Emma Monroe has returned to River Rock, Colorado, after the death of her grandmother. Now she’s inherited a farm full of abused animals and she’s working as a waitress at the local hotspot, Kinky Spurs. The last thing Emma wants in her life is a man, as she’s still recovering from a recent heartbreak. But when a sensual and powerful cowboy, Shep Blackshaw enters her life, Emma begins to want things she shouldn’t.
Shep knows sex shouldn’t be on his mind. He’s got a world of responsibility on his shoulders. He’s attempting to save his late father’s cattle ranch, Blackshaw Cattle Company, from foreclosure. But Emma’s heated reactions to his touch make ignoring her impossible. She’s the perfect distraction to make him forget that his father’s company is a sinking ship.
While their nights only heat up, soon emotions become tangled into the mix. Shep’s not only giving Emma the hottest nights of her life, he’s also healing her heart. With every encounter, she forgets her heartbreak. With every naughty adventure, she stops mourning the life she left behind. And with every dirty word whispered from Shep’s mouth, she stops thinking of all the reasons why she shouldn’t fall for him. But when the past comes to claim Emma, she’ll need to choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life she’s grown to love with Shep. How will she say no to forever with a dirty-talking cowboy.
Come to Kinky Spurs, where cowboys wrangle women’s hearts . . . and rope their bodies!
Emma Monroe could picture the tagline on the poster now, even the photographs of the half-naked cowboys standing by the fence, and all the other little pieces coming together to pull off a killer campaign.
Or she could, if she’d been hired as Kinky Spurs’ Executive Creative Director.
Like a splash of cold water in the face, reality slammed into her as she shoved her hand into the beer cooler, grabbing the dark-brown bottle for the customer waiting at the bar. Her marketing days were long behind her now. With the frigid water dripping off her hand, the noise surrounding her in the bar returned to her. Voices created a hum through the crowd by the bar, while the country music band entertained the crowd on the dance floor with a Little Big Town cover song.
The bar was nestled in the heart of River Rock, Colorado, with the space being basically a large rectangle bookended by two stages. One for the country music band, the other for the mechanical bull and the mats surrounding it, with tables spread out between the two stages. From floor to ceiling, wood paneling set the western theme. Behind the bar was a bright-pink neon kinky spurs sign, large deer antlers overtop, with a shiny, reclaimed wooden slab for the bar and metal stools in front. Between the nut shells on the floor, the cowboy hats atop the heads, and the cowboy boots stomping on the dance floor in rhythm to the song, the bar couldn’t get more rustic. The greasy aroma coming from the kitchen simply added to Kinky Spurs’ charm.
Emma cracked open the beer in her hand, offering the bottle to the pretty blonde waiting at the bar. Blondie didn’t even notice Emma, smiling sensually at the cute guy next to her. “That’ll be four dollars,” Emma announced, placing her beer down in front of her.
Blondie didn’t even look Emma’s way when she handed Emma a twenty-dollar bill. Emma laughed softly, snatched up the bill, quickly grabbing change from the register, and placed the bills and change onto the bar, still being ignored.
The band suddenly shifted songs, belting out a Keith Urban classic. Blondie squealed, “Oh, this song’s my favorite!” She grabbed her beer, her change, and the woman standing next to her by the arm, then danced her way to the dance floor.
The man she’d been ogling followed.
Ah, the beginnings of sweet love. Or maybe a one-night stand.
Emma had neither of those options, and that was perfectly fine. Her sleepless nights were because of a man. She didn’t want another. Focusing away from the tightness in her chest and onto her job, she reached for the cloth beneath the bar and set to cleaning up the spilled beer when something made her look up.
The air evaporated around her.
A man wove his way through the crowd, obviously arriving for the busy night at Kinky Spurs. He had to be a regular on Thursday nights. She’d seen that cowboy every Thursday since she’d started working there three weeks ago. Her heart rate kicked up a notch or two as he drew closer, like it had every time she’d seen him.
There was not a hint of weakness in him. This guy was all man, right down to his toned, muscular body. He wasn’t fancy, sticking to a dark-brown cowboy hat, plaid button-down, worn blue jeans, and scuffed-up brown boots. He wore the look well, his clothes hugged his body in all the right places. His mouth curved as he approached, his gaze locked onto hers.
Apparently, he knew exactly what his presense did to her. And it was unreal.
He practically oozed strength and heat, making her want to forget she was at work all together. Though what held him apart from every other man in this room was the power contained in his silvery-blue eyes. The sharpness in those eyes captivated her, the awareness in their depths seemed to know all the things she wanted answers to. And the small smile teasing his mouth caused butterflies to flutter in her belly, flushing her skin red-hot. Suddenly, she became very aware that she only wore a tight, red T-shirt with kinky spurs written across her chest in bold white calligraphy and tiny denim shorts that barely covered her butt. The only thing that felt covered up at the moment were her feet, by her new dark-brown cowboy boots.
She forced herself not to turn into a babbling fool when he reached her. “What can I get you?” she asked, proud her voice came out steady and calm.
