Haley Wagner’s life just got a lot more complicated. As if turning her struggling ranch around isn’t tough enough, she’s forced to call him for help. With his hard eyes and even harder body, Cord is an irritatingly sexy contradiction of hot and cold. How can she possibly hide her embarrassing secret when just looking at Cord is a combustible event?
Former Army Ranger Cord Brannigan has a secret, too. He promised his fallen teammate he’d protect the tempting, fiercely independent Haley from a distance, but now they’re stuck together for three weeks. Alone. Keeping his hands off will take every ounce of control he can muster. And that control is slipping…
As soon as he cut the engine outside the barn, he heard a large crash from inside followed by a slew of curses.
With his gut knotted tight, he crossed the yard and entered on a sprint. “Haley…Jesus,” he muttered, finding her underneath a pegboard and a pile of tools. Sharp ones. Shit.
“Now you show up,” she scoffed.
He hoisted the peg board and tossed it aside. “What the hell happened?”
“Had a fight with a wall and lost.” A smirk twitched her full lips and gleamed in her whiskey gaze.
“That’s not funny.”
“Damn straight.” She frowned. “It hurts like a bitch.”
He ran a hand through his hair. “How the hell did you manage to knock this over?”
“Quite well, actually.”
He knelt beside her and leveled his gaze on her. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”
“Did I?” She tipped her chin and narrowed her eyes. “Hard to tell underneath all that accusation and condemnation dripping from your tone. I’m not one of your Rangers, Warlock. That hard stare of yours won’t work on me.”
Christ. He didn’t need this shit.
She made to get up, pushing a few tools out of the way, and that’s when he noticed the blood dripping down her arm.
“Stay still,” he ordered, grasping her unharmed arm to hold her steady. “Let me have a look.”
A quick inspection deemed it deep but not stitch-worthy, thank God. He yanked off his shirt and wrapped it around her arm, ignoring her gasp as he tied it tight until he could get her in the house for some proper first aid. But he didn’t want her moving until he examined the rest of her body for injuries.
With his training kicking in, he ran his hands over her, noting a small cut on her cheek, another on the back of her hand, and a bruise on her other wrist, no doubt from covering her face.
“You okay?” he asked, staring into her dazed eyes. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
She blinked and focused her gaze on his face, then shook her head after she opened her mouth and nothing came out.
His insides twisted when he took in the mash of clippers, hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers scattered around them. She was lucky. So damn lucky.
After helping her to her feet, he bent to scoop her in his arms.
“W-what are you doing?” She wiggled as he carried her across the yard, trying his damndest not to notice the soft curves brushing his chest.
“Taking you inside to fix your arm. Stay still.” Awareness already spread through his body, waking up parts that had no business enjoying the feel of his dead friend’s widow cradled against him.
Haley grunted. “I can walk.”
“Good to know,” he replied, but continued to hold her as he stepped onto the porch. “Get the door.”
With a loud sigh, she reached out and twisted the knob. “Okay, you can put me down now.”
“Where’s your first aid kit?” he asked, ignoring her protests.
She closed her mouth and stared at him, her eyes twin pools of pissed-off brown. God, she was gorgeous. And damn, he did not need to have his arms full of her hot curves.
He muttered an oath. “You can keep quiet all you want, but I’m just going to stand here and hold you until you tell me.”
Even if it killed him.
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About the Author
Donna Michaels is an award winning, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Romaginative fiction. Her hot, humorous, and heartwarming stories include cowboys, men in uniform, and some sexy, primal alphas. With a husband in the military fulltime, and a household of nine, she never runs out of material to write, and has rightfully earned the nickname Lucy…and sometimes Ethel. From short to epic, her books entertain readers across a variety of sub-genres, and one has even being hand drawn into a Japanese translation. Now, if only she could read it.