The Harder They Fall
The bigger they are, the harder they fall…
TJ Maguire runs her father's successful rodeo business, and is busily trying to wrap up the final rodeo of the season. When a disqualified cowboy tries to bully, intimidate, wheedle, whine, bribe, and finally to romance her into changing her mind, she does her best to ignore him. But it’s so very hard to do, nearly as hard as his body. He’s a helluva man in a long, tall package that sets her palms to itch and her body on fire. When they end up in bed together, the sheets aren’t the only things that burn. Will TJ listen to her head or her heart?
If Hank doesn't compete in the all-around in the rodeo, he can’t compete in the nationals in Vegas. That’s a damn big purse to pass up for anyone. Intending to seduce TJ into changing her mind, Hank ends up being seduced instead. He discovers that TJ may be an even bigger prize than he ever imagined. Will Hank pursue his rodeo dream or give in to the heaven he finds in her arms?
Note: This book was previously published but has been revised and reedited.
TJ tried to ignore Hank, but he was so damn big it was impossible. He followed her around, at a distance, for at least two hours. It was enough to give her the jitters. By five-thirty, she’d had enough and decided it was time to go eat.
She was walking past the stables when she realized that Hank was gone. She turned and looked around the courtyard and did not see him. A couple of the more playful horses stuck their heads out as she passed by. She petted and scratched a few velvety noses. Waiting for him? Oh, hell, no.
She walked quickly across the dusty ground toward the Bar T trailer. By the time she got there, she still hadn’t seen him. Maybe he gave up. Yeah, and that was a pig she saw flying by.
She was going to go to her favorite pizza place in Santa Estrella — Monty’s Pizza. He was a retired Brooklyn restaurateur who made the best pizza in three counties. Last year, she discovered him when they were in town for the rodeo. She ended up over there every other night. Monty would always come out and chat with her for a few minutes too. He was a sweet old man.
She got to the trailer and went up the steps quickly. Stepping inside, she walked to her desk and flipped open her laptop to check her e-mail quickly.
“You know, some people actually do things besides work.”
Hank’s voice startled her enough that she jumped. She hadn’t heard him enter, which was a feat in itself, because he was too big to be silent.
“Jesus! Don’t sneak up on people like that!” she snapped. When she looked up, she saw him standing there, leaning against the wall. He had one tanned thumb hooked in his belt loop. His sinfully tight blue jeans stretched across his well-endowed body. The green t-shirt he was wearing, a little ragged around the edges, wrapped lovingly around the muscles in his arms, shoulders, and chest. His ponytail was hanging over his shoulder, the ends near his belly button. Happy trails!
How can one man look so goddamn good? She wanted to get a can of whipped cream and cover him with it, then lick it all off.
Down, girl. He’s just a cowboy after an easy lay or an easy way out of a sticky situation.
He smiled. “Thought maybe you could have dinner with me.”
She rolled her eyes and continued to type. It was all just a bunch of gobbledygook, but he didn’t know that.
“C’mon, Red. You know you want to.”
She tried to glare at him, but it was so hard when he could clearly see her nipples were pointing at him like high beams.
“Can I call you Henry?”
One tawny eyebrow arched up high. “Do you really want to?”
She couldn’t lie. “No.”
The smile returned. “Good. I like Hank better. Or maybe later you can call me something else.”
“Maybe later I will.”
“Just so you know, I prefer ‘Stallion.'”
“I was thinking ‘Buttercup.'”
“Just as long as you don’t call me ‘Gelding.'”
She laughed. Oh, it felt so good to flirt again! She hadn’t felt comfortable enough to flirt with someone for a long time. For some reason, it felt natural with Hank.
“I know we got started on the wrong foot, but I do really want to have dinner with you.”
“I’m not going to change my mind about the disqualification,” she warned, as the idea of having dinner with Hank was looking better and better.
“Well, you can’t blame me if I try?”
TJ closed her laptop and stood. “As long as you know it’s not going to work.”
He smiled and bowed to her. “I like a woman who knows her limits.”
She shook her head. “Do you like pizza?”
She looked at him in surprise. “You know Monty?”
“He has to turn on a second rack of ovens when I come by.”
She laughed again. “You’re a big man. You must have a big appetite.”
The lids on his blue eyes dipped a bit as he looked her up and down very slowly. The perusal was enough to reignite her sleeping arousal.
“You have no idea.”