Cowboy Desires: The Complete Collection, страница 1
The Complete Collection
By Aubrey Skye
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
This work contains material that may be unsuitable for minors. Reader discretion is advised.
And above all – Enjoy!
Cowboy Desires: The Complete Collection
Jamie is a true cowgirl. She’s also a woman who had her heart broken by the one man she thought would love her forever. Mason was everything she wanted, but he left her when she was most vulnerable, and she has been trying to pick up the pieces ever since.
When she runs out of gas one day, a gorgeous cowboy named Austin swoops in and rescues her. Soon after, she is pulled over on the side of the road crying, and the cowboy saves her again. Austin persuades her to go out with him and the night finds her enjoying life again, in ways she never thought possible. Mason keeps creeping into her mind, but Austin does a great job of making her feel safe.
However, when she wakes up before Austin the next day and looks around his house, she is shocked to find a surprising picture on his wall. It turns out both of them have their secrets, and it's anybody's guess whose will be revealed first…
Sign up for Aubrey’s Mailing List to be notified of New Releases and Special Sales: http://eepurl.com/GysqL
No Spam – she promises!
~Vol. 1 - Starting Over~
The sun was blazing and sweat was pouring down my back into unmentionable places less than 30 seconds after I got in the car. It was the end of August in upstate New York and it seemed that the heat should be winding down by now. No such luck, however. My big thighs were sticking to the leather seats and my wavy black hair was already a frizzy mess. Grabbing the black elastic from around my waist, I twisted my hair up into a knot on the top of my head and started the car. The first thing I noticed was that my gas gauge was dipping dangerously below E, and I swore out loud. Saying a silent prayer that I could make it to the gas station where my sister worked, I backed out of the driveway.
On the way there, I noticed the car starting to hesitate when I pushed the gas, and I knew I was running on borrowed time. Several profanities shot out from my mouth as I hit every damn red light on the way, and I might have shot a few death looks at other drivers for holding me up. Right before the last light nearest to the gas station, the worst happened; the car ran out of gas and shut off completely.
"Shit!" I yelled to myself. I put the car in neutral and was able to coast it down an incline and into the parking lot of the wood products factory. I sat there and hit the steering wheel a few times before deciding I had no choice but to get out and walk to the store to get help. Luckily, the convenience store was only about a block away. I got out, grabbed my purse, and locked the doors. Sweat was immediately pouring off of me again and my hair was turning into a giant mess. It was sweaty around my forehead and frizzy everywhere else. I didn’t even want to imagine how I looked.
On the way to the store, I called my parents to see if they could bring me the gas can. Luckily, they were still home and agreed to meet me. Within five minutes of starting my trek, I was there and quickly stepped into the heavenly air conditioning of the store.
"Jaime! I thought that was you. Did you just walk here from your house?" My sister looked shocked that I would walk since the day was so hot and humid.
"No, I ran out of gas up the street. Dad's coming with the gas can. I have to learn to get gas the night before! I'm such a damn idiot sometimes."
As I was telling her what happened, an extremely tall man in a worn-out baseball hat approached me.
"Did you say you ran out of gas, hun?" He looked familiar and, after a few seconds, I realized that I had seen him out with his girlfriend at a local bar a couple of times. It was a small town, after all, so you recognize more people than you realize.
"Yeah, my dad is on his way to help, though."
"You sure you don’t need any more help? My truck is right out front and I have a gas can in the back. I'd be happy to help you. Plus, I remember you. I've heard you sing at the bar a few times. You're beautiful. I’d like to help out." I felt my cheeks flush as his smile showed deep dimples and genuine eyes.
"Aw, thank you! How embarrassing! Really, I'm fine. My dad will be annoyed if he gets all the way down here and I don't even need him."
"Well, I'm Austin. If you need anything in the future, just let me know. You're too pretty to ever be stranded like this." I giggled like a 12-year-old who had just met Justin Bieber.
"I'm Jamie, and you're way too sweet." He took my right hand in his and shook it, and I felt the heat shoot right down my body and I shivered. With a smile he went back over to the counter to pay for his gas. He tipped his hat to me as he was leaving and I smiled in return. My mind was already conjuring up all of the dirty things I could do to him when my sister broke me out of my spell.
"Hey, Jaime. He bought you a soda and paid for $20 in gas!"
"What? He did? With his girlfriend right out there?"
“What girlfriend? Yeah, he just did. He wanted me to tell you that he's single and that he hopes he sees you again soon."
"Well, then, how does he explain the girl he's always with?"
"I don't know what girl you’re even talking about, but he seems to be awfully hot for you!"
I scoffed at this because I didn't have men after me every day. Or any day, actually. I hadn't really been hit on much by anyone under 65 years of age in the year since my heart had been broken.