That half smile hadn’t faded. If anything, his grin looked more dangerous than ever. He slid onto the stool, his forearms resting on the bar, muscles cording. “I think it’s about time we stop this, don’t you?”
That low voice was as seductive as it was addictive. No man should have that voice. She gathered all her strength and replied, “Pardon me?”
He leaned forward, focused on her. “How about we stop pretending that we see anyone else in this bar but each other?”
She nearly opened her mouth and agreed with what he’d said. Hell, for three weeks, she only saw him every time he came into the bar, until he left. For whatever unknown reason, she was accurately aware of this guy in a way she’d never been to anyone before. This thing between them had caught her completely off guard, and whenever he was around, she seemed to lose control of her mind.
Though on the flip side, she also got asked out at least three times a night. She wasn’t only led by her hormones. Rules were rules. “I’m flattered, truly, and thank you, but we’re not allowed to date customers.” Okay, that was a total lie. Megan Harrison, the owner of Kinky Spurs, didn’t put those kinds of restrictions on her employees, but Emma had learned these past weeks that her answer worked the best to get a man’s attention focusing elsewhere.
Sexy Eyes needed to look elsewhere or she’d end up in his bed; a fact she knew with total certainty. She didn’t have the energy for a relationship, and her heart was still healing. She was a month out of having her heart pulverized by Jake Cadwell. Getting into any type of a relationship, even if simply a sexual one, wasn’t on her agenda tonight, or any night for that matter. Sometimes a girl needed to breathe without the distraction of a man.
This was her time to breathe.
Not giving Sexy Eyes the chance to talk again and pull her under a spell she’d never recover from, she turned to the woman sitting next to him. “What can I get ya?” she asked.
Sexy Eyes’ answering low chuckle told Emma he wasn’t anywhere near done with her yet.
“Rum and Coke,” the brunette replied.
Emma grabbed a glass from the bar, fighting against the shaking of her hand when she reached for the bottle of rum. Dammit. Sexy Eyes had been in her thoughts all the time, especially late at night. And that had been without ever talking to him. If he added charm into this obvious chemistry between them, she wouldn’t say no to him. And she needed to say no. Or at least her heart needed to say no.
When she added the Coke from the soda gun, her gaze lifted to the spot Sexy Eyes had been, and he was gone. Emma blew out a long breath, forcing the flutters in her belly to calm.
“I need to call in a favor tonight.”
Emma blinked and glanced sideways, finding Megan sidling up next to her. With her trim figure, freckles dusting her nose, wavy sandy-brown hair, and her unique eyes—one a crystal blue and the other a warm brown—she stood out in the crowd, for sure. Everything about Megan screamed strength and sensuality, and as the owner of Kinky Spurs at only twenty-eight years old, she clearly had a good head on her shoulders. “What favor?” Emma asked.
Megan reached for the microphone next to the cash register. “You don’t have any objection in taking part in Rope ’Em Up, do you?”
“Depends on what the game is.” Emma had seen some of the games that happened at Kinky Spurs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at ten o’clock. Last week, four women willingly let themselves be hog-tied by four cowboys. The winner received a free dinner at the bar. Emma didn’t think that was enough of a reward.
“It’s nothing crazy.” Megan smiled, probably at the trepidation crossing Emma’s face. “You’ll be a horse.”
Emma blinked. “I’ll be a horse?”
“Yup.” Megan nodded. “You’ll get roped, then your wrists will be tied. No big deal.”
Emma’s lips parted to refuse her. She closed them immediately after and reconsidered. Last week, another bartender volunteered and went up on stage. That seemed to only happen when Megan didn’t have enough women to take part in the games. She finally sighed. “Well, I suppose it’s my turn to take one for the team, isn’t it?”
Megan patted Emma on the arm. “You’re a doll. I owe you.”
The bar seemed to get a whole lot smaller as Megan weaved her way through the crowd toward the stage. For the most part, people who came to Kinky Spurs were here for their famous chicken wings that went from mild to sweat-your-ass-off hot, and for the local craft beer. Except for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Those nights belonged to the students from the nearby University of Colorado, the twenty-somethings that lived in River Rock, as well as the tourists, who wanted a little something extra than a typical night out at the club.
From what Emma had learned since she began working there, the bar had originally been owned by Gerald Kinky. When Megan had bought the place two years ago after Gerald retired, she’d been inspired by the bar’s name and decided to hold a kinky game that was sex related to draw in a fun crowd. Of course, Megan didn’t allow sexual intercourse to happen in her bar, but she was smart enough to know sex sells. And apparently at Kinky Spurs it sold, since for the three weeks that Emma had been there, the place had been packed.
When Megan finally reached the stage, standing by the mechanical bull, she waved Emma forward. Ducking under the bar, Emma made it onto the stage just as Megan lifted the microphone to her mouth. “We all know why you came to the Spurs, and it wasn’t just for the beer and our famous chicken wings . . .” she announced. “Rope ’Em Up is about to begin.” The crowd went wild, inching their way closer to the stage until they all gathered in front of Megan. She lifted her hand, quieting them down before she continued, “Will the contestants please join me on stage?”
