Rode Hard, Put Up Wet (Rough Riders 2) - Page 24

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“So what are you going to do?”

“Thought about workin’ with that two-year-old. Is he halter broke?”

“Barely. Ornery thing runs whenever he sees me with a halter. And I’ve been so busy this year I haven’t had time to work with him.” She expected him to wince. Not training a horse was as bad as not taking proper care of one.

“I’d sure like to take a crack at him.”

“By all means.”

Cash stopped the pickup and Gemma hopped out to open and close the gate. He parked in front of the house and sauntered back to where she waited by the water pump for the bucket to fill.

“What are you doin’ today?” he asked.

“Thought I’d clean the horse trailer. Why? Did you need me for something else?”

She hoped he’d say yes, that he needed her naked. Right now.

“Nah. I’m gonna round up that roan.” He unlatched the door to the horse trailer, which housed the saddles, blankets, halters, bridles and other horse paraphernalia.

Whistling, he unhooked a blue nylon halter and draped it over his shoulder. “See you in a bit.”

Hiding her disappointment, Gemma focused on sweeping and scrubbing. But while she was cleaning, she couldn’t help but obsess on what had happened last night.

Or rather, what hadn’t happened.

Cash had been quiet on the drive to Beulah. They’d left right after he’d talked to Macie, and Gemma didn’t know if that was the reason for his introspective mood. She didn’t push, figuring if he wanted to talk to her about it he would.

Once they’d arrived at the Nelson ranch to look at the bucking horses, Cash stepped up and handled every bit of the financial negotiations. The crusty old rancher even dropped his price by a couple of hundred bucks. Gemma knew she wouldn’t have had the same results if she’d come alone.

As Gemma was writing out the check, the man’s wife came outside to warn them severe thunderstorms were headed their way. Several areas in Wyoming were already without power due to windstorms, and state Highway 23 was temporarily closed because of excessive hail.

Since the horses were essentially wild, they decided to wait out the storm and leave them in the pasture and come back in the morning. They hadn’t planned to stay overnight and Gemma hadn’t packed any household supplies in the living quarters of the horse trailer.

On the drive to Spearfish to find a motel, Cash tried to call Macie several times but got no answer. Gemma snuck in a call to Carter and explained the situation while Cash checked them into the room.

After a nearly silent dinner, they returned to the motel. Gemma’s hopes sunk a little when she noticed two double beds. It didn’t help matters Cash was glued to The Weather Channel. And Gemma knew better than to tell him not to worry about his daughter.

Telling him she’d asked Carter to check on Macie would set him off big time.

Frustrated, Gemma flopped on the opposite bed. She woke up the next morning fully clothed.

When Cash didn’t offer up an explanation on why he hadn’t touched her, the paranoid part of her psyche supplied reasons.




The situation between them didn’t improve after they’d loaded the horses and were on the road. Once again, Cash insisted on driving, leaving Gemma lost in thoughts she didn’t want.

Finding Macie all right—albeit with Carter in her bed—seemed to alleviate some of the tension between them. Cash almost seemed normal while they were checking cows.

But what was normal with him? What was normal with them?

Forget it. He’s doing what you hired him to do.

Gemma managed to block the past twenty-four hours from her brain. By the time she finished cleaning up, her shirt and boots were sopping wet and her jeans were damp. She needed a shower in a bad way. She dragged the bucket and brooms to the barn. Nothing happened when she tugged on the string to the light bulb. Probably the fuse blew in last night’s storm.

The outer door opened and a sliver of light briefly permeated the darkness like a flash bulb.

“Gemma?” Cash called. “Where are you?”

“By the tack room. None of the lights seem to be working.”

She didn’t hear him come up behind her so she jumped when he placed his hands on her shoulders.

“You scared me.”

Cash didn’t answer. He didn’t move either.


“Your shirt is wet.”

“Yeah, I know. Don’t stand too close. I probably smell bad.”

“You smell good to me.” He inhaled deeply. “Really good.”

“Anything is bound to smell good when you’ve been in the pen and around wild horses for a few hours.”

“Your shirt is wet.”

“We already established that.”

His warm breath ruffled the hair by her ear. “Take it off.”


“You heard me. Take off your shirt. Now.”


“Don’t argue with me. I think I’d enjoy punishin’ you too much today.”

Her fingers froze around his when they breached the first snap. “You wouldn’t.”

“I would. Without apology and you’ll take what I dish out without complaint.”


“Gemma.” His voice was a low-pitched growl. “I ain’t jokin’. Do what I tell you.”

She tried a different tack. “Wouldn’t you rather go inside?”

“No. Take. Off. The. Damn. Shirt. Now.”

A kernel of excitement unfurled from the tips of her boots to the end of her ponytail.

Pop pop pop pop went the pearl snaps and the shirt hung open. She slipped it off her shoulders and Cash took it.

“Now the bra.”

The front clasp popped and the bra hit the dirt.

“Unfasten your jeans.”

Gemma tugged on the button on her Wranglers. The release of the zipper tine by tine sounded incredibly erotic in the heated stillness. “Now what?”

“Pull them down to your knees. Panties too.”

She shimmied the denim to the tops of her boots.

“Turn around.”

Soon as she faced him his hands were on her br**sts and his teeth closed over her left nipple. Her breath caught at the sensation of his hot mouth on her cool skin. Then he nipped the very tip as he kissed a path to her right breast. No sweet nuzzling; Cash suckled hard and deep. He lifted the globes together, and growled against her flesh as his hungry mouth moved back and forth. Licking. Biting. Sucking.

Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance