Dakota Ranch Crude [Dakota Heat 2] (Siren Publishing Menage Amour)
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by Leah Brooke
Description: [Menage Amour: Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance, M/F/M] When Samantha Cross goes to her brother's employers to ask for help, she had no idea it would change her life forever. To repay their debt, they both have to live and work at the Dakota Ranch for one year. Samantha has no option but to accept. Her brother's employers, Shayne and Jackson Montgomery, are not what she expected. Jackson, the younger brother, is too handsome and charming to resist, especially when he sets his sights on her. He wants her to share her life with not only him, but his older brother, Shayne. She realizes the only way is to show Shayne he's not the crude animal he's become convinced he is. Shayne is hard headed and won't believe it, convinced he would only hurt her. Can Samantha convince this tender giant he and his brother are perfect for her? [Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance. Warning: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]
eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Menage Amour, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: May 2010
95 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [139 KB]
Reading time: 90-127 min.
"4.5 DELIGHTFUL DIVAS: Dakota Ranch Crude by Leah Brooke is the second book in the Dakota Heat series. These are all stand-alone stories, tied together by a common theme; Dakota men and hot ménages...Dakota Ranch Crude is a fast-paced story that takes hold of you right in the beginning and doesn't let up until the conclusion. I liked that Samantha was coming into the situation with no prior experience; with the ménage aspect certainly, but I was thinking more about her lack of experience with ranch life. I enjoyed learning about the ranch, and ranch men, from her perspective. The intrigue portion of the story was wholly unexpected from the blurb that I read and it was a very nice addition to the story. It added that little bit more of the impetus needed to get these characters to their excellent conclusion. I have the third book in the Dakota Heat series ready to read, and you can be assured that I'll start that one right away. I can't wait to see where Leah Brooke will take us next." -- Jae, Dark Diva Reviews
"4.5 STARS: Dakota Ranch Crude is sexy, innovative, and titillating. Ms. Brooke continues to come up with inventive stories for the polyamorous romance fans. The main characters are all complex in their own right. This erotically charged story will keep a smile on your face and have your heart racing." -- Teagan, Book Wenches
* * * *
Samantha Cross fumbled with her keys as she rushed to unlock the door. The phone rang two more times before she managed to get inside. She rushed to it, hoping it was Petey.
"Sam, it's me."
"Petey. Thank God! I've been trying to call you. Two men showed up at the diner looking for you. Where--"
"Sam, shut up and listen. I'm in jail."
"What? What happened? For what? Oh God! Petey, what did you do?"
"Right away you believe the worst! I'm already guilty, right? I'm in jail because I'm trying to protect your ass and right away it's my fault."
Samantha closed her eyes, mentally counting to ten. Nothing had ever been Petey's fault. She sighed. "Okay, Petey. Why are you in jail?"
"I got caught trying to steal a bull."
"Listen, I only did it because of you! You know those two men that came looking for me? I met them in a bar and borrowed money from them. I had a sure bet at the racetrack and the fucking horse stumbled."
Samantha moved to close the door and plopped into a nearby chair, suddenly feeling very old. "So you lost it?"
"It's not my fault! You're the one that keeps pestering me for money for the fucking bills. I only gambled to get you your fucking money so I don't have to hear about it anymore."
Samantha leaned forward, rubbing her forehead where a dull throb had settled over her right eye. "So you tried to steal from your employers to pay them back?"
"Yeah. If I don't pay them back, they're gonna come after you. That's probably why they came to the diner. They want to make sure they know who you are. They asked if you're my sister, right?"
Samantha stood and began to pace, a feeling of dread settling low in her stomach. "Yes, they did. But why would they come after me if you're the one that borrowed the money?"
"To make sure I pay them! Jesus, you're stupid sometimes. If I don't get them their money, they said they would break both your legs."
Samantha gasped, horrified. She ran to the door to make sure she'd locked it. "Petey, what have you done?"
"Just come get me out of this fucking jail! Come bail me out and I'll take care of it."
When he told her how much bail money she'd need, Samantha groaned. "Petey, I don't have that kind of money. I--"
"I've been sending you money every fucking week. You'd better come up with it."
