Excerpt: A Real Cowboy For The Holidays

Excerpt: A Real Cowboy For The Holidays

Book 9: Wyoming Rebels

Emma spun around and started to sprint across the Rollins Tree Farm parking lot to the store, and immediately ran smack into the side of a truck that had just pulled in.
She stumbled back, falling on her butt, as the pickup truck hit the brakes. God, she was such an idiot!
The driver jumped out and ran around the front of the truck. “Are you all right?” 
Emma recognized his voice immediately. Quintin Stockton, the man she’d just been thinking about. She looked up, and her heart literally did a little flutter at the sight of him. He’d been a rebellious troublemaker when they were in high school, but now he was all man now. Tall, muscular, and strong-jawed. His cowboy hat was tilted at a jaunty angle, hinting at the arrogance that she had once associated with him.
Nothing scary about him anymore. Just raw, heated testosterone that made every part of her start to hum. 
She kinda wanted to gawk at him, but that would be insanely rude. She was sure he’d never recognize her after so many years, so she just gave him a brilliant smile. “I’m fine. Feeling a little disappointed that I’m not strong enough to run right through a pickup truck, but I’ll get over it.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Nerd Girl?”
Nerd Girl. She’d forgotten the names they had for each other, back when he’d been a grumpy rebel and she’d been the overly responsible daughter-of-the-owner trying to get him to work. She grinned. “Yep. Rebel Boy, I presume?” 
He still had a roguish look to him that was impossible to pin down. It was his eyes, she decided. They were the eyes of someone who would flat out refuse to play by any rules, unless he made him.
As a teenager, that had scared her. 
Now? That made him deliciously attractive. She had grown to hate rules. 
A smile quirked at the corner of Quintin’s mouth as he held out his hand to help her up. “Rebel Boy. I forgot about that.” His voice was deeper now, a richer timbre that was stunningly masculine. 
She’d never thought of him as dateable material. He’d just been the irritating teenager who’d made her life a little crazy…and a lot more interesting. But only as friends. Co-workers. Co-conspirators, maybe. 
But now? She couldn’t stop thinking about him as a man, which was a little shocking, given that she’d been completely shut down from men for six years. 
Quintin didn’t appear to be looking at her as if he wanted to strip her naked, so she plastered on a friendly, neutral smile. “Well, I forgot about Nerd Girl, so we’re even.” She took his proffered hand, surprised by how warm it was against her freezing ones. “Didn’t you run me over with the golf cart once?”
His brows shot up, and his smile widened. “I bumped you. I didn’t run you over, and I felt like shit about it for years.”
She laughed. “Years? Really? Because of my tiny thigh bruise?”
“It was a nice thigh. It deserved better.” He helped her to her feet. His dark brown eyes searched hers with genuine concern. “You sure you’re not hurt?”
His protectiveness wrapped around her like a warm, well-muscled hug. “No, I’m good.” She brushed the snow off her butt and tried to pretend that she hadn’t noticed the broad expanse of his chest or the whiskers on his jaw. “What can I do for you?”
A ridiculous part of her sort of fantasized that the answer would involve things that a responsible, single mom should never do with a rebellious troublemaker….
Which was both shocking and amazing…and unrealistic, of course.
But to even have that brief fantasy? 
A good sign that her soul was still fighting to live. 
* * *
What happens when Quintin offers to help out at the tree farm for the Christmas season? Don’t miss this steamy, magical holiday romance!  One-click your copy of A Real Cowboy for the Holidays right now so you don’t forget!
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