She stepped out into the balmy evening and took in a deep lungful of crisp, clean air. “Ah, much better.”
Torches provided an amber glow to light the way through the dark night. The spiked heels she wore sunk into rich earth as she moved toward her cabin.
Making her way over the rustic terrain required all her attention when the meager light ended, leaving her in the inky blackness of a moonless night. She moved with focused determination and haste while closely watching where she trod, head down. If she stepped in some steaming pile of horse shit with these expensive shoes on…
When she turned the corner of the main house, she walked right into a large object, driving much needed oxygen from her lungs with a whoosh. She lifted her hands and pressed her open palms against the obstacle, giving a firm shove. The solid mass never budged.
“Whoa. Hello there, gorgeous. Are you all right?”
If he hadn’t already knocked the air from her lungs, the stranger’s sexy drawl would have taken her breath away. She looked up into compelling eyes, which drove all coherent thought from her mind.
Oh God, what was wrong with her? She’d always had the ability to come back with some cocky crack. For some reason, nothing came to mind other than how mysterious and dangerous the big man looked in the low light cast from the porch lamp. His dark appearance gave her the impression of a rakish bad boy, but there was also something inherent in his presence that created a calming affect.
Warm hands held her hips in a firm grip. It was a good thing too, because her legs felt rubbery and ready to give out. Her nostrils flared, drinking in his masculine scent. She smelled leather, sun-warmed flesh and hot man. Tamara swayed, feeling dizzy.
“I’ve gotcha,” the stranger declared.
The world whirled around and dipped in a wild motion. Cold chills raised goose bumps on her arms. Damn it, she wasn’t the kind of frail woman prone to fainting. What the hell was wrong with her? It wasn’t like she’d been drinking at the reception.
When things settled again, she found herself planted tight and secure against a wide torso. Muscular arms held her snug as steel bands around her back and under her legs. She threw her arms around the thick column of his neck, clinging to him. Then the big stranger carried her to the porch steps, only instead of putting her down as she expected, he sat with her held captive on his lap.
It would be heaven to sink into his chest, absorbing his abundant warmth. She tilted her head and looked into those penetrating black eyes. Raven blue-black hair gleamed around his shoulders in the soft light. His dark skin held the deep cinnamon tones of Native American heritage.
Well, holy shit! She’d been captured by an Indian. Where the hell were her cowboys when she needed to be rescued? Talk about ironic. Scrambling to free herself from his grasp, Tamara pushed against his substantial chest again with little effect on the big man.
He ignored her demand and struggles. When she huffed in frustration her captor finally spoke. “Easy now, princess. I won’t hurt you.”
“Wh–Who are you? What are you doing skulking around in the dark?” He might be some crazed axe murder for all she knew. It was always the cute ones, wasn’t it?
His smile was a luminous flash of white teeth tugging at her heart, irregardless of whatever type of man he may be. She could get lost merely drinking in his captivating features. And oh, how she wanted to feel his silky ebony hair slip between her fingers. Heat flooded her at the thought of fisting her hands in the shoulder length strands and holding him captive between her wide spread legs.
Luscious, plump lips called out for her tongue to explore their texture and shape. His firm jaw looked as if it were chiseled from granite. Massive shoulders led to his solid, muscular chest. Without realizing, she flexed her fingers, basking in the pure masculine vitality and power within her grasp.
“Dakota Blackhawk, at your service. I was hired last week by Mister Black. He told me I was free to start moving in whenever I was ready.”
Tamara stared at him, stunned. No one had told her a new guy had been hired. She was so out of the loop, but maybe she wouldn’t leave the ranch after all. Things would become quite interesting with Dakota working and living on the Shooting Star. And did she really want the cowboys coming to the rescue?
She wondered for a moment if he heard the racing of her heart, which was beating triple time. Oh the delicious adventures she’d have exploring the yummy man who still held her. The feel of his thumb stroking over the pulse point in her wrist had her drenched with hot cream. The sweet pressure and heat of him against her hip were divine. And his firm legs beneath her bottom…yum.
“What’s your name, princess? Do you live here?”
“I…um.” Hell, her mind was so muddled she wasn’t even able to remember her name. “Tamara. Tamara Dobbs. Yes, I live on the ranch with my friends. We all live here. I’m the only one who doesn’t work here though.”
Oh, God. She was rambling on like a total idiot. The way he was looking at her, and his sexy voice, took the quick wit she prided herself on and sent it packing. If only talking to him and sitting on his lap made her feel like this, what would it be like to have him in her bed? Mmm…or in her Jeep, or the back aisle of the bookstore, or at the lake. The delightful possibilities were endless.
Yes, ranch life just became a great deal more interesting since running into Dakota Blackhawk.