Rich, Rugged Rancher. Joss Wood

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Название Rich, Rugged Rancher
Автор произведения Joss Wood
Жанр Контркультура
Серия Mills & Boon Desire
Издательство Контркультура
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9780008904074

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could afford to pay for the damage.

      Actually, he should just get the peanut to pay. Judging by the rocking diamond ring on her right hand and the fat diamond studs she wore in her ears, she could afford to pay the bill out of pocket rather than forcing him to haggle with an insurance agency.

      He tossed a look over his shoulder at her. “I expect you to pay for the repairs. Twenty grand should cover it.” Twenty thousand was ten times more than he needed but he figured she should pay for inconveniencing him. “I don’t want to wait for the insurance company, so you can pay me and fight with them.”

      Her head jerked up and she pushed up the brim of her cowboy hat to glare at him. “What?”

      “I want twenty K. Preferably in cash.”

      Those eyes hardened. “Are you off your meds? I’m not paying you twenty grand! You could buy a new truck for less than that.”

      Sure, but could he buy a 1972 Chevy pickup with an original, hardly used engine, original seats and fixtures? Not damn likely.

      “You can find me at Rockwell Ranch. Don’t make me come looking for you,” Clint warned her as he walked around the hood of his truck to the driver’s door. He climbed in, grabbing the steering wheel and pulling himself up, his upper body strength compensating for his missing limb. Slamming the door closed, he rested his arm on the window, surprised to see she was still glaring at him, utterly unintimidated.

      Now that was a surprise because Clint knew his hard face, gruff voice and taciturn attitude scared most people off.

      Instead of being frightened, she stomped over to him, pieces of hay stuck in her braid. Intrigued to see what she would do, or say, he held her hot gaze.

      “You need a lesson in manners.”

      “Probably. I also need sex. Are you offering that too?”

      Instead of blushing or throwing her hands up in the air, insulted, she narrowed her eyes. “In your dreams, cowboy. Who do you think—”

      “Who are you?” he interrupted her, purely to be ornery.

      “Fee… Seraphina Martinez.”

      Fee suited her. Seraphina didn’t.

      And that mouth. It was sassy and sensuous and made for sex. Talking? Not so much.

      “Bring the money to my ranch—don’t make me come looking for you,” Clint told her, thinking he’d better leave before he did something stupid, like using his own mouth to cut off the tirade that was, obviously, coming.

      Shit, he was losing it.

      “I’m ten miles down the road. You’ll see the gates.” Clint cranked the engine and placed his hand on the gear stick. He tapped his Stetson with two fingers.

      “Ma’am,” he said, purely to irritate her.

      Annoyance and frustration jumped into her eyes. “Don’t you ‘ma’am’ me! I will get you to learn some manners.”

      Hell, if she was under him, naked, he’d learn anything she wanted him to. Enough now, Rock, drive off.

      “Honey, I don’t do people so I don’t do manners. I just need my twenty K.”

      “When pigs fly,” Fee muttered, her hands on those curvy hips. Clint looked at her mouth again and fought the urge to leave the car, haul her into his arms and taste it. To inhale her sweet scent and pull her into his—he looked down—rock-hard erection.

      Over the roar of his engine, he heard one of the women shout across to the fake cowgirl. “Is he going to be your next project, Fee?”

      Fee looked at him and her smile chilled him to his core. “You know what? I rather think he is.”

      What the hell did she mean by that?

      Time to go.

      Clint slammed his pickup into Reverse, conscious that all the New Yorkers were still staring at him. But he only wanted to see the brunette with the smart mouth and tempting curves in his rearview mirror. She was sexy as hell and, because he wasn’t a total idiot, he’d noticed her attraction to him.

      Clint barreled down the driveway and tossed his Stetson onto the empty seat next to him. He’d seen her checking him out and suspected she liked what she’d seen, up to a point. He’d worked hella hard to build his core, chest and back muscles. Women liked his top half but, these days, his bottom half caused him problems.

      Hell, both the women—his mom and his girlfriend—he’d ever loved had been unable to come to terms with his disability…

      The memories rolled back and Clint forced himself to face them. On returning from Afghanistan, he’d spent a couple of months in hospital recovering after his amputation and when he got back to the ranch, he’d spent a few more months in bed, sleeping and smoking and drinking.

      Carla, his long-time girlfriend, had immediately moved in to take care of him and she’d run around, waiting on him hand and foot. It didn’t matter to her that he could afford to hire teams of nurses, doctors and physiotherapists. Family money, lots and lots of money, gave him access to the best health care on the planet but Carla only allowed the bare minimum of people to have access to him.

      She’d insisted on fussing over him herself, coddling and mothering him. But, as his depression lifted, he realized that he didn’t like the flabby, bloated, unhealthy man he saw in the mirror. He’d always been a fitness fanatic and because he was sick of feeling sick and miserable, he turned two rooms of his ranch house into a state-of-the-art gym.

      As he got fitter, and more adept with his prosthetic, he became more independent and Carla had mentally, and physically, retreated. And when his sex drive finally returned, she’d retreated some more. When he’d finally convinced her that he was well enough, strong enough, for sex and taken his prosthetic off, she bolted.

      Never to be seen again.

      Thanks to his frequent absences due to his career in the military, they’d drifted apart and his accident pulled them back together again. She adored his dependence on her, loved being so very needed and had he stayed that way, she might’ve stuck around. But being weak wasn’t something Clint did. Weakness wasn’t part of his DNA.

      His sex life didn’t improve after she left. He’d tried a couple of one-night stands and neither were successful. One woman left when she saw his leg, another, the next morning, acted like she’d done him the biggest favor by sleeping with him and Clint decided that climaxes with strangers weren’t worth the humiliation.

      It had been two years since he got laid and, yeah, he missed sex. And when he met someone he was instantly, ridiculously attracted to, as he’d been to that brunette back there, he missed it more than ever.

      But sex was just sex; he wouldn’t die from not getting any.

      He didn’t think.

      Clint felt his phone vibrating in the back pocket of his jeans and lifted his butt cheek to pull it out. Glancing down at the screen, he saw the Dallas area code and recognized the number as one of his mother’s.

      The mother he no longer spoke to.

      Clint briefly wondered why she, or more likely her PA or another lackey, was calling. It had been years since they’d last spoken but he didn’t answer the call. He had nothing to say to his mom. Not anymore…

      Mila had blown into the hospital to visit with him before his operation and he’d been cynically surprised by her show of support as she’d never been an attentive, involved mother.

      Back in his room after the operation that took his leg, he’d hadn’t felt strong enough to deal with his intense news-anchor mother and he’d pretended to still be under the anesthetic, hoping she’d go away. He’d just wanted the world to leave him alone but his hearing hadn’t disappeared along with his leg and Mila’s softly spoken words drifted over to him.