"Petey, this is your mess--" She heard a car door slam and pulled the phone away from her ear as Petey shouted and cursed at her. Running to the window, her eyes went wide as the two men from the diner approached her apartment building. Panic set it. "Petey! Those two men are here."
She dropped the phone, grabbed her keys and purse and raced out. She ran across the hall and banged on her friend's door. "Donna! It's Samantha. Let me in."
When the door opened, Samantha ran through it, closing it behind her. She shook so hard she couldn't turn the lock.
"Sam, what's going on?"
Finally getting the door locked, she gripped her friend's hand. Donna's face blurred as tears filled her eyes. "Shh! I'll explain. Just be really quiet."
Samantha moved to the peephole and looked out just in time to see the men approach her door. She'd never been so scared. What the hell had Petey gotten them into this time?
Despite wearing suits, both men looked cold and ruthless. A glimpse of their eyes sent a chill through her. A whimper escaped and she slapped a hand over her mouth, afraid they would hear her.
"Samantha," Donna whispered.
Samantha spun and slapped her free hand over her friend's mouth, shaking her head as tears ran down her face.
Donna's eyes widened and she nodded.
Samantha heard a crash and released her friend to spin back to the door and look out the peephole again. Her apartment door stood open and she watched the men go inside. Another whimper escaped when she realized just how close they'd come to getting to her.
Donna pushed her out of the way to look out. She turned back to Samantha, her eyes huge. "We have to call the police."
Another noise from the hallway had Samantha flying back to look out. The two men came back out of her apartment, leaving the door wide open, and started back down the stairs.
As soon as they moved out of sight, Samantha rushed to the window, careful to stand to the side where they couldn't see her. Not until they'd gotten into their car and driven away did she realize she'd been holding her breath.
"Sam, what's going on?"
Samantha ran to the door. "Let me know if they come back."
Instead of staying behind, Donna followed her as she ran back across the hall and into her apartment.
"Sam, damn it. What's going on?"
Samantha explained as Donna followed her around her apartment as she looked for anything out of place. Since Donna already knew about Petey, the explanation didn't take long.
"Damn it, Sam. You have enough to worry about without Petey getting into trouble again.
They both came to an abrupt halt when they reached Samantha's bedroom. The men had used her lipstick to write on her mirror.
"WE'LL BE BACK"
Samantha's legs gave way and she sank onto the edge of her bed. "Oh God."
She wrapped her arms around herself as chills wracked her body. "I've got to get out of here."
Shooting to her feet, she hurried to her closet, took out her suitcases, and began to throw clothes into them haphazardly.
Donna rushed to help. "Where are you going to go?"
Samantha snapped one lid closed as Donna threw the contents of her underwear drawer into the other case. "I've got to get Petey out of jail. Then I'll figure out the rest."
"How are you going to do that? You don't have enough money. I'd give it to you if I had it, but I don't."
Samantha grabbed one of the suitcases and her purse while Donna followed her with the other. "I'm going to have to go see Petey's employers, the men who had him arrested, and see if they'll drop the charges."
* * * *
Samantha eased off the accelerator, leaning forward to look up at the large sign to her right. "Dakota Ranch." Turning her little compact down the long drive, she admired the lush green lawn and mature trees. With the exception of the asphalt drive, this could be a scene from a hundred years ago.
Driving closer, she couldn't help but fall in love with the huge stucco house situated at the end of the driveway. The big porch that ran along the entire front managed to make the house look homey despite its size. It and all of the outbuildings had been painted a stark white.
A large stable that had what looked like dozens of cowboys all around it stood to the right. Several of the cowboys rode horses inside the post and rail fence. She assumed they were being 'exercised' as her brother called it. What kind of exercise did a horse need, for God's sake? It's a horse.
She didn't see any of the cattle that her brother had told her the ranch had become well known for, so she assumed the cows, bulls, steers or whatever had to be off playing somewhere else.
Samantha knew dairy products and cuts of beef. That was the beginning and the end of her knowledge of cows.
Everything looked to be well cared for, and the whole place just screamed money. Great. She'd imagined having to deal with some tobacco spitting cowboys. Instead she'd be dealing with some pot bellied know-it-all with a cigar sticking out of his mouth.
