Series: Texas Rodeo, #2
Author: Kari Lynn Dell
Pub Date: February 7, 2017
It took 32 seconds to end his career.
But it only took 1 to change his life.
Thirty-two seconds. That’s how long it took for Delon Sanchez’s life to end. One minute he was the best bronc rider in the Panhandle and the next he was nothing. Knee shattered, future in question, all he can do is pull together the pieces…and wonder what cruel trick of fate has thrown him into the path of his ex, the oh-so-perfect Tori Patterson.
Tori’s come home after her husband’s death, intent on escaping the public eye. It’s just her luck that Delon limps into her physical therapy office, desperate for help. All hard-packed muscle and dark-eyed temptation, he’s never been anything but a bad idea. And yet, seeing him again, Tori can’t remember what made her choose foolish pride over love…or why, with this second, final chance to right old wrongs, the smartest choice would be to run from this gorgeous rodeo boy as fast as her boots can take her.
Enjoy this sneak peek!
His whole body vibrated with desire, a motor revved to the red line.He set his cowboy hat brim up on the table, then rolled his shoulders and arched his back to work out the kinks. His body—yeah, the muscles, too—was stiff. He bent, touched his toes, and felt the tug in his hamstrings. Out of habit, he kicked his heel onto the back of one of the chairs and reached up to grab his ankle, pulling his chest to his knee. He held the stretch for a count of twenty, then rotated his upper body to the side and bent at the waist to press his palms to the ground on either side of his toes. Another count of twenty, then he kicked his foot off the chair, swung it down, and popped upright to find Tori staring at him.
“Excellent…flexibility,” she said.
“Five years of gymnastics.”
Her face lit up like a schoolkid who knew the right answer. “Like Ty Murray.”
The Texas native had rocked the rodeo world, winning seven all-around world titles. When he’d claimed gymnastics played a big part in his success, every aspiring cowkid in the country had begged his parents to join. Merle Sanchez had said no, he didn’t have time to run them to lessons, but once again Iris Jacobs had saved the day, offering to take them instead.
He brushed his hand across the top of the chair, in case he’d smudged it. “I was stoved up from being stuck on that couch for so long.”
Her eyebrows rose. “What can you do when you’re loose?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” He laughed when her face went red, even as a part of him was thinking, Just this once, he wasn’t going to over-analyze. Wouldn’t worry about tomorrow. For one night, he could just do and be what he wanted.
Tori pressed her palms to flushed cheeks. “I am the Queen of Inappropriate tonight.”
“You seem fine to me.” More than fine. Exceptional. He strolled over and looped his arms around her waist, pulling her close. The heat flared up all over again as she melted into him. “But I might have to kiss you again to be sure.”
He didn’t think it could get any hotter, but . All of her was nestled up nice and snug against all of him, and now their hands had room to roam. He could’ve spent hours letting her hair flow like satin over his hands as they memorized the curve of her back—down, then up, then down again. The calluses on his riding hand scraped against her bare skin and she shivered.
She caught his hand and pulled it up to where she could inspect it. The skim of her thumb across the line of calluses at the base of his fingers was like a lick of fire. “From riding?”
She brushed a kiss over the calluses, then followed up with a flick of her tongue in the center of his palm.
He groaned, burying his face in her hair, his breath hot and fast against her neck, his heart beating a hole in his chest. “So much for not jumping you the minute we walked in the door.”
“Actually, you didn’t. It’s been at least six minutes.”
He gave a pained laugh. “So what are we gonna do with the other fifty-four before the pizza gets here?”
Her hands smoothed over his back, from his shoulders to his belt. “This works for me.”
“Me, too, but I’m not sure how much more I can take.” He hesitated, then blew out a pained sigh. “I didn’t come prepared for this, you know?”
There was an excruciating pause, while he waited for her to shove him away.
“I am,” she blurted. “Prepared, I mean.”
Shit. Now he was gonna have to say, He eased back. “I’m kind of paranoid because of…well, anyway, without condoms it’s too risky. For both of us.”
Another pause, while she stared at him as if trying to figure out if he was for real. Then she smiled. “I agree. So does my mother. That’s why she makes sure my medicine cabinet is always stocked.”
Delon’s jaw dropped. “Your…mother?”
“She’s very concerned that I’m going to throw away my future on…uh, well, you know.”
That voice again, as if he was still some nobody from a nothing little town. But he wasn’t, dammit. He was Delon Sanchez, National Finals bareback rider.
“Wait right here,” he said.
He found the condoms right where she said, in the medicine cabinet. Three different sizes, two brands of each. All unopened, he noted. But geezus. Her mother really did believe in covering every possibility. He grabbed a box, tore it open, pulled out a packet, and started to shove it in his pocket, then thought better. If a man was gonna be prepared, might as well go the whole nine yards. He unbuckled and unzipped his jeans, breathing a sigh of relief. Then he rolled the condom on, yanked his shirttails out and left them hanging loose as he walked back into the living room.
Tori had moved to one of the heavy wrought-iron stools at the breakfast bar and kicked off her boots. That little nothing of a skirt had ridden up on her thighs, showing off a mile of heart-stopping legs. When she saw him, her bare toes curled. God. She was killing him.
He stepped close and boxed her in, a hand braced on either side of her. “We’ve only got forty-nine minutes ’til the pizza guy knocks on the door.”
Her eyelashes fluttered down and her voice went husky. “I heard bareback riders only need eight seconds.”
About the author:
Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents' bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.