways. No awkwardness, no promises to call each other soon. No hurt feelings.
Damn. Why did that depress her? She’d rarely indulged in one-night stands, but if this cowboy offered, it would be hard to say no.
Trace handed off his horse, walked toward her, and climbed over the fence. Macy enjoyed every move he made.
Even in his dressier clothes, he was all rugged cowboy. He’d rolled his shirtsleeves to reveal heavily muscled forearms with a light cover of dark hair. The way he walked, so self-assured, made her all gooey inside. As he drew closer, her heartbeat picked up, and a zap of desire shot through her.
“Enjoy the show?” he asked, a grin curving his lips.