She knew nothing of ranches, nothing of animals or the great outdoors and had no desire to ever learn.
Her brother, however, knew more about horses and cattle and loved to work with them. She loved her little brother dearly, but Petey had always been like their father, continually getting into some kind of trouble. Samantha felt like she'd spent her whole life cleaning up their messes. Well, at least she didn't have to worry about getting daddy out of trouble anymore.
Pulling up to the front of the circular drive, Samantha pressed a hand to her stomach and took a deep breath. She had to make the Montgomery brothers understand. She had no choice. Petey had gotten them both into big trouble this time. When she opened the door and got out of the car, the heat nearly overwhelmed her. Riding in the air conditioned car, she'd forgotten how hot it was outside.
Straightening her sundress, she grabbed her purse and climbed the steps to the porch, her high heels clicking on the wood.
Her eyes widened as she took in the size of the house up close. Jeez, she'd hate like hell to be the one that had to clean this place.
Trying to get up the courage to knock, she looked around and absolutely fell in love with the porch. The wooden swing looked like the perfect place to sit and just watch the world go by. It would seat at least three people and she could just imagine lying on it as the swing moved with the breeze and settling down for a nap. An assortment of all weather furniture sat in clusters nearby. She could spend hours out here. The shade made it several degrees cooler and she could feel a light breeze blowing. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the touch of it over her heated skin.
"What do you want?"
Samantha spun at the deep growl and barely suppressed as gasp when she saw the most unbelievably gorgeous man she'd ever laid eyes on. About six feet of hard packed muscle stood just inside the screen door, eyeing her coolly and sipping coffee from a thick mug.
Brown, sun streaked hair fell rakishly over his forehead and just skimmed his shoulders. An unbuttoned chambray shirt hung open and she couldn't help but stare. Her eyes zeroed in on his chest, tanned and clearly delineated with muscle, sprinkled with dark, silky looking hair that she just itched to touch. A pair of well worn jeans hung from lean hips.
"I asked you what you wanted."
Samantha gulped as she looked up into eyes the color of milk chocolate. This man could be on the cover of any of the erotic novels she loved to read. Her mouth watered just looking at him. When he smiled at her mockingly, dimples slashed his cheeks and even white teeth appeared between lips so firm and soft looking, she found herself wondering what they would feel like on hers. Good Lord. It should be against the law for a man to be this beautiful.
His face hardened at her continued silence and he raised a brow.
Samantha had to clear her throat before speaking. Wiping her suddenly damp palms down her sundress, she finally found her voice. "Hello. I'm Samantha Cross. I'm looking for Mr. Montgomery, either one of them."
"I'm Jackson Montgomery. What. Do. You. Want?"
This man is one of the Montgomery brothers?
Get the drool off your chin, Sam, and plead your case!
Thoughts of the men who'd come to her apartment and the message they'd left raced through her mind and she sobered. She cleared her throat again, hating that she had to talk to him through a screen door. "I'm here about my brother."
His face tightened even more. "You're Pete Cross's sister?"
Fighting the urge to shift her feet, she nodded. "I'd like to talk to you about him."
He continued to stare at her as he sipped his coffee. He looked her over, his gaze caressing her body from top to bottom and back again. Her body heated and tingled and she struggled not to fidget. Her breasts felt swollen and she knew her nipples poked at the front of her dress. Damn.
"What are you offering?"
She couldn't have heard him right. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me. I appreciate a good lay as much as the next guy. I gotta tell you though, my brother and I share."
Where the surge of lust came from she had no idea, but she managed to tamp it down and firm her voice. "Mr. Montgomery, I'm here to talk to you or your brother about Petey. Since you apparently consider this a joke, perhaps it might be better if I talk to your brother. I hope he takes things a little more seriously."
For the first time, she saw actual humor on his face. "Oh, Shayne is a lot more serious than I am."
He pushed open the screen door and stood aside so she could enter. He hadn't moved quite enough for her to pass without touching him and she sucked in a breath as her nipples brushed against his chest. The electric jolt shot straight to her slit and she quickly stepped away from him. Those incredible dimples slashed again as he gestured with the hand holding the coffee mug. "Right this way. I've got to see this."