"Well, it was nice of him to pay for my gas. He seems like a real gentleman. Plus he is incredibly hot!"
"Hell yes, and right up your alley! I would have taken him up on his offer just to spend more time with him." Erin was always completely full of it. I couldn't really talk, though, because my mind was always in the gutter.
"I'm sure I'll run into him again. Dad's here. Love you." I hurried out to grab the gas can and let my dad know that the gas was already paid for. When it was full, he took me back to my car and helped me get it going.
"You shouldn't let the gas gauge get so low, Jamie. I taught you better than that."
"I know. I'm an idiot. I was too tired last night to stop. Thanks for helping!" I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and got in the car. I cranked the air conditioning and turned the radio up loud. When the song changed to one I knew all too well, my mood quickly changed.
It was the song that was playing the last time I had been intimate with Mason. The guy who broke my heart and left without an explanation after a year and a half of love, drama, and heartbreak. I really thought that, despite his commitment issues, he would eventually be it for me. The One. He was everything I thought I didn't want in a man. He was tall and thin and a complete snowmobile-loving, hunting, fishing, all-weekend redneck. He was impossible to read and often pushed me away. But when we were together, it was magic. Mind blowing, passionate, and very hard to replace. I had tried two different times to be with someone else, but no one was even close to him for me.
I felt the tears start to well up in my eyes as I was driving, but I didn't change
Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I decided to pull over at the overlook and sit for a while. I was crying hard by this time and I needed to be alone and try to collect myself. I got out of the car and sat on one of the benches out of the way. There hadn't been any other cars around, so I just let myself go. I sobbed for everything that I had lost when Mason left. We had shared something that no one else knew about and the loss was still so raw. I hadn't even told my sisters about it, and I wasn't sure that I ever could. I was mourning two losses and I felt like I could just break at any moment. I had even gone on antidepressants at the suggestion of my doctor because of my seemingly irreversible depression. They helped a lot, but some days I just couldn't hold it in.
As I was attempting to pull myself together, I noticed a big truck pulling into the parking lot next to my car. I turned my back so they wouldn't be able to see me. I didn't want the whole town thinking I had completely lost my mind. Wiping the tears away with the back of my hand, I got up to walk the other way, but someone stood directly in my path.
"Jamie, is that you? Are you okay?" It was Austin from the gas station, and I was mortified.
"I'm fine. I was…just having a moment. I’m sorry. I'm so embarrassed that you're seeing me like this. I'll be fine. I was just leaving." I tried to walk around him, but his large frame blocked my way. He gently placed a big hand on each one of my arms and willed me to look up at him.
"Girl, you are obviously not fine. Whoever made you cry like this needs a good stern talking to or to have his ass kicked. I pulled over because I thought you might be having car trouble again. Looks like you need a totally different kind of help."
"I'm really fine, Austin. You can go. I just heard a song on the radio that took me back to a place I promised I would never go again. You ever have a song do that to you?"
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't. Someone must have wrecked you, beautiful. Eyes this pretty should never have anything but tears of joy in them." He cupped the side of my face with his hand and wiped the falling tears with a thumb that was rough and showed signs of hard work.
For the first time, I let myself look up at him, and his eyes were kind and full of concern. We stood there quietly for a couple of minutes just looking at each other. I was overwhelmed with sadness for Mason, yet I felt something else stirring in me. This was the first time anyone had seen me fall apart like this, and he was, for all intents and purposes, a complete stranger. But I felt taken care of. And I didn't feel quite as empty as I had for the past year and a half.
Before I could stop myself, I got up onto my toes and pressed my lips to his. I felt a sudden rush of worry that he would pull away. But he surprised me by pulling me closer. One of his hands continued to cup the side of my face while the other wrapped low around my waist. Surprising myself, I opened up to him when I felt his tongue press against my lips. The kiss deepened quickly and it had me lost in a new world. One where Mason didn't exist and good things still happened to me. When he finally pulled away a little bit, I didn't want to open my eyes.
"Jamie? Are you okay, darlin?" I felt a smile spread across my lips and then I felt a little bit embarrassed.
"Oh, God, Austin. I'm so sorry. You must think I just go around kissing every guy I meet. I wasn't thinking."
"Why are you apologizing? I'm damn lucky to have such a beautiful girl wanting to kiss me. And you stopped crying. So I got both my wishes granted."
I tried to pull away and hide my face, but his strong arms held me in place.
"Austin, I'm all confused. I go from a crying mess to making out with you in a matter of minutes. You must think I'm crazy."
"Well, it's a damn good thing I like my women a little crazy. How about you let me come pick you up and take you out tonight? I want to keep a smile on your face, pretty girl."