Emma’s cheeks began to burn almost as if she had a low-grade fever, but the heat wasn’t due to sickness or because of the three couples joining her on stage. The feverish sweat forming along her flesh was because Sexy Eyes had jumped onto the stage. Each step he took toward her seemed to make the air thicker, charged by something so powerful that she couldn’t control. Those captivating eyes were on her, that killer smile back, warming her in places she simply shouldn’t be heating up in front of an audience.
He stopped a few feet away from her and grabbed the rope on the stage waiting for him. When his head lifted again, he winked. Dear Lord. Emma almost reached for the hem of her panties to make sure they stayed in place.
Before she could get a handle on herself, Megan called, “Cowboys, rope your ladies.”
Everything right then and there melted away. All she saw was him, and the cowboy’s hands working the rope expertly into a lasso. There was something uniquely sensual about the way he handled the rope. Would he handle her body with the same careful regard? God, she wanted to find out. Her heart skipped a beat or two when his eyes lifted to hers again, and that half smile weakened her knees. That’s when his brows furrowed, his wise eyes narrowing on his target. Her.
Not a second later, he tossed the rope in her direction. She gasped as the soft rope slid oh-so-perfectly along her bare arms. Another gasp ripped from her throat when he jerked the rope, causing the lasso to tighten. Something changed in his expression then. Something that pulled them together with uncontrollable force.
He approached with long, unhurried strides, tugging her forward at the same time. She seemed to get closer to him in the blink of an eye. In that instant, she became a woman she didn’t recognize. A woman who hungered for a man so intensely that she was aware of his every move, every breath, and hell, even the strength he seemed to project out into the world.
She had one second to stare into the heat in his eyes before he used the rope to spin her around. His spicy, woodsy cologne whirled around her, and it was all she could do to fight against the desire to press herself against the hard planes of his tall, muscular physique.
“Put your wrists together for me, sweetheart,” he murmured, slow and unhurried, as if he had all the time in the world.
She shivered and obliged him. Not once had he touched her, and she wondered if that was because he was a gentleman or because he didn’t trust himself, in the same way she currently didn’t trust herself.
One loop slid over her left wrist, and her eyes fluttered shut as heat flooded her, a foreign sense of desire swelling inside. When another loop drifted over her right wrist, warmth pooled in her belly, slowly growing hotter each time he tightened the rope. Her chest lifted and fell quickly, and as he stroked the inside of her wrist, an uncontrollable moan spilled from her mouth.
His low chuckle sizzled over her. “What’s your name, darlin’?” he asked.
Her breath hitched and she trembled, knowing he’d likely heard and felt both. “Emma,” she replied.
“Well, Emma, I’m Shep Blackshaw, and you better stop doing what you’re doing.” His voice lowered, thick and rumbly, as he stepped a little closer, pressing his erection against her bottom. “Or I’m about to do something very inappropriate in front of a crowd.”
Surely that warning should’ve broken the spell he cast over her. It didn’t. The low tenor of his voice held promise of a night she’d never forget. Instead of answering him, and on total instinct, she shivered again, as his startling power washed over her.
Desperate not to make a complete ass out of herself on the third week of her new job, she stared straight ahead, afraid if she opened her mouth, she’d beg him to touch her right in front of everyone. He finished the binding and gave a final tug, showing her how locked in she was. He held the rope between the cuffs he’d made as if he owned her.
She couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. From head to toe, she flushed with an unnatural heat, her limbs trembled with need, begging him to make this game real. His finger slid along the inside of her wrist, and again, a moan broke free.
Oh, how that touch would feel sliding between her thighs. She pressed herself against his cock and wiggled a little bit, inviting him to do whatever he wanted.
His warm breath tickled her ear when he groaned. “No matter how tempting it is to keep you like this a little longer and make you moan a bit louder, I don’t like to lose.” Coldness spilled over her as his hands were gone. He threw them up in the air, declaring himself the winner.
Thunderous applause from the crowd broke the spell that he’d put her under. She snapped her eyes open, staring ahead at the drum set. Her panties were drenched.
In those seconds of reprieve without his touch, she inhaled and exhaled repeatedly, until her body and mind belonged to her again. When he began untying her, she felt more stable on her feet, the heat simmering on the surface instead of boiling over. Only then did she dare turn around, refusing to meet his eyes, fearful he’d see how turned on she was.
By the bar, behind the crowd gathered before the stage, she noticed one of the blonde bartenders and her new friend, Harper McKinney, fanning herself with a piece of paper. She mouthed the word, wow. Before Emma had a chance to respond, a firm finger pressed under her chin, lifting her gaze to meet silvery-blue power beneath his brown cowboy hat.
A smile teased Shep’s sculpted lips. “So, Emma, after that little show you just gave me,” he said, letting the rope hang from his hand like a promise he planned to keep. “I think there’s really only one thing that needs to be asked now, don’t you?”
“What’s that?” she barely managed.
He leaned in closer, bringing all that heat and man within centimeters of her, and he arched a single eyebrow. “Your place or mine?”