Samantha walked in the direction he'd indicated, moving into a room that appeared to be their office. She came to an abrupt halt when she saw another man seated behind the desk, cursing into the phone. He slammed the receiver into its base as they approached.
"Another one of your girlfriends?"
Samantha bristled at his tone, even as the dark timber of it drew her. Get a grip, Sam. This man could never be called handsome, not by any stretch of the word. His hard features had been carved too roughly for that. No expression, no warmth, no surprise. Just hard.
His eyes were so dark they looked nearly black and ice cold. They crinkled at the corners, probably from squinting, certainly not from smiling, and he had the most incredible eyelashes she'd ever seen. His eyes stayed hooded, as though the lush thickness of those lashes weighed them down, but the sharpness of his gaze told her he never missed a thing.
What really grabbed her attention and kept her frozen in place was the sheer size of him. Even sitting behind a desk, he looked massive with shoulders wider than any she had ever seen before. When he picked up his own mug, it looked like a child's teacup. Without a doubt, he was the most formidable looking man she'd ever met. And she needed his help. Great.
"No," she heard Jackson say from behind her. "This is Samantha Cross, Pete's sister. Samantha, this is my brother, Shayne Montgomery."
Samantha gripped her purse tighter and fought the urge to fidget under the larger man's stare. His eyes hardened even more as he dropped his pen on his desk and leaned back. The chair groaned at the movement. "What do you want?"
The deep rumble in his tone made her shudder, amazing her that not only fear had caused it. He had to be hands down the most masculine man she'd ever met and her body reacted to him too strongly for her own piece of mind. The stress must be getting to her. She understood her attraction to Jackson. Of course she would be attracted to a man who looked like a damned Greek God. But to be attracted to this man, too? Must be the stress.
Jeez, Sam. Plead your case and get the hell out of here!
* * * *
Shayne Montgomery looked up at the woman Jackson had escorted into his study. He had paperwork to finish before he could get back outside and didn't have time for interruptions. The phone call had pissed him off. Why couldn't that asshole take no for an answer? When he'd heard his brother say that a woman had just pulled in, he'd figured it had to be another one of Jackson's girlfriends. Christ, sometimes they showed up two and three at a time.
Hearing her scathing retort to his brother's demand to know what she would offer had intrigued him. Women never said no to Jackson. He'd looked up as she'd walked in and had become hard as a rock the instant those violet eyes had met his.
Samantha Cross had the face of an angel and the body of a siren. Her features looked delicate, almost fragile, except for that mouth. Her wide violet eyes, button nose and sexy as hell flush on her creamy skin brought every ounce of protective instinct inside him to the surface. Christ, what he wouldn't give to be able to have a woman that looked like this one.
Her pale blonde hair looked like a curtain of silk and he wanted to bury his face in it. Or see it fanned out on his pillow. Or fist it in his hands as he shoved his cock into that gorgeous mouth and fucked it. He couldn't keep his eyes off that mouth. He could nibble at those soft, full lips all day and never get tired of it. He hated the lipstick that coated them. If she belonged to him, her lips would be that lush pink permanently from his kisses and would be swollen even more.
She had the mouth of a seductress.
A mouth worth killing for.
Her nipples poked at her dress, and he knew that just being around Jackson had caused it. He wondered what color those beaded little nipples would be. What sounds would she make as he tugged them with his lips?
Watching Jackson lead her to the sofa, he couldn't keep his eyes from the sway of her hips as she walked across the room. The full, rounded globes of her ass made him want to bend her over the back of the sofa and spread them.
Do not go there!
He hated skinny women and this one had lots of curves. His cock jumped, thinking about having that ass bare and ready for him to explore. He'd bet his prized bull that those globes would be firm but soft, pale against his hand. He would spend time learning that ass with his hands and lips, working his way to her puckered opening.
Snap out of it, Shayne.
Jackson looked over his shoulder to frown at him disapprovingly, probably because of his brusque manner. Hell, Jackson had always been more polite than he could ever be. Jackson did all the smiling.