"You don't have to do that just because you feel sorry for me. I'm used to feeling this way. You're so sweet, but I don't need a pity date."
"A pity date? Girl, I have been watching and admiring you from afar for a couple of months now. I'm glad I ran into you today and was able to hold you in my arms while you cried. Even if it was for another man. Now the least you can do for me is give me the chance to show you a good time tonight. Is that too much to ask?" Looking into his eyes and seeing that he was sincere, I changed my tune.
"Well, since you put it that way, I will let you take me out. I need some fun in my life. But I have to warn you, I'm not perfect."
"Perfect ain't what I'm looking for, darlin."
"Ok, then, what time should I be ready?"
"I'll pick you up at 7. Get yourself nice and pretty for me. That won't take much, though."
"I'll do my best."
I giggled and gave him my number and address. He caught me off guard when he grabbed me and picked me up off the ground, pressing his lips to mine again. When he set me down, I was all smiles, too.
"I'm already counting down the minutes, pretty girl." He tipped his hat at me and turned and jogged toward his truck.
I stood there and waved as he drove away in the opposite direction than I was headed. I climbed back into my car and tried to sort out my thoughts for a minute. I had just agreed to go on a date with a guy I barely knew. Part of me was afraid to even let myself have fun with a man again. What if he reeled me in and then left me at the most vulnerable time in my life, just like Mason had? I knew that I couldn't live like that forever. Then again, I had only agreed to one night. If it was awful, I could thank him for a good time and never see him again.
I climbed back into my car, making sure the radio was off so I wouldn't hear a song and fall apart again. When I pulled into the driveway, my phone started ringing. The ringtone let me know that it was my sister.
"Hey, Erin. What's up?"
"Just calling to see if you made it home."
"Yes, I did. I just pulled in."
"Really? You left here 45 minutes ago. What took you so long?"
I didn't really want to get into it with her, but I knew she would continue to pry if I held back.
"Well, I heard the Mason song on the radio on my way home. I fucking lost it. I had to pull over and just cry."
"That asshole ruined a perfectly good song for you, Jamie. I just wish you could erase him so that he can't continue to hurt you over and over like this. If I knew where he was, I'd hunt him down and take care of him for good. I still don't understand any of it. All I know is that you deserve to smile again."
"I know. I've been trying so hard to be happy. I think what happened after I pulled over will help me keep moving in that direction."
"What are you talking about?"
I filled her in on the encounter at the overlook, trying my best to hide the steamier details from her. She was practically screaming by the time I finished.
"Holy shit! I knew he was into you. Didn’t I tell you? What are the odds that he would find you pulled over crying like that and come to your rescue? What are you going to wear? Where do you think he'll take you? Are you nervous?"
I laughed at her excitement and the questions that were flying out of her mouth.
"I'm completely nervous but now is as good a time as any to move on. And he is smoking hot! I have no idea where we're going, but he's picking me up at 7. I'm going in to shower again and then take my sweet time looking at every piece of clothing in my closet."
"Well, if you need help, I get out at 6. If
"I promise to call you at my earliest convenience, sister dear. You better get back to work!" We hung up, and I headed into the house.
I set my purse down on the coffee table and headed into the kitchen for a drink. Even though it was only mid-afternoon, I decided to have a glass of wine to take the edge off. Then I started stripping off sweaty layers of clothing. Since I lived alone, it didn't really make a difference if I walked around the house in just my bra and boy shorts. My pudgy stomach and ample thighs could be on display here without worrying about the judgmental eyes of the world. Plus it wouldn't matter if I had a nip slip. Sometimes the girls just didn't want to stay put.
I headed up the stairs of my small house with the glass of wine in my hand. I decided a cool bath was just what I needed to calm my nerves and cool off. I stopped in the bathroom to start the water and add a little bit of sweet-smelling vanilla bubble bath. Then I went into my room to strip off the rest of my clothes. I caught a look of my naked body in the mirror and stopped to admire myself. I was a little on the heavy side, but since I was 5'8", a bit tall for my family, I still managed to look pretty good. My breasts were large, but they still didn't sag, even though I was 32 years old. I had a pretty face, so I’ve been told, and I got lots of compliments on my long, black, wavy hair. I don’t know whether I believed half of them, but it was still always nice to hear. I pinned my hair up so it wouldn't get wet and headed back to the bathroom.
Setting my iPod to a slow and sexy playlist, I climbed into the tub with my wine in my hand. After taking another long sip, I set the glass down and let my mind wander to Austin. He must have easily been over six feet tall. His eyes were hazel, an interesting mixture of brown, green, and blue. He had really big hands and you didn't hear a deep Southern accent like his every day around these parts. It was sexy, I had to admit. The thought of his hands, voice, and smile started a stir inside me, so I let my hand wander down to my sweet spot.