Happy Book Birthday to Kelli Ireland for Cowboy Strong 🙂
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Happy Reading 🙂
Going Down Fighting
Ty Covington likes to keep things as uncomplicated as possible. By day, all that matters to him is his horse and winning in the rodeo ring. At night, all he wants is a deliciously hot, no-strings affair with his rival, Kenzie Malone. Then everything changes in one heart-stopping split second.
The accident should have killed both Ty and his horse. Instead, they’re both on the road to a hard recovery—but only thanks to Kenzie’s family connections and fortune. Which means he owes her. He owes a woman who is both everything he despises and his deepest desire. As need—hungry and demanding—takes them both over, Ty knows that this time, uncomplicated isn’t an option. And this cowboy always pays his debts…
THE NIGHT WAS passing slower than any Ty could remember. The second hand on the clock ticked and paused, ticked and paused, seemingly searching for the energy to tick again. He tossed and turned, went down to check on Gizmo, then went back up to his hotel room to toss and turn again. He needed to blow off a little steam, and sex was his preferred method.
And his mind was locked on one particular redhead, a woman he’d had numerous times but never could get out of his system.
It wasn’t as though Ty was actually into exhibitionism. He’d just wanted to push the fringes of experience and try something new, and she’d always been safe—as well as seriously fun—to play with. And bless the powers that be, darling Kenzie hadn’t balked. His pulse quickened. Hell, if anything, she’d asked him for more. But he hadn’t been certain how much “more” was wise in the barn.
He’d also had a fleeting moment of insecurity, wondering if she’d want more of what he’d offered just then or more of him in general. The former he could provide, and gladly. He’d always liked women, had always been insistent that everyone left satisfied. But him offering more than what the moment afforded all parties? No. That type of “more” had never been on the table. Ever.
His rolled over and punched his pillow.
Earlier, the competitors had drawn for their bracket positions, and he’d drawn third out of fifty riders. It was a crappy pick. He’d have much preferred to ride somewhere between thirtieth and thirty-fifth so he knew how hard to push Gizmo and how much showmanship was required to keep his horse in the top ten while still preserving enough energy to really clean up if he was called to a tiebreaker.
Flopping onto his back, he stared at the shadowed ceiling. Insomnia sucked. Bad. Insomnia alone sucked worse. He really needed some feminine company to get his mind off all the people who’d be watching him and Gizmo, both live and on TV. The pressure of those anticipated stares grew heavy in the silence, then heavier still, until he thought he might not be able to draw a breath due to the weight on his chest.
The bedcovers tangled around his feet as he lurched upward. He got his feet underneath him, shoved his room key in the pocket of the complimentary robe before tugging it on and then grabbed his cell as he headed for the door.
He hit 6 on speed dial and waited as the call connected. When she answered, he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
“Why are you calling me—” covers rustled and her jaw cracked as she yawned “—at one thirty in the morning?”
Thoughts of her in bed, her lithe body clad in little…or nothing…made him adjust his robe for better coverage. “What room are you in?”
“You’re looking for a booty call from the wrong woman. I’m sleeping.”
“You lost the wager.” He spoke so fast his words ran together.
“I beat you at regionals, so I entered nationals with a points lead. Means I get my fantasy fulfilled first,” he pressed.
“We aren’t on the boards yet.”
Her cautious tone worried him, made his response sharper than he’d intended. “Actually, we are. I went to check on Gizmo and Indie earlier tonight, make sure they were settled, and end-of-season scores have been posted.”
“Well,” she mused, “I suppose that puts you on top of me.”
His cock kicked hard enough there was no hiding it. Thankfully, the hallway was empty. “On top’s not where I want to be.”
She chuckled, the sound sleep-heavy, sultry. “You realize that if I beat you here, I’ll top you in points and earnings for the year.”
His brow creased. “No. Just until the next rodeo season starts.”
“Not by your logic. You’re saying you get to have your fantasy tonight because you’re ahead in points in a competition that hasn’t started. Well, this exact same competition won’t start again until December next year, so I could feasibly be ahead of you in points until they post next year’s regional totals on the nationals boards. Same thing you’re doing, just building out the timeline.”
His mouth went dry and he stopped, resting his shoulder against the wall. “You’re making me think this was a bad idea.”
“Good or bad, it was your idea, Tyson,” she said softly. “Room 1134. Show up and own it, or hang up and don’t. But make up your mind in the next five minutes or I’m going back to sleep and I won’t answer after that. Not the phone, and definitely not the door.”
The line went dead. If he showed up now, he’d be accepting the fact that she was right—his terms had been pretty broad and rather unclear. If she beat him, could she, would she, want to see him for the next year? That would take this thing between them outside of their established bounds of competition romps. Make it more than an occasional tryst. As in…dating.
The idea didn’t repel him, and that alone should have been enough to turn him right around and have him back in his room before he lost what was left of his mind.
He decided not to give the thought too much attention, though, so he pushed off the wall and resumed his trek toward the elevator bank.
He reached the elevators just as one opened and dumped off a group of highly intoxicated bridesmaids supporting one barely conscious bride. To a woman, they looked him over as if he were the best thing they’d seen all night. While he wasn’t entirely comfortable with it, he still smiled and flirted a little before stepping into the elevator car and winking at them as the doors closed. It was, after all, what anyone who knew him would have expected of him.
He punched the button for the eleventh floor and ignored the way his belly dipped as the car started its upward climb.
Because he knew with the kind of certainty that discomfited a man that the belly drop had nothing to do with the elevator and everything to do with the woman in room 1134.