His brother had definitely gotten all the charm in the family. And all the looks.
Shayne had accepted long ago that women like her only wanted men like Jackson. He had no illusions about his looks and his size, and his need to dominate in the bedroom drove most women away. Women only wanted him for two things, his cock and his money.
He had to find out whatever the fuck this woman wanted from them and get her the hell out of here. Having her here brought needs to the surface, needs he tried his best to ignore. They reminded him why he could never have a woman like her.
"Your brother's a cattle thief."
Samantha looked over at the giant sitting behind the desk. "He's not really a cattle thief. Not at all."
* * * *
When he just lifted a brow at her, she scooted forward in her seat. She had to make them listen. "He's not, I swear." She took a deep breath. "Please, let me explain." When they both just continued to stare at her, she began.
"My mother died early this year after a long illness." Her voice shook whenever she talked about her mother and she determinedly firmed it. "My father took off and Petey and I took care of her until she died. The medical bills kept piling up, so we sold everything, including the house to pay off as much as we could." She paused to look at each of them.
Jackson nodded for her to continue, but neither showed the slightest flicker of emotion. Great. She just had to get through to them or she didn't know what she would do. "Petey had been working as a dishwasher and when he saw your ad, he came here to work because it paid more. He's always loved being around horses. Our neighbors had them."
Their continued silence and stares flustered her. The way Shayne Montgomery stared at her had her barely resisting the urge to bolt. His dark eyes had darkened even more. His unwavering stare made her edgy, reminding her of a wild animal. She trembled, afraid he would pounce at any sudden movement. Unable to sit any longer, she stood and moved slowly to the window, keeping him in her peripheral vision the entire time.
Something about him just pulled at her. She couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like to be held by this man. His raw masculinity nearly overwhelmed her.
Meanwhile, Jackson kept staring at her as he might a bug under a microscope. She carefully avoided his sharp gaze, which made her feel as though he mentally stripped her bare.
How the hell could she be so consumed by sexual tension while fighting for her brother's life? How the hell could she stand here wanting to actually know what it felt like to be in Shayne's huge arms, to give in to the erotic pull of Jackson's stare while she had this threat over her head and was scared to death?
Stop it, Sam!
She took a deep breath and cleared her throat. It took her a minute to gather her thoughts. "I stayed and kept my job. Petey's been sending me what money he could and we've been trying to pay off the medical bills." She rubbed her stomach where it churned every time she thought about what Petey had done. "Petey started gambling to raise the money. He thought he could raise the money faster that way. Instead, he lost."
She rubbed her stomach again. It had almost become a habit. "He got involved with some bad people, borrowed money from them to gamble some more and lost it. The men he borrowed from threatened to hurt me if he didn't pay them back. He panicked. That's why he tried to steal your cow. To sell it to pay them off."
"Bull," Shayne murmured.
"It's true!" Samantha moved to the desk, leaning over it toward Shayne. His eyes flared and she hurriedly straightened. She took a deep breath and looked at them both pleadingly. She had to make them believe her. "He only did it to protect me!"
Jackson's lips twitched. "Shayne didn't mean he didn't believe you. Your brother tried to steal a bull, not a cow."
"Oh." When neither man spoke, she could feel her nerves stretch almost to the breaking point. Jackson's eyes kept sliding from her to Shayne and back again, but Shayne's gaze stayed steady on her. Just when she thought she couldn't stand another second of the deafening silence, Shayne spoke.
"I understand why Pete did what he did."
Samantha sighed, relief making her lightheaded. She moved to the sofa and dropped back in her seat. "Thank you."
"But," he continued. "I don't know exactly what you expect us to do about it."
Samantha looked from one to the other, frowning. "I want you to drop the charges against him."
"And then what?" Shayne asked softly. Too softly. She felt goosebumps break out on her arms. She crossed her arms over her chest and rubbed them, covering her beaded nipples from their gazes. What would that voice sound like in the bedroom, in the dark, against her--?
Breathe Sam! She took another deep breath. "I don't understand." Hell, she'd forgotten what they'd been talking about.
Shayne sighed. "Your brother seems to have a penchant for trouble. If we drop the charges against him, he'll get out of jail, but then what? He's already put you in danger and is deeper in debt than before. What do you think would happen if he got loose?"
Samantha blinked. His continued stare flustered her more than she wanted to admit. "But while he's in jail, he can't make any money. I've got to get those people paid off as soon as possible! I can't keep looking over my shoulder while I'm working to pay these people back and come up with the money for the medical bills."
Shayne inclined his head. "True." The silence stretched again. "How much money are we talking about?"
Samantha sighed and looked back down at her lap "After selling the house and everything, we still owe a little over a hundred thousand dollars in medical bills."
"And the other?"
Samantha rubbed her stomach and looked up. "Petey originally borrowed twenty five thousand but he said with interest it's now close to fifty thousand dollars."
Jackson whistled at the amount before his face tightened in anger. He looked over at his brother. "Pete tried to steal a bull worth over a million dollars to pay a debt of a hundred and fifty grand?"
Samantha's mouth dropped open. "A million dollars? For a cow?"
"Bull," Shayne corrected absently.
Samantha watched them both apprehensively as some sort of male communication passed between them that she had no hope of understanding. Looking at her lap and noticing that her knuckles had turned white where she gripped her purse, she made a conscious effort to loosen them. Her nerves couldn't take much more. Would they let Petey go? She didn't know what she'd do if they refused her. But even if they did let him go, how would they come up with the money they owed? Shayne had been right about that. No matter how she looked at it, she couldn't see a way out. One problem at a time. First, she had to get her brother out of jail.
She looked up to find them both watching her. Her face burned, and she wondered what they were thinking. Forcing herself to sit still, she waited.
"Can you cook?"
Samantha blinked at Jackson's unexpected question. Without meaning to, her eyes flew to Shayne, taken aback when his face hardened even more.
Looking away hurriedly, she forced her gaze back to Jackson, trying hard to ignore the heated amusement in his eyes. "Yes. I've always loved to cook. That's what I do. I cook in a diner. Why?"
"I have a solution to your problem."
Shayne's warning growl shocked her and made her tremble. If either saw it, she hoped they would think fear caused it. That growl did something strange to her insides. She tightened her thighs against the rush of heat that soaked her panties.
She met Jackson's gaze, struggling to keep her tone neutral. "You do? What is it?"
"My brother and I will drop the charges against your brother and pay off your debts."
Samantha narrowed her eyes. "Just like that? What do you want in return?"
Jackson's dimples appeared again. "I see you're not as gullible as your brother. That's good. Your brother will work here, properly supervised of course, for room and board during the next year."
Samantha slumped in relief. They'd believed her. Petey could keep his job. She would also send money and they would no longer have men threatening her. "Oh, thank--"
"And you," Jackson continued as though she hadn't spoken, "will quit your job at the diner to live and work here."
"What?" Samantha stared at him, stunned.
"You heard me. Our housekeeper retired. You can take her place. You'll get room and board like your brother."
She looked over at Shayne's unreadable expression before looking back at Jackson, who'd leaned back against the arm of the sofa. "For how long?"
"A year!" Samantha jumped up and moved back to the window. How the hell could she live here with these two for a whole year without going out of her mind? Her panties had been soaked since she'd walked through the door. They both affected her too much to ignore. This stuff didn't happen to her. But how else could she get out of this mess?
Samantha closed her eyes. "Shouldn't I speak to your wives about working here?" Please let them be married. Then she knew she could resist them.
"We're not married," Jackson grinned and she felt it all the way to her core. "I already told you, we like to share. One woman would have to put up with both of us."
"That's enough, Jackson," Shayne growled and stood. "Don't threaten her with me. She's all yours."
Samantha looked back out the window, trying to hide her surprise and surge of lust. They shared? It was a fantasy straight out of her books. Oh God, what would it feel like to have them both make love to her, one in her pussy and the other...Oh Lord, she couldn't even imagine.
"A year isn't so bad to work off a debt like that. Besides, what are your options?"
Startled when Jackson's voice jerked her out of her musings, she took a shuddering breath before answering. She needed a few minutes alone. Why she reacted this way she had no idea but she just had to get over it. "Just to be your housekeeper, nothing else?"
"Your job is just to take care of the house and the meals." His eyes twinkled in amusement. "Anything else is your own choice and not part of the debt."
Damn. She really had no other option, but the way Jackson kept looking at her unsettled the hell out of her. She tried to ignore the burning looks and the way he appeared to undress her with his eyes. Samantha looked over to see Shayne moving around his desk. Her eyes widened when she really got a look at his size. She'd never seen a man that big! Easily over six and a half feet tall, he looked to be pure solid muscle. His chest looked like a barrel and his thighs like tree trunks.
Closer now, she got a better look at those hooded eyes. Something inside her melted at the heat that flashed briefly before disappearing just as quickly. His sensual lips looked out of place on such a masculine face.
Holy cow. Her insides clenched. Her nipples poked painfully against her bra and she felt even more moisture seep from her. A quick glance at Jackson's glittering eyes had her all but crawling with need.
How the hell could she stay here with them for a year and not go crazy?
But Jackson had been right. She had no other option.
"Okay." She nodded. "I have to go home to quit my job and get the rest of my things. I can be back in a week." She would use the time away from them to put things back into perspective and push all lascivious thoughts from her mind. Shayne moved even closer toward her, shaking his head and she fought the urge to back away. "No. Call your boss from here. We'll send someone for your things. You can't go anywhere as long as there's a threat to your safety."
His deep rumbling tone weakened her knees. Samantha's gaze slid to Jackson. His cocky grin had disappeared. Now he looked at her thoughtfully, steadily, and this look unnerved her even more.
With Shayne so close, she started trembling, almost overwhelmed by her completely feminine response to his raw masculinity. She had to force herself to focus on his words as he continued.
"I don't know who these men are that threatened to hurt you but I'll find out. Until I find them, you will stay on the ranch. My men are always on the lookout for strangers. Until we pay them off, they're a threat."
Samantha nodded. "Okay. Thanks." Please just let him move away before she embarrassed herself.
Her breath caught and she felt a fresh rush of moisture as Shayne crossed his thickly roped arms over his chest, his whole demeanor dominant and unyielding. "You will not leave the ranch without either Jackson or me. Any of my men who try to take you off the ranch will be fired. If you try to leave, your brother goes back to jail."
Samantha bristled at the implication that she would run out on them and lifted her chin. "I don't welsh on my debts. I'll work as your housekeeper for the next year and make sure my brother stays out of trouble."
Shayne gripped her raised chin. Oh God. She couldn't even stand that impersonal touch. Her senses had gone on overload and she knew she couldn't take any more. She wanted those lips on hers. They moved as she stared at them. Panicking that she'd missed something, she jolted back to reality.
"No. We will keep your brother out of trouble. Your only job is to take care of us." His thumb ran over her bottom lip and she felt an answering pull between her legs. The pad of his thumb felt rough against her lips, and suddenly she wanted his hands on her elsewhere. Everywhere. What would it be like to be touched with hands as large and powerful as Shayne's?
He stared at her for several long seconds and she couldn't look away. She could only imagine how hot and intense lovemaking would be for a man like him. She shook with the need to find out. Involuntarily, she touched her tongue to his rough finger. Startled with herself, she jerked away. He dropped his hand suddenly as if he'd been burned. With a muffled curse, he glared at her before turning and striding abruptly out of the room.
Jackson watched his brother walk away and turned to her, smiling. He sobered and looked at her as though seeing her for the first time, even more intently than he had a few minutes ago. "Give me your address and the keys. I'll send someone for your things."
Samantha nodded. "I'll call my friend, Donna. I don't want her to call the police when she sees your men."
Jackson nodded and turned to leave but stopped and turned back when she touched his arm. "Tell your men to be careful. Those men already showed up at my apartment once and I don't want your men getting hurt."
Jackson frowned at her. "They didn't hurt you, did they?"
Samantha shook her head. "No. I went across the hall to Donna's when I saw them coming."
Jackson stared at her for several long seconds before nodding. "Don't worry about it. I know who to send. We're gonna have to talk